Isn’t it strange how we suddenly just stop including Jesus in our day?
Like a close friend or a beloved family member; we simply slow then stop putting any effort in staying in constant touch.
Jesus needs to be part of every moment for us to know and to believe beyond any doubt that we are fulfilling our purpose.
Everything you do can be “spending time with God” if He is invited to be a part of it and your day, and if you stay aware of His presence.
The whole of all laws can be summed up in this one command:
Galatians 5:14 ~ Love others as you love yourself.
The key to friendship with God is not changing what you do, but changing your attitude toward what you do.Practicing the Presence of God ~ Brother Lawrence
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ~ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Isaiah 41:10 ~ So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 18:30 ~ As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s Word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ~ But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Luke 6:37 ~ Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Galatians 6:9 ~ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Life is a test.
Life is a trust.
Life is a temporary assignment.
Character is both developed and revealed by tests.
And all of life is a test.Rick Warren
James 1:12 ~ Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
When you understand that life is a test,
You then realize that
nothing is insignificant
in your life.Rick Warren
Psalm 19:1 ~ The heavens declare the glory of God, and announce what His hands have made.
We are tested by: Major changes, Delayed Promises, Impossible Problems, Unanswered Prayers, Undeserved Criticism, and Senseless Tragedies.
2 Corinthians 4:18 ~ We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see.
Romans 11:36 ~ Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power and everything is for His glory.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ~ The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, He will also give you a way to escape, so that you will be able to stand it.
We are tested. Our faith is tested through the problems that come into our lives. Our hope is tested by how we handle our possessions. And our love is tested through the people we encounter.
Faith|fāTH| noun: complete trust or confidence in someone or something;
Trust |trəst| noun: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.Anais Nin
Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past. It is by Faith we understand that the whole world was made by God’s command so what we see was made by something that cannot be seen.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season.
I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength.
I find rest in God; only He can save me. He is my rock and salvation. He is my defender; I will not be defeated.
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we live by Faith, not by sight.
“I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the LORD. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.”
Because you know that the testing of your Faith produces perseverance.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
“Because you have so little Faith,” He replied. “Truly I tell you, if you have Faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the Faith; be courageous; be strong.
The way you see your life, shapes your life.Rick Warren
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your Faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.
And do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.
For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. DO not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.
I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.
I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.
If we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
Live in such a way that God’s love can bless you.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.
Oh that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the Lord your God, and to obey Him and commit yourself to Him, for He is your life.
You will keep on guiding me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
1 Corinthians 2:9
No eye has seen, no ear has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything… If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
Psalms 121: 1-2
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
2 Timothy 4:17
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!
But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. They are the people He called, because that was His plan.
1 Corinthians 1:30-31
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that is, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God can give you more blessings than you need. Then you will always have plenty of everything – enough to give to every good work.
A Beautiful Understanding
It was beautiful. It was also a bit unnerving to realize so suddenly, for how long I had been so oblivious to the truth.
It is actually more shaming to admit, and I will, so you might also, that I should have not only known this truth, but I had actually counseled my own Mother at length about it only a few months prior.
My Mother and I live on total opposite sides of the country but we speak quite often (weekly) and text as well (throughout the week). But during a particularly upsetting conversation, (Mom’s nervous and worrisome nature – nothing horrible), I finally asked her if she was reading her Bible.
I told her that I had been studying the bible and doing a kind of “Bible studies” myself whenever anything in particular was on my mind. I had discovered a while before then that it didn’t matter what was bothering me, what I didn’t understand or even what I wanted to understand; that I could find answers in the Word.
Well, that brought a fresh bout of tears and more of what was troubling her so deeply. She was about to have double knee surgeries and had also just been informed that in her assisted living community she was being moved to a brand new apartment. She had already packed so many of her belongings because the doctors were not sure how long she would be in rehab. Her Bible was packed.
