Posts Tagged ‘oppression

06
Aug
13

Reaching out with the love of Christ to a dying and lying world

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people in various stages of cancer diagnosis, treatment or follow-up. It is incredible how many people are directly or indirectly impacted by this horrible disease. Added together, the amount of time, effort and money spent to monitor and treat various cancers is staggering.

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people facing battles that are testing and trying their faith. So many people are afflicted with pressure in their lives due to financial and other issues. So many people are firmly entangled in the various elements of oppression and depression. Situations that arise and will not quit leave a person tired, worn out and vulnerable.

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people firmly in the grasp of oppressive powers intent on making and keeping them slaves. Those who have sold their bodies or minds to others for the sake of financial security are in reality slaves to whom they sold out to. Once caught, very few people ever escape from the imprisonment of their choices and corresponding obligations.

Never in the history of this world have things appeared so good on the outside but so rotten on the inside. At first glance, the world seems to be buzzing along doing better than ever. At first glance, people seem to be content, happy, satisfied and well taken care of. But are they really what they project?

Under the surface of the pretty facade so many put up are unhappy, dissatisfied and restless people worried about what tomorrow will bring and what they did yesterday. Locked in the prisons of their own minds, they become experts at looking good to hide the inner turmoil, unrest, guilt and fears that eat them from the inside out just as cancer does in the human body.

Subdivisions and communities are full of people who outwardly appear to have it together and happily are living the American (or any other country’s) dream. Behind the walls of their mini mansions and within the confines of their own minds, these people are tormented day and night by unanswered questions, regrets about the past, guilt for things done or said and fears about what tomorrow may bring.

Lying underneath the smooth exterior people project are truly troubled individuals. Hidden out of view of prying eyes are questions, temptations, battles and doubts that drive people mad. How many millions of people resort to drugs or alcohol to subdue the demons afflicting them? How many people run to every distraction this world offers in hope of finding an ounce of peace and comfort?

Without Jesus Christ there is no peace. Without God there are no answers. Without the Word of God there is no hope. Without the fellowship of believers there is no way to withstand the onslaught of all that seeks to derail and destroy the faith by which we live.

There is a whole world out there diseased and dying; waiting for someone to care enough to help them out of the nightmare they call life. Let us pray to be Ambassadors for Christ willing and able to reach out with His love to those hurting and teetering on the edge of spiritual oblivion.

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24
Jun
13

The refreshing breath of God

When something is refreshing, it restores energy and vitality. It is stimulating, uplifting and invigorating. Haven’t we all enjoyed the refreshment that comes after a thunderstorm has rinsed the air of all the dirt and grime? Haven’t we all been invigorated by the cool breeze that follows a summer storm? When storms move through, they are refreshing not only to the weather but also to every living thing.

Yesterday was one of the lovely days we enjoy in the summer here in the St. Louis region. The actual temperature was in the mid 90’s with a heat index was over 100 degrees. It was the kind of day both man and beast has a difficult time being motivated to do much of anything except to try and stay cool. Late in the afternoon a line of strong storms pushed their associated clouds well out in front. By early evening the storms moved through and dropped the temperature all the way down to the lower 70’s within minutes.

Isn’t it interesting how God uses a storm full of lightning and thunder, wind and rain to refresh the atmosphere? I think it would serve us well to consider this the next time our spiritual life mimics the oppressive heat and humidity summer brings. The only way to push the oppression away is through a storm many times.

What is oppression anyway? Oppression is the state one is in when being subjected to the stress of domination or trouble. Sickness many times is a breeding ground for oppression. Financial woes most definitely bring on oppression. Any harsh, stressful or disturbing situation many times ends up oppressing.

Where depression is internal and is brought on by things within our minds; oppression is a more general state brought on by situations and circumstances many times outside of our ability to control. We cannot control the weather when it is oppressive. We cannot control the economy and when it is in a recession, as it many times breeds an oppressive atmosphere in a country, state, city or family.

Honestly, we all periodically find our relationship with the Lord getting stale, stagnant and unfulfilling. Whether through the oppression of a stressful situation, laziness or just going through the motions; there are times when our walk with the God is like the day we just experienced here. When this happens we need to beseech the Father to blow through us His holy breath of life and renew us, revive us and refresh us.

When we feel like closing all the curtains and locking the door so as to wallow in our pitiful existence, that is when we need to throw open the windows and doors and ask God for a spiritual thunderstorm to blow through. Believe me when I say that such things can and do happen and they are GREAT. I leave you with a classic hymn to ponder and consider.

BREATHE ON ME, BREATH OF GOD – by Edwin Hatch (1835-1889)
Public Domain

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until my will is one with Thine,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

02
Mar
13

Identifying and confronting depression and oppression in our lives as Christians

Depression is the state where a person has persistent feelings of hopelessness or dejection, lack of energy, inability to sleep and sometimes suicidal tendencies. Clinical depression is a very serious problem which necessitates professional treatment. Through medication and therapy, most people suffering from clinical depression can resume a normal life.

Until recently, anyone diagnosed with depression was immediately classified as either a mental nut job or a “whiner” or “wimp”. Because of these stereotypes, people with depression tend to get even more depressed. Without help, a depressed person will withdraw from society and become a recluse or find a way to end his/her life.

