Prayer Requests & Praise Reports- July 31st

Father,
You are our assured keeper of the Word.
No one knows the hour but the Father. Prepare us to be ready.

Light of the world,
You are the pure example. Make straight the Way of the Lord.
Immerse us in bright understanding.

Holy Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on us. Solidify our ground. Fortify our hearts with songs of deliverance. We move narrowed and forward away from all things false.

We are not alone. We possess love divined by grace. Your holiness surrounds us. We will fear no evil. Though our enemy encompass us, You stand in the midst unmoved. Heaven opens and we see Truth shining in glory and majesty. No weapon can stand against us. The small foolish gods are revealed in weakness and fallen character. They exalt themselves crumbling with odious self-deception. Whom shall we fear.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Increase Your wisdom in us. Impart to us wisdom to overcome the enemy’s devices. None shall have me but You O, Lord.
For the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

We will love one another with genuine love. You shall not fail O, Lord. Your presence cannot be forgotten We are children of Eternal Righteousness. We have begun the new beginning, Finisher of our soul.

Check our seal. Keep us unspoiled from contamination. Preserve the good work that You began in us. Present us to the Father filtered through Your mercy that endures forever and we will forever exalt the Gift that changed our future.

You are worthy of better, but this we give; our day. We will rejoice in it.

Jesus, all for Jesus.   ~clean hands pure heart~


Past Prayer Requests

Mary Bullock-  I would greatly appreciate any prayers for my son. He is 29 and is heavily medicated for his mental illness, plus he has many health problems also. It is such a struggle dealing with all his mental and health problems, but he is such a blessing to us. You are so right about the stigma and misinformation that seems to abound about mental illness. It is so comforting to know that there are others who really do understand the daily struggle.

Allan-  Our nephew’s wife has M.S. and it is progressing incredibly fast. She had what they are calling a seizure yesterday. Twice her jaw has dislocated but yesterday it popped back into place.  They have found another new lesion on her brain.  Please keep Tiffany, her husband Jeremy, and their two children in prayer.

Dorci- I have two different headaches, one of them every day, (for a little over 3 years) the other at least a few times a week. (for about 8 monhts) It’s very draining physically and emotionally. Sometimes I don’t even go to church on Wednesday nights because nights are when the headaches are the worst.

Dorci-  I don’t want to have happen to others what has happened to me. I don’t know if anything will come of this, but I’m going to start praying and asking the Lord if there’s anything He would have me do to reach out to them. I’ve had a break from serving for a year and have recently started praying about what, if anything, the Lord would have me do next.

Shawn Sells-  Keep Shawn in prayer for wisdom as he seeks to continue his ministry to those with mental illness in his church.

Anne-  Hello Allan – I was very touched by your story as well as Shaun’s reporting of stepping out in faith to find a way to support those struggling.
I am currently in the darkest depths of depression I have yet experienced – can’t imagine things getting any darker. Bringing myself to even type an effort. But you were so kind to think of me that I did not want to leave you hanging without thanking you. May God grant me freedom from my depression and anxiety as He has so mercifully done to you – so much so that you can be a support and comfort to your mom and son.
I am feeling more and more like an inconvenience to everyone.
Pray for me.

Okie Preacher-  Please keep Okie Preacher in your prayers. He has been diagnosed with mononucleosis.

Tomorrow, he will be seeing a heart Dr. He has been experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea.

Allan-  Three days ago Stephen and his girlfriend let us know there is a baby on the way. I was in shock initially and didn’t respond as I would have hoped. We are in a much better place and are supporting them as they move forward. Please pray that this child is born into the best environment possible.

I’m going to be a Grandfather! :)

Okie Preacher- My wife and I have been going through some very difficult times since we left our last church pastorate. I would rather not go into detail at this time, although I may in the future.

There are many things that are currently distracting and many hurts from the past that need healing. I have been advised by a good friend to perhaps consider taking a sabbatical for a period of prayer and reflection, which I am inclined to do so at this time.

