Monday, June 30, 2014

OVERWHELMED: WINNING THE WAR AGAINST WORRY - LESSON 3 CHAPTERS 7-9


DEPRESSED
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 (permission attained) Used with permission 
under Creative Commons. No modifications made.

Introduction: 

 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. 

Your Story

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.

Remember, God 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 instead!
.
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 is eternal.

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 same problem. 

3. Ever known anybody like that? 

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:
  • cease
  • rest
  • away (get away)
  • fail
  • celebrate

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,[1] 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.[2]
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.




 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

OVERWHELMED: WINNING THE WAR AGAINST WORRY LESSON 2 - CHAPTERS 4-6



Introduction:
FOCUS
Last week we ended by saying that in order to overcome being overwhelmed with stress, worry and anxiety we need to identify and really know who we are.  If we are saved and believers we are no longer slaves to Satan and sin, or to this world system, but that we are now subjects in the kingdom of God, we are His children.  Just as Daniel in Chapter 1, of the book , in the bible that has his name, decided to change the focus of the circumstances he found himself in after Babylon invaded Judah destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and took the strongest and brightest to Babylon.     The specific verse that we looked at was Daniel 1:8 "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." Daniel didn't identify himself with his situation as a captured foe or slave, but he identified himself as a worshiper of a Great God. 

That’s also who we are.  We are not who we were before coming to Christ where we were slaves to sin and to this world system with no way of getting out but,  We are now new creatures as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) 17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.  We have to shed our past and take on our new nature and take our focus from our situations and circumstances and but the focus on Christ.


Talking about focus this morning,  I want us to read Luke 10:38-42 (HCSB)
38  While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
39  She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said.
40  But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”
41  The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,
42  but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”


What Martha was doing was not wrong, in fact she was preparing a meal and making sure that her guests were being well taken care of.  She was being a great hostess.  The fact that her sister wasn’t helping her was causing stress and anxiety.  If I am cleaning the house for somebody coming over, mopping the floors, vacuuming, cleaning up the bathroom and Ruth is sitting listening to gospel music or even reading her bible and we are expecting our guest in 30 minutes I may be a little upset too.


Anyway," Martha's focus on tangible, practical issues masked the deeper questions she wrestled with: Why am I the only one working to make things better? Why do people ignore me? Why don't other people follow the rules? Why am I always worried? Is it okay to enjoy things? Jesus knew this, so when Martha confronted him in exasperation, He paid attention to her. He heard her words, but more than that, He heard her heart. He redirected her focus, calling her out of her circumstances: “but few things are needed—or indeed only one” (Luke 10:42). The one thing she needed was Him."
"Like Martha, the answer to our anxiety, fear and need for order is to focus all our attention, thought and worship on Jesus. He is the only one who provides lasting purpose to fulfill our deepest desires."

