Blogtober 9th: A Tale of Two Gospels – Poverty vs. Debt

RembrandtProdigal

Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…” Luke 4:18

The church’s primary work is spreading the gospel of Christ and making disciples.  I never stop being surprised at the widespread misunderstanding of this.  Some ministries get pretty creative in their pursuit to do this work, and naturally there are critics. One of those creative ministries states at the top of their website that they are “…an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively”.  It is a para-church ministry, (not a church) but it has come under scrutiny in recent years for how it raises and spends money. I watched the comments fly around online about it last summer, demanding that instead of using their collective $7 million budget for their own building projects, they should donate the money to help the state with the heroin addicts. This is assuming the people who gave the money don’t also give to their own church and elsewhere. $7 million is about 1/2 % of the $1.5 billion that was raised last year by candidates for the presidential election…and a failed presidential election for all the candidates but one. Did the people who gave their time, talent and treasure to the presidential election forget about the needy?

$7 million spent by Christians in creative pursuits to proclaim the gospel of Christ may seem very  frivolous, even to other Christians, but if our primary work is the proclaiming of the gospel of Christ, our first love and devotion is to Christ himself. I love this passage:

“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” Matthew 26:6-13

My own giving will go to a church or a ministry whose primary work is preaching the gospel rather than a government recovery program or an election campaign, but if anyone else feels compassion for heroin addicts, look no further than your own hard earned dollars. Don’t give your money to a politician or a ministry you don’t feel you can support! That is our right and our freedom to give where we wish to give. Even better would be if you are a Christian, give to a Christian ministry that preaches the gospel and treats addictions or join together with like-minded people and start one yourself.

There is a fundamental reason though, that people get mixed up and think it is the church’s primary work to meet every social need society creates. It is the throwing over of the gospel of Christ in favor of the social gospel. A few years ago, a well-known, world religious leader said on more than one occasion that the core and center of the gospel is poverty. It was such a popular statement that it was even reported in the mainstream news, but why would the mainstream news care what a religious leader said about the core and center of the gospel?  They care because it was a statement about the social gospel, which makes an effective impact on people’s views and response to government policy. Regarding the gospel of Christ though, it misleads us into a deadly lie. Christ’s gospel is not about poverty, but about debt. It is about man’s sin debt to God. We cannot repay that debt, except with our own life. “For the wages of sin is death”. Are you willing to die for all of eternity, separated from God in payment for your sin? I don’t want that for you, I don’t want that for me, I don’t want that for Pope Francis or the Dalai Lama. I want to see everyone saved…but none of us can pay that debt to God with our donations, service and government policy. We each own our own debt, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

Making poverty the value at the center of the gospel obscures Christ’s gospel behind the social gospel, which is no gospel. It prevents people from hearing the gospel of Christ and responding right now for salvation. “Today is the day of salvation” The true gospel, the good news, is that Jesus paid your debt, and my debt and every religious and world leader’s debt on the cross by willingly laying down his perfectly obedient life. You can be materially poor and have no debts. Likewise, you can have material abundance and be deep in debt. Not everyone may be able to identify with what it means to be rich or poor. But everyone knows what it means to be in debt.

How is the debt paid? Every person’s most urgent need is to have their sin debt to God forgiven:

And the Lord said, “… I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” – Acts 26

You will notice there are no words here about poverty and the poor, but rather forgiveness which is a concept that means a great deal to someone who is in debt. A debtor who cannot repay is condemned:

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. ” – Jesus, In John 3

~L

 

 

 


 

 

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Blogtober 7th – Be Kind Always, For it Could All Be Over in an Instant

I woke up with a headache, after sleeping in a recliner last night next to my client’s bedside. Tomorrow will mean a visit to the chiropractor. I also woke up with a conscience ache. I wasn’t kind yesterday. Whatever anyone else did or was doing makes no difference. I’m not responsible for them, I’m responsible for me. I looked for scripture to support me and the passage I was looking for did support me, but just a few words later it turned right around and cut me. I just won’t do it anymore if I have an ounce of control of my own thoughts and my own tongue. “Holy Spirit take control, take my body, mind and soul.”

