3 Things to do to Battle Depression   I needed these verses today.  "Praise the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness" Psalm 150:1.2.  Sometimes I need help finding the words to adequately praise God.  There are days when I feel the unseen battle waging against me. Maybe it's too much sugar or clouds—I need the sunshine. Yet my spirit knows it's something else.  Occasionally I get stuck, and I can't seem to do the things I need to do.  Clouds shadow my soul as well as the sky above me.  On those days, weeks, or months when I can't seem to move forward, energy lacking while blessings overflow—these are clues that the antithesis of Good schemes to stop my work for the Kingdom, or at least slow it down. And he wants to steal my joy.  But the devil can only steal what I allow.  Even as I write, a smirk has formed on my face, and I feel the shadows dissolving.  That's when I know I need to simply worship God.  Worship.  Praise.  Worshiping God is the strongest weapon against the powers of this dark world.   “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians. 5:12.  It's a battle.  We experience depression, thoughts of hopelessness, and discouragement because there is a war for our joy. We must worship to win the battle.  3 Things to Do to Fight Depression   Read psalms of praise to help get those worship juices flowing.  Write the scriptures down helps etch them deeper into our spirits.  Dig into the ancient words under our English in our translations. This unites our hearts with the writer who inscribed the praise. (The  Key Word  Bible is my favorite resource for this and blueletterbible.com. You can find the Hebrew or Greek words that were translated.)   Here’s an example:  "Praise the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness." Psalm 150:1.  Do you notice anything about the word "lord" in this sentence? Look it up in your Bible too. Are all the letters capitalized? Have you noticed this before?  The word "LORD" has been translated from the Hebrew word Yah.   Yah is a contraction for the word YHWH, the sacred name of God of the self-existent, covenant God.  Rabbi Irwin Kula explains in his book Yearnings: “The name of God is not meant to be uttered. YWHW is not meant to be known. YHWH is meant to be breathed.”  Try to say it. YHWH.  When I try to pronounce it, all that comes out is a deep breath.  David said, "I praise Yah in the sanctuary." In biblical times the sanctuary of God was found in His dwelling place--the Tabernacle. More precisely in the Holy of Holies.   But today God has made our spirits His dwelling place, His sanctuary.   "Don't you know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit lives in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16)  The next time depression threatens your joy, breathe.  Breathe my friends.  Praise Yah who lives in the sacred places of your soul.  He is there.             

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Andy lee is the author of  A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called  and  The Book of Ruth Key Word Study: A 31 Day Journey to Hope and Promise.  She is a blogger, inspirational speaker, and empty-nest survivor. Join hundreds of viewers on her Facebook Live broadcast Monday-Friday for the  Bite of Bread,  and visit her website at  www.wordsbyandylee.com  where Andy writes about  digging deep to live fully.

3 Things to do to Battle Depression

On those days, weeks, or months when I can't seem to move forward, energy lacking while blessings overflow—these are clues that the antithesis of Good schemes to stop my work for the Kingdom, or at least slow it down. And he wants to steal my joy.

      Are We Trying to Pack in Too Much?  The day I walked into the church, with the corner of my dress firmly tucked up inside my pantyhose, would have to be one of my top ten most embarrassing moments. Some of you younger folks may not be aware of the 1996 fashion. The standard accompaniment when wearing dresses was nylon hose on the legs. They came in all shades. Unfortunately, that day, I chose a “nude” pair.         My two toddlers and I had quickly made a restroom stop before the morning worship. Anyone with toddlers knows this is no easy feat!       After I finally arrived at the sanctuary pew, and got the children settled, a sweet, teenage girl quietly slipped in the pew behind me and informed me of my predicament. If I could have crawled under the pew and slithered out, I would have. There was no option but to laugh it off and make the necessary adjustments.       Afterwards, my husband asked, “Could you not feel the dress stuck in there?”       I assured him, with all the “control top” undergarments, everything felt stuffed in there!  Due to the numbing tightness, I was totally unaware the dress had gone astray.       That incident happened over twenty years ago. Not one Sunday has gone by since, that I have not triple-checked the location of my hemline. Needless to say . . .  lesson learned.       In Haggai 1, the Lord says, “Give careful thought to your ways.”       How often do we rush around in life, not really seeking God’s direction? Sometimes, we jam-pack our days with so much (work, sports, organizations, etc.), absent-mindedly agreeing to participate, mandate, and coordinate; we fail to realize when something is amiss.       Our hearts become callous to God’s purpose for our lives. Even if all our activities are “good” ones, we can allow ourselves to become stretched to a numbing ineffectiveness.       The people Haggai spoke to were afflicted with a drought to draw their attention back to God’s will for their lives.       What hardships are you now burdened with because you rushed ahead and did not seek God’s counsel?           Choose not the controlling pressures of the world, but rejoice in the freedom Christ offers. Always pray first, Seek God’s wisdom and guidance in all things, including the use of your time.            Trust and obey when He says, “Be still.” Be thankful for the afflictions that soften your heart so you are sensitive again to His voice and will for your life.   Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.   Psalm 119:70-71 (NIV)          

