Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chatting with an Assassin

On June 8, 1992, Egyptian scholar and journalist Farag Foda was assassinated by "Muslim extremists," i.e., faithful followers of Mohammed who believed in, and practiced, the "holy" Koran.  (These were real Muslims, not the kind of Westernized hypocrites who attend Friday jumu'ah services at the local mosque and then enjoy Western comforts and culture for the rest of the week.) Foda, who worked as a professor of agriculture, had written twelve books in Arabic, mostly dealing with issues of Islam and secularization.  He had aroused the ire of faithful Muslims when he ridiculed some of the insane sexual teachings of the "religion," and a "fatwa" had been issued, so, naturally, he was shot like a dog in the street as he left his office one day.  His son and several other bystanders were wounded; Foda left a widow and several children.

Two of Foda's murderers were executed, under the secular law administered by Hosni Mubarak.  Others were involved, however, and as Egypt has become one of the prime battlegrounds of Islam against secularism, one of the accomplices in the murder, Abu Al-'Ela Abd Rabbo, has proudly stepped forth to brag about the rationale for the assassination on television. This is an old case, but a very recent interview. As you watch his smug, self-confident remarks, and hear his disrespect for his victim's family, remember: you are looking at the true face of Islam.  It is savagery, barbarity, and a doctrine of devils, and it cannot be refined.

video

 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Iranians Reject Saeed's Appeal

An  Iranian appeals court has rejected the request of American pastor Saeed Abedini for a reduction in his eight-year sentence, handed down earlier this year because of Saeed's "crimes" of sharing his Christian faith and operating homes for Iranian orphans. The background of his story can be found here and here.  Despite widespread protest from around the world, and probably caused in no small part by the indifference of the Obama Administration to this outrageous treatment of an American citizen, Iran has upheld Brother Saeed's disgusting and unjust sentence.

From Breitbart News:

WIFE OF PASTOR JAILED IN 

IRAN SLAMS OBAMA SILENCE



The wife of an Iranian-American pastor imprisoned in Iran said Monday she was "extremely disappointed" that US President Barack Obama had remained silent on the case.

The statement by Naghmeh Abedini followed reports from Tehran that an Iranian appeals court had upheld her husband Saeed Abedini's conviction and eight-year prison term.

"The news out of Iran is devastating to our family," she said in a statement released by the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing the family.

Abedini, a naturalized US citizen who converted from Islam to Christianity, was sentenced to prison in January for his role in establishing underground Christian churches in Iran.

His Iran-based lawyer Nasser Sarbazi said the Tehran appeals court confirmed the verdict.

"As a consequence, the sentence of eight years in prison is definitive from now on," Sarbazi said.

Naghmeh Abedini, who lives in Idaho with the couple's two children, said the family would be consulting with lawyers to determine whether to appeal to Iran's Supreme Court or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader.

She called in the meantime for stepped up international pressure in the case, and sharply criticized Obama for not speaking out on her husband's behalf.

"My husband is serving eight years in the notorious Evin prison and facing daily threats and abuse by radicals because he refuses to deny his Christian faith," she said.

"And yet, my president, President Obama, has not spoken a word about him," she said.
"I am extremely disappointed that President Obama has chosen to remain silent on this critical human and religious rights case of an American imprisoned in Iran," she said.

Although Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly protested Saeed's treatment, President Obama has maintained a stony silence throughout, choosing to vent his anger at such inconvenient people as Edward Snowden, and crying his endless crocodile tears over the thug Trayvon Martin.  Christians will continue to pray for Saeed and his family: that the God Who melted the heart of the Pharaoh will intervene with the Iranians, that Saeed will remain in good health, and that his family will be comforted.  If it is God's pleasure to allow this situation to continue (and His judgments are true and righteous altogether), then the martyr's crown will be awarded to Saeed in due course. 

Islam continues, in Iran and Egypt, to persecute and kill Christians with joy and, in the Obama era, impunity.  The barbarian, sub-human  followers of the demon-possessed Muhammad will enjoy the fruit of their labors at His hand. 

Obama supporters?

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Broken and Smoking"

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench. (Isaiah 42:3) 

 

Then I may reckon upon tender treatment from my Lord. Indeed, I feel myself to be at best as weak, as pliant, as worthless as a reed. Someone said, "I don't care a weed for you"; and the speech, though unkind, was not untrue. Alas! I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. I am bruised—sorely, sadly bruised. There is no music in me now; there is a rift which lets out all the melody. Ah, me! Yet Jesus will not break me; and if He will not, then I mind little what others try to do. O sweet and compassionate Lord, I nestle down beneath Thy protection and forget my bruises!