 

Day 92

spa2

We spent a night at the spa last weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day and our Anniversary. It was wonderful. We didn’t partake of any of the professional spa services. We just made use of our wonderful room and spa-like bath. Then we walked around the historic hotel, taking in all of the amazing architectural features. It was like visiting the Titanic. Researching the history of the area was fascinating. I learned a lot about mineral springs and discovered a lot of health benefits from mineral water. As soon as I got home, I bought some Celtic sea salt and made salt sole to put in my water every morning. For more information on salt sole and mineral water, here’s a  blog link: Minerals

This is the first full week working on my health and fitness goals checklists in my journal. In 5 days of log entries, my morning blood sugar numbers have come down 40 points. My blood pressure was 120/81 this morning. This afternoon, my son and I plan a 3 mile walk. I haven’t consistently hit all of my daily goals this week and I know it is because of too much time on the computer. I have homework and work-work on the computer, but social media adds too many extra hours each week. So, I made a couple of changes, which I will talk about in more detail in my next blog post.

Bible Study and Prayer:

Bible Reading – The OT book of Joel

Select Verses – “Blow ye a trumpet in Zion”, “The day of the Lord is great and terrible. Who can endure it?”, “I will restore the years the locusts have eaten.”, “Your sons & daughters shall prophesy.”, “For the Lord dwells in Zion.”

Hymn – “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine-For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; my gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou: If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us”

Prayer for Friday – Your name O Lord, is a strong and mighty tower! I confess I am a sinner Lord but you are faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Thank you for making a way for this sinner to come to you and pray and seek your face for all things for myself and for others. Thank you for your cleansing, healing, joy and strength. Lord, I lift up my husband and son to you here at our home and out at their homes, my children and grandchild. Father, I pray and honor my parents and lift up my brothers and sisters to you. For those who don’t know you, I pray for their salvation. For those who know you, I pray that they will know you more today. Father, today is Friday, and I have this day dedicated to add pray for our nation and our leaders. Thank you for the ways in which you lead us. Thank you for leaders who speak your name openly and seek to do good to our nation and serve the people for your sake. Lord, deliver us from he evil one, save the people and heal our land.

No Modifiers

Rembrandt Self-Portrait

Rembrandt Self-Portrait

“They will know we are Christians by our love”. That song leads to some big mistakes. What Jesus actually said is:

“Now I am giving you a new command – love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another.”

Christ’s disciples will have such love for one another. That is how the world will know we are Christ’s disciples. Allowing your brothers and sisters in Christ to walk around carrying any “identity” other than Christ is not love. No modifiers before the word Christian can stand, no matter what the Buzzfeed video says: Swearing Christian, Gay or Straight Christian, Liberal or Conservative, Rich or Poor, “Cool”, “Non-judgmental”, Black or White or Hispanic or Asian… multicultural. We are one body. If it was not possible to speak the truth in love, we wouldn’t be commanded to do it. We must speak the whole truth. The love part is patience and kindness, no pride or rudeness, no envy or boastfulness, no self-seeking, not easily angered or keeping a record of wrongs, not delighting in evil, but rejoicing in the *Truth*. Always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, always persevering. There is a lot here. Some of these things result in seemingly contradictory behavior. If I’m trying to protect someone who is standing in the direct path of God’s wrath by stridently stating they are a sinner in danger, is it true that I am being unkind? Is it true that I am being rude? Or am I hoping they will finally hear me and rejoice that I told them the truth! It happened to me. I was shouted at on the street in front of a whole crowd of people by a young man holding an open bible. I was mortified. I was mad. 6 months later, I was saved. It takes all the extremities doing their own work.

