Sunday, May 28, 2006

Learning The Basics On Identifying, Handling,
Overcoming And Eliminating Depression

I am not an expert on depression. In fact I am not an expert on anything. But I do find that the Bible is sufficient in all things that pertain to life and godliness. Therefore, since God created us He tells us what we are to do to live a happy and joyful life. So when depression sets in we need to go to God and get His answers. I have sought to set some of the biblical perspectives on depression and I do pray God would be willing and pleased to help you learn the basics on identifying, overcoming, handling and eliminating depression. It is hard work. Therefore, if you find yourself depressed often then I ask you to share this information with someone in your church and that they work with you to eliminate depression in your life.

If you have loved ones you want to help regarding depression please use this as a starting point and get help from your pastor and elders so that they can monitor progress and help you as you help the loved on handle, overcome and eliminate depression from their lives.

If you know someone that is depressed and you are not sure you can help them evn with this I strongly urge you to get the pastor involved since depression can lead to suicide. Help for the depressed person must be given... Steve
To start with here is some home work! Go ask any “family therapist”, “counselor”, pastor, and psychologist the reasons people come to them for counsel. The ask what he number one and two reason is for them coming to counsel. What you will find is that the # 1 (one) problem for which individuals seek outside help is marriage and the # 2 (two) reason people come is for depression.
Within the medical community depression is the # 1 medical problem. The Harvard guide to psychiatry reported that depression occurs more often in younger adults and in women for several reasons.

a. One reason is that depression has increased as the public has been exposed to the increased expectations to get relief from “medical symptoms” such as anxiety, tension, and depression.
b. Another reason is that more and more people, especially the youth are now feeling oriented. Being feeling oriented many people and especially young adults, think that life is to be one big party.

c. A third reason for the problem of being depressed, they state is that the family has lost the supports that society needs, these are supports wich include having close family ties, having extended families, good neighborhoods, and solid religious institutions.

d. Furthermore the expectations that the health system (especially psychiatry) can, should, and will respond to help you in relieving your problems increases depression in our society. Note the pressure, “There is a great deal of economic pressure on these systems to respond because if one doctor won't, the patient will go to another.” This increases depression when the “demands of the patient don’t or cannot happen. There are increased advertisements regarding overcoming depression through drugs and by doctors and it becomes a viscious cycle. Desire not to be depressed à see the Doctor à get a prescription à it doesn’t à dissatification à go see another doctor etc. I hope you get the point!

The National Health Association proclaims that you may have clinical depression if you have thoughts like these "I'm so ashamed I can't face my friends." Or "I feel so badly, I wish I could _______.” Etc. Later we will look at how to identify depression later.

Depression is costly. It is a cost to the family, to employers and businesses, and to families. In 1993 a newspaper stated: “Mental depression cost 43.7 billion dollars per year in treatment and lost productivity.”

What Causes Depression:

As we will soon see depression comes upon a person when one fails to handle life's responsibilities God's way. There are many things at the root of depression. For example:

a. recent illness
b. getting behind in wirk
c. hormonal changes
d. self pity
e. worry
f. laziness
g. bad feelings that come from resentment
h. guilt from sin
i. etc.

NOTE: This list is not conclusive but only examples.

Depression does not come from any of the above listed things that may be at the root of depression. Depression comes from a downward cyclical process wherein an initial problem is handled wrongly so that problems arise and get bigger and finally spin and plunge the person into despair. Historically depression was called slothfulness when a person had “A sadness of heart and a reluctance to engage in any activity that required effort.” (compare: Matt. 25:14-46 -The Wicked Servant).

Identifying Depression

Those of you that are in depression, have fought depression, are in a family, or you have a friend that is depressed know the symptoms of depression. You also know the frustration, hurt and difficulty that comes with living with or around depressed people.

Some of us however may not know what depression is therefore we need to look at how to identify depression. Depressed people are moody, are blue and very often respond to basic responsibility in life by stating or living in a state of “What’s the use?” crying easily, seldom do they laugh having drooping efface muscles, while looking and staring doing at the ground. Depressed people many time overeat, dressing in unkempt appearance. They are often tired, spending a lot of time in bed. They fail to work in order to fulfill life’s normal duties and responsibilities.

Simply put a depressed person lives in a state of dehabilitation. The depressed person is in a state of moodiness, and in a state of feeling an open air of despair which drives their reason for not handling even the most basic and important issues of life.

The World's Perspective On Depression

The perspective non Christians have on depression is that it is an illness or a medical disease caused by chemical imbalances. I admit I do not know what medical and scientific tests are given to patients to make those determinations. Now I have heard and read some of the theories and the hypothesis given by many regarding depression. However I have seen several people that were depressed go for medical help and in every situation I am aware of the chemicals were given to them by trial and error. I am not a professional in medicine or in counseling. I do believe it is unethical for me to override a Doctor’s findings. Therefore my concern in writing this is to share what the Bible says concerning overcoming depression. As we will soon see the Bible instructs us that depression comes upon a person when they fail to handle life's responsibilities God's way. Now with that stated I do believe sin does cause physical problems. You can read about the effects of sin on other blog entries on this blog site. It is not out of the question then that chemicals in the brain and body be affected. This might happen. Now if it does the chemical imbalance did not cause the depression but wrong thinking, feelings and actions is the cause. I do not want us to get confused on cause and effect regarding depression unless there is 100 percent scientific evidence. Therefore I am interested in seeing whether it is a reality in the claim that chemical imbalances cause some depression. If you have been treated in this manner would you please list the medical and scientific tests that your doctors did in order to determine what chemicals were out of balance. Perhaps you can e-mail these to me. Note that my e-mail address in on the blog site.

Tests accomplished by my doctors:

1. -------------------------------------
2. -------------------------------------
3. -------------------------------------
4. -------------------------------------

Chemicals found to be out imbalanced:

1. ----------------------------------
2. ----------------------------------
3. ----------------------------------
4. ----------------------------------

How To Help Depressed People

As stated above those of you that are in a family, or you which have a friend that is depressed must know the symptoms of depression. You also know the frustration, hurt, and difficulty that comes with living with or around depressed people. You know all to well that to get them moving forward to do basic responsibilities in life is like pulling a truck out of a ditch. Because of this I want to start by helping you know what not to do and what to do with and for your loved ones that are depressed.

What Not To Do:

Do not just support the depressed person. In other words do not support them in their desire to lay aside their basic responsibilities. You cannot just hang out and just hold the hand of the depressed. You also cannot minimize any thoughts of guilt and hostility the person may have. Guilt and hostility is wrong. God lets His people know how to handle guilt, anger, bitterness, etc. For you to only hold their hand or to minimize any wrong in their life takes away their personal responsibility before God. It adds to the downward spiral they are in. I am confident you do not want to be a part of that. Without personal accountability and the assurance of God's Word having solutions, their problems (s) just intensify.

What To Do:

1. First gather data so that you can truly help them. This starts by listening how the depressed person describes himself. Some things you may hear are that they stay tired, are blue, shy, introverted, quiet or self conscience. They may describe them selves as being lonely, nervous, impatient or impulsive.

Depressed people often talk about other things happening in their life such as:

a. Being fatigued
b. Never having enough time to get things done
c. Having more than normal sickness.
d. Having a loss of appetite; or they may overeat
e. Have frequent backaches, headaches
f. They are willing to talk about problems but does nothing about them
g. They may “shut down spiritually and or come up with extreme thinking concerning God;s mercy and their sin

Also take a good look at the person. In this observe how they act present themselves in front of and to others. Notice how he or she looks in their countenance, dress, and appearance. Take note of any attitude that would indicate a life of hopelessness. Be aware of the "What's the use" attitude and of their trying to convince you that life and their situation is of no use. Also observe if they sigh and cry easily. Do they have a fallen countenance evidenced by looking down at the ground or floor having a drooping of the face muscles, or by sitting motionless with their hands held? Have they physically slowed down, have they quit work and started putting off daily chores and responsibilities?

Now a depressed person will not exhibit all the features we have listes but in helping the depressed person these are symptoms to look for and ask about.

2. Second, evaluate the problem. You will hear them present their thoughts and ideas of the problem. They will give you their understanding of the problem. For example they may state, "I'm tired most of the time. I cry a lot. I'm nervdus. I never get anything done. Or, “My husband just doesn't understand me and yells at me."

These things may be true and need to be handled later but that is not the real problem so more need be discovered. This presentation is on the surface, and any attempt to handle depression at this level would be shallow. A presentation by the depressed person like this is their view of the cause but in reality this is an effect rather than the cause. Remember we do not want to confuse cause and effect.