Truly I am also fit to be likened to "the smoking flax," whose light is gone, and only its smoke remains. I fear I am rather a nuisance than a benefit. My fears tell me that the devil has blown out my light and left me an obnoxious smoke, and that my Lord will soon put an extinguisher upon one. Yet I perceive that though there were snuffers under the law, there were no extinguishers, and Jesus will not quench me; therefore, I am hopeful. Lord, kindle me anew and cause me to shine forth to Thy glory and to the extolling of Thy tenderness.

- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Faith's Checkbook

Friday, August 16, 2013

Encouraging verses about Eternal Security

Eternal security is a highly debated doctrine in a lot of places, but it won't be on this blog.  I believe the Bible clearly teaches that once someone is saved, they cannot lose their salvation.  Christians can lose their fellowship, untold blessings, and even their earthly life if they choose to continue a life of sin after they're saved, but they won't lose their salvation.  Does that provide a licence to sin? God forbid (Romans 6).  Our salvation should provide all the motivation we need to live for Christ.    

If you're not saved, you need to receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour according to John 1:12.  Please don't put it off (2 Cor 6:2).
Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.


*******

1Jo 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1Jo 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1Jo 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.


Ps 61:1 To the chief Musician upon Neginah, A Psalm of David. Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
Ps 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Ps 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
Ps 61:4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
Ps 61:5 ¶ For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
Ps 61:6 Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations.
Ps 61:7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.
Ps 61:8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.


Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (If you can lose it, it's not eternal or everlasting)


Ro 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Salvation is a free gift, Eph 2:8-9)


Ro 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Ro 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


1Pe 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.


Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.


2Ti 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.


2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.


Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

- - - Laura B.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Your Tax Dollars at Work

If you're an American taxpayer, the following images will show you how your tax dollars are being used by the pro-Muslim Obama administration.  If you're not an American, you may be thankful that you don't live under such an evil régime. 

First, from CNN:

Obama to move forward with plan to arm Syrian rebels

By Brianna Kielar, Jessica Yellin and Tom Cohen, CNN updated 6:56 AM EDT, Wed July 24, 2013

Washington (CNN) -- Reluctant approval from Congress for providing military support to Syrian rebels allows the Obama administration to move forward with plans first announced almost six weeks ago.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday that the goal of the military aid expected to include small arms, ammunition and perhaps anti-tank weapons is to keep the Syrian opposition going against forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad's regime.


Noting al-Assad's forces have been helped by Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as Iran, Carney said Syrian rebels need the help of the United States and allied nations to withstand an increased assault.


"The aid is intended to help the opposition resist Assad and eventually prevail," Carney said, adding that any resolution of Syria's civil war will require a political transition.

 And what is the nature of these "Syrian rebels?"  Unike their enemy, President Bashir al-Assad, they are devout Muslims: al-Assad is a Ba'athist. The rebels are a coalition of anti-Ba'athist Mohammedans, including the Muslim Brotherhood.  In other words, it's the Muslims against the secularists, so, naturally, America is taking the side of the Muslims.

There are no "good guys" in this struggle: Assad is a typical Arab despot, and deserves everything that can be done to destroy his power; but the rebels, being faithful Muslims, are in a class by themselves.  One need not endorse or embrace Assad in order to oppose the rebels, whose tactics can be seen in the following photographs (I spare the reader the widely-available videos of the rebels beheading and torturing their enemies).  These are the same "rebels" who routinely finance their activities through child sex trafficking.

But even when it's not trafficking for cash, they display the typical, inevitable cruelty, violence, and pedophilia that so distinguishes the "religion" of Muhammad.  This child pictured immediately below, a toddler living in the Deir ez-Zor Governate of eastern Syria, was chained to a gate by members of the U.S.-sponsored "Free Syrian Army," and forced to watch as her mother and father were beheaded.  The act itself wasn't enough, however: the brave, bold soldiers felt the need to photograph her agony for posterity.


