Darkness closing in…


Many people, it seems, have problems with depression and fear. You hear about suicides among Veterans and police and other service people like EMT’s and firefighters. Why does this happen? Is it because of the jobs that they have and the things which they see on a daily basis? In part, that is it. I worked as an EMT/Firefighter for a total of ten years. Not very long I know, but the things that I saw and the people that you come into contact with will bring you down. You can’t let it get to you while you are on the job so you learn to compartmentalize it and just push it away until the job is done. But…when the shift is over and you go home, that is when the enormity of your feelings about what you saw and had to deal with comes crashing down.

I’ve never really talked about this to anyone and it has been almost thirty years since I got out of being an EMT/Firefighter. But from what I understand the trauma and the stress that I experienced during those years never really goes away. For years I would still have dreams about my old job and wake up sweating in the night for no apparent reason. I could hear, in my mind, the siren from the ambulance or the fire truck even when there wasn’t one around. The different types of death from suicide and murder and car accidents and fire…you never forget them entirely. Some days it comes back so hard until I just feel like screaming at the top of my lungs. But even if I do, these images never go away.

The worst part of this is that you can’t sit and talk to someone about this. Nobody would understand unless you could sit and talk with another person who worked with you in the same type of service. Even then, they really don’t want to relive it either so usually you both just stop talking and change the subject or get a beer or something. Since I am a pastor now I have to shove these things away from my life and my work because nobody in the congregation would understand either. I have never talked about this with my family either just because it is something that they wouldn’t understand.

This is the reason that I am writing it here. As a bit of therapy for myself and to let others know that we feel deeply about what we have experienced. So deeply that even after thirty years it still comes back to haunt our minds and our feelings. Even now my heart is picking up speed just writing this.

I know that God can and will get me through this because He has done so in the past. I am asking all of you who read this to please sit with someone who works in a service job like I’ve mentioned. Just talk to them about anything or nothing. If they like to fish, take them fishing. But be there for them if you can. Because we have days which most people cannot understand and feelings which are hard to express. Please pray for me today and if you know anyone who was in the military or police or fire service, pray for them too. The suicide rate for them is much higher than for the rest of the population.

Psalm 51 is a good read for days like this.

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

(2 Samuel 12:1-12)

1{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.} Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.King James Bible

God cares for you!


There are many people in the world today who are considering suicide because of depression or PTSD or any number of other mental illnesses. Now, I’m not going to write anything here that will give you the idea that praying to God or giving your heart to Jesus is going to cure you of your illness because it may happen but then it may not happen. God can use that illness to bring you closer to Him and cause you to depend upon Him more or He could cure you of it so you can give someone else hope.

If I dashed your hopes here, I’m sorry. But it is the truth. Sometimes God does use our “thorns”, whatever they may be, to bring us closer to Him. Sometimes, He will bring you to the edge of your tolerance and then give you relief from the illness. If this sounds discouraging, I do apologize but David was often depressed and hurting when he was writing the Psalms. Some of the prophets were depressed and asked God to strike them dead, I have done this myself.

Why do I write such a depressing post today? Because, I don’t want you to think that God will miraculously cure you of your problem, whatever it may be, if you give your life to Him. He may do exactly that, but it is His prerogative whether He will or will not cure you just because you have given your life and heart to Jesus. God isn’t required to cure you. He is God after all and He doesn’t have to do anything that we ask of Him unless it is His will to do so and it would bring Him glory.

It sounds as if I am making God out out to be jealous and petty but He is not. He created the universe and everything in it, including us and our world, so that we would want to know Him. I think it is an awesome honor to be able to know Him because He has known you since before the universe was made! He loves each of us with such a deep and abiding love that we really can’t imagine it…but He does so for our benefit and for His glory! We have His grace and His mercy given to us for the sole purpose of being drawn to Him for our salvation. His Son died on the cross to pay for our sins so that we don’t have to. Your life doesn’t have to end when this “shell” that we live in dies IF you will give your heart to Jesus and repent of your sins and follow Him!

