Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cast out? Never!

"Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." - - - John 6:37 

No limit is set to the duration of this promise. It does not merely say, "I will not cast out a sinner at his first coming," but, "I will in no wise cast out." The text means, that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as He will not do it at first, so He will not to the last.

But suppose the believer sins after coming? "If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." But suppose that believers backslide? "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him." But believers may fall under temptation! "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." But the believer may fall into sin as David did! Yes, but He will "Purge them with hyssop, and they shall be clean; He will wash them and they shall be whiter than snow"; "From all their iniquities will I cleanse them."

"Once in Christ, in Christ for ever,
Nothing from His love can sever."

"I give unto My sheep," saith He, "eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." What sayest thou to this, O trembling feeble mind? Is not this a precious mercy, that coming to Christ, thou dost not come to One who will treat thee well for a little while, and then send thee about thy business, but He will receive thee and make thee His bride, and thou shalt be His for ever? Receive no longer the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby thou shalt cry, Abba, Father! Oh! the grace of these words: "I will in no wise cast out."



- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jerry Clower: The Chauffeur and the Professor

Although we've already heard from him once this month, I thought it might be time for another story from our favorite humorist, the late Jerry Clower.  This is one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy it!

video



Friday, July 26, 2013

Soccer: No Substitute for Floggings

The Islamic zeal for blood, "vengeance," and the subjugation of women sometimes dips below the level of tragedy and horror, and becomes merely comical. Several months ago, we watched an Egyptian "cleric," Mahmoud Al-Masr, explain that participation in the game of soccer was, in fact, a Jewish plot, as outlined in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  But he was talking about Muslim men and boys taking part in the sport.  Today, we have a more recent pronunciamento, from yet another "cleric" in Libya, who is utterly outraged over the possible creator of a girls' soccer team in his squalid little country.  Such sports, he seems to say, may be permissible for the sluttish daughters of "Jews, Christians, and Communists," but Islamic girls are made for flogging!

video

Although he's also upset about public drunkenness and such matters, as is understandable, I think he's being a bit harsh on these girls he so badly wants to flog.  "The filth of nudity and shamelessness?"  Really?  The picture below portrays some Muslim girls playing soccer in Morocco, although this particular "training camp" was also attended by visiting athletes (or would-be athletes) from Libya.  Believe me, "Sheik," I've seen "nudity and shamelessness," and this isn't it.

If the "Sheik" saw the picture below, he'd undoubtedly be scandalized by the bare heads and partially exposed legs; but, knowing Islam, I think what would bother him most are the simple, spontaneous smiles on the girls' faces.  In Mohammedanism, females aren't supposed to be happy.

In the meantime, the child rapes and child sex trafficking continue throughout the Muslim world.  But that's okay; they're simply following the example of Muhammad.  "The religion of peace" may appear insane, but it's not: it's simply evil and demonic, root and branch.  Soccer is the least of the Mohammedans' problems.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Others May, You Cannot"


I love this piece.  It reminds me of John 21:22 and how God's children are individually accountable to Him.  His word is eternal and unchanging, but He certainly applies it differently in each of our lives and because of that, we need to be careful about judging what we think we see in another Christian's life and walk.


by G.D. Watson (1845-1924)

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others who seem to be very religious and useful, may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold: a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honoured and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature. The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. God will take you at your word; if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven, the high calling of God. 

- - - Laura

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Nada's Escape

A few days ago, we looked at the unspeakably sad stories of two young girls, aged fifteen and eight, who had been forced into devastating, ultimately fatal "child marriages" by Mohammedans in Afghanistan and Syria.  We've seen these cases before, and for every such story recounted in the Western press, there are undoubtedly countless others that go unremarked and unlamented throughout the Muslim world: such is the nature of Islam, the most heartless and brutal "religion" in human history.  But every once in awhile, by the grace of God, a child escapes.  Here is Nada Al-Ahdal, a courageous and bright eleven year old from Yemen, who fled her family to escape an "arranged" (i.e., forced) marriage:

video

This is no spoiled Western "tween" running away from home because she doesn't enjoy cleaning her room. Nada was truly fleeing a fate worse than death, and perhaps death itself. The plight of her peers in Yemen is sadly chronicled in this story from the Daily Mail. 

