I Have Depression

I am taking a break from my Majestic, Messiah, Master, Mission blogs just for this post.

I have gone back and forth about whether I should write this post or not, but I really believe the Lord has led me to write this.

I believe this blog can provide hope for some others who might be battling depression.

I battle depression.  This may surprise you.  It may not.  I don’t know.  When I first started battling it, I was surprised to hear that Charles Spurgeon also struggled with depression.  I was even more surprised to hear that Tommy Nelson had a season where he wrestled with it.  Tommy Nelson is the pastor of Denton Bible Church, and he is one of the best communicators I have ever heard.  He did a message on depression at Dallas Seminary that I think could bless you, and it could also give you some insight into what I am battling.  Here is that link:

Tommy Nelson Depression Message

Here is my story.

A few years ago I experienced something that I had never experienced before.  It was what I would call an emotionless time.  For me that had never happened in my life.  After consulting a Christian Counselor and Medial Doctor, I was diagnosed with depression.  I didn’t want to tell anyone.  I was ashamed and embarrassed.  I had to go on meds to help regulate the serotonin (chemical in the brain that helps regulate happiness and mood) levels in my brain.  Those meds worked very well, along with rest, expressing gratitude, exercise, and spending good time with the Lord (as directed by my counselor).  It took several months, but I felt like I got my life back.  I was myself again.  After a year on the meds, I was able to ween off of them slowly over time, and everything was fine.

Everything was fine until this fall.  What I have since learned is that high stress can really mess with my serotonin levels or anyone’s levels for that matter.  For me, I think stress messes with my serotonin levels worse than others, and I will explain why later in this post.  This fall, I had come off of a very busy summer with life and ministry.  I was loving what I was doing, and I still do love it.  I was seeing high highs in ministry and low lows.  The lows were weighing on me more than normal.  We have had some very stressful health stuff with some of our children, and my wife has been sick for almost 2 months with various infections.

I just came off one of the most fulfilling ministry speaking things I had ever done.  I really saw God move.  Shortly after this, it felt like my brain was hijacked.  It was similar to what happened a few years ago, but this one was different.  A few years ago I slipped into this depression over time.  I vividly remember the event that triggered this latest episode.  Something very stressful happened that day, and it was like a shut down.  I don’t know what happened, but I can say it very much felt like some demonic attack was involved.  I went and sat down.  I couldn’t get up, and I couldn’t really speak.  It was SCARY!!!  My wife was finally able to get me up, and we went for a walk.  This helped me function the rest of the evening.  The next day I made an appointment, and I have been diagnosed with depression again.

I was able to rest well last week, and I have some built in, extended rest coming in a few weeks.  This will help a great deal.  My schedule for the spring is pretty full, and I will need to build in good rest moving forward to help with my stress levels, etc.  Please pray for this extended time of rest, and please pray that I will consistently make good rest part of my weekly schedule.  Rest helps.  Connecting with people I love helps.  Exercise helps.  Working in the yard relaxes me, and that helps.  Spending time with Jesus helps, and being on meds is without a doubt a huge help.  I and my family covet your prayers as I battle this.

I believe the Lord wants me to share this blog for many reasons.

Maybe you are battling depression, and it would give you hope to know someone else battles it as well.  If this is you, go see a doctor and a Christian counselor.  Get the appropriate help that you need.  Jesus will be with you in the midst of the struggle.  He may take depression away.  He may not, but He will be with you in it.  I know this because His Word says it, and I have experienced this personally.

Maybe you think all you need to battle depression is time in prayer and the Word, and you need to read this to know that is not true.  Don’t be offended as you read the previous sentence, or at least try not to be offended.  If it makes you feel any better, I used to think that way.  I even remember preaching a sermon against taking medication for mental health issues.  I was so arrogant for preaching that, and I was so wrong.  I now know that is not true because I have lived this!!!  We need medicine for lots of things, and we take them for physical health things with no problem.  For some reason, in the Christian community, we don’t have the same attitude towards mental health meds as physical health meds.  Praise God He has changed my attitude towards them.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest reasons I think God wants me to write this blog is related to pornography.  Let me explain.  There are studies out there that show serotonin levels in the brain can be reduced when you abuse drugs (like cocaine or heroine).  There are other studies out there that show the brain scan of a porn addict looks the same as the brain scan of a cocaine or heroine addict.  In essence, porn is a drug, just like cocaine or heroine.  I believe that one of the consequences of my sin of abusing pornography is how it has impacted my brain’s ability to produce serotonin.  When I have high stress, I don’t have enough serotonin to fight the onslaught of depression that comes.  Hear me!  Without the meds that onslaught of depression is miserable!!!!  I asked my doctor if my theory about porn and my brain was right.  He would not say definitively “YES”, but he did say it was certainly possible.

This has just made me more passionate about telling people to run away from porn.  It has made me more passionate to tell parents to protect their kids from porn.  Porn messes you up on so many levels.  It distorts God’s purpose for sex.  It produces huge amounts of shame.  And I believe it has radically impacted my brain.  We must tear this idol down!!!!!

As you read this, you may agree with my perspective, and you may not.  The purpose of this post is not to convince you that I am right.  There are lots of purposes of this post, and I just mentioned three of them in the paragraphs above.  The last purpose I want to give is that DEPRESSION is REAL!  It sabotages you!  If you are battling this, you are not alone!  The good news is that there are ways to battle it.  My battle plan was already mentioned above, but I will say it again:

  • Meds (SRI-serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
  • Expressing Gratitude (look it up, gratitude helps increase serotonin)
  • Exercise
  • Working in the yard
  • Deep relational connections with people I love
  • Consistent time with Jesus where I am real and raw with Him and He loves on me.

