The Face of Depression | Churchjudge

Reblogged here in its entirety, with permission of the author. Originally posted Here.

Some of us are very practiced with our masks. We’ve done this a long, long time. But sometimes there are cracks in our armor that let the inner-us show through just a bit. We might bite your head off if you tell us our shoe is untied or we might just slink away when you compliment us because even praise can hurt at the wrong moment when our emotions are doing cartwheels. We’re tired all the time. Sometimes we don’t have the energy to do anything for ourselves, much less for someone else.

On Monday morning we drag ourselves out of bed and go into the same old job that everyone would complain about and we go through the day like any other day. We get the job done and we try to enjoy something about it. An intellectual or physical challenge that’s overcome is often a satisfying internal reward. We eat lunch, talk on the phone with suppliers and clients and the middlemen. And we’re respected. We do our job well. People count on us to be strong. But hidden at the back of the top desk drawer is a bottle of legitimately prescribed pills that we know would kill us in an hour if we took a few and hid in the bathroom. You see, we’re in a lot of pain inside and we dare not tell anyone. They’re not safe. It would just lead to ridicule, questions, job uncertainty, and unfamiliarity. At least we understand the misery of living with chronic depression. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. We know the monsters well.

At home the kids have left a mess on the table and the wife is going to be late and we suddenly have to fix dinner for five but can’t handle being our own self, much less cooking. We’re exhausted from keeping the Head Monsters at bay all day and need to curl up and sleep for about a year. Oh, the kids are screaming at each other. Great. Why do I bother to live another minute, we think. And we think about the handgun and how fast things would be done and over with and we’d finally get out of the hell of being trapped in our own skull and call the pizza place.

Somehow we survived the week to make it to Sunday and we teach the Sunday School lesson, somehow, and we know we could never in a million years tell anyone we are desperately struggling with depression. We have for years. We would lose all their respect and nobody would understand and they will only tell us to pray harder or ask what sin is making us depressed or it will be proof we’re not even a Christian. And we know we dare not talk to our pastor because his wife is the church’s Gossip Delivery System, and he tells her everything. Of course, the sermon is about money and all the kids need braces that insurance won’t cover and we need surgery that will cost at least ten Grand out-of-pocket. But we’re made to feel like we’re evil if we don’t tithe. And we’d better forget asking the church for help with the groceries this month or they’ll check the books and see we’ve not given anything in eight weeks and think we’re terrible, back-sliding Christians. And we want to go to that one seldom used closet at church and hang ourselves with a belt.

We have people who say they’re our friends but we never hear from them because we’re not much fun anymore. We can hide behind the masks but our friends usually know something’s wrong before we do. Then there are the friends who only want happy-us. They can’t handle any part of the real us. And then we find out who our friends really are when a family member dies and not one of them shows up at the funeral for a little support. None of them send a card or call. Why can we be there for everyone but when we need someone, a kind word would do, where are they? And we die inside a little more. And we keep going it alone.

The wife? All she does is ask questions we can’t answer. She’s trying to help but the constant barrage of questions makes things worse and we know if we tell her the truth she’ll ask more questions and that will turn into more pain and she’ll worry and having her worried about us sounds even worse than not telling her we’re in a lot of turmoil inside so we play it safe. We placate her but know she knows something is really wrong. We smile at her with the best smile and may even have the energy and desire for some intimate time with her, but we know it’s only a diversion from the Hell In Our Heads. It always comes back.

We wake up at 3 am, thoughts racing and the monsters won’t leave us alone. I’m a failure. Nobody cares. Nothing will make it better. I can’t stand this anymore. Why do I feel like such a child?! Why can’t I control these feelings? I hurt too bad to take anymore! Everything’s become too much to handle. We don’t know why it hurts inside and we’ve done all we can. We’re tired. We’re alone. Nobody will ever understand so why leave a note? We get out of bed and stop off at the bathroom to pee. Then quietly open the safe and get out the little case that’s been on our minds for months; we’ve tried to ignore it but it won’t stop calling to us. We take it and sneak off to the garage and sit in the car listening to some music in the dark. We know we’re about to be free of the agony forever and the thought makes us happier than we’ve been in months.

Squeeze, don’t pull. It’ll be all better then.

 

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Franklin Graham and the Big Gay Question: Can Gays go to Heaven? | Comments on Christianity

People are angry. They’re frustrated that they can’t live with the freedom to sin. The problem resides in this: people don’t have any concept of what life is like without sin. They imagine it to be dull and lifeless. They have no idea that real life begins at the acceptance of Christ.

via Franklin Graham and the Big Gay Question: Can Gays go to Heaven? | Comments on Christianity.

