Friday, August 17, 2018

When Your World Has Been Turned Upside Down





These are the notes to the CDG Tuesday Night Bible Study on 8-14-18.  This is the second Bible Study, with a sermon sandwiched between them, that the Holy Spirit has given me for the church.  We are to face the fact that Christians can and do worry, become anxious, stressed, and depressed.  It is something that can be used by the enemy to create guilt and doubt to disrupt the relationship between God and the believer.  We should talk about it, see what the scriptures say about it and how with the help of the Holy Spirit to deal with it.  

When your world has been turned upside down by the news of a serious, maybe terminal illness for you or a loved one; the death of a parent, child or spouse, loss of employment, a serious financial crises, a divorce, the collapse of a close friendship.  When any of those things happen, and sometimes more than one of them happens at once,  it feels as if everything is closing in our you and there's no way out.

We know that because of the sin of Adam and  Eve, we live in a fallen world where bad things happen.  Jesus Himself told us that trouble would come, but He also told us that He has overcome them.

John 16:33 NIV “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.”

The scriptures also tell us that if we are in Christ we are more than conquerors.

Romans 8:37-39 NIV No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

They also tell us that no matter the situation we are never alone.

Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
We also know

Psalm 34:19 NIV The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

We know all these things and when things are going well we quote them with great enthusiasm.  We still quote them, although not as enthusiastically when trouble starts.  When the trouble lingers and even more trouble comes  we may still quote them but, we may start to wonder it anybody other than us hears or really cares.  When it get to that point we need to be reminded that God who made those promises loves us.

1 John 4:7-11 NIV Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

He’s left us reminders of that love,


 4 Reminders from God that He loves us

Reminder #1 Creation

The creation itself should remind us of how all powerful God is.  It is also evidence that He does, in fact, exist. The very fact that he created the universe and then allowed us to be masters over the earth should remind us that there is somebody out there who is bigger than we are.

Genesis 1:27-31 (NLT) So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

 When my wife and I visited Hawaii a few years ago the folk’s house where we were staying had a view out of their kitchen window from which you could see the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.  It was awe inspiring.   On another occasion I had an opportunity to drive to Las Vegas, from Payson, AZ, a little town mountains. We drove through some canyons the view of which would cause my jaw to drop.  Looking up at some cloud formations will give you that same feeling.

Psalm 19:1-6 (NLT)1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.2  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.3  They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.4  Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.5  It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.6  The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.

God has made Himself obvious through His creation.

Romans 1:20 (NLT)20  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

These things about God’s creation remind us of how big God is, His faithfulness, and proof that He loves you.
          The next time you see a sunrise, remind yourself, God is faithful.
          The next time you see snow-covered mountains with their peaks pointing toward the sky, remind yourself, God is faithful.
          The next time you see flowers that have burst into bloom because winter couldn’t stop them from developing in the hidden places, remind yourself, God is faithful.
          The next time you hold a soft-skinned baby in your arms, remind yourself, God is faithful.
And the biggest thing of all is that we are made in God’s image.
Genesis 1:26 (NLT)26  Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

Reminder #2:  The People We Meet

God uses what we may consider chance meetings or encounters to benefit us later.  God had plans for you before you were born.  Like the prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT) “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
You’ve never met anybody by accident.
Psalms 37:23 NLT The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Think about some relationships that you had when you were in school.  Not those where you stayed in close contact but people that you haven’t seen for years or have never seen ever again, maybe a teacher, a coach, or just another classmate.  Think about the impact on you and your life of something they said, an introduction to someone else, or an example you follow today.
The way I plan my workday and workweek is the result of something that a man taught me over 40 years ago when I worked for Bank of America.  My love for studying the scripture is because I met a group of guys in San Jose over 40 years ago.  I don’t even remember their names but the result of meeting and studying with them is why I am doing what I do today and using the spiritual gift of teaching that the Holy Spirit gave me.
When you doubt whether God cares about you and loves you think about the people that he has placed in your life over the years.  If I just sit and think back about some of the difficult and stressful times I’ll remember somebody doing something, or saying something or giving me something, seemingly out of the blue that helped get me through.  That wasn't just a coincidence that was a reminder that God loves me.
Reminder #3:  The Circumstances We Go Through