It is not rocket science or some kind of physical game that God plays with us. All that is truly required is that we realize that we need Jesus in our life, confess your sins and ask Him to come in and give you a new heart for Him. When that truly happens, your life will never be the same again.

Seek Him while there is life in your body today, because none of us are guaranteed tomorrow!

What has got you down?


OurGodisAbleMany people need to hear from someone today. Friends, family, pastors, spouses all need to hear from those that they care for. But what about those people that you don’t know? The people who are hurting but if you see them or talk to them they will tell you that they are doing fine. How can we touch their lives in a positive way? This is a hard question because most people who feel depressed don’t want to tell others. They consider this to be a burden that they alone can or should carry alone.

Depression is one of the weapons which Satan uses to discourage us before we become a believer, possibly enough to cause someone to take their own life. He also uses it to bring a Christian down so that their life gets out of control and feels hopeless. This is when we should be proactive about reading and meditating on God’s Word. Although, when depression hits you so hard that you feel overwhelmed its hard to think about much of anything except how you feel at the time.

Rest assured in the knowledge that God cares for you, even if you don’t know Him yet.

Psalm 42:11
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Being depressed seems to be normal for prophets and preachers as well as any other Christians. Charles Spurgeon was depressed for much of his life and he was one of the most successful preachers of 19th century England. God gives each of us the strength to make it through our troubles although sometimes we may not feel that strong. Lean on God and seek His wisdom in helping you to get through your trials no matter what they might be!

Many things get people down in their spirit or just plain depressed and sometimes it gets to the point of darkness when you feel that nobody cares…but God cares more about your trials and your life than you could possibly know. He came down to Earth as a baby to be the Perfect Lamb for our sins but He knew the sorrows of humanity and all of the problems which go along with being human. He knew the pain, the heartache and the loneliness of humanity, which is why He can give you the strength to get through all of your troubles.

God loves you so deeply until we can’t understand it! We may be able to feel it when we are in Heaven with Him but while we are yet alive here, our understanding doesn’t go deep enough to comprehend the depth of God’s love for us. Seek Him in your good days so that He will be with you on those days when life doesn’t feel very good. Especially when it gets to the point of feeling like it is out of your control and it won’t get better.

4-ways-to-turn-weaknesses-into-strengthDon’t give up on yourself or on His Presence in your life. Seek Him through the Psalms and Proverbs when your life feels out of your control. He will come near to comfort you in the time of need that you have regardless of the depth of need or the darkness that it feels like.

Sadness and heartache


So many people go through these feelings and problems, I say problems because of the things which cause sadness and heartache. What causes these feelings? It can be a divorce, or the loss of a job, or the loss of a spouse. Honestly, any number of things which happen every day to people all over the world can cause them. Why am I bringing all of this up? Because many people who have lost loved ones, whether it is a recent loss or it may have happened over a year ago, are still grieving and in mourning.

I went through a divorce twenty-seven years ago and my mother and grandfather died twenty-one years ago. I am not saying that losing a parent or grandparent is the same as losing a spouse because it isn’t. A divorce is not the same either because your spouse is still living, the only thing which died was the marriage itself which can die for a number of reasons.

Sadness, depression and heartache do happen to all people and they are tough to get through without an anchor, without something to lean on. Some people look at Christianity as a crutch and think that Christians are weak, but that isn’t true. Meekness is valued in our so-called religion, but being meek is just controlled strength. Life challenges us to be better than we can be on our own, whether it is through loss of someone important or a job or whatever it is which you have lost.

God can guide you through these problems with His Word and show you exactly what being a child of God really means. The depression which accompanies these problems is usually not very easy to handle either, which I found out about in 2014. Again, why am I bringing all of this up? Because, I feel there are many people who truly need to know that God loves them, regardless of their place in life or their needs. HE is there and all you need to do to enjoy His Presence is to seek Him out. Will He listen to your problems? Yes, He will. Go through His Word and read as many Psalms as you feel that you need to. Pray about all of the suggestions and the love that is contained in them.

