5 Things the Bible Says to Those who are Depressed

5 Things the Bible Says to Those who are Depressed

Some people live lives filled with trouble or trauma, and it’s easy to understand why they feel tired, down, and gloomy. Some have a medical illness or are taking life-saving medication with the side effect of making them feel sad or hopeless. Some are genetically predisposed to look at the world through dark lenses and struggle to be able to feel any joy. Some have simply learned to focus on what’s wrong in the world.

Whether you are depressed because of a “biochemical imbalance”, because your life is outwardly extraordinarily difficult, or just because that’s how you see life, you’re not alone. Many believers – and some of God’s best friends throughout history – have struggled in this way.

But that’s not the end of the story. Your struggle is no surprise to God. Here are some things the Bible says to those who are depressed:

Continue reading...
7 Things to do After God Heals You

7 Things to do After God Heals You

Hallelujah! God has touched you! You know in your body and in your soul that God has stepped in and brought His healing power to play on your behalf. Your pain is gone. Or your mind is clear. Or you recovered when the doctors didn’t think you would. Or you can do something now that you couldn’t do before. You want to shout, “God is good!” And shout you should! That’s one of the things you should do after God heals you.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve seen many people experience a touch from God. For some, that moment is the start of a brand new existence. Their future opens up, and they become a living testimony to what God can do. Sadly, for others their relief may be short-lived. While they may rejoice in their healing it’s not long before they’re in the same or worse condition than before. They and others are tempted to wonder, “Were they really healed? Can you lose your healing? Why would God touch them, and then take it away?”

One middle-aged man suffering from severe back pain experienced a dramatic touch from God. After others prayed for him his pain was gone – with no medical explanation. He could bend and move and lift things and do what he couldn’t do before. He was ecstatic; he was healed! His friends encouraged him to go back to his doctor, get checked out, and tell what God had done for him. But he refused. “If I go back to the doctor, I’ll lose my disability payments. I don’t want to have to go back to work.” And less than three months later he was in worse pain than he ever had been.

That may be a somewhat dramatic, though true, example. But it illustrates that how we respond when we receive a touch from God is important. Here are some things to know and do.

After God Heals You

Using the examples of those who were healed in the Bible, here are some things to know and do after God heals you.

  1. Celebrate! Shout, dance, sing. Have a party. Rejoice that the God of the universe laid His hand on you and made you whole. Yes, it is a big deal!
  2. Show gratitude. First of all, thank God for His healing. Many in the Bible would give a special gift (a vow) to demonstrate their gratitude. (Psalm 50:14) And don’t forget to thank those who helped you when you were in need – those who prayed for you, supported you, or provided material or practical help.
  3. Tell others what God has done. Jesus often told those He healed to tell others “what great things the Lord has done for you.” (Mark 5:19) Doing so solidifies your healing in your own soul, and it brings honor to God’s kingdom on Earth. Make sure, when you tell your story, to put the primary focus on what God has done, and His goodness.
  4. Get a medical evaluation. If you were under a doctor’s care, go back and get checked out. If you were on medication, keep taking it until told otherwise. For example, you may need to taper of some medications slowly. I know of someone who believed they were healed of diabetes, stopped taking insulin, and quickly because seriously ill. Be like the leper who Jesus healed, and then told to go show himself to the priest. (Luke 5:14)
  5. Remain humble. It may be tempting to feel that you’re special because God chose to heal you. Don’t let it make you proud. Hezekiah became arrogant after God healed him, and his arrogance became a factor in the destruction of Jerusalem years later. (Isaiah 39:3-7)
  6. Live a clean lifestyle. Sometimes (by no means always!) the way you were living contributed to your sickness. God’s healing gives you a fresh start, but it doesn’t absolve you from your responsibility to live healthy. Take this as an opportunity to review anything you need to change, such as eating healthy, managing stress well, learning to forgive, etc. (John 5:14)
  7. Live for God’s glory. You’re responsible for being a good steward of whatever degree of physical or mental strength you have as a result of God’s healing. I have several friends who, after they were healed, have devoted many hours and much energy to helping others experience God’s healing. Invest your newfound health wisely. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

When God touches you, He deserves something from you in return. How you live from then on is the best way to show your gratitude.

