Archive | November 2012

Peace V ~ Emotions X

Instruments of Peace:

As Christians, we must remember that we represent Christ. We are a living sacrifice called to further the kingdom of God. Because the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, we take God wherever we go. When we are around others, we should make the atmosphere brighter and add “flavor” to our surroundings. Mark 9:49-50 tells us that sacrifices should be seasoned with salt and if the salt has lost its flavor, what good is it? If we don’t bring peace and joy wherever we go, then what good are we for God?

In an earlier post, I talked about how peace is a state of tranquility or quiet; being free from disturbance or turmoil. We are to do our part to keep peace in situations. Life is not about getting our way or proving what we think is right; it is about glorifying God in everything we say and do. We not want to lose our testimony for Christ over an issue that has nothing to do with the fact that Christ is the only way to Heaven. When we spend time arguing over the little things, we are taking time away from spreading the gospel. In Jesus’ day, the Jews were beginning to become Christians. Traditions were very important to the Jewish people. Christians knew that nothing was unclean of itself, but to those who considered certain foods unclean; it was unclean. Christians could have argued the fact that food was not unclean and lost a chance to share the gospel. Instead, out of love, they were willing not to eat the questioned food in order to keep the doors open to the gospel (Romans 14:14-23). Let’s keep our focus on sharing the gospel and edifying people in the Lord and leave the other matters to the Lord.

It takes two people to argue. People tend to go on and on about an issue instead of saying it once and letting the Lord deal with the heart.  You do not have to prove you are right if you know you are right. Christ is an excellent example of this when He was on the cross. In Matthew 27:41-44, the chief priests, the scribes and elders, and even the robbers were mocking Christ saying, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” What if Christ was more concerned about proving He was the Son of God than staying focused on the reason He came? If He would have come down to prove Himself, we would have to die in our sins. He would have missed the opportunity to save us. The same holds true with us, we must keep our focus on sharing that Christ is the only way and not arguing over trivial issues that would close the door to people getting saved.

When we humble ourselves and do not feel we need to be “right,” then people will see God, and the gospel will go out. If we act the same way as the unbeliever, how will they ever see God and know what is correct (Hebrews 12:14)? We need to be different so that people can see God. The next time you want to argue, ask yourself, “Is being right or having to do something ‘my way’ really worth losing an opportunity to show someone God.” Start today! When a challenge comes your way, step back and allow Christ to step forward.  Allow Christ, not you, to shine in every situation you come across.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Advertisements

Peace IV ~ Emotions IX

Peace That Passes Understanding:

Can you have a peace when your baby dies? Can you have a peace when your house burns down? Can you have a peace when you are told that you have less than six months to live? Can you have a peace when your husband calls and tells you he no longer has a job? Can you have a peace when you have $5.00 to last you two weeks? Christians can! There is a peace that is beyond understanding and it only comes from God. You cannot obtain it any other way.

In John 16:33, Jesus lets us know that as long as we live in this world, we WILL have trials and troubles, but we can have peace and be of good cheer because we KNOW that Christ has overcome the world. As long as we live on earth, there WILL be death, crying, pain, and sorrow, but earth is only temporal. In Heaven pain, death, and sorrow are NO more. Christians are not exempt from the things of this world. Our deepest, darkest times are when we can rest in the fact that God is conforming us into the image of His Son, Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). When Christ was getting ready to face the cross, He trusted God to take the pain and use it for His honor and glory. Christ was forsaken so we could be forgiven. God has a reason and a purpose for the situations that we are placed in. Knowing this, we can sit back and watch God’s will be done in and through our horrible circumstances.

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us not to be worried, but to bring our circumstances to Him with thanksgiving. When we do, we will have the peace of God that is beyond our understanding. When something comes your way, stop and give God thanks for the opportunity to praise Him and allow Him to be God. Thank Him for the chance to bring glory to His name during your trials. I know God really does give this peace. I have experienced this peace in my life and in the lives of family and friends.

When I was a single mom, there were times that after I paid my bills, I had $5.00 that had to last me two weeks. I would stop and thank God for supplying me with enough to pay my bills. He gave me a peace that if something came up during those two weeks, He could handle it; He was God! I saw miracle after miracle. My faith grew so much during that time and I really came to know in my heart that if God can speak the world into existence, He can take care of anything that I am going through. God instantly gave me a peace I could not understand when my husband lost his job. I knew that God was with me as a single mom and that He would be with me and John during this trial, as well. Our job was to continue to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and He would supply our needs (Matthew 6:33). That is what we did and that is what He did!

When one of my best friends lost her daughter, I went up to be with her. It was a hard but glorious time. It was hard to see someone you love in so much pain, but glorious to see God’s presence manifested in so many ways. Those same friends lost their house to a fire. Again, it was so hard to see their family in so much pain, but watching God over abundantly supply their needs once again lets me know that God is God and will be with and take care of His children. The new house is still under construction, but I look forward to the end product and how God is going to use their new home.

The time that I can honestly say that it was really embedded in my heart that God would give His children a peace that passes understanding during ANY circumstance that may come our way was when my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and told she had a very short time left on this earth. I went over her house the day she was told and I will NEVER forget what she said to me. She said, “Linda, I have always know about the verse in the Bible where it talks about God giving a peace that passes understanding, but I have never experienced it like I am now. I have a peace that I cannot explain. I don’t want Christians to get cancer, but to experience this peace is amazing. I just can’t explain it. I never want this feeling to go away.” It didn’t!  She lived for a little over a month. During her last month, she used her situation to bring glory to God, right up to her last breath. Once a waitress asked her how she was doing. Her response was, “I’m doing the best I can for someone who is dying with stage 4 cancer, but I know that I am going to be in Heaven shortly. Do you know for sure you’ll go to Heaven when you die?” One of her grandchildren saw her faith and accepted Christ as his Savior. God is in control.

Yes, God gives a peace that passes understanding to His children when they need it the most. If you are going through a trial, stop and thank God for a chance to let Him be God and for the opportunity for you to be able to bring honor and glory to His name during your trial.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Peace III ~ Emotions VIII

Peace in Your Home:

It’s sad that so often there is no difference between a Christian home and a non-Christian home. Everything that we do, say, watch, and read should be honoring to God. If it does not honor and glorify God, then it should not be in our homes.

The world can be a pretty crazy place at times. Your home needs to be a refuge, a place where everyone feels safe and loved, and a place where there is peace. When people walk into your home, they should feel and see something different. They should feel God’s peace. People should be able to see God in and through you. They need to see a place where soft words and words of encouragement are spoken, not harsh or degrading words.

Solomon is a man known for being the wisest man who ever lived. He asked God for wisdom to judge His people and God granted him his request. The sad thing is, with all that wisdom, he wasn’t wise enough to keep the false gods out of his home and away from his family. I King 3:3 tells us that Solomon loved the Lord and walked in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places (where people worshiped false gods). He intermarried with women from the surrounding nations. God had told him those women would turn his heart away from Him. Sure enough that is what happened. He lost his kingdom. He lost the peace of God. Do we allow things of the world to enter our home through other people, the television, the radio, reading material, and other means? Do we say, “Oh, it’s no big deal, everyone is doing it”? Yes, “everyone” is doing it and that’s probably why 80-85% of our youth are leaving the church. To have peace in your home, get the world out.

In Deuteronomy 6, the Israelites were being instructed to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, and minds. They were told to keep His statutes and His commandments. If they did, all would be well with them. God blessed when they did what was right and trouble always arose when they put God on the sideline. When we start putting God on the sidelines and allowing things that do not honor God into our homes, trouble starts.

Joshua was blessed because he followed God to the end. He was one of the twelve spies who went to check out Canaan. He and Caleb were the only ones to come back trusting that God would go before them and give them the land. The rest said there was no way. They all wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Joshua and Caleb were the only two of their generation who were in bondage that were able to go into the Promise Land. What was Joshua’s secret? It was ~ Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Do not allow things or people into your home that/who will turn your children’s hearts away from the Lord.

Let your home be a safe place. Let it be emotionally, physically, spiritually, academically, and socially safe for all who enter in. Do not put down, ridicule, call names, or yell in your home. Do not allow anything that goes against what God stands for into your home. Let it be a place where you are encouraged when you fail or make a mistake, and where everyone is treated with respect. Let it be a place where God is glorified and honored. If you love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, and mind and observe His commands, all will be well with you. Start today. Observe what comes into your home, make necessary changes, and God will grant peace to your home.

By Linda Svacha 🙂

Peace II ~ Emotions VII

Peace in Your Life: In “Peace I”, I talked about the fact that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. How do you have peace in your life? It’s easy! Just follow the Prince of Peace and do what He tells you to. In John 14:15-31, Jesus is talking to His disciples and letting them know that He will be leaving. He instructs them to keep the commands that He has given to them, lets them know that He will send the Holy Spirit who will bring to their remembrance everything He taught them, and He will give them a peace that the world does not have.

When people do not follow Christ, there is unnecessary pain and drama. Satan makes things look fun, but in the end they destroy. Jesus tells us this in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Some examples:

  • Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” We can clearly see that when a man and woman wait to have any sexual relations, God blesses their union. They have a love, a trust, and a bond that only comes from God. They are at peace. That love, trust, and bond is passed along to the children. Now, when sex is taken out of the marriage bed, there is drama. You have STD’s, broken hearts, and children who suffer. Sometimes the children suffer the most because they end up growing up in poverty stricken, single-family homes; are aborted (murdered); or are adopted out to other families. There is pain in all of that. Abstinence is God’s way and it is the best way!
  • Ephesians 5:18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (wasteful expenditure); but be filled with the Spirit.” Think about all the relationships that drugs and alcohol destroy, all the money taken from the family to support a habit, and the fights that break out when people are not in their right minds. So often, alcoholics end up with nothing (no friend, family, or possessions). Yet, when people are filled with the Spirit, others love to be around them because they radiate with God’s love, joy, and peace. They are joyful, happy people always thinking of others over themselves.
  • Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” These verses are very clear as to what feelings and behaviors you need to rid out of your life and the ones to replace them with in order to have peace.

The above are just some examples in the Bible that show us why the only way to have real peace is to follow and obey the Prince of Peace. Believe me, I have experienced both and I can tell you first hand that the only way to have peace in your life is to live for Christ. What is in your life that may be robbing you of God’s peace? What one thing can you do today to change your situation so you can experience real peace?

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Peace I ~ Emotions VI

What is peace? Peace is a state of tranquility or quiet. Tranquility is being free from agitation of mind or spirit, being free from disturbance or turmoil.

Can we have a peace in this crazy, uncertain world? Yes, we can!! I will cover how to have peace with God, in your life, and in your home. I will also talk about a peace that passes any understanding and how you can be an instrument of God’s peace. Talking about all the ways to have peace would make for one long blog, so I will cover the different topics of peace in separate blogs. When I was praying about what to talk about concerning peace, all that kept coming to my mind was Scripture after Scripture. God’s Word is very clear on how to have a real peace. I suggest you take the time to sit and read the Scripture that is listed and let God speak to your heart.

Peace with God: One saying that I love and it is so true is: NO God ~ NO peace; KNOW God ~ KNOW peace.

You cannot have any true and lasting peace unless you are at peace with God. God has created each one of us to bring honor and glory to His name. Sin has caused us to be separated from God. Sin has caused us to seek our own glory which is putting ourselves before God. Everyone in the world has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3;23). The payment for our sin is death (separation) (Romans 6:23). There are three kinds of death: spiritual-separates a person from the life of God (Eph. 2:1); physical-separates a person’s soul from his or her body (Hebrews 9:27); eternal-separates a person, both soul and body, from God forever in hell (Rev. 20:15). Sin has separated everyone from God. Everyone’s payment should be eternal separation from God in hell. How can anyone be reconciled back to God?

Many people have tried to make their way back to God. They have tried works (being a better person by doing things that please God). Works cannot reconcile us back to God because we still have sin that has separated us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5a). People think other things will get them to heaven such as, being a certain kind of religion, having money, or thinking that there is no hell and everyone goes to heaven (Proverbs 14:12). Those things will not work. God loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, to take the punishment for our sin so we can be reconciled back to God (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; I Peter 3:18a). God is very clear that Jesus is the ONLY way back to Him. Christ is God’s free gift for salvation. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.” No other way will work; your sins must be blotted out and that can only be done through what Jesus did on the cross.

Just like any other gift, you will either receive it or you will say, “No, thank-you.” You must believe that Christ died for your personal sins, repent (turn) from a life glorifying self, and call on the name of the Lord for salvation (Acts 3:19a; Acts 16:31a; Romans 10:13). You are condemned until to accept Christ (John 3:18). If you believe and accept Christ, you will NOT face condemnation (John 5:24).

My prayer is that you will trust Christ as your Savior so your soul will have peace with God.

Note: A special thank-you to those who developed the “Bridge Tract” where the plan of salvation is so clearly presented. For copies of the “Bridge Tract” and other good tracts, check out: majestic-media.com

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Depression ~ Emotions Part V

Depression can affect anyone:

  • One in five people will experience significant and persistent levels of depression.
  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression. (Gotta love those hormones. lol)
  • More people miss work because of depression than because of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Eighty-five percent of women will have “the baby blues” after delivering their baby.
    • Eight to fifteen percent will have more severe symptoms after delivery.
  • Depression affects more people than just the depressed person. Family members, friends, and co-workers are affected, as well.

What is Depression? Depression is when a person feels sad, unhappy, miserable, or “down-in-the-dumps” for more than one to two weeks. Depression interferes with your everyday living.

There are different kinds of depression:

  • Clinical Depression ~ A sad mood that goes beyond one to two weeks.
  • Seasonal Depression ~ Your mood matches the seasons. In the summer, you feel happy and bright. In the winter, you feel dark and dreary.
  • Post-partum ~ Due to the drop in estrogen levels, many women feel down and sad when they should be experiencing joy and happiness.
  • Childhood ~ About two percent of grade school and ten percent of teenagers will suffer depression.

Some of the symptoms of depression are:

  • Loss of interest in activities once found enjoyable
  • Haunted with a sense of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death and suicide
  • Decreased energy
  • Sleeping problems: Insomnia, early morning waking, or sleeping excessively
  • Persistent aches, pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Loss of concentration and ability to make good decisions

There are many different causes that lead to depression.

  • Medical:
    • Altered brain structure and/or chemical imbalance
    • Hormonal ~ Estrogen acts as a serotonin multiplier. Estrogen levels drop before the onset of a period. Estrogen levels are high during pregnancy and drop after. (This is why so many women suffer from the “baby blues”) Feeling down after pregnancy is very common and natural.
    • Thyroid abnormalities
    • Diabetes
    • Nutritional shortages such as B-12, iron, and Vitamin D
    • Stressful and Traumatic Events:
      • Loss of a close loved one
      • Natural disaster such as tornados, fire, hurricane, and war
      • Job loss
      • Suffering abuse ~ physical, sexual, or emotional
      • Life style:
        • Living in a stressful environment
        • Having an excess of stress in your daily life
        • No social interaction
        • Living contrary to God’s commands
        • Addictions:
          • Drugs, alcohol, pornography, food, shopping, etc. Addictions put you on a serotonin high and crash cycle. You have to continue your addiction just to “feel normal.” Your body then needs more and more to feel good.

The good news is that seventy-five to eighty percent of all depression is treatable. Here are some of the treatments offered:

  • Talk Therapy: This therapy is great for mild to moderate depression.
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-helps change thoughts and behaviors that contribute to depression.
    • Interpersonal Therapy-helps you to see how your relationships impact your moods.
    • Psychodynamic Therapy-helps with unresolved issues and unconscious feelings.
    • Medications: Anti-depressants (serotonin helpers). In some cases, it is good to have talk therapy, as well. Many times life situations need to be worked out and anti-depressants can be an easy way out. By doing both, in many cases, people are able to work through the issues causing the depression and will no longer need the anti-depressants. Note: some anti-depressants can cause weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
    • Others:
      • Stay healthy by exercising, making sure you are not deficient nutritionally, avoid junk food, salt, and caffeine, and make sure you are getting enough sleep (your body makes serotonin while you sleep).
      • Educate yourself concerning depression.
      • Chart your cycles to see if there is a pattern around your cycle (females)
      • ElectroconvulsiveTtherapy (ECT)-This is used for major depression. Electric charges create a controlled seizure. ECT helps 80-90% of the time.
      • Light Therapy.

Some Christians will look down on those who suffer from depression. They will say if the person would have more faith and trust, they would not be depressed. We can see with all the different causes that is not always the case. There were people in the Bible who suffered from depression for different reasons, as well.

  • Job ~ Job was hit with many loses in a short amount of time. Multiple loses can tax your coping abilities. Sadness is there to let us know that something is not right. Grief is a natural emotion when you experience a loss.
  • David ~ Psalm 38 ~ David experienced great sorrow and sadness stemming back to his sin with Bathsheba. Sin separates us from fellowshipping with God which causes great sadness.
  • Elijah ~ I Kings 18:20-19:21 ~ Elijah had just experienced a great victory, yet when Jezebel was going after him to take his life, he suffered depression causing his thinking to become faulty. God was gracious with Elijah to help him out of his depression.
  • Saul ~ I Samuel 15:1-26, 6:14-17 ~ Saul disobeyed God. He was removed from being a king. The Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord left Saul and a distressing spirit from the Lord came upon him.

We can see that at times sin is the root of depression, other times it has to do with medical issues, or is due to a loss. If you are suffering from depression, do not be ashamed to go seek the help necessary to get to the root of the depression. When you know the cause, measures can be taken to help cure the depression. Years ago, they did not have an understanding of the causes like they do today. Just think how many could have been helped properly had doctors known what they do today. Don’t be ashamed; go and seek the necessary help you need.

Most of the information presented was received from the following sources:

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001941/

WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-depression-overview

American Association of Christian Counselors. Extraordinary Women: Women and Depression