Love is in the eye of the Creator:

“Any man who believes…is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned…” – Jesus

Was Jesus Married? Talking it Out

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“Why can Jesus have no other bride besides the church?”

L: “That’s an interesting question and one that would make for an interesting discussion. 🙂 I think if you look at scripture and God’s treatment of marriage and the relationship between the bride and groom, you can see God’s design beginning with Adam and Eve, of course, but look at the Proverbs 31 woman and the Song of Solomon for the relationship between a wife and her husband, or lover and beloved. The idea is one bride and one groom. God referred to Israel as His covenant people and spoke of their waywardness like that of an adulterous wife. So, God the Father as ‘husband’ to Israel is similar in imagery to Christ the bridegroom waiting to marry his bride, the church. What are your thoughts about how scripture addresses this issue?”

CS: “The comparison of Jesus’ relationships and marriage is a metaphor, not literal. Even the verses where Jesus is stating that it is not necessary to marry, so that you can devote your full attention to God states that this would merely be a choice and not a necessity. Loyalties can be divided by two wives, provided they are both the same (as two women.) So, a metaphorical marriage to the Church or God has no bearing what-so-ever on an earthly marriage.

If we were to take the metaphor literally, then why isn’t there only one actual nun at any one time, like there is only one pope? Are they not the Brides of Christ?

There is plenty of reason to believe that Jesus was married (from historical texts outside the Bible.) There is nothing stating one way or the other (in the Bible or anywhere else.)

The part about this that fascinates me the most is that people who claim to be devout Christians state flat out that if Jesus were married then he cannot be the son of God. When challenged on this point they refuse to explain why they would abandon their faith so easily.”

L: “I’m a little confused by your reply, possibly because I am not Catholic. I am not familiar with the scriptures where Jesus says it is not necessary to marry. However, I am familiar with the words of the apostle Paul about that and he did suggest that Christians remain as Paul was, unmarried, but that if they could not, they were free to marry. He also pointed out that those were his own words and not a commandment from God. The reference in scripture to Christ and His bride, absolutely does have bearing on an earthly marriage and is very, very plain in Ephesians 5:22-32. That is a long passage and simple to search online. Again, these words are by the apostle Paul, carefully laying out the relationship of a wife and husband as being precisely like that of Christ and the church. He says it is a mystery, so I can see why it would be challenging to understand. The reference that you make to nuns is not anything I am aware of in scripture. There is only one bride of Christ referenced in scripture and that is the Church. There is zero reason to believe that Jesus was married while on earth and there are no accepted scholarly historical texts that challenge his status as unmarried. It’s just not an issue. I’m also not sure what you mean about abandoning faith, rather than people simply stating that a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture. Therefore, THAT Jesus is not the Son of God, naturally. It’s like saying that Jesus stopped being a carpenter when he was in his early twenties and spent 8 years as a goldsmith, because some obscure piece of paper found in Egypt said so. It’s not remotely relevant or believable. It’s a waste of time. My faith in Christ alone is not shaken by that. I find it fascinating that people are so easily lured away from the Word of God to cling to any scrap of controversy. There’s enough to do following Christ without being blown around by every wind. Read the scriptures as they are written. Consider the context. Look for patterns and repetition. Allow scripture to interpret scripture. Consider the authors. Read it straight, like you would any other literature. Start with the gospels…the gospel of John would probably be good. Try to lay aside denominational traditions in your mind and look at the text square in the eye. For example, I recently started re-reading Matthew. I was fascinated by Matthew Ch. 8. and how reading it through all in one sitting makes the theme of faith and how concerned Jesus was with faith leap off the page. I read it again. There was much more there… in the verse that says he healed people, fulfilling Isaiah the prophets words “Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases”, Jesus, creator, TOOK and BARE or carried our diseases. He took the little viruses and bacteria. He commanded them to come out of the sick and he carried them away. Amazing. So much to think about.”

CS: ” >>>Re: ‘And there is zero reason to believe that he was not married.