Proverbs20:5 - Counsel in the heart of man is like deep waterier; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

You next want to learn of the performance of the depressd person (s). After hearing wha the person says is wrong you will next see the performance, or perhaps best stated nonperformance of the depressed person. Some wrong thinking and / or behavior is producing the feelings they have just shared with you. Some depressed people stop work. That right they give it up: the dishes and ironing doesn’t get done, meals stop being prepared, they quit their job, etc. They just stop performing. What they don’t realize, but you as a spiritual helper (Gal. 6:1) must realize is tht this is contributing to their depression. Their performance has ceased to be right; therefore their feelings about life are not correct either.

Now the next helpful question, to be able to help the depressed person, is to ask “How far back does the problem go?” Wt are the habits that have been formed which make it easy for the depressed person to respond as he or she does now?” How long has it been since you stopped performing? What specifically happened that led you to this conclusion?
You will soon note that the person is approaching life according to how they feel and not according to God’s word with responsible thinking and actions (Phil.4) You will find some idol (s) within the heart that has been built. The person places their feelings above God and in reality begins worshipping their feelings and desires rather than God. Therefore they drop their discipline and the discipleship that comes from God’s word and obedience to it. This is clearly seen when we understand that the fruit of worship brings forth obedience to the one you worship.

3. Third, summarize the facts. Once you have gathered the above information in order to begin seeking to help the depressed person you can begin summarizing certain facts.
1) The first fact is the immobilization in dealing with top-priority issues. In this you will you will find the depressed person immobilized in dealing with top-priority issues. Priorities and responsibilities are not done properly by the depressed person. This person deals with the urgent rather than the important. They often become passive toward God. They become sleep deprived, overeat. And become dreadful of work. They heap upon themselves fatigue, become sleep deprived. Worry and anxiety increases due to the many unfinished daily tasks and chores.
Now if they will let you help them and you give them homework to accomplish they may, and often do, become critical that you make them do work. But in order to help them you cannot allow their lazy habits to continue.

2) The second fact is that they only talk about the problem (s) but never do anything about them. To talk about issues is one thing but, never doing anything about the problem is not helping them at all. At this point they may be reading their Bible and even praying. That is a great place to start but it is a horrible place to end. To end there is to continue to hurt yourself and everyone that is around you. To start and stop with prayer and Bible reading is to go nowhere! So your job in helping the depressed person is to get them praying, thinking and doing the right things. This brings peace that surpasses all understanding and the presence of the God of peace in the persons life (Phil. 4).

3) The third fact is that the depressed person has unbiblical check points. For instance they may have their personal Bible study for two hours but can't get the housework done. This become their excuse for spirituality. Their thinking goes like this: “ I missed my devotions so I'll have a bad day" or "If I can't do everything right, I'll not do anything right." They do not take note and live in the reality that God's goals are always achievable.

4) The forth fact which you may have already seen is this: the depressed person is feeling oriented. In this the person feels then takes action on the feelings they have whether it is according to God’s word or not. When sin happens it adds to their worries, frustrations, despair, guilt, etc. They continue down the spiral of deep and darker depression. If not changed this can lead to many problems and can finally lead to death.

Give Forth Hope

In all of this negativity in their life it is important that you give them hope. Note that this is not a personally developed hope but a true living hope stated in the Word of God. Hope such as stated in the following passages of Scripture:
1 Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above th at ye are able; but willwith the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear fit]
Romans 15:4 - For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope
Romans 15:13 - Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye mayabound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Instruct In The Dynamics Of Depression: Downward Spiral and Reversal
In order to help the depressed person you therefore must explain to them the dynamics of depression and how they lead into a downward spiral. Show them from Scripture how the downward spiral of depression can be reversed. This can be confirmed within the scriptures as the depressed person studies the lives of Cain in Genesis 4, and Elijah in I Kings 19. Also Saul and the Apostle Paul should be studied for further insight into depression and how to handle it.
Now teach how to reverse the spiral of depression by replacing old habits with new biblical habits. This is the put off and put on principle taught by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians and Colossians. Instruct them what confession of sin means and how they are to confess and tear down the idols of the heart. Also work with them on thinking biblical in order that biblical actions follow. These things break the downward dark spiral of depression and bring light and life and blessings in to a persons life.

So in summary the depressed person must:
a. Confess sin and deal with idols of the heart.

b. Work on right thinking and behavior – That is Biblical thinking must precede biblical actions.

Philippians 4:8,9- 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable honest, whatsoever things (are/just, whatsoever things (are/pure, )whatsoeverthings (are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if (there be/any virtue, and if (there be/any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

John 13:17 - If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Ephesians 4:22-24 – 22 - That ye put off concern mg the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Romans 12:1,2 - 1 1 beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove ivhat (isJ that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
James 1:25 - But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Philippians 4:9 - "Do those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you - Help them, work on obedience despite their feelings being command-oriented.
Psalms 119:1-2 - 1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of theLORD. 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, (and that seek him with the whole heart
Proverbs 29:18b - but he that keepeth the law, happy is he
John 14:15 - If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Luke 17:14 - And when he saw them, he said unto them. Go show yourselves unto the priests.And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed
Get the depressed person sweating physically and spiritually. Get them burning energy (energy begets energy).

Overcoming Excuses

All may not be rosy for the depressed person may start to make excuses. If they do then you must deal with whatever excuses they present. Some examples include, “I can’t.” your response to that excuse may be “You just haven't learned how yet.” Another excuse that comes up often in a person that is depressed is, “I'm no good." To deal with this excuse acknowledge that this is true and that “all are sinners but have been given the righteousness of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit with the privilege to please God.” Another favorite one is, "I'm lonely" and we all know the answer to this one! “Yu may be alone, but you choose to be lonely.” And what about, "I'll be a hypocrite to go against my feelings." I foind this one a miserable excuse. A response to this one is simply, “No! If you do what God says you are to do you'll be a responsible Christian that lives like Christ.”

A Biblical Case Study – Cain & Elijah

A. Consideration of Cain: Genesis 4:1-14
In order to look at depression and to help us understand it from a Biblical perspective we need to do a case study s from the Bible. The case study we want to look at is that of Cain. We find the test for the biblical case study concerning Cain in Genesis chapter four verses one through fourteen (Gen. 4:1-14).

The overview of the account goes like this: First In 14:3-4 we see that Cain brought for the fruit if the ground as an offering to the Lord. God rejected Cain’s offering and Cain became extremely angry causing his countenance to fall.

However God did not leave Cain to himself but came to him in counsel asking, “…why art you angry? and “…why is you face fallen”, God then let Cain know that if he would do well both he and the sacrifice would be acceptable. If not then sin will continue to torment his conscience for sin lies at the door of his conscience!

Well Cain defied the Lord and did not confess, repent and obey the Lord. Cain came back to the Lord with a smart-alecky defiant attitude “Am I my brothers keeper?”

Therefore, since Cain defied reason logic and merciful advice we see God’s punishment in verse 11-12 “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shall thou he in the earth.”

Cain's depression spiral went downward and got deeper and darker. He begin spiraling downward at a very fast pace. In his spiral there is A Fallen Countenance > Anger > Wrath > Bitterness > Murder > Excuses > Hopelessness In His Life > Wrong View of God (“thou hast driven me out”) > "More than I can bear.; Everyone Will Be Out To Kill Me"

In this biblical case study we see:
a. Cain’s Unacceptable Offering – Gen. 4:3-4
b. God’s rejection – Gen. 4: 5
c. Cain’s feeling oriented response – Gen.4:5
c. God’s counsel – Gen 4: 6-7
d. God’s Intervention – Gen. 4:9
e. Cain’s feeling oriented defiance – Gen. 4:9
f. God’s punishment – Gen: 4: 11-12
g. Cain’s Depression – Gen. 4:5-7, 9, 13-14 (Note: it is caused by sinful feeling orientation disobedience)

“Gen 4:1-14 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (2) And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (3) And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. (4) And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (5) But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (6) And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (8) And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (9) And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? (10) And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. (11) And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; (12) When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. (13) And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. (14) Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.”

So now here is what we learn from this biblical case study:

a. Sinful habits that go unbroken will bind us even tighter
b. Sinful responses to problems will always produce additional complicated problems.
c. God in His grace tells us to choose right steps in spite of our feelings.
d. Depression an emotional problem it is a sinful problem.

The goal is not to get rid of the depression. The goal is to find out why the person is depressed and deal with those causes biblically. Once these causes are dealt with Biblically then depression goes away. The downward spiral is reversed. The depressed person comes into the light. The Goal - Destroy Idols of the Heart.

Another case study one can mane regarding depression is in the life of Elijah. Elijah was exhausted, needed sleep and shows himself to be sleep deprived. AS depressed people do he became oblivious to God’s blessings and had a wrong and misunderstood view of God. All depressed people I have known had a wrong perception of God. The particularly confuse God’s mercy and grace while going through depression. Therefore notice that both Cain above and now Elijah have the a wrong view of God as well. Elijah also became critical od others, selfish with the emphasis on me, me, me and was in a pity party of which no one else was invited. Is it any wonder he was depressed. Posted below is the account of Elijah. Note you will need to start the reading in chapter eighteen.

