Category Archives: spiritual warfare

How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Conclusion)

 

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25 NKJ)

The foundation for anxiety and depression is fear.

Now, most Christians don’t have to be reminded that it’s wrong to be fearful because we have heard it over and over again. Yet, in our brokenness and our frailty, we fall short of trusting the Lord in all of our circumstances.

The “what if this happens or that happens, then what” scenarios continue to play over and over in our minds and drown out our trust in the Lord. Right?

The Apostle Paul underlined our struggles when he wrote:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)

Paul answered his question in Romans 8:1.

Many of us have memorized Romans 8:1, but how can we really walk in the truth of not allowing condemnation to derail our lives?

Yes, the Bible exhorts us to pray and study the word.  But let’s be honest, this advice fails to move most of us, which brings us back to Paul’s question: “who will deliver us?”

If we’re thinking the answer is going to a church on Sunday, sitting in a pew with 300, 600, 1000 or 8000 other believers, listening to a sermon-lecture and a few prayers, and returning week after week for more of the same, then why aren’t we all delivered from our fear, anxiety and depression as yet?

Maybe we need to look elsewhere.

Did you know that 50% of the members at Alcoholic Anonymous stay sober, another 25% relapse but return, and the other 25% do not remain sober?

Why is Alcoholics Anonymous so successful?

The meetings are small in size and open to all. Everyone is allowed to share what’s on his heart. Success stories – even small successes – are celebrated as victories. There are intense discussions. Each member is paired up with a mentor who helps them through any struggles.

HELLO!

Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:26 NLT)

Alcoholic Anonymous modeled its meetings after the early home churches. And it works!

Thus, I believe the only way for us to overcome our fear, anxiety and depression is to have small home groups (or home churches) with open formats, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our midst. Members can pray and use their spiritual gifts to help set others free.

The reason I use a bold font to emphasize “with open formats” is that many churches have home groups, but have rigid formats that they follow. This won’t work!

Why is this so important?

I believe America is about to enter into a period of extreme tribulation and confusion that has never been experienced before in our nation’s history. The number of people who suffer from fear, anxiety and depression will multiply off the charts almost over night.

We need to prepare ourselves now.

(Conclusion)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 3)

In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth and everything on the earth.

Next, He created mankind in His own image by forming man out of the dust of the ground and breathing into man’s nostrils the breath of life. Man became a living being.

So far so good.

Next, God decided that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper, fit for his needs. God took a rib from Adam (the first man) and created the first woman. She was just what Adam needed and he called her Eve. 

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25)

So far still so good.

The Bible doesn’t exactly say how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before the fall occurred in Genesis Chapter 3, but we are told that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. This third child was born after Cain had killed Abel.

My guess is that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for approximately one hundred years without disobeying God’s one command to them –

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Maybe Adam and Eve walked by the forbidden tree once a day for one hundred years. That would be 36,500 times. If Adam and Eve were like me, they’d be at least curious about how the forbidden fruit tasted. And 36,500 times of not eating or touching the fruit probably primed them for the serpent’s temptation when he said,

“You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Eve listened to the serpent and then ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam who also ate it.

What happened next?

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:7-8)

Adam and Eve’s disobedience released two stumbling blocks upon mankind which help to foster fear, anxiety and depression: hiding from God and fear. We are still struggling with these issues today.

(Continued in Part 4)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 2)

Let’s call the first female ride-share rider Alicia (not her name). She was nineteen years old, very pretty with a nice shape, long blond hair, intelligent and a great smile.

As I drove, we conversed about her college experience and her move to a new apartment. Somehow, I asked, “Do you struggle with depression?

“Yes,” she replied, “I am one of those smiling depressed ones.”

“Really? How can a pretty, bright gal like you be depressed?”

Alicia went on to tell about her childhood. She had a domineering religious father who demanded his wife always wear a dress, spanked his children too hard and too often, abused his wife and did all of this while hiding behind a “Jesus loves you” attitude.

Her mother left her dad and then remarried another man. And guess what? The mother chose a man just like her first husband.

Alicia made up her mind as a teenager never to be a Christian, but God had other plans for her. Some friends coaxed her into attending a Christian youth group. She met the real Jesus and built a relationship with Him.

But so far, her Christians beliefs have not erased her damaged childhood. She still struggles with depression.

Let’s call the second female rider Stella (not her name). She was forty-three years old, divorced, a successful professional, very pretty, in great shape, intelligent, and a Christian with a big smile.

It took no time to learn about her depression.

She had just returned from an out of state job interview. The reason for seeking the new job was that she was sexually harassed at her present company. She put up with the harassment for a while because it was her boss, a partner in the firm. But she wisely kept all the texts and emails he sent her.

