Category Archives: Books

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE DEPRESSED: 20 IDEAS

  1. Seek help. You cannot fight this alone.
  2. Don’t keep it a secret.
  3. Do something for someone else. Often, depression causes us to only focus on ourselves. Find a way to do something for someone else.
  4. Try to get the focus off of yourself. I know this is hard.
  5. Pray.
  6. Read your Bible.
  7. Pray some more.
  8. Go see your medical doctor.
  9. Pray some more. Do not give up.
  10. Find a friend you can trust. Talk to them.
  11. Exercise –  Take a 15 minute walk around the block first thing EVERY morning.
  12. Journal. Write down how you feel and why you feel that way. Try to keep track of the things that trigger your depression. If you are not a writer then draw.
  13. Talk to a counselor. It can help tremendously to just talk to someone about how you are feeling.
  14. Find a hobby. Take up something creative like painting, or photography. This will get you up and going.
  15. Set some goals. Depression can leave you hopeless. Write down some simple goals each day. Celebrate when you accomplish those goals each day.
  16. Write yourself a list of positive affirmations. Read them each day. Or better yet record them on your phone and listen to them each morning.
  17. Make and keep a routine. Depression causes us to check out. Create for yourself a routine and  stick with it. This can bring about a feeling of daily accomplishment that helps.
  18. Read some books. Read books that are positive and encouraging. Read books that teach you about your struggle.
  19. Pray without ceasing. Sometime it seems that God does not care when we are suffering. That is just not true. Keep seeking Him and you will find Him.
  20. Do a personal check and make sure there is no besetting sin in your life. Did you hurt someone that you need to apologize to? Are you involved in a secret sin that you struggle with? Search your soul. Often a hidden sin can be the cause of a deep depression. If the Holy Spirit identifies one in your life confess it and start the healing process.

These are some of the things that have helped me over that last several months. Feel free to comment some other ideas or let me know if I missed on some of these.
You are not alone in your fight against the darkness of depression. Join the conversation.  

This Weeks Message:

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day

Here are a few thought on overcoming the lions that you face today.

You should read the book.

 

 

Good morning welcome to thoughts from my office on this cold December Day It is a few days until Christmas but my thought isn’t about Christmas today. It’s about a book I’ve been reading. The book is called In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. If you get a chance to find a copy of this pick it up. It’s challenging, it’s encouraging and I will share the main premise of the book with you today.

I picked it up at Mardels on the dollar discount rack and it laid on my shelf for about 3 weeks before I picked it up and started reading it. It has really helped me see some things in my life that I  have allowed to consume or control me. There are fears that I must overcome. A lot of this kind of fear causes us to stagnate and sit there.

So I want to share with you the premise of the whole book. It is based and second Samuel chapter 23 verse 20 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever read that before. Maybe you read through the Bible and read that verse. I’ve read through the Bible many times in the past and never really thought much about it But this man jumped into a pit with a lion on a snowy day and defeated the lion we are told. And then becomes the commander of King David’s army a significant achievement for him. This man is barely mentioned in a few verses of scripture and this whole book it is based on that verse or that’s the theme or the premise of the book.

It’s a great thought to think about today and specifically we talk about fears that we have. These fears that control us. When I  look in the eyes of a lion my response is to turn and run the opposite direction. But not this man. He looked at the lion and chased it down and defeated it. And sol there are lions in our lives today. There are lions in my life that I’m fearful of. That I’m scared of. That I’ve been actually running the opposite direction of and I’m sure you’re the same way as well. So this book, th is the scripture challenges us to look at lion in the eyes and chase it down. And he goes on to say in the book to say that you may be defeated. You will be defeated at times when you chase lions but those are times that you grow.  Those are times you become faithful and those are times that you begin the conquering of those fears. The overcoming of those fears and ultimately the point is that God has called us to do some tremendous things that were too scared of. And how we we don’t jump in the pit on a snowy day with a lion. Which is just crazy. That is three things stacked against you, a lion, in a pit for you can’t run away, and snow. It’s cold and you can’t walk very well you can get good traction all those things when you’re battling a lion.

