Victory Over Depression Blog

(Healing & Victory Through Jesus Christ)

Archive for the category “Meditations/Devotionals”

Living Fearlessly (from a daily meditation)

Do not fear, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV

The words “fear not” keep showing up in the Bible all the way from Genesis to Revelation.  Why is that?  Because God understands that fear is not only our biggest enemy but our constant companion, and He wants to help us overcome it.

One author writes: “Think of your comfort zone as a prison you live in-a largely self-created prison. It consists of a collection of ‘cant’s, musts, must-nots,’ and other unfounded beliefs formed from all the negative thoughts and decisions you have accumulated and reinforced during your lifetime. Every fear is like a bar in that prison.

However, the good news is, because fears are feelings, the faulty ones can be removed by faith in God, and you can become free from them.

Does this mean you can live totally free from fear?  No.

Writer Michael Ignatieff says: “Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid. It’s good to be afraid occasionally. Fear is a great teacher. What’s not good is living in fear, allowing fear to dictate your choices, allowing fear to define who you are. Living fearlessly means standing up to fear, taking its measure, refusing to let it shape and define your life. Living fearlessly means taking risks, taking gambles, not playing it safe. It means refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer when you are sure that the answer should have been ‘yes.’ It means refusing to settle for less than what is your due, what is yours by right, what is yours by the sweat of your labor and your effort.”

And let’s add-what God has promised and planned for you.

– from a daily meditation

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Turn Your Weakness into a Weapon (from a daily devotional)

I just let Christ take over!” 2 Corinthians 12:10 TM

Speaking of his “thorn,” Paul writes: “I was given the gift of a handicap…At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it…he told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’ Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift…Now I take my limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become” (vv.7-10 TM).

Paul learned how to turn his weakness into a weapon by allowing it to drive him closer to God.  That’s a lesson you must learn too.

Eugene Peterson paraphrases Christ’s first beatitude: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (Matthew 5:3 TM).

Now, you can’t just accept your character flaws and areas of defeat and say, “Well, I guess that’s just the way I am.”

No, you must confront each area of weakness, confess it, and “let Christ take over.”

You will always struggle with one thing or another.  Paul recognized this: “We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us” (2Corinthians 4:7 TM).

Like common pottery, fragile, flawed and easily broken, God will use you as you surrender and allow Him to work through you.

– from a daily meditation

Are You Stressed Out About Money? (from a daily meditation)

It is [God] who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV

The story of Elijah being fed by the ravens teaches us that God can take care of us in a bad economy (See 1Kings 17:1-7).

The story of Joseph teaches us that when we follow God’s plan, we will have all that we need to get us through hard times (See Genesis 41:37-57).

One of the dangers of living in a materialistic society is that you feel “entitled” to things, even when you can’t afford them.

To overcome financial anxiety you must practice fiscal discipline.

God doesn’t bless recklessness. You can’t go into debt, then pray that God will get you out of it. Sometimes He does. However, if you don’t learn from your mistakes you’ll just keep repeating them.

A popular radio show in Atlanta is hosted by a guy popular host. He begins every program by saying, “Spend less, save more, and don’t get ripped off.” He talks about banks that charge extortionate rates for credit cards, and tells people to live within their means.  “But I’m used to a certain lifestyle,” you say. Get unused to it!

If you want peace of mind, learn the art of contentment. Does contentment mean you can’t have ambition? No, contentment means delaying gratification and enjoying where you are, on your way to where you’re going. It means learning to live by these words:

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13 NLT).

–  from a daily meditation

Making Disciples (A Charles Stanley Devotional)

Matthew 28:18-20 –

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Scripture teaches us to tell others about Jesus Christ. And while sharing the gospel is awesome, it is simply not enough. We should continue to encourage and invest in new believers. Many don’t know where to begin reading in the Bible or how to spend time with their heavenly Father.

Of course, God takes each person’s spiritual journey seriously, and He won’t leave a seeking heart unsatisfied. At the same time, we have a responsibility to invest in the lives of spiritual brothers and sisters by sharing our understanding and experience.

This type of teaching is called discipleship, and it is both an honor and a great responsibility. As you commence this type of relationship, consider the following points.

First, make sure to continually spend time with the Lord so that you are growing and in tune with His Spirit. Second, be prepared with a plan. Your friend needs to understand the basics, such as how to read the Bible, what prayer is, and where to find fellowship. New believers will have questions–answers are important, as is your ability to find resources when you are unsure of how to reply. Third, help the individual understand generally what to expect as he embarks on his Christian walk. Tomorrow, we will explore the stages of a believer’s journey.

Most of us learned, struggled, and learned some more till we began to understand the basics of life in Christ. Godly mentors can be a tremendous help. And remember, no matter how long we’ve believed, we never stop needing advice and encouragement from those farther along in the journey.

Our Growth as Christians (A Charles Stanley Devotional)

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

There’s a goal to the Christian life, which God expresses this way: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). This refining process is called sanctification. And there are several identifiable stages en route to this goal, but sadly, most believers are unfamiliar with them. Let me offer some definitions so you can identify where you are on the journey and understand what to expect.

Salvation is the first stage of the Christian life. This describes our redemption from sinfulness through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. What results is forgiveness of sin, which lets us have a relationship with Almighty God.

Next, God gives us opportunity to serve (Ephesians 2:10). We were created to do good works in Jesus’ name.

But at some point, we notice something isn’t working. This is the start to stage three: frustrated inadequacy. This unpleasant but necessary part of the journey can last varying amounts of time. Without it, we’d undoubtedly experience self-sufficiency and pride. But we should recognize this difficult phase as beautiful because it leads us into the best part of our spiritual lives: total dependency upon Jesus as Lord of our life. And we will be fulfilling our ultimate goal: becoming a reflection of Christ.

Sadly, many Christians don’t reach a point of complete reliance on the Lord. Pride, discouragement, and distraction can ruin focus and perseverance. Paul reminds us to fix our eyes on the goal of maturity in Christ (Phil. 3:14). Learning to die to self is painful, but ironically, it’s the only true way to life.

THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: The Soul’s Journey To Unity With God (by St John of the Cross)

1. On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings—oh, happy chance!— I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest.

2. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised—oh, happy chance!— In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest.

3. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me, Nor I beheld aught, Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.

4. This light guided me More surely than the light of noonday To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me— A place where none appeared.

5. Oh, night that guided me, Oh, night more lovely than the dawn, Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, Lover transformed in the Beloved!

6. Upon my flowery breast, Kept wholly for himself alone, There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him, And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

7. The breeze blew from the turret As I parted his locks; With his gentle hand he wounded my neck And caused all my senses to be suspended.

8. I remained, lost in oblivion; My face I reclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned myself, Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

The stanzas (above) which treat of the way and manner which the soul follows upon the road of the union of love with God.

Before we enter upon the exposition of these stanzas, it is well to understand here that the soul that utters them is now in the state of perfection, which is the
union of love with God, having already passed through severe trials and straits, by means of spiritual exercise in the narrow way of eternal life whereof Our Savior
speaks in the Gospel, along which way the soul ordinarily passes in order to reach this high and happy union with God.

Since this road (as the Lord Himself says likewise) is so strait, and since there are so few that enter by it, the soul considers it a great happiness and good chance to have passed along it to the said perfection of love, as it sings in this first stanza, calling this strait road with full propriety ‘dark night,’ as will be explained hereafter in the lines of the said stanza.

The soul, then, rejoicing at having passed along this narrow road whence so many blessings have come to it, speaks after this manner.

– from The Dark Night Of The Soul by St John of the Cross

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