I immediately had my new project. I had been creating these “Bible studies” for myself, coloring them, shaping them, making them pretty as I went but I realized I could now go back and rewrite them in a book form for my Mom. So I did. I also, with the help of a friend, took a large print Bible I had just ordered and put those nifty and pretty marker tabs on each book of the Bible for her. About a month later it was ready for her so I printed it, bound it together and mailed it and she was thrilled.
Jumping ahead, I was sitting in the guest chair in front of my mentor at work and we were simply chatting and I had told her about something that had happened over the weekend that I had been so worried about, but how we were so watched over and blessed that she got a very serious look on her face and told me that I needed to stop stressing out about these types of things. She went on to remind me of my very good job, how hard I worked and that I needed to let things like this be and enjoy my daughter while she was still so young.
Later that week, ironically, I had my second year evaluation for my job for the State of Alaska. The District Superintendent is my direct supervisor so he conducted my evaluation. As we were wrapping it up (it was an excellent evaluation) he sat back and told me that I needed to relax. While he thoroughly appreciated my efforts and progress, I needed to understand that I was over a year past my probationary period, into my second year with a second excellent evaluation and that I was safe. I could stop worrying and simply do what I had been taught to do, that I did well.
That hit me hard. Stop worrying. I was safe.
It all hit me at once. My previous chiding of and to my Mother, my mentor’s advisement and chastisement and now my boss it was all part of the same lesson.
Do you know what it came to at that moment for me?
Asking myself, “Do I believe, truly believe, in one God, who sent His Son to become man, walk among us, and die for our sins so that we might live? Do I believe that God raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead, to walk again and rise to heaven to His Father’s right hand?” “Do I believe?”
Then it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to worry or be anxious, to fuss or worry. It really is that simple of a fact.
Granted, it is a terribly hard habit and inclination to break and retrain your mind to. But I can promise you this also. God, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit will help, and not abandon those who love Him.
Now? Now I live with hope and joy, every day. I want you to as well.
Scriptures for A Beautiful Understanding
Proverbs is the prescription of and for life. “It fixes what ails you,” a friend once said to me. So this is where we start with God.
“Wisdom” is biblical term for this on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven everyday living.
Proverbs 1:1-7 (The Message)
A Manual for Living – These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David’s son, Israel’s king – written down so we’ll know how to live well and right. To understand what life means and where it is going. A manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair. To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality. There’s something here for the seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn – fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate. The rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
Start with God.
Start with God – the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
But whoever listens to me will dwell safely and will be secure, without fear of evil.
Listen carefully to wisdom; set your mind on understanding.
Only the Lord gives wisdom; He gives knowledge and understanding.
He makes sure that justice is done and He protects those who are loyal to Him.
Then you will understand what is honest and fair. and what is the good and right thing to do. Wisdom will come into your mind and knowledge will be pleasing to you. Good sense will protect you, understanding will guard you.
From a very young age I can remember crying myself to sleep, homesick at heart, “I want to go home.” The problem with this memory is that I was home. In the home I shared with my Mother and younger sister and brother.
These feelings and this refrain stuck with me as I grew up and still, I would find myself homesick, heartbroken over a loss I couldn’t name. “I want to go home.”
Like many, I was pretty wild and enraptured with the whole being grown up now and legal for anything side of life. I was pretty careless and depression and manic mood swings patterned my life. “I want to go home.” was the cave inside my mind where I could curl in a ball and hide from everything I didn’t understand and couldn’t seem to make myself fit into like it appeared everyone else could and did so easily. When I wasn’t hiding, I was full-bore-ahead, manic, and ready to take on anything and all. Bulletproof.
Right until I wasn’t. I wasn’t bulletproof. And as the world tilted, and I knew I was already dead, I heard His voice. God spoke to me. Just one word, but I knew and to this day have known and recognized that voice. God spoke to me one word, and I knew in that instant, He was giving me a choice. He said, “Really?”
No. Oh, yes, but no. I felt so much, thought and understood so much in that fraction of a moment in which I heard Him say “Really?”
It took three long years after that day for which I was to become even remotely human again; I share with people, looking back. But it wasn’t all only the pain and learning to walk again. It was a deep and ugly anger. How was this the better choice? So time continued and I breathed, ate, cried and learned not to limp.
Living our lives, one day a very old friend of Terry’s happened to cross our path at a nearby airport. As they rejoiced at seeing each other after so many years, Terry’s friend turned to greet a lady coming from the office when the whole world stopped inside me. I could see and hear introductions, I could see people hugging and smiling. I couldn’t move, I could barely draw a breath. Couldn’t they see?
She was an angel. I knew with no hesitation that she was an angel sent from God our Father to wake me up, shake me up, allow me to see her, to see God in my life as she stood in front of me with her hand stretched out waiting for me to meet her.
An angel, sent from God. It was time for me to crawl out of that hidden cave and into His light.
Confusion and frustration can grow from the chaos of people who claim to understand depression. Neuroscience and psychology offer many theories, but not all are based on facts and most are void of faith.
Depression is not simply a medical problem or a mental problem, depression is often a being human problem.
Those suffering from depression can experience intense feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness, fatigue and a host of other symptoms. They may begin to feel useless and even suicidal.
Depression is a very real condition, and while it may be situational and can be remedied through and with God’s help with prayer, support groups, fellowship, confession, forgiveness and counseling, clinical depression is a physical condition and the symptoms cannot be alleviated by will alone.
Depression can sometimes be caused by a physical disorder that needs to be treated with medication and/or counseling. Of course God is able to cure any disease or disorder, but in many cases, seeing a doctor for depression is no different than seeing a doctor for an injury.
Emotions can lead us astray when the depression has hold, so be sure to immerse into the Word, as God’s Word stands firm and unchanging. Remember when these terrible trials and temptations to hold even tighter to Him.
Even when those who are suffering, there are things to help and alleviate the pain, Stay inside the Word. Emotions may lead you differently, but hold always onto God’s love. Always.
Almost everyone at some point experience a period of sadness. Most, pass with time but sometimes the sadness continues.
When caught in this prolonged period of sadness, you may recognize one or more of the signs of depression: a growing mistrust of God, resentment of others, difficulty making decisions, guilt, inactivity, sleeplessness or oversleeping, not eating or overeating, doubting, complaining, worrying, and hopelessness, as though you’re in an inescapable pit.
The Bible was not created for us to read and feel good about, but to speak truth into our lives. One of these important truths is the strength and support God will give to you when you feel like your own strength and support have vanished.
The Scriptures wont heal your depression, but they will help you ground yourself in truth, so when the wave of sadness rises, you can remember who you are rooted in.
Some days you might feel like you’ve lost all your strength. That the world could go on perfectly fine without you. Remember: You are loved and wanted by a God bigger than the entire universe.
When you are feeling lonely, anxious, or depressed look to our Heavenly Father, for He will give you the strength to keep going.
We have nothing to fear in life because God walks beside us. When you feel lonely remember that even if no one else is there, He is. When you experience feelings of fear remember that He will never leave you. Other people will come and go but God will never leave you.
When you are weak, hopeless, or lost look to God. He is a shield around us, protecting us from harm. Even when we feel completely broken by the feelings of depression, He is still there to lift us up and shield us; we have only to ask.
When you are feeling depressed, remember He is there. He will lift you out of your sorrows and place you on solid ground!
God hears your cries and will rescue you from whatever pit you are in. He will steady you, and put a song in your heart, that you have never experienced before.
When others ignore your cry for help or your tears from pain, God will be there. Not only is He there, but also He is waiting to lift you up out of the pit and place you in a place where you can stand firm.
When you are facing depression it may feel like your spirit is entirely crushed, like there is no life left in you. When you are experiencing this pain remember that He is near to you.
When you are feeling sad and upset, look to the God who created you and remember that He wants you, and He is near you.
When you feel like you can’t go on, and there is nothing left of your strength, remember that He is there to give you rest and hope. When you feel like you have nothing left to give, look to Jesus. He is the light for you at the end of that dark cave.