1Ki 19:1-10 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. (2) Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. (3) And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. (4) But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. (5) And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. (6) And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. (7) And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. (8) And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. (9) And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? (10) And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Having read the biblical historical account and case study here is a brief outline of the issues surrounding and causing Elijah’s depression:

1. Exhausted - Needed sleep and food – 1 Kings 19:1-10
2. Oblivious to God's blessings - 1 Kings 18:22
3. Emphasis on" me " -1 Kings 19:4,10
4. Exaggerating trouble - 19:4,10 (see above)
5. Critical of others - 19:10 (see above)
6. Wrong view of God. - 1 Kings 19:10
7. Pity party -

We also see in this account of Elijah’s life and depression case study we see God’s remedy for depression. The remedy for depression in all cases is change: :

1. Change your view of God – 18:22 ff.
2. Change your view of others – 19:18
3. Change your view of self – 19:13
4. Change your thinking-19:4 5. Change your goals . - 19:12
6. Change your view of others - 19:18
7. Change your view of self. -19:13
8. Change your relationship with God. - 19:19
9. Change your directions and actions - 19:15-18

Handling Lifes Pressures So As Not To Become Depressed
Now there is one person in the Bible that we know went through immense pressure and did not succumb to depression – the Apostle Paul. Below are 2 passages of scripture where the Apostle talks about the many pressures he was under in his life and ministry. I must say I know not anyone that has been through pressure such as this humanly speaking. Christ Jesus the God man went through tremendous pressures as well even to the point of taking my hell and punishment on the cross. Neither the Apostle Paul nor Jesus succumbed to depression. Why or how did they do this? They did this by focusing upon fulfilling their responsibilities, the purpose aand results of the call and duty that was to be preformed while not getting sidetracked in any manner. This is the key yo handling pressures and not let them be a springboard for depression in ones life.

(2Co 4:1-18) “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

(2Co 11:22-28) “Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”

Paul’s pressures were both inward as well as being outward. His inward pressures consisted of things such as thise that believed not the gospel, Isreal the nation, false teachers, etc. WE see some of the inward pressures in the following passages of scripture:

a. Romans 10:1 - Those who rejected the Gospel.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israelis, that they mightbe saved
b. 11 Corinthians 11:1 -22 - Those believers who were allowing falseteachers to influence them.
c. II Corinthians 11:28 - The care of all the churches.
Beside those things that are without, that ivhich cometh upon me daily, thecare of all the churches.

His outward pressures were from such things as being in prison several times, his being beaten, etc. The following passages describe many of the outward pressures that the Apostle Paul experienced.

a. II Corinthians 11:23-27: 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as afool) I land more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft 24 Of the Jews five times received Iforty [stripesi save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice 1 suffered shipivreck, a night and a day I \'I have been in the deep; 26 [In journeyings often, perils of waters, perils of robbers, perils by [mine ownl countrymen, perils by the heathen, perils in the city, [ml perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, infastings often, in cold and nakedness.
b. II Corinthians 4:8-11: 8 [We arel troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we arel perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast d~vn, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying ofthe Lord Jesus, that the hfr also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are ahvay delivered unto death/or Jesus' sake, that the hfe also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Now how did the Apostle Paul handle pressures both inwardly and outwardly and not let them bring him to a point of depression? First the Apostle Paul focused upon his responsibility to fulfill that. He dod not get sidetracked, become selfish, move according to feelings and end up wit a confused view of God. Notice his focus as he states in the letter of I Corinthians 4:1 - Let a man so account of us, as ofthe ministers of Christ, andste)vards of the mysteries of God.”
Next Paul also focused upon the purpose of the call and the duty he was to fulfill even under pressure. In his second letter to the church at Corinth he stated that he focused on the purpose, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man pensh, yet theinward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)

Therefore no matter the pressures you are facing and going through, whether inward or outward pressure, in order not let this pressure drive you to depression you need to: a. stay focused upon his responsibility to fulfill your responsibilities before God and b. stay focused upon the purpose of the job you are call to.


A lot has been said and a lot of work is to be done in helping depressed people or in a depressed person working to God’s glory to reverse the cycle of the downward dark spiral. It can be done and you can be blessed and happy with life (see the hope passages above)!

Here are some of the basics we have identified that must be done in order to overcome, handle and eliminate depression.

1. Depression an emotional problem it is a sinful problem.

2. Sinful responses to problems will always produce additional complicated problems.
3. Sinful habits that go unbroken will bind us even tighter. We must break these bonds of sin!
4. Depressed people have a distorted View of God, themselves and life around them.
5. Depression people have set up idols of the heart and these must be identified.
6. Confess sin and deal with idols of the heart.
7. God in His grace tells us to choose right steps in spite of our feelings.
8. Work on right thinking and behavior – That is Biblical thinking must precede biblical actions.

Right Thinkling + Right Actions = Blessings and Happiness

9. The goal is not to get rid of the depression. The goal is to destroy the idols of the heart. So one must find out why the person is depressed and deal with those causes biblically. Once these causes are dealt with Biblically then the downward spiral starts reversing itself. The depressed person comes into the light.

10. Change:

a. Change your view of God – 18:22 ff.

b. Change your view of others – 19:18
c. Change your view of self – 19:13
d. Change your thinking-19:4 e. Change your goals . - 19:12
f. Change your view of others - 19:18
g. Change your view of self. -19:13
h. Change your relationship with God. - 19:19
i. Change your directions and actions - 19:15-18

Appendix A:
Furthering Reading- Below you will find further reading on this blog sight that might be helpful as you deal with depression either in your on life or in the helping family of friends. Many of the topics have helped others as we worked through their depression issues to God resolve.

1. Guided … by God?
2. Tools of the Faith
3. The Bible God’s Word To Us
4. Progressive Sanctification – Growing in Grace, Cooperation With God
5. Godliness through Discipline – Jay Adams
6. Our Basic Duty – Forgive the Repentant
7. Worry: A Serious Life Issue That Leads To Atheistic and Lazy Process Which Must BeBroken Broken
8. Biblical Principals of Work and the Biblical Work Ethic
9. Thoughts on Biblical Sexuality and in Overcoming Sexual Difficulty
10. From Uselessness To Usefulness
11. Guidance When You Are Just Not Sure What To Do!
12. What To Do With Guilt?
13. How Is Your Conscience?
14. The Power of Relationships (Influences)
15. Forgiveness Basics – The Purpose of Forgiveness

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

This Is What We Must Beleive Concerning The Trinity

This Is What We Must Believe Concerning The Trinity

The Athanasian Creed - QUICUNQUE VULT
The Catholick Faith is this : That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons : nor dividing the Substance.

This is the Catholick Faith : which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

The Persons and Godhead of the Trinity:

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son : and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one : the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son : and such is the Holy Ghost.

God Uncreated:

> The Father uncreate,
> the Son uncreate : and
> the Holy Ghost uncreate.

And yet there are not three uncreated but one once uncreated.

The Father is made of none : neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone : not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son : neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

God Incomprehensible Yet:

> The Father incomprehensible,
> the Son incomprehensible : and
> the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

And yet there are not three incomprehensibles : but one incomprehensible.

God Eternal:

> The Father eternal,
> the Son eternal : and
> the Holy Ghost eternal.

And yet there are not three eternals : but one eternal.

God Almighty:

> The Father is Almighty,
> the Son Almighty : and
> the Holy Ghost Almighty.

And yet there are not three Almighties : but one Almighty.

Each Person of the Trinity is God:

> The Father is God,
> the Son is God : and
> the Holy Ghost is God.

And yet there are not three Gods : but one God.

Each person of the Trinity is Lord:

> The Father is Lord,
> the Son Lord : and
> the Holy Ghost Lord.

And yet not three Lords : but one Lord.

Being Compelled and Forbidden:

> We are compelled by the Christian verity : to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

> So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion : to say, There be three Gods or three Lords.

Intratrinitarian Relationship:

> The Father is made of none : neither created nor begotten.
> The Son is of the Father alone : not made nor created, but begotten.
> The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son : neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

One Father, One Son, One Holy Spirit:

> So there is one Father, not three Fathers;
> one Son, not three Sons :
> one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

The Trinity, Co–eternal and Co-equal:

And in this Trinity none is before or after other : none is greater, or less than another; But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together : and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid : the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped.

