Tag Archives: Christianity

How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 4)

The following is an excerpt from my soon to be published novel – Still in the Fight:

Most people who have met Dylan and me would assume that we must have been cut from the same small-town cloth, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Dylan’s parents were two of the sweetest people who have ever lived. Love and peace permeated every corner of their home. Meal times for Dylan and his sister, Darla, were filled with lively conversations about what happened during their day. All who sat around the table, even guests, were encouraged to contribute. Family problems were handled in love, rather than anger. Both parents attended Dylan’s and Darla’s school events, cheering them on from their seats. Because of the loving atmosphere provided by his parents, Dylan grew up to be a confident, loving adult.

By comparison, fear filled our home because of my dad. Although he was a successful real estate broker, he hated his career, his life and himself. He took out his anguish on my mother, brother, sister and me.  We never knew what would trip his trigger, but when it happened he would turn into a raging madman, slinging four-letter words and accusations at everyone. It usually climaxed with him slapping us around.

Mealtimes? Oh my! Those were tortuous occasions for the family because Dad demanded absolute quiet from us while he ate his meal. If for any reason, we children made a chewing noise or squirmed a bit in our chairs, he might smack us and send us to bed, berating us as we left the room. If he did speak and asked a question and then didn’t like our answers, he might slap us across the face right there at the table. Mom always sat in her chair with her head down like a timid titmouse, too afraid to confront Dad or defend her children. Her only solace was a bottle of Jack Daniels hidden behind the cereal boxes in the pantry.

Not only that, my dad attempted to molest me soon after my thirteenth birthday. I fought him off and ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind me. He never attempted to touch me again, but being alone in the house with him caused panic attacks to strike me so that I trembled and struggled to breathe. All I could think about during those times was the day his hands fondled my breasts.

What few friends or boyfriends I had were never invited into my home nor did I ever share the shame and pain I felt in my heart with anyone. Never once! Looking back, I now realize how fortunate it was for me to be a straight-A student because it kept prying eyes away from my life and our home.

My most awkward moment occurred on October 12th of my freshman year at the University of San Diego. My phone rang at 6:35 in the evening while I was writing an English essay at my dorm room’s desk. I answered, “Hello.”

“Hi honey.”

“Oh, hi mom.”

“I have some bad news.”

“Okay, let’s have it.”

“Your dad suffered a heart attack this afternoon and died before the paramedics arrived at his office.”

I did not say a word nor did mom. The dead air space continued between us for more than sixty seconds before I finally said, “Oh.”

Mom closed by saying the funeral arrangements would be made the next day.

“Okay, mom.”

I hung up, shed no tears and felt no grief.

Is it wrong to feel like this, I wondered. I shrugged off the question and continued writing my essay.

(Continued in Part 4)

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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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We Need Heroes (Part 3)

 

John Nelson Hyde was born in 1865. His father, Smith Harris Hyde, was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Carthage, Illinois.

John Hyde graduated from M’Cormick Seminary in 1892. He was not an impressive student until the death of his eldest brother who had volunteered for the foreign mission field. It was then that Hyde prayed: “I’ll go wherever you want me to go, dear Lord.”

In a short while, Hyde discovered a newfound passion for prayer. His soul seemed to be set aflame. Prayer ended up being his pathway to greater things and the foundation of his life and ministry.

In 1892, at the age of twenty-seven, John Hyde departed by ship for India to preach in the Punjab region. After being at sea for a few days, Hyde remembered a letter from a family friend. He opened it and read: “I shall not cease praying for you, dear John, until you are filled with the Holy Spirit.”

The letter angered Hyde because he felt he had everything he needed. He crumpled it up and tossed it on the deck. A few minutes later, he humbled himself and asked the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, no matter what it might cost him.

At that moment, John Hyde became Praying John Hyde.

Hyde was not a good missionary at first. He was slow of speech, somewhat deaf and struggled at learning the language. To the dismay of his missionary mentors, he instead spent most of his time studying the Bible, rather than language. Hyde felt he needed to learn the “language of heaven” first before he learned how to speak to the people. (He eventually became an easy and correct speaker in Urdu and Punjabi.)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God used discouragement and fruitlessness to drive John Hyde to spend days and nights fasting and praying for India and its people. His co-workers called him a fanatic and the “man who never sleeps.” Hyde ignored their words because he felt sustained by the Spirit, even though he had little sleep for weeks and hardly any food.

At the end of seven years, he had one solid convert. His missionary friends considered him unsuccessful, but once again, Hyde paid no attention to them. He continued to fast and pray, “Father, give me these souls or I die.”

