|A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22 by Nigel Muford, from This Is Where Your Healing Begins |
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22 Two words spoken to me by my mentor, Dr. Francis MacNutt, totally changed my life. I was seeking his counsel when he advised me to “have fun.” Because of my deepest respect for him, his words greatly impacted my life. “Have fun.” Agnes Sanford (credited for shaping Christian healing ministry as we know it today), Sir Winston Churchill, President Abraham Lincoln, and actor Robin Williams are just a few of the famous people who suffered from depression. Churchill even had a pet name for it, “The Black Dog.” Depression is pervasive and indiscriminate in whomever it afflicts. How do we safely navigate the landmines of depression? Yes, there are medications available to help alleviate its impact on us. And after praying for God’s blessings on any and all medications before we take them, they can be effective. But at best they are only a Band-Aid if the underlying causes are not resolved. There are nearly as many reasons for depression as there are antidepressants. There are, however, a few contributing factors that are frequently suspected. Is depression learned from a family member? Is depression a generational issue? Is its origin genetic? Can it be induced by circumstances or situations in life? Can depression become habit forming? My response would be yes to all the above. Depression strikes whoever… whenever; but it is especially virulent in the winter. In the healing ministry we are most apt to have increased numbers of prayer appointments with supplicants during the winter months. During those appointments, however, we can unpack a depressant’s history and expose the root… chase off and put down Churchill’s “Black Dog,” by setting that captive free. A quick check of Merriam-Webster.com provided this definition of depression, along with some of its synonyms: an act of depressing or a state of being depressed: such as (1): a state of feeling sad: dejection, anger, anxiety, and depression (2): a mood disorder marked by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies…
Synonyms of Depression blues, dejection, desolation… despondence… disconsolateness, dispiritedness, doldrums, dolefulness, downheartedness, dreariness, dumps, forlornness, gloom… glumness, heartsickness, joylessness, melancholy, miserableness, mopes, mournfulness, oppression, sadness, sorrowfulness, unhappiness. In 1978 I suffered badly from clinical depression after I received news that four of my recruits had died. As their drill instructor, I went into such a tailspin that I could not talk for a week and proceeded to stutter for six months thereafter. During that time, my mind would go to a very dark, damp, smelly place — a “Black Dog” place. I could get there so very fast! While there I would second-guess myself as to what more I could have, should have, would have done in training those lads that may have saved them. If I could have thought rationally, I would have known that their deaths were not my fault; but this depression kept me from thinking clearly. It was hell on earth, and even the prescribed medications did not work. I was finally set free when I invited angels to go into my “Black Dog” familiar place and overpower the darkness.
As I look back today, I have no idea why suicide did not enter my mind. Perhaps it is because the depression was accompanied by such low energy that I could not muster a desire, much less a plan, to do it. I now know, unmistakably, that survivors’ guilt and depression had a choke hold on me. Everything in my life was distorted. I was blinded by darkness. I could not find a ray of hope. Where are You, God? I often asked. Words from Job 30:24–31 in The Message resonate with me now — they are a brilliant description of depression: What did I do to deserve this? Did I ever hit anyone who was calling for help? Haven’t I wept for those who live a hard life, been heartsick over the lot of the poor? But where did it get me? I expected good but evil showed up. I looked for light but darkness fell. My stomach’s in a constant churning, never settles down. Each day confronts me with more suffering. I walk under a black cloud. The sun is gone. I stand in the congregation and protest. I howl with the jackals, I hoot with the owls. I’m black-and-blue all over, burning up with fever. My fiddle plays nothing but the blues; my mouth harp wails laments. Then one day, in a dream, I invited a “clean-up crew” into that dark space in my mind. The crew was made up of angels. They brought shovels, brooms, and wheelbarrows and carried away the garbage. They even pulled up the carpet, exposing a lot of “stuff” hidden underneath. It was such a mess. All the garbage that had been stored in my brain was causing my brain to emotionally rot. In my dream, there was a cute designer angel who came with a note pad and totally redesigned the once dark space. Builder angels came and installed a palladium window and a huge flat screen TV, along with a rather nice “decliner.” (I used to call them recliners… not so much now!) My familiar go-to dark place was demolished and was rebuilt from the ground up. The new go-to place was a modern, brightly lit man cave filled with great joy. Despite my curiosity and various attempts to access that dark, old place, it vanished, as did the burden of depression. I could no longer blame myself for the deaths of those lads because rational, sane thinking (without self-condemnation) had been restored. The Lord showed me His presence as I emerged from that dark place. In this vision I noticed a big, black eight-ball and a ridiculously lengthy pipe that ran deep into the earth… deep into hell. I watched as a lever released the black eight-ball, which followed the path of a rail track affixed to the pipe. I watched as the ball stayed its course deep into the earth. As it descended it traveled faster and faster until it looked to be out of control, disappearing into the abyss. I felt ill, sick to my stomach. I was at the proverbial end of my rope. Then I saw the hand of Jesus Christ appear near the bottom end of the pipe. With one hand He stopped the ball from spiraling out of control. It brought me great relief. Thereafter, each time I felt depressed and attempted to return to this hellish black abyss in my mind, I would see the hand of Jesus reaching closer and closer to the lever responsible for