Necessary To Everlasting Salvation:

To believe rightly concerning the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ

that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess : that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds : and Man, of the substance of His Mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man : of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead : and inferior to the Father, as touching His Manhood; Who although He be God and Man : yet He is not two, but one Christ; One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh : but by taking of the Manhood into God; One altogether; not by confusion of Substance : but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man : so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation : descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty : from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies : and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting : and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

This is the Catholick Faith : which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved. for the Ladies

I just located this website for ladies that I beleive you godly women will surly enjoy. Please take a look at it and if you ladies like it we can ask permission to link to it. Ladies it is important for you to have good sites that can touch you where you live. After all ladies are to instruct ladies in the Church. So in the heart of Titus 2 here is the site:

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Loving Christ’s Sheep
Reflections of a Failed Shepherd

John T. Sneed
North Hill Baptist Church
Minot , North Dakota


Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd. As such, he is the pattern for every under-shepherd of his people. We need to look to Jesus to see how he loved his people if we are going to learn how to properly love the people he has entrusted to us. The love of an under-shepherd, or pastor, for Christ’s sheep is derived from Christ Himself. The call of a pastor to service in a particular congregation is given by Christ Himself. God matches a pastor for service within a congregation for a certain time in a certain place. God determines the place of service and the length of that service, whether it is a short time or a long time. Most important however is the fact that God brings the pastor and congregation together. It is a divine appointment. The congregation becomes tender to the leading of the pastor and the pastor’s heart is knit to the people he leads. Both these things are God’s doing. If the pastor is going to love the people in his church, as he ought, he must look to Christ as his example. Loving a congregation the way we ought requires two things. The first step is to know and experience the love of Jesus for us personally. The second is to develop a vision of God, loving the people of the church the same way he loves us. Finally, we need to become aware of how God has knitted our hearts with a deeper love for those sheep he has called us to serve.

Knowing and Experiencing the Love of Jesus

The beginning of the knowledge and experience of the love of God is found in the sacrificial death of Christ for us. Romans 5:8 says, But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.[1] God has shown us how much He loves us by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place, providing our ransom from sin. This is the beginning point of any relationship with God. Though it sounds basic, this is often taken for granted by many Christians. The inspired apostle reminds us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. In order to comprehend the depth of God’s love He demonstrated for us on the cross, we need to comprehend the depth of our own sin.

Jonathan Edwards, in his famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, paints for us a powerful picture of how God views us in our sin. He says, “Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf …”[2] Another preacher, keying on the text “All our righteousness are as filthy rags” opines that we are “as putrid as vomit” in our sins, in the eyes of God. Yet, in spite of our sin condition, God loves us and sent His only begotten Jesus to die for us. When we get a full picture of the love of God for us in our hearts, we will begin to understand the Lord’s heart for His people.

Once we have grasped the love of God personally, then we can look on the people of God with that same idea, that God also loved them with the same love with which He loved us. I think this is a critical juncture. Christians can be, and have been, ugly in their treatment of other Christians. Several books and articles have been written dealing with the topic of abuse within churches and between Christians. But when we get a true picture of how much God loved them (other Christians), we can find it within ourselves to love them too. Pastor, look into your heart, where we say that Jesus lives, and let the eyes of Christ look out from you and look upon your fellowship Christians. When you look at other Christians this way it is not hard to “love them at first sight” as John Newton would say.[3] I think this is exactly the mindset Jesus had in mind in John 13:35 when he said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Notice here that the kind or quality of love that Christians have for one another will be of such that even the world takes notice of it and marks us as disciples of Jesus. Newton learned this, I think we should too.

Pastoral Application

I think this thinking has profound applications for those of us who are pastors of the people of God. Consider for a moment, the implications of the vast love God has for the people in your church. Then add to that the realization that these sheep who God loves have been entrusted by Him into your care. The call of the pastor is the call to serve a particular congregation. If we ought to have such a love for our brothers and sisters in Jesus that the world marks us as His followers, how much more ought we (pastors) to have such a love for those God has called us to shepherd? Just as a Christian husband loves his wife above other Christian women, I believe we are called to a deeper love for those we shepherd than for the church at large. I believe the call of God to shepherd a certain congregation includes an enlarging of our hearts towards those sheep. All that holds true for the way we view the church universal holds true even more for those we shepherd.

Consider again the words of John Newton, “Whoever … has tasted of the love Christ, and has known, by his own experience, the need and the worth of redemption, is enabled, Yea, he is constrained, to love his fellow creatures. He loves them at first sight; and, if the providence of God commits a dispensation of the gospel, and care of souls to him, he will feel the warmest emotions of friendship and tenderness, while he beseeches them by the tender mercies of God, and even while he warns them by his terrors.”[4]

I think Newton gets directly to the point. It is the point I want to make. A pastor friend of mine once quipped that he would love pastoring “if it weren’t for the people.” I can find some sympathy with his remark on a certain level. But on another level I think he misses the mark entirely. If we are a pastor, and if God has divinely paired us with the people we shepherd, and if He has enlarged our hearts towards them according to His loving will, then we cannot be truly fulfilled as a person apart from loving the sheep as Christ did. I believe this is a radical change in thinking.

Too many pastors see their congregations as a job, or as a hindrance to their self fulfillment. The relationship between a pastor and his church is oftentimes one of antagonists rather than a loving shepherd and his sheep. But if we can learn to see our congregations with the same eyes with which Christ sees them, we could very much change the paradigms of our personal ministries. We are told today that people are looking for something real. They want more than the hypocritical Christianity they saw 20 or 30 years ago.[5] What could be more real in the life of the church than a pastor filled with the love of Christ shepherding the people of Christ with the same love with which Christ loves?

I have not always done this. I confess that I have often seen my congregants as opponents instead of seeing them through Christ’s eyes. I did not understand the implications of the very things I was teaching. Now I see. Seeing this has brought new energy and zeal to my ministry. I see the city I serve in with the eyes of Jesus who had compassion on the multitudes and prayed for workers to be sent to the harvest. I see my congregation in new ways that has led me to deeper prayer for them and a greater heart to be with them and minister to them to bring them all closer to Jesus. Learning to look with Jesus’ eyes brings me closer to the ideal, which is to be like Him. He is the Great Shepherd and the model for every shepherd under Him. If there were ever an area where we needed to take our cues from Jesus, it is in how He loves people, most especially, His own people. The implications are revolutionary.


Edwards, J. (1834). The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 2. Hendrickson: Peabody .

Piper, J. (2001). John Newton: The Tough Roots of his Habitual Tenderness. Desiring God Ministries.

Reid, A. (2002). Raising the Bar: Ministry to Students in the New Millenium. Wake Forest : Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture references are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004). Nashville : Broadman and Holman.

[2] Edwards Vol. 2, pg 9.

[3] John Newton quoted in John Piper, “John Newton: The Tough Roots of His Habitual Tenderness”, pg 6.

[4] John Newton, quoted in John Piper “John Newton: The Tough Roots of His Habitual Tenderness”, pg 6.

[5] Reid, pg 8.

Discipline With A Purpose – God’s Way In Any Circumstance

Steve Horne.

I hear often that God’s people within different situations (online chat, blogsphere, writings, etc.) and within other churches, especially if they are not geographically located in the same area cannot follow practices of Church Discipline. This is a grave error. There has been some writings on this, there has been no scripture that give Christians the right to lay aside God's directive and process for reconciling beleivers. false teaching comes into the church a little ata time. To indicate and intimate that one can lay aside God's process brings in error concerning living in the church of Christ.

Now I am not questioning the intent of some of these people to want to love other beleivers and to fellowship with them but I do call on them to give the scriptures and its instruction and explaination where we can lay aside God's directive. IF it is not in the Bible to do other than God has prescribed is to sin. Remember sin is 1) doing what God has said we are not to do and 2) omitting and not comforming to the directives of God in His word.

Note that Carla at does not beleive that Matt 18 can be used in some situations. Now her heart is to reconcile with others she has offended and / or sinned against and with those that have offended and / or sinned against her. As she states she will go privately, listen to his/ her statement, etc. and then finally "if possible work it out". Note that she has a good motivation but a non fulfilled and therefore wrong process and conclusion since she will not bring in the church to help reconcile. Therefore she omits God's directive and is in error. "Last November I wrote a bit about online dispute resolution, and why Matthew 18 (applied) doesn't work outside of a physical context." By the way the church is a physical context as we work with one another.

MAny have thought processes which go something like this: Online chat, blogs,people in other church or fellowship groups, etc not being connected in any manner are not the church, or are have no connection with the Church therefore church discipline cannot happen. In these diverse situations what I hear is that each person must be good as a Christian as possible, love one another if possible but if a difference and or offsense happens you are on your own and have no help of God’s process of Church Discipline (Matt. 18).

HERE IS THE TRUTH: All Christians are in the Church. Therefore God’s process and the construct of discipline amongst God’s people cannot be set aside. It is God’s process. Outside of this process there is none unless it is a man made process. A man made process is not the way of Christianity. Now what do you do? Follow God’s process. You may need to call the brother or sister on the phone and talk with them. You may need to do a three way calling if someone will not repent if they are in sin or are deficient in doctrine. If the sin continues then you and the witness may need to contact the pastor or elders of the persons church and bring formal charges. Below I set forth the basics of church discipline. .As has been set forward in another writing there are three things which identify the church. We are people that

1. hold to the word of God;

2. partake of the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism; and

3. practice God’s process of church discipline.

