MONDAY’S PRAYER

Prayers for our children from the book of Proverbs.


Our Father and our God, Your ways are higher than ours. Your thoughts loftier than ours. Your word will not return to You empty. So may my posterity incline their ears to every righteous truth they hear their parents, pastors, and teachers utter. Let them embrace these truths, make them their own, not depart from them, and be faithful to pass them on to their children. Remind them that Your word is life and health. That the spiritual meaning of life is far more and of greater importance than any physical. Cause them to understand that the spiritual life and health they may or may not enjoy is eternal while the physical will decay and pass away. Keep their hearts with all diligence for out of it issues forth springs of life or cesspools of death. Guard their hearts. Protect it. Feed it with good things. Starve it of evil. O that they would meet the challenge to pursue and possess a perfect heart. Related image

In the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen. 

From Proverbs 4:20-23

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FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression.


October 6, 2014

It was a very miserable night, tossing and turning, very little sleep. I was awake most of the night. This new medicine is giving me nausea and the shakes. Sometimes I feel like I have a strong body, but I am too weak to use it.DeskJournal_Acadia_Tan_5625x7875_029402

(Note: I have been reading in the Old Testament book of Job. His expressions of depression and despair are so relateable. Perhaps I will write some thoughts on it for one of my Wednesday posts when I am finished.) 

A PRAYER

Our Father and our God, as I read Your word may I hear Your voice speaking to me. May I understand Your word more fully and completely in order that I may more perfectly serve and worship You. May I not only be a willing hearer of Your word, but may I also seek to put it into daily practice as a doer of Your word. And, LORD, help me to hide Your word in my heart that I may not sin against You and memorize Your word that I may have a ready defense for the hope that is within me.

Father, in Jesus name, and through the Holy Spirit may I worship You in Your character of holiness and divine love. Sovereign LORD, let me know You, to gain a true and accurate understanding and knowledge of Your character and Your ways. As much as I am capable, let me know You in the manner You have revealed Yourself in Your word. Help me to recognize and praise You for Your absolute attributes of spirituality,18620974_10155412045859198_1985248405556161235_o infinity, eternity, immensity, immutability, and perfection; Your relative attributes of omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, wisdom, and goodness; and Your moral attributes of truth, justice, and righteousness. I praise You too, for Your works of creation and redemption.

Father, I desire a vital relationship with You. Help me to abide in You by depending upon You and getting my spiritual nourishment and life through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. I submit myself to Your Lordship: all of my dreams, all of my plans, all of my desires, all I am and have is Yours. Blessed Trinity, I love You and I want to love You more perfectly with all of my heart, all of my soul, all of my mind, and all of my strength. Help me to love others as Jesus has loved me and put that into visible practice wherever I may be.

Father, You know my needs before I ask, yet You invite me to come boldly and make my requests known to You.

  • I desire wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I need Your guidance. Let me be prudent and discreet in all my actions.
  • As a parent, I pray for wisdom. Help me to be more grace than law, more understanding and less condemning, sweeter, more affectionate, and more involved. Help me to focus more on the positive and less on the negative. Help me catch my children and grandchildren being good more than I look for what they may do wrong.
  • Lead me safely as I navigate through trials, tests, and temptations. Help me to grow in grace and add to my faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. May I grow in holiness, purity, and righteousness. Give me a keen sense of when sin is at the door and help me to hate sin in all of its forms.
  • LORD, never let me become so arrogant that I fail to confess and ask forgiveness for my known and unknown sins. I acknowledge my faults and shortcomings. For my sins that were unintended, unwitting, and thoughtless I ask for Your forgiveness. I confess and repent before You of the times when I have been unfaithful, unintendedly deceptive, or committed sins of omission.
  • Help me to be a humble man and to be real before You and others. Let me recognize my personal poverty and unworthiness. Help me to lean fully upon Jesus. Whatever accolades I may receive or successes I may enjoy, let me recognize that Your hand was there to help me. I owe all the glory, praise, and thanksgiving to You.
  • I pray that the Holy Spirit will be my control over my anger. Cleanse me of unrighteous anger. Let me not deceive myself by calling carnal anger “righteous indignation.” Rather, let my anger be an instrument to motivate me to righteous action.
  • Give me the grace to forgive and purge me from any grudge I may harbor.
  • Help me to discern clearly the difference between manipulation for personal or selfish gain and instruction in righteousness. Let me not be afraid to do the latter even when I am accused of the former while doing it. Convict the hearers of Your word in truth, righteousness, and judgement.
  • Be my healer. Stabilize my depression and help me to do my part to achieve remission. I pray for my counselor and the counseling process that it may be rewarding for my counselor and beneficial for me.
  • Be the inspiration of my writings and help me to garner the discipline necessary to write, do ministry, and the other tasks that lay before me.
  • Prompt me to be diligent and take delight in prayer.
  • For my relationship with my wife, I pray, oh God, that I would always treat her with value, dignity, and respect as a person made in the image and likeness of God. May I strive to love her as Christ loved the Church and willingly give my life for her. Help me to edify, encourage, and build up her spirit and self-esteem. Let me be found serving her while expecting nothing of her. May I always count her a gift from You.

Father, it is not Your desire that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Jesus died that these may have abundant life and live eternally. Jesus rose that they may have victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. I pray for family and friends to be convicted, repent, confess, believe, and receive Your salvation and walk in that newness of life.

Father, I pray for our pastoral staff as they lead our church and break to us the words of life. Our children, family, and friends who are involved in ministry. Our children, family, and friends who are in other cultures and other countries ministering. May my worship be alive and my service acceptable in Your sight. May I live Christ-centered and other-focused. Help me to be an example of a disciple and spiritual leader and be a discipler in my home.

Father, I pray for the God-appointed authorities over us that they would promote morality, hold truth sacred, protect our nation and communities in order that we may live in peace and security, implement justice, pass just laws, act in just ways, help and protect the poor, and be kind and helpful to the strangers among us. 

Father, I pray for my family. For physical and mental health, education, submission to authority, parenting, finances, safety, work, spiritual growth, ministry, marriages, emotional pain, and purity. May they be devoted to You and to Your will. May those that influence them do so for righteousness and draw them nearer to Jesus.

Father, I give you thinks for my daily provisions and temporal blessings. Thank You for my heritage through my parents, church, college, and seminary. Thank You for bringing me out of darkness into light; from death to life; from sin to righteousness. Thank You for all that You give me in the way of talents, abilities, and spiritual blessings. I give them all to You and assign to You all the glory and praise for anything and everything right I may do.

In the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

 

The LORD be with you.

Jay

 

MONDAY’S PRAYER

Prayers for our children from the book of Proverbs.


O Lord, our Rock, all Your ways are perfect, upright, and just. In You there is no wrong. I pray that my children will walk in Your light and have fellowship with You. May the path they are to trod be as clear as the shining sun on a cloudless day. As they grow older and their physical eyes dim, may they see clearer still the way of the Lord. Keep them from the darkness of the wicked. Guard their feet so that they do not stumble and trip into sin. O Lord, as You are just may they too act justly toward all, seek justice for others, and not be silent in the face of injustice. Give them patience to endure the injustices of wickedness toward themselves and be fierce and righteous warriors in defense of those treated unjustly. Remind them in their zeal for justice that they do not fight like the enemy of our soul wages war. No, may they battle clothed in spiritual armor and armed with spiritual weapons. May they walk upright before You as long as their time on this earth shall Related imageendure.

In the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen. 

From Proverbs 4:18-19

MONDAY’S PRAYER

Prayers for our children from the book of Proverbs.


Our Father, our Lord, and our God who is mighty and majestic; I pray that You would keep my children and grandchildren from the path of the wicked and the way of the evil. Give them the strength to resist temptation – stand firm when they must and flee when they can. Let them stay in the strait and narrow way that leads to abundant life and not stray into the broad way that leads to destruction. Give them the will and determination to pass by the detours of sin and stay alert to the wiles of the enemy of their soul. Help them not to sleep spiritually, nor be a stumbling block to another’s walk with You. May they starve the appetite for the food and drink of wickedness and violence, and feed on the bread of life and drink the wine of grace. Make them awake to the way of holiness and made satisfied from the manna from heaven.Related image

In the strong Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

From Proverbs 4:14-17

FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression.


I had very violent conflictual dreams last night and acted them out physically.  I made it to church this morning, cooked dinner, and made it to a fellowship group tonight. It is still uncomfortable to be around people.  I’m struggling tonight. Shaking. Close to tears. Thankfully, I was able to share my tears with F_____. Image result for journal

DETERMINED TO BE A SURVIVOR

*After 22 years of continuous service, I had to leave the ministry. No, neither my wife nor I were unfaithful. Pornography is not an issue. All of my financial obligations are current. None of the salacious and sensational applies. I had to leave the ministry due to a severe recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD).

Depression is more than just “the blues.” To have a clinical diagnosis of depression youImage result for a survivor not a victim must have five of the following symptoms most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks: 1) A depressed mood. 2) Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities. 3) Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain; or decrease or increase in appetite. 4) Insomnia or hypersomnia. 5) Psychomotor agitation or retardation. 6) Fatigue or loss of energy. 7) Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt. 8) Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness. 9) Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide. (DSM IV) To be designated severe requires eight or all nine symptoms be present, and recurrent means you have had more than one episode of clinical depression.

According to the Mayo Clinic web site, contributing factors to depression include: heredity, stress, medications, illnesses, personality, alcohol, nicotine, drug abuse, diet, and loss. Other factors include hostility, anger, poor social networks, a lack of control over one’s circumstances, and perfectionistic thinking.

In the past those of us with depression were often suspect. “Sin is the cause,” said Job’s comforters. “You lack faith,” is the second stanza. Songs about being happy all the time and never being discouraged only add to our anguish. We suffer in silence. Often question our spiritual standing. Frequent the altar during revivals, camp meetings, and penetrating sermons. Many are yet to learn that depression is an illness. It is no different than diabetes or cancer or any other persistent affliction. It is NOT always attributable to a spiritual lapse.

In my fight to overcome depression I am learning several important lessons.

First – Challenge haunting self-talk. You must. You ought. You should. Always. Never. Irrational beliefs and what Albert Ellis calls “demandingness” cause stress and frustration.

Second – Accept God’s grace. Trying to please God through works is a direct route to depression. The Galatians were entangled in a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1) because of “works righteousness.” The only way to please God is in and through Jesus Christ.

Third – Acknowledge limitations. In my perfectionistic thinking (what I call “internal legalism) I felt I had to work 60 hours a week, be on time every time, rarely make grammatical errors, never allow the congregation to see me discouraged, and always be a tower of strength on which everyone could rely. “I can do all things,” was my motto. (Obviously I left out the most important part, “through Christ who gives me strength.”) I failed to acknowledge that even Jesus took breaks from ministry, grew weary, and needed rest.

Fourth – Get help early and as often as needed. For each of the above symptoms and causes of depression there is treatment available. It is CRITICAL to seek help if depression persists. Suicide is a leading cause of death among the depressed.

Despair is also a great temptation for the Christian with depression. Despair is not only dangerous physically, but devastating spiritually. Without hope we are lost. Indeed, “hope is an anchor for the soul.” (Hebrews 6:19)

Fifth – You are not alone.  Job was depressed after his tragic losses. Elijah experienced depression from exhaustion and disappointment. He even prayed to die. You cannot read some Psalms without recognizing the author was struggling with depression.

The great Baptist pastor and teacher, Charles Spurgeon, wrote about personal depression. David Brainerd, an early missionary to Native Americans, woke up from depressed-induced sleep not knowing what day it was.

I do not take comfort in their misery; I take courage that people of God have found a way to minister and endure despite personal mental health issues. They also heard God’s “still, small voice” through the gloom and desperation of severe depression.

Although I am currently limited in what I can do in the ministry, the call of God still burns on my soul. Sermons come that I hope to deliver. The desire to pastor and minister is very much alive. Someday, with God’s help, I will again return to full-time ministerial service and answer “aye” to the ministerial roll call.