Finally, she became fed up and went to the Human Resources Department with her texts and emails. The boss was fired, but the company treated her as though she was the problem and the cause of a good man being fired. Former friends turned on her.

Stella went to a psychologist, trying to get a handle on her strange predicament. Her company then felt she was too unstable to handle her position because she needed counseling.

It then snowballed from there.

Depression settled upon her so that she felt her only hope was to move to another city.

Both of these females should have had everything going for them with their intelligence, looks and youthful energy. Yet, one was damaged in her childhood and the other was hit head on by an unwanted circumstance.

These two females’ depression illustrate two of the main causes for our fear, anxiety and depression.

(Continued in Part 3)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 1)

I struggle with writing a series about fear, anxiety and depression because I don’t really suffer from these disorders. It’s not that I’m uncommonly brave or anything like that. It’s just that from my childhood until now, I’ve always had an attitude of “something good is about to happen to me.”

This becomes somewhat funny if you take the time to read my testimony because the Lord saved me on the day I was going to commit suicide. It’s not that I was depressed or anxious on May 20, 1985, it’s just that I had run out of options to save my home, car and family. My life insurance policy of $125,000 seemed to be my only hope. So I thought of it at the time as a business decision – nothing more.

Now, the only time I have ever truly suffered from depression was when a Christian friend with good intentions leant me his copy of Deliverance and Inner Healing by John and Mark Sandford. The book blends scripture with the teachings of Jung and Freud to supposedly rid believers of buried memories. The authors’ premise seems to be that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible are not quite enough to set captives free.

I began reading the book on a Saturday afternoon. And after about a hundred and fifty pages,  I became severely depressed and confused. The book had convinced me that my Bible studies and prayers were wasted efforts and that I needed the insights of inner healing, as outlined in this book.

I decided to go for a walk to clear my head.

As I walked down the sidewalk in a foggy daze, a Christian neighbor looked out his window and saw me. He felt I was in danger. He rushed outside and asked, “Larry, what’s your problem?”

“I’ve been reading a book entitled Deliverance and Inner Healing and it has really confused my faith,” I answered.

“Oh, that book is filled with psycho-babble and sorcery,” he replied. Then, he proceeded to outline the history of Agnes Sanford, John and Paula Sandford, Karl Jung, Sigmund Freud, inner healing and more.

“Jesus is the way, truth and light. Period,” he said.

His words instantly set me free.

Thus, if my depression on that Saturday is a small example of what many suffer on a daily basis, wow! It makes me realize just how debilitating and tormenting fear, anxiety and depression must be for millions of people.

Two female riders on my ride-share travels this week inspired me to write this article. We will talk about them in the future.

(Continued in Part 2) 

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A Summer Thanksgiving Story Without Turkey and Stuffing

 

The drive to meet Pastor Rick took me past the Temecula Valley High School baseball field where our son, Cole, played shortstop for the Golden Bears during his four years there. Cole was a good player, but that wasn’t the reason I always thanked the Lord for His mercy when I drove by the field. It was because of a special miracle the Lord did twenty-two years earlier during a state playoff game.

On that particular day, the Golden Bears were playing the Norco High School Cougars. The pitcher for the Cougars was Carson Riley, a right-hander, who threw around ninety-five miles per hour and was a solid major league prospect.

Cole stood in the right side of the batter’s box to lead off the seventh inning. Riley’s first pitch was a fastball, which tailed inside and hit Cole in the middle of his chest, knocking him to the ground. He laid motionless on the ground.

The three coaches for Temecula Valley rushed to him. One of them took out a cell phone and made a call.

Jane and I were sitting in the bleachers above the dugout on the first base side of the field. I grabbed Jane’s hand. “Honey, we need to go out there. Cole’s in danger,” I said.

We stood up and hurried to field.

Jim Dawson, the head coach for the Golden Bears, looked up as we approached home plate. “Dylan, he’s not breathing. I phoned for an ambulance, which should be here in four minutes,” he said.

Jane and I dropped to our knees and began praying. She prayed in tongues while I placed my hand on his chest.

“Father, You gave me a promise when Cole was born that He would preach the gospel and do miracles in Your name. When You made that promise, You looked into the future and saw this day. And yet, You still made that promise to me. I am not leaving until You honor Your promise and Cole stands up, totally healed in Jesus’ name. You did it for Elijah when he prayed for the widow’s son and I’m asking You to do the same thing for Cole, right now,” I prayed.

Coach Dawson grabbed my shoulders. “Dylan, let’s wait for the ambulance,” he whispered.

I shook his hands off me. “Let go of me,” I shouted. “God is doing a miracle here.”

Dawson released his grasp and wandered off. A siren could be heard pulling into the school’s parking lot.

“Father, I didn’t ask You to give me that promise for Cole. You did it on Your own. So, honor Your promise, in Jesus’ name,” I prayed again and again.