The practice of church discipline has been established by God “tell it unto the church” (Matthew 18:17). Our Lord taught that this is the way of unity and peace in the church. It is the true church that maintains discipline over believers guarding their souls (Heb 13). Any group that calls itself a church, or is part of the body of Christ and does not exercise love for the people in helping restore them to righteous living, guiding them in their life, is not maintaining the practrice of a true church or church member in the body of Christ. It is only the true church that cares enough to help restore the believing brothers and sisters in a desire to honor God bring forth purity.

Matt. 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ , To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

.The authority of the church does not rest in the personal and individual authority of the elders or pastors. The authority of the church leaders is a derived authority. Christ is King and Head of His church (Eph. 5:23; Col 1:18). He has given the Bible as the rule of all faith and practice. The leaders of the church must learn how God’s process of discipline is established. Then they are to to, teach the laity how to proceed in God’s process so that when needed there is discipline being directed in its processes from the Word of God alone. In the church there can only be a speaking where the Bible speaks and teaching what the Bible teaches with authority. Therefore the church and the members are to be directed by the Word alone in all matters in life and godliness. This truly glorifies the Lord and maintains purity in His, one and only church.

Church discipline has a lofty goal. It is properly administered for the maintenance of the the glory of God, the purity of the church and the reclaimation, restoration and reconcilation of the erring brethren. Therefore as you approach a brother and sister that is erring either in life or in doctrine you need to include these levels and aspects of church discipline as needed:

Teaching = It is is teaching the person what the Bible says concerning their sin, and how to change
Convictiing = It includes the need to convince or persuade of the need to turn from sin to loving the living Lord unto holiness ;
Admonishing = Discipline through admonishment includes all three of these encouraging, rebuking, warning,
Excommunicating = Hopefully restoration will be accomplished before this step is taken. This is the farthest end of an extreme measure which includes expulsion from the Lord’s table
Restoring = This is the goal of church discipline. It is an acceptance and compassion for a Christian brother or sister that has repented in order for there to be no grief.

.From the teaching of Scripture there are four major steps in the practice of church discipline. The following are the biblically steps of church discipline and restoration from Matt. 18:15-17. Read the passage from the gospel of Matthew and see if you can pick the three steps..
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
.Did you identify them? If not here you go:

Step 1. Private meeting = there is to be a private meeting between you and the person that has caused an offense concerning doctrinal error or delinquent in proper Christian living. “…., go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone”.

.Step 2. If restoration fails in step one then you must move to a second step where you “take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. The taking of others with you is for the purpose of supporting you in persuading the person to be restored. But sadly if the persuasion fails and the brother or sister does not repent the they are there in order to establish witnesses if the person does not repent and does not want restored in this second step.

.Step 3. If this fails the discipline of the non-repentant brother gets very serious. It is here that you must get all of the information together and “tell it unto the church”. This does not mean that you tell the issue to the congregation but it is simply that you tell it unto the church leaders, i.e. elders. They must take up the process of discipline from this point forward. They are the church court and have the spiritual oversight of the people of the church. The church members are to “Obey … leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. ( Heb 13:17). They are the leaders who speak the word of God and watch over the souls of the congregation. Perhaps the person will obey his or her leaders and submit to them and be restored. And if the person does this discipline ends since restoration would have been accomplished.

.Step 4. If sorrowfully the above steps fail and “if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” This is the final discipline step that must be done, called excommunication. It must be accomplished for two major reasons: a. in order that the spirit of the person may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:5) and for the purging of sin out of the church to keep it a pure as humanly possible (1 Cor. 5:7).

.The person that is delinquent in doctrine or in godly living, the person that has been sinned against, those brought in for support and witness and the elders of the church are all to be directed and guided not by their own thinking but by the word of God. If this is not done then there is no evidence that the people or the church leaders are Christian but show themselves to be self judging and at best just pragmatic people whether they stumble upon doing what is wrong or right. When one fails to be directed by the word, judged by the church and found to be in sin they are not to partake of the Lord’s supper They are living as the unsaved. Where there is no church discipline there are all kinds of evil. Humanism prevails, sin is in the camp, the leaders have no place to stand, doctrine can go anywhere since it is not checked, there is no growth at all and no watching over the souls of the people of the church. .Church discipline by the word of God and by the church and its people following the above steps is a must. A congregation or faith group that does not practice church discipline is missing a critical mark of being a true church.


Do you need to rethink how you are approaching others in your church or online in chat rooms or across the country where you may have lived and or visited and there are unresolved sin? Go ahead, put you plan in place and use God’s process. After all this is how peace, unity and the glory of God and the purity of His church is maintained.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

PMS Control is Biblical .... Any Questions?

PMS Control is Biblical …. Any Questions?

I remember one day a lady friend of the family was visiting at our home when she stated to my wife and I that when she was “PMSing” she sure gave her “husband a difficult time”. During this time she felt badly and would fuss and get angry often. She said that he “knew to watch out and leave her alone and not to bother her” during this time.

I then asked her, “Do you treat everyone in this same manner as you do your husband during these days.” She said, “No.” I then asked if she treated the person at the check out line at the grocery store in that manner? Again her answer was, “No”.

Next I then shared that her anger and difficulty toward her husband, even while PMSing, was not acceptable before the Lord and shared that the Lord desired her to love her husband and that she was to put off the fussing and anger during these PMS days. It was discussed and recognized that the body did go through changes that caused discomfort during this time however that was no excuse to treat the husband in such a sinful manner.

It also was pointed out to her that she clearly showed that she could control any outbursts of anger during this PMS time and that she did so with the people at the store and with other people. Women for a godly response to this you must therefore “put off” the “old self” and “put on” a renewed mind so as not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God”, by being kind and tenderhearted. You see “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man (woman) quietly holds it back.” (Pro 29:11) and “The discretion of a man (woman) deferreth his (her) anger; and it is his (her) glory to pass over a transgression.” (Pro 19:11)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Kingdom Victory

Kingdom Victory
Robert and Steve Horne

This blog is placed here to set forth the main tenants of postmillenialism eschatology. This understanding of eschatology sees victory in all aspects of the Christian faith. It is not a radical position but a historical one being around for thousands of years within the kingdom of God.

There have been 3 positions which have have been accepted throughout church history: Postmillennialism, Amillennialism and Premillennialism. I therefore graciously give latitude to those who hold any of these positions.

My prayer is that the crown of Christ be glorified as the eternal kingdom of God advances.

For more on Postmil exchatology go to my brother Robert’s new blogsite . I am sure you will gain understanding and be blessed in the positive aspects of the work of Christ our King in his world and in the Church.


The main tenets of postmillennialism have been defined as follows:

1. Through the preaching of the gospel Christian missions and evangelism will attain remarkable success, and the church will enjoy an unprecedented period of numerical expansion and spiritual vitality.

2. This period of spiritual prosperity, the millennium, understood as a long period of time, is to be characterized by conditions of increasing peace and economic well-being in the world as a result of the growing influence of Christian truth.

3. The millennium will also be characterized by the conversion of large numbers of ethnic Jews to the Christian faith (Romans 11:25-26).

4. At the end of the millennial period there will be a brief period apostasy and sharp conflict between Christian and evil forces (Rev. 20:7-10).

5. Finally, and simultaneously there will occur the visible return of Christ, the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked, the final judgment, and the revelation of the new heavens and the new earth.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Understanding And Handling The Past Properly

I. Introduction:

Often we come into contact with Christians that are filled with bad and haunting memories from their past. In them they are confused, don’t understand, and seem hopelessly in a “prison in the inner being. Perhaps you have dark memories from your past that bother you. Maybe you find that they are crippling you and keeping you imprisoned in an inner struggle of your mind. If this is the case and you struggle with your past, you are not alone! In fact more Christians than you could ever know struggle with this serious issue. You know what? Each of them desire to understand their past and escape this prison so that they can live life not as a victim of the past but live victoriously in Christ Jesus.

More Christians than you know struggle with this serious issue.

A. Some Past Memory Issues People Struggle With:

While not knowing your particular memory issues, some freequent types of dark memories from the past that haunt Christians may include but are certainly are not limited to:

> child abuse;
> drunkenness issues of the past;
> issues of lying,
> past marriage and sexual issues;
> bad financial decisions;
> war related memories;
> work related memories from such work as paramedic work;
> blasphemy of the Holy Ghost,
> etc.

Now the issue (s) of the past you are dealing with may or may not be from sin in your life. Past issues fall into two categories. The first is category is that of a non sinful innocent past. For example in this category the person committed no wrong, something could have been done to them or they have difficulty with the past due to extreme circumstances they found themselves in. The second category is that of a sinful guilty past. This is where sin has been committed by the person. Sin, being properly defined as the lack of conformity unto, or an actual transgression of God’s law.

B. The Deliverance From The Prison of The Past And The Renewal Of The Mind Comes From The Word Of God By The Power Of The Holy Spirit.