*I wrote this article for the February 2004 edition of The Wesleyan Advocate. By God’s grace I stayed very active in ministry up until May of 2013. After that I had to retire, but I still look for opportunities to minister. The call still burns.

The LORD be with you.

 

Jay

 

MONDAY’S PRAYER

Prayers for our children from the book of Proverbs.


Our Lord and our God we pray for our posterity that you would prolong their lives as long as they live according to Your will and Your way. Give me as a parent and grandparent the strength and the conviction to teach and demonstrate through example the path of godly righteousness. Although the road before our children may be fraught with danger, snares, and disappointments and other routes and means of living may appear easier, let our children not be hindered in their determination to walk with You nor stumble into the potholes and pits of compromise and sin. Give them the strength and courage to hold onto righteous instruction and living. Do not let them let go of You regardless of the strong pull, relentless pressure, and violent destruction of the enemy of their soul. Oh, dear Lord, shore up their defenses and steel their resolve to keep You and Your wise ways for as long as they have breath. Your way, O Lord, is abundant life and all other ways, however easy or attractive they may seem, lead to destruction. Related image

In the strong name of Jesus our Savior and Lord, Amen. 

From Proverbs 4:10-13 

FRIDAY’S JOURNAL

From Depression to Remission

The recorded feelings and experiences of one man with severe depression.


October 4, 2014

I was awake at 7:00 AM but did not get up until 10:00 AM. I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen and did three loads of laundry. I’m feeling better today, but I didn’t go to the library. I just wasn’t motivated to get out of the house.Image result for journal

WILL YOU TALK TO ME IN HEAVEN?

“I have to forgive him, but I don’t have to reconcile with him,” was the statement I heard through the phone line. The caller and I were discussing a situation in her family where a daughter would not speak to her father. The daughter had cause to be upset. Her father had put her and her children in a very dangerous circumstance. However, he had repented, confessed, and attempted to make amends, but she would have none of it. Forgive? Yes. Reconcile? No!Image result for reconciliation

From the time of that conversation I have become aware of several Christian families who are estranged from one another. Daughters won’t speak to their mothers. Sons won’t speak to their fathers. Brothers and sisters carry irreconcilable grievances against one another. Spouses will not step foot in the homes of their in-laws. I have written about family members and former friends that will not speak to me because of my offense in May of 2013. Oh, each one would profess to have forgiven – after all that is commanded by God – but reconciliation is illusive.

In some of my past writings I have struggled with this question of forgiveness and reconciliation. God both forgives and reconciles with the repentant sinner at the same time in the same action, but I will concede that for we humans it is often a two-step procedure. The process of forgiveness is often worked through between the offended and God long before the offender ever asks for it, if they ever do. However, the process of reconciliation requires a whole other level of commitment. It requires intimate, one-on-one interaction. You can forgive from afar. Reconciliation is up close. Personal.

The thing that bothers me the most is that this is occurring between those professing to be followers of Christ. I am not talking about the offenses perpetrated by a sinner upon a saint. Criminal upon Christian. Reprobate upon the righteous. NO! It is saint upon saint. Christian upon Christian. One follower of Jesus upon another follower of Jesus. Is this the way it is supposed to be? In exasperation I asked my wife a few weeks back, “Do you think they will talk to me in heaven?”

So, does the Bible say that we do not have to reconcile with our brother and sister in Christ? You be the judge. (All references are from the New International Version [NIV].)


John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” 

Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

I Corinthians 3:3, “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?”

I Corinthians 10:24, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

II Corinthians 2:5-8, “But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.”

II Corinthians 5:17-18, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”

II Corinthians 7:8-12, “For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God.

II Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Galatians 5:14-15, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

Galatians 6:1, “If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”

Galatians 6:10, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

Ephesians 4:1-3, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Philippians 1:9-10, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.”

Philippians 1:27, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.”

Philippians 4:5, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all.”

Colossians 1:19-20, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Colossians 3:12-15, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

(I stop here because I have not finished my survey of the New Testament as of this writing.)


I want to challenge anyone to produce one verse of scripture – Old Testament or New Testament – that clearly states we need NOT reconcile with our fellow believer.

Oh, Lord, bring peace to your children.

The LORD be with you.

Jay