Please pray for us as we wait on God for healing, guidance, and direction.

Dorci- I would love it if people could pray that our son Eric would fall in love with Jesus and would follow Him with all his heart. Thank you.

miniErunner- Please pray for my best friend’s father. He was just diagnosed with throat cancer and will be starting intense chemo within the next few weeks. Please also pray for his wife and 2 daughters. Pray that they will stay strong through all of this. Update – Surgery was done and his voice box was removed.  He will now undergo further treatment.

Set Free-  Please keep us in prayer we are in need of a place to worship. Things have taken place where we share a building and I believe they are looking for ways so that we can move from there. I know it has to be God who opens the doors to where he wants us to be. I also know that the enemy does not like the progress we have made in spreading the Gospel. Thanks again!

Cash-  Hello, friends. May I ask you to pray for me and my family. I just lost my job on Tuesday. It was a good job with really good benefits, so we’re job searching now.

Dorci-  I have some weird issues with my lower legs, swelling, pain, etc. They’ve done ultrasounds but haven’t found anything.

Dusty- Continued prayer for deep depression.

Rachel-  Continued prayer as she struggles with bi-polar disorder.

Past Praise Reports

Shawn Sells-  Their second meeting went well with a few new attendees.  Continue to pray for this ministry and for those who have taken the step to attend.

Anne-  Praise report:
#1 I’ve been offered a job
#2 My dr’s and counselor had suggested starting part-time if possible.
#3 The position is designed to start as part time and grow gradually

I am so grateful for the encouragement and prayers from all of you!

Holding all the above prayer requests close to heart, that they too will be answered in ways better than anyone could have ever imagined or expected.

Blessings to you all
Anne

Allan-  The biopsy I had came back negative.

Susan-  Allan – I wanted to take this time to express my appreciation to you and your prayer partners in keeping my husband in prayer. This Tuesday is another exciting day for us they will remove the catheter from his chest where he was hooked up for the dialysis treatment. I learned that only 6% make it off of dialysis so with that in mind I know that it was a miracle of God and the prayers of Gods people that he made it to where he is at now. I only share this so that others can have hope that God is on the throne and we don’t always understand his ways which are not our ways. I believe our work is not done here in our ministry and only God knows why he brought healing to my husband. All I know is that I’m so grateful for the opportunity to continue on for the work of God’s Kingdom & to serve God’s people. I’m also happy to hear the news of your Son Steven & your Mother. We will continue to keep everyone in our prayers. Thanks Allan to you and my beautiful Sister.

Love Always,
Susan (Your Favorite Sister In Law)  :)

Allan- My mother’s surgery was successful.  She was without pain and walking the following day.

Long Term Prayer Requests

Natalie Tan-   She is battling an eating disorder and has a tough battle ahead of her. There is a new article posted that is about her. She puts a face to eating disorders and is a young woman that will need prayer.

Nene - Prayer for her father to be saved and to come to a place of peace. Father and brother have been estranged 27 years.

Dorci-  I just have a praise report that in almost 3 years of suffering with daily headaches I am finding some relief. I still have them every day, but I have times during the day when I don’t have one at all, and at night they are usually not as bad as they have been.

anne-  Keep anne in prayer as she has moved and struggles with dark bouts of depression and deals with anxiety. There is much trouble with extended family and anne will need a job.

Allan- The wife of our nephew has MS .

Allan-  We have a niece who is coming out of ten years suffering with Anorexia. She is now battling depression and would covet our prayers. She is a beautiful young Christian mother with a fantastic husband and two adorable young boys.

Thinking Out Loud

Just got back from taking Daisy for a nice walk.  She really lives for them.  You know you’ve arrived when at 55 you follow your beloved pooch with a plastic baggie in your hand!  I wonder who’s the boss at times!