…I’m also not sure what you mean about abandoning faith, rather than people simply stating that a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture.’

Why? This is the simple question that you, and dozens beside you, refuse to answer.

If Jesus were never married, not a single line of scripture would need to be changed to reflect that. If Jesus were married, however…. the same. Not a single line of scripture would need to be changed because of it. It’s that simple.

All I am asking of you and your fellows is an explanation of why you would immediately abandon Jesus as your Lord and Savior if you found out he was married? You keep trying to say it’s a simple thing, but then you go off on long tangents that have nothing to do with that one question that you refuse to answer.”

L: “I said the exact opposite about faith and about abandoning the Lord. If a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture, my ‘fellows’ and I are not abandoning scripture and Christ, but rather dismissing the marriage claim. The question of Jesus being married is a ‘what if’ question about an earthly wife that doesn’t exist in scripture. Abandonment of faith in a ‘what if’ scenario is needless speculation, whereas dismissing the actual scriptures about the very real bride of Christ and the direct application to earthly marriage actually is an abandonment of faith in the Word of God…Jesus is the Word of God.”

 

CS: “And now you resort to flat out lying about what I’ve said. I’ve said repeatedly that we don’t know. That’s the simple fact of the matter. There is nothing in the Bible one way or the other. It’s irrelevant.

You, however, continue to claim that you have been granted special knowledge to know that which is unknowable. Let me know how that Pride serves you when you stand before the throne.”

 

L: “And what have *I* said all along? That we can know what ~scripture~  says about Christ. The reason you and I are not finding common ground here is our divergent approaches to scripture. Is scripture authoritative for you? From your statements here, you place it on equal footing with folklore. From a scholarly perspective, how do you come to this conclusion? It’s important to know where you stand on this important issue. I am a family historian. I search documents for dates and details. For example, I had always been told my mother’s grandfather died from an unusual disease no one else had in the family. As an adult, when I began researching family history, I obtained a copy of his death certificate. The cause of death was listed as TB. His mother also died of TB, as did several extended family members. At first, my mom was resistant to the new information. She had always been told otherwise. The other story she knew could have been true, but we don’t know now. We have a lot more evidence to the contrary. Primary sources are important to the study and documentation of history. The bible is no different. Take a look at the studies that have been done on scripture. Look at how much more we actually know about Jesus compared to other historical figures of his time. Now let’s consider folklore. I love folklore. I’ve spent the last 8 years getting to know storytellers and balladeers and understanding their craft. Consider historical figures and weigh the facts about them with folklore. How do we know the difference between historical fact and folklore? Let’s take a pop culture reference. Chuck Norris. He is alive and we can study his life and the facts about him. Legend has it that he was bit by a rattlesnake and the snake died. When he is asked how many push ups he can do, he says “all of them”. He is amused by his own folk-hero status…but we all know these are folk stories. They are fun. They speak to people’s affection for him. This is the same regarding folklore about Christ. Stories about Christ speak to people’s interest in him and affection for him. Who would be mad at people for loving him and speculating on things about it that *might* have been *could* have been or could be? However,  scripture as authoritative and scripture as the rod by which we measure all other stories about Christ and God’s design and plan for mankind, intentionally sets it apart from other material. It’s not a pride thing. It is a decision that you make as an individual. Is it authoritative? Do you trust it as the Word of God? Then have faith in Christ, who *is* the Word of God to preserve for you his word in your own language. Embrace it. Love it. Read it. Stand alone on the Word of God.”

CS: “And again you are back to claiming scripture says something that it doesn’t. No where in the Bible does it say one way or the other whether Jesus was married or not. This is the simple fact.”

L: “And we are back to square one…it says he is betrothed to the church, his bride and the wedding is soon.”

CS: “No, it doesn’t, but please keep claiming you are special among all, chosen by God to know things others don’t. That Pride will lead you to where you deserve.”