God bless her and those who protected her, and it is our prayer that she find shelter, love, happiness, and a long life, far from the clutches of the "religion" that exalts and practices pedophilia and murder, in emulation of their demon-possessed "prophet" Muhammad.  It is also our prayer that she finds ultimate liberation and joy by discovering and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ, the true living and loving God. She is pictured below with her uncle, who probably jeopardized his own life by offering her sanctuary.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

God is not

Obviously when I say "God is not," I am not talking about His existence!  In that sense, God most definitely is and whether a person believes in His existence or not, it's not ultimately going to change a thing.  

Ex 3:6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.


Ex 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
Ex 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Ex 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. 


*******

As is always best, let's see what God Himself says that He's not.  Rather than expound upon the verses, I invite you to open your Bible, check the context of the references and take the time to prayerfully meditate on them.

Nu 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 

Ps 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. 

Mt 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
Mt 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Ga 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Ga 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

2Ti 2:8Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
2Ti 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

Heb 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Heb 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Heb 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.  

- - - Laura

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Christian and Depression: Spurgeon's Perspective

In one of our earlier posts on the subject of Major Depression in the life of a Christian, we alluded to the fact that "the Prince of Preachers," Charles Haddon Spurgeon, had probably suffered from the condition.  Of course, it's not possible to diagnose someone who died in 1892; but, whether it was the actual disease or not, Spurgeon acknowledged symptoms that sound very familiar.  In this series, I've attempted to assure my fellow Bible believing Christians that, if they suffer from this disorder, they're not "sinful" or "lazy," but who am I to speak?  Now hear the words of a man whose closeness to Jesus Christ has never been challenged, and who was one of the greatest servants of God in church history:

Some years ago, I was the subject of fearful depression of spirit. Certain troublous events had happened to me; I was also unwell, and my heart sank within me. Out of the depths I was forced to cry unto the Lord. Just before I went away to Mentone for rest, I suffered greatly in body, but far more in soul, for my spirit was overwhelmed.

Under this pressure, I preached a sermon from the words, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" I was as much qualified to preach from that text as ever I expect to be; indeed, I hope that few of my brethren could have entered so deeply into those heart-breaking words. I felt to the full of my measure the horror of a soul forsaken of God. Now, that was not a desirable experience. I tremble at the bare idea of passing again through that eclipse of soul; I pray that I may never suffer in that fashion again unless the same result should hang upon it.

That night, after sermon, there came into the vestry a man who was as nearly insane as he could be to be out of an asylum. His eyes seemed ready to start from his head, and he said that he should utterly have despaired if he had not heard that discourse, which had made him feel that there was one man alive who understood his feeling, and could describe his experience. I talked with him, and tried to encourage him, and asked him to come again on the Monday night, when I should have a little more time to talk with him.

I saw the brother again, and I told him that I thought he was a hopeful patient, and I was glad that the word had been so suited to his case. Apparently, he put aside the comfort which I presented for his acceptance, and yet I had the consciousness upon me that the precious truth which he had heard was at work upon his mind, and that the storm of his soul would soon subside into a deep calm.

Now hear the sequel. Last night, of all the times in the year, when, strange to say, I was preaching from the words, "The Almighty hath vexed my soul," after the service, in walked this self-same brother who had called on me five years before. This time, he looked as different as noonday from midnight, or as life from death. I said to him, "I am glad to see you, for I have often thought about you, and wondered whether you were brought into perfect peace." I told you that I went to Mentone, and my patient also went into the country, so that we had not met for five years.

To my enquiries, this brother replied, "Yes, you said I was a hopeful patient, and I am sure you will be glad to know that I have walked in the sunlight from that day till now. Everything is changed and altered with me."