* From "Journey to Change" Reading Plan on YouVersion

Approach:
When we are going through an overwhelming situation or time, and we are praying for God to be with us, to guide us, or direct us, we often want to hear Him speak to us with the answer to our prayer either in an audible voice, from somebody else, a family member or friend, or our pastor, or whoever.  However as Pastor Perry points out in chapter 4 of this book Daniel and his friends made their decision (the bible says that Daniel was the one talking to the king’s guy but none of 4 of them wanted to eat the food from the king’s table)  to give them an opportunity to just eat fruit and veggies and in 10 days they would look better than the other guys.  In the story it doesn't say that God appeared Daniel to assure him that everything would turn out fine and that in fact they would look better.  He didn't have any guarantees he just knew that his God was bigger than his circumstance and that somehow he would get him and his friends through it.  Have you had a situation similar to this where you had no guarantees, but that you were going to stand on God’s word and that’s it?  Tell us about it.
An example is the struggle that we have at out church. We have a very small congregation, our congregation is not affluent, in fact most of our members live on fixed incomes and those not very big. Yet every month we are able to meet our obligations, including a hearty mortgage payment,  with no guarantee that we are going to be able to do it. In fact looking at our our offerings you would say that we won't be able to do it. Yet we know, like Daniel, that our God is bigger than the monthly circumstances and we get through it somehow month after month.
1.  In Chapter 4 there is a section A “Right Now” God.  What does it mean to you that God is a “Right Now” God?
Notes:  God is constantly working no matter whether you see it or not.   Jesus said in John 5:17 (HCSB)  But Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.”   God is still working today just as He did back in the days He did with the people in the bible.  He has not stopped working.  He is not a back then God He is a “Right Now” today God.  We also think that we have to have the right formula for God to move.  If you want God to do this then you have to do that.  If you believe that,  then you are being religious and working for God’s help and favor. Then if it doesn’t happen after we have done all this work because of course that’s what it says in the bible when we take things out of context and just quote them, we get confused, and even bitter toward God because we think that He wasn't pleased with our work.   He doesn't operate like that.  God is not stuck in the past; God doesn’t demand that we jump through certain hoops.  He is a “Right Now” God working for our good.  Again Romans 8:28.
2.  People will encourage you to compromise your decision to focus on God.  Remember you are no longer the same you are now a new creature or creation.   How do you deal with that?
Notes:  In the section No Compromise Pastor Noble discusses the fact that when we make the decision to focus on God rather than our circumstances we will have opposition.  When Daniel asks the king’s guy to let them eat fruit and veggies what was the guy’s response? Daniel 1:10 (HCSB) yet he said to Daniel, “My lord the king assigned your food and drink. I’m afraid ⌊of what would happen⌋ if he saw your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age. You would endanger my life with the king.”
He mentions some situations that may occur; you are single and your body clock is ticking lol; married and things are not going well at home and there is a very nice person at work willing to listen to your problems; you need money to pay your bills and friend comes over with an idea of how you can make or get some money by telling a little white lie, etc.
Daniel and his friends didn't compromise and after 10 days look what happened even into future years.  Daniel 1:15-21 (HCSB) 15  At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. 16  So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables. 17  God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.  18  At the end of the time that the king had said to present them, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.  19  The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king’s court. 20  In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom.  21  Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.  
3.  God can do anything but it doesn't mean that our lives as believers is a Cakewalk as Noble says in the section No Cakewalk.  Have you heard in the past that once you accept Jesus into your lives all your problems will be gone?  
Notes:  All you gotta do is pray and everything will be all right.  Quoting from the book.  “One of the biggest myths in Christianity is that if you love Jesus, do good stuff, read your Bible, go to church, and follow the religious rules, you will never face overwhelming circumstances or tough times.”  What a crock.  Those are my words not Perry’s. In fact the bible teaches the opposite.  

4. What are some examples of people in the Bible experiencing overwhelming circumstances? 

Examples:  David being chased by Saul, Nehemiah in building the wall around Jerusalem; Peter and John being thrown in jail for the lame man being healed outside the temple; Stephen being stoned for preaching the gospel; the heroes of faith mention in Hebrews 11, and of course Paul.
5.  What did Jesus say about dealing with overwhelming circumstances?
Notes:  In John Chapters 13 through 17 He is ministering to his disciples and, I agree with Pastor Perry that these are some of the most intense teachings of Jesus.  In these chapters He talks about His betrayal, He washes the disciple’s feet;  He gives the new commandment John 13:34-35 (HCSB)34  “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.  35  By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ; He predicts Peter’s denial; He reveals the Way to the Father, through Him John 14:6 (HCSB )6  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ; He reveals the Father; He talks about praying in His name; He talks about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Trinity) in 14:19-26; He talks about His peace; and there is a lot of other stuff He is ministering to His own.  Here is where I’m going at 16:33 Jesus says John 16:33 (HCSB) 33  I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”   Well He wouldn't have said it unless there would be overwhelming situations that they and we are going to have to deal with.  It is not all roses, but He has overcome them and because we are His we can overcome.

6.  In Chapter 6 Noble recounts a funny story about the time that he was a youth pastor and responsible for making the announcements and one Sunday a young ladies water broke she was on the way to the hospital to have a baby.  Well he announced it as he got it and said Cindy’s water broke and she is on the way to the hospital.  Well he had a big problem for some old ladies that jumped him and said we don’t talk about kind of thing in church.  We still have that kind of attitude today in church in that certain things are just not talked about.  What are your thoughts about restricting the things we talk about in church?  Is that a problem?
Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil
Image credit:  Picture by Ally Aubry found on Flickr. 
Used with permission under 
Creative Commons. No modifications made.

