Friday, March 28, 2008

Ten things to remember when you’re DEPRESSED

It happened again. Just like the night before, I was reading my Bible before I went to bed last night, and God began to deal with me about what I was to write in today's blog. As I read Psalm 143, God began to gently speak into my spirit about the dark places of life. These dark places can be: discouragement, depression, despair, or any number of other things that we find ourselves up against. David found himself in a very deep dark place in Psalm 143:

Psalm 143:3 (AMP) for the enemy has pursued and persecuted my soul, he has crushed my life down to the ground; he has made me to dwell in dark places as those who have been long dead.

Psalm 143:3 (MSG) The enemy hunted me down; he kicked me and stomped me within an inch of my life. He put me in a black hole, buried me like a corpse in that dungeon.

Can't you feel David's pain as he writes this? He then explains his feelings:

Psalm 143:4 (AMP) Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed and faints within me [wrapped in gloom]; my heart within my bosom grows numb.

Once again the psalmist is in crisis. He is persecuted, crushed, in death's darkness, overwhelmed, and distressed (Psalm 143:3-4). He is thirsty for God (Psalm 143:6). His spirit fails (Psalm 143:7). Hounded by enemies, he needs deliverance (Psalm 143:9). His soul is in trouble and afflicted (Psalm 143:11-12). In the context of all of this catastrophe, how should he pray? The answer is that since he has a big God, he prays big prayers. He is no stoic simply asking for the strength to endure. He is a biblical man. He wants God to act on his behalf. He wants answers (Psalm 143:7). He wants deliverance (Psalm 143:9). He wants revival (Psalm 143:11). He wants God to bring his soul out of trouble and destroy his enemies (Psalm 143:11-12).

I know that there are some reading this blog today that can relate to what David is experiencing. You FEEL pursued by the enemy of your soul. You FEEL persecuted, and your life has been CRUSHED DOWN TO THE GROUND. All you can see and feel is extreme DARKNESS like you are in a very dark hole. You are overwhelmed, and you FEEL tired and ready to quit. You are bruised and broken in spirit. Your heart has actually grown numb. You DESPERATELY need God, YOUR God to come through for you. Well, He brought you to this blog today to show you HOW to come out of this DARK PLACE. I want us to look step by step at how David came out of it.

#1 Identify the NATURE and CAUSE of the problem. David says that he FEELS as if he is dwelling in "dark places as those who have been long dead." I believe STRONGLY that the source of David's depression was satan himself. You must realize that this dark HOLE that you are experiencing is an attempt by the enemy to get you to throw up your hands and QUIT! The Hebrew in verse 3 shows that the enemy has intensely pursued David with hostile intent. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. That is his purpose. So, we must realize who we are fighting against. Don't blame it on your parents, grandparents, your situation…blame it on the enemy of your soul, and STAND AGAINST HIM!

#2 Understand that DEPRESSION steals your hope, life and light. V. 4 I sat there in despair, my spirit draining away, my heart heavy, like lead. Satan attempts to oppress our spirits power and freedom by filling our minds with darkness and gloom. David initially gave into it, as he sat there in despair, his heart heavy as lead. It is so important to RESIST this heavy feeling called depression. RESIST it by turning to the Word of God, and praise and worship. Resist it by turning to a godly friend who will hold you accountable and talk with you. RESIST it by realizing the ultimate source of this dark hole. I know that there are certain medical conditions that can bring depression on, but you must still resist it and it's power and influence in your life. It is NEVER God's will for you to lose hope, life and light. God is all about hope, life and light. Satan is the complete antithesis of hope, life and light.

#3 Get in touch with the "good times" of your past. Meditate (think upon) the blessings of God in your life, from the past. v. 5 I remembered the old days, went over all you've done, pondered the ways you've worked. This is part of praise and worship: reflecting on God's goodness and faithfulness! Do you see how David responded to this dark hole? He refused to sit in "gloom, despair, and agony on me." Instead, he remembered, mediated, and pondered God's goodness. Remembering, Mediating, and pondering are all functions of the mind. He understands that his thoughts will affect his feelings, so he gets busy thinking the types of things that will help him overcome this dark pit.

#4 REFUSE to allow your FEELINGS to keep you from praising God. Praise God in the MIDST OF THE DARKNESS. V. 6 I spread forth my hands to You; my soul thirsts after You like a thirsty land [for water]. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! I love the word SELAH that you see so often in the Psalms. It literally means, "PAUSE, and calmly think of that!" David determines in his heart to give God praise in spite of what his circumstance FEELS or LOOKS like. He declares what his need truly is: He needs God! Too often when people are in depression they know that they need something and they seek for that something in the wrong places, which only adds to their darkness. God alone can water a thirsty soul. Drugs can't, alcohol can't, sex can't, money can't, power can't…ONLY GOD! Chasing after the wrong things will always leave you disappointed, and disappointment opens the door to depression.

