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Last week we talked about how in the past in church it was hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. There were just some things we didn’t talk about in church. We didn’t talk about sex and money for sure, and we don’t talk about our hurts, issues and depression, because the church culture says that now that we are in Christ everything should be perfect in our lives. If it’s not, then there is something wrong with us and our faith. Because of that people with real issues never talk about them and never deal with them. We have Christian people who are depressed and who have other issues who never talk about them. The church should be a place of healing but it is often a place of cover up. When people don’t address their issues two things happen 1) somebody eventually finds out and it becomes rumor and gossip, the leadership finds out about it and they ask them to step down from leadership or leave until the problem is solved, or 2) which is the worst thing that can happen, they just leave because they can no longer keep up the charade.
We said that biblical giants had problems and bad days just as we do. The three that we talked about were Moses, Elijah, and Paul.
Today we are going to talk more about depression using chapters 7-9 of our book, Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry.
In chapter Pastor Noble talks about his background from the time that he was two or three until the time that he admitted that he was depressed, and then got help and dug his way out with God’s help. It started with a dysfunctional family, continued with the death of his mother while he was still a young boy, and what he thinks was his father being bipolar or at the very least very depressed. The principal point was that a number of things can cause depression it’s not usually just one thing and that until we realize that we are depressed and accept it we can’t beat it. When we finally stop trying to do it ourselves and rely on God then and only then can God take us through it. At one point he was even very bitter at and angry with God.
1. Have you ever been angry with God about something? If so how did you deal with it and how was it resolved?
2. What can cause that bitterness?
Misconceptions about God...the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away - Job 1:21 (HCSB) 21 saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.
The Lord took my …. (you fill in the blank)
Let me read a portion of something written by a guy named Steve Rudd which is a pretty good response to this question.
Someone gets sick and dies, and the surviving loved one goes on a "Hate God" rampage! First, let’s clear a few things up. Life on earth is not predestined where God chose before the earth was created who would live, and when and how they would die. He knows what, when, and how but He did not predetermine it (my comments). Second, God did not make your loved one sick, neither did he kill them as a direct act. (Although God does chasten his children when the sin in various ways: Heb 12:4-14.) The fact is, some bad things happen by chance, others because of another's sin, or because of our own sin or carelessness.
Here are some examples:
- When a skydiver's parachute doesn't open, we realize that mechanical things don't always work the way they should and sometimes people die as a result.
- When a person talks on a cell phone while driving, drinking a cup of coffee and glancing at the paper in the passenger side of the front seat, and they run into the back of a parked truck, we realize that our own careless can kill us.
- When an innocent person is shot by a bank robber, we realize that another's sin can kill us.
- When we have certain allergies, and are stung by a bee or eat a peanut, we realize that our genetic code can kill us.
- When we by chance, come in contact with a contagious disease, we realize that such encounters can kill us.
- When we smoke 1 pack of cigarettes per day and die of lung cancer at 35, we have committed a form of suicide, where no one is to blame but ourselves.
originally provided a perfect home of eternal life in paradise in the Garden of
Eden and MAN'S own sin got him kicked out. Have you ever sinned?
It’s ok to grieve,
but don't blame God. We live in a world where sometimes things just happen.
But what about your
prayers? You prayed for God to heal your loved one of Cancer and he died
God answers prayers
with: Yes, No, Wait, or something else. Why do you get angry when God says,
"No, I will not answer your prayer...your loved one will die?"
You had enough faith
and you prayed perfect prayers, but sometimes God SAYS NO! Other times God
might extend life, but sooner or later, WE ALL MUST DIE. Are you praying for
eternal life on earth?
Hezekiah was very
sick in 1 Kings 20 and likely prayed to get better. God answered, NO: "Set
your house in order, for you shall die and not live." (v1) Hezekiah, however
prayed again and this time God answered: "I will add fifteen years to your
life" v6 God still answered NO, but gave an extension of life to the sick
man. How do you know God didn't answer your prayer by giving your loved one a
few extra months, he otherwise without your prayer, wouldn't have gotten!
God loves you and
cares for you, but we all must die. Set your hopes on what is above, not the
earth. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (HCSB) 16 Therefore we do not give up. Even though
our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by
day. 17 For our momentary light
affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of
glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is
seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen
Pastor Perry also
talks about becoming self-righteous and legalistic which may have been the
result of not dealing with some baggage he was still carrying. I had never thought about that before but it
may be very true. Someone dealing with a
problem with pornography, or drugs, alcohol,
or whatever, may be very legalistic with others struggling with that
3. Ever known anybody
The price of Success
Pastor Noble talks about the success of his ministry NewSpring Church which experienced phenomenal growth and at the same time his wife was doing a 3 year family practice residency program. Their congregation went from 115 in 2000 to 8000 in 2006. With that success came non-stop work, and then criticism from his fellow Christians all of this contributing to his becoming deeply depressed.
4. How can success cause you to become depressed?
Warning Signs That You are Headed for a Crash
As I said depression is usually not brought on by just one thing although a tragic event can cause you to start down the path toward depression if you don’t start to do anything about it.
Sign 1 An Unrealistic Pace
5. We are always rushing from one thing to another one deadline after another why do we do that?
Pastor Noble says he heard someone say once “If I were the devil, I would invent a device you could hold in your hands that would ensure you’d always have your schedule in front of you and give people access to you anytime they wanted”.
