Tag Archive | depression

Breaking Free from the Dungeon of Depression

Fear4Depression.

In 21st century America, we hear that word every day. While depression takes on a variety of forms, a “blanket” definition would be…

“the state of being depressed–a feeling of let down, of hopelessness.”

It can affect the body. It can cause an overwhelming sense of fatigue to come upon a person. In fact, there are studies that indicate that many psychological neuroses, as well as some fatigue diseases, are the results of living with depression.

A permanent cure for depression?

Is there such a thing? Statistics show that multitudes of Americans are hoping for the quick cure. In 2001, it was estimated that 28 million Americans were taking anti-depressants. In 2016, studies suggest that one in six Americans are on some kind of psychiatric drug, a figure nearly double the 2001 number.

When Jesus began His ministry, His very first sermon included a quote from Isaiah 61…

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. 
~ Luke 4:18-19

In Isaiah 61 (the original passage Jesus quoted), He goes on to say…

“… And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

The Bible doesn’t call it depression. The Bible calls it the spirit of heaviness. There is a demon involved here. David called it “being cast down.” Depression is a state of mourning in your life, a state of heaviness over circumstances. You are under the circumstances of your life. A great many things can open your life to the spirit of depression; circumstances, illness, negative and unhealthy thought patterns, bad (sinful) habits, rejection, death and loss, lack of direction, failure, and loss of passion for God can all be contributing factors that allow the enemy to gain access to your mind. The symptoms of depression as as varied as the causes; feelings of panic, unrelenting dissatisfaction,  unstable emotions, oppression, and feelings of being overwhelmed or forgotten are all signs that you are heading down a dark and lonely road of depression.

So how do you hit the brakes? How do you recover when depression has you bound up? What can put you on the path to positive spiritual and mental health?

In order to be healed from depression, you must experience a fresh work of the Holy Spirit in your life! Isaiah 61 (then again in Luke 4) tells how Jesus would come to the depressed, enslaved, and the broken…

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord anointed Me….”

Jesus came with an anointing, a yoke-breaking, depression-crushing, life-giving, freedom-announcing anointing. All you need to do is ask Him for it. Then ask for a fresh word from the Lord. He says, “I’ve come to proclaim. I’ve come with a word.” He is our help and our salvation!

The third thing you need is a fresh worship offering to God.

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. ~ Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)

Remember Jesus says to, “Put on a garment of praise.” Don’t be afraid to let God do something different in your worship life.

You say, “Well, Brother Ron, I just praise Him in my heart.”

I can guarantee that when you get up tomorrow morning at 6 a.m., no matter how tired you are, you will get dressed for work. You can’t walk into your workplace with no clothes on, saying, “I didn’t feel like getting dressed; I thought I’d just skip that today.” God said, “I’ll give you a garment of praise.” You put on a garment whether you feel like it or not. Your heart may be heavy. You may have been through some painful stuff, but shout to the Lord anyway.

The devil can’t take away the blood of the cross. Satan can’t take away the resurrection of Jesus. He can’t take away your salvation. Proclaim along with Job…

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”
~ Job 13:15a  (NKJV)

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth”
~ Job 19:25 (NKJV)

This devil of depression must be rooted out, or its impact will be devastating. If the depressed father doesn’t take these steps to overcome it, it could take his wife and it could take his children. Grandmother, it could take your grandchildren. You had better get rid of it.

I used to have to fight this spirit of depression every Christmas. Because of difficulties in my youth and the memories that would flood me, I feel myself begin to withdraw even as my children and friends around me were celebrating Jesus’ coming. God has used my kids to pull me out of this seasonal attack of depression.

Demons can’t possess Christians, but they can obsess, compress, and depress you. They can live in you like a rat or a cockroach. You have to drive them out. I didn’t get rid of them by telling them, “Well, I’m just so sorry you’re here.”  I just told them where to go. “Get out of my life, heaviness!”  And by the power and blood of Jesus, those spirits must flee!

~ Adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare
Copyright © 2010 Ron Phillips
Published by Charisma House Book Group

Worship

When The Laughter Goes Silent

This week, our nation lost two greats in the entertainment industry. On Tuesday, iconic actress Lauren Bacall passed away at the age of 89 after reportedly suffering a major stroke. The wife of legendary actor Humphrey Bogart, Ms. Bacall appeared in dozens of movies and television shows. Having outlived her husband by over 50 years, she lived a long life beyond the grief of loss, and went on to be an award-winning actress, known for her cynical humor and her straightforward personality. She once said…

I figure if I have my health, can pay the rent, and I have my friends, I call it ‘content.’

Robin WilliamsBut while the news of Ms. Bacall’s death was being announced, the world was still reeling from the shock of the news, just the day before, of the death of actor Robin Williams. At the age of 63, leaving a loving family, devoted friends, and a successful career including several movies currently in production, Mr. Williams committed suicide in his home just outside of San Francisco. As the news was confirmed of the manner of his death, a collective “why???” went up from the general public. Known not just for his talent as both a funnyman and a dramatic actor, Mr. Williams was, by all accounts, a kind and generous person as well. Testimony after testimony — of family, friends, and complete strangers — over the past few days bears this out. Friends and co-workers went on talk shows and discussed what a kind person he was. Strangers on social media posted pictures from meeting him on the street, and talked about how gracious he was. An entertainment icon, an Academy Award-Winning actor, a genuine humanitarian (as evidenced by his multiple trips in support of our troops overseas, as well as work for charities like St. Judes Children’s Hospital)… what makes a person with that kind of success choose to end their own life?

A 2011 CDC report states that suicide is the #2 cause of death in Americans aged 15-34, and the #3 cause in adults ages 35-44. While no case is exactly the same, the reasons for suicide are often related to personal loss, depression, financial stress, and family issues. In the case of Mr. Williams, struggles with substance abuse, career issues, and severe depression were cited as possible contributing factors in his death.