Our circumstances change and they change us.  For example moving from one city to another is a change in location or circumstance.  There are two possibilities.  We can be put in a situation where it is more expensive to live than where we were before and that creates stress.  That’s a change for the worse, at least for a while.  On the other hand we move from one city to another and we get a huge increase in income, that’s a change of circumstance that is for the good.  But in either case it the change in circumstance changes us.
Reminder #4:  Jesus - The Greatest Reminder
Jesus is the greatest reminder of all of God’s love.  When things seem so overwhelming we need to change our focus. When we realize that God gave His Son Jesus so that He could pay the ransom for mankind and take the punishment of sin we know that God loves us.  Jesus came and willingly laid down His life as our sacrifice He then sent the Holy Spirit by and through whom we are able to live a life that is pleasing to God.
Romans 8:31-39 NLT  What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” ) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When you wrestle with anxiety and stress especially in situations where you have no control remember all that He went through for you.  Remember the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, the humiliation at His trial, the paid of the beatings and finally His crucifixion.   It looked as if He had no control over any of this but on the third day He rose from the dead to show that God never lost control.  Jesus is the Great Reminder that God loves you.



excerpted from God’s Wisdom and Promises by Jack Countryman

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” — John 16:31-33

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. — James 1:2-5

Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. — Romans 5:1-5

We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. — Romans 12:9-12

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18-22

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:37-39

How do you react when life crashes in on you? What are your default responses, the things you run to for comfort, relief, or escape?

Trying to avoid a situation only makes matters worse. We end up even more frustrated, because nothing changes. We may even feel guilty for not being strong enough to deal with whatever thorn has gotten under our skin. Ultimately, we run even farther away from the only one who can truly help us.

Until we’re willing to have that honest conversation with God, we will never know peace. But how?

Habakkuk helps guide us through the valley with three specific actions. First, Habakkuk questioned the apparent injustice of God.

Habakkuk 1:2-4 NIV How long, Lord , must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.  Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

Habakkuk 1:12-17 NIV Lord , are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord , have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.  Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?  You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler.  The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.  Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food.  Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts;

Habakkuk 2:1 NIV  I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

Then he decided to stop and listen to God.

Habakkuk 1:5-11 NIV “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.  I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own.  They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.  Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;  they all come intent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand.  They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them.  Then they sweep past like the wind and go on— guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

Then God said take notes.

Habakkuk 2:2-4 NIV Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness —

“Write it down so that when I prove myself just and true, everyone can remember that I am a God of my word.”. This will be your testimony.

Isaiah 40:8 NIV  The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

Proverbs 3:1-3 NIV  My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,  for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.


Bible Study Audio











Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Daniel Prayer Session 6 - Pleading With Confession




The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book The Daniel Prayer:  Prayer That Moves Heaven And Changes Nations By Anne Graham-Lotz.  


James 5:16 (NLT2) 16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 

The Daniel Prayer is born deep within your soul, erupts through your heart, and pours out on your lips, words created by and infused with the Spirit of God quivering with spiritual electricity. It’s really not an everyday type of prayer. It’s a prayer birthed under pressure. Heartache. Grief. Desperation. It can be triggered by a sudden revelation of hope. An answer to prayer, a promise freshly received, a miracle that lies just over the horizon.

Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book in the study notes. 



The Daniel Prayer was a plea for God . . .
     
      To plow up the fallow ground.
     
      To forgive his people their sins.
     
      To release his people from judgment.
     
      To “heal the land” and bring life back to Jerusalem.
     
To put God back at the center of their national life by reviving authentic worship and restoring the temple.
     
Bottom line, the Daniel Prayer was a plea for God to be glorified once again through their personal and national lives. It was a prayer for national restoration and revival.

To me this is a lot like Jesus request in His model prayer when He asked God to “hallow” or make His name holy then cause His Kingdom to come on earth as in heaven. 

