Thursday, March 13, 2008

Protected from Depression- Part 2

Yesterday we talked about Psalm 5, and how David cried out to God in desperation, and he expected God to answer him. He believed that God would rescue and protect him.
Today, look at Psalm 17. In verse 6 David states: "I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray." Here we see again that no matter how terrible the circumstances we find ourselves in, we are to come to God in FAITH. Not in complaint, not in anger, not in despair, but knowing that He is, He is good, and that when we come to Him, we can expect Him to answer, we can expect Him to save us.
Verse 7-8 says: "Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings." This is confirming what we spoke about yesterday, that God is our refuge, and strength, a very present help in time of need.
When a person battles depression, they need protection from assailing thoughts, from attacks against their body, enemy attacks on their family. And here God is telling us that He rescues those who seek refuge. We must make the Lord our hiding place.
On a practical level, how do we do that?
I would start by playing Christian music in the home. You can play it softly in the background if need be, so that it can touch your heart and your spirit, but it doesn't interfere with normal activities. Think of it this way: if you went to the grocery store today, they would have been playing carefully chosen music designed to make you feel comfortable, and inclined to buy. Why shouldn't you have music playing in your home that inclines your heart to peace, to worship. Maybe you don't have any Christian /worship music right now, but you can always use a Christian internet station like K-Love.
Secondly, read the bible aloud in your home. Your faith has to come out of your mouth. This is how God created the world- He said something. Now, don't worry about exactly what you will read, or how much, but read the Word, and do it daily. Five minutes of releasing the Word of God into your life is better than zero minutes!
Thirdly, dedicate your home to the Lord. Make your home to be a place of His presence. Yes, He is present with us always: He lives in us! But just like the local grocery store tries to find ways to make their store more attractive to you- a place where you feel comfortable being- we can make our homes a place that we and our families feel comfortable meeting with God. We are His temple, yes, but we can do so much to make our homes a "meeting place" for the Lord. The Israelites used the blood of a lamb, spread over the doorposts of their homes to signify that they were in covenant with God- the death angel could not touch them. In a similar way, we are in covenant with God through the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ. We have His Spirit, sent forth into our hearts! To cement this into our hearts, we can take a little bottle of olive oil, and dab some on the top and sides of our doors, signifying that we belong to the Lord: we are under the blood of the Lamb. We belong to Jesus now, not to depression.
Fourth, allow God to show you things in your life that are stealing your peace, or keeping you outside of the refuge of God's protection. Maybe there will be books that you will need to throw out, or TV programs that you will have to stop watching. When I was healed of my depression, I stopped listening to all of my old music. No more radio, no more tapes or cd's. I threw it all away. We've been taught that "you are what you eat", and to some extent we know that's true! Anyone who has seen "Supersize Me" can agree that we are affected by what we eat. But even more so, you are what you eat spiritually. If the Lord is your Refuge, your Hiding Place, then there will be things that you have to stop feeding on. Over time, you will replace these things with what is far better for your spiritual health.
Can I give you a humorous example here? Well when my oldest son was only 2 or so, I had gone through my home, dedicating it to the Lord, declaring His peace, and His presence. I asked Him to show me anything in our home that was displeasing to Him, so that I could get rid of it. As I prayed in my son's bedroom, I came across a little purple teletubby. Something about it stood out to me, and I knew that this was the item I was to get rid of. I guess that's the funny part, because a little purple teletubby doesn't seem like a big deal! But I was doing my best to hear God and obey, so I threw the toy away. It was only a couple of days later that I heard about some controversy over the purple teletubby- I guess parents were concerned that the purple teletubby, who seemed to be male, was carrying a purse. No matter where you stand on the homosexual issue right now, I knew that it was something that wasn't right for my family. My inclination to throw out the purple teletubby was right. It was an occasion for me to practice hearing God's voice. God wanted me to recognize Him, and yield to Him.

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