For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things are made…” Romans 1:20
“In the past [God] permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness.” Acts 14:16
God speaks to people through non-verbal messages of creation. If we open up our eyes, we will see Him everywhere – our Creator, scattering stars to decorate the skies at night, teaching a dog to wag its tail with delight, making babies who melt our hearts with their cooing…. With great attention to detail, God made the world a wondrous place to be.
“Yes, but what about all the suffering?” you say. If we chose to, we can see plenty of pain and brokenness in the world. Whose to blame for that mess? Scripture says, “You gave [human beings] charge over everything you made, putting all things under their authority.” (Psalm 8:6) If your employer put you in charge of a warehouse and that warehouse is unproductive, messy, losing money, and no one is getting along, whose fault is it? Yep. You got it. You are. I am.
We can get to know God better today by asking Him to open our eyes to His great love, His mercy, all His attributes of loving kindness demonstrated in the world around us. As we get to know His character, we get to know how He can change us into people who spread the Good News of Jesus, that He came to clean up the toxic waste of sin in the world and restore us and our planet until we establish Heaven on earth.
Open my eyes to the beauty around me, the world that reflects your love. Thank you for the rain. Thank you for the snow. Thank you for the food I will enjoy today. Thank you for a bed in which to dream and find restorative rest. Thank you for giving me joy in my friendships. Thank you for transforming my mind from futile thoughts to thankful thoughts. I give you myself today. Open up my eyes, my ears, and all my senses to your Truth.
He [Barnabus] was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabus was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:23-24
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:12
Barnabus was given the name Son of Encouragement. This man was a source of joy and courage to the early believers, and they needed it. Life was no picnic; their very lives were threatened on a regular basis. Barnabus kept their spirits high. How? He was filled with the joy of the Lord. Joy reproduces joy, as sadness often reproduces sadness.
Depression has no upside. The years I spent struggling with depression benefited no one around me. (Quite the contrary.) God’s grace has eradicated depression – although once in a great while, I allow it to creep back in. Thank God, I’ve learned to catch in it’s early stages, like a virus, before it spreads and causes havoc in my emotions. I have found almost without exception that to the degree I invest in my faith on a given day, there is a direct corresponding level of joy in my life the following day, which correlates with how much hope I experience, which, in turn, determines my level of joy.
So if I build my faith today through hearing the Good News (faith comes by hearing the Word of God – Romans 10:17), my hope grows (faith is the evidence of things we hope for – Hebrews 11:1), and when hope grows, I have joy even in the middle of challenging, painful, fearful, and dark circumstances.
This has become my strategy to overcome depression. I hope it is a help for you. It’s not some smug formula by any means, and I realize the dark times we go through are very real. There are different origins of depression, and our doctors and counselors can help us navigate them. Still, we have constant, open access to the Great Physician, and the Counselor of all Counselors – the Holy Spirit for free! And for our freedom!
Struggling with depression, my friend? Pray this plain and simple prayer with me today…
The entrance of Your Word gives light. Thank you for illuminating the darkness in my life. Lord, I choose to follow you to find a way out of the brambles of depression. I long to be a source of support, joy, encouragement and faith for the people I love. As Blind Bartimaeus left his ratty, gross, old beggar’s cloak behind when he ran after Jesus, I leave my rags behind, the rags of sadness, trauma, victimization, unforgiveness, complaining, negativity, and fruitless living. I run to you, Jesus. You have thoroughly and completely done everything to free me from all that is not good. I receive your help! I receive your joy! I receive Your Word and your promises. Set me free to live a life of joy so that I can be a light for others who need hope.
In Jesus’ Name Amen.
…I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 2 Timothy 1:12
I want to know Christ… Phil. 3:10
Only when we know someone can we truly trust him. The same can be applied to God.
If you open the door to the God of the universe whose essence is Love, if you sit at His feet, if you pour out your heart to Him, if you read and ponder His promises and listen to godly men and women who have walked with Him, you will find Him truly worthy of not only your trust but your entire life’s ambition and your whole-hearted worship.
Want to grow in your trust of the Almighty? Pray this plain and simple prayer with us…
I want to learn to trust you, so I am embarking on a journey today to open up my heart to get to know you in all your mystery and wonder. I believe that you are not only friendly to me but loving and kind. How I need to experience your love and kindness, for I am hungry for what is Real. This step I am taking is my first attempt at trust: I give you my life and I ask you to take me, teach me, free me, and turn me into the person you designed for me to be. I want to do the things in this world that bring transformation to others – the same transformation that I am expecting from your hand as I walk with you each day.
…Asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. Ephesians 3:17
Then the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Get up, and eat, for the journey is too long for you without adequate sustenance.” (1 Kings 19:7 Amplified Bible)
Coming off the victory of a lifetime, Elijah received a threat from Queen Jezebel that shook his confidence and rocked his equilibrium. Fear crept into his mind, and like any fugitive might do, he hit the pavement lickety split. He escaped deep into the wilderness, plopped down under a juniper tree, and asked God to do him the honor of ending his life right then and there. He had had E-Nough.
Thank God He doesn’t answer our every prayer, for it certainly wasn’t his will to kill his most effective prophet. Not today. An angel touched him, waking him up, and provided food and beverage, telling him, in essence, “I know you’re strong in spirit, Elijah, but in case you haven’t noticed, you live in a body. Take care of that body. You’re in this for the long haul, buddy, and you ain’t done yet!”
Thus saith the Lord to you today, “Take care of yourself, my friend! Eat well! Eat often. Sleep well! Rest often.” And above all else, take your Vitamin D if you happen to live in a gloomy midwestern state as we do.
Want a stronger start to 2017? Pray this plain and simple prayer…
I started out this year ready to tackle the goals and objectives on my heart, for I was convinced that you put those desires there in the first place. Now, Lord, just a few days into 2017, I’m already feeling the heaviness of the challenges that taunt me. Fear is creeping in, threatening to undo my faith.
I say in response to those threats, “No, absolutely not! Not today! Not tomorrow!” I will not consider, heed, or toy with the devil’s bait to fear. I hereby reject it, for it is a lie (albeit mixed with a trifling of truth, as most lies are) making it as repugnant as Haagen Dazs with cow pie crumbles!
Fearful thoughts, shut up!
Lord, I will take the opportunity to heed the angel’s advice to Elijah. I will arise and eat some excellent food. I will take my Vitamin :D. I quite seriously ask for wisdom to know how in the world to take care of this body so that I can stay in this aforesaid world until I’ve finished the job. Thank you for giving me wisdom! I receive it in faith according to James 1.
And while I’m at it, I receive your everlasting love for me today. May my roots go down deep into your love and keep me strong – spirit, soul, and body.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen