Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Pain That God Accepts...

I had a few tough days in a row. I'm down to the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy, and the past few days were tough physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually...

This morning I read 2 Corinthians 7:6 which says:

"But God, who comforts the downcast...."

And I thought, "Hey, if God comforts the downcast, and the bible says He cannot lie... Then I can EXPECT Him to comfort me today!!!" But still, somehow I really didn't feel any better after that. In fact, I felt much worse. But as the day went by, I spent some time in prayer on my walk/jog (it was a noisy, noseblowing kind of prayer); I took my children to the park and read from a Joyce Meyer book ("Reduce Me to Love"); I listened to the book of Proverbs on cd in my car as we drove... and over the course of the day, I did feel comforted. I went from feeling hopeless, to believing that THERE REALLY IS HOPE !! Hallelujah!

I also read 2 Corinthians 7:10 which says:

"For the pain God accepts produces repentance not to be regretted, leading to salvation; but the pain of the world produces death."

And I thought about how if I lay in my bed feeling overwhelmed, or if I lock myself in the bathroom and cry, or if I give way to any number of the negative thoughts that were coming against my mind, then I am giving way to a "worldly sorrow"- a sorrow that is selfish, because it is based only on me, and what I feel. It's a sorrow based only on whether or not I have been treated justly, or whether or not others have considered me, or whether or not I feel pain or discomfort, or happiness...

But the "pain that God accepts" would be the kind of pain experienced when I choose to forgive, and I choose to love anyway, and I choose to think about how the other person feels, even when I have my own unmet needs. It is the pain of putting sin aside when its temporary benefits look like they would offer me a brief relief from this "pain that God accepts". I think this "acceptable pain" must be the pain of PUTTING SELF ASIDE rather than focusing on how "terrible it is for self".

And sometimes that isn't fun, but whenever we lay ourselves down, it is a seed! It produces that beautiful fruit of JOY! Which is unattainable by focusing on how bad things are for "ME".

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Learning How to Believe for Healing

I think some of the key issues I faced while depressed were:

what I believed,

what I thought,

what I said.

All these things were negative, and they all worked together to surround me with a prison of depression. The only answer to this was to go a different direction- to start thinking and believing and saying what was in my bible, rather than what I felt, or what my circumstances seemed to say was true. I had to say what I didn't feel, but what I chose to believe- God's Word.

This morning I was reading from Kenneth E. Hagin's book: Exceedingly Growing Faith, and I wanted to type out a short segment here. Even though he is talking about something other than depression, this principle of faith can be applied to every area of our lives. It is how we believe for a life free of depression.

"Now if I had gone by my feelings I would never have gotten out of bed! I was never so weak in my life. I felt as if I couldn't do it. But I stayed with it. I acted upon the Word because I knew what faith was. I would say to the Father, to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit, to the devil, to myself, and to the other boys if they asked me, "The Lord is my strength." But I never actually got any help until I started to work.

Many people want to get something and then believe they've got it. But you have to believe you have something and then you receive it.

When we began to work each morning I wouldn't have any strength, but when we started on the first tree (or sometimes the second) I would feel something hit me in the top of my head. It would go through my body, out the end of my fingers, and out the ends of my toes. Then I would work all day like a Trojan...

You may say that you know God's word is good, but you will never really know until you have acted upon it and have reaped the results.

And this is what I am trying to tell you that faith is. Faith is giving substance to the things hoped for. I acted on God's Word; I went to work. I hoped for the physical strength to do the work, but it was my faith that gave substance to what I had hoped for. Faith says, "God is the strength of my life." As I acted on God's Word, faith gave substance to that for which I had hoped...

Remember this: Hope says, "I will have it sometime." Faith says, "I have it now."