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              A freelance writer and blogger, Sally Matheny’s writing is published in numerous online and print publications including  Appleseeds ,  Clubhouse Jr ., and  Homeschooling Today .  Sally enjoys encouraging others by reflecting on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light. She challenges people to grow spiritually and model courageous, Christian living for the next generation.   She and her husband live in the foothills of North Carolina. They have three children, two sons-in-law, and one grandbaby on the way. Connect with Sally via her blog,  www.sallymatheny.blogspot.com , on  Twitter ,  Pinterest , and on  facebook .  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


           My guest blogger, Sally Matheny, who is a wonderful friend of mine, is offering a “Quiet Time” giveaway. Each person who leaves a comment at the end of this blog post will have their names entered into a drawing.    Comment with a moment when you learned the value of being still before the Lord. Share with us the name of a devotion book you have enjoyed reading. Or maybe you'd just like to ask for prayer in this area--we all need prayer!    We'll randomly select a name on August 28. The winner will receive a 5 oz. pack of freshly roasted coffee from Paxville Coffee and a Women of Faith devotion book.

Are We Trying to Pack in Too Much?

After I finally arrived at the sanctuary pew, and got the children settled, a sweet, teenage girl quietly slipped in the pew behind me and informed me of my predicament. If I could have crawled under the pew and slithered out, I would have. There was no option but to laugh it off and make the necessary adjustments.

          And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25(ESV)   Stir Up One Another  Last week I was invited to speak to the Hillsborough County Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff to kick off their school year. My former high school teacher, Michelle Henry, asked me to share my experience as a DHH student in Hillsborough County. This was a challenge for me—I don’t like to express my feelings or struggles with others. Yet, I know that this opportunity to share my time as a student is invaluable to teachers and interpreters as they prepare for another year. As I put together my speech I realized that I am not the only student who has endured what I have faced.  There are several teachers and interpreters (many of them were there to hear my speech) who have helped shape me into the person I am today.    With gratitude, I present to you a piece of my speech:  I would like to share my experience as a student in Hillsborough County’s DHH program. When I first entered school I was placed in a Deaf and Hard of Hearing classroom. Later, when I started 2nd grade, my family decided to place me in a mainstreamed classroom to challenge me academically. This means that they put me in a hearing classroom with an interpreter to facilitate communication. During this year as a newly mainstreamed student, I learned how to connect with the hearing world. As I grew up, I continued to mainstream throughout my years from second grade on. In the middle of my freshman year, I was forced to be pulled out due to my back surgery to correct my scoliosis. I was home schooled for the rest of my high school years. During the course of those years I endured many health issues that prevented me from going back to school.  Coleen, one of my many interpreters helped me develop into an independent thinker, and to achieve my goals in life. She shaped me into who I am today. I have grown from that because she saw something in me as a student and wanted the best for me. I would grow lazy in class and she would tell me to “pay attention” many... many times. Sometimes though, my time as a DHH student was tough. I felt left out and misunderstood. It was difficult for me to relate to the other students, deaf and hearing. I wasn’t sure where I belonged. I felt pulled in-between both worlds. There were times when I got discouraged due to some of the teachers lack of patience with me. It seemed like they weren’t willing to take the time to help me learn when I needed it most. Teachers and DHH staff, these moments are valuable opportunities with your students to encourage them to grow. The more comfortable your students are with you, the more willing they are to go the extra mile.  Jenna Cousin also made an impact on me during my high school years. She encouraged me to read more and challenged me to sharpen my ASL and English skills.  Her dedication to her students and passion for teaching spurred me onto my journey in writing.  Despite all of my challenges, I continue to follow my dreams and to find joy in Christ. Regardless of my Deafness, which caused me to be fearful of writing, I have come to realize that this is God’s plan for me.  Because of their support and passion for others, I was able to accomplish what I have been called to do which is to write and create art work for the His glory. I cannot convey with words how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to inspire teachers and interpreters alike. Remember, you make a difference in each child’s life and you have the power to encourage others to follow their dreams and challenge them to achieve good things in life.     Sharing my speech was an honor. I hope my story has inspired you as well.

Stir Up One Another

Last week I was invited to speak to the Hillsborough county Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff to kick off their school year. There are several teachers and interpreters (many of them were there to hear my speech) who have helped shape me into the person I am today.  

With gratitude, I present to you a piece of my speech:

Strength in the Face of Torment

Strength in the Face of Torment

In fact, this was Satan’s goal—to destroy his relationship with God and tempt Job into the trap of sin. All Satan cares about is his own gain. He fell, and he wants to take as many with him as he can. His desire to have the power of God is what caused him to fall from heaven in the first place (Isaiah 14).

Despite Satan’s attempts to thwart Job from pursuing God, Job remained faithful and continued to worship his Maker:  “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Share Your Bread

Share Your Bread

Hunger: a word of countless meanings, holding great power in good and bad ways. Hunger: something I faced last week, while so many all over the world experience this every day. No food. No water. Starvation.