In an unrelated but widely-publicized incident, Syrian "rebels"
also raped and mutilated this young girl, as related widely on the Web.  The photographs come from "the largest Syrian Christian page on Facebook."  I apologize for the graphic nature of these images, but again, I'm sparing you the execution videos:

before and after

The above child's rape, incidentally, was totally legal according to the fatwas under which these animals operate.  The military purpose of her violation, or its affect on bringing down the Assad régime, is not readily apparent.  But who needs reasons for child rape?  After all, this is Islam.  Muhammad smiles again, and Obama and the American Congress pays the bills.



Monday, August 12, 2013

When God is Silent

Lester Roloff (1914-1982) was one of the greatest preachers, evangelists, and servants of God in the 20th century.  His preaching was as plain as Billy Sunday's but as deep as Spurgeon's, but it didn't end in the pulpit: his commitment to help troubled teenagers led him to establish homes for them throughout his native Texas.  In this picture, he looks like an identical twin of boxing referee Mills Lane, which is appropriate, because Roloff was one of God's great warriors.  The following is an excerpt from his sermon, Something Everybody Can Do:


We're coming now to the requirements of a successful prayer life. What must I do to get my prayers answered? What is the thing that will make you keep on praying? It's hearing from Heaven! I'm going to reverse that. The thing that will reveal your faith is praying when no answer comes. That's the supreme test. I've gone over a number of chapters in the book of Job again. In one of them, Job said, "Oh that I knew where I might find Him." He was looking for God. Can you imagine? He was the best man God had and he couldn't find Him. He said "Lord, I want you to show me why you're doing this to me. We've always been on good terms and you've been my best friend. I'm not against you and am not going to turn against you, but I need an explanation and I want you to give it." But the Lord didn't pay him any attention. I imagine the Lord just kind of smiled and said, "Later on. After a while." So finally Job said "I went forward and He wasn't there. Backward. I couldn't perceive Him. On the left hand where He doth work. I couldn't behold Him. On the right hand where He hid himself and I couldn't see him." That's all the directions isn't it? Forward, backward, left, right. He said "I couldn't get one glimpse of Him." Then he said, "But He knoweth the way that I take and when He hath tried me, He will bring me forth as gold. My feet have held His steps. His way have I kept and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips. I've esteemed His words more than my necessary food." That's the secret of it right there. It was the most severe test he ever had. It wasn't when all of his ten children died. It wasn't when he lost all of his camels, oxen and sheep and goats and chickens. It wasn't when he lost all of his servants. The greatest loss was not when Mrs. Job came and said, "Just curse God and die." That wasn't his most severe test. That was just part of it. Then three fair-weather friends came and looked at him and they didn't speak for seven days. Not one word. Finally they opened their mouths and skinned him and scalded him and scathed him and ate him up alive. But that wasn't his greatest test. Do you know what the greatest test was? You've never been there until you've reached this place, and that is when you look up to God and there's not any God. You just pray like you used to pray and there's no answer. There's no response. There's no God. There's no feeling and your faith is severely tested. But let me tell you something. You're going to have to learn to believe God when you cannot perceive God. You're going to have to learn to "faith" Him when you can't feel Him. Unless you do, you're going to be in bad shape before this thing's over with. There'll come a time when God reserves the right to cut you completely loose from Him and then see what your faith will lead you to do. "In all this, Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly."


(emphasis added)

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Children's Hour

We've seen some terrible stories recently about the abuse of Muslim children, primarily the forced marriages/rapes of little girls, but what of the less horrific, day to day lives of children unfortunate enough to be born under the star and crescent?  Enough of the horror stories.  Let's look at the happy moments in a Mohammedan child's life.  First, some very sweet "Palestinian" girls, reciting what I suppose is the Muslim equivalent of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star:"

video

Aren't they adorable? If they're not sold into sexual slavery, or married off by the age of twelve, they'll probably grow up to be doting mothers who train their own children in the religion of hate, death, and Hell.  And they're not alone in their childish recitations.  In this clip, observe the pride on the face of their adult "mentor:"

video

And here's a more "sophisticated" production, created for Palestinian television, with the participation of another encouraging adult.  Revenge, death, martyrdom: these are some of the cornerstones of Mohammedanism, and these unfortunate children are learning their lessons well.   

video

We can only pray that the true God, in His mercy, will rescue these precious children from the monstrous fanatics (i.e., faithful Muslims) who would rejoice to see them die in the service of their demon-possessed "Prophet" Mohammed.  The children, although not the adults, are more to be pitied than scorned.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Be careful what you ask for?"