Then, ask Jesus to come into your life and into your heart. Repent of your sins and begin life with Him in a Bible-teaching church. Why do I say this? Because He is necessary to a full and abundant life.

If you have ever felt an empty place in your heart or your life, that is the place where Jesus fits. Nothing else fits in that place, but many people try to put something else in it all of the time. Some try drugs, some use alcohol, some place their family in there, some put their career in it, but the problem with all of these is that they don’t fit exactly and they still feel like something is missing. It is because Jesus is missing and until you realize it, there will always be an empty feeling there.

Alienated….


Does anyone feel this way today? There are days when I feel this way and it even encroaches upon lonely, even with friends and family around. Why is that? Mostly it is because, I think, of my disability. I don’t have a daily job to go to, I don’t work except when I preach at church on Sunday. My “self-worth” isn’t tied to a career or a job anymore.

The good news about this is that God sees me as being worth His grace and His love! Just as He sees you and every other person on this planet, He looks at us with eyes that have seen all of the good and the truly horrible in humanity, and He still loves us! Why is that?

Because He is God! He can do whatever He pleases and it pleases Him to love us!

His love is so far above what we know and feel until it won’t be known by us until we are in His Presence…if we are born-again Christians. If you haven’t given your heart to Him and asked His forgiveness for your ways, then you will face Him as a person being judged for their life, their words and deeds, and everything that you gave approval of in your life.

Alienation is loneliness but it can bring you closer to Jesus if you will seek Him in it. Depression can be overcome by Him in your life by seeking His guidance through prayer, and reading the Psalms. All of our hindrances and limitations can be brought under His strength and under His tutorship if we will let Him take the wheel of our life.

We weren’t meant to do everything alone and without Him in our lives. We try to do a lot before we find out about Jesus and we try to do it with our own strength, our own ideas, our way of fixing things. Until we find that most of the time, our way is not going to work. We still feel empty and inadequate, unable to meet the deadlines and the requirements with our strengths and our ideas.

What are we to do?

Submit your life to Jesus and ask Him to cleanse your heart and your life so that you will be part of the family of God. Believe that He died for your sins and took the punishment for them, then ask Him to forgive you and He will. The grace of God has been extended to you through Jesus, all you have to do is ask for it and it is yours. You won’t be alone anymore because a part of God’s Spirit will live in your heart from that point on!

Are you for real?!


Many times when we are honest about our faith with someone, this may be the response. But, Jesus told us that if we deny that we know Him here then He will deny us in Heaven. I don’t want that on my conscience and I would rather be true to my faith in Him than not. Am I a Jesus freak? Well, I am a pastor of a small church and I have a ministry on facebook and here too, so I would say that yes, I am a bit of a “Jesus freak”. That is just fine with me actually. Why? Because it is my job and my calling. Why do Christians think that we are not supposed to tell others when Jesus Himself told the disciples to go and tell everyone about the Gospel? We are part of that company if we have given our life and our hearts to Him!
Is Christianity real? The religion is but the commitment of the believers is questionable. Why? If you were told that you had a gift waiting for you, if you would claim it and tell others how to get the same gift, would you?

In today’s world, if that gift were a million dollars, some would claim it and then tell others how they could get it. Some would hoard the information and not tell anyone else, why? If you knew that there was a cure for cancer would you give it to just someone in your family or would you spread the news about this cure, particularly if it was a simple cure that anyone could have? Some would and some would keep this information to themselves. Why?

If you knew about the end of life result for someone that would result in their eternity being an endless torment and you knew that they needed Jesus in their heart…wouldn’t you tell them about Him? Wouldn’t you read the Bible to them and try to explain the salvation message to them? Some people would tell them, others would say that is someone else’s job, not mine. Everyone needs to know about the way to salvation whether they choose to act on that knowledge or not is their decision.