Praying John Hyde persevered through his early years until he witnessed thousands of converts and revival break out in the second half of his twenty-year ministry as a missionary to India.

Hyde died in 1912 at the age of 47. Interesting enough, Hyde’s style of praying – intense travail – took its toll on his body. His heart moved out of its natural position on the left side of his chest to a place over on the right side.

Today, Praying John Hyde is known as the Apostle of Prayer.

I believe in the days ahead, we will see God raise up hundreds of prayer fanatics like John Hyde.

(Continued in Part 4)

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Inside Israel

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

Greetings, in The Name of Yeshua h’meshiach,

The Victor, Who, after all is also CREATOR, and Deliverer and Truth and Light. The Living Word. The eternal Way through all of this that swirls around us.  May HE be glorified and blessed!  May you also be blessed and encouraged.

This letter has been a BATTLE to even begin.

Life has been an increasing battle (I have no doubt that you have noticed and that it is the same for you).  As I finally sat down to begin this letter, the mouse and keyboard for my computer gave up the ghost.

I am so completely intimidated by technology that it took a great deal of courage to pronounce it dead, dissect it from the computer (it is wireless (which should speak volumes about my abilities) and bring it downtown.  I told the sales girl, “My keyboard and mouse just died. I want another just like this.’

I told her in a shaky voice, half expecting to be told that these are antique and aren’t made anymore.  Thankfully I had prayed and her maybe 19 year old expertise replied, “Sababa, “(which is Hebrew and Arabic street talk for something like: “Cool, great, no problem, what-ever.”

In no time at all, I was home praying again that I could really do this.  As you see PRAISE GOD. It works.  I ATTACHED A NEW KEYBOARD AND MOUSE AND MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!

The heaviness and reality of the hour that we live in was brought home vividly to me at the shuk today.  It was crowded by the time that I got there. So I went to an Arab vendor whom I have known for many years and trust.  “Where are these clementia from?” I asked.

‘They are NOT from China!’ he answered.  ‘See? Look at the box. Jaffa. They are from Israel.’

As I went to the apples I saw that he had written on the sign” “Israeli apples.”

I looked at him and said, “I work in a doctor’s office and this is serious what is happening now.”  I was afraid that maybe he was thinking I was a bit loony.

He grew very serious.  “I know,” he answered.  “This is life and death but you know what?  It is God’s judgment on the world. How many thousands of years has He sent His prophets to us? And how have we listened?  We haven’t! We cheat and hate and say it is good when it isn’t. Everything that He told us not to do. Oh we agree with our mouths but the day of His judgment is here for the earth.’

Our eyes met in spite of the fact that he is an Arab Moslem man and I a Jewish disciple of Yeshua, there was total agreement. “We get it.  God, God Almighty, God Who is real and alive is not happy with us and we would have to be blind not to see His Hand.  And of course, things like plague cross country boarders, political parties, races, religions, and economic barriers. We can’t say, “YOU did this and need to repent.” It must be “Woe to us for we have sinned and not listened and not turned back to Him with our hearts in our hands.”

THIS is the climate that I see here today.

And with THIS report I will begin the letter.

Most of you thought that I would be at the IFI Prayer Conference.  I did too.  I was hoping to see some of you there although I do not go to visit, for it really is a working (PRAYER) conference.  This is the third our of 4 years now that we had a crisis on the one day that I am able to join the conference and, having truly prayed. I can only say, “Yes Lord.”

It seems to me to be enemy intervention, but I have not prevailed and so I must leave it before Him.  This year my husband VERY suddenly got extremely ill with a fever of above 102 (39) that wouldn’t come down.  There was no warning. He was fine and then suddenly shivering under the covers.  If he were younger, I might have left him sleeping but after consulting the emergency doctor I knew that I couldn’t leave him alone. So I didn’t.

Did the enemy win?  No. I prayed anyway, just not with my brothers and sisters.  All of the messages from the IFI conference are free and easy access to listen to on line RIGHT HERE IS THE LINK.  I encourage you to take advantage and listen.  At the IFI conferences we pray during the day but in the evening there is a message given concerning Israel by mostly local leaders.

And during the time of the conference, (wouldn’t you know it…what perfect timing!)  there was finally the unveiling of the “American Peace Plan.”  Here at home, I listened with the rest of the country. It was quite dramatic, but one thing kept quietly beating in my heart:  ‘THE LAND MUST NOT BE DIVIDED!”