Dear friends, as soon as I saw my poor despairing patient the first time, I blessed God that my fearful experience had prepared me to sympathize with him and guide him; but last night, when I saw him perfectly restored, my heart overflowed with gratitude to God for my former sorrowful feelings. I would go into the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit: it is good for me to have been afflicted that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.

Suppose that, by some painful operation, you could have your right arm made a little longer, I do not suppose you would care to undergo the operation; but if you foresaw that, by undergoing the pain, you would be enabled to reach and save drowning men who else would sink before your eyes, I think you would willingly bear the agony, and pay a heavy fee to the surgeon to be thus qualified for the rescue of your fellows.

Reckon, then, that to acquire soul-winning power you will have to go through fire and water, through doubt and despair, through mental torment and soul distress. It will not, of course, be the same with you all, nor perhaps with any two of you, but according to the work allotted you, will be your preparation. You must go into the fire if you are to pull others out of it, and you will have to dive into the floods if you are to draw others out of the water. You cannot work a fire-escape without feeling the scorch of the conflagration, nor man a lifeboat without being covered with the waves. If Joseph is to preserve his brethren alive, he must himself go down into Egypt; if Moses is to lead the people through the wilderness, he must first himself spend forty years there with his flock. Payson truly said, "If anyone asks to be made a successful minister, he knows not what he asks; and it becomes him to consider whether he can drink deeply of Christ's bitter cup and be baptized with His baptism."


I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depression of spirits. I know the borders of despair, and the horrible brink of that gulf of darkness into which my feet have almost gone; but hundreds of times I have been able to give a helpful grip to brethren and sisters who have come into that same condition, which grip I could never have given if I had not known their deep despondency. So I believe that the darkest and most dreadful experience of a child of God will help him to be a fisher of men if he will but follow Christ.





- - - C.H. Spurgeon, The Soul Winner

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Christian and Depression, Part VII

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of 
power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

As we continue our discussion of Major Clinical Depression in the life of a born-again, Bible-believing Christian, we need to emphasize the above verse: it's not man's opinion, or man's experience, but God's promise to His children.  If you've been saved according to John 1:12, born again according to John 3:3-7, you're still prone to all the problems and weaknesses that afflicted you before you were saved - - - and that afflict everyone.  But now that you're a believer in Jesus Christ, you're different, and have resources and strengths that you might never have dreamed of.  The above verse is one of them: the promise that, despite your occasional "feelings," God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and  of a sound mind.  Either that verse is true, or God is a liar.

A Christian can do some weird things, of course.  And a "sound mind" is no guarantee against sin. A Christian can even go crazy: really crazy, as in  genuinely insane. (This takes a long time, and is usually the result of consistent, habitual, unconfessed sin.  Sin really will drive you crazy, if you allow it.)  But if you're a genuinely saved Christian, who prays and studies your Bible and seeks to please God on a daily basis, He's not going to let you go insane.  That's the premise and the promise of 2 Timothy 1:7.  You may not have much, you may not have the world with a pink ribbon wrapped around it, but you'll have a sound mind.  In these truly insane times, that's something worth having!


Even if you suffer from Clinical Depression?  Yes, even then: because Depression is not insanity: it's a chemical disorder, a physical disease.  I've suffered from Major Clinical Depression for over twenty years, but at the same time, my Creator and Saviour has given me a sound mind.  And thousands of Christians could make the same statement.  I have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling inside this messed-up body, with its mixed-up brain chemicals: and I have the Holy Bible, to help me, every day, which renews my mind (Romans 12:2).

So, God has promised us a sound mind, a mind that can be constantly renewed.  In fact, the Apostle Paul goes so far as to say that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)!  Someone asks (and it's a logical question), "How can a person have a sound mind, the mind of Christ, and be mentally ill?"  Because some mental illness, such as Major Depression, is a physical matter, a chemical imbalance.  If treated by a physician, it need not affect your thinking, your mind, at all.  If you had appendicitis or a broken bone, would it stop you from experiencing, enjoying, and serving your Saviour?  Of course not.  Neither does Depression, if it's treated.  Contrary to what some of "the brethren" think, Depression is not a sin, or a failure.  A Christian prays for forgiveness from gossip or drunkenness or sexual sin; but no Christian has to pray, "Oh Lord, please forgive me because the serotonin neurons are re-absorbed into my brain too quickly!"  God made you the way you are, and He understands.

