4-25-2017 Anxiety And Depression

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV). The preventative of “depression” is to not be anxious, and to listen to “a good word.” Jesus made this clear when He said, “do not worry” (be anxious) about life’s necessities (Matthew 6:24-33 NKJV), or about the future (Matthew 6:34). Losing a job, a game, a loved one, failing a test, or any other tribulation that comes our way can make us react with “anxiety,” and is a challenge to our faith. The father of a demon-possessed boy heard Jesus say, “’If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24 NKJV). Faith overcomes anxiety.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#anxiety, #depression, #faith

3-11-2015 We Are Not In Despair

“But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, And as a rock is moved from its place; As water wears away stones, And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man” (Job 14:18-19 NKJV). By the time we read the headlines, see network TV News, watch destructive TV shows or dismal movies, or listen to our dreary “friends,” it’s no wonder that “depression” has enveloped our land. Job voiced the danger of being surrounded by downers!  But if we listen to God: Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” Christians learn to speak like Paul, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#depression, #despair, #headlines, #hope, #joy, #tv

(#63) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:25-Why Put In “A Good Word?”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 12:25: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.”

The preventative of “depression” is to not be anxious, and to listen to “a good word.” Jesus made this clear when He said, “do not worry” (be anxious) about life’s necessities (Matthew 6:24-33), or about the future (Matthew 6:34). Losing a job, a game, a loved one, failing a test, or any other tribulation that comes our way can make us react with “anxiety,” and is a challenge to our faith. The father of a demon-possessed boy heard Jesus say, “’If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24). Faith overcomes anxiety.

Being “anxious” burdens down a heart (“heaviness,” KJV), and is also described as “bitterness,” “sorrow of the heart,” “afflicted,” “broken spirit,” “heavy heart.” These terms come from other proverbs:

Proverbs 14:10: “The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.” No one but God knows our heart’s “bitterness” or “joy” like we do, especially not a “stranger.” Family and friends may have a difficult enough time counseling us through our problems, so why should we expect “a stranger” to share our times of “joy” more than they? Internet “strangers” cannot understand us better than those living around us.

Proverbs 14:13: “Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, And the end of mirth may be grief.”  Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”  “Laughter” is no remedy for a broken spirit, even though it make the face smile. Comedy is momentary relief, but not the solution to “sorrow of the heart.”

Proverbs 15:15: “All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.”  The truly “merry heart” has “a continual feast,” that is, it has a hopeful attitude, an open spirit, and a lighthearted look at life.

Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Without the healing of a “merry heart,” a person becomes of frail inner health, and brittle support.

Proverbs 18:14: “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?” Healing begins from within our own spirits, and without that, “who can bear” sickness?

Proverbs 25:20:Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Taking away “a garment in cold weather” obviously makes one colder. “Vinegar on soda” creates an immediate reaction with no lasting effect. Singing songs to a “heavy heart” doesn’t help relieve the heaviness (cold) and has too quick a reaction for lasting relief.

It is “a good word,” however, that does more for “anxiety” than nearly anything else. Words of encouragement, expressing sympathy, expressions of concern, are all showing “a good word” of being loved. The purpose is not to temporarily entertain with songs or comedy, but to support and strengthen the inner spirit of the patient. The best “good word” is about our soul, thus: “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you’” (Matthew 9:2). Physical sickness is sometimes tied in with spiritual sickness as seen in James 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”  To all adrift on the sea of trouble, may we give them “a good word.”

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#a-good-word, #anxiety, #bible-study, #broken-spirit, #depression, #heaviness, #merry-heart, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom, #worry

(#48) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:26-Corrupt Commerce

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:26: “The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.”