releasing the eight-ball! Then one glorious day, I saw His hand on the lever as He stopped the action completely. From that time forward, He never again let me go into that place of darkness. I was set free! Many years later, on August 5, 2010, a hellacious mining accident occurred in Chile. For two months, thirty-three miners were trapped twenty-three hundred feet below the earth’s surface. What a tragedy it was. Television news played footage of an endless tube being drilled through rock into the earth. I was suddenly reminded of the rod in my dream. One by one the surviving miners were pulled up to safety via that tube. Since October 2009, when I survived a nearly terminal case of the swine flu (H1N1), my lungs have been greatly compromised. As I watched those miners emerge from the bowels of the earth, I could well imagine how incredible it must have been for them to breathe their first fresh air in two months! That is the freedom the Lord blessed me with when He delivered me from depression. It was as though I was able to breathe deeply after having held my breath for the duration of the depression. I was eventually able to “proof test” my miraculous healing later, following a time when someone very close to me perpetrated a diabolical act of betrayal. I previously had complete confidence in this person who made a deliberate and calculating attempt to hijack my position in ministry. Every button was pushed as my world crashed in on me after I discovered this nefarious plot. I slipped away to the chapel on the property where I was living at that time and tried to return to the old familiar dark place in my mind. I so wanted to wallow in that hellish place again while I suffered gut-wrenching pain and grief. I just wanted to go back — deep into that place… I deserved it, I needed it. As Proverbs 26:11 cautions, As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. But thanks be to God, I could not get there — I could not access it! All I reached was that new angel-designed man cave of great joy. Instead of wallowing, I found myself laughing… in great excitement. In the midst of my pain, I rejoiced because I had truly been set free from the dreaded “Black Dog” depression. Even in my frenzy, the Lord proved that He had set this captive free. In transparency, I confess a part of me was a bit sad. I just wanted to have a pity party for an extended time, but the door had been permanently closed. I had been healed. To this very day I have not been able to access that dreadful place, no matter how dire my circumstances. And I certainly have dipped into emotional black ops from time to time, especially as I battled the swine flu and its aftermath. But I’ve never returned to that trash pit of hell where I used to take refuge during painful times. As I have already written, the causes of depression may be as varied as the number of people who have been so afflicted. In healing ministry, however, we can unpack the specific causes with supplicants, so that their impact is rendered null and void. I queried earlier whether depression is a learned behavior, but why does it matter? Through prayer any behavior can be unlearned. Sometimes depression can be triggered by a biochemical “abnormality” or, perhaps, rooted in our DNA. Women sometimes experience physical and emotional post-partum depression following giving birth. Grief — due to loss of jobs, deaths, relationships, moves, and so on — is also on the long list of suspect causes. The good news is, however, that our God is greater! * Psalm 121: I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ will never leave people nor forsake them. He is their Maker and is with them always. He will watch over their lives. Sir Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through Hell, keep going . . .” So may it be with our supplicants who struggle with depression. Help them to press on in the face of aridity and disenchantment… press on! Give it all to the Lord; lay it all at the foot of His cross. Pray for His rewiring of their brains. Pray, in the name of the one and only Jesus Christ, that depression leaves them. Pray that their minds and emotions are recovered in the perfection in which they were created. Excerpted with permission from This Is Where Your Healing Begins by Nigel Mumford, copyright Nigel Mumford. Your Turn Anyone who has experienced depression knows how deep the cavern goes. Keep going! Press on! The Lord will never leave you or forsake you. God is greater than whatever is the cause of the depression. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily Share this devotion with someone who needs it today. A healing minster reveals what he has learned about how God heals from 30 years of experience. Save 40% off today only This Is Where Your Healing Begins
by Nigel Mumford Paperback, Regular: $18.99
Sale Price: $11.39 (40% off) – one day only sale* eBook price: $9.99 + free U.S. shipping* on orders $30 or more “Do you want to be made well?” Jesus asked this question of the lame man in John 5:6. And it’s the same question those who endeavor to initiate or grow a healing ministry must ask their supplicants. With nearly thirty years of experience in healing ministry, author Nigel Mumford knows that human needs for healing are as unique as the individuals making the requests. No two supplicants are the same and come from every imaginable background and walk of life—men, women, and children of all ages, wealthy and poor, believers and nonbelievers. How can a healing ministry meet the diverse needs of those seeking relief? In This Is Where Your Healing Begins, the author guides readers on a journey to understand and discover the foundations of healing, such as spiritual gifts, authority, and courage challenges to healing, including various spiritual and mental roadblocks emotions needing healing—depression, unworthiness, guilt, and more
Through the pages in this book, both healing ministers and supplicants will experience renewed faith in God’s ability to heal, trusting that He can do far more than we could ever ask or imagine. Learn more and save 40% off All our September deals end today! Don’t miss out on these savings at up to 75% off *Sale prices valid through 9/30/2020, excluding eBooks. eBooks purchases are fulfilled by our partner, Glose. Free U.S. shipping on orders $30 or more, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Devotionals Daily ~ our mission is to help you grow and share your faith.