Matthew 6:9 (NIV) This, then, is how you should pray:  “ ‘Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be your name,

to act, but for the sake of my holy name. (Ezek. 36:22)

Jesus is asking God to somove and act in the world that people value his glory, esteem his holiness, and treasure his character above all else. Jesus’ first request is not that that God’s glory and holiness be known and loved as it deserves.

The second petition, “your kingdom come,” builds on the first by showing us how God’s name is hallowed in the world. God reveals his character and reputation as his kingdom spread to every corner of the earth and as citizens of that kingdom do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

Ann makes a good point in that with all these Christians praying  2 Chronicles 7:14 invoked on behalf of our nation: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” why do things keep getting worse and as she says it seems that our nation seem to be collapsing until we are morally and spiritually bankrupt? Why are we witnessing a hell-bent charge into the miry pits of sin and secularism? Why, instead of being healed, have we seemed to become more polarized than ever? 

Could we be missing the fact that we are contributing to the sinfulness of the nation.  Maybe we should start by asking that God start the revival with us. 

Lyrics:
Send a revival O Christ my Lord
Let it go over the land and sea
Send it according to Thy dear Word
And let it begin in me

Chorus:
Lord send a revival
Lord send a revival
Lord send a revival
And let it begin in me

Send a revival among Thine own
Help us to turn from our sins away
Let us get nearer the Father's throne
Revive us again we pray - Chorus

Send a revival to those in sin
Help them O Jesus to turn to Thee
Let them the new life in Thee begin
Oh give them the victory - Chorus

Send a revival in every heart
Draw the world nearer O Lord to Thee
Let the salvation true joy impart
And let it begin in me - chorus

CONFESSION OF PERSONAL SIN


To experience revival, we must look to our own hearts and the spiritual ground that had perhaps become hardened over time.  We may need to address our sins one by one which probably means we need to ask God to bring them to mind.

She gives us a list of sins we can start with to ask forgiveness for. Of the list which ones jump out as your sin?

Ingratitude. List all the favors God has bestowed, before and after salvation. Which ones had forgotten to thank Him for?
     
Losing Love for God. Consider how devastated I would be if my husband or children not only were lessened their love for me, but increasingly loved someone or something else more. Was  I was lessening in my love for Him?
     
Neglect of Bible Reading. Double-check to see if daily Bible reading had been pushed aside by an over-full schedule, or if, as I read my Bible, I was constantly preoccupied with other things. How long had it been since reading my Bible was a delight? Do I read it so casually that I don’t even remember what it said when I finish? (Sometimes)
     
Unbelief. Refusing to believe or to expect that He will give me what He has promised is to accuse Him of lying. What promise do I think He will not give me? What prayer do Ithink He will not answer?
     
Neglect of Prayer. I will put this one in my own words. Prayers are not spiritual chatter, offered me , focused faith. Have I substituted wishing, daydreaming, or fantasizing for real prayer?

Lack of Concern for the Souls of Others. Standing by and watching friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family members on their way to hell, yet not caring enough to warn them or pray for them or evening admit that's where they will end up if they don’t put their faith in Jesus. Have I become so politically correct that I don’t apply the Gospel to those I know and love?
     
Neglect of Family. Putting myself and my needs before them. What effort am I making, what habit have I established, for my family’s spiritual good when it requires personal sacrifice?

Love of the World and Material Things. Assess what I own. Do I think my possessions are mine? That my money is mine? ThatI can spend it or dispose of it as I choose?
     
Pride. Vanity about my appearance. More time spent in getting ready for church than preparing my heart and mind to worship when I get there. Am I offended, or even slightly irritated, if others don’t notice my appearance?
     
Envy. Jealousy of those who seem more fruitful or gifted or recognizable than I am. DoI struggle with hearing others praised?
     
 A Critical Spirit. God has given me a spirit of discernment. But do I use it to find fault with others who don’t measure up to my standards?
     
Slander. Telling the truth with the intention of causing people to think less of a person. Whose faults, real or imagined, have I discussed behind their backs? Why have I?
     
Lack of Seriousness toward God. Showing disrespect for God by the way I sleep through my prayer time or show up late for church as though He doesn’t really matter. Do I give Him the leftovers of my emotions, time, thoughts, money?
     
Lying. Designed deception. Anything that is contrary to the unvarnished truth. What have I said that was designed to impress someone, but it wasn’t the whole truth? Or was an exaggeration of the truth?
     
Cheating. Treating others in a way I wouldn’t want to be treated myself. Have I stopped short of treating others the way I would want to be treated?
     
Hypocrisy. Pretending to be something that I am not. Am I pretending to be anything I am not?
     
 Robbing God. Wasting my time on things that have no eternal value. Exercising my God-given gifts and talents for a fee. What am I not doing for God that I am willing to do for others—fora price?
     
Temper. Losing patience with a child, coworker, friend, spouse, or staff member. What crosswords have I spoken lately?
     
Bad Temper. Losing control of my emotions, thoughts, and words so that I abuse someone else verbally.  Have I lost my temper?
     
Hindering Others. Taking someone else’s time needlessly. Destroying someone’s confidence because I hold them to an unreasonably high standard.

Arrogance. Accepting God’s forgiveness while refusing to forgive myself or someone else.

It takes courage to look deep within to see what God sees. It’s painful to acknowledge that we’re not as good, righteous, pure, or holy as we thought we were.

Remember; 1 John 1:8-10 NIV  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

It’s important to remember that genuine repentance of sin that is the key to revival is a gift from God. If we ask God He or better yet the Holy Spirit will convict you and lead you e through the steps of confession and cleansing. 
Once our hearts are broken for our own sin, then we are ready to intercede with God for the sins of others.
     

 CONFESSION OF NATIONAL SIN



While Anne points to the Supreme Court decisions to ban prayer and Bible reading as pivotal points in the country’s moral decline as many people do, she also says that it may have been started long before that. She uses

 Romans 1:18-32 NIV The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.  Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

to argue her point.  Starting with denying that there was an intelligent designer of creation. In other words evolution over creation. Sayings in effect there is no God who created man for a relationship with Him.  When you deny the existence of God then everything goes downhill from there because there is really no final standard for morality.  It's whatever feels right.

Judges 21:25 NIV In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

When a nation or a person constantly denies or disobeys God like with the nation of Judah we or any nation will pay the price.  With Judah it was near annihilation and exile with us it is God’s gradual removal of His favor of  the United States.    Anne believes that the first signs of God removing His presence is an increase in immorality. 

 Romans 1:24-27 NIV Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

This includes pregnancies by unwed mother's, homosexuality, pronography,   The next sign she identifies of God removing Himself from our national life is when we disintegrate morally and spiritually. And we are. Our nation is unraveling into a tangled maze of idiocy. Craziness. Children killing their parents, husbands killing their wives, husbands beating their wives, mothers killing their children, active shooters killing anyone, terrorists killing Jews, movies portraying abuse of women's romance, parents selling their children, corporations betraying generations of trust, politicians lying for votes, preoccupation with sex, pedophiles preying on our children, men becoming women, women kept as sex slaves in a basement prison, obsession with entertainers, students bullying students who kill themselves to escape the emotional pain, social media destroying reputations, cyber thefts of identity, teachers seducing their students, babies aborted as a means of birth control . . . aborted baby parts sold to the highest bidder . . . we “have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. [We] are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. [We] are gossips, slanderers, God-haters,
 insolent, arrogant and boastful; [we] invent ways of doing evil; [we] disobey [our] parents; [we] are senseless, faithless, heartless . . .”13 All of the above are signs that our beloved nation is under the judgment of a holy, righteous
God. She says it's time to repent.

Joel 2:13-14 NIV  Which is why it’s time to pray the Daniel Prayer with sincere, heartfelt confession. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.  Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.


Repent now.  Not only for our sin, but for our shame.

CONFESSION OF NATIONAL SHAME


Anne likens the moral decay of the US to that of Israel who knew the h history of the Nations relationship to God. Beginning with the promise to Abraham, through their deliverance from Egypt, their time in the wilderness, all the years in Canaan when they were warned by prophets and they ignored them. Now they were in Babylon in exile.   Now Daniel was, on behalf of the nation confessing their national shame.