What do you depend on?


We all have different ways of making it through our days. Some of us start off the morning with a cup of tea or coffee and the paper. Some people get online with a cup of coffee and try to catch up with what is happening. But, who do you go to and depend upon when things go terribly wrong? I don’t mean when you spill the milk or break a nail, I mean when you get a diagnosis which makes you sit down. When someone in your family comes home with a letter that says you are being sued for something, or maybe they are the one that gets the diagnosis which is like a hammer to your head and your heart, what do you do then?

Many people turn to their best friends or even to their church, if they go to one. So, what or Who do you depend on for assurance or hope or healing? Many people look to their doctor if they get one of those diagnoses, some look to him as well if there is a wreck or accident. The Person that you and I and everyone else should be looking to and praying to FIRST, before going to the doctor or anyone else is God! He is bigger and able to handle all of your problems, to give you strength to get through them all and if it is His will to do so, He will heal you of whatever the diagnosis may be. He may do it through the doctor’s skills or it may happen by His power and your faith before your next doctor visit.

Bad days are going to happen. Accidents and diseases are going to crop up in your life and mine, we are human and that is just the way our fallen world is. Good people and bad get these circumstances added to their lives all the time, it doesn’t matter how good you are or how bad you may be. The reality you have to remember is that God loves you and will not forsake you in any of your problems, you must have faith in him and ask Him for wisdom.

You don’t have to accept a “bad day”, God can make a day which seems bad turn into a good day. Love, especially between two people as husband and wife, can make a shack into a home. Expressing your love for your children is something that many people seem to have forgotten how to do these days. Wake up people, they need to know that they are loved by you just as much as you need to know that God loves you!

If you truly want a successful life and a happy home, even if it is in a two room shack with cracks wide enough to throw a cat through, love works much better to bring this about than alcohol or drugs or anger! Where love is anger cannot stay, when you truly love your children and your wife there is no fire too hot that could keep you from rescuing them! God is the answer that everyone is looking for, they just don’t know it yet. Many people say that they can worship God in a fishing boat or a deer stand just as well as they can in church. NO YOU CANNOT! You are looking for a trophy bass or antlers that will strain the wall to hold them up, you don’t go out there thinking of worshiping God!

I used to think that too and I would pray and talk to God while I was out there. That’s probably why I don’t have any trophies on my walls. I would thank Him for His beautiful creation and the sunrise that many don’t get to see. I would praise Him for the beautiful birds and the chipmunks as they scurry around trying to find all the acorns they have hidden for the winter. Yes, praising God and thanking Him for these things is good, but worshiping Him with other believers is more gratifying and humbling than any deer or turkey. Yes, they are God’s creation and He takes care of them just as He does each one of us, but they don’t worship Him. Their instinct tells them that He will feed them so they don’t know Him like we can.

Your Spirit is lifted up and refreshed every time you hear God’s Word preached. Your soul shouts for joy and it is heard in Heaven especially when you find that the diagnosis that you thought you had is just some cells that are causing trouble and making you feel bad. Satan and his followers know how to make you feel this way and will convince you that you are going to die. They can make it so convincing that you will die, if you allow them to take it that far.

We have power through Jesus’ name to renounce the feelings of deathly diagnoses, and depression that makes you want to crawl under a rock, but it does you and me no good at all if we don’t claim the Word of God and tell Satan to back off because I am a child of God! God’s Word and the promises in it are more powerful than any drug or any situation that you have or that you will ever encounter. Don’t forsake the Word or prayer and call on His name because He can heal you of all the afflictions that Satan has placed on you and in your life.

Love, what is it really?


This being a day that many of us associate with relationships and the feelings associated with them and yet many people don’t know what love really is.