I can already hear some of the "Independent Baptist" deacons and the "Truly Reformed" Presbyterian elders huffing and puffing: "Are you saying that God causes mental illness in a Christian's life?"  Don't ask me, Mr. Spiritual: if you have a Bible, and not just a set of traditions, go back to Exodus 4, where God says to Moses, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD (Exodus 4:11)?  And He made man's brain, too: and He made some of us with brains that don't function perfectly on a physical level.  (If you haven't read our earlier posts in this series, you should do so now; they're linked at the bottom of this one.) That's His prerogative. He's the Potter and we're the clay, remember? (Isaiah 64:8) The "preachers" and "prophets" on television who claim that God doesn't want any Christian to be sick, or poor, or afflicted, are liars, and their teachings are doctrines of demons and damnable heresies.  I'll be very blunt: Karl Marx and Mao Zedong preached more "truth" than Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Jimmy Swaggart, and all the rest of the false teachers who pervert God's word in order to make themselves rich.  That's the lunatic fringe of Christianity, and they deserve the contempt the world gives them.  And the "respectable" Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels, and Rick Warren, aren't much better. They might drive you crazy, but God never will!

All of this has been by way of "review," because it's been awhile (in Internet time) since our most recent post in this series.  In that post, we discussed the role of medication in the treatment of Major Clinical Depression.  For some people with the disease (about 25%, according to the Mayo Clinic), medication is enough, and it can often be prescribed by your primary care physician.  (These medications are not "mood-enhancing" drugs; they have no immediately observable effect at all.  They gradually correct the imbalance in your brain chemistry.) It may be, if you suffer from this disorder, that you might be referred to a psychiatrist, but don't assume that such will be the case. In this post, we'll look at the other main therapies: the "talk therapies," such as a psychiatrist or psychologist or counsellor might offer.


(Before continuing, I should mention [if you don't already know] that there are some decent, loving, but ignorant Christian people who believe that any and all treatment by a mental health professional is a snare and a delusion.  They love to quote verses like vain is the help of man [Psalm 60:11, Psalm 108:12].  Those are great verses, but they only quote half the verse, and quote it out of context.  [If their house was burning down, would they refuse to call the Fire Department, because "vain is the help of man?"]  This goes back to something we discussed in the first post in this series: the old antagonism between the mental health community and the Christian community.  Sadly, a lot of that antipathy still exists.  There are still Christians who say "Psychiatry is of the Devil," and there are still psychologists who say "Religion is the root of man's problems."  We'll try to avoid these people, but we need to be aware that they're still out there.  Don't fall into their traps; God is on your side!)

The first thing that comes to most people's minds, when they think of mental illness, is psychiatry.  One definition of psychiatry is "the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders."  That's correct; but the phrase you need to notice is "the branch of medicine." A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor, who's been to medical school just like an obstetrician or a cardiologist, and has had the same basic training; he or she has just chosen psychiatry as his or her specialty.  (A psychiatrist can probably sew up an injury or deliver a baby with no problem; those things just aren't his specialty.)  The psychiatrist differs from the psychologist in that he or she can prescribe psychotropic medication, and a psychologist can't.  And medication is one of the main tools in most psychiatrists' practice; the other is talk therapy, in which the doctor discusses the patient's life, thinking, and emotional state, and tries to help the patient find answers.  For most people with Major Clinical Depression, a psychiatrist will be consulted sooner or later; but it probably won't be necessary to see the shrink very often.  Psychiatrists spend a lot of their time dealing with people who have severe mental disorders, such as neuroses, psychoses, multiple personality disorders, etc., which are quite a bit more extreme than Clinical Depression.  Psychiatry has often been misused and abused, from the days of Freud to the totalitarian states like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, where people considered "enemies of the state" were sent to "hospitals" that were really prisons.  This will probably happen again before God wraps up human history, but that doesn't make all psychiatrists bad guys.  In my own life, as an educated, experienced Christian man, compassionate and understanding psychiatrists have been used by the hand of God to help me.  Don't be scared of them, but don't think of them as either demons or "little gods," either.  They're just doctors.