This is hard for sure.  I really am ok, but it is a daily dependence on the Lord that helps me.  Pray for me as I battle this.  Pray I would be disciplined to do all that I need to fight it.  Pray I would see Jesus in the midst of it!  I know He is with me!

If you feel like this would help someone else, email them the blog link, or post the blog link on social media (twitter, facebook, etc.)

Whatever you are battling, know that Jesus is with you in the midst of it.  I know this because His Word promises it, and I know this because every day I experience Him being with me in whatever I am fighting.

May God be Glorified through this post!  I covet your prayers!

 

 

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Majestic, Messiah, Master, Mission (Master-Part 6)

Reminder!

What have I been blogging about for several months?

God is MAJESTIC!

God is MESSIAH!

God wants to be MASTER!

God wants us to live on MISSION!

If we see God’s MAJESTY, then we know we fall short of it and are in need of someone to rescue us.  That is why God is also MESSIAH.  He is the one who rescues.  Once He rescues us, the only option is to make Him MASTER of all aspects of our lives.  If we are honest, we would say no one can do that 100%.  Even if He is MASTER, we are going to sin.  The issue is what do we do after we sin.

If God is MASTER, then I believe these things will be true:

We will sin because we are human.

We must listen to rebuke after we sin to get us back on the path of God being MASTER.

We must accept the consequences of our sin.

What helps us accept the consequences is experiencing the forgiveness that God has for us.  What motivates to make Him MASTER of all every day is the forgiveness He has for our sin.

Take a listen to this message I recently did.  It talks about all the things I just mentioned.  If you find yourself reading this and don’t know Christ, my challenge is to surrender control of your life to God by receiving the free gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.  If you already know Jesus, may the truth of God’s forgiveness motivate you to make God MASTER today.

Here is the message:

Sin, Rebuke, Consequences, Forgiveness

Majestic, Messiah, Master, Mission (Master-Part 5)

For several months I have looked at this idea that God is:

  • Majestic
  • Messiah
  • He wants to be our Master
  • He wants us to live on Mission

In this particular post we will look at the idea that if He is Master, then we will submit to all authority He gives us, even if it means enduring suffering.  1 Peter 2 tells us that all authority is given by God, and we are to submit to that authority, even if it means suffering.  Why?  We follow the example Jesus set when we do this.

Take a look at 1 Peter 2:13-24.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Best I can tell we are to submit to all authority, unless that authority asks us to go against God and His Scripture (See Daniel 3).

Jesus can use submission to harsh authority in our lives to conform us into the image of God.  This is what Romans 8 teaches.  Suffering can conform us into His image, if we let God use it in our lives to do so.

I believe that God has used circumstances like that in my own life, and I believe He used circumstances like that in the life of David.  I believe with all my heart that as David suffered at the hands of Saul, God was helping David be molded into His Image.  Only if David looked more like God could he lead God’s Nation (Israel) the way they needed to be led.  This required David to submit to Saul and entrust Himself to the Lord.

We can only do this if God is Master of our lives.  I let Him be Master because He is Majestic, Sovereign, and in complete control of all (even the suffering I walk through).  I let Him be Master because He rescued me from hell, and He rescued me from myself.  He is Messiah!  That rescue didn’t stop the moment I said “yes” to Him.  He continues to be my Messiah.  Sometimes He puts me in rough circumstances and rescues me.  Sometimes He puts me in rough circumstances and allows me to endure them, but this is still rescue!  How?  His rescue of me is letting that circumstance cut away the stuff in my heart that is not yielded to Him.  To let Him cut that stuff away, I must see Him as Majestic.  I must let Him be my Messiah.  I must give Him complete control and say He is Master!

You can click on the link below to listen to a recent sermon I did teaching/preaching about these very things.  May He be Master of my life!  May He be Master of yours!

Life of David – Heart, Submission, Suffering

Majestic, Messiah, Master, Mission (Master-Part 4)

The last several weeks I have been blogging about prayer and posting some sermons I have done recently on prayer.

These are the news headlines on one popular news web site:

“Terror Attack in New York”

“Music Publicist Accused of Sexual Abuse”

“Substitute at Christian School Accused of Phone Sex with Student”

“U. S. Strike Would Trigger Automatic North Korea Retaliation”

Depressed yet?  This goes without saying, but I am still going to say it.  Just because I am not blogging on prayer does not mean we don’t need to be praying constantly!  Take this 60 day challenge.  Over the next 8 to 9 weeks fast at least one day a week.  Pray through the Lord’s Prayer for yourself, your family, your circumstances, your church, your nation, and the world!

Before I did the Prayer Blogs, I was blogging about this:

  • God is Majestic
  • God is Messiah
  • God wants to be Master
  • God wants us to live on Mission

God is Holy, Awesome, and MAJESTIC!  God is our Savior, our Rescuer, our MESSIAH!  His desire is to be MASTER of our lives.

I believe if He is MASTER, then my heart will be like His heart.  My heart will desire what His heart desires.  In essence, I will be a person after God’s own heart.  David was this type of person.  David was a man after God’s own heart.  Therefore, for a large portion of David’s life, you could see that God was His MASTER.  Later in his life he wavered, but he then got back on track with God shortly after his failures.

Over the next few weeks I will be briefly blogging about the life of David, but I will mostly be giving you the opportunity to listen to my sermons on the life of David.   This first one you will listen to talks about how a person after God’s heart lives a life of faith and completely obeys God.  A life lived like this is a life where God is the MASTER, and there is no other way to live!!!!!

Here is the sermon:

Life of David, Part 1 – Heart, Faith, Obedience