I came across a brief article that touches on a very interesting topic that I would like to address at some point.  Mental illness and crime is a whole lot more than a strategy used by the defense employing “insanity” to either lessen or totally remove responsibility from one who has committed a crime.  Some pretty horrific crimes have taken place where the topic of mental illness has been introduced.  Maybe it was a person who stopped taking medication or a person who slipped through the cracks in the mental health system.  What do we as a society do when someone who is obviously sick murders another?  Do we make a distinction during trial and sentencing or simply punish the crime?  Here is a brief story about a man who robbed banks because he was “stressed.” The story is so short I’ll print it below.  From the AP.

A Detroit man who began robbing banks to fix his mother’s plumbing has been sentenced to just two years in prison, a significant break.


//

// U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman says Jimmie Lee Fortune was an “outstanding citizen” before he turned to robbery last year.

The 29-year-old Fortune pleaded guilty in March to stealing nearly $14,000 from five banks in suburban Detroit. Prosecutors agreed not to charge him with three more.

Fortune’s sentencing range was approximately five years to six years in prison. But the guidelines are not mandatory, and the judge settled on two years today.

Fortune says he robbed the first bank to fix his mother’s plumbing and get his driver’s license reinstated. He says he continued robbing banks because he was “stressed.”

I watched a movie on Netflix titled “Henry Poole Is Here.”  It’s a freebie if you have Netflix and I suggest you view it.  There’s some swearing but the story itself is very good.  Here’s the little review I wrote about the movie.  Let me say not many people have read it!

“There are times you find gems when you least expect them. This movie is one of them. I wouldn’t have bothered viewing it had I not seen a blog where the film was mentioned. That being said I found this movie in no way comedic. It is more likely a tearjerker/drama. The movie tells the story of a man (Henry Poole) who has received news he is dying. So he purchases a home to live out his life. Henry’s idea of living out his life is to give up and become a recluse while he eats and drinks his days away. Henry’s journey takes a huge detour as the result of what takes place in the lives of other characters we are introduced to. God, whom Henry seems to have issues with is also introduced although Henry would rather God and what He represents takes a hike. The story is not over the top or preachy. It tells one main story and a few others to tie things together. If you’re the type who can survive a movie without special effects and want to be challenged and maybe even uplifted then I would encourage you to watch this gem. If you hate to read then this movie definitely isn’t for you but I dare you to watch it anyway.”

My wife asked a question the other day that I’m sure many have asked in their lives.  Why?  A woman who is a friend of her father is in her early 90′s.  Her mind is going and her health is frail.  It seems she could have died any time during the past few years.  Yet she lives on.  Why doesn’t God take her instead of her still being alive?  At times it does seem best to let a person die when looking at their situation.  And we wonder why God doesn’t take them.  Some of us won’t even allow ourselves to entertain such thoughts but God knows them anyway.  Trusting ourselves and those we love to His perfect will is not as easy as it might seem.  God knows that and loves us no less for asking honest questions.  If you have tough questions don’t be afraid to express them to God.  They don’t make you a spiritual failure.  He can handle the tough questions but so often we may not like what He says in response.  There’s no crime in asking “Why” when you or a loved one is visited with a mental illness.  We serve a big God.

I’m in hog heaven.  I discovered a science fiction series that aired beginning in the late 90′s and went for ten years.  The first four seasons are free on Hulu.  The series is Stargate  SG-1 and it is awesome.  Guess what I’m doing in my spare time?  :)    If you haven’t checked out Hulu then click here. They have tons of old television shows and I believe some movies.

The Dodgers and Angels are both in first place yet I don’t have a lot of hope for them in the post season.  It would be cool if they met in the World Series.  I have no idea who I’d root for.  Manny Ramirez is made of Teflon as far as Dodgers fans go.  Vin Scully says next season could be his last.  No Chick Hearn or Vin Scully??  I listened to them as a kid.  They were and are the best at their craft.  The NBA made a huge mistake in not letting Chick do post season games.  He would have been awesome.