**Some of you may feel as though this doesn’t apply to you. You’ve prayed, and God hasn’t healed you. Don’t give up! Keep praying, and doing all you can to move into a place where you can experience God’s healing. He hasn’t left you, regardless of what happens with your finite human body here and now.

Your Turn: Have you experienced God’s healing? How was your life different afterwards? Leave a comment below. 

Tweetables: why not share this post?

  • Living well after God heals you is the best way to demonstrate your gratitude.       Tweet that.

Do you want to live FULLY ALIVE?

There are simple steps you can take EVERY DAY that will propel you forward in experiencing the kind of life you want, and that God wants for you physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Get your FREE Resource Guide now: 7 Keys to Living Fully Alive – from the Inside Out.

I Want to be Fully Alive!

Continue reading...
How God Deals With the Consequences of Bad Behavior

How God Deals With the Consequences of Bad Behavior

In this world we all face bad stuff. Sometimes others wound you, and those scars are painful. But what can be even more painful is when you face the consequences of your own bad behavior, your “wrong choices.” How does God deal with you then?

I think we all face things like this:

  • Over years of unhealthy living you became seriously overweight
  • You’re struggling with infertility because of an STD you contracted during an unwise “hookup”
  • After smoking for a long time you developed lung disease
  • The credit card debt you racked up buying unnecessary “stuff” is making you physically ill
  • You had an affair, and now your marriage is on life support

Sure, you could rationalize. Most of us do for a long time. And there are plenty of excuses you could come up with that would actually be quite true:

  • Your parents were fat, plus they never taught you how to eat healthy.
  • You were lonely, you tried to be “careful,” and the guy said he didn’t have any STDs.
  • You had no idea how unhealthy smoking was when you started, and you tried to quit several times – unsuccessfully.
  • You were sure your income was on the way up, and you meant to pay off those credit cards.
  • Your spouse had refused you friendship, communication, and sex so long an affair seemed your only choice.

But deep down you know those are just excuses. It makes you feel a little better to not think about your own part in causing your problems, but part of you feels guilty. Weak. Dirty. Hopeless. Ashamed.

Slick junk food, cigarette, or credit card marketing aside, you know there’s a certain degree to which you’re responsible. Now you’re stuck with the consequences of your bad behavior. And it stinks.

For the believer, worst of all is often feeling as though you’ve let God down. Perhaps you’ve asked for forgiveness, and tried to do better, but failed again and again. Your head believes God is good and loving and that He has forgiven you, but your heart still wonders.

Let’s accept the fact that some of our wounds are other-inflicted, some are self-inflicted, and sometimes it can be hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. But here’s some good news:

The gospel means Jesus came to heal all wounds – those others cause us, and those we cause.         Tweet that.

If you’re struggling with the consequences of your own bad behavior, know these things:

  • Everyone is wounded. Some of us are more able to hide the consequences of our sins than others. But every single person – you, me, your pastor, your friends – has done things for which they bear the scars. Some are just more visible than others.
  • Jesus came to heal and restore. That includes both those things done to us and those things we do to ourselves. He wants to heal you from all of it. He’s not nagging you to “do better;” He’s in the process of MAKING you better.
  • God doesn’t always remove consequences. You already know that; that’s why you’re feeling guilty. Moses couldn’t enter the Promised Land. David lost his son with Bathsheba. But living with consequences does NOT mean God is not with you.
  • God can bring good out of what was meant for evil. Even those bad things you do to yourself. That’s part of the miraculous way He works with each of us. The very wounds you carry may be the thing God uses to bring blessings to others.
  • God wants your transformation. Yes, He forgives you for your past. But He also wants to change your present and your future. We experience a great measure of God’s transforming power here and now. He wants to change you from the inside out, making your heart into one that wants to do what’s right. (See Hebrews 8:10)

So what should you do right now if you’re wrestling with the consequences of bad behavior?