You've heard the old cliché .... and perhaps you've said it yourself.  Someone expresses a desire, such as, "I wish I had a different job!" or "I wish my kids wouldn't make so much noise!" And someone else says, with a smile or a look of concern, "Be careful what you ask for!"  (Sometimes this is expressed as, "Be careful what you wish for!") What they mean is, "What if you got a job that was even worse?"  Or, "What if something happened to your kids?"  Sometimes, the statement is thought-provoking; sometimes, it's just someone's attempt to sound wise.  It can be a very valid suggestion, but usually it's just a cliché: another way of saying, "Cheer up!  Things could be worse!"

The statement is heard (and repeated) by born-again Christians, too.  But the question of the day is: Should it be?  Should a Christian be careful what he or she asks for .... really asks for, in prayer?

We're not talking about the basic mechanisms of prayer itself.  Of course our prayers should always be reverent, sincere, and as spontaneous as a child talking to his or her Father: because, if you've received Christ according to John 1:12, that's exactly what you are.  We're considering the very specific question: Should a Christian be careful what he or she asks for? Can our prayers "backfire" on us?

 
The Enemy, Satan, will always tell us that we should "be careful."  Whenever we pray, really pray, the Enemy will make it His business to try and frustrate and discourage us, and get us to quit.  This has happened in my own life.  I've prayed, for example: "Lord, this migraine is killing me!  Could you please give me some relief?"  And a silent, insidious voice has whispered, "Be careful what you ask for. God might give you a brain tumor instead, without any pain at all!"  That was not the voice of the Holy Spirit!  A woman might ask, "Lord, my husband just won't stop nagging me about sex.  I try to meet his needs, but he's just so demanding...."  And she might hear that same silent voice say, "Be careful what you ask for.  He might go elsewhere to meet his needs!"  Again, if the woman is trying to be a good wife, that is not the voice of God's Spirit speaking to her!  That's the Enemy, trying to stop us from praying ... and, even worse, trying to make us fear God in the wrong way: fear that He might do something just to spite us.  He's been doing it ever since he tempted Eve.  It's nothing new.

The English poet and hymn writer William Cowper famously said, "Satan trembles, when he sees the weakest Saint upon his knees."  That's a great line, but whether the Enemy trembles or not, he gets busy.  When a Christian goes to the Father in prayer, the Enemy is right there by his or her side, whispering, scoffing, and, most of all, distracting: he wants to stop our prayers, and make them ineffectual.  One way he does this is by saying, "Be careful what you ask for!"  You can practically hear him sneering.

But what does God say?

When someone says, "Be careful what you ask for," God says:  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6, 7).  God doesn't want us to be timid or uncertain when we pray; He wants to hear the deepest, most sincere longings of our hearts, the most baffling questions in our minds, the simplest requests for our everyday concerns.  He doesn't want us to address Him as a "buddy," or a golfing companion, or "one of the boys;" but neither does He want us to be afraid to approach Him, honestly and without fear.  He's our Father.  He loves us. And He wants us to be open and honest with Him, with no timidity and no fear.  If any kind of prayer makes the Enemy tremble, it's that kind: but the object is not to outwit the Enemy, but to communicate with our Father.

 
(Unfortunately, if you're using one of the "modern translations," your Bible doesn't say Be careful for nothing.  Apparently, the modern "translators" thought that concept was too "archaic," so they've all substituted "Be anxious for nothing" or "Don't worry about anything" or, so help me, "Don't fret."  Those are nice thoughts, but that's not what God said.  Only the King James Bible gives us the perfect reply to "Be careful!")

After all, why should we "be careful" about what we ask God?  Has He commanded us to tiptoe up to Him, wringing our hands, and clear our throats, like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel?  Hardly!  If anything, He's said quite the opposite.  If you've been born again, according to John 3:3-7, and are a child of God, you have your Father's instructions: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).   What an adverb: boldly!

And why can we do that?  The preceding verses in Hebrews tell us: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).  Satan may seek to interrupt our prayers, but he's no competition for the Lord Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, Who prays for us and with us.  And when we talk to God about our concerns and even our temptations, Jesus understands, because He's been down here on the ground, and He understands our every circumstance.

What more could we ask?  God might not answer all of our prayers in a visible way, or in the way we'd hoped, but if I'm in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1), and Christ is in me (Colossians 1:27), then I can pray about anything, and God's not going to get mad at me or laugh at me or brush me aside.