So how do we go forward, as a society, and stem the tide of the plague of suicide in our nation? What can we as individuals and Christians do to stop this tragedy from touching those close to us, in our circles of influence?

First of all, we need to open our eyes. As believers in Christ, we make it a point to say that “we are in the world, but not of it”. For many, however, being “not of it” tends to make us mentally disconnect from what is going on around us. Although He came as the King of Heaven, Jesus was keenly aware of the pain and suffering going on around Him. Jesus reached out to the needs in the world as He encountered them: He fed the hungry, He healed the sick, He raised the dead. He ministered to the big crowds, but He also dealt with people one-on-one, sometime in the secretive dead-of-night (see John 3 – story of Nicodemus). Just as Jesus did, we must take notice of those around us, and be proactive when confronted with need. It is the example of Jesus that offers hope to those in need of it.

We must listen without judging. One person’s minor irritation is another person’s major crisis. Without the knowledge of where another person has been, we cannot assume to know exactly what they are feeling. So many times, we want to give advice without knowing all of the facts. Take the time to listen — REALLY LISTEN — to what someone is saying, and make it a point to listen, not just to what they are saying, but to how they are saying it. Learn to read between the lines. Love, manifested in genuine concern, has a way of bringing pain to the surface.

A friend of mine had a brother who committed suicide when he was younger. He shared with me that, while he knew his brother was having some problems, he didn’t know to what extent. As it turned out, there was more going on in his brother’s life than he knew, because he would share one thing with one person, and another with someone else. It wasn’t until after he passed away that friends and family members put all the pieces together, and began to comprehend the extent of his sorrow and pain. Take the time to sit down, share a cup of coffee (or 10), and just listen. Sometimes, that very act lets a person in pain know that they are not alone. Sometimes, a soft touch and kind word can give that person the resolve to live another day. Former talk-show host Phil Donahue once made a very true observation…

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Finally, we must see people for who they are. We are all unique creations of the Creator. We all have extreme value in the eyes of God. We are all challenged in different areas, and the problem of depression is no less real than diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Sometimes depression can be the result of wrong choices we make in everyday life. Sometimes, it can be the result of a chemical imbalance. As a minister who has dealt for years in Spiritual Warfare, I know that some types of depression are demonic at their root, whether handed down through generations (generational curses), or demonic doors of depression that are opened through one’s own actions. Regardless of the reason and just like any disease, depression (and mental illness) must be properly diagnosed in order to be dealt with. Individuals suffering from depression must know they have people who love them standing beside them, caring and not critical. They must be encouraged to get the help they need, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual (or oftentimes, a combination).

I encourage all of you reading this today: Be the light of the love of Jesus in another person’s life. Love the misunderstood. Reach out to the “unlovable”. Learn to recognize pain in the eyes of those around you. If someone needs to talk, be that ear. If they need to cry, be that shoulder. If they need more help than you can give, be that companion that accompanies them to the pastor or counselor who can help. Make it a point to make every person you come into contact with know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that they are not alone in this world.

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” ~ Robin Williams

Upsize Your Future to God-Sized

Across the WaterAccording to the World Health Organization, by the year 2020, the number 2 disease in the world will be depression. Worse than that, suicide will be in the top 5 causes of death worldwide.

In his wonderful book, Moving Beyond Depression, Dr. Greg Jartz cites four stages of this debilitating affliction:

  • Loss of the ability to experience joy.
  • Loss of hope.
  • Sense of no positive future.
  • An attitude of “what’s the use?” “Why carry on?”

All of this leads to an atmosphere of negativity and negative self-talk which manifests itself in anger, fear, guilt, and shame.

Now, I would go a step further and add one more thing to Dr. Jartz’s list: Demonic oppression. Fear, anger, guilt, and shame are normal emotions that, given the opportunity to linger (ie: dwelling on them) will become spiritual strongholds of wrong thinking, inviting demonic pressure. After all:

  • Anger drains optimism.
  • Fear steals hope.
  • Shame and guilt crush joy.

Overcoming this paralysis of hopelessness requires a change of mind and heart – a paradigm shift.

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Get Rid of Stinking Thinking

Moving from heaviness to hope requires a choice… your choice. Albert Einstein once said that “Significant problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.” Make a decision to tear down the strongholds of wrong thinking, evict the agents of darkness, and upsize to God-sized… GOD IS BIGGER THAN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!

Evaluate Your Situation Honestly

Only the truth will set you free. We find in the above verse a promise… God has a plan for your life!

However, the context of this verse is interesting. The people are already in captivity. God may not take you out of your circumstances, but may choose to bless you in the midst of them!

Get The Basic Stuff Right

We have to recognize that the plans of God are not fanciful schemes. In the case of the people Jeremiah was talking to, God didn’t hit them in the head with a gold brick. Sometimes, the resources and answers are not immediate. Instead, God’s desire for us may be to affect change where we are. That may mean to settle in, build homes, start businesses, grow families, and be positive influences in the places where God puts us. Just do the normal, everyday stuff with all of your heart, and watch what God can do. Do it with gusto, and expect to prosper where you are (even if it is in a place of governmental hostility and oppression).

Claim A God-Sized Future

We may not always see the end result of the promise, but God’s promises about our future is multi-generational. We may not see the prophetic word fulfilled, but our children and grandchildren can!

So what should you do to claim the future God has for you?

  • Make God’s promise your plan.
  • Make prayer a priority.
  • Make the pursuit of God’s Presence a Holy passion.
  • Realize that God’s Presence is the Pathway to Prosperity.

Friend, you have a God-sized future waiting for you! Take hold of His promises today!