So my question for you today what fears are you battling and what is it that you need to look in the eye, trust the Lord in it, and go forward in it.

No so often we talk about fear like you can overcome your fear on your own. But ultimately that’s not the truth the truth is that by God’s power, his grace, his mercy, he helps you walk through and into those fears. He helps you face lions and move forward. So I hope these words are encouraging for you today as the Lord has called us to some tremendous things as we step out and take advantage of that opportunity.

Be faithful to do what he has called us to do even when it’s hard. Even when it looks like a big giant lion. Let’s go do it today. Have a great day. God bless!

5 Ways To Set Your Personal Bible Study on Fire

If it is true that “The Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” Then we should strive to be interacting with the word on a daily basis. So many people I know struggle with taking the time to study the word on a personal level. So they struggle in life because they walk about in darkness.

For some it is because they have never been taught howto have a personal Bible study time. For others it is busyness. Or maybe even laziness. The list could go on and on. If you, or someone you know has struggled with maintaining a consistent Bible study time then I would like to offer some ideas to maintain consistency.

Here are 5 ways to set your personal Bible study time on fire

1. Be consistent. – You immediately think, “Right! that is the problem. I am not consistent.” A great way to develop consistency is to set aside the time and guard it with great tenacity. You may be a morning person. You may be an evening person. Whatever is best for you commit to a specific time that you will study the word. Write it on your calendar, save it in your phone, and then guard it like a dog guards his favorite bone. Do not let this time be taken away. I wake up early and give 15 to 20 minutes each morning to personal time in the word.

2. Have a Plan – So now that you are guarding the time to be consistent you have to have a plan. A plan that guides your study time. You can search the web to find specific Bible reading plans. Some take you through the Bible in a year. Others take you through specific topics in scripture. I would like to recommend that you simply pick a book to work your way through. I just finished up 2 Thessalonians. Pick a book and get to studying.

3. Write out the Scripture – It is good to read the word and to underline or highlight it in your copy of the Bible but there is something to be said about writing out the passage you are working through. I normally work through 8-10 verses per day in the book I am working on. This is very manageable and allows me to remember what I have studied for that day. I have a designated notebook that I write in. You can write wherever you want and you can write out as many verses as you want. Try this for a week and you will be surprised at what takes place. The Lord will begin to enlighten and enliven your Bible study time.

4. Underline, Circle, Highlight – Another advantage to writing out the word is that you can then mark it up in any way you like. I normally write the passage in one color pen and then mark it up in another color pen. This allows me to see the areas that the Lord showed me were important during my study. There is no real process to this. You can underline, circle, and highlight in any way that helps you remember and act upon the word. Remember, being in the word is not just about information but also about relationship development with the Lord. The word of God will change you and marking it up will help identify those areas where you need the change.

5. Ask questions and write out the answers – A good way to know what to mark up and underline, circle, or highlight is to ask some questions about the passage of the day. These questions can help identify important information that will lead to transformation. There are many questions you can ask of the passage but I would like to share 4 very simple and straight forward questions with you.

  1. What does this passage say about God?
  2. What does this passage say about man?
  3. What does this passage say about sin?
  4. Should I change anything in my life based on this passage?

These are five very simple ideas to help you see your personal Bible study time set on fire. There is nothing more powerful than sitting before the word of God and allowing it to inform and transform your life.

For some additional insights into how to have a quality Bible study time as well as ideas on journaling the Bible check out Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S Whitney. I revisit this book each year as it provides valuable insights into consistently being in the word and allowing it to inform my life.

 

Get The Center Right

This is an excerpt from a daily devotional found in Abundant Living by E. Stanley Jones.

Get The Center Right

You have to relate yourself to four worlds: (1) yourself; (2) things; (3) your brother; (4) God. Until you relate yourself to God in fellowship and obedience, none of the other three relationships will come out right. You will be out of sorts with yourself, with things, with your brother, until you get the center right. When you get the center right, the circumference takes care of itself. Said a wife concerning her husband, “He has a brilliant mind, but he will not rest in the Eternal.” Hence he was restless with himself, with things, with his fellow men.

