Faith or Lack Thereof and Demons Even Know

Faith or lack thereof … James 2:14-26 is a challenge (see below)…

With mental health, I see it as a two-fold issue – for those with AND without mental health issues…

With mental health the first, and often instant (stigma),  is “not showing it by our actions” – I mean come on – how is it you are able to stay in bed all day? Just get out, proclaim the wonders of God when you take a walk – “suck it up” –  have more faith!!

To those without mental health issues – my challenge would be – don’t judge what you don’t understand on a personal level… look at verse 15 & 16 (below) – we may not be without food or clothing – but we need prayer at the least – we might need someone to talk to on the phone – or just a text message saying you are praying for us… if you ask how we are doing – ask how we are REALLY doing – but ONLY if you are willing to really to commit yourself to listen, for coffee dates, for answering “help” text messages… don’t run away – that’s the worst thing you can do… you are either in or out

You see, mental health isn’t a one-time happenchance – it’s lifelong… (miracle healings not included)…

Yes, there are times of depression after someone passes away or something else that saddens us – and it will resolve after a while… and I’m so glad that this will be short lived…

For myself though – it was well beyond being just depressed – it was suicidal thoughts, it was suicidal plans, it was planning my funeral as my family would be so much better off without me… it was even more than what I have written here…

Taking a look deeper for those of us with mental health AND a relationship with God – it often seems insurmountable – but we do need to step out in faith – even though every cell in our body is SCREAMING against it… even though our arms, legs, bodies, head feel like they are cased in cement…

It doesn’t mean we are going to suddenly be hopping and skipping around – it’s likely going to just get up and sitting in the living room… opening the curtains… maybe sitting on the deck on a sunny day… texting someone – reaching out…

And it means reaching for our Bible – trusting that God will bring verses of comfort to replace the negative thoughts… these are the good deeds

One thing I learned recently – and a really comforting fact actually – is that Satan cannot hear our thoughts (yeah!) this also means – we need to tell Satan to get away from us out loud. I don’t know about others but on my not so great days – I tend to just think in my head when talk to God…

James 2:14–26 Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

Even the demons believe this

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.

I recently went through a rough patch myself… and I did what I have just written

  • I reached out to my friends who I know will pray
  • I kept an open channel with God
    • praying out loud (often just a whisper) tell Satan he wasn’t welcome – using verses from the Bible I have written down – and I spoke them
    • I kept doing my devotions and I found support in everything I read
    • Psalms showed me attributes of God – and I claimed them… if the Psalm writer could claim them back then – I could claim them now – God is the same yesterday, today and forever!
  • I continued to reach out as needed

Eventually, life got better… I still deal with mental health every day – but sometimes are just harder than other times… showing my faith by actions – but getting true with God – by seeking Him… (and it isn’t just like turning on a light switch)… intently listening to that Voice inside… that tells me to do something I really don’t want to or feel I haven’t got the energy to do… it’s those actions of faith that get me through…

And no – I am far from perfect… there are days when I ignore the nudge… but then I realize I MUST… and after being obedient the first time – the second time is easier and so forth…

 

 

 

 

My Temple & Talk with God Today

Eze 44:5–8 Take careful note of the procedures for using the Temple’s entrances and exits. 6 And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign LORD: O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! 7 You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary—people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. 8 Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary.

Back in Ezekiel’s day, God’s temple was a single building. Built with VERY specific measurements. Here the prophet’s role was to teach the Israelites not only how to physically rebuild God’s temple where Jehovah was going to return to but to also instruct the populations on how to change their ways when seeking forgiveness and worshipping God.

God has particular and well laid out rules (which no person actually keep which is why Jesus came as the final sin offering)…

Now, I deal with food addiction… food has always been a comfort for me… a way to stuff myself and my anxiety away… well – we all know what happens with that…

I have lost about 150 lbs in the last 5 years – but lately, the scale has been going the wrong way… I can easily pop off a few excuses (definition of excuse: skin of the truth stuffed with a lie) and humanly “justify” it

The reality is – my body IS God’s temple

God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple

1 Cor 3:16-17  16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple

1 Cor 6:19-20 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

So- while I was talking with Him today – here is what we chatted about…

My child, you are reading about My temple – all the sacrifices, all the ways that were  necessary to purify the priests… verse 6 “enough of your detestable sins!” You have brought in things and defiled my temple – your body IS my temple! I have been nudging you about this – and even now I SHOUTING this and hitting you like a football linebacker! You have been ignoring my nudges – and are bearing the consequences of your disobedience… 

How many more times will you choose to not listen? the longer you choose to not listen, the quieter my Voice is to hear… 

Lord, You know my thoughts right now – You can see the turmoil stirring up inside! the fear of failing – “yet again” – all those voices of doubt… the feeling of being overwhelmed … But yet I know that with you NOTHING is impossible… You have helped me to build my rock based house – You have built is strong with bricks of truth, of testimony, with scripture that does not change, with the covenants which You hold true. You have supplied the mortar with the word of your testimony, of the miracles of have experienced, of your faithfulness, of Your love and it is my hope and with faith, I can use it to continue building… 

Being Truly Sorry and 3 Quick Questions

Yesterday, while doing my devotions I hit information overload and took a break… and my intention WAS to go back later – so you just read the word “was” and you already know the rest… I also had a fall yesterday and did a number on my back – so pain was a “factor” but in being honest – I could have still completed them…

I journal during my devotions – it helps to remember and comprehend what I am reading… and it works… and today – during the journalling part – before the reading of His Word, I was honest with Him – I had ignored the nudges from the Holy Spirit… but the bigger thing to examine was – given the same circumstances, would I do it again?

