Monthly Archives: August 2016

Grasping After the Wind

Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless like chasing the wind (Ecclesiastes 6:9 NLT)

It is much better to dwell on what you have rather than on what you don’t have. Doing otherwise can launch us into a life-long journey of trying to grasp something you can never obtain.

The famous commentator Matthew Henry once said, “People who are always content even if they have very little are much happier than people who are always craving more even if they have much.” Dreams can be powerful things. God often gives them to people, and they are strong motivations, but we must make sure they are from God and not just from our own imagination. Dwelling on what we don’t have is a recipe for frustration and discontentment. God often gives us more, but it is usually never enough when fixated on what we lack. A very wealthy man once replied, “just a little more,” when asked how much money is enough.

So what is the solution? Should we all take a vow of poverty? We have tried that in Chrysostom, and it works for some but not for all. We usually exchange one craving for other, giving up earthly pleasures but replacing them with striving after personal piety. We are just substituting one fleshly pursuit with another. The solution, as the writer of Ecclesiastes, tells us is to seek satisfaction from the reality of what we have, not the fantasy of what we don’t possess. Finding fulfillment in anything but God is like pursuing a mirage. It looks good from a distance but when you get there it’s gone, and you find yourself grasping after the wind.

Meditation by Ken Barnes  

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Two Little Words

Many articles and books have been written about salvation. Preachers preach about it and teachers teach it but in reality salvation can be explained using two little words. Those two little words are “to” and “from”.

All one has to do in order to receive salvation is explained in Isaiah 45:22 NIV “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” We must turn to Him believing that Jesus is His son and was sent to die for our sins. In addition, Luke 13:5 NIV says, “No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.” You see in order to be saved one must also admit they are a sinner and turn from those sins.

The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He sent His son to take all of our sins upon Himself and pay the price of those sins, which is death. The Good News is that because Jesus paid for our sins by dying we will never die; oh our physical bodies will die but our spirit will live eternally in Heaven. So you see salvation is simple: turn to Him and from our sins.

Dear Lord, Thank you for sending Your son to die in our place and for Your assurance that all who turn to You and from their sins will live for all eternity with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Meditation by Karen White

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Do Christians Have Depression?

In years past, I found myself with an ever-increasing burden to help relieve the suffering of other women as well as a burning desire to see them grow spiritually. I believe my desire is largely a result of personal and emotional suffering God allowed me to experience in preparation for future ministry.

Although I battled depression off and on for most of my adult life, I kept my problems to myself and continued to function. I went to work every day, accepted the demands of running a household, continued to teach my Sunday school class, and read my bible. As my condition worsened, I prayed constantly for God’s direction and sustaining hand.

Most days when I left work, I sobbed uncontrollably all the way home. For months, I sat in church fighting back the tears, sometimes unsuccessfully. There was no tomorrow in my future. I lived each day as though it would be my last. I cannot put into words what that condition feels like. It is the absolute depth of emotional pain. During that time, people kept their distance. While I am sure they knew something was wrong, no one reached out to me.

It wasn’t until the winter of 1996-97 that I lost the ability to cope. When I finally gave up and went to see a psychologist, I was in major clinical depression. She was afraid to let me leave the office for fear I would commit suicide. Actually, the thought of taking my life never occurred to me, but I did accept the fact that I was going to die. I felt God was through with me, and I went about setting my affairs in order, preparing for death.

While I am very much aware many in the community of faith would not approve, I have no doubt God led me to New Life, a group of Christian psychologists. I was immediately placed on an antidepressant, and two weeks later my life totally and completely turned around. I was told later that was unusual and that normally it took much longer to show improvement. That was over twenty years ago. Today I am secure and confident in the Lord. There are still times I feel a mantle of darkness attempting to descend over my life, but its presence is brief and fleeting.

I know my experience was not necessary in order to experience spiritual growth. However, God used it for that purpose in my life. During those transitory years, my capacity to love unconditionally increased exponentially.

I now recognize and focus on that which possesses eternal value and cease to be tormented by the temporal. I accept each negative circumstance encountered as a challenge and an opportunity, instead of a barrier or hindrance. I am able to face the ultimate end of my life with excitement and wonder. I see it as a new beginning where the fetters of a natural body will no longer hamper the quest of the eternal spirit.

I am now able to appreciate the awesome gifts of God that I took for granted for so many years. My husband, who continued to love me in spite of my failings, three beautiful and talented daughters, who never cease to amaze me: and eight little wonders called grandchildren. The joy they have afforded me cannot be explained in the natural realm.

Depression is real. It’s a medical condition. It can be treated successfully with medication that is not addictive. It’s not a sin to seek help. Whatever the reason for your condition, God will use it for your good and his glory.

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 8:28

Meditation by R. Jamerson

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