L: “Yep. It does. A quick Google search will find a lot of stuff on ‘bride of Christ’. Chapter/verse references include but are not limited to: Ephesians 5:22-29, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Revelation 19:7-9, 21:1-2..Jesus speaks of himself multiple times in the gospels as the bridegroom. Why would that be significant to the Jews? What was Jesus communicating by calling himself a bridegroom? Look at the book of Joel, chapter 2. This is a prophecy of the “day of the Lord”. Verse 16 talks about the bridegroom and the bride. Bridegroom appears 8 times in the old testament. Jesus is referred to in scripture as the last Adam. In 2 Corinthians 11, the bride and bridegroom are likened to Adam and Eve. God’s design is one bride and one bridegroom. The bride of Christ is made up of many…but the many are only one bride. Just one. There’s so much more that would fill so much more space and begin so much more discussion. All of God’s people are chosen by God to know things others don’t. The scriptures are available to all, but not all will read. The bible says the meaning is spiritually discerned. Not all will respond to the call. Not all will be compelled to read and study and know. Why? I don’t know. Jesus said his sheep hear His voice. In the book of Jeremiah, the voice of the bridegroom is mentioned 4 times. 4 being for seasons perhaps? I would have to study it, but the opportunity to study it is available to all. What is plain as day in scripture to me and full of treasure upon treasure is ignored or dismissed out of hand by some. This is as available to you as it is me. What good is being prideful about understanding what scripture says? I didn’t do anything but read it straight like anything else anyone else would read, but I didn’t understand it at first. Even when I didn’t understand a word of it, I wanted to know it and the first step was a blow to all pride and rebellion, repenting of my sin and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

CS: “Yes. His relationship with his followers and the church is compared with marriage as a metaphor. It compares the relationship. It’s not an actual marriage to the church. That has no bearing what-so-ever on whether he was married in actuality.”

L: “Except that it does! Christ’s sacrificial role as bridegroom to the church, His bride, is the template, the real deal, and the model upon which earthly marriage of a man and woman is based…not the other way around. Jesus is the bridegroom of His bride, the church, as seen in the old testament, long before the incarnation. He was already betrothed long before his appearance in Matthew. When he tells to the Jews the parables of the bridegroom, he is revealing *himself* as bridegroom. It has enormous bearing on to whom he is married. What purpose would there be in Christ preparing the church in chaste purity as his one and only, where the church is to be wholly committed to Christ alone, only to have his affections divided by an earthly wife and children? It is nonsensical and not remotely in keeping with God’s character and what we know ~in scripture~ of God’s marriage plan.”

CS: “Your belief that is what is says doesn’t make it absolute. It’s obvious you are clinging to this like a life preserver, and we’re back to my original question. Why? It’s obvious you will never get to an answer, so I bid you good day.”

L: “Bye, bye, CS…Scripture answers your original question. The scripture references I have provided answer your question and there is so much more. All of scripture is about Jesus. All of it. If you cannot see it reading it yourself, remember that Jesus is alive. Ask him directly. Tell him you are not seeing it. Tell Him you have questions and you don’t understand. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5″

CS: “No, it doesn’t, but as I’ve already said, you will never admit that you aren’t perfect in your understanding of the Bible.”

 

No, Not One!

~Rembrandt~ Face of Jesus

~Rembrandt~
Face of Jesus

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,

No, not one! No, not one!

None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,

No, not one! No, not one!

 

Jesus knows all about our struggles,

He will guide till the day is done;

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,

No, not one! No, not one!

 

No friend like Him is so high and holy,

No, not one! No, not one!

And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,

No, not one! No, not one!

 

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,

No, not one! No, not one!

No night so dark but His love can cheer us,

No, not one! No, not one!

 

Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?

No, not one! No, not one!

Or sinner find that He would not take him?

No, not one! No, not one!

 

Was ever a gift like the Savior given?

No, not one! No, not one!

Will He refuse us a home in Heaven?

No, not one! No, not one!