And if that weren't enough, when we can't even put our cares or concerns or desires into words, we have the Holy Spirit of God inside our bodies, helping us to pray, even when we don't know the "right" words:  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26, 27).When we come to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are right there with us!

(Note:  I'm not talking about anything weird or spooky here, and I'm certainly not talking about "praying in tongues."  God is as practical as He is powerful, and He's arranged things perfectly for the Christian who really seeks His Face.)

There's just one "catch."  These promises of access to God, and the assistance of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, are not given to unbelievers.  If you've never received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, by an act of the will, in a moment of time, Jesus is not praying for you.  You can still pray; most people do, from time to time, and sometimes God answers.  But He's not obligated to.  In His great High Priestly prayer, the night before He was crucified, Jesus said:, speaking of His disciples and followers:  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are (John 17:9-11). Think about that: this may be the most intimate and sacred glimpse of the Saviour in the Bible.  This is the Son speaking directly to His Father, and He specifically says that He's not praying for unbelievers, who are still "in the world."

But if you're still "in the world," if you've never received Christ, you can do it today, by receiving Him, by praying to Him, in your own words, for forgiveness and salvation.  Your new life in Christ, and your access to the Father, can begin right now - - - if you're willing to trust Him.

What promises!  What a Saviour!


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Christian and Depression: A Woman's Perspective

by Laura B.

In this installment of our series,  I'm going to share some of my own thoughts. But before I begin, I need to clarify that the information presented in this post is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis, and it is in no way meant to be a substitute for the advice and professional care of a physician. What follows is just some of what I've learned through my own experiences with the illness of Depression.

I have lived with Major Clinical Depression for my entire life of 45 years. I was only 17 when I first crashed into the clutches of what became a terrible foe, although I wasn't actually diagnosed with the illness right away. That came a few years later, when I finally asked my doctor to try me on anti-depressant medication. At the time of my first depressive episode, anti-depressants as we know them today weren't even available. It was the end of 1987 when Prozac received final marketing approval, and my first descent into the jaws of the black dog came in December 1985. Also, there is an extensive history of the illness in my family, and my Mom was one of the silent, stoic sufferers. Because she just wouldn't talk about it, not even to her doctor, she was never officially diagnosed. As an adult, and as I increasingly recognized some of her symptoms in myself, I figured out that she'd been a depressive too.

Most times, Depression is triggered by what the doctors call "a precipitating event," and for me, that event was something as seemingly innocuous as doing grade 12 math homework. I always had trouble with math, and one December afternoon, I just could not figure out how to do a homework assignment. I don't remember what I was having so much trouble with; I just remember something inside me snapping, and I started to cry.  These weren't ordinary tears. This was something that came from much deeper inside, and I couldn't stop. I felt a desolation and hopelessness unlike anything I'd known. I was at home by myself after school; Dad was working afternoons, and Mom got off work at 6 pm. I didn't know what to do, so I walked down the road to meet my Mom as she walked home from work. She was greeted at the end of the block by an extremely upset daughter, and I don't remember what happened for the rest of that night, although I must've calmed down some on the outside. On the inside, that desolation and hopelessness never lifted. Instead it took root and grew and expanded, and many subsequent episodes were to follow as my illness intensified. Depression might be "triggered" by a specific event, but chances are it's been quietly developing in the background of a person's life until that certain something finally brings it to the fore.






The Lord saved me in 1997, when I was 29 years old.  At that point, I'd been a depressive for twelve years that I'd never care to repeat.  Those years weren't all bad, of course, but nothing looks good to you when you're depressed most of the time.   My Depression didn't magically disappear the moment He saved me, however, I would learn that the Great Physician still heals, but it's been a process, not an immediate thing.  The process He brought me through has not been a walk in the park, but He taught me things I wouldn't've otherwise learned as my illness was finally brought under control.

 This series is written for Christians who are living with Major Clinical Depression, but in many cases, depressed Christians started out as depressed unbelievers, as was the case with me.  There are many similarities between saved and unsaved depressives, or between depressives who have received Christ according to John 1:12 and those who have not.  There are also some rather significant differences.