Love is not sex or lust, those are associated with erotic love (lust), but that is not the emotion which would bring about a lasting relationship. One which would grow deeper with time regardless of the health of the one that you love or the amount of money that you have.

There is a movie in the theatres today that is making the erotic lust of someone into a “relationship”. It will be like burning a candle with a blow-torch, it is fun for a while but if it doesn’t grow into something far deeper and even more intimate, then it will burn out like that candle.

Many people chase after feelings like those from a sexual relationship or even the feeling that comes with getting high from drugs or adrenaline or even alcohol. These things are temporary and don’t last at all, but the love that doesn’t ask for anything in return, like the love that comes from God, that is mature love. The kind of deep love that lasts through sickness, heartache, poverty and wealth. It doesn’t matter what happens in your life, that kind of love is what we all search for and yet it is the kind that is so hard to find.

It is the kind of love that only God can bring into your life, whether it is through Jesus or by God bringing you and your “soul-mate” together. He is the only One, the only match-maker Who can answer the prayer of someone who is looking for that special someone who will be there for life, regardless of what life may bring. He is the only Person who can show you the very one who will be faithful and true to you just as He is. That is the relationship that we all are looking for, whether it is an intimate relationship with your spouse or with Jesus.

A relationship that is strong and enduring, whether it is between friends or your spouse or children, is what we crave and hunger for in our lives. Yet, even that relationship can’t take the place of the Relationship between you and Jesus. That One is more deep and connected than any that you can have if you will seek Him out when you feel that call on your life. If you haven’t felt that call yet, then I pray that you will seek Him out by going to church and open your heart to Him. Ask Him into your life and read the Bible, pray that God will give you the wisdom to understand its words and the Truth contained in it and He will.

The Love of Christ is the deepest and most enduring Love that is more than you can imagine or comprehend, yet it is available to you any time. Regardless of how your day is going, good or bad, Jesus is there to comfort and to strengthen you. He is there to heal when you feel broken by depression or injury or sickness, just call to Him. Coming to Him is easy if you believe that He will answer you. He doesn’t turn down anyone who genuinely seeks Him with an open heart asking Him to come and heal their lives.

God’s love for us, all of us, has been present since the first day of Creation. He saw down through the ages who would be needing and seeking Him. He knows you and your life, your problems and your pain and He has the answers for those too. No, I can tell you that your disease or other health problems  won’t immediately go away, but He will be with you and help you through them. In some cases, He may heal you immediately so praise the Lord for it when it comes.

Time for our world is growing short, so I urge you to seek God and His grace for your life. Believe it and in Jesus’ sacrifice for you and ask Him to come into your life so that God can give you eternal life with Him. If you choose not to believe in Jesus or in anything that you may read here, eternity will come for you but it will not be pleasant.

Is today a really bad day?


Are you under the bus? Is that how it feels today? How bad are you feeling today? Are you in a place where you feel like you are under the bus?

We all have days, sometimes weeks, where we may not feel good about the situation that we are in, whether it is one that we put ourselves in or our health may have put us in this spot. Did you do it to yourself or did God allow it to happen? For some of us, it is something which we actually are responsible for the situation, good or bad but usually bad, that we find ourselves in. Then, depending on how bad it may be we get into a pity party over it and carry it into other people’s lives so we won’t be alone. Is your situation caused by dependency on drugs or alcohol? Then, you got yourself into it and nobody can get you out until you make that decision to do so. God can give you the strength and the courage to get out, but it is still your decision to take the first step away from where you are.

For many people, that first step is the hardest one to take, especially if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Why is that? Because, our body reacts with the chemicals which we put into it and depending upon how they make us feel, we get strongly addicted to them. The stronger the so-called “good feeling” is, then the stronger the addiction is which makes it harder for you to break the addiction and get away from it. Why am I bringing this up during the holidays? Because, during the holidays is the time when many people get depressed over money or relationships or ??? Who knows what can cause these feelings, but it seems to happen during Christmas more often than it should.