Since faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, then I want to focus today on building my faith for healing and every other area of life, by keeping God's word before my eyes. It is the one needful thing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Some Kenneth Hagin Quotes to Encourage You

Yesterday ended rough... I felt tired, I felt hypoclycemic, I was feeling pain, etc. So I decided to cope with this by overeating, which really didn't make me feel as good as I thought it would. : )

This morning I made a better choice of coping mechanism, which was to pray some scriptures, and to read a few chapters in Kenneth Hagin's "What to do When Faith Seems Weak and Victory Lost."

Here are some quotes that were especially meaningful for me:

1. "Of course, the devil will suggest things to your head- but you are not to walk by your head. You walk by your heart. Thoughts may come, and they may persist in staying. But thoughts that are not put into word or action die unborn. You need to know that. Because the devil, endeavoring to defeat you, will put thoughts into your mind. Then he will tell you, 'If you were saved, you would never have thought such a thing as that.' So, let me say it again: Thoughts may come. Thoughts may persist in staying. But thoughts that are not put into words or actions die unborn."

2. "Suppose, for instance, a man climbs up on the house, then falls off and breaks his leg. God put into motion the law of gravity. But the man could not say, 'God broke my leg,' or, 'God pushed me off the roof,' or even, 'God did it.' No. God put into motion the law of gravity; the man violated it, and reaped the results. It is true that God is the author of gravit. But He did not intend for the man to fall and break his leg. He did not intend for him to fall. The man fell off accidentally, or because he was careless."

These ideas led me to thinking that: God cannot be blamed for all that is going on in my life right now. Realistically, it is rediculous for me to blame Him for any of it, since God is Light- PURE light. There is not a trace of darkness in Him! So what I can see now, is that there are areas that I have missed it- I have violated His laws, either wittingly or unwittingly. Secondly, that there are places that satan's thoughts have come against me, and I didn't resist them (didn't recognize them as not my own and as being total lies against God's precious promises), and then I reaped a bad result.

So today, as I endeavor to clean up my diet, I also want to work to clean up my mind. I need to clean up my heart of sin (the ones I knew about, and the ones I pretended not to) and I need to clean up my mental diet!

Praise the Lord!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Learning to Love Your Life (a lesson from my dog.)

We ran out of "marrow bones" last week. In the life of a lab, this is serious business! How can a lab truly experience love and fulfillment if there is no tasty morsel to greet him upon each opening of the front door? Now it seems that Sam somehow knew that there were no more marrow bones to be had, but last night Jed had given him a small piece of leftover birthday cake before bed, and this morning when he opened the door, there was Sam: whole body wiggling, tail flapping wildly, and smile all adrool. He was expecting birthday cake!
This made me see that I can approach each day the same way! I may feel like life isn't throwing me any marrow bones, but I am the one who makes the choice about what to expect. I can wake up with a sense of dread and foreboding, or I can DECIDE that I am expecting birthday cake today. I can MAKE THE CHOICE to LOOK FORWARD to something good that will happen to me today! Over the course of 24 hours, a small piece of cake can seem very small in the life of a dog- but he was not discouraged that it was all he would get- if anything, Sam was MORE excited, and enjoyed it more thoroughly!!
I have the opportunity to do so too.

