Monday, November 17, 2014

An encouraging word from Al Thomas

Many Years Ago God Delivered Me From Depression and Worry
As a young man, I was living in California, and after a hard day at work and just returning from an evening Bible college class, I was greatly depressed. I wanted someone to talk to and share my heavy heart, but I met an empty house. At that time, a lot of pressures were weighing me down. My family life was in turmoil, my job frustrating, and all the while my stress level was increasing to an explosive point. My mind was confused and bewildered. All alone, I felt an urge to pray.

I went to my bedroom, fell to my knees, and cried out to God in desperation. After briefly praying, I was so emotionally exhausted I crawled up on the bed and fell fast asleep. After twenty minutes or so, I was awakened by a majestic voice that said, "ISAIAH 26:3." The voice was full of authority and love.

I grabbed my Bible and read the verse, "[I] wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on [Me]."As soon as I finished reading, an amazing thing happened: I felt as if hot oil was being poured on my head, going right through me. It seemed as if His peace claimed me and took up residence. 

Proverbs 12:25 says, "Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad." I had received a good word. Since then I have faced many trials and a few life-altering catastrophes. Pressures and problems still come, but I can honestly say I have rarely worried about anything since that time or experienced depression. I do not put my head in the sand when troubles come; I simply have a divine perspective about them and a great peace within. This was a manifestation of Jesus' promise of peace and it has abided.
Depression Is One of the Most Lethal Weapons the Enemy Uses
The world is in a perilous state. Fear of war, another terrorist attack, or any number of uncertainties abound. Many are facing health problems and financial woes. Others are facing despair because of family members who are not walking with Jesus or are simply in disunity. As long as we are on this earth, there will always be some kind of trouble facing us. Job 5:7 says, "Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward." No one (as long as they are breathing) is exempt.

Before despair wedges its way into your life, you must learn how to deal with it and overcome it. Yes, I said overcome it.

David said "Why art thou cast down, O my soul?" (Psalm 43:5). Don't be ashamed if you're depressed, but recognize that Jesus said we don't have to live with it (see John 16:33). Joy is your inheritance, not depression. 
Jesus said: "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11). Depression robs you of energy and makes you think God is not pleased with you.
Stop Looking In the Rearview Mirror
This is often the root cause of depression. But it is the last place you should go – the past. There is nothing there but despair. Before all the "wringing of hands," the "sweating of the brow," and the "woe is me," talk to yourself and others and go to the Source: God Himself. You may say: "Come on, that's too simple; I've cried out time and time again, etc." Some say, "I did, He didn't say anything."

Here is the key: Then put your anchor down and start waiting. Read Hebrews 6:15-19. Also, remember what David said: "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed" (Psalm 9:9).Psalm 25:5 says "Lead me in Thy truth and teach me; for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day." 

People want an instant solution. Instead, God wants us to trust and be patient. Some don't like to hear that, but that is where maturity is manifested. The Hebrew word for "wait" means to "expect." He is waiting for you to wait on Him. "For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock"(Psalm 27:5).

God is calling: "When thou saidst, 'Seek ye My face'; my heart said unto Thee, 'Thy face, Lord, will I seek'" (Psalm 27:8).

God has been described in many ways. One of my favorites is, "God is a huge guy with a big coat that has millions of pockets. Some are small and others larger," and if you get close enough, He will reach in one of those pockets and "give you something."God is an amazing Giver. God gave the Son. The Son gave the Spirit. The Spirit gives gifts. The Father is a contagious giver. Get close to Him. He has something for you, and it is always good. Be waiting, be expectant... joy is coming in place of depression.
See God's View – No Room For Depression
Have you ever felt like you were wasting your time and bearing no fruit? Sometimes depression is a lack of proper focus. God is never depressed. Keith Green sang, "The view from here (earth) is nothing near to what it is for You."

The way God sees you and the way you see yourself must come into alignment.Why? Because how God views problems is different from how we do. 

Elijah thought he was the only prophet in the land. "...I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (1 Kings 19:10). Elijah was telling God false information – and not only once, but twice (see verse 14)! Elijah's problem? He didn't have all the facts.

Tip: Elijah wasn't alone (see verse 18). Neither are you. The enemy wants you to feel trapped and come up with a worldly solution to your problem rather than waiting for God. Remember King Saul? He didn't wait for the prophet (Samuel) to arrive for the sacrifice; instead he goes ahead (see 1 Samuel 13:9). He felt pressured, got nervous and... the devil fooled him. That foolishness cost him a kingdom (see verses 9-14).

Ask God to open your eyes. You're not surrounded, your enemies are (see 2 Kings 6:16-17). It's how you view things.Get God's perspective, He's got 20/20 spiritual vision (past, present, and future). He sees all, knows all, and never panics. When we have His perspective, joy rules our hearts. Peter said we would "be glad... with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:13). That word "exceeding" means "super abundant."
See God's Solution – Not Your Own
Too often we want to "figure things out" instead of waiting on God. David (Saul's replacement) wrote, "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD" (Psalm 27:14). God is not ignoring the seriousness of your dilemma, nor about to give you the usual shallow "Christianese" buzz words, expecting you to suddenly start jumping for joy. Yet, at the same time, God's answers are usually quite simple.

The greatest discoveries are those that reduce complex things into very simple things. Often, we start to imagine in our own minds how God is going to help us. Don't do this. You see, God is always going somewhere. Don't start going somewhere until you know for sure that is the direction God is going. Blessed is the man who finds out which way God is moving and then gets going in the same direction.

Sometimes Biblical trust has nothing to do with logic or circumstances. God's peace can come even though understanding escapes us (see Philippians 4:7). We are looking through a glass darkly (see 1 Corinthians 13:12). So don't let anyone rob you of God's "on-the-way" blessing. Firmly resist satan (see James 4:7), then listen for the sound (see Psalm 89:15).

Heaven is making a sound. Faith hears that sound. The train is coming around the corner, the whistle is blowing. I hear shaking and I see chains falling off of many (see Acts 16:26). If I were you, I'd start rejoicing by faith (see Philippians 4:4). You see, that Engineer is wearing a huge coat... and if you pay attention, you'll see all kinds of blessings fall out of His pockets and depression suddenly disappear. (Photo via Pixabay)

Al Thomas
Celebrating His Life


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