The chapel steeple of a great university, where the minister is humanistic, has a weather vane on it instead of a cross, symbolic of the fact that people point in every direction, turned by the winds of circumstance, until they have a faith in and a committal to God. That gives an unchanging steadiness to life.

Then why is it that men do not rest in him? Because they try to rest in something else. They love God with the top of their minds, but not in the bottom of their souls. Something else holds the bottom of their affections. That deep affection then decides their thinking, for men think more with their emotions than with their minds. The affections draw reasons to themselves as a magnet draws iron filings. Men lose faith in God not so much by honest doubt as by dishonest sin. A brilliant headmaster, on a salary of $25,000, talked beautifully about faith in God–and he had it. Then his faith changed. He gave a commencement address and shocked everybody by saying, “Christianity is outworn; it has lost its hold on the world.” At the bottom of that decay of faith was a decay of morals. He had begun to keep a mistress. He was dismissed in disgrace. The mind had tried to find reasons to justify the emotions.

After one of my meetings a banker walked the floor all night and his daughter wept the long night through. Both had sin in their lives, and would not rest in the Eternal. Hence their restlessness.

Oh God, I cannot rest until I rest in Thee. I am made for Thee, as the eye is made for light; so I cannot find peace except in Thy will. For Thy will is my peace. Oh, let me settle down in Thee. Let the wandering, restless needle of my affections at last rest in Thee, Thou polestar of my life. I do. I do at last rest in Thee. Amen.

 

Chaos vs. Order In Life

I am always thinking about ways to better organize my life. Ways I can be more efficient and get more done. For that reason I read a lot of books on the subject.

I have read books like Getting Things Done by David Allen

and The Productive Person by Chandler Bolt and James Roper

as well as Do More Better by Tim Challies

As well as many others on the subject. All of these books have great insights and wisdom that are helpful in ordering and organizing ones life. I have found many useful points that have helped me along the way.

Each of these three books lay out a program for the reader to help the reader be more organized in life and to get more done. Each of these books points toward order in ones life.

The problem is that my life always reverts to chaos. Not chaos in the sense of an out of control life but chaos in the sense of my to-do list didn’t get done and my calendar is out of wack. That is the kind of chaos I am talking about. The “Well things didn’t go as planned” type of chaos.

That is the kind of chaos I experience most of the time. I try out one of these book’s philosophies and it works well for a while but then it all falls apart. I’ve tried and tried and tried but it all falls apart anyways.

So I have resorted to embracing the chaos. That is, I embrace  the surprises that life throws my way. To embrace this chaos I have to learn to adjust. Adjustment is about sacrifice.

So I have to learn to sacrifice my own plans so that I can move forward in life.

But I also have to have some non-negotiables that I will not sacrifice. I will not sacrifice daily time with the Lord. I will not sacrifice time with my family. I will not sacrifice physical activity.

So now I approach each day clinching tightly to my non-negotiables. Embracing the chaos of the day.

I will embrace the chaos from now on. Well at least until the next book on productivity comes along and then I will give it a try for a while.

How do you organize your life? I would love to hear from you.

The Book of Man [An Excerpt]

“Do You Fear the Wind?”

Do you fear the force of the wind,                                                                                                                       The slash of the rain?                                                                                                                                                Go face them and fight them,                                                                                                                                Be savage again.                                                                                                                                                        Go hungry and cold like the wolf,                                                                                                                             Go wade like the crane.                                                                                                                                     The palms of your hands will thicken,                                                                                                             The skin of your forehead tan–                                                                                                                         You’ll be ragged and swarthy and weary                                                                                                               But–you’ll walk like a man.                                                                                                                                                                     — Hamlin Garland

This is an excerpt from The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood It is a great book with different readings from men like Ronald Reagan to Davy Crockett to Plato and George W. Bush. I would highly recommend it to the man in your life. I especially recommend it to the young man in your life as a broad introduction to thinking like a man.

Here is what the book is about from a quote on the cover: “Whether we take up the sword, the plow, the ball, the gavel, our children, or our Bibles,” says Bennett [The Author] “we must always do it like the men we are called to be.” The Book of Man shows how.

You can get a copy of the book by clicking the link below. It would make a great Christmas present.