I got ready for my morning jog today with a usual sort of dissapointment. That may not make sense to runners, but since I've been pregnant, I was finding it harder than usual, and had gotten myself in a habit of dread.
So I learned another lesson from Sam today. My run is always the same- it doesn't change for him, and yet, Sam gets SO EXCITED about the prospect of accompanying me on the same route, every day! I think he actually enjoys the thrill of thinking about going, more than the run itself!! If he is outside the front door, waiting for me, and he even hears the rustle of my jacket, he will actually start making little crying noises because he is so excited!
When is the last time I approached Monday morning that way! When is the last time I let myself be THRILLED that I had an entire day of opportunity before me? I have the power through Jesus Christ to choose my own attitudes! Why not expect a blessing? Why not expect each ordinary day to contain some of the extraordinary? Just so, Sam had the opportunity this morning on our "ordinary" walk, to chase off a coyote for me. For him, this was a great delight! And it wouldn't have happened if he'd stayed on the front rug feeling discouraged.
Today is a new day, no matter where you are in this day. Today, no matter what is happening, you have the power to expect something NEW.
This may be look tough, if you've been in a "habit" of dread, as I mentioned before. But the scriptures (the Holy Bible) are filled with positive statements of hope! Read some scriptural promises, and pick one that you want to think about today. Even one such good message of hope can change the entire direction you are heading right now. It is a seed for a new life!
If you don't know how to find these promises, or are very new to reading your bible- you can try getting a bible with a "concordance" at the back. Like a dictionary, you can look up a word, and it will list some scriptures for you that contain this word. A great online resource for this is where you can search different topics. Very helpful.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Go just one extra mile.

I jogged three miles today, instead of two.
To many of you, that may not seem significant, or as having to do with depression, but it was significant for me.
I am four months pregnant, and I just started jogging two months before I conceived. It was winter, and there were days I cried because it was so hard, or so cold, or so windy. But I didn't quit, and I didn't give up.
But today I woke up feeling tired and depressed before I even got out of bed, and thoughts went through my head like:
I just can't do this.
I just want to give up.
Now tell me friends, where did those thoughts come from?
Yes, from satan. The enemy of our souls.
So I set out on my jog, and I cried the first half mile. I ran into Jed on his way home, and he prayed for me. After which, I decided I would go three miles instead of two. It was significant for me: it was my faith declaration: I am not depressed, and because the Lord helps me, I will not give up.
You could do the same thing today; you could say the same thing: Say- I can do this, because the Lord is with me!
Nobody said it wouldn't be hard at times, but today you could make one act of faith, like I did. Maybe that act of faith would be to smile at your children, or to make your husbands lunch, or maybe it would just be to get out of bed and shower!! But you have the power to sow that seed, and do even just one thing that would say:
I can do this. In fact, I'll go three miles today instead of two.
Let me know how it goes!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

You have a brand new mind!!

I keep thinking about the Word, and about how it is the One Needful Thing. If I fail all else, but endeavor to put His word FIRST, then haven't I succeeded at the "better part" which will not be taken away from me? And if I seek FIRST His kingdom and its righteousness, then won't all else be added unto me? Won't everything else end up in its proper place of priority? For when I place His word first, I place His grace first. His covenant. First.

But do I just put it first in hour? First thing after I leave the bed, yes, but is it FIRST outside of those first minutes that I have given it? Have given Him?

For the Word of God is the One Source of a sound mind.

From 1 Corinthians 2- the J.B. Phillips translation:

...nothing is hidden from the Spirit, not even the deep wisdom of God. For who could really understand a man's inmost thoughts except the spirit of the man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God? We have now received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God Himself, so that we can understand something of God's generosity towards us.

It is these things that we talk about, not using the expressions of the human intellect but those which the Holy Spirit teaches us, explaining spiritual things to those who are spiritual. But the unspiritual man simply cannot accept the matters which the Spirit deals with- they just don't make sense to him, for, after all, you must be spiritual to see spiritual things. The spiritual man, on the other hand, has an insight into the meaning of everything, though his insight may baffle the man of the world. This is because the former is sharing in God's wisdom, and 'Who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him?' Nevertheless, we who are spiritual have the very thoughts of Christ!

So what does all this mean? It means that if you believe in Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, and you have recieved His Holy Spirit, then... Jesus lives inside you. His Spirit is in your spirit, and because of that, His thoughts can be in your thoughts. It's saying that God's Spirit knows His mind, and that Spirit is in you for you to know His mind too. If you have been born again, then you are no longer dependant on your own natural mind. This scripture says that NOW YOU HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST! So... stay in the word of God. Those are the things He said, so that is what He thinks. Let your mind become so familiar with His mind, that it changes what goes on in yours. Let the Word of God transform your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You will be free, and you will stay free.