I heard what America said. I heard what The Arabs said. I heard what the Palestinians said and I heard what the Israelis said but I could not forget what I know that GOD has said:  ‘The land is not yours, but MINE.”

The fear of God entered my heart. This is not to toy with.  There is a silence in my heart. I don’t know what to say other than that. To my great surprise, the bus was quiet the next morning, even while the news was on. Everyone was listening but NO one was commenting.  That is unusual.  That happens when things are serious and no one dares to have an opinion.  The look on the faces of the other passengers was serious and stoic.  It continued at work: no comment.

Years ago, I had begun to make a list of scriptures that said that we should not divide the land.  It is incomplete, but here is what I had written down. Some speak not directly but to the heart of the issue:  Leviticus 25:23,  Joshua 9:24 (the Gibeonites knew the promise!), Joshua 13, Nehemiah 9:8, Exodus 34:12, Joel 3:1-3, Acts 13:17-19.

In a way it reminds me of the commands to husbands and wives (Mat 19:6 and Mark 10:9 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” And yet, it is a hard one to keep. Sort of like the commands concerning The Sabbath and God forbid that we should be legalistic. There is this verse and that verse. BUT IN MY HEART RESOUNDS THE INTENT OF GOD THAT THIS LAND BEING DIVIDED IS A SIGN OF JUDGMENT AND THAT THIS LAND IS HIS AND NOT OURS OR ANYONE ELSES.

And while this is going on (and yes…violent responses are taking place…a car ramming last night injured 12 soldiers…there was  a stabbing attempt against a border officer this afternoon at one of the gates to the Old City). China is brought to her knees by the Corona virus, how itty bitty microscopic.  China is brought to her knees and it remains to be seen if the rest of the world will also follow suit.  It is certainly worthy or more than a pause!

I will NEVER forget last year’s brush with death when I was in the hospital with influenza and pneumonia and how clearly The Lord spoke to me out of 1 Chronicles 21—  the POWER of David’s intercession as he stood between the death angel on the very spot that was to become the temple and PREVAILED over the PLAGUE that God had sent to judge.  TEACH ME, LORD, TO PRAY!  THAT I MAY KNOW YOU AND THE POWER OF YOUR RESURRECTION AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF YOUR SUFFERING, BEING MADE CONFORMABLE TO YOUR DEATH. This remains my prayer and I have no doubt that it is yours as well.

And AGAIN, my Pastor sent out a wonderful prayer letterwhich I will attach rather than go on.  As a personal note, our daughter Sarah and two of the three children, Ana and Asher, are planning on visiting for a week or so from London 15 Feb.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS…FOR US…FOR ISRAEL…FOR HIS PURPOSES…FOR THE LORD TO BE GLORIFIED!  May The Lord FLOOD you with Himself!

Lovingly,

your sister J

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We Need Heroes (Part 2)

 

The historian Josephus stated that the Apostle Paul was four feet six inches tall. Chrysostom wrote that Paul’s body was crooked, his head bald and that he had a hook nose. The Corinthians said about Paul:

“For Paul’s letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” (2 Corinthians 10:10)

Okay, Paul was not a hunk!

Saul (Paul) was born in Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia (in modern southern Turkey). He was circumcised on the eighth day, a son of a Pharisee and from the tribe of Benjamin. He was brought up in Jerusalem under the teaching of a noted Pharisee named Gamaliel. Paul later described himself as a Hebrew of Hebrews.

As far as zeal for the Law, Saul of Tarsus hunted down believers of the Way. He tortured them, threw them into prisons, forced them to blaspheme and consented to their deaths. He had letters of authority from the chief priests allowing him to  carry out his vendetta against believers of Jesus, even in foreign cities.

Without a doubt, Saul of Tarsus was the most feared man by followers of Jesus.

Then, in one of the most remarkable experiences in the Bible, Saul encountered a light from heaven and fell to ground. He heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

Paul replied, “Who are You, Lord?”

The voice replied, “I am Jesus.”

In this short exchange, Paul was turned around 180º, converted and became willing to suffer and die for the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He wrote almost two thirds of the New Testament before he was beheaded outside the gates of Rome.

In the days ahead, the Lord is going to shine His light on numerous individuals who hate Christianity and its believers. These enlightened individuals will come out of leadership positions in abortion, LGBT, porn, Hollywood, transgender, media, politics and other professions.

And just like Saul of Tarsus, these enlightened individuals will rise up and become zealots for the faith, willing to die for their Lord.

(Continued in Part 3)

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