When my children were young, I taught them to know that “I’m sorry” really means – I wish I could undo what happened and I can promise you it won’t happen again…

I NEED to keep a short order with God – to stay on top of my mental health I continuously must to be open, honest and actively listening to God…

2 Cor 10:3-5 talks all about the spiritual warfare that is non-stop… and for me – it REALLY helps… does the help mean I can stop taking my psych meds – NO!!! There are still going to be times I have to deal with meds again… bodies and brains change so meds will change… BUT even Jesus used scripture in his battle with Satan!!!

OKAY – back with devotions – so I am truly sorry – but the “I won’t ever do it again” part was nagging at me – HOW can I prevent this from happening again?!?!?

My devotional was focused on Ezekial 23 talks about how Samaria and Jerusalem have defiled what God had planned for them… it’s not pretty…

I shortened the summary to 3 quick questions about situations and how I can approach them:

  1. Is this something I am lusting after (greener grass)?
  2. Is it a selfish choice?
  3. Is it a want (as opposed to a need)?

If I can answer YES to any of these… then I know I need to choose wisely – which actually HELPS my mental health issues… I know I’m doing what is right – so it’s a win and a 5-five which lifts my spirit…

My mental health often scrambles my thoughts… I can easily get to overload or underthink… having a quick set of guidelines questions can really help…

I can easily spin down when I realize I made the wrong choice… and then the mental health games ramp up… and it distracts me from God and what He would have me doing instead…

Devotional Book: Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The Faith of a Child and Sunday School Songs

Matthew 11:25 (NIV) At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

I recently spent some time with one of our grandchildren, not quite 2… They simply LOVE the Baby Shark song… And other simple songs… Today, I spent sometime searching YouTube to see what other videos they might like and found some of the old Sunday school songs that have lasted the ages…

Young children are so impressionable and Jesus states in Matt 11:25 that God has revealed things to children… Children have a huge faith in the adults and the world around them… they believe in anything they are told… They don’t rationalize… They don’t form committees to do a cost analysis… They don’t whip out their smart phone and Google it… They simply just believe…

I read another blog posting today on Jesus Loves Me

Sometimes life can be simple… NEEDS to be simple…

Mental health can be… CAN BE? No make that pretty much 100% chaotic if left alone! The thoughts, the words, the feelings or lack of feelings, the compulsive desires… A crisis spins faster than a hurricane…

It’s at the hard times that I need to simplify… I need to, with God’s help, control my thoughts…

Romans 12:1-2 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

A new way of thinking… Does this mean if I have recurring thoughts I don’t have enough faith? Nope! Instead look at the renewing as a way to help get you out of the crazy times… learning to recognize the hard times BUT have an escape plan…

Keep it simple! Songs like Jesus loves me… Or I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart or Rejoice in the Lord Always… Simple songs but with undeniable truth!

For me, it’s hard to sing AND have all those voices and thoughts rattling around…

Biblical Networking 1 2 3 4

From my devotions…

Now this is networking at it’s best!

Jude 20–21 (NLT): But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

Here’s my breakdown:

Jude 20–21 (NLT): But you, dear friends, must

1. build each other up in your most holy faith During any type of mental health day… From the stay in bed and recluse day, the suicidal thoughts day, the small or massive anxiety days… Sharing how God has really been there in the past and how it has increased our faith…

And certainly on the NOT but GOOD, wonderful days! Build each other up… With anyone!

  • Those dealing with a mental health day
  • Family and friends trying to understand

2. pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and

Can anyone ever get too much pray? Maybe just make sure it is supporting with understanding. Also, pray protection over us.

Some praying could be for the doctors to find the correct medication balance… Success isn’t always with complete healing with mental health any more than someone is not delivered from cancer by prayer…

3. await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life.

Wait and support… God’s timing is perfect… Our wants are not important… But when God really shows up… Well! It’s worth the wait!

4. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

I don’t know about others but I can get distracted by things in the world… Mental health issues can creep up on me and I haven’t noticed.. or I (and this is a big one) catch myself wanting to hurry up with my devotions so I can go do something… Yah, there’s something wrong with this picture… The fix? Accountability… Journalling is a great way, at least for me… I just need to send a text to someone that I did my devotions and my journalling…

Networking means – get yourself several family members or friends who you know you can count on… Who you feel comfortable sharing with… People with whom you can take your “I’m fine” mask off and be authentic to…

Outside of family, I built up my network of friends at Celebrate Recovery… CR was a game changer… And it’s a huge reason why I’m still here today… try and see if there is one close to you… they are groups literally around the world… even if they are not close by, build up a good group of friends…

My last point is completely true… remember God is ALWAYS with you!!!!! Sometimes just saying His name might be what you need… After all, God is LOVE