God’s love and strength are faithful. They aren’t dependent on us. He loves us faithfully and waits for us to call on Him.
Depression can make you feel like you have nothing left. It may seem like you’ve reached the point of no return, but in reality, there is no pit too deep for God. He will renew your strength, despite how helpless you may feel.
Remember, there is nothing in this world that can separate you from the love of God. There is no sin too bad, no failure too deep, and no insecurity too large to ward off the love of God. While everything else in the world will fail you, He is the one constant that never will.
Take only one step at a time. Very carefully, just focus on that one step. Most other people won’t notice the awkwardness just take that one step. They have no concept of the heroism involved with this one step.
As you take this step, remember to use every resource you have ever learned about persevering through hardship. It will involve a lot of moment-to-moment choices. Like that one step, take one moment at a time. Read one short Bible passage. Try to care about someone else.
As you take one step at a time, don’t forget that depression doesn’t exempt you from the other problems that batter us human beings. Sometimes when we are hurting we have a hard time seeing other things that creep in – things like anger, fear, and an unforgiving spirit.
Do you have negative, critical, or complaining thoughts? These can point to anger. Are you holding onto anger against someone?
Do you want to stay in bed all day? Are there parts of your life you want to avoid?
Do you find that things you once did easily now strike terror in your heart? What is at the root of your fear?
Do you feel like you have committed a sin that is beyond the scope of God’s forgiveness? God is not like others people – He doesn’t give us the cold shoulder when we ask for forgiveness.
Do you struggle with shame? Shame is different than guilt. When you feel guilty you feel dirty because of what you did; but with shame you feel dirty because of something done to you.
Forgiveness for your sins is not the answer here because you are not the one who was wrong. But the cross of Christ is still the answer. Jesus’ blood not only washes us clean from the guilt of our own sins, but also washes away the shame we experience when others sin against us.
Do you experience low self-worth? Instead of trying to raise your view and thoughts of yourself, come at it from a completely different angle. Start with Jesus and His love for you. Let that define you, as only that defines you. Then share that love with others.
Something to remember is that no matter what is happening, God has a plan and you and your trials are a part of that plan. My life and trials are part of that plan. Trust God to use this experience to bring you closer to Him; to bring others closer to Him.
Depression is not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And most of all, it is not a choice.
Depression is not a sin. Past sins can contribute to the pain, and sufferers may cope with sinful actions, but depression is not a sin.
The Bible is certainly our guide for life, but the answer is not a verse or two taken out of context. What these Scriptures are is truth, love, hope and comfort.
Know this about depression: It doesn’t tell the whole truth. It says that you are alone, that no one loves you, that God doesn’t care, that you will never feel any different, and you cannot go on another day.
Your mind says, “Everyone would be better off without me.” This is a lie. They will not be better off without you.
Because you are not working with all the facts, keep it simple. Death is not your call to make; God is the giver and taker of life. As long as He gives you life, He has a purpose for you.
Depression says that you are alone and that you should act that way. But that is not true. God is with you.
The most important thing I have learned is that 90% of the time in the midst of depression, my feelings have zero connection to reality.
Depression feels bad, because something is seriously wrong. It is because your brain is rebelling, not because everything is really going to pieces. Reality is outside the depression.
God’s Word defines reality. It’s solid. Objective. Unchangeable.
Trying to process life or circumstances through the dark lens of depression is terrifying. It can be dangerous to evaluate anything in your life amidst depression. It is almost guaranteed reality will be misinterpreted.
God is good. He is faithful. He loves you even though you don’t (can’t) feel it right now. He can handle your life even when you can’t. Trust Him to handle it while you work to get well.
Faith isn’t a feeling. Faith simply believes that God will do what He said, even if it doesn’t feel like it. And depression will make you doubt even that.
Here is your anchor: This is what is true. I know it doesn’t feel true, but it is true. Right now, you may feel like you are doomed. But God is with you. He loves you and wont let you go.