Believers and unbelievers alike are talking about the hurts of the past, abuses of the past, and the damaged memories of the past. Your deliverance from this WILL NOT come from TV and radio talk show hosts such as Dr. Phil, Oprah, Matt Lauer; Katie Couric; etc. It is sad to say that it may not come from advice that even some Christian Pastors or “counselors” give you. You will see this below as you keep reading. Many talk about these things but they DO NOT have the proper answers and solutions in helping you understand the past. Listed are some of the answers and solutions being promoted. Things like:

1. The dispensing of tranquilizers in moderation to help you “handle and overcome” these memories that want to come to the forefront of your thinking.

2. The partaking of shock treatments in order to “ handle and overcome” your past memories.

3. The exercising of a mystical “Pentecostal” deliverance having demons of the past “being cast out”.

4. The counsel by many Christians to merely have a “forget it and move on” approach. Pastors and Christians many times seek to apply Phil. 3:13 which states, "forgetting those things which are behind". They say “put it behind you and move on with your life. Don’t dwell on the past, live for the present.” “How?” You may ask. The answer, commonly stated is, "When bad thoughts come, just pray and press on while you read your Bible, attend church and serve Jesus.

To use this passage would mislead Christians that are imprisoned in their minds concerning their past.

This however is not proper since the context here is that Paul is not talking about forgetting his past sins and / or life issues. He however, is talking about the way he once tried to “get right with God!” Therefore this is not the answer for the issue we are addressing. To use this passage would mislead Christians that are imprisoned in their minds concerning their past.
Therefore, Christian friends, we must look to the Creator who made us and follow His helpful guidance and direction in such matters. Let us learn and never forget the first Psalm and the inspired writers wise counsel, promise and warning.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psa 1:1-6)

Christians must then go to the Bible to sufficiently find the answers in commandments, principles and precepts concerning how to understand the past. The Bible gives the direction so that the past caqn be understood so that it is not that of dark imprisonment. The past can be understood and looked at so that one can be a victor in life and live as a victim. God’s word provides the life changing solution to this big problem which so many so many Christians seem to face.

Therefore whichever category of past you have difficulty understanding be it known today that you can understand it, do properly that which needs to be done, and have the prison doors of your mind opened. You can have forgiveness if needed, make any needed restitution, have renewal! Praise the Lord. Understanding the past, you can move on with your life! You can become a victor through the direction of God by His sufficient Word and by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit working in your life!

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Phi 2:12-13)

Our prayer is that this very hour, no make that this very minute, our God grant you a renewed mind and continued growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ( 2 Pt. 3:18)

Let us learn and never forget the first Psalm and the inspired writers wise counsel, promise and warning.

II. God’s Solution:

A. Your Past Memories Are From God, A Great Benefit , And They Affect The Future And Growth In Progressive Sanctification.

In understanding your past you must understand that your past and the memories from it are from God. The past memories is a good thing for you for many different reasons.

Now you may wish that you could wipe the past out of your mind since it has troubled you, been such a pain or seem so unfair. But that is not the position of God our Creator. According to God all memories of the past are a gift from Him. This is how he has created us to be – with the ability to remember the past. Since He created us this way the it is good for us to remember our past. Not only that but it serves us in bringing many benefits and blessings in our lives. This benefit from our Creator helps us in directing our lives spiritually, physically and familial.

The past can and does affect the future. And that is good! Not only is this clear from a passage in Galatians where we see God showing us that our past certainly affects our future and He calls us to remember: "Do not be deceived. God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Gal. 6:7). But we also find this revealed over and over to us in the wisdom book of Proverbs.

To Do:

List passages here from the Book of Proverbs:




“How is our past a benefit to us?” you might ask. Our past is of great benefit to us in several ways as you see listed here:

1. It helps us in facing all things, whether good or adversity, in life with strength and confidence. "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity" (Job 2:10). If adversity we can be as confident as David knowing that, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear. He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (I Sam. 17:37).

2. It helps us to handle trials that come into our life. "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity" (Job 2:10).

3. Another blessing of have a past and the memory of the past is that when we remember circumstances of the past we get to judge ourselves and that dear friends helps us to repent and to worship God our Creator properly. "Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent" (Rev. 2:5; see also 1 Cor. 11:23-34)

4. Our memories and past also keep us humble. "Remember, do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness" (Deut. 9:7).

5. Our past also helps us to show mercy and forgive others. "You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?" (Matt. 18:32-33).

~Therefore we need our past memories and any attempt to clean or clear from your mind or counsel to merely forget you past is unthinkable, very ungodly and unwise counsel to you. The past is a blessing and is of great benefit and aid to us in our spiritual growth process. You and I need to understand our past and these purposes for them.

B. Viewing the Past in Two Categories

It is important that the two categories of the past be identified. The categories are a.) the innocent past and b.) the guilty past. It is it is imperative that we separate our past into these two categories before seeking to apply biblical principles and precepts. Either category can be dealt with properly and appropriately. But if the category of the past is not defined and properly understood then the approach you take to understanding and handling your past will be very detrimental to you. For example if you have been sinned against then for you to approach it as thought you have sinned is grave error. You will be trying to repent and ask forgievness when you did nothing wrong and as we know this just adds fuel to the past. Likewise to have sinned and to seek to live as though you have not sinned but place the blame elsewhere is to suppress truth and this also adds to your “dark imprisoning past” memories. Once again if one applies one set of Biblical principles and precepts to the wrong category the person will be mislead, confused, definitely wrong and still “imprisoned” by his or her past.

Since then this is so important let us look briefly at the dynamics in both of these categories. First we will look at the innocent past then the guilty past.

1. The Innocent Past Catagory. – This is the past wherein the person did not commit sin but suffered just as the result of living in a sinful world.

a.) Other Person (s) Involved:

It may be that you suffered mentally, physically and spiritually at the hands another. Or it may be that you suffered in the past through some of life’s tough circumstances. Each of these situation call for different responses. But either way we can grow and move on with our lives. The prison doors of victimization, due to not understanding the past, can be opened and you can be set free.

If another person (s) was involved and you were wronged by them then there are questions for you to answer. Each question answered properly will direct a response from you to call you to action in order to understand the past and handle it biblically from Gods perspective.

Questions to consider regarding understanding the past when wronged by a person.
Responses to help guide you properly.

1. Do I remember ( is my memory) of the past perfect?
1 a. - The answers here is so that you do not distort any facts since memories are not 100 % and the past is always interpreted or reinterpreted.

2. Am I interpreting the situation correctly?
2 a. - See above

3. Was a crime committed against me?
3 a. - If so then the suthorities are to be brought into the picture. (Gen 9; Rom 13)

4. Is there a statute of limitations still in effect for the crime?
4 a. - This will let you know if you can still persue the person for guilty conviction in the courts. NOTE if not you can still understand and handle the past in an appropriate manner.

5. Are there appropriate witness to the crime?
5 a. - There really need to be two witnesses. Counsult with your attorney on this if there are not two clear witnesses.

6.Do I need to call in the civil authorities?
6 a. - If a crime was committed, YES

7. Do I need an attorney?
7 a. – if the same answer in 6 a is the same yes

8. Do I need to confront the person (s)?
8 a. – If there is not a crime but you were sinned against (Matt 18; Luke 17))

9. If yes, then have I done so?
9 a. – be sure to do so to witness or to restore a fellow believer (Matt 18)

10. If the person (s) have repented then have I forgiven them? (Lk. !7 in context on forgiveness),
10 a – Lk 17 states that is your basic duty. I suggest reading the passage in contest and through. It is very eye opening.

11. Am I truly innocent?
11 a. – check the events as you recall them and your heart, motives and actions.

12.Was my response godly (according to biblical concepts precepts and commandments)?
12 a – same answer as 11 a.

13. Have I acknowledged God’s providential care in all of life’s past? “You meant it for evil, God meant it for good!
13 a – this is where since the past bothers you and you lack understanding of it htat you possibly have not acknowledged god;s providence and lived under His provision in you life appropriately. This paper deals with God’s providence .and our response. Read, learn and practice… OKAY!

14. Is my mind guarded with the peace of God and is the God of peace present with me now and in the past experience (s).
14 a. – Do and apply Phil. 4:4-9 – Right thinking / right praying / right action brings the peace of God and the God of peace into our daily lives in a huge way.

These questions answered properly will direct your steps and will give an understanding of the past stopping confusing and open those prison doors so that you may live as a victor even when there were or are difficult times in our life.

The clarifying question here is "Was another person directly involved?" Each answer provides guidance for which Biblical principles need to be applied next.

b. No Persons Involved

If in the situation another person is not involved and you just faced tough times as a result of the fall you still can grow and be set free from the prison you have placed yourself in. The Lord has not abandoned you and is in the past! These difficult innocent situations are used by our sovereign Lord to give us great opportunities to grow in the faith and knowledge of Christ and His Kingdom.

