Depression is characterized as a downward spiral, possibly leading to diminished capacity in all areas of life. For me depression sneaks in like a thief in the night. I am good to go most of the time, energetic and full of life, then for some reason my mind begins processing things from a negative perspective. I don’t know why. I just know it does. It seems to me, negative thoughts are symptomatic of the depressive process and spotting this and other signs of the spiral ‘early on’ is key.
Combating the spiral and impending darkness is tough. I purposely avoid negative people as our negativity can feed on each other. I look for the positive in people and circumstances. I reject the negative and ask for supernatural Godly intervention to kill off the darkness with His light. Key is identifying the spiral early on and calling on Jesus to straighten my path and mind before the spiral takes on a life of its own, forever sucking me further down into a cesspool of negative thought and action.
It seems to me David of Israel experienced similar cycles as i. One moment proclaiming the majesty of God the Father and the next crying out for God‘s intervention. Many times we see David acknowledging the fact that if God does not intervene, catastrophic collapse was inevitable. You can almost feel David’s spiral downward. I’d like to think that even in the darkest of times and strongest of spirals, God is waiting to be part of the outcome. His love is real and incredibly tangible when compared to the darkness.
It may be this is the purpose of a depressive spiral… to appreciate the tangible presence of a Holy God you might miss if it had not been for the whirlwind of a deadly spiral. Thank you Jesus for abiding even in the darkness.
Guest Post: Sarah Rook
Proof God exists: he’s healed kyle from a death sentence. A condition that is incurable…today his tests are normal again, but this time they don’t have the meds to use…science has no explanation.
To those who actually had the guts to tell me God had no place in this, now you know he did.
At the Mazzio’s we got a table – there were eight or nine of us – and after we ordered we all asked Papa God about our waitress .. what he had for her. We all wrote them down and later gave them to her. I told her we were a class that was learning to hear “destiny words” and that we had heard these from God for her. I asked her to read them and then come let us know which was correct and which was wrong.
A while later she came over with tears in her eyes and asked ‘How do you know these things?’ We explained that we did not know them but that Papa God knew her and that he had directed us to come twenty miles and to sit at a certain table just so he could share his love with her. We had prayer with her and then she went and got a couple other waitresses she wanted us to talk to.
One girl, after talking with us for some time, said, “Maybe God told you, but I am pregnant.” I took out the note and gave it to her. She read it and began to sob. It turned out she had been diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells on the cervix, but they could not treat her because of the pregnancy. Papa God had said it would be OK.
We asked her if she had a Bible and she said no. I was able to run across the street to Walmart and buy her a Bible.
We stayed in touch with her and were able to see her beautiful baby girl before we moved. And she was doing well. You can hear Papa God. Specifically. As in “go here” “don’t do that” “say this” etc.
I don’t know if I have ever taken any bit of new information for granted. In my early married days, my bride was often frustrated with my incessant questioning of everything she had to say. It was not that I didn’t believe her. It was just that I needed the thought validated. If she could share the source, I could add or subtract the likelihood of truth or to what degree of accuracy was likely. As life has gone on, I have tried to mellow out and not appear so offensive in my questioning of my bride. I find value in all she has to say, these days.
Oddly in contrast to life’s questions, there was a time in my early Christian walk, I tended to believe anything another Christian told me about Christ, the Bible and all its characters. I questioned little, trusted implicitly and worked hard to be the model Christian others believed me to be. It was this early belief system that shaped me and kept me well grounded to survive in a world that continues to be ever increasing difficult to thrive in. I especially have my mother and father to thank for this wonderful Christian upbringing.
Today, I have known Christ as my Savior for over 50 years and experienced the bitter sweet of living a Christian life. Most of my life, I spent trying to stay on the mountain top with Christ. I dreaded the valleys, but seemed to spend more time there then I dared to admit. It was this impossible mountain climb that kept me frustrated with my Christianity and kept me asking the single most important question of my life… “Is that all there is?”
I wish when a body realizes the love of Christ on his life and chooses to not reject Christ, there would be infinite wisdom imparted. It would seem so much more of life could be experienced so much quicker, but somehow in God’s wisdom it doesn’t work that way. We grow slowly toward the target of living in Christ daily… fully in the knowledge of His presence. Christ is so patient with us during this journey. His love never fails.
In the last few years, Christ has honored me with a response that continues to ring loudly in my ears and experienced in my life. ”I have only just begun!“~Jesus
After 50 years or so, Christ daily reinforces the truth that He has only just begun to build me into the man He desires to spend eternity with and there is so much more.
We have been working on our personal goals for the New Year, 2013 here in Uganda. Through the discussions and formation of our goals some things have emerged, that I have identified, as positive values for our team.
Our collective vision is to see disciples, transformed by Christ, living and sharing the gospel. The mission is to make disciples and plant churches that will reproduce and multiply our efforts.
We have all felt God say he was going to move in our place; something we do not take for granted. God chooses times and places to bring about a movement of himself. There are places God calls people to labor in which there will be no wide scale movement. With this fact in mind, there are 2 key ingredients:The work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people and the zeal and obedience in which we pour ourselves into making disciples.
The Holy Spirit draws people to himself. It creates a hunger in the person. The Holy Spirit answers our prayers for laborers and puts us into contact with the right people. The Holy Spirit opens ears of the listeners and the mouths of the speakers. We must never mistake our dependence upon the Holy Spirit. We must never give the Holy Spirit lip service but live lives and minister unaffected by the awareness of His presence.