Daniel 9:6-8 NIV We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.  “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord , because we have sinned against you.

Here is how Anne describes or national moral condition.

Today in our nation, people are trying to turn off the light by removing the name of God from the Pledge of Allegiance, changing the name of Christmas to Winter Holiday, blurring the distinction of who God is by insisting we all worship the same god, refusing to allow military chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus, ridiculing anyone who takes the Bible literally . . . or believes that in the beginning God created everything . . . or says Jesus is the only way to Heaven . . . and on and on.

CONFESSION OF SHAME FOR THE CHURCH

 Even within churches, we can see a moral “twilight” and encroaching darkness. Entire denominations have turned off the light by denying that Jesus is the only way to God
 . . . that the Bible is God’s infallible, inerrant, inspired Word . . . that there's a hell and there is a Heaven . . . and the list could go on. Sin is either rationalized, denied, or covered up.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

She then lists some things.

When did pastors stop being shepherds and become CEOs? When did ministry leaders become celebrities? When did gifted ministries become big business that charge fees for their services? When did Christian speakers start manipulating the emotions of their audiences to attract people to themselves instead of pointing them to Jesus? When was the Gospel Message of sin, salvation, and the Savior replaced with a message of health, wealth, and prosperity?

If a church leader is exposed as a pedophile, the denomination quietly moves him to another location. If he is exposed as an adulterer, he may be removed, but then his behavior is excused as an addiction, and he gains acceptance with another congregation. If an individual believer is wealthy and powerful, his sin is quickly rationalized and the person is catered to because of his philanthropy. If the sin is accepted and legalized by society, then the sinner may be ordained and even given a church pulpit. Couples living in sin are given the blessing of the church.

Many in the church today are overlooking the moral failures of our government leadership.

The church in many real ways is intended to be the spiritual lighthouse of a nation,but our lights are very dim or out altogether.

Then she starts to talk about what we as individuals can do. In addition to all the resources of Bibles, commentaries, books, the Internet, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Because of the actions of well known Christian leaders and some of the rest of us the Church doesn't look any different than the world.  You remember our study Christian Atheist?  We say we believe that God exist but act as if He doesn't. That's what the world sees.
       
So Anne asks us to ask ourselves some questions:

Who has rejected God because of my behavior or conversation?
     
Am I driving people away from Him or drawing them to Him by my behavior and attitude?
        
Does the Light in my life shine so that others look at my character and my conductand give genuine praise and thanks to the One who lives within me . . Or is the Light so dim that they don’t even notice any difference between myself and them?
     
If all the churches in this nation were like me, would they be strong, vibrant Lighthouses pointing people to safety . . . Or would they be to blame for the spiritual and moral darkness that has swept across our land?

Here's how she ends this chapter.

If you and I want to ignite a raging fire of revival in our nation—if we want to unleash an outpouring of God’s Spirit in a Third Great Awakening—then the Daniel Prayer—and the example of its author—makes it clear we must begin with wet eyes, bent knees, and a broken heart . . . for our own sin.


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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

What Does The Bible Say About Depression?

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These are the notes to the CDG Tuesday Night Bible Study on 8-7-18.  It is a subject that I have wanted to talk about for some time.  Because we in the church have been reluctant to talk about depression many of our brothers and sisters have suffered, and others died by their own hands because we have equated depression with some unconfessed sin, and all we have to do is confess and ask God to forgive us and then we can claim all the promises of the Bible that tell us that we shouldn't be depressed.   While hiding sin can certainly be a reason for depression it is certainly not the only, or most prevalent reason for depression.


2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NKJV)2  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;4  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NLT2)2  Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.3  For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.4  They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

I’m going to talk about something that the church doesn’t like to talk about so we don’t talk about it enough. It is something that we do need to talk about because it affects Christians and if it affects us then it is addressed in the Bible somewhere. 