Recently, due to complications of my disorder, Riboflavin Transporter Deficiency (RTD), my doctor ordered me to only take in nutrition through abnormal means. As a result, I became very hungry and longed to eat regularly again. I struggled with this unpleasant, though temporary, change. Due to my hunger and stress over the situation, I felt like falling over.

White Milk

White Milk

I walked into the deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) classroom on a day like any other. Yet this day was different—a sense of discomfort washed over me. I felt like an outsider; I couldn’t figure out why.

Maybe it was because of the way my hands looked. I could not sign like the rest of the kids. My skin color also stood out. One day at lunch, my classmates signed to me that I was pale, white and different.

“We are chocolate milk but you are white milk,” they taunted me with their words.

The Day After

The Day After

“Where in the world are we going?” my deceitful wife pressed.

I turned to her, enraged, “What! How am I supposed to know? This is ALL YOUR FAULT, EVE! You got us kicked out of our--”A deafening growl erupted behind me.

Petrified, I whipped around to see an enormous creature crouching low. A bush veiling its face, all I could see was its poise to attack. Inching back, I strained to recognize the beast that I had named.

By Its Fruit Pt. 2

By Its Fruit Pt. 2

Last week we explored Christianity as related to the characteristics of cults. Read here. This week we will finish discussing the last of the characteristics.

6. Control—Jesus took our place on the cross and set us free from our sin. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 ESV). Leaders in cults often monitor their followers and punish them if they do something wrong. They may even blackmail or spy on those who try to leave.

By Its Fruit Pt. 1

By Its Fruit Pt. 1

You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16 ESV

A little over a week ago we discovered how to identify cults by their characteristics. This week we will learn more about cults and why Christianity does not fit within this category, starting with the first five characteristics. Next week we will finish off by discussing the last five. Let’s dive in:

1. New teaching—Christianity is not a new teaching. It is solely based off the Bible which dates back to 1400 BC and was finished in 90 AD. The Bible narrates historical events beginning with the creation of the universe.

What Is a Cult?

What Is a Cult?

What defines a cult separate from a religion? I wondered this recently, and I would like to share my new knowledge with you all. According to Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, a religion is “an organized system of belief that generally seeks to understand purpose, meaning, goals, and methods of spiritual things, like God, people in relation to God, salvation, after life, purpose of life, order of the cosmos, etc.,” while a cult is “a group that is unorthodox, esoteric, and has a devotion to a person, object, or a set of new ideas.”

When it comes to talking to a person in a cult, show him/her respect and the love of Jesus Christ. Most importantly, pray without ceasing, because serious spiritual warfare is at play. Do not grow angry with the individual. Would you get upset at a blind person for being blind? Blind people cannot control their blindness, whether physically or spiritually. People in cults are like hostages in an enemy camp. Our job as Christians is to try to rescue them to the best of our ability through prayer, love and sharing the truth of the gospel.

Remember, anyone not firmly rooted in the Word of God is vulnerable to joining a cult. So, now that you have a basis, let’s move on to the characteristics of cults:

The Strength of a Mother

The Strength of a Mother

Now that all three children had the disorder, my mother’s life became even more complicated and difficult. How could a mother handle having three children with an unknown neuromuscular disorder?

My mom worked hard to raise all three of us. While I was growing up, she taught me more than words can express. She took me, Tyson and David to church every week, read the Bible with us and helped us memorize verses. She was joyful no matter the situation, even when we were going through our darkest times. Because all three of us needed full-time nurses, she hardly had any privacy in her own home.

The Truth of Beauty

Why can’t most people appreciate their bodies? Have you considered this question before?

 “Please look and see how beautiful you are, Paige,” someone held up the mirror before my face. Looking at the reflection in the mirror, I saw a face staring back at me. Disgusted, I looked away and thought, ‘How could anyone think that I am beautiful?’ This did not make sense.

Caught Between Two Worlds & Giveaway Winner

A boy came up behind me. “Hey, what’s your name?” he asked. I did not move or turn around and answer him. I did not hear him or notice him come up behind me. He turned and walked away, probably thinking I was rude.

I found out later from a nurse what had happened. Stories like this have happened to me countless times over the years, even still to this day. Well, I am Deaf. What can I say? In this blog, I would like to tell you all about the difference between the Deaf and hearing worlds and how I sometimes feel caught in between the two.

Greater Than Our Fear & Giveaway

Is fear greater than love, or is love greater than fear? Looking around me, I see that there has been so much love and sacrifice.

At the age of sixteen, I had to make a tough decision. My breathing had slowed, and I was not sure how long I would be able to live. The thought kept nagging at me: ‘should I get a trach or not?’ If I did, my life would change. Of course, the ‘how’ is complicated. Honestly, a part of me did not what happened, but the other part could not stop worrying and analyzing every little thing.

Overcoming Death

After all, why would Jesus bother to go through the worst death in the history of the universe and be resurrected if it wasn’t sufficient?

When Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross, shed His blood for our sins and was raised on the third day, what did that accomplish? As Easter is coming, we reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior.