The Elephant In The Room

The Elephant In The Room

Ask for help

Do you know someone who is struggling with severe depression?

Have they reached out to you for help?

If they’re open to sharing their private struggles with you, praise God for that positive step.

On the other hand, a severely depressed person who won’t open up may be in a lot more emotional trouble than you might think.

despair and no hope

Close to *800,000 people die every year due to suicide, that’s according to statistics from the World Health Organization.

What’s just as heartbreaking is that the number of suicide “attempts” is even higher.

At those alarming rates, I’m pretty sure it hits close to home.

It’s the elephant in the room. That empty seat in the dining room is a painful reminder of a precious life tragically lost.

Overwhelming Despair

Why are some people crippled by their severe depression while others can learn to manage their illness and live a productive life?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a celebrity or homeless, an office worker, or a WWII veteran.

Christian or non-Christian – feelings of depression do not discriminate. 

One thing is for certain, these consuming emotions aren’t coming from God, although He allows them.

They reek of the Enemy (of our souls) who ultimately wants to destroy us.

We Need Each Other

There’s a world of hate and division brewing which is stirred up by the media and other groups.

I hope you can turn it off.

Mercy and grace come from God alone.

Can we please quit fighting?

As Christians, we are needed elsewhere.

Our depressed loved ones deserve our prayers, attention, and compassion. 

Why compassion?

If someone is struggling with thoughts of taking their own life they often feel guilty or embarrassed. It’s sad that there’s a stigma in society that says if you’re in need of help or counseling, you’re messed up beyond repair. That needs to stop.

We need each other.

we need each other

These are just a few of the issues covered in the new film from Living Waters called “Exit: The Appeal of Suicide.” As a Christian blogger, I was very interested in seeing it before the movie’s mass release on YouTube.

However, I must issue a caution. Viewer discretion is advised as some may find the subject matter too intense.

Cries For Help

Writing this article about the “Exit” movie brought back some memories for me of a former coworker who took her life. It happened years after I left that job, but I remember how shocking it was when I got the news. I’d gone to dinner with her (name withheld) and a few other friends a couple of times. I never even had a clue that she was struggling so much internally.

It’s heartbreaking. A life, precious in God’s sight, ended all too soon.

When someone commits suicide, they take the heart of their loved ones with them. I can only imagine the overwhelming grief her best friends and family went through as they prepared for her funeral.

A Timeless Struggle

Depression is not anything new. Reading through some of the Psalms in the Bible, for instance, you can picture King David’s emotional battle as he pleads for God’s mercy and forgiveness, yet he also praises God for the peace that only He provides.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! – **Psalm 4:1, English Standard Version, ESV.

Someone I greatly admire is Joni Eareckson Tada. She’s a Christian author, speaker, and also a talented artist among other involvements.

Joni was paralyzed in a diving accident right after high school and has lived as a quadriplegic ever since. To hear her speak, she knows full well the strongholds of depression and self-doubt firsthand. Through many years of painful struggles, including a bout with breast cancer, Joni remains an inspiration and a great example of courage and grace under fire.

The movie, “Exit: The Appeal of Suicide” is available for free starting August 16th on YouTube.

If you know of someone who is struggling with debilitating depression and you are concerned for their safety, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is: 1-800-273-8255.

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*Statistics courtesy of World Health Organization. (Updated 2017, March). Suicide Fact Sheet. [Media Centre article]. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs398/en/
**Scripture quotation is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
***Joni Eareckson Tada quotation, courtesy of “Joni Eareckson Tada Shares Her Story.” Published January 28, 2014. Online video clip. YouTube. Web.

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Does God Love Me?

Does God Love You And Me?

Did you know that every month, on average, there are no less than *1300 online searches for the phrase:

“Does God love me?”

That’s a lot of searches.

Friends, when you think about it, that is heartbreaking.

Does God love me

God does love you

Why do you think people are searching for “Does God love me?”

There could be any number of reasons.

Perhaps something horrible just happened in the searcher’s life, or maybe he or she is just curious.

Whatever their reasons may be, this statistic is undeniable proof that people are desperately searching for reassurance that God loves them.

We don’t know who these people are, but we can certainly pray for them.

Taking The First Step

Don’t you wish you knew who they were so you could bring them good news?

Their hearts are open to the gospel, or they wouldn’t be searching.

Who are they?

  • Could it be that lady sitting on the park bench?
  • Your child’s soccer coach?
  • The friendly person you chatted with for awhile in the grocery store?

Here’s one thing we can do: We can ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. We can pray we will know without a doubt when an opportunity arises to share our delight in God.

Immeasurable Love

God is a righteous judge.

Although we deserve everlasting death for our sins, through Jesus Christ, we can have eternal life.

There is no greater expression of God’s love than this undeserved pardon.

 

**8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8, NASB.

Remember the excitement you felt when you understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

I certainly do. My heart filled up with joy, and I could hardly contain my gratitude when I grasped the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice.

Jesus did that for me?

We need to share this precious knowledge of God’s love with those around us.

Sure, we’ll get some push back. It’s a fallen world after all.

As Bible-believing Christians, however, we know the truth.

We are warriors for Christ. That means we pray something serious and trust the Word of God.

It won’t be easy.

Satan will put up every roadblock to try and force us off track.

Our faith will be tested

No matter what, we must stay the course and rest in the assurance of His great love for us.

Chuck Swindoll quote

God bless you this week!

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*Source: https://serps.com/tools/keyword-research/
**Scripture quotation taken from The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
***Chuck Swindoll quotation, public domain and as quoted from Christian quotes.info

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Living Art

Did you know that you can appreciate beautiful works of art without having to go to a local gallery or museum?

You certainly can!

In fact, it’s right within our reach.

You can find these artistic masterpieces everywhere – in your garden, a local park, during a walk through the woods, and, my personal favorite, at the seashore.

We are gifted from God with “living art.” A magnificent creation was made by Him, for Him, and as an expression of His glory.

Living art under the sea

Living Art Under The Sea

I’m a huge fan of underwater adventures.

Snorkeling in Oahu, and also in the Bahamas, were unforgettable experiences.

I’m not even that great at it.

No fancy gear or flippers – just me, my mask, and my snorkel.

Take me snorkeling, and I’m a happy girl.

It is so peaceful to spend the day relaxing in the crystal blue water, scouting out schools of colorful fish, and observing the underwater rock formations.

Those beautiful beaches are calling my name right now.

I could have stayed forever, just taking in the sights and the beauty of God’s creation.

Turning Off The Clutter

I believe in Biblical creation, despite the loud protests of evolution theorists and progressives who want to deny creator God.

I trust God.

My belief is in His Word, not in man-made theories.

My faith in Biblical creation wouldn’t make me popular in scientific think tanks, but that’s okay.

God doesn’t lie.

*3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.Hebrews 11:3, English Standard Version (ESV).

“Created by the word of God…”

It’s pretty clear.

God spoke the world into existence.

And this world is nothing short of fascinating.

Thank you, God

for creating this world

of beautiful colors

to inspire us,

and spark our imaginations.

Let’s take a peek at a few unique creatures.

We’ll start with this twirling Feather Starfish. I’d never seen one before until this video. Did you know this little guy even existed?

He’s stunning and graceful, but I’m glad I’m not a twirling Feather Starfish.

Too much twirling, and I would get awful tired.

The Mandarinfish Of Many Colors

The Mandarinfish has caught my fancy before. I’ve never seen one in person so I can only admire him from afar.

The Mandarinfish is quite the beauty, plus I think he knows it!

the Mandarinfish

Created By God

**24 O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.Psalm 104:24, NASB.

I bet you haven’t heard of the Nudibranch.

Mollusks inhabit the oceans throughout the world. Kinda cute to look at, but some of the species are toxic.

striking Nudibranch

Remember the cute movie, “Finding Nemo?”

My husband and I just bought a couple of Clownfish for our home.

We nicknamed them “George and Gracie.” You wouldn’t believe the fun personality of these two. They see us peering at them through the aquarium glass, and they get very excited. Kind of like me when it’s almost dinnertime. 🙂

A Clownfish or two

This next little guy cracks me up.

It’s a Peacock Mantis Shrimp.

I won’t even try to pronounce his classification name, Odontodactylus scyllarus. Okay, smarty pants, I know you just tried to say it.  🙂

Peacock Mantis

Delightful Beasts

I couldn’t resist posting a few pics of sea creatures on the opposite end of the beauty spectrum.

Meet the Viperfish.

My guess is he’s never happy and in need of a good dentist.

Viperfish

Then there’s the Cape Rain Frog below.

Kinda resembles Jabba the Hutt from the “Star Wars” movie.

Cape Rain Frog

Who said God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

 Although we should never “worship” God’s creation, we sure can appreciate it.

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*Scripture quotation is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

**Psalm 104 quotation is from: New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

***Viperfish image, courtesy of Personnel of NOAA Ship PISCES (2017). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce, Viperfish (Chauliodus shoani), Image ID# fish9129, NOAA’s Fisheries Collection. Available at: http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/fish9129.htm [Accessed 2 Aug. 2017].

****Cape Rain Frog image, courtesy of By Abu Shawka (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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He Knows Your Name

God’s Unchangeable Character

Have you ever felt insignificant, even if just for a little while?

Perhaps:
– your boss denied your request for a raise
– a disobedient child defied your authority in front of your in-laws
your great idea was shot down at an employee meeting

Friends, it will be okay.

We don’t know when or how exactly, but it will turn out as God planned, and in His timing.

You Are Not Alone

Thankfully, we don’t walk through this journey alone.

We have a Father who cares about us very, very much.

With the love of the Father in mind, I wanted to look back this week at an uplifting song that I remember singing back in the mid-1990’s.

An oldie, but goodie, right?

It’s a choir song. I love it because, for me, it represents the beautiful realization that God is not an absentee father.

Right now, He is with you and me.

The song is called “He Knows My Name.”

Here is one of the several beautiful versions you can find on YouTube.

Enjoy!

Sing To Him

Why not sing to Him?

If you sing horribly, you can wait until you’re alone.

I’m kidding!

*11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.Psalm 32:11, New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Psalm 32 is a Psalm of David. He writes joyfully, as one who knows that the Lord will forgive his confessing heart.

In His Sight

God is not sitting up in Heaven somewhere, only handling global events.

You and I are in His sights every day.

There’s only one mediator between God and us, and He is Jesus Christ.

No one else has that divine authority.

He knows your name

Communion With God

How can we respond to the love and character of God exhibited through His Son, Jesus Christ?

Do we just squeeze in a few fly-by minutes with Him each day, or do we take some actual time to read the Scriptures and pray?

By praying, I mean praying to Him in Jesus’ Name with our expressions of love and gratitude.

We can always remember that the One who created us is always with us.

God will forgive our contrite hearts as well.

Now that’s something to sing about!

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*Scripture is taken from The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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The Power Of Words

Words Have Power

Do we realize the power of our words?

Every day, we have the potential to encourage someone, or the power to bring them down.

the power of words

Hopefully, we encourage others with what we say.

In an ideal world, that would happen 24/7.

Unfortunately, we often do the opposite, and that can get us into a heap of trouble.

Has that ever happened to you?

Perhaps there was something you said that seemed okay, but resulted in an angry response or hurt feelings.

I know. It’s happened to me.

Foot In Mouth Syndrome

Thinking back years ago to when I was a television reporter, I’ll never forget the day the boss called me in for a reprimand.

Top Story

I had just finished reporting live outside a courthouse in a nearby city.

Everything, I thought, had gone well. I reported the verdict, the attorney interviews, and a thorough account of what had taken place during the trial.

After the report, my cameraman and I packed up our equipment and headed back to the station so I could write an additional story for the next morning’s broadcast.

Thinking all was well, I got on the radio and called the assignment desk to say we were on our way back.

The assignment editor told me that the news director wanted to see me immediately when I came in.

I could tell something was up.

Say What?

I headed straight to the boss’s office when we got back.

“What’s wrong?” I said.

I sat down, and he closed the door.

My heart started to sink and I quickly searched my brain for what this could be about.

Hmm, not good.

I guess this is not about a raise?

The Power Of Words

Apparently, I said something in my report that made one of the news anchors mad.

“Huh?” I said. “All I did was state the facts.”

The news director wasn’t smiling.

Apparently, during the report, I began answering the anchor’s question with these four words, “As I said before…”

That was it.

Four words.

The simple phrase, “As I said before,” got me into big trouble.

I had to think back.

In my defense, I told the news director that I had already answered the anchor’s question in my report. I didn’t understand why he was bringing it up again.

It didn’t matter. Apparently, the anchor thought my four words made him look stupid.

Oops. It wasn’t intentional or meant to be mean, but I had screwed up.

Live And Learn

Four seemingly innocent words became another learning experience for me.

When I read through the Bible, I’m often struck by how often the apostle Peter stuck his foot in his mouth.

Remember this?

In Matthew 16:21-23:

*21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

 

22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

 

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” – Matthew 16:21-23, English Standard Version (ESV).

No matter what, we can and should learn from our mistakes.

It had to be awful for Peter to receive a direct, but well-deserved, rebuke from Christ.

After admonishing him, did Christ send Peter away from His presence forever?

No, He forgave him and used Peter for His glory.

I’m glad we have a God of second (and third, and fourth…) chances, aren’t you?

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*Scripture quotation is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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