There are many things in our society that are not only bad but downright hurtful. The tag attached to people suffering clinical depression is one of the worst things that society has ever come up with. To blame a person suffering clinical depression (a disease just like arthritis, heart disease or cancer) as either a hypochondriac or a weakling is the predominant reason for the spike in suicides.

When a person feels dejected, continually sad, like a social outcast or misfit; they descend the ugly ladder into one of the most tormenting versions of personal hell there is. Of all the feelings a person goes through in this life, the feelings of hopelessness and rejection are the most tormenting and disastrous.

I can think of nothing Christians do that is worse than condemning someone suffering depression because of a tragic event that took place or because they have a disease. When a preacher beats people over the head with the Bible and tells them there is no excuse for being depressed, it only serves to drive a person deeper into depression. When an individual believer sharply rebukes another believer because they are depressed, it only serves to drive that believer into a state that is dangerous and spiritually sick.

There are, of course, times when a person is just feeling sorry for himself and they need a swift kick in the rear to wake them up and get moving again. Clinical depression does not fit this description. There is a HUGE difference between a temporary pity party and a state of mind brought on by chemical imbalances within the body or something wrong with any number of different organs or bodily functions.

It seems that any Christian who admits to going to see a Psychologist or other mental health professional is immediately judged as insane and guilty of gross unbelief. Somehow it is fine for a Christian to see a medical doctor but not a doctor specializing in mental or emotional disorders. I think this is very wrong and has prevented many individuals from receiving the help they desperately need.

Having said all this, I believe most of us do NOT suffer from clinical depression but rather the reaction to bad things happening to our bodies, families, finances, relationships etc. When we are forced to endure a string of bad things we tend to get depressed. When we must become the most austere people on earth and live on snow and grass because of no money, we tend to get depressed. When relationships go sour, the car breaks down, a loved one passes away and we get diagnosed with cancer, all in one day, we tend to get depressed.

Simple depression can many times be helped by someone manifesting the love of God. Simple comfort and exhortation from the Word of God can lift a person out of a temporary down time. Many times a person just needs to spend some quality time with the Lord or go have fun to break the back of simple depression. Sometimes a person needs to sit with a qualified Christian counselor to isolate the problem and take steps to correct it.

Depression usually is the consequence of oppression. Oppression is a heaviness or downward pressure brought on by gloominess, negatives, lack of results, loneliness etc. The biggest cause of oppression is sickness. Long term sickness of any kind is oppressive and that oppression almost always leads to depression.

Satan is the author of oppression and he uses it constantly to hinder and beat down Christians. Oppression is the opposite of inspiration and enthusiasm. Oppression thwarts the ability of a believer to recognize God working in them to do and to will of His good pleasure. Oppression drags us down to the level of the enemy instead of raising us up to the exalted position we have in Christ Jesus.

The Word and power of God can and does break the back of oppression when spoken and manifested in love. Prayer can and does lift the suffocating blanket of oppression. Action many times knocks oppression flat on its back. If these things are not done, oppression slowly drags a person into the dark night of depression.

Oppression is on the outside and is caused by everything from the weather to the day’s headlines. The biggest source of oppression is legalistic religion. Whenever and wherever legalistic religion reigns, oppression will overspread the area as a heavy blanket. Oppression is like carrying a heavy burden on one’s back. Oppression hangs over a person like a giant anvil ready to drop on them whenever they sin. Religious oppression is ugly, wicked and lends itself to depressed people robbed of a reason for living and resigned to a life of woe.

Religious oppression inevitably leads to depression. This is why religiously oppressed people manifest hopelessness, dejection and gloom. Certainly the enemy succeeded in making a mockery of the joy we have in Christ by oppressing God’s people under a yoke of laws and regulations that are impossible to keep. In my travels, many of the most oppressed areas I have seen are filled with depressed people living in the so called “Bible Belt”.

God has called us to liberty and not the bondage associated with religious oppression. God has called us to walk in the freedom Christ won for us on the cross and not to spend our lives carrying that cross on our shoulders. God has called us to walk in His power, grace and joy. God wants us to enjoy all He has given to us while we share to GOOD NEWS of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.

Breaking free from religious oppression is the single greatest thing that a believer can do to overcome depression. We have not been called to walk in fear of going to hell but rather to walk in the exuberance of those absolutely called to an eternal life with God in the heavenlies. We have not been given a tablet of stone to record all of our sins but rather a glorious Word of God filled with exceeding great and precious promises.

We, of all people on earth, have no right to ever feel hopeless or helpless. We have been given a bright and glorious hope and the promise that God is with us and fighting for us. We must renew our minds to believe what God has said in His Word and categorically reject the lies this world and religion attempt to place upon us.

If you suffer from clinical depression please seek professional help. If you suffer from depression brought on by oppression, FIGHT. That is right, FIGHT for yourself, your family, your future. Never give in to the relentless pressure of negativity but rather claim the promises God has given to us. God is able and willing to lift oppression and break apart depression. With God’s help, we can lay claim to the promise that “the joy of the Lord is our strength”!