It is something that I know a lot about because I lived with someone who had a problem with this and I’ve seen so many of my brothers and sisters who suffer with the same thing.  If we talk about it then with the help of the Holy Spirit we can maybe do something about it.  So tonight I’m going to talk about depression and what the Bible says about it.  Metal health professionals will tell you that a very large of number of people who take their own lives do it because they are depressed. 

The church tends to have trouble talking about depression because it’s messy and uncomfortable. But this is something that’s not going away. More and more people who show up on Sunday Mornings are struggling with this very real issue. There is data that confirms that in the past several decades the use of antidepressants has increased 400 percent. We are one of the richest and most depressed countries in the world.

However, when people sit in church pews, the atmosphere isn't usually conducive to people admitting they have a problem and asking for help. Instead, everyone tries to appear as perfect as possible. Coming to church has nothing to do with who you actually are but rather with how you appear.

Believe it or not, Christians struggle with depression.
        
The sad thing is that depression is almost never the major theme  of a sermon.   What we often here is that if a person is dealing with depression, it's because of some unconfessed sin that needs to be dealt with.
        

Most of us will agree that Christians can and do become depressed.  However many Christians believe, some unconsciously perhaps, that Christians do not and should not become depressed. After all depression only happens when you lose all hope, and don’t Christians have the best Hope there is?  After all doesn’t God absolutely, 100% have the power to heal depression?

Most Christians will tell you that you have two options, to give in to depression or believe God’s promise:

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT2)12  If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.13  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

We Christians often over-spiritualize depression and neglect the very real physical needs of a person caught in depression’s grip.  On the other hand, non-Christians tend to focus too much on the physical aspects of depression and neglect spiritual health.

Depression can be caused by guilt. Sometimes the weight of our downfalls and sins can cause us to grieve and mourn to the point of depression.                       
Depression can also be caused by the difficult circumstances of our lives. Life can get so hard that it makes us depressed.  
                    
Depression can also be the result of a physical illness. Sometimes the circumstances of our bodies can cause us to become depressed. I’m talking about synapses misfiring and chemicals becoming imbalanced. I’m talking about diseases within our bodies. This can be the most difficult cause of depression to wrestle with because you can’t quite put your finger on the reason you are suffering. You’re simply suffering.


  
No matter what depression may look like, the attributes of God are almost always under attack. Doubt always follows closely on the heels of depression. If you’re a Christian and you’re depressed you’re in good company.

Moses

Numbers 11:14-15 (NLT2)14  I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!15  If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

Elijah

1 Kings 19:3-4 (NLT2)3  Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.4  Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

Jonah 
He asked to be thrown out of the boat, knowing that he wouldn’t survive;

Jonah 1:12 (NLT2)  “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”

Paul

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT2)8  We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.9  In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.​
What Does The Bible Say?
In biblical times, life was full of tribulations and unexpected catastrophe giving a good reason for people to experience depression and sadness. The Bible frequently discusses methods to deal with and overcome feeling depressed in the face of hardship and suffering.
Bible Verses about Depression
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Psalm 30:11 ESV You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Psalm 3:3 ESV But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Isaiah 40:31 ESV But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Philippians 4:13 ESV I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
John 16:33 ESV I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Scripture Quotes on Depression
Isaiah 41:10 ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Matthew 11:28 ESV Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Psalm 143:7-8 ESV Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 30:5 ESV For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Depression Bible Verses
1 Peter 5:7 ESV Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Psalm 143:7-8 ESV Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 23:4 ESV Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Depression in the Bible
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Proverbs 12:25 ESV Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Romans 12:2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Psalm 9:9 ESV The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Revelation 21:4 ESV He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Proverbs 12:25 ESV Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Romans 12:2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Psalm 9:9 ESV The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Revelation 21:4 ESV He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Bible Verses For When You're Depressed
Psalm 34:17-18 ESV When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Matthew 6:33 ESV But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Romans 15:13 ESV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
John 16:33 ESV I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Joshua 1:9 ESV Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

I know there are some people who have trouble with the idea that someone who is truly a follower of Jesus could struggle with depression. If that’s the case for you, I would simply encourage you to read your Bible—and not just the uplifting stories but also the parts where it gets so real and raw that we squirm a bit.

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