Sunday, August 31, 2008

*Throw Away Your Catcher's Mitt

“Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And [Jesus] said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you” They could not get Jesus entangled in the affairs of others. He could have given the right answer, but He would have been meddling in business that was not His own. To have gone out on the limb, so to speak, would have had one of the two parties cut it off. When we invade areas that are none of our business, we do it to our own hurt.

In Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff, he has a chapter on this very subject. Though his book is not Christian, it has many Christian principles. One of his philosophical quips is “If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it.” He mentions our tendency to jump on board someone else’s problem and how we assume, because they throw us a concern, we must catch it and respond. He goes on to say, you have a choice; you don’t have to catch the ball. I’ve made up my mind, and I hope you will, too, that I’m not going to play in that game.

There are bodies who are busy; then there are busy-bodies.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dreading Delight

"And Esau ran to meet him, and he embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept." What a sight this must have been, especially when you consider the great gulf that existed between these two. For years, the one had carried a grudge, while the other was loaded down with guilt.

But the God who makes both ends to meet in the middle can also make the two extremes compatible and compassionate when they meet face to face. Time is a great healer. The wise man tells us there's "…a time to embrace."

Let's allow in others what we desire for ourselves—time to grow and mature. It's amazing the change a few years can bring. God turned Jacob's long dreading into delight, and so can he do with us.

Compatibility is always a possibility with God.

Friday, August 29, 2008

*Free Will

The sovereignty of God and the free will of man have been argued and debated from early Church history. Good and godly men have held opposing views—John Calvin and John Wesley, to name two. In spite of all the endless debates by some of the greatest minds, it is still unsettled. And I believe it will remain so until we get to Heaven and see them as two separate train tracks coming together in an arch.

Admittedly, I do not understand these two seemingly opposite doctrines, but, at the same time, I believe them to be equally true. Having said this let me give you my personal convictions about these twins, and how they relate to my own life.

Five times it is said of Lucifer (Satan) before his fall, “I will...” Of our first parents we are told, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.” It seems from the first, that each time someone could exercise their free will, they chose wrongly. Therefore, I am fearful of my free will. I find it best to say, “Not my will, but thy will.”
God works in me both to will and do His will. I’m so thankful He didn’t leave me to work out my own.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

*A Divine Peek Behind Closed Doors

“…and thy Father, which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” This phrase, I believe, is found three times in Matthew chapter six. And, if it teaches anything, it certainly tells us that what we do behind closed doors, where only God can see us, is of vital importance to our public lives. For it is in the secret place that we determine what the reward will be in public. It seems today there is a great desire to put oneself on public display. And the result is a tragic amount of casualties.

I am sure most of us are familiar with the story when young David was brought before Saul, who questioned whether such a youth was qualified to face the giant, Goliath. When being challenged by Saul for his lack of military experience, as well as his youth, out of necessity, David told of an experience he had had in secret. This young man had fearlessly killed a lion and a bear, single-handedly, while shepherding his flock. We can now understand God rewarding him openly by helping him slay his giant.

Each of us, no matter what our age or maturity as Christians, will have “giants” that we will be confronted with in the public arena of life. Our victories over these will be determined by our personal victories in secret, behind closed doors. Never underestimate the importance of that part of your life that is secret.

Remember, the most important part of your life is the part that only God sees.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

*Those Contemptible Contemporaries

“Say not thou...that the former days were better than these.” To some, the past was better than the present, and they believe the future will even surpass that. But to such sad souls the present is the worse time in which anyone could live. I find that people who believe and say this are unwilling to put forth any effort in making the present excel the past. We know this can be accomplished, for we have the past to go on.

To the many who despise and detest anything that smacks of the new or modern I would remind that everything was so at one time. The advantage of the old is that it has had time to be tried and proven. Thus, with age, it has become vintage. Many things that are contemporary and thus viewed as being contemptible now, will someday be cherished by others. Remember, Jesus said, “...the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that...bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” And don’t forget, Jesus is going to “make all things new.” You can sit and reminisce about the past; just make sure you live in the reality of the present, and work to make it better.

The old paths we are to ask for were paved by the contemptible contemporaries of that day.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

*Contented Admiration

Those characteristics we admire in others and lack in our own lives, undoubtedly, are the cause of so much emulation among us. We are not content to admire another’s attributes and gift’s; we must have them. Or at least act as though we do. There are things that are unique about each of us that others do not, and will not, ever possess. It’s called individuality. And what a boring, bland world it would be without it.

Each of us has his or her strengths and shortcomings. We all desire to be in possession of the first, but want nothing to do with the latter. But that is not how it works. God ordained that we should complement each other. Another’s strength, undergirds my weakness, and visa versa. In other words, God fixed it so that we should need each other. No man is an island. We all need someone to help us on to God.

Individuality does not mean independence.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Last Things

“Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” This quote is from the last book, the last chapter, next to the last verse, the last promise, and the last prayer of the Bible. It is also the last words recorded of Jesus and John. Our lovely Savior is speaking here to His lonely saint.

There has been much unkind insinuation toward those who differ in their views of this end-time book. All the bitter dispute and controversy about how He is coming should be laid aside for the fact of His coming. Those who have formed unbridled fancies about His return, assuming their self-confidence makes them infallible and omniscient, may be in for a rude awakening. I think, at His coming, many dogmatists will end up in the doghouse!

Much of this book of prophecy will probably never be understood fully until reviewed in Glory “For [now] we know in part, and we prophecy in part…but [then] shall I know…”

“Come, Lord Jesus,”
should be pre-eminent in all our prayers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

*He'll Get Around to You

After Jesus called His disciples, He began to teach and preach in various towns. The men who followed Him had left loved ones, livelihoods, homes, and their childhood communities. It would be only human for them to want their friends and families to meet their Master and miracle- worker. Who would not long for Him to do, among their own, what they observed Him doing with others?

God is not forgetful of our devotion and obedience to Him. In Luke’s Gospel, chapter eleven, we are told, “...he [Christ] departed thence to teach and to preach in their [disciples’] cities.” If we are patient, Jesus will always get around to us. We may be sure that what He has been, and is doing in other homes, lives, churches, and cities, we will experience also, if we but follow and obey Him as He ministers to others.

God may start with the first house on the block, but be sure He’ll visit you, in time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bursting Bubbles

“…every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” Old or young, prince or pauper, wise or a fool—when they have reached the top will find themselves at the bottom. This truth is for all men; none is excluded. Flesh is flesh; therefore, the carnal Christian is included in this cauldron with its sickening stench.

I’m fearful for these carnivorous Christian achievers who mingle among us today. What a surprise it will be when they arrive at their zenith and hear, not “Well done,” but, rather, “Vanity of vanities.” And, if you would like to know what vanity is, it’s what’s left after you break a soap bubble. And, believe me; God knows how to burst our bubbles.

For any Christian “professional,” who may be reading this, allow me to give you my homespun definition of the word: “Professionalism is man at his best without God.”

Achievers never achieve without God.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

God is Behind the Scene

I do not understand the intricate movements of my watch. Everything seems to move contrary to the other. So it is with God’s dealings in my life, yet I know they all work for my good. When time is no more, I’ll be able to look back and see every movement of my life was for my benefit regardless of how trying the circumstances.

The axe cannot cut without a hand first picking it up, and no instrument can be used against me unless the Lord first gives His approval. In spite of who brings the affliction to us, it is God that sends it. Augustine observes that the Bible did not say, “The Lord gave and the devil took away: but, the Lord hath taken away.”

The hand that slaps me across the face could have been torn from its socket by Almighty God when it was first lifted up against me, had He chosen to do so.

May God help us today to see Him behind every affliction in our lives. May we learn to look past the instrument that brings the pain, to Him who works it for our good. In every unpleasant situation, bringing to mind Joseph’s words, “Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Amen.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Geography or Jesus

Down through history, both in sermon and song, Heaven seems to have been made the goal for the Christian. It has been placed first on his list of desires, even above Jesus. We are told that we should long for Heaven. But what if it were (and it shall be) reversed, and Jesus were reigning on earth? Would we feel the same? The truth is, it’s not geography, it’s Jesus.

When Christ returns to this earth again, we are told that He empties out Heaven of all the redeemed. Paul didn’t long for Heaven; he longed for Him. Listen to his testimony, “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ.” Again: “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” His emphasis is not on a place, but a Person.