  1. Own your part. It does no good to keep on blaming. Take ownership of your part – however large or small – in causing your problem. Don’t hide it from God, from yourself, or from others. Stop blaming others. This is your stuff.
  2. Work with God for your healing. Do what is within your power to do to experience God’s restoration: get the medical care, counseling, or other help you need. Make the lifestyle changes you need. Do the long hard work of trying to restore your marriage. Do your part.
  3. Let God do the heavy lifting. None of us can carry the full weight of the consequences of our sin. That’s why we need God’s forgiveness! And that means He carries the weight of all our stuff. Let Him have it.
  4. Stick around for God’s transformation. The change in your heart takes time. Let God tell you what needs to be changed, and give Him permission to do so. Keep coming back for His help over and over again, as long as it takes.
  5. Let God use you. Yes, He still can! Telling your story may be the very way in which He uses you, or it may be though other skills and gifts. You’re not off the hook just because you messed up. You still have a job to do for His kingdom.

It’s time to move forward. God needs you. And others need you.

And the consequences of moving forward are ones you’ll be proud to look back on.

Your Turn: Is there some consequence you’re living with now that you wish you didn’t have? What is one thing you can do today to move forward? Leave a comment below. 

Tweetables: why not share this article?

  • God has a great way of dealing with the consequences of your bad behavior.    Tweet that.

Do you want to live FULLY ALIVE?

There are simple steps you can take EVERY DAY that will propel you forward in experiencing the kind of life you want, and that God wants for you physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Get your FREE Resource Guide now: 7 Keys to Living Fully Alive – from the Inside Out.

I Want to be Fully Alive!

Continue reading...
Feeling Abandoned by God When You’re Sick

Feeling Abandoned by God When You’re Sick

Physical illness, especially when it’s long-term, can unsettle your world. It saps your energy and possibly your finances. It throws your vulnerable mortality right in your face. And it can make you question God: His goodness, His power, His caring, and whether He ever intervenes in our lives today. You feel abandoned by God.

I remember Geraldine who came to see me for some gynecologic problems. She wanted to be pregnant, but dealing with her bleeding problems became the most important initial concern. Humanly speaking, it was unlikely she would ever give birth to a child. Geraldine also struggled with a large load of guilt and fear; ongoing abuse as a teenager had prompted her to engage in a number of unhealthy relationships for several years. She worried that her promiscuous lifestyle in the past was causing her problems now, and that God would have nothing to do with her.

When you’ve caused your own problems, at least in part, it may be even harder to believe that God will do anything for you:

  • Infertility caused by a previous sexually-transmitted disease
  • Lung disease caused by smoking
  • Diabetes caused by being overweight
  • Mental challenges after years of substance abuse
  • Serious head injury caused by taking a foolish risk

At least if you did something to cause your own problems, you might not blame God for not wanting to help. But what about those times when the person suffering had nothing at all to do with causing their problems:

Continue reading...
How to Disinfect Your Shame

How to Disinfect Your Shame

We are all wounded. Life happens to us. People hurt us. And we hurt ourselves. But when the infection of shame sets in the pain of those wounds can become unbearable and permanent.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to function so well after even serious trauma, while others who suffered the same indignity seem permanently paralyzed? Wounds such as child abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, marital infidelity, business failure, abortion, or addiction are painful. Always. But some people overcome them, heal from the wounds, and move on. Others seem stuck as though the wound happened just yesterday.

The difference is shame. Healing doesn’t happen once shame infects those wounds.

As a physician I sometimes must treat a patient whose surgical wound has become infected. Those wounds are incredibly painful, and they won’t heal until the infection is eliminated.

Shame is like that infection. And you’ll only heal from the wounds others have caused you and that you’ve caused yourself when you bring your shame into the light.                  Tweet that.

Continue reading...