We the laborers must have a zeal to make disciples. We identify making disciples as a whole process, starting long before conversion with the first words of the gospel and going through the growth of a godly person. We cannot desire accolades or praises, adoration or certificates for ourselves. Our primary concern filling our mind day and night must be that God is glorified, lifted up high to be praised by all. We must daily seek humility because we understand that pride is an attempt to steal God’s glory and put it upon ourselves and pride plagues us all. We must be purposeful. We must look for how the Spirit is working in our relationships and probe to see if disciples are awaiting beneath these people. We must put off everything that does not contribute to the disciple making process. A laborer must put off the things which hinder us, steal our time and distract us from purposeful living. We must not be afraid to ask those we are discipling to do the same when we recognize such activities in their lives. We must be connected to the vine. In order to be constantly poured out as a drink offering we must constantly be filled up. The word must dwell in us richly. We must cultivate the primary inward disciplines of Bible reading, memorization, and prayer. We must share the gospel in and out of season. The sharing of the gospel is often accompanied by fear and the only way to dispel that fear is through practice. Better methods will not dispel the fear or necessarily increase the skill. It is the practice of sharing the hope that already resides within you.
The Parable of the Talents is a good parable for the laborer to look at. At times we wonder at the harshness of the master regarding his servant’s desire to protect the talent. It has been brought to our attention through a look at Rabinnic teaching that what the servant lacked was love for his master. He feared his master but lacked love. Fear is enough to keep us from doing wrong but not enough to drive us to take risks in order to produce for our master. As disciples and laborers we must not only fear but love our God. Our love must be to the extent that we are willing to risk any and all in order to produce for our master that which will bring him great joy. Two servants invested the talents and in so doing risked losing all of it and in turn their jobs. There was no FDIC. They risked the eventual fate of the the last servant. Yet, love drove them beyond. Each of them wanted to be the one who came to the shepherd with the 99 sheep and said “look, here is your lost sheep, I’ve found him!” Each of them loved the master to the extent that to bring him joy was their greatest desire. Love and Fear work together as motivating factors that will produce a godly and active lifestyle of a disciple.
So we encourage our brothers and sisters around the world to be laborers filled with love and fear for our master that will lead to a risk filled high reward lifestyle of the kingdom. Examine yourselves that love might be your driving factor every day. If you find yourself doing your work out of fear or duty go back to your knees. Substitutes for a love driven service will ultimately fall short and the laborer will have lost of a lot of time, money and energy in the process. Dwell in the arms of your master and find that love deep within everyday to drive you into this life of a laborer.
Finally, we cannot live as laborers in isolation. A laborer must seek a community of the like minded to work closely with. Community provides accountability in our disciplines, restoration in our failings, identity in our disbelief, purpose in our wanderings. There are times when we are forced into isolation like Elijah, but we must always seek community when it is available.
Thanks for taking the time to read what has been on our minds here in Uganda. I would hope that this would characterize the laborers of Advance Him. I have used the words laborer and disciple interchangibly.
Like many of you I am grief stricken by the tragic mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, earlier today. According to the latest reports 27 people are dead including 18 children. Earlier this week a gunman opened fire in a shopping mall in Portland, Oregon, killing two and seriously wounding another before taking his own life.
Of course murder is nothing new. From the time Cain killed Able until now the human race has a long history of cold-blooded atrocities. Still, there seems to be something different, something more sinister about the random killings being perpetrated by these troubled young men. For the most part their killing sprees were not prompted by religious fanaticism or political ideology or even personal revenge. Their victims were strangers by and large – innocent victims – and seemed to be chosen at random.
Mark Kopta, chairman and professor in the department of psychology at the University of Evansville in Indiana, has researched extensively the country's mass killings, which he defines as attacks leading to the deaths of at least five people, including the killer's suicide. He found three incidents in the United States fitting this profile between 1930 and 1970. Three more followed over the course of the 1970s. In the 1980s, however, there were ten such incidents of mass murder. The 1990s had seventeen; and, since the new millennium began, there have been twenty-five such mass murders. Six of them occurred last year. And 2009 has already topped that with eight such killings. There have been nine mass murders in 2012.
So what’s going on? Why this sudden rise in mass killings? Are they just a statistical fluke?
There are no easy explanations, no pat answers. The conditions conspiring to produce these troubled young men are varied and complex. The entertainment industry continues to produce video games, music and movies that glorify violence. Liberal politicians, jurists and even educators insist that there are no moral absolutes, creating a society where each person is a law unto himself. Corruption in high places, within business, government and the church, has produced a jaded cynicism in young and old alike. Then there’s the economic meltdown worldwide and the resulting despair. Finally there is rampant divorce and the resulting dissolution of the traditional family creating a generation of lost souls.
While all of these are contributing factors they are not the root cause. The root cause is spiritual rather than sociological or even psychological. America made a covenant with death and we are now reaping the unintended consequences. That covenant was sealed on Monday, January 22, 1973, when the United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2, in the now infamous Roe v. Wade decision. When the highest court in the land rules that killing the child in your womb is an acceptable way of dealing with your unplanned pregnancy, we shouldn’t be surprised when children reared in such a culture turn to murder and suicide when life becomes overwhelming.