Even our Lord directs our attention to Himself, not on Heaven: “I go to prepare a place for you...that where I am, there ye may be also.” His Priestly prayer was, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am...” Wherever Jesus is, is Heaven.

Without the Lord Jesus, the Heavenly City, with its mansions, streets of gold, and fine linen clothing, would be like the earth is now....simply a materialistic place.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Series "Letter to a Friend"

Please scroll down to the first letter, then work backward.

Letter to a Friend (5 of 5)

To My Four Unique Christian Friends,

I have written to each of you, personally and briefly. Please allow me now, in this last letter, to humbly address all four of you. There are some things I’ve observed in my ministry of over fifty years that I’d like to pass along to you.

Our greatest error and danger today is in seeking to develop the characteristics of the other. The real challenge is to accept one’s own temperament and rely upon the Holy Spirit within to emphasize the unique virtues we possess, while subduing our weaknesses that are inclined to surface from time to time.

Let us always keep before us David’s words in Psalms: “It is he [God] that made us, and not we ourselves.” It was David who refused to go in someone else’s armor. We’d be wise to follow his example.

Marred, yes; discarded, never! (Jer.18:1-6)

Letter to a Friend (4 of 5)

To My Faithful Friend: Melancholic,

It must be very difficult for one with your perfectionist spirit to take constructive criticism from your other “siblings.” Some of the things I’ve heard said about you are: “He is slow to embrace new concepts”; “When he meets resistance, he lacks resilience to come back”; “It never occurs to him that others do not share his ideas”; “He has real difficulty accepting human failure”; “He is so easily hurt, especially by those close to him”; “He has trouble interacting with others when it’s not on the level of his choice”; “And his frequent bouts with depression are difficult to be around.”

You are such a loyal and devoted friend that these things, for the most part, fade into obscurity. The thing that dwarfs all your faults and shortcomings is your intimate relationship with God. The intimacy and devotion are like a love affair. Your depth and dedication to our Lord is exceeded by none. Your lofty conception of God is many times misunderstood by those around you.

When one loves God with all his being, as you do, I find it hard to major on your minor faults. You are in the category with Elijah, Moses, David, and John the Beloved. I don’t think you, or others, should feel too badly about yourself. “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.”

Letter to a Friend (3 of 5)

To My Christian Friend: Choleric,

It seems to me that those whom the Lord has gifted most (as the great Apostle) must all their lives bear a thorn in their flesh. This certainly seems to be true in your case. I understand that an angry spirit has plagued you all your life, along with other gouging unpleasantries. Your ability to inspire is sometimes overshadowed by intimidation. Your lack of patience and disgust with those who show little depth is well known, and those who maneuver and manipulate can provoke you to bitterness. Unlike some of your “siblings,” when you fall, it’s not a short one, but all the way down. All this can make for one lonely person.

Though few, if any, would be willing to carry your negative characteristics throughout life, they covet the attributes you possess. No one can question you genuineness. Personal acclaim and recognition have never been your sole concern. Your militant spirit has given courage to many to fight the good fight of faith. From your kind come heroes, founders, zealots, and achievers. Your principles are unshakable. The total dedication to Christ, with no half-measures, is inspiring to all. And your awareness of God is matched by few.

Your Christian family understands how difficult it must be to carry around all your excess baggage. I know it’s a tremendous burden to you, but, thank you for not allowing your chipped pitcher to keep you from giving us fresh water. We respect you for this.

Your Friend

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Letter to a Friend (2 of 5)

To Phlegmatic, Christian and Friend:

Let me begin by saying how terribly sorry I am for not understanding you better, as well as for having misrepresented you over the years of our friendship. Because it’s your nature to be unemotional and detached, it appeared to me that you were indifferent and passionless in your friendships.

Like most people who judge others, I never looked for your good qualities, only those I ignorantly thought to be inferior. How blind I’ve been to those areas where you excel: your adaptability; your direct approach to solving problems; your sense of duty and responsibility; your obedience; the stabilizing effect you have on people, especially groups; how you never intentionally rock the boat. And I covet the spirit you display in having no need for the attention of others.

In closing, on behalf of our entire Christian family, let me say that we appreciate you more than you can know. We realize now you have a deep love and loyalty to our Lord, and your spirit of “keeping on” when others have thrown in the towel has been an inspiration to the whole household of God.

Your Friend

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Letter to a Friend (1 of 5)

My Dear Christian Sanguine,

I was going to write you and your three “siblings” together, but I felt that each of you deserves a personal letter. Though I am not into psychology, I know a little of what it has to say about each of you. The interesting thing is that all four of you were found in the Bible before you were ever named. It’s amazing how modern the Old Book is!

Sanguine, I realize at times you are misunderstood by us who are your brethren because of some of your characteristics. Your talkativenesss, impulsiveness, restlessness, etc, can often get on people’s nerves. Some say you’re not a great thinker, and, as a result, are shallow. Say what they will, but I, for one, thank God each time I meet you. You always brighten up my life. Your cheerful spirit, winning smile, and refusal to take offense, bless my soul.

Whatever your shortcomings, they are overshadowed by your childlike faith, your undying gratitude to God for the smallest of blessings, along with your delight in the simple things of life. I honestly do not know what this dull, drab world would do without your smiling face. Stick in there; we all need you.

Your Friend

Commentaries and Dictionaries

“The holy scriptures...are able to make thee...perfect, throughly furnished…” After all is said and done, it must be admitted the Bible is all we need for doctrine and rule of life. I am not against helps that benefit us as long as we realize the Word of God needs no crutches. Since most of us, at best, are innately lazy, we grow weary seeking and searching for the hidden treasures of the Word. So we spend a lot of time and money on modern machinery, believing we can mine-out its riches the easy way.

I am not contentious over the various translations used by men, but this old man is content that the 1611 KJV he has used for over half a century is God’s Word to the English-speaking world. I go so far as to say it is perfect, without error, preserved by God. It is its own best dictionary and commentary. It interprets itself; it proves itself. Other translations contain the Word, but the old 1611 Is the Word.

I am told the word “inspiration” (2 Tim.3:16), in the Greek, means “God-breathed,” but my A.V. English translation explains the Greek. Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord...by the breath of his mouth.” As to archaic words, the old book is accurate again. The word “spew,” found in Revelation 3:16, is interpreted as “vomit” in Leviticus 18:28,25. The meaning of Christ (“the anointed”) can be found by comparing Psalm 2:2 and Acts 4:26. There be many other things of which I cannot write at this time, such as this Bible being self-correcting concerning publishers’ typographical errors. Our computer does; why not God?

Addendum: Just recently in devotions I got this. I’ve been searching for it for fifty years. The meaning of Holy (Lk.2:23). It means Sanctify (Ex.13:2). And those two words mean Set Apart (Ex.13:12). Got that without the Hebrew or Greek!)

All this is crazy, you say? Maybe so; but if so, don’t forget you are told to comfort this feeble old man!

God has only one Living Word and He has only one Written Word.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

*Dangerous Inventions

The word “invent,” in one form or another, is found eight times in the Bible. It means to create by the exercise of the imagination; to think; to weave; to fabricate; to contrive. Most of the time, it’s used in a bad setting.

As Christians, we need to be conscious that we are not guilty of concocting some new invention in our “laboratories.” Jacob and his mother schemed together, using their own ingenuity, to invent a plan to bring to pass the will of God. Be careful, lest God leave us to our own “witty inventions.”
Amos tells us that when God’s people were not in a right relationship with Him, they “invent[ed] to themselves instruments of music like David.” When we are carnal, we are prone to invent something that mimics the spiritual. We need something to substitute for our lack of spirituality.

Beware that we do not invent something to our own destruction; remember Dr. Frankenstein.

On Being a Good Listner

A preacher acquaintance of mine was holding a revival. He told the people that if they would bring a friend who had not yet heard him, they would receive a nice gift. The next night, a little boy marched up to him with his friend to receive his much awaited prize. Upon seeing the little guest, the minister commented that he had noticed him there the previous night, therefore disqualifying him, since he had already heard him. The little boy would not be outdone, and said, “Oh, that’s OK preacher; he heard you, but he wasn’t listening to a thing you said!”

How true this is of us, not only with our Lord, but with one another. We hear, but few of us listen. To me, hearing is the information side, but listening is the assimilation part. Listening takes effort, concentration, along with concern. If what we hear is not absorbed, becoming a part of us, then, as Jesus said, it will be “cast out into the draught.” Like young Joshua of old, we hear the sound, but we can’t discern.