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|September 30 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 9-10; Ephesians 3|
|Rooted in Love I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power . . . to grasp . . . the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:17-18 READ EPHESIANS 3:14–21|
|“That’s all it takes!” Megan said. She had clipped a stem from her geranium plant, dipped the cut end into honey, and stuck it into a pot filled with compost. Megan was teaching me how to propagate geraniums: how to turn one healthy plant into many plants, so I would have flowers to share with others. The honey, she said, was to help the young plant establish roots. Watching her work, I wondered what kinds of things help us establish spiritual roots. What helps us mature into strong, flourishing people of faith? What keeps us from withering up or failing to grow? Paul, writing to the Ephesians, says that we are “rooted and established in love” (Ephesians 3:17). This love comes from God, who strengthens us by giving us the Holy Spirit. Christ dwells in our hearts. And as we begin to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (v. 18), we can have a rich experience of God’s presence as we’re “completely filled and flooded with God Himself” (v. 19 amp). Growing spiritually requires rooting into the love of God—meditating on the truth that we are beloved by the God who is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (v. 20). What an incredible basis for our faith! By Amy Peterson REFLECT & PRAY God, thank You for Your love for me. Help me to meditate on the truth of that love. May Your love grow in my heart, bringing beauty to my life and to a world in need. How can you cultivate a habit of meditating on God’s love? Who could you share the truth of God’s love with today?|
|Your gift changes lives. Help us share God’s love with millions every day. SUPPORT|
|SCRIPTURE INSIGHT Paul had a very close relationship with the Ephesian believers. He visited Ephesus toward the end of his second missionary journey, and upon leaving he promised to return (Acts 18:19-21). At the start of his third journey (18:23-21:17), Paul returned to Ephesus and taught the church for three years before going to Macedonia (19:1-20; 20:31). On the return leg back to Jerusalem, Paul had a tearful reunion with the Ephesian church leaders (20:17-38). About five or six years later, while in prison in Rome (Ephesians 3:1), Paul wrote to encourage believers to “live a life worthy of [their] calling” (4:1). Paul’s unwavering commitment was to pray fervently for the growth of his spiritual children (1:15-16). Ephesians 1:15-23 is one of two recorded prayers of Paul in Ephesians. In his second prayer (3:14-21), Paul prays that having been “rooted and established in love,” they would “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (vv. 17-18). K. T. Sim|
The Final Journey to Jerusalem
Matthew 20:17-28; Luke 18:35-43- Luke 19:1-27; Psalms 107:31-32; Proverbs 19:20
Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave- just as the Son of Man did notcome to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’ “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'” Matthew 20:17-28; Luke 18:35-19:27 WORSHIPOh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,And for His wonderful works to the children of men!Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,And praise Him in the company of the elders.Psalm 107:31-32WISDOMListen to counsel and receive instruction,That you may be wise in your latter days.Proverbs 19:20
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OUR GOD OF JOY
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
The late entertainer Joe E. Brown once said, “I have no understanding of the long‐faced Christian. If God is anything, He must be joy.” How true! We have a God who loves us more than we love our children or even ourselves—a God who sent His Son to die for us and who has prepared a place in eternity just for us. He is indeed a God of joy—and we have much to be joyful about!
This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. When we were first married, Jim and I taught school, served in the church, and carried many responsibilities. Jim was working on his master’s degree at the time, so he wasn’t able to help me carry my load. I looked forward every week to Saturday, when I could rest and recuperate. Gradually, I fell into the trap of being truly happy only one day a week. And if anything took that day away from me, I was very frustrated. Slowly, I learned to enjoy every day of the week, even though I was busy. It was a simple change in attitude that brightened my life. Someone once said, “If you have to cross the street to be happy, you’re not seeing things properly.” I agree.
There are many “long‐faced” Christians who are caught up in the trials of this world. It’s not always easy to remember that we can experience joy even in the midst of struggles. We forget that Jesus told us that our worldly grief would be like a mother giving birth: She experiences pain during labor, but then forgets her anguish because of her joy over the birth of her child (John 16:21). We forget that the apostles, after being flogged on orders of the Sanhedrin, left there “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41).
Joy is something we experience when we begin to understand the magnitude of God and the love He freely gives us. It’s not something to be grasped, but shared. It’s not something to be contained, but made available to all. Joy is a selfless, abundant quality modeled by our Lord Jesus. He is the one who has called us to “rejoice” and “leap for joy” when we are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, and rejected, because “great is your reward in heaven” (Luke 6:23).
Joy can begin right now—if we choose! “Rejoice in the Lord always…!”
– Shirley M Dobson
- From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.