This blog post was sort of bouncing around in my mind this morning as I went for my daily jog. I'm just going to start typing here, and see how the Lord leads it. I'm sure He has something to say.

I received a couple of emails recently asking basically the same questions (as I understood it). First: how did I get to a place of actually receiving my healing without giving up hope. In other words, when I was severly depressed, how did I continue to believe that I would get well. And second: how did I stay well once I was healed. Now, even if I have misunderstood the questions somewhat, these two are worthy questions to consider, and questions that deserve revisiting and answering.

How did I keep believing that I would be healed, and never lose hope?
I don't know that there is an uncomplicated answer to that, but there are a couple of things in my story that I will share which may help you. But before I do- I must point out something to your own heart. You actually believe that you will get well. You may not think that you do- you may feel pretty hopeless after many years of depression, but if you really didn't believe that you would get well, you would not be reading a blog entitled HEALED of depression. The enemy of your soul may be feeding you thoughts of despair and hopelessness right and left, but the human spirit was not created to give up! There really is a part of you that knows you should not be depressed, and that there is the possibility of a future free of depression.

Now back to my story! I think one thing that helped was that even though I'd had bits of unrecognized depression throughout childhood, and teen years, was that there was a time in my life when I WASN'T depressed. So I sort of knew deep down that this was not who I was. "Depressed" was not my TRUE self. Also, I'd been taken to Sunday school when I was little, where the people were kind and really loved Jesus. This began a belief in me that God really did exist. He was a Real "Person". I may not have known Him very well, but I knew that He was real, and that He was kind. Later in my childhood I was taken to a Sunday school where I was taught to memorize scripture, and to pray. That year, I only memorized psalm 23, but I'd also been taught the Lord's prayer, so I would say these to myself when I went to bed at night. It was something that kept me believing that God was real, and He was good.

So when I became severely depressed at age 19 or 20, I still had a hope in me that no matter what I was at that point, no matter how I'd lived my life, no matter how bleak things looked... this depression wasn't helping me or my newborn son, and if I talked to God, He would take it away.

There's a scripture that says when we come to God, we must believe that He IS, and that He is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him. That is what I unwittingly did. I believed that He existed, and that I could ask Him for things.

Now my prayer was not answered immediately. Why not? Well in retrospect, I see now that I didn't know God very well then and that He may have been trying hard to answer me, but I didn't notice. I hadn't been spending time with Him- I'd been spending a lot of time in sin. I knew sin very well, but was unfamiliar with the voice of God. So if He'd told me where to go or what to do, I wouldn't have heard. That may not be the situation you are in, but at that time, it was for me. It took God two years of arranging "coincidences" to get me into a church where His Presence was known, and He could get people to pray for me. If I had heard Him, I'm sure He would have told me to go there sooner, for He surely hated to see me and my family suffer so!

But He did answer, and my life was radically transformed. I remember during my prayer counselling, I was asked: Do you believe that God can heal you? And I felt that the answer was obvious: Yes! Of course He could- He was GOD, after all! He could do anything!! So I committed my life to Jesus, making the decision to turn from my sin, and to serve Him for the rest of my life. I accepted Him into my life, and He set to work driving out the demons, habits, and thought processes that had kept me bound. Yay!!

Now that I was free, how did I stay free? Because people eyed me skeptically, and said things like "Once you've been depressed, you'll have it for the rest of your life. It will come back." But I KNEW that wasn't so! Just like if you had an upset stomach full of greasy food that was disagreeing with you strongly and you vomited it- you would know that you were empty of what had been tormenting you. If a body was battling food poisoning or a virus and vomited, that body would have a sense of relief afterward. What was troubling it was gone. It would seem rediculous to you if someone said "that salami is going to come back on you someday." You would know that it wouldn't. It wasn't in you anymore. It's not a very good analogy perhaps, but that's how it seemed to me. I KNEW that I was unchained, and that I wasn't going back. I knew it wasn't His plan for me. He had healed me after all! There is something like that in all of us, for we are created in the image of God, who NEVER gives up. There is a part of us (like Him) that knows we were created to be free- that freedom is our God given right. Jesus Christ went to the cross for that freedom. We need never be bound again.