We are so interested in what we have to say, it’s hard for us to listen to others attentively. This is derived from a superior attitude. Talkers are not learners; listeners are. I guess this accounts for all the ignorance in the world today. There are a lot of lonely, hurting people who long for someone to listen to them. God help us to not just hear them, but to listen.

“Swift to hear, slow to speak.”
So says the Scriptures.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

*It Doesn't Fit There

One of a child’s first learning skills is fitting different shapes of wooden pieces (squares, ovals, pegs, etc.) into a board with corresponding empty spaces. It seems the most frustrating time is when they realize a square peg doesn’t fit in a round hole, no matter how many times it is tried.

Nothing is more pointless or fruitless than repeatedly attempting the same thing, in the same way, and expecting different results. When will we “grown-ups” learn to cease trying continually to make things fit into our lives that were never meant to be placed there?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

*God's Highway to Happiness

“And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people...like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” So says Isaiah concerning God’s elect who had gotten themselves into a real mess. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that He could and would do it, for He had done it before. Therefore, they could sing to one another, “It is no secret what God can do/ What He’s done for others He’ll do for you.”
There is always a way out of any and all situations, if we will but look for it and then courageously take it by faith. Most certainly there will be mountains of difficulties on this road as on that of the world’s. The difference is that God removes the mountains for those on His road. Zerubbabel found this to be true. God speaking to this man’s difficulty says, “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.”
God can turn gloomy days into glorious ones; it all depends on which road we chose to travel. At the end of God’s highway is happiness!

How Shall We Then Live?

How Shall We Then Live? This is one of the titles in Francis A. Schaeffer’s five volume set on a Christian worldview. He masterly approaches the subject, for the most part, in a scholarly and intellectual way. But, since I am well aware of my own limitations in these areas, I will come at it from the practical side. I am sure each person has his or her own philosophical answer to this question; so, if you will please allow me, I’ll add mine to yours.

Here then is how I would like to consistently live my life in this present world, though, at this time, I must confess, it is done only in a spasmodic way. If I could have my desire, it would be to live each day as if it were the first day of my Christian life, with the addition of maturity, while at the same time, like it was the last day of my life on this earth, with the absence of morbidity.

How exciting it would be to start each day with the joy we had in our new-found faith—no past, no guilt. Our future as bright as the promises of God. Everything fresh and new, with an awareness of a celestial scent, the aroma of which captivates our very being. And, in addition to this, to realize within twenty-four hours, we will be going to our permanent and eternal home, where we will see and be with our beloved Elder Brother through the endless ages. What a day that would be!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Difference is Divine.

“[He] made the stars also...one star differeth from another star...” We sometimes hear the worn out cliché, when referring to a person who is a strong individualist, “God threw away the mold when he made him.” The inference is that those who are left are all alike. The truth of the matter is, when God made each of us, He threw away the mold. No two people are exactly alike—not even, so-called identical twins. God is a God of variety. Both now on earth and in our resurrection bodies, each will differ from the other.

Only on the human assembly line of life are replicas made. Mankind has an affinity for look-alikes, act-alikes, and think-alikes. As my younger daughter used to say of such people, when she was a little tyke, “They’re “same-alikes.” Paul recognized this truth when he wrote to the Christians at Corinth saying, “For who maketh thee to differ from another?” The simple answer, of course, is: God did.

Let us not allow anyone, especially the religious world, to put us in a man made mold. Be yourself, and don’t be ashamed of it. Put off Saul’s armor, and be the person you are. Something supernatural happens when a person is willing to be their natural self. Read the story of David and Goliath.

Don’t be a carbon copy; be an original.

*Identical Cloth

“I thank thee, that I am not as other men are...” Be careful; words such as these are always associated with a pharisaical spirit, whether they be spoken audibly or a hidden attitude of the heart. The truth is, we are all cut from the same cloth. There is nothing in life that touches another that we are not susceptible to. The Scriptures tell us it is common to all men.

The people of James’ day, like many of us, believed the Patriarchs of old to be in a separate category from them. Thus, James speaks of one such saint as being “a man of like passions as we are.” Peter made the grave mistake that so many of us are making: “Although all shall...yet will not I.” The most dangerous words that can come from our lips are, “How could they do such a thing? I would never do that.” Whenever we see or hear of such things, we need to remind ourselves, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” Paul admonishes believers to consider their own selves, lest they end up in similar circumstances.