“What’s happening here?” asked a paramedic, rushing toward us with a stretcher.

Cole’s green eyes fluttered and opened. He looked into my eyes. “Dad,” he whispered, “I met Jesus. He said I had to come back to life because of your prayers.”

My son was totally healed and wanted to stay in the ballgame, but of course, the two paramedics insisted on him riding in the ambulance to Temecula Valley Hospital. Jane and I followed them in our SUV.

All of the tests on Cole proved to be negative. The Lord healed him.

Cole graduated from high school two weeks later and now lives in San Diego with his wife Allyson and their two daughters, Mia and Madison.

If I drove by the baseball field a hundred times in any one day, I always thanked the Lord for His gracious miracle every time. I always wanted Him to know how much I appreciated what He did for our family on that day.

That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders. (Psalm 26:7)

(Excerpt from Still in the Fight, an upcoming new novel by me.)

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NEWS FLASH: 13,000 or More Witches to Cast Spell on President Trump. What Should We Do?

 

Michael Snyder at End of the American Dream reports that “as Halloween approaches, thousands of witches will cast a ‘binding spell’ on Donald Trump on October 25th.” (See full article here.)

I am neither Republican, Democrat nor Independent. In fact, I have not voted in an election since 2008.

Yet even so, it wouldn’t matter to me if these witches were casting spells on former President Obama, President Trump or presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, I wouldn’t want witches and demons intervening in our politics.

How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had surrendered them? (Deuteronomy 32:30)

Although Satan and his demonic allies love to pile it on in spiritual battles, God has His mathematical formula to fight spiritual battles. One Christian standing in faith can defeat a thousand witches backed by demons and two standing in faith and agreement can defeat ten thousand witches backed by demons.

Using God’s formula, we can expect three or four Christians standing in faith and agreement to handle these so-called witches backed by demons. Just three or four!

What should we do?

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. (Proverbs 26:2 NIV)

First of all, ask the Holy Spirit to check each of our hearts. We don’t want the curse intended for President Trump to land on us. So, let’s make sure we don’t have pride, anger, hatred or another sin when we pray.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Second, we need to understand that God wants us to pray and intercede for our government officials, not curse them.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:19)

Third, standing in agreement moves the Father to act on our prayers.

Okay, let’s pray in faith and agreement:

Father in Jesus’ name, we plead the protective blood of Jesus over President Trump, his wife Melania, his children and grandchildren. And Father, because of 1 Timothy 2:1-3 and Matthew 18:19, we command all of the binding spells and curses uttered by witches and their variants to fall to the ground and have no effect on the Trump family for this Halloween season. Plus, we cry out to You for mercy for all of the witches and ask the Holy Spirit to open up their hearts to the love of the truth so they might be saved. Amen.

If you have prayed the above prayer in faith, just thank the Lord for His victory in this battle.

 

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God’s Love Must Torpedo the Inner Cities’ Bitterness…Or Else (Part 2)

 

70% of African-Americans live in America’s inner cities or inner-ring suburbs. Most of the following facts refer to that 70% of African-Americans. These facts are not written to throw stones at our inner city black brothers and sisters, but to show where they are right now.

  1. The abortion rate for African-American women is five times higher than it is for white women, accounting for 37% of all abortions in America.
  2. 1 in 3 African-American men can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetimes.
  3. 70% of juvenile arrests in America are African-American youths.
  4. One third of all welfare recipients are African-Americans.
  5. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.
  6. 72 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. 
  7. Poverty rate among African-Americans is 36%.
  8. The homicide rate among males between the ages of 14 and 17 is nearly 10 times higher for blacks than for whites and Hispanics combined.
  9. The preponderance of school violence in America occurs in big-city schools attended by inner city black students.
  10. Black education is in a state of shambles for elementary and high schools in most inner cities of America.

Without a doubt, the above facts are discouraging, but here’s the irony of it all:

  1. Inner city African-Americans are the most devout Christian group in America and the difference is 21 percentage points higher than the next group.

With the exception of the inner cities blacks being devout Christians, these facts are disheartening.

They remind me of the time a little black six-year old black girl named Cici sat on my lap during a church service at the inner city ministry I attended during the 1990s. She looked up at me and asked, “Can I go home with you and live with you?”

I was shocked at her words. “You want to leave your mother and live with me?” I replied.

Cici nodded her head up and down.

I understood her feelings about her home life. Her mom was a drug addict. Her dad was in jail, but numerous men lived with her mom at various times. Her four brothers and sisters ranged in age from two to twelve years old. Not enough money. Not enough love. Not enough personal attention.

I actually prayed about doing what she asked, but my life was a mess, too.

Cici would be thirty-two years old today…if she’s still alive.

“Life does not ask what we want. It presents us with options.” (Thomas Sowell)

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