Having experienced life on both sides of the fence, I'd say that the biggest difference between the two is hope.  Now, I know it's hard to believe if you're feeling utterly hopeless, as depressives generally do.  But take heart, Christian:  you see, an unsaved depressive's resources are confined solely within herself.  When you're unsaved and depressed, your ability to comfort yourself is virtually non-existent, so you have to rely on externals for help, be they your husband, kids, food, alcohol, TV, work, shopping, or self-help books, for example.  Yet, as much as loved ones want to understand and support you when you're depressed, sometimes they can't.  Kids who avoid you because you're depressed or a husband who throws his hands up in the air and walks away in frustration when you're crying are really no help at all.  TV and a bowl of ice cream may provide an evening's worth of distraction, but when the TV is turned off, you still feel pretty bleak and hollow inside.  Self-help books may have some good ideas, but who has the ability to concentrate?  Externals are often found to be lacking.



A Christian, on the other hand, has resources and comforts besides those which lie within.  Christians who are truly born again according to John 3:3-7 can go to the Lord, and indeed should go to the Lord to "obtain mercy, and find grace and help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).  We have a Saviour Who has promised to "never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).  We have an entire Bible full of promises in which to find encouragement if we would but "seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read" (Isaiah 34:16).   In the throes of Depressive illness though, we Christians often forget that.  So sometimes that's why God allows a Christian's depression to remain: so that eventually they learn to seek His help first and cling to Him when a depressive episode hits.

Major Clinical Depression is a mental illness with a physical cause, but it can be severely compounded by our emotions and faulty thought patterns, as well as hormonal fluctuations and imbalances.   (It has traditionally been believed to be more prevalent in women, but that is gradually changing as it becomes increasingly acceptable to talk openly about mental illness and more men admit their struggles.)  Premenstrual syndrome can be nasty for a woman who isn't affected by the disease of Depression; it can be even nastier for a woman who is. It's up to the Christian woman who believes God's word to learn how to cope with their monthly cycle in the light of their depressive illness because just as God won't let us use our depressive illness as an excuse to cut corners while following Him, He won't allow us to use PMS as an excuse either!  

A Christian is a trichotomy composed of body, soul and spirit.  Symptoms of Depression can find their origin in any one of the three; the trick is to learn how to identify the source of each depressive episode when it hits.  Think of it as untangling a big ball of yarn:  a jumbled mess of symptoms including lack of interest in that which used to interest you, sleeping and more or less than usual, behaviour that is observably agitated or slowed down, inability to concentrate, feeling worthless and hopeless and frequent thought of death or suicide is present as a result of your illness.  Might the cause be physical, originating in your body?  Are you taking your anti-depressants as prescribed, or have you been lax about it and allowed the chemical imbalance in your brain to reappear? Are you eating healthy food which can really nourish you, or processed junk that your body can't handle?  Are you making an effort to eat even if you don't feel like it?  Are you trying to maintain regular sleep patterns?  These are things that you can do something about fairly easily, whether you feel like it or not.  Or might the cause be mental:  a result of faulty thought patterns and coping mechanisms?  Philippians 4:8 tells the Christian where their thoughts should lie, and it's one of the first verses I ever memorized.  This is also where talk therapy or cognitive-behavioural therapy could be helpful if it was something you and your doctor decided to try.  Lastly, might your current depressive episode have spiritual origins?  Is the Lord trying to teach you something that the Enemy doesn't want you learn?  Is the Lord using Satan to afflict you for His purposes as He did Job?  Might unclean spirits be wreaking just a little bit of havoc to make you miserable?  This is where it's vitally important for the depressed Christian to be in God's word and memorize as well as meditate on scripture to allow the Holy Spirit to encourage you as He brings relevant verses to mind as well as to be able to use scripture to counter the lies the Enemy is telling you, just like Jesus did during His temptation in the wilderness.  

You'll do yourself a world of good if you use scripture to counter your feelings, too.  Feelings are shallow and often impulsive and inaccurate. To quote the late Dr. Adrian Rogers:  "So many of us want to feel victorious, but let me tell you something. Our feelings are the shallowest part of our nature. Salvation is the deepest work of God. And, God doesn't do the deepest work in the shallowest part. We need to get our salvation out of the realm of fickle emotions and begin to reckon the Truth of God's Word. We must count on the life of Christ in us day-by-day and moment-by-moment."  Jesus promises "a bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory" (Matthew 12:20).  But you'd also better periodically check yourself that you're not enjoying feeling miserable.  It's easier to let yourself stay down in the dumps than it is to fight to bring your illness under control.  If you don't want to get better, you won't. Remember that God's will for His children is that they be conformed to Jesus' image and He'll do what He has to do in order to achieve that.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:29 ¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.