 

 

Count it All Joy

- Beautiful Day at the Cemetery -

– Beautiful Day at the Cemetery –

So I’m writing this blog post on my phone. I’m trying out the speech recognition app so I don’t have to type with one finger. So far it hasn’t missed a word.

I was looking back over my blog posts this week, and at the end of one of them, WordPress suggested a similar blog post from another time. It was from seven years ago when my youngest son was six years old. It’s funny reading things I wrote a long time ago that encourage me today: Kindness & Encouragement

Along similar lines…

A couple of days ago I woke up discouraged. I would even say that I woke up depressed. When I was younger, a teenager or young adult, I used to get depressed often. On those days very little gave me any joy. Thinking back, it seems like many of those days where overcast, rainy days. Now that I know more about depression, I’m wondering if that isn’t a coincidence. It’s all connected, the spiritual, the emotional and the physical. Last night my sinuses started to hurt and my nose started running and this morning the weather says scattered thunderstorms. I can tell even before I’ve gotten out of bed or the sun’s been up long or I’ve even looked out the window, when it’s going to be a rainy day. My husband has said for many years that he would like to retire and move to Seattle. Would I die of a broken heart if we moved to Seattle? 😉

So, depression… What happens on those days? Well I wake up sad. It is a blank sadness. And it’s dark, maybe even black. There is just nothing in it. So, I would say I feel lonely as well as depressed. I could be surrounded by people and I feel lonely. It’s because I’m lonely and emotionally detached, like being in a little boat on a rainy day on the lake. On those days I’m just far enough from shore that I can’t talk loud enough for anyone to understand me. They hear me and I can hear them talking and laughing but I’m far away. The blank empty weight of depression continues to press down on my emotions. What do I do then? Well, like a lot of people with depression, I contemplate quitting. I think about quitting my job, quitting school. Quitting. It’s funny when I have to keep saying the word “quitting” so that my phone can understand what I’m saying. The phone thinks I am saying the word “winning”. I am starting to hear the word “pudding.” Now I want some pudding. OK. That’s a sure sign that I’m not depressed today even though it’s raining. Getting distracted by thoughts of vanilla pudding doesn’t happen on depressed days. But what does happen on those days? I’m probably running short of serotonin or some other chemical in my brain that the happy neurotransmitters need to function properly. I’ve always known that on depressed days it’s important to take care of the basics, but it’s so hard to get motivated to do it. I have to talk myself through it. My rational thoughts, whatever I have left of them, tell my depressed brain what to do. I negotiate, like talking to the kids when they need to do things they don’t want to do. “You need to get up and get dressed and eat breakfast”. -i just want to lay in bed today and maybe every day- “OK, you can lay in bed for a little while longer. But then you’re going to get up and get dressed.”

I have a book somewhere. I can’t find it right now, but it is one of my favorites and I believe I may have mentioned it in another recent blog post on depression. The book is entitled Change Your Life and Everyone in it. I think that’s a funny title. Anyway, it’s written by psychologist, Michelle Weiner Davis. She specializes in marriage and family counseling. She tells a story in her book about counseling a woman who struggled with depression. As an exercise to tackle her problem, the psychologist told the patient to explain what a depressed day looks like and what a non-depressed day looks like. Then the psychologist challenged the patient. The next time she woke up feeling depressed, she was to live out the activities of a non-depressed day, contrary to her desire to submit to the depressed day from the start. I use this technique. Could pushing back against the blank blackness restore the chemicals the brain needs to live a non-depressed day?

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” -James 1:2-4 ESV

So, from the emotional, to the physical, and now into the spiritual – If we consider depression to be a trial and temptation, we know our faith is being tested. This testing trains us in steadfastness. What is that? To be steadfast is to be steady, unmovable and firmly loyal. What is my strategy then, when faced with depression? I remind myself that I am in training. I push back physically, emotionally and spiritually. I get up at dark o’clock, drink the protein smoothie of steadfastness and train.

 “…Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18