But practically, there were definately several things I did which made the difference between giving up and moving on.

Because there were days when that "depression voice" would hang around me fishing for a bite, and saying what it had always said before: "you are too tired. you just can't take it anymore. this is too much for you. you feel sick." Etc, etc. And I didn't know much of what to do about that, except that Lydia had told me to use the name of Jesus. So I would answer those thoughts: "I reject that thought, in Jesus' name!" Sometimes I did that over and over, many times a day, but it worked. The name of Jesus was effective.

But do you notice here that I was able to recognize that those thoughts were NOT MY thoughts? This is a KEY REVELATION! NOT EVERY THOUGHT THAT COMES INTO YOUR HEAD IS YOUR OWN! It is so neccessary to recoginize this, so that when those thoughts come, you can see that you don't have to take them! It's like email spam: Not all of those emails are yours! Don't open them!! Even now, I have to be diligent about recognizing that. Just because it entered my mind does not mean it is my thought, and I don't have to embrace it; identify with it; or accept it (or believe it). My mind is His, and I can choose a different thought.

Thoughts are habits- they run on tracks like trains. It may be hard to choose a new thought because it's hard to skip tracks, but it can be done. And if you do it enough times, it will form a habit, and even a BRAND NEW TRACK!

One of the absolute most important things I did that kept me free (and has the power to MAKE a person free) is to READ MY BIBLE. I read it nearly every day. Sometime I didn't on Sunday because I was going to church, and sometimes I just gave myself a break so that it wouldn't become something I resented- but once I realized its value in my life, I wanted to read it every morning, and I didn't want to miss.

A daily bible reading might seem out of reach to you if you've been depressed for a long time. I know that my mind wasn't capable of much focus or "intelligent" activity when I was first healed (for one thing, I'd spent most of those years in a zone in front of the TV) for it seemed that the medication had affected me somewhat, and also the hormones in my brain had been unbalanced. So when I started reading my bible, I read it in a very simple translation that made sense to me. As I kept reading, I switched to the NIV bible, which most people know is not a complicated translation at all, but that's where I was at at the time- it was hard for me to understand. There were times I read it without understanding much of it at all, BUT, as I continued in it, the bible began to change my brain! What I was incapable of at the beginning, I began to find easier and easier, until several years later I found myself buying a King James version of the bible, because I enjoyed the challenge of reading something new.

Are you able to read your bible for 15 minutes a day? If you do, and you put into practice what you read there, it will change your life. God's dominion and control is like a tiny insignificant looking seed, that seems of no real power. But when you plant it, and keep on planting it, there is nothing that can overtake it or prevent it from producing for you! It is like a tiny bit of sourdough, that looks just too small, but when you stick it at the bottom of a bowl of flour and water, it will cause the whole thing to bubble up, and even bubble over! How much creed will you give it? How important will you make it? Because the more importance you give it, the more it will accomplish in your life. If you measure it big- it will measure out big for you. There is a scripture that says we have not yet resisted temptation to the shedding of our blood, and that is important to think about in regards to bible reading. Fifteen minutes a day will not kill you. Your flesh will say that it will, the devil will say that it will, and yes, it may be hard to accomplish. BUT there is NOTHING else in life you can ever do that will be more worthwhile. You have got to find a way to read your bible, even if all you do is listen to it online while you lay on the sofa. GET THE WORD INTO YOU SOMEHOW!

Boy, there are many more things I'd like to say, but I'll have to let them keep bouncing around in my mind until the next blog post.

Hope I'm back soon,