Reblog: Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle | From One Degree to Another | Nate Pyle

Have you ever been in the middle of the crisis feeling anguish you can’t cope with and there are no answers and the friends you thought you could count on have left you in the ditch to rot and you just wish you could curl up in a dark place to pull more darkness and isolation over you so you could wither and die? That’s called despair.

And when people tell you that God never puts anything on you that you can’t handle does it stab you in the gut and leave you wanting to claw someone’s eyes out for being so insensitive and stupid?

Sound familiar? Been there. Let me tell you I love you and I understand. Get in touch if you want and we’ll talk if you need it. I won’t tell you that stupid platitude that is nothing more than, “Oh, come on. You can handle it. It can’t be that bad. You’re not a good Christian if you can’t handle it.”

Nonsense. Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll tell you the story of the time God shattered me into into so many itty bitty pieces It’s hard to find the old me anymore. Almost 8 years ago… Another time perhaps.

A friend who has also seen some very hard times shared this blog post and it’s well worth sharing again and again.

God won’t give you more than you can handle.  If I may be so bold, let’s just call that what it is:
Bullshit.

Keep Reading via Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle | From One Degree to Another | Nate Pyle.

Reblog: Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today: By ex-lads mag editor MARTIN DAUBNEY | Mail Online

I can speak directly into this: Porn is everywhere. There’s nothing you can’t find and frequently it’s thrown into your face.

Let me tell you point blank, I’m pretty familiar with it. If you never listen to me about anything else, listen to this: Guys, porn will destroy you. No, you’re not getting away with it. Yes, it IS affecting you and your relationships. No, it’s not okay. No, it’s not a tool to use with your wife.

Porn is a pervasive evil that knows where to hit people the hardest- the spot that makes people feel the best. Click through and read the article and watch the vids as they come out at this link right HERE. You *cannot* afford porn, neither can kids, and neither can I.

But what I saw during the making of the film changed my opinion of pornography forever. The true stories of boys I met whose lives had been totally taken over by porn not only moved me to tears but also made me incredibly angry that this is happening to our children. And the looks of revulsion on those poor girls faces in the playground enraged me. I feel as if an entire generations sexuality has been hijacked by grotesque online porn.

via Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today: By ex-lads mag editor MARTIN DAUBNEY | Mail Online.

Reblog: Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse? – Beliefnet.com

A good read for several reasons.

I’ve seen this before in several ways and it always boils down to one thing:
If you will not take God seriously in His word and believe that Jesus is who he is, the heart becomes sick. The head begins trying to think its way out of God’s clear word and will do anything to justify its own self and itself becomes sick between dealing with a sick heart and the insanity of a mind that thinks it can save itself. With a sick heart and a sick head, the body will die.

It is agonizing to belong to a local church body that’s tearing itself apart. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see the entire denomination in chaos.

I promise I’m not insensitive to the need for lots more conversation on the subject of homosexuality in the church. But to elect and appoint people to Christian leadership who are deliberately ignoring God’s word and self-justifying what the Bible teaches is wrong will lead to misery every time.

Convention attendees were told that they had spent $18 million this year suing their own local congregations — those which have protested the denomination’s policies by trying to secede. The New York hierarchy has consistently won in court – asserting that the local members signed over their buildings decades ago. As a result, some of the largest Episcopal congregations in the United States have been forced to vacate their buildings and meet elsewhere.

So now, convention delegates were told, the denomination is the proud owner of scores of empty buildings nationwide – and liable for their upkeep in a depressed real estate market where empty church buildings are less than prime property. It’s the classic “dog in a manger.”

Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse? – Beliefnet.com.

Well Water

Looking Down the Well. A well in the grounds of Wilmington Priory, estimated to be about 160 feet deep. Used under Creative Commons License.

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I like camping in the middle of nobody-will-know-if-I’m-completely-nekid nowhere. And no matter how good the water in the creek or pond or spring looks you can learn a hard lesson if you don’t filter it or boil it before you drink it. Just take my word for it.

But some of the stuff we drink into our lives daily just won’t come clean no matter what we do. And so many of us would rather wander in a desert trying to find the water hole that will make us even dryer.

Looking Down the Well. A well in the grounds of Wilmington Priory, estimated to be about 160 feet deep. Used under Creative Commons License.

Looking Down the Well.
A well in the grounds of Wilmington Priory, estimated to be about 160 feet deep.
Used under Creative Commons License.

Those who drink this water will get thirsty again, but those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.”
(John 4:13-14 GNB)

What wells have you looked into today and strained to see the bottom?

 

Pulpit Terrorism

“If you don’t repent of your sins, you’re going to Hell!!!”Hell

Translation: You can work hard enough to stop your sinning so you can be good enough to get into Heaven (only you can’t so give up now).