Some suggested questions which you should consider in this situation include: “What other servants of God can I list and read about that have faced tough times and handled them?”, “How can this trial be used by me as an opportunity to become more like Christ my Saviour?”, “What are the event (s) trying to teach me about the providence and authority of God in my life?”

The dark moments of our past and the difficult situation (s) you found yourself are very real. But the particulars of the past that you have not understood really does not matter for another greater reality is that no matter what may have happened in your past you must come to grips with the fact that nothing surprises God. That’s right! God is always there (Psalm. 139; Phil 4). Not only is He always present in the most difficult and dark situations but He, in them, is always making provision for His people in every one of those situations. Joseph is an explicit example of God being there with him throughout all the trials and difficult circumstances of his past. And as He was with Joseph so was He with you. Now in recalling the account of Joseph we find he was a man that was abused by family members, sold into slavery, lied upon, wrongly imprisoned, at the least opportune time he was forgotten, very misunderstood, etc. Yet when he reflected on the past he properly understood it and concluded that “… they thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good. . ..” (See also Gen.45:5-7; Acts 17:25-31; Rom. 8:28-29; Eph. 1:4, 11; and Jer. 29:11).

Now as a Christian you are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), forgiven and set free from the guilt and burden of sin. With this forgiveness come the freedom, opportunity and human responsibility to actively and properly interpret and respond to your situation from God’s perspective. This is the accountability that comes to you regarding your choices and actions no matter what memories of the past may linger in your mind (Gen. 37-50; Prov. 4:23; Mark 7:14-23; James 1:13-15). Therefore you can say that the past was difficult but God has brought it in my life and He meant it (whatever it was) unto good for me.

This is where we get to understand God working in our lives caring for us and giving us the opportunity to count our blessings one by one!

In context, you are a child of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit and are a responsible human being capable of learning the character and person of your caring heavenly Father. Therefore then a correct knowledge of God, His workings in this world and how they affect you are to be understood. Christians are to recognize and give homage to the Father from whom nothing comes by chance but for His provision of all things necessary for our life, growth and direction in order to carry out His purposes.

Nothing in your past just happened by chance, or astrological movement. nor by Satan, but by God’s governance. There is no such thing as luck, or chance for with God all things have been decreed to be as they are in our lives. You may not ever understand why things happened in your life but rest assured God had a purpose in it. There are blessings to count. In war time you may have been there just in order to help others that were in need. Perhaps you needed to see sinful depraved “man’s inhumanity to man”. Or some other blessing God was presenting for you. Now even though there were scenes you could have chosen not to see I suggest you start looking at what God has done in your life through those difficult times. This is where we get to practice counting our blessings one by one! As you do this you will come to recognize that whatever comes to pass, whether years of plenty or famine, sickness or health, riches or poverty, life or death are all governed by God.

Knowing that all things are from the Fatherly hand of God we Christians have much profit and hope in life’s blessings and in life’s adversities.

Knowing that all things are from the Fatherly hand of God we Christians have much profit and hope in life’s blessings and in life’s adversities. Therefore dear friend the “victimization prison doors” of the mind open up as we learn to be patient in times of adversity while being confident in God our Father to uphold us and sustain us by His Fatherly hand even in difficult circumstances and situations. Out thoughts of God are to be glorious standing in awe of His Majestty’s care for us His people. We are to be patient in this world both internally in our being and externally as we observe and interpret the works of God in our life both in the past and present. The basis of this confidence comes from our resting in the power of God knowing that all things are so in the hand of God and that they have not in the past, or now, or in the future move without His divine and holy will.. Please take note of the supporting Scripture:

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Psalms 39:9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.

Job 1:21- 22 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

2. The Guilty Past Category - This is the past wherein we have sinned either against God, a person or both.

The first thing to consider here is this – Have you confessed your sin to God? If it has not then your responsibility is to immediately:

Why have you been haunted by this sinful guilty past? Answer: Simply due to the fact that you have not dealt with your guilt. Even in situations where the another person also sinned (or perhaps even sinned first), you must deal with your guilt in the matter.

First, God’s people need to acknowledge is that God is holy. God will not “hold him guiltless” who does wrong for the wrongdoer is without excuse. (Ex. 20:7; Rom 1:20; 2:1; 2:14; 3:9-12,19,23)

Second, God’s people are to see guilt that comes from breaking the law of God as a friend since as a schoolmaster, the law calls out to us to bring us to Christ and His forgiveness. (Gal 3:24; Rom. 5:8)

Third, assume the guilt. Do not run and hide, make excuses, lie, etc. Agree with God that what you have done is against Him and his word. To continue to seek to cover the sin and wrongdoing leads to further problems. It can lead to broken relationships, distorted living, Church discipline, depression, and all the problems which that causes. Those that assume the guilt and confess find peace, forgiveness and mercy. (Prov. 28:13; 51:4; 1 Jn 1:7-9).

Fourth, confess to the appropriate people. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) Now this is so important notice what our Lord said about it in relation to worship: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matt. 5:23-26)

Now if the sin was public your need to confess not only to any immediate people you wronged but also you must make public confession. Be careful to take note that confession needs only be made as far as the extent of the wrong doing and its known affects. As I have explained this to my children, think of an umbrella and if the people were not under the umbrella of wrongdoing then they don’t need to hear a confession. My wife and I drilled this principle into our kids as we taught them to deal with sin, guilt, confession and forgiveness in our family and in their lives.

Fifth, make any needed restitution. I remember one instance when a child twelve years old stole some Christmas gifts from a neighbor. Asked what to do the father correctly directed the child to confess and seek forgiveness. This was swiftly done. The child then made restitution by working for the family in order to work with theor hands to better the life of the family and to make restitution. Needless to say the child learned a valuable lesson about stealing, the blessings of forgiveness and the principle of making restitution in order to help their fellow man. We see Zaccheus as an example of a person following the law of God in making restitution. And Paul wrote to the Church of Ephesus acknowledging that believers are to practice restitution: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Eph. 4:28)

Sixth, change your life in two areas: 1. your thinking and 2. your behavior.

Think differently. You do not have to “beat your breast” nor crawl across pointed sharp gravels on your knees nor walk on hot embers. Therefore you do not have to live with guilty feelings. You have repented and done the works of repentance therefore you are forgiven. Now think forgiven! Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:11) And then “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6: 9-11) You therefore can renew you mind living in the presence of the God of peace (Phil 4; Rom 12).

Change your behavior (put off / put on) in order that you do not perform the wrong doing. Now this takes practice but it can be done. Notice that the Answer to change is not to stop doing something but it is to replace it with good and godly living. This is the put off/ put on principle in Gods word that you need to grasp! Paul taught the Ephesians about this in the fourth chapter of his letter to them. Eph 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (24) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. He gives a clear example of this in the same contextual passage in several areas:

Communication – vs. 24 – 25, 29, 31-32 : And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away (put off) lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. … Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. …. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.Anger - vs 26 -27; 31: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (27) Neither give place to the devil. ……. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice

Stealing – vs. 28 - Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

So whatever you did wrong the Bible has the sufficient answer to it so that you may put off the sin and put on God’s way of living in order to live holy and glorify God in your life.

You never need to sin to “get ahead”, “one up”, “get things done”,
“save money”, “earn money”, “keep things from the wife and / or kids”,
“feel better or be better than another person” !

Seventh, remember what we learned above - God has decreed all thibngs that some to pass so that all (not many or some but all) things come from the fatherly hand of a soverign God and that there is no chance or happenstance that brings anything into your life. You never need to sin to “get ahead”, “one up”, “get things done”, “save money”, “earn money”, “keep things from the wife and / or kids”, “feel better or be better than another person”!

Not only this but the Lord is always near to you in all of lifew and in all circumstances. (Phil 4) Being that this is so you can pray specifically about situations as they arise, and you need not sin for the Lord has given His Word to funish us with the proper responses and for all good action.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 4:4-7)

Now that you have confessed and learned about God you can rrejoice in God's providential care, in his forgiveness (Ps. 40:1-3) and worship the Lord our Savior. Make it a point to go to Sunday School and or theology class and continue to grow in your understanding of the character of God. No longer wallow in your sin (Phil. 3:13, Ps.103:12) for it has been forgiven and is not remembered by God. .

C. Relating To Your Past –

Your past can be either a help or a hindrance as has been fully laid out and understood from the previous comments above.

1. .The key to handling the past Biblically is twofold.

A) - The Christian must seek to derive maximum benefit from that part of the past which God can use to help him or her to grow. In doing seeking to derive maximum benefit from that part in order that God use it to help you grow you will need to learn fundamental lessons about:

1) God,
2) Oneself,
3) Other
4) God’s World

B) - he or she must do everything possible to sever all ties to the past that will hinder their sanctification or growth in the faith and its practice.

1) If our past is due to sinful behavior and responses the we Christians must do everything to sever all ties to the past that will hinder sanctification. Sometimes this calls for radical change. Notice how radical Jesus was about this:

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Mat 5:29-30)

This learning is to be done whether your past is from a guilty past or a non guilty past category.