It is bad business to withhold products that are needed. “Buy low and sell high” may be popular in the Stock Market, but in the marketplace, it loses future business! Companies, or individuals, who buy up needed products in “bad” times, in order to sell them at higher prices during “harder” times, not only incur the wrath of customers, but also the curse of God, Himself. In condemning corrupted Israel, God gave Amos a vision for those “who swallow up the needy, And make the poor of the land fail, Saying: ‘When will the New Moon be past, That we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, That we may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, Falsifying the scales by deceit, That we may buy the poor for silver, And the needy for a pair of sandals-Even sell the bad wheat?’” (Amos 8:4-6). “Swallowing up the needy,” and “making the poor fail” describe business and/or governmental practices that slant economics away from hard work being rewarded with honest pay and profit. Those evil practices included: cutting product sizes with short scales, while increasing the price of the goods sold; making the “poor” go into such debt they are bought for “silver;” reducing them down to such need their price is the same as shoes; and selling them damaged goods! Today, this would be called “re-packaging,” “inflation,” “over-extended credit buying,” “depression economy,” and “selling expired goods.”

When the Israelites were returned to their Promised Land, fulfilling all prophecies on that subject, the “nobles’ and rulers’” practices were listed as: “For there were those who said, ‘We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.’ There were also some who said, ‘We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.’ There were also those who said, ‘We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards’” (Nehemiah 5:2-5). When the leaders of a people, whether business or government, adopt practices or legislation that take unfair advantage of the hard-working families under their care, God will hold them accountable. James wrote: “Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth” (James 5:4). Jesus Christ endorsed truth with: “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7); “he who reaps receives wages” (John 4:36); and Paul added to this with: “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt” (Romans 4:4). Wages are earned, not given, and everything that is done to keep honest work from being rewarded with honest wages is against God’s Will!

Another proverb upholds this teaching: Proverbs 30:14: “There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.”

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #business, #corporation, #depression, #earned, #economy, #fraud, #government, #hard-times, #harder-times, #inflation, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #slavery, #tax, #wages

(#26) The Proverbs of Solomon Proverbs 10:13-15-Rich or Poor?

Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

10:13-14: A word to the wise: Words of the wise always show understanding. A word to the unwise: Talk your head off, and you’ll only show your lack of wisdom, and probably lose your argument and be given “a rod” (punishment). To “store up knowledge” (verse 14) means the wise will have a repository of wisdom to use whenever it is needed, while “near destruction” means the “foolish” always throw away wisdom in their words. This is a recurring contrast between the “lips” of the wise and unwise (foolish): 10:20-“choice silver” versus “worth little;” 10:21-“feeds many” versus “die for lack of wisdom;” 10:31-“brings forth wisdom” versus “tongue cut out;” 10:32-“know what is acceptable” versus “perverse mouth.” The words of a fool cannot provide for anyone, while words of wisdom work!

10:15: The tendency for “rich people” is to think they are protected from problems as if they were in a “strong city,” Solomon adds “like a high wall” (Proverbs 18:11). Paul warns Timothy to: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). No one is rich without blessing from God! And no one is rich without relying on many workers to produce and protect those riches! The arrogance of the rich, like the depression of the poor, says more about their mistaken attitudes than about their station in life! Likewise, the “poor” seem to think they live in “destruction” because they are “in poverty” (have not) as though it is a life’s sentence. The “poor” should not become covetous of the rich, nor overlook the fact that the rich have to hire the poor, nor ignore the principle that the difference between the blessings of the rich and the poverty of the poor, oftentimes, is simply a matter of work! “The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2). As far as God is concerned, wealth cannot buy salvation. “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). The people with debt don’t own their possessions, those who loaned them their money do! All creditors have title to the possession until it is paid back. THE NATION WITH THE GREATEST DEBT HAS BEEN SOLD OUT TO THOSE WILLING TO PUT UP THE MONEY FOR IT! Economic slavery is slavery! “He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty” (Proverbs 22:16). Becoming rich by oppressing the poor will surely fail. Whether the oppressing is done by cheap wages, excessive taxation, extortion, or inflated interest on loans, the system will fail. Giving to the rich is not for good motive, but involves bribery, social influence, political power, extravagance, or personal honor, and it is a false system of confidence in men, not God. “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding searches him out” (Proverbs 28:11). A poor person with God’s Wisdom “has understanding” to know more than a “rich man” who is “wise in his own eyes,” but not in God’s eyes!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#depression, #poor, #poverty-arrogance, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rich, #slavery, #wisdom

Psalm 88

Vs. 1-9 acknowledge the anticipation of impending death;

Vs. 10-14 reveal an uncertain relationship with God;

Vs. 15-18 picture the loneliness of a soul without God.