I’ve heard it too many times. As a child nobody ever showed me a gorgeous redeemer or a beautiful savior or sat with me to give me all the little details of Jesus that my soul craved. If there’s one thing I remember from church as a teen it’s that God can’t love me because of the thoughts in my head and He hates people like me. It didn’t matter what Christ came to do, I was detestable and was worse than human wreckage- at least wreckage can be sifted through and the bits used for something else; I was totally without hope. And it shaped much of my emotions. Add abuse at home and at school to the point of having major stress issues for decades, and what you get is someone ripe for plucking by a magnificent Christ.

Transparency: Dear preachers who taught me a hateful God and a powerless Jesus, I still resent what you did. You can’t understand the depth of my revulsion of the hate you preached. You served a powerless god and a cross barren of blood and a grave with my name still on it. I’m still very angry with every one of you. But your error has been redeemed by someone far more noble and righteous than any god you preached. I think you did your best, don’t get me wrong. But please ask yourself before your every sermon, “could my words reveal a hate-filled Jesus?”

ENOUGH of me. A while ago I saw a tweet from a major megachurch pastor that made my head spin in 5 directions at once. There was no hope in it. There was only condemnation. There was no grace, no mercy.

“Basic message of Jesus: “I’m God. You’re in sin. Repent to me or you will go to hell.”” [The person who posted it isn’t important but I’ll cite the source if you really want it.]

Let me ask you, the more you learn about hell does it make Jesus any more important? Any more needed? Does God’s mercy need you to apply contrast against the deep dark of where death goes to live? Is the Holy Spirit so powerless to speak into people’s hearts that only the threat of eternal damnation can push people toward Jesus? Many people seeking Jesus already know they’re screwed up, or at least something major is going on and they need help, that’s why they’re listening to you in the first place. They probably already know there’s a hell and they may be living in a very real one at the moment. Show them to Jesus. Don’t show them the gates of Hell trying to scare the Hell out of them. And if people are already indifferent do you think teaching about damnation leads them anywhere else? It’s called Saving Grace. There’s no such thing as saving terrorism.

About God’s grace,

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIV)

So who saves? Why is someone condemned?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19 NIV)

So who Reconciles? What is God’s message? Where is the count of sin?

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (Romans 8:34, 35 NIV)

Who is it that stands in the pulpit and preaches condemnation?

Jesus said, “If I am lifed up from the earth I will draw all men to myself”. If Jesus is the one doing the drawing and the wooing why is there so much Hell and Death being preached? Jesus said, “all that the Father has given me will come to me” so why do we act like God and Jesus are in such desperate need to have a Gospel of mercy and grace and reconciliation amplified and punctuated by the stench of hellfire, threats of eternal torture, and being victimized by demons for eternity?

You CANNOT magnify God by preaching Hell!
PREACH CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED!

Grace: The absolute most glorious and undeserved and unending favor of a creator God who knows every detail of our lives down to the vibrations of the Strings that He created to form every sub-atomic particle of your entire being.  Grace is being a Father and knowing your kids will mess up but you always make a way for them to be made right with you even if it costs you everything. Grace is an all-powerful Love that loves the hand made so much that he will pay every penalty for sin himself just to be reunited.

How could anyone be in awe of God when looking into a chasm filled with death threats?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us,  even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!— and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;  it is not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2: 4-9 NET)

Can I tell you a secret? You can’t make God love you. If you doubt He does, just ask Him to show you.

Why? He Is!

Why another Jesus Blog?

He’s the Son of God

King of Kings

Alpha and Omega

Beginning and End

The Word become flesh

Creator of the Universe

Satisfaction of holy justice

The thorn-crowned lamb.

Faithful and True

God incarnate

Master builder

Chief scientist

Salt and Light

He understands Gravity

He knows I can’t change so he changes me

Healer

Defender

Brother

Friend

I Am

Godhead

Expiation

Ransom

Bread of Life

Author and Finisher

The best Christmas present EV-ER!!!

Tender of bruised reeds and snuffed candles

Lover

He’s the lyric to every song of every bird and beast

The rocks know his name

Dead bones come to life

Defeater of Death

Borrowed my grave

HE IS ALIVE and I’m forgiven

Victorious warrior

The lamb that was slain

The one who holds me tight when no one else will

From my friend Richard: “Lover”. LOVE that one. How magnificent is the lover who knows us so intimately well and loves every bit of us in spite of who we were without Him!

BUT! In 1761 Words

Phew! Tough week here looking at some stuff. The weight of self and even one hint of The Law applied to it becomes far, far more than we can bear. Thank God for someone who has already carried those burdens away and asks us to share a tiny little load for a little while. Some days it can seem so hard. I think the hardest days for any follower of Christ are the days we believe we can perform like a monkey as some Organ-Grinder cranks out a little tune (watch the whole thing now. We’ll meet back here when you’re done in 2:18).

Now, some very light reading, and the biggest but in the Universe.

Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries. So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the One who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes. So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans Chs. 7 & 8 NLT)