I have a new monitor for my computer.  It’s big and has an awesome picture.  I use it to watch my movies and Hulu.  I use headphones and they add a ton to viewing.  You really hear so much more than without them.

We have new neighbors moving in.

I’m having a yard sale on Saturday if I get stuff ready.

Could someone use thirty pounds??  I’ll give it to you at no charge!!  :mrgreen:

Feel free to think out loud if you choose to respond.

God bless!  Allan

You might Have Combat PTSD If……

I have “borrowed” this humorous article from our friend Cash.
He operates a blog here.
Cash is a Gulf War vet who suffers with PTSD.
Cash now has a sense of humor!
Allan

–If you think the term “The Great Depression” refers to the month you spent in the psych ward at the VA, you might have combat PTSD.

–If before you mow your lawn, you sift through it w/ a stick searching for landmines and booby traps, you might have combat PTSD.

–If your local police department refers to your house as “Fort Wack,” you might have combat PTSD.

–If your neighbors politely suggest you replace the barbed wire and sandbags with a fence, you might have combat PTSD.

–If your significant other morphs into an enemy troop in the middle of the night, you might have combat PTSD.

–If, when startled, you feel like you drank a venti at Starbucks, shot up meth, then snorted a line of cocaine, you might have combat PTSD.

–If your neighbor has asked you numerous times why you pace the perimeter of your yard at 3 in the morning, you might have combat PTSD.

–If every time you walk in a room, you “slice up the pie” looking for every exit point and find a chair w/the back to the wall, you might have combat PTSD. (contributed partly by AMyracle).

–If your knowledge of psychotropic medications surpasses that of your psychiatrist, you might have combat PTSD.

©2009 bornethebattleblog

Lessons On Forgiveness

I originally ran this article a little over three months ago.  This blog has a group of core readers and then there are those who are new that come and go.  Because of that and the reality there are times I have nothing new to share I will simply do what the television industry has taught me.  RERUNS!!  :)   This also happens to be a topic that never grows old and many of us (ME) could benefit by reading the article again.   Allan


DEFINITIONS AND KEY THOUGHTS

What Forgiveness Is and Is Not

Forgiveness is giving up your right to hurt back. It does not diminish the evil
done against you, nor is it a denial of what happened.

Forgiveness does not take away the consequences the other person will face
because of his sin.

Forgiveness is letting go of your right to hurt the other person as he hurt
you.

Forgiveness is an act and a process. Feelings may not be immediate, nor easy; usually it is difficult and uncomfortable.

When you make a decision to forgive, God gives you the grace
and strength to forgive and to keep on forgiving.

Forgiveness is not weakness. It is the most powerful thing you can do. It breaks the hold that evil has on your life. Refusing to forgive allows evil to continue to hurt you; forgiveness helps stop the destructive power in yournlife.

Forgiveness does not depend on the other person’s actions. It is not probationary

(“I will only forgive as long as you don’t hurt me again”).

Forgiveness is not about the offense or the one who has offended you; it is about trusting God to take care of you.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Forgiveness does not require you to become a “doormat.”

Forgiveness does not require you to open yourself up to the offender to be hurt again. Forgiveness is a gift you give the offender. Trust, on the other hand, must be earned. You must still have boundaries with the person.

Forgiveness does not wait for the offender to repent. It is not about the person who hurt you repenting, it is about you deciding to forgive.

Forgiveness is about how much you trust God to take care of this for you.

Reasons to Forgive

It sets you free to move on with your life.

It refuses to allow that person who hurt you to have any more power in your life.

It opens up your relationship with God (Matthew 5:43-48).

It keeps you from becoming bitter, and thus protects those around you from having to deal with a bitter person.

It keeps you from becoming like the person who hurt you.

Unforgiveness doesn’t hurt the perpetrator at all; it only hurts you.

There is a difference

between mental

forgiveness and gut