There are a lot of good Christians who have no intimacy in their relationship with God because they don’t take time to see His beauty. We are always in a hurry working for God. (I have that problem)
6. How can we work for God so much it can lead to depression?
I told the story in our previous study of Pastor Noble’s friend who told him that he couldn’t continue to keep up the pace he was operating under. He was going way too fast. And like many of us when we get that kind of criticism especially when we think we are doing the Lord’s work, he got angry and said “The devil never takes a day off” His friend’s response was Perry, “I’m not sure the devil is supposed to be your example.
Then he got a revelation, which I never really thought about. In the Ten Commandments the one that God spent the most time explaining was the one on rest. Exodus 20:8-11 (HCSB)8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. 11 For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.
Hebrew Transliteration is shābat. English words used in the bible are:
- away (get away)
From Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
primitive root; to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many implication relations (causative, figurative or specific) :- (cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away.
Here is how important the Sabbath was.
- There was not only the "seventh day" Sabbath, but the first and last days of the seven Old Testament feasts were special Sabbaths, to be observed just as a seventh day Sabbath. (See Exodus 12:1-6; and 14-16 and Leviticus 23:1-8).
- So, there were at least 64 "Sabbaths" in each calendar year. Many weeks had multiple "Sabbaths", one a seventh day Sabbath, the other a "Holy Convocation", the first or last day of a feast. Often, there were Sabbath days back to back - two days in a row. And. probably just as often, a Feast day Sabbath occurred the same day as the seventh day Sabbath
- God commanded for not only the people to rest but also the land. There were to be Sabbath years.
The sabbath year (shmita Hebrew: שמיטה, literally "release") also called the sabbatical year or sheviit (Hebrew: שביעית, literally "seventh") is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel, and still observed in contemporary Judaism.
During shmita, the land is left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). Other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing) may be performed as a preventative measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants. Additionally, any fruits which grow of their own accord are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption and disposal of shmita produce. All debts, except those of foreigners, were to be remitted.
Chapter 25 of the Book of Leviticus promises bountiful harvests to those who observe the shmita, and describes its observance as a test of religious faith. There is little notice of the observance of this year in Biblical history and it appears to have been much neglected.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shmita)
Pastor Noble’s counselor told him “the Bible calls those who will not work lazy, (lots of places in Proverbs 6:6-11; 13:4; 18;9;10:4-5; 21:25, but it calls those who will not rest disobedient”
Sign 2 Unrealistic Expectations of Others
7. When we are depressed we often put the blame on others and are mad at them for the way they feel. Why do you think we do that?
Pastor Noble says it’s easier to blame somebody else than ourselves. They are the ones with the problem not us. I used to work for a guy who would never accept responsibility for anything that went wrong. It was always somebody else’s fault. Doesn’t make for a very good work environment because if you follow what he wants you to do and it blows up then it was not his direction or orders it was your incompetence. That’s the way depressed people act sometimes and I can tell you that it’s true I have firsthand experience.
As Pastor Noble came to the realization that he should stop asking God to change the other person, because He won’t in most cases, but to change him and his attitude, so did I. I like what he said about people who have a victim mentality always blaming others. He said and I agree that they never walk in the victory that Jesus promises.
8. How do you think that coming to that realization helped him?
Sign 3 An Unrealistic View on Life.
If we don’t do anything differently things will not change and we will stay in our depression of state of anxiety. Depression and anxiety do happen but they don’t just pass like the season. If we think that depression is just a season and it will pass then we have a serious problem. We must, as he says go through it. But we don’t have to go through it alone we have God who said that He would never leave us or forsake us. Even when things look insurmountable like the situation Daniel found himself in having to not only interpret his dream but tell him what the dream was.
Sign 4 An Unrealistic Desire to Be Liked by Everyone
I use to have this problem. I wanted everybody to like me so I did some things and went some places that I should not have done or gone but I wanted people to like me. When you are in the banking business, as I was at one time, wanting everybody to like you can be a major problem especially when somebody wants a loan and they don’t qualify. It does create some anxiety.
Well everybody is not going to like you so don’t sweat it. Everybody didn’t like Jesus and we can’t let what others think about us dominate our lives we should be seeking the approval of God and not man.
Using my example I don’t even remember the names or faces of most of those people that I was concerned about them liking me. John 12:42-43 talks about people who actually believed in Jesus but were afraid to admit it. John 12:42-43 (HCSB) 42 Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. 43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
Remember Nicodemus came to Jesus in the middle of the night and he was the one that got the revelation that we now have that you must be born again John 3:3 (ASV) 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Yet he didn’t come out to the closet, so to speak, until after Jesus was crucified. He was more concerned about what his Pharisee buddies would think about him. John 19:38-39 (ASV) 38 And after these things Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took away his body. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
We are out of time we will have to finish Chapters 8 and 9 next week. Please read Chapters 10-12 and we will try to get through all of them next week. I will try to be a better job of controlling our time although what we talked about today was good stuff and I think very helpful.
Close with prayer.
Next week chapter 8 starting with the section Getting off the Collision Course through Chapter 12
If you want to study along with our Sunday study group, and get the most from it, you will need to get the book. You can get it from Amazon by clicking the title of the book link that is above or clicking on the image of the book at the end of the blog. Join us as we learn to win the war against worry.
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God bless you. I’ll see you next week.