Also remember that relating to and working through issues of the past include these necessary steps - a. Confess any non confessed sin in order to live in a renewed and fresh relationship before our holy God and before men. b.Ensure that you have made any necessary restitution so that you never have to revisit these past issues again. c. Do away with sinful bitterness and anger so that you do not continue to have the past creepinto your thinking. Note: If you need to know how to handle anger and bitterness for positive resolution to lifes problems that spark anger see the blog at titled “Being Angry for Problem Resolution”.

III. Know Your Mind Is Renewed Concerning Your Past

After all the reading from above is done I do hope that you understand your past in a much better manner since it truly can be viewed from God’s perspective. Not only that but I hope you now know that whatever God brings into your life the Holy Spirit gives you the power to take the proper Christian , biblical, action and that you do not need to sin. Other things in your life change and these manifest (let you know) that you now see and understand your past. These include:

A. You will worship and praise God for who He is and how he brings all things to pass for His glory and yours and the Church’s good

The Scripture doctrine of God’s providence is so plain. Here is a summary of Scripture proof, showing that all events have a divinely appointed place and purpose.

God's providential control extends over all:

(a) Nature or the physical world.

"Jehovah doeth His will in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet," Nahum 1:3. "Only in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel were, there was no hail," Exodus 9:26. "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the to men to be only the result of natural causes; yet Joseph could say, "The thing is established of God, and God will shortly bring it to pass." Genesis 41: 32.

"And I also have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months before the harvest; and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city," Amos 4:7.

"He gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your heart with food and gladness," Acts 14:17.

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Isaiah 40:12.

(b) The animal creation.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny and not one of them shall fall to the ground without your Father," Matthew 10:29.

"Behold the birds of the heavens, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them,"Matthew 6:26.

"My God hath sent His angel and hath shut the lions' months, that they have not hurt me," Daniel 6:22.

"The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God," Psalm 104:21.

"Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father (Laban) and given them to me" (Jacob),
Genesis 31:9.

(c) Nations.

(Nebuchadnezzar's humiliation was) "to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up
over it the lowest of men," Daniel 4:17.

"Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing," Isaiah 40:15.

"Let them say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth," 1 Chronicles 16:31.

"For God Is the King of all the earth," Psalm 47:7.

"He changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth kings, and setteth up kings," Daniel 2:21.

"Jehovah bringeth the counsel of the nations to naught; He maketh the thoughts of the people to be of none effect," Psalm 33:10. "And Jehovah gave them rest round about .... Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hands," Joshua 21:44.

"And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah; and Jehovah delivered them into the hands of Midian seven years," Judges 6:1. 'Shall evil befall a city, and Jehovah hath not done it?" Amos 3:6.

"For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through
the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs," Habakkuk 1:6.

(d) Individual men.

"The king's heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the watercourses; He turneth it whithersoever He will," Proverbs 21:1.

"A man's goings are established of Jehovah," Psalm 37:23.

"A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps," Proverbs 16:9.

"For we ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that," James 4:15. "Of Him, and through Him, and unto Him are all things," Romans 11:36.

"Who maketh thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7.

"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, And delivereth them," Psalm 34:7.

"If it be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thy hand,O king," Daniel 3:17.

"Jehovah is on my side; I shall not fear; What can man do unto me?" Psalm 118:6.

“But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay and thou our potter; and we are the work of thy hands," Isaiah 64:8.

"And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us (the returning exiles) from the hand of the enemy and the lier-in-wait by the way," Ezra 8:31.

"And God brought their counsel to naught," Nehemiah 4:15.

"But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or bent; that ye way know how Jehovah doth make a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel," Exodus 11:7.

"And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee," Acts 18:9.

(e) The free acts of men.

"It is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure," Philippians 2:13.

"And Jehovah gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked." Exodus 12:36.

"And the king (of Persia, Artaxerxes granted him (Ezra) all his request, according to the hand of Jehovah his God upon him," Ezra 7:6.

"For Jehovah had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God" (rebuilding the temple), Ezra 6:22.

"And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them," Ezekiel 36:27.

(f) The sinful acts of men.

"For of a truth in this city against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, and the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass," Acts 4:27, 28.

"Jesus answered him (Pilate), Thou wouldst have no power against me, except it were given thee from above," John 19:11.

(David, rebuking Abishai, in regard to Shimei) "Because he curseth, and Jehovah hath said, Curse David.... Let him alone, and let him curse; for Jehovah bath bidden him" II Sam. 16:10,

"Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; and the residue of wrath shalt thou gird upon thee" (or restrain), Ps. 76:10.

"And I, behold I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians and they shall go in (the Red Sea) after them; and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, and upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen," Ex. 14:17.

(g) To the fortuitous events or "chance happenings.

Proverbs 16:33: The lot is cast Into the lap; But the whole disposing thereof Is of Jehovah.

Jonah 1:7: So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

Acts 1:24, 26: And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show of these two the one whom thou has chosen . . . And they cast lots for them; and the lot fell on Matthias.

Job 36:32: He covereth His hands with the lightning, And giveth it a charge that it strike the

1 Kings 22:28, 34: And Micaiah said, If thou (Ahab) return at all in peace, Jehovah hath not
spoken by me . . . And a certain man drew his bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the armor.

Job 5:6: For affliction cometh not forth from the dust; Neither doth trouble spring out of the

Mark 14:30: And Jesus said unto him (Peter), Verily I say unto thee, that thou, today, even this night. before the cock crow twice shall deny me thrice.

(Cp. Genesis 37:28 and 45:5; Cp. 1 Samuel 9:15,16 and 9:5-10.)

B. You will have an increased sense of gratitude and praise in the grace of God. You will see yourself in reality. Being a sinner, you will have a renewed sense and poise not to sin in the future as may have been done in the past.

In 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Paul recalls his past sin, but then he praises God for his marvelous grace. Paul does not forget or avoid his past but freely admits he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent person. In this he does not dwell on these facts but proclaims God’s grace of Jesus' saving work and on the Father’s mercy in sending such a wonderful Savior. In reality Paul lets his past highlight God's grace. Properly understood redemptively our evil and sin magnifies God's mercy.

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1Ti 1:12-17)

Therefore let your past memories prompt you to a higher view of God's grace, energizing you to praise while solidifying your Christian faith and confidence.

C. You will have a deeper sense of repentance if you do find yourself falling into a sinful action.

Deepening Repentance

Properly and honestly facing the horribleness and ugliness of past sins and failures will cause you to have a deepening sense of repentance and will cause you to seek reconciliation and make proper restitution with others you have sinned against. This will also effect a consciousness of sins sensitizing you to new temptations in the pasts problematic areas. This will deter you from repeating the sin or sins. (Prov. 26:11).

D . A broader sense, concern and abilities put in action to be able to help others through instruction and example in life.

There is no greater way to know that the past is dealt with than to be transformed is such a way that we are willing to instruct others in the right way to live in the Christian life and faith. WE see this great biblical example in the great confessional and repentant Psalm 51 (fifty-one).

Psalm Title: (Psa 51:1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Confession of Needing God’s Mercy: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. (Psa 51:2) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

Confession of Sin: (Psa 51:3) For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
(Psa 51:4) Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Psa 51:5) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psa 51:6) Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

A Cry for Cleansing and Forgiveness: (Psa 51:7) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psa 51:8) Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. (Psa 51:9) Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. (Psa 51:10) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Restoration Needs Confessed: (Psa 51:11) Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. (Psa 51:12) Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Repentance and Confession Confirmed: (Psa 51:13) Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. (Psa 51:14) Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. (Psa 51:15) O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

God’s Acceptable Sacrifices: (Psa 51:16) For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. (Psa 51:17) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psa 51:18) Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; (Psa 51:19) then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

When God helps you to interpret your past sins from a gospel perspective, your bad memories can broaden your effectiveness in ministering to others.

Paul saw his life as a pattern for what God will do for others. God's forgiveness of his sins breeds hope for Paul's hearers.

What effect does this have on ministering to others?

1. You can understand their problem, relate to failure and you know it's potentially haunting shame.

2. Furthermore, you can offer hope by giving you life as an example of God's hope at work. (2 Cor. 1:3-4).


You may not be able to prevent sinful memories from arising. Painful thoughts might still intrude without invitation. Yet you don't need to erase them or escape them. They do not have to destroy you. Birds of guilt may land on your head but they need not nest there. Your Redeemer is bigger than your past.

In Christ, your past can be handled understood and redeemed. You can learn to reinterpret your past biblically. As 1 Timothy 1 teaches, a gospel-centered understanding of your past sin deepens your repentance, heightens your gratitude for God's saving grace, and broadens your effectiveness in helping others with wisdom and compassion.

May God redeem your past memories so that your worship might be eeper, higher, and broader, for His glory and your good.