The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dealing with Desperation

Proverbs 12:25 - Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Are you depressed? Are you experiencing sleepless nights filled with anxious thoughts? Is your life in chaos? We are living in difficult times. There are a lot of discouraged people around. You may be one of them. Are you physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted? Have you reached a point where prayer, Bible study, worship and fellowship seem like the last things you feel like doing? Are you contemplating suicidal thoughts and thinking the world would be better off without you? When we get caught up in the downward spiral of depression, despair and sleep deprivation the result is a dark night of the soul that seems to have no end in sight. But there is hope, there is a way out.

When life beats you down the enemy of your soul Satan sees it as an opportunity to compound your pain. He interjects thoughts of doubt, self pity, and cynicism. This often leads to self imposed isolation and solitary confinement. This is not where the hurting soul should be.

So what do you do? How can you rise out of the depths? First take a step back and catch your breath. Realize Jesus is still on the throne and He is there with you; you aren’t in this alone. Jesus said He would never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Hold on to that by faith. Your faith may be weakened. You may be holding on by a thread. But what little of your faith is left you have to act on. Jesus said if your faith was like a bruised reed He wouldn’t break it. He said if your faith was like a smoldering wick he said he wouldn’t snuff it out (Matthew 12:20). Jesus is gentle and kind. He knows what you are feeling. He knows what you are going through. He is the One who you must turn to. He is real and He is there and He is able to soothe your hurting soul. Jesus is the One who can sympathize with what you are going through no matter what it is. He has the grace you need to get you through (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Next, realize that if you’ve spent any time in isolation that you are like a fighter called out of retirement into a last minute fight. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. You’re in a fight and now you have to proceed by faith. By faith you have to reject all unscriptural thoughts and follow God’s Word. That means you need to be in God’s Word like never before. I have given you some scriptures below to help you get started. By faith you have to press on no matter what happens, even if you lose everything. You may not want to hear that, but it is a possibility. Whatever happens you have to trust God. Like Abraham with Isaac, you have to put your child, (i.e. your life desire that you fear losing), on the altar and offer it to God (see Genesis 22). God may take it away. He may give it back. You simply have to trust Him. The Bible says, “It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything” (Proverbs 11:24 LB). Even if you lose everything, always remember, God is in control, He has a plan, and He will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). And the plan God has for you is for good! (Jeremiah 29:11-13; Romans 8:31-32).

You may be hurting so much that you’ve just barely made this far in this study. But the hope you need is to be found in God’s Word (Romans 15:4). Don’t let the enemy rob you of the hope you need. Press on. Lean on the Lord to muster the strength and faith to press on in His Word. You won’t regret it because you will have taken the next step in recovering. So I encourage you to read the scriptures referenced above and those listed below and obey them in faith. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Follow the tracks of God’s Word.

1. By faith crush your anxiety with prayer

Philippians 4:6-7 - 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

2. By faith humbly cast your anxieties on the Lord

1 Peter 5:6-7 - 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

3. By faith ask the Lord to search your heart for any wrong actions or sin –

Psalm 139:23-24 - 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

If when you pray you honestly aren’t aware of any sin in your life that has caused this situation then understand your circumstances may be the consequence of other factors (e.g. remember what happened to Job).

4. By faith confess any sin to the Lord, repent and receive His forgiveness –

1 John 1:9 - 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

5. By faith disregard words from others or thoughts within that say, “There is no help for him in God” – Instead trust in God to be your shield; He will sustain you; He will save you -

Psalm 3 - Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah 3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

6. By faith walk in God’s priorities: Pray to Him regularly; live holy; stay in fellowship; trust in Him –

Psalm 5 - 1 Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation. 2 Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. 3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. 4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. 7 But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. 8 Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face. 9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue. 10 Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against You. 11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. 12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

7. By faith remain steadfast and trust the Lord –

Psalm 57 - 1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. 2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me. 3 He shall send from heaven and save me; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah God shall send forth His mercy and His truth. 4 My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men Who are set on fire, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth. 6 They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They have dug a pit before me; Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen. Selah 7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. 8 Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn. 9 I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. 10 For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, And Your truth unto the clouds. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.

8. By faith admit your poverty before the Lord and rely on Him to preserve you -

Psalm 86 - 1 Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; For I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You! 3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, For I cry to You all day long. 4 Rejoice the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. 6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me. 8 Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works. 9 All nations whom You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name. 10 For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God. 11 Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. 12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. 13 For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. 14 O God, the proud have risen against me, And a mob of violent men have sought my life, And have not set You before them. 15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. 16 Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant. 17 Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

9. By faith keep the right perspective on material things –

Matthew 6:19-34

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

10. Understand that no matter what if anything you have done to bring about your dire circumstances, God always responds to a contrite humble cry –

Psalm 51:17 - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.

I’d love to pray for you in your particular situation. You can contact me at . Have faith, remember God’s Word, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 42:5, 11). God is going to get you through this. God bless you.

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