Notes:  Because there has been a prohibition of talking about certain things or not expressing our feelings when we are hurting in certain areas like money or sex we are often putting lipstick on a pig so to speak.  We are masking how we sometimes hurt and so we don’t get help.  I use to hear some old time preachers and old time mothers talking about the church being a hospital well if you can’t talk about your sickness what kind of hospital is it.  Is it only one that deals with the common cold or a stubbed toe and not drug addiction or sex addiction, or depression?
If you can’t bring your deepest problems to the church because you are afraid of what others may say as Noble says in the section The Problem with Church World where people have to pretend that “..there lives are picture-perfect”.  There are two problems that result. 1) the issues or problems will sooner or later come out and either they will result is gossip or the leadership will tell them not to come back until the problem is handled or 2) then can’t take the pressure of trying to put up a false face for the church so they drop out.
I like this comment that those on the right side of the cross (believers) and those on the left side of the cross (unbelievers) both face hardships.  In Noble’s words “When we meet Christ, we are saved from the penalty of sin, but we do not escape the effects of sin --whether that’s our own sin of other people’s sin or simply the broken world we live in.   Church is the place where we need to go for healing not the place to pretend that we’re perfect.  It shouldn't be the place we run from when we feel overwhelmed it should be the place we run to.  That is where Jesus will meet us and change us.,
Winning the Battle Over Depression
In Chapter 6 Pastor Perry introduces the fact that he had a 3 year battle with depression during which time he contemplated suicide.  He will develop it more in Chapter 7 when he goes more into his background and his depression.  Again he mentions that the church has a problem talking about depression because we somehow believe that Christians should not get depressed and talking about it can be uncomfortable because we don’t know a lot about it.  
7.  Have you ever heard a sermon of been involved in a study in church about depression?  Have you ever know a pastor of church leader who admitted that they were depressed when they showed all the signs of depression?  
8.  Why do you think that’s the case?  
Notes:  Some people don’t think that a true follower of Jesus  could struggle with depression.  If they do then their  faith is not strong enough or they don’t speak the word of God into their lives which will deep them from becoming depressed..  Again, in my humble opinion, this is a crock.  Look at the Bible.
Biblical Giants Have Bad Days Too
Pastor Nobel lists a few that had bad days. Moses in Numbers 11:14-15 looks like he is asking God to take him out.  That sounds suicidal doesn't it?
Then Elijah in 1 Kings 18 after the tremendous stand-off with the prophets of Baal.  He is running from Jezebel and in 1 Kings 19:3-4 appears to be asking God to take him out.  Sounds suicidal doesn’t it?
Then there’s Paul who we have talked about over the last 3 months.  What does it say in 2 Corinthians 1:8?
9.  What do the experiences of these biblical giants tell us?
Notes:  Quite often depression comes because of things out of our control including people who intend to harm us.  
10 .  Can somebody tell us what is going on in Daniel 2 after the dream and how does Daniel get caught up in it and how does it work out?

Notes:  He goes back to Daniel and his experiences after being exiled to Babylon.  Daniel and his boys are now counted among the elite the wise men when Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and Daniel is put into a position totally outside his control and which he had nothing to do with.  
It works out because Daniel doesn't freak out he asked for some time and then he  He called his friends together and said we need to pray and ask God to help us otherwise we are going to be killed with all the rest of the wise men, astrologers, etc. Then God gave him the dream and the interpretation.  
That’s how we can respond when we are faced with overwhelming situations that seem to come out of nowhere.  Don’t panic.  Seek the Lord.  Settle down and pray and ask God for the answer.
Next week Chapters 7-10

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God bless you,

Donald





Monday, June 16, 2014

OVERWHELMED: WINNING THE WAR AGAINST WORRY LESSON 1 INTRODUCTION AND CHAPTERS 1-3

THE WINNER


This week we start our study in winning the war against worry in earnest.  For the next several weeks we will be studying from Pastor Noble Perry's book "Overwhelmed:  Winning the War Against Worry".  For the past five weeks in preparation for this extended study we have been spending our Sunday adult study sessions in a devotion written by Pastor Perry titled, as has been our study, "Overwhelmed Challenge".  That study is also on this blog.  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.


Introduction:


The purpose of this study is to show that although we live in a world where all kinds of things and situations can cause us to feel stressed, become depressed and feel overwhelmed that we can win that war by identifying those things that stress us and using the tools and resources available to us a children of God to not only deal with them but to win.


All of us experience stress, anxiety, worry, fear, and depression at some point in our lives and the church for the most part doesn't really talk about it.  In fact we have often hear that if you have enough faith you should never have any of those problems.  Of course we know that isn't true that things happen that are out of our control.  The bible has lots of examples of people who suffered through situations not of their own making. Job for example, and Daniel, who pastor Perry uses in this book, to illustrate how we can deal with those times and win even when we are deeply depressed.


Question?



What did you do the last time you went through a stressful time or a time that you were depressed or it you are going through one now how are you dealing with it?  I want to be honest not super spiritual.  You don’t have to be specific about the situation just how you dealt with or are dealing with it.?


In chapter 1 pastor Perry talks about a situation at a youth camp and an incident while tubing.  Before he even got in the tube at the creek he was having second thoughts because of things in his past.  How can past experience especially not so good ones affect our attitude about things and cause us stress?


1.  When he did finally get in the tube he actually did have a problem.  If our initial fears actually happen then what?



For pastor Perry that experience of nearly drowning, or so he thought, was a reminder of what it feels like to be completely overwhelmed especially when someone tells us or we think that it is going to be easy.  I know I have been in some situations, even taken jobs that I thought would be snap, and become completely overwhelmed.  Anybody have something that they care to share?


Well being constantly stressed out and worried, anxious, and full of doubt don’t have to be normal.


Overwhelming situations

In chapter 1 he lists some overwhelming situation that you may have had to deal with in the past or are dealing with now:
  • getting laid off
  • experiencing marital struggles or struggles in a relationship
  • having your first child (none of us will have that one again)
  • graduating from college with a degree, thousands of dollars’ worth of student loans, and no job possibilities in sight (many of our young people are facing this)
  • taking care of aging parents
  • getting a call from your doctor saying you need to come in as soon as possible
  • not being able to get over a past full of mistakes
  • losing someone close to you


2.  When you are going through any of these or similar situations what kind of person is it you don’t want to see and why?



Well these things are real and they won’t go away by themselves but you can work your way out of being in constant stress or depression.  It’s a work in process not an overnight success.  Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning light is true but that doesn’t me joy comes overnight.


3.  How can we choose to between being overwhelmed or to overcome, to win and not surrender?



We can make the decision to overcome.  To do that we have to change our focus.  pastor Perry gives us one scripture from  Hebrews that challenges us to look to Christ Hebrews 12:2 (HCSB) keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.


4.  What are some others you can think of?  

Here are some that I found:

Exodus 34:6 (KJV) And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,


Psalm 16:11 (HCSB) You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.


John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


Matthew 6:31-34 (HCSB)31  So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32  For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34  Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  


It’s not the circumstances that need to change for us to not be overwhelmed it’s us and where we put our focus and we should put our focus on God.


5.  Do we really realize how great God is or is it just convenient to say it because we hear it all the time?  



Pastor Perry uses the story of Daniel to illustrate how Daniel changed his focus from the bad circumstances he found himself in after Babylon invaded Judah destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and took the strongest and brightest to Babylon.  


Let’s read Daniel 1:3-7 (HCSB)  3  The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility— 4  young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace—and to teach them the Chaldean language and literature.  5  The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to serve in the king’s court. 6  Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7  The chief official gave them other names: he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah. 


6.  What were the circumstances that Daniel and his friends found themselves in and how did they get there?



The Babylonians wanted to completely change them from Jews to Babylonians including who they worshiped.  They started the process by changing their names.   


The circumstances were real but the first step in overcoming that overwhelming situation was to understand that God is really greater than whatever we are going through.


In pastor Perry’s story about the duck pond where he ran from a goose until he realized that he was bigger than the goose and when he stopped and confronted the goose the goose left.
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  Later on he realized that we often run from things that we have power over.  


What is it we say every Sunday “I have the power to tread on serpents, I have the power to tread on scorpions, I have the power….  Perry quotes 1 John 4:4 (HCSB) 4  You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 

7.  What are some others?



OK so we have to know who we are if we are going to use this power and authority that we have.


In Chapter 3 in the section Embracing Your True Identity  Perry goes back to Daniel and his situation.


8.   What was so important about the two words “But Daniel?

 Daniel 1:8 (KJV) 8  But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Here is the same verse in some other bibles


Daniel 1:8 (BBE)8  And Daniel had come to the decision that he would not make himself unclean with the king's food or wine; so he made a request to the captain of the unsexed servants that he might not make himself unclean.


Daniel 1:8 (GW) 8  Daniel made up his mind not to harm himself by eating the king's rich food and drinking the king's wine. So he asked the chief-of-staff for permission not to harm himself in this way.


9.  How does that apply to you today?



Daniel didn't identify himself with is situation a captured foe or slave but he identified himself as a worshiper of a Great God.  That’s who we are we are not who we were before coming to Christ where we were slaves to sin and to this world system with no way of getting out.  We are now new creatures as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) 17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.


But we have to shed our past and take on our new nature.


10.  How do we do that?



Next week chapters 4-6











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