We become vulnerable when we vaunt ourselves against another.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Place to Transact Business

"They were pricked to their heart and said…Men and brethren, what shall we do?” I’ve had scores of Christians through the years tell me they liked preaching that stepped on their toes. I, personally, would rather hear the type that treads on my heart. For men, like Daniel’s image, have feet of clay and are prone to break in pieces when stepped on.

An old preacher advised me years ago to preach to the heart. He said, “When you get a man’s heart, you’ve got the whole man.” Every mother with wayward children knows this, even if we Christians do not. This is what Jesus did; He knew all of life’s issues proceed from the heart.

If you’re going to hit the bulls-eye, you must shoot straight for the heart.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cannot or Wil lNot

"I cannot dig.” There are many things in life we cannot do, but any can dig. It does not take a PhD. The most ignorant can do it. Unless one is lame or too feeble, there is no excuse for not picking up a shovel when necessary. It’s not that we are unable, but, rather, unwilling, to involve ourselves in such lowly employment.

“I cannot,”
in many cases, is “I will not.” It is not a natural disability, but a moral one that keeps us from the grimiest jobs. Jesus, though a King, washed His disciples’ feet. He was more than willing to do the dirtiest and filthiest of jobs. In fact, he didn’t even have to be told to do it; He volunteered. While the disciples were concerned with who among them was the greatest, He took the place of the lowliest.

When you’re too high for a lowly task, you’re too low for a high one.

Monday, August 4, 2008

*The Besetting Sin

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Brethren, not only in the flesh, but in the Lord. An unbelieving heart was the cause of their departing from God, and it will produce the same ruin in us. “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” says Shakespeare, but there is no “sweet” to it, if it is departing from God—it’s just sorrow.

Departure from God exists first in the heart then manifests itself in the life. Indulging in unbelief in any form or subject is the one great source of all alienation from God. To distrust God is to depart from Him.

We feel it is of little consequence whether we have faith or not, provided our conduct is right. But you can have a clean life and behind it hide an evil heart of unbelief. Only the man who lives a life of faith in God is safe, and none else are safe but him.

Till men have faith in Christ, their best services are but glorious sins. (Thomas Brooks, Puritan)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Count to One-Hundred First

There’s a little home-spun, philosophical proverb that has been around since I was a boy. It goes something like this: Before you say or do anything you might be sorry for later on, first count to one-hundred. That is a wise thing to do, and I’m sure it has helped untold numbers of people.

But something that would have saved me a lot of heartache and grief, had someone thought of it, would have been this: Before you give in to depression, first count one-hundred blessings God has given you. I’m not a psychologist, but it seems to me that depression is basically derived from using a microscope instead of a telescope. It’s zooming in on one particular, minute thing, rather than looking at the big picture.

My darkest days used to be those when I had forgotten all God’s blessings upon my life. During those melancholy times, I’d centered my attention on, and magnify one thing. I could only see the little cancerous cell by itself, and not all the good tissue around it. It is the healthy cells that will help you overcome that individual bad one.

The song writer wrote “Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one; and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

Maybe some of us should take a piece of blank paper and write down one-hundred blessings God has given us. It is one cure for spiritual depression that will work every time.

“If I should count them, they are more than the sand.” (Psalm 139:18)

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

"...love life, and see good days..." Here Peter is quoting David from the Old Testament. A spiritually healthy Christian loves life, no matter how difficult it may be at times. Certainly, there are brief intervals when the circumstances are such that some would wish to die. Of such were Job, Moses, Elijah, and Jonah. But they soon snapped out of it and changed their minds.

It is the man who sees the world through the natural eye who says, "So I hated life." To such a person, life seems irrational and futile. But the spiritual eye sees that God had a purpose and plan for our inhabiting this planet.

To the child of God who lives by promises rather than explanations, this can be a wonderful life. To be sure, we may not enjoy the prick of the thorns along the way, but the scent of the Rose of Sharon more than makes up for the few hurts we may incur. Just as the woman who travails in birth "remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man child is born," so we forget our sufferings in the presence of the Man, Christ Jesus.

To enjoy life you must first enjoy the Lord.