It was said that Solomon “was wiser than all men-than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman” and others (1 Kings 4:30-31). Heman, a Kohathite, was “a singer,” and one of those appointed by David to serve at the tabernacle, and later, the temple built by Solomon (1 Chronicles 6:31-33). This is one of the darkest and gloomiest of all the Psalms, with a minimum of the uplifting encouragements usually found in them. This could be titled “A Song of Dejection.”

Verses 1-9: To cry out “day and night” before God (verse 1) doesn’t reflect on God’s inaction, but on the petitioner’s despondency and persistence (verse 2). “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8) When a soul is “full of troubles” there is no room for any more, and the grave is near (verse 3); to be “counted” for death, one is powerless to live (verse 4); “adrift,” already “slain,” frees one for death, but released by God, also (verse 5). The “lowest pit,” “darkness,” and “depths” could not be more descriptive of dying (verse 6). There are 7 descriptions of death: “the grave” (verse 3), “the pit” (verse 4), “among the dead,” “lie in the grave” (verse 5), “the lowest pit,” “darkness,” “the depths” (verse 6). To die feeling God’s rejection (verse 7), already considered dead by “acquaintances” (verse 8), exhausting appeals to God (verse 9) is as despondent as one may become.

Verse 10-14: These questions answer themselves: (verse 10) Since “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32), then God will not reverse death; (verse 11) God’s “lovingkindness” and “faithfulness” are for the living, as are His “wonders” and “righteousness” (verse 12). Additional terms which describe going down from life are: “the dead” (verse 10), “grave,” “destruction” (verse 11), “dark,” “forgetfulness” (verse 12). Facing death is no reason to quit praying (verse 13), though there has come from God no immediate reassurances (verse 14).

Verses 15-18: Whatever the affliction since youth (verse 15), the Psalmist’s life  was lived in the pale of death, terrified, and distraught over the problem. Feeling God’s wrath is the curse and cause cause (verse 16), it has been overwhelming to live with. Life has been likened to struggling to keep one’s head above “terrors” (verse 17). Life ebbs away without “loved one,” “friend,” or “acquaintances” (verse 18).

The Psalm ends without happy reassurance, hope for tomorrow, or a pleasant relationship with God. Such gloom and doom comes to those who live and then die in sin, separated from God. “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ” (Ephesians 4:17-20). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16); that is to obey “from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Romans 6:17). We must remove the affliction of sin while we can.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#afflictions, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #death, #depression, #despondency

Encouragement during the fog of depression

On a cool morning in July of 1952, Florence Chadwich waded into the waters off Catalina Island, intending to swim the channel to the California coast. Though an experienced long- distance swimmer, Florence knew this swim would be difficult. The water was numbingly cold, and the fog was so thick she could hardly see the boat that carried her trainer.

Florence swam for more than fifteen hours. Several times she could sense sharks swimming next to her in the inky waters. Rifles were fired from the trainer’s boat to help keep the sharks at bay. Yet when Florence looked around her, all she could see was the fog. When she finally asked to be lifted from the water, she was only a half-mile from her goal. In a later interview Florence admitted that it wasn’t the cold, fear, or exhaustion that caused her to fail in her attempt to swim the Catalina channel. It was the fog.

The struggles we face can sometimes cloak us in a fog of depression. Remember, even if you can’t see the end of your trouble, press on. God hasn’t brought you this far to leave you. He is standing there just outside the fog, waiting for your call.

—God’s Lessons for Teens

God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22

[Jesus said]: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#depression, #encouragement, #hope