"Talk therapy" is also practiced by psychologists. Psychology is not a branch of medicine, but an academic subject, in which the mind and behaviour are studied. Psychologists can do all kinds of tests and measurements of an individual (such as determining if a person has Major Depression), but their "treatment options" are limited to some form of talk therapy.  Very often, they don't see "patients" at all; or, if they do, they end up referring them to psychiatrists.  However, psychologists often see couples and/or children in "family therapy," or other specialized practices. (Obviously, "family therapy" doesn't require a psychiatrist; the problem isn't mental illness, but dysfunctional behaviour, which is the psychologist's forté.) They're often employed by corporations or political campaigns to study people in groups, but the really academic study of group behaviour is done by sociologists. Psychologists work with many people suffering from Major Depression, but their therapy is limited to talk, and/or directed exercises, about which we'll have more to say.


But "talk therapy" can also be practiced by licensed social workers, Marriage and Family Counsellors, and others.  (Sometimes, a social worker or other counsellor will work within a psychiatrist's practice, conducting "talk therapy" while the psychiatrist monitors the medication.) Which begs the question: how good, and how bad, is "talk therapy" as a treatment?

That depends on the therapist, and on the patient.  And it's particularly complicated for the born-again Christian.  There are at least two reasons for this.

When a born-again, Bible-believing Christian finally makes the decision to seek help from a mental health professional, he or she has very, very mixed emotions.  In almost every case, he feels like he's "failed" in the Christian life, and if he just had more faith, he wouldn't be so screwed up.  (Far too often, this impression will be reinforced by the loudmouthed opinions of ignorant brethren in Christ.)  Sometimes, she will feel that, by consulting an "outsider," she's betraying her pastor, or her Christian friends.  In either case, they'll feel guilty.  So, they'll be on the defensive when they walk into the therapist's office.  That's not a good way to start.


Then, the therapist, even nowadays, might have a deep-seated suspicion of "religion," and the more the patient talks about his or her faith, the more the therapist will focus on this as the patient's "problem."  And there are very few fields of study that are more thoroughly humanistic than psychology. Many psychologists, and not a few psychiatrists, may have abandoned Sigmund Freud's various sexual theories, but they retain his hatred of "religion."  A person with that attitude, however well-intentioned, cannot help a born-again Christian.

The past few paragraphs have dealt with psychiatrists and psychologists in their general approach, and have not been focused on the patient suffering from Major Clinical Depression.  So, let's bring it all together: how helpful is "talk therapy" in the treatment of Depression?

In my opinion, both as a patient who's been through the various therapies and methodologies and as someone who's studied the subject for decades (and who has numerous acquaintances in a similar position), I'd have to say that "talk therapy" is not very effective in the treatment of Depression (in a Christian), and can be actually damaging.  But this depends almost entirely on the therapist. At the absolute lowest point of my life, after attempting suicide, God somehow arranged, in His loving, mysterious ways, for me to have a psychiatrist who was ... a born-again Christian!  He understood me perfectly, and God had sent him into my life as surely as He sent Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch.  So, despite our fears ... God has His people everywhere, even within the psychiatric profession.