#5 Simply ASK GOD FOR HELP. Cry out to Him from the depths of your darkness.
V. 7 Answer me speedily, O Lord, for my spirit fails; hide not Your face from me, lest I become like those who go down into the pit (the grave). Many times the last thing that you want to do in this dark hole called depression is to pray. You just want to stay in bed, or at the very least isolated from everyone. It is during this time that you must will yourself to cry out to God. David is basically saying, "Hurry up God because I don't think I will be able to hold on much longer." Have you ever felt that way?

#7 Be STILL and know that God is in control. How? By LISTENING to Him. V. 8 Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You. You will hear all kinds of voices in the darkness of depression. Voices that will tell you things like, "you have no reason to live, you have nothing to offer your family, you aren't worth anything", etc. These lies are not from the voice of God. David knows that he must hear from God. He needs to be assured of God's love and kindness. He needs God's attention and direction. God loves you, cares about you, and wills to bring you out of your dark hole. But you must allow Him to speak into your Spirit. Be patient, even when you feel like He isn't speaking…SELAH…pause, and calmly think of God's goodness.

#8 Pray, HOPE, and BELIEVE for deliverance! V. 9 Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I flee to You to hide me. One of the big answers to prayer that David needs is deliverance from his enemies, and in verse Psalm 143:9 he asks for it. In God Himself, his crushed life will be restored; the darkness will be dispelled (Psalm 143:3). His depression will be broken (Psalm 143:4), and he will be secure, as he confesses, "In You I take shelter" ("I conceal myself"). Once again, David declares that only God can help him. I want you to notice that throughout this entire discourse, David's attention is on God, and not his problem. There are too many people that just accept the FACT that they will always have to battle depression because it "runs in the family". My prayer is that you break that CURSE in the name of Jesus, through the authority of His Word, and through the power of the Blood of Jesus!

#9 Submit yourself to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. V. 10
Teach me how to live to please you, because you're my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland. David ask God to teach him how to live a life that pleases God, and he tells God that he wants to be led by the Spirit of God into a LEVEL pastureland. David makes it clear that he is sick and tired of being sick and tired. He is finished with the roller coaster life; up one minute, down the next. He says, Lord I am ready for some level ground. Right now you can pray the same thing over your life, "Lord teach me how to live to please you, and lead me by YOUR blessed Spirit into level ground." Daily, in fact several times each day, submit your life to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Then obey His promptings. In seems that David is indicating that he has gotten out of the will of God and thus opened the door to this attack on his soul. He wants to be in God's will because he realizes that is the only safe place to be. Then he asked God to help him be level and stable.

#10 Expect to come out of this DARK hole because of God's faithfulness. V. 11-12 Keep up your reputation, God--give me life! In your justice, get me out of this trouble! (12) In your great love, vanquish my enemies; make a clean sweep of those who harass me. And why? Because I'm your servant. Remind God through your praise, worship, thanksgiving and attitude that you know that He will bring you out! Then…look for the victory and release from your dark hole!

I encourage you to meditate on God's Word and apply it to your walk and life today! Let it bring you deliverance and peace! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

This weekend's "Through the Bible in a year" reading:

March 28, 2008 (Friday): I Chronicles 25:1 – I Chronicles 29:30
March 29, 2008 (Saturday): 2 Chronicles 1:1 – 2 Chronicles 5:1
March 30, 2008 (Sunday): 2 Chronicles 5:2 – 2 Chronicles 9:31

This week's memory verse to "hide in my heart": Isaiah 43:2-3

Isaiah 43:2-3 When thou passest through the waters, I will
be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior:…"

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

great word of encouragemnet!
thanks

Anonymous said...

Are you sure Brook has not been calling you and telling you what to write. Thanks for taking time to write your blog I look forward to it each day.
mark

-bill said...

An excellent post, brother!

So real...so practical...so full of God's wisdom!!

Blessings in Christ,
-bill
a spiritual oasis

Pastor Rusty said...

Thanks anonymous. God's Word is faithful and inspirational! rlb

Pastor Rusty said...

Mark,

No Brook hasn't been calling me! I am thankful that the Blog ministers to you. Thanks for the encouragment! Give Brook and your kids my love! Hope to see you guys soon. Blessings!

rlb

Pastor Rusty said...

Bill, thanks for your words of encouragement. I truly LOVE your oasis of hope blog! Keep up the great work! Blessings! Rusty

...blessing... said...

...i just stumbled on your blog.. i know God asked you to write that for me...