We see people who seem to be happy in their lives, smiling and laughing and getting stuff to give to each other and if we aren’t able to do the same thing, then it makes us miserable. How do you know that they really are happy? That may just be a “fake happy face” that they use during this time of year! We don’t let people see the real us most of the time, that is reserved for close family or sometimes nobody knows the “real me”, you know how that feels? I do.

I have lived it and been that way for years and didn’t realize how much damage that I caused in my own life and in my own relationships until recently. I went into a real depressive state earlier this year and it took reading and praying my way through the Psalms to get me out of it. Depression can make you feel like you are not just under the bus, but that the bus is parked on top of you and you feel like there is nothing or nobody who cares enough about you to help get you out! Although, sometimes we want to stay in that condition. We don’t really care to get out or maybe we don’t want to get out from under this cloud and feel better.

Well, I am here today to tell you that you can do it! It is possible to come out from under the cloud and the bust and the addiction because there is Someone Who loves you dearly, even if you don’t feel lovable and may not even love yourself! God loves you and has loved you for thousands of years. Jesus came and died on the cross for you, so that you can come to know Him and the Father because of His sacrifice which covered not only your sins, but everyone else’s sins in the world as well! He came down to Earth in human form but with God as His Father and He had no “sinful nature” inside of Him like we do, and yet He still died for our sins, our weaknesses, our problems even though He didn’t have to…He did it because He loves us. Not because we are lovable, but because if He hadn’t, we would be doomed to eternity without knowing Him or God. We wouldn’t have been able to make ourselves right with God because it just isn’t part of our nature.

Jesus came into the manger as a babe in swaddling clothes, clothed in flesh so that He could know our troubles, our weaknesses, our fears, our heartaches and give us comfort through all of them because He has been there. He knows about your trouble and your triumph, your fear and your joy. He knows your pain and the pleasure of love without the sinful nature that we have to deal with. He and the Father love each one of us regardless of our trials and faults. All that we have to do is believe that He conquered our troublemaker and our sickness and then ask Him to come into our lives and give us the strength to make it out from our place of pain…out from under the bus. Then, pray and seek His strength to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Being free from the pain of addiction is possible, but it takes us and Jesus to move, to take that first step, and then another and another until we are clear of it and we can see the Light and His love for us.

When you are down


1623771_736809902997332_1536594980_nThe times that I have been down in my life and not realized what I was going through, I don’t think that I could count them. I was very likely depressed more than I thought but I just thought that I was having a bad day. In truth, I was having a bad day but it also involved being at school or being with my family which really didn’t help much and sometimes made it worse.

They tried to help cheer me up or make me laugh. It worked sometimes, but more often than not it didn’t and it just compounded the problem. Family members, Mom, grandmother and grandfather and friends from school all would try to “help” in their own ways but the depression was still there, sometimes it was less cumbersome than before but often I would just lie and tell them that I was OK, and we would get on with the day.

True, that was not the right way to handle it but I didn’t know that at the time and neither did you. The point that I am making here is not one to bring up old habits or memories from this past week or in your life. My point on this site is to point you to the One person Who can help heal the dark areas of your mind and bring you back into the light of day. He won’t force you to worship Him and I won’t bring up the sinful life that we have all lived, because you know what you have done or what you may be doing today.

God loves you so much that He allowed His Son to give His life on a cross in order to take the penalty for your sins, regardless of how bad you think that you are. He came so that you can have an abundant life, one that is full of purpose and hope, not depression and thoughts of death and despair. I have had them myself, but I have conquered them through Jesus and His strength not on my own.

Give your life and REAL purpose, follow Jesus and do what the other disciples did…make disciples of others, become His disciple not because you are required to but because you are grateful that you have the chance. God has a place for you in eternity, and all that you or I have to do to get there is to believe in the saving power of Jesus and what He did for all of us on that cross.