Since then, I have experienced "talk therapy" with a Jewish atheist (a social worker, in the practice of my psychiatrist at the time), and by a "lapsed Baptist" homosexual (another social worker); both men were younger than I, and both had the best of intentions, and both were respectful of my faith.  They both stated that my faith was my greatest asset.  But when I look for a positive contribution that they made to my condition, I can find none. (On the other hand, they didn't make things any worse!)  Because it wasn't a condition that required "talk:" it required chemicals, to correct the chemical imbalance.  And, as a somewhat experienced Christian, I wasn't really reaching out to them for help; I was reaching out to the Lord, in my time with Him.  So why did I talk to them at all?  Because, at that point in time, my Depression was so severe that my psychiatrist demanded it.  The talk sessions were a prerequisite to get the medication.  (It is also difficult for me to ignore the fact that these "talk" sessions represented income for the practice; but that's okay.  I don't expect treatment for free.)  In her opinion, I needed both.  Looking back, I disagree, but I was in no position to quibble.

Today I am in a far different position, not seeing a mental health professional at all, but having my condition monitored and medicated by my primary care physician.  God has healed me: not completely, but gradually.  The time will come when the medication I now take will be discontinued.  I won't miss it; it's not like taking "happy pills," but more like taking insulin or blood pressure medication.  When my doctor and I determine that I no longer need it, I'll stop.

I apologize for talking at such length about my own experience; yours, if you have Major Depression, will be different.  (And, as I've said in every post, you probably don't have this condition; less than 10% of the North American population does.) I also apologize for the length of this post; I assume that only those who are genuinely concerned with the subject will have gotten this far!

There are two other forms of therapy for Major Depressives which should be briefly addressed.  One is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  Oddly, this seems to be the most effective non-medicinal therapy for Depression; although it has a history that would make your hair stand on end. It has its roots in the "behavior modification" techniques practiced in totalitarian régimes, and in the outrageous book Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) by the fascist B.F. Skinner.  However, CBT is like nothing Skinner and his ilk ever envisioned.  It is simply a process in which the therapist guides the patient through a series of exercises which focus not on the deep, dark roots of his or her thinking, but on the thinking itself, and how it can be improved and made more productive.  The patient does most of the work; in fact, CBT has been successfully conducted over the Internet, with no face to face contact at all.  It is, one might say, the least "invasive" of the talk therapies, and relies the most on the patient's motivation and goals.  (I have never experienced this therapy, but have seen its results in others.) Also, CBT isn't an infinite loop of "treatment;" the entire process usually takes around 14 to 16 weeks.  As long as the Christian carefully maintains his or her spiritual disciplines at the same time (prayer, Bible study, fellowship with others), this sounds very promising.  But let me be emphatic: No therapy, and no medication, is going to "heal" a Christian if he or she abandons his or her spiritual life, and looks to the brain as the center of all life.  The center of all life is Jesus Christ, and ours is a jealous God.  Any therapy, for any disease, should be pursued only in prayer, humility, and reliance on God.  Whether a Christian has breast cancer or Major Depression, two verses must be remembered: without me [Jesus], ye can do nothing (John 15:5), and I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).

Finally, because Christians (like everyone else) suffering from Depression sometimes "self-medicate" with drugs and alcohol, they sometimes find themselves in "12-Step" groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and a plethora of others: the "Anonymous" movement has exploded since the late Bill Wilson started Alcoholics Anonmymous in 1938.  (Although he overcame his alcoholism, Wilson's later life would be marked by deep depression, involvement in the occult, and a flirtation with LSD.)  I would not recommend the 12-Step approach to anyone. It is reputed to have helped a number of people overcome various addictions, but I have talked to too many 12-Step participants who reported becoming discouraged and even suicidal from the experience, and there are definite cultic elements involved: unlike the brief treatment involved in CBT, for example, "Anonymous" participants are told that they must expect to participate for the rest of their lives. Statistically, the Nation of Islam (Black Muslims) has a better record of "cleaning up" addicts than the 12-Step groups. Anyway, they're geared toward addictions, not the physical disease of Depression.

The great flaw in the 12-Step programs, and in the approach of too many mental health professionals, is the notion that nobody is really "bad" or "sinful:" anyone with a problem is simply "sick."  Clinical Depression is a sickness; but sin touches every area of our lives, and cannot be laughed off by sophisticates.  That's why the late Karl Menninger, long considered "the Dean of American Psychiatry," felt compelled, in 1973, to rock the mental health community with his bestselling book, Whatever Became of Sin?  He understood the problem.


So, sin is always there, "lying at the door" (Genesis 4:7), waiting to strike at Christian and non-Christian alike.  It must not be ignored.

But it has been overcome - - - and, if you're a born again Christian, you've already overcome it, in Christ! (1 John 2:14, 1 John 4:4)  If you suffer from Major Depression, it's not because of your sins: it's because of your brain chemistry.  You haven't failed God, and you're not being punished for a lack of faith.  You have a thorn in the flesh - - - which can be treated, by the grace of God, and for which you should seek treatment.

I ought to know.  I'm with you!  And if you don't suffer from this condition, praise God, and reach out to strengthen your brothers and sisters who do!

... and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
 (Matthew 28:20, Jesus speaking)




Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Those Dark-Eyed Virgins Again

Although we've heard it all before, perhaps it's time for a refresher course on the subject of Islam's favorite subject: the foul, disgusting nature of the human female, as opposed to the sexual perfection of the dark-eyed virgins of "Paradise."  Many false religions make the mistake of worshipping a "goddess" (Wicca, Hinduism, Roman Catholicism); Islam goes to the opposite extreme, because of the sexual hangups of its demon-possessed founder, and despises femininity itself - - - except for the idealized, truly weird "femininity" described in the video below. But, before hearing from another Islamic "teacher," perhaps we should see how this nonsense is presented to the average Muslim, who might not have a scholarly cast of mind: just where do the dark-eyed virgins come from, anyway?  Why, bless your soul, it seems that the average filthy, nauseating earthly female can aspire to eternal perfection:

video

All it takes is a "martyr's" death, and the girl next door can become one of the "maidens of Paradise."  How else could it be?  Sex is not the only god of Islam: death is just as highly prized.

Of course, Christian men and women aspire to perfection in Heaven; but that's a bit different.  "Perfection," to a Christian, is not eternal sexual desirability; it is being in the Presence of his or her Creator and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  But Muslims don't have that hope, or even that aspiration: as seen (for the umpteenth time) in the following video, "Paradise" is to be understood as a place of constant sexual gratification.  Notice, please, how the Saudi "cleric" talks about women: it's all about menstruation and weakness and ugliness.  And children are listed with such "impure and foul things" as "feces, urine, and phlegm."  No, I'm not trying to be crude: listen to this wise and holy man for yourself:

video

But let's not be too quick to criticize this particular "scholar."  He's not dragging these things up out of his own depraved imagination; he is faithfully enumerating the teachings of the "Prophet" Muhammad, probably the most perverted and barbaric "religious leader" in human history. And this "cleric" is not a "terrorist" or an "extremist:" he's a typical Islamic teacher. This is Islam, in sum and in fine: lies, filth, and hatred.


* Mention might also be made of the female phallic image which encases the so-called "Kabba Stone" in Mecca. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Jerry Clower: Bird Hunting at Uncle Versie's

It's been too long since we had a good laugh on this blog.  Before continuing with the final installments in our series on the Christian and Depression, maybe we should lighten the mood by listening, once again, to a wonderful anecdote from the late Southern humorist, Jerry Clower (1926-1998) of Route 4, Liberty, Mississippi.  Some of his other stories can be found in "Miscellaneous Posts."  I hope you enjoy it!

video


Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Gay" Hate Crime in Seattle

In a typically charming but unusually enthusiastic expression of their commitment to "tolerance," a large group of homosexuals recently attacked two young Christian street preachers at a "Gay Pride" rally in Seattle, Washington.  When we use the term "attack," we are not referring to angry disagreement, although there was that, at least from the "gay" side: we are referring to criminal assault, battery, and rioting, as defined in Black's Legal Dictionary.  The video below, which contains much foul language (the audio is not suitable for work) was taken a week ago, on June 30; an edited, censored version was broadcast on KOMO-TV in Seattle:

video

Concerning which event, a few observations:

1.  The two young Christians, who were attending a public function on public property, were expressing their religious views, just as the "gays" were expressing their sexual enthusiasms.  None of the reports of the event claimed that the two Christians were acting or speaking in an offensive or threatening way, except insofar as their religious views were objectionable to the "gays," who did not appear particularly happy, much less gay.  The street preachers were not screaming, using sound amplification, or attempting to create a public disturbance. The one sign they displayed, which read "Repent or Else," mentioned such subjects as pornography, drugs, materialism, rock music, and "TV worship:" homosexuality wasn't even on the list.  In other words, this was not a mob of screaming, foul-mouthed sub-Christians from the Westboro Baptist Church.  These were young men attempting to bear witness to their faith at a public gathering.


2.  Having mentioned the Westboro crowd, let us make note of their absence from this event.  The Westboro hysterics are not Christians, or Baptists; they are, as far as any man can judge, unsaved hyper-Calvinists who are obsessed with sex and publicity.  They picket funerals and other tragic events, instead of "gay celebrations" like the one in Seattle, because they are cowards, and don't want to be attacked as these young men were.  They are the best friends the "gays" have: because any time a Christian speaks the Biblical truth about homosexuality, the "gay" can hide behind the Westboro types, and whine, "You're just another hater."  Fred Phelps and his followers have done more for the "gay movement" than anyone on earth, this side of the United States Supreme Court.  I am not in the habit of speaking ill of my brethren in Christ; but with the Westboro crowd, that isn't a consideration, because they're not.

3.  Now that we've gotten the Westboro matter out of the way, we will attempt to be as charitable - - - and as frank - - - as the Bible itself.  The people in this video do not represent homosexuals as a whole; many homosexuals have the decency and common sense not to continually jabber about their sexuality being the center of their lives, because, for many of them, it's not: just as "sexuality" is not the center of any well-adjusted heterosexual's life.  But the "Gay Pride" crowd, the "activists," are a different matter entirely. As the Bible says, And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:28-32) That's not my opinion, and it's not one of the Old Testament Levitical texts that the "gays" constantly complain about: that's the Apostle Paul, writing in the New Testament, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he's describing homosexuals, all homosexuals, as the surrounding context makes clear.  People who engage in homosexual behaviour are, quite simply, some of the filthiest people on earth.  But no Christian can claim to be any better, in himself or herself, because many Christians have been homosexuals, and have been saved, like the rest of us, by receiving Christ according to John 1:12. (And such were some of you, Paul writes to Christians in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, immediately after referring to fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, and abusers of themselves with mankind.) Being a "good," monogamous heterosexual doesn't get a man or woman one centimeter closer to Heaven, and homosexuality doesn't damn anyone.  One is damned for rejecting God's offer of salvation, on God's terms, in God's word, the Bible.

That is the message that these two young men were seeking to proclaim, before the "enlightened, loving, tolerant gays" set upon them like a pack of hyenas.  But the "militant, activist" homosexuals hate Christians - - - and hate Jesus Christ - - - more than any group of people on this planet: including the Muslims.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Encouraging verses about God's faithfulness

By Laura B.

Praise God for His faithfulness to us, even when we are not faithful to Him.   He cannot deny Himself, and as He is faithful to keep His children's salvation, He will also be faithful to judge those who reject Him.  His invitation still stands:  behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor 6:2)



De 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Ps 119:138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
  
Ps 36:5 ¶ Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

Ps 40:10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

Psalms 89:1 Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Psalms 89:2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

Psalms 89:5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

Psalms 89:8 O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?

Psalms 89:24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

Psalms 89:33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.

Psalms 119:75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

Psalms 119:90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

Psalms 143:1 A Psalm of David. Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.

Isaiah 25:1 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
  
1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1Th 5:23-24  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

2Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

2Ti 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Re 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Re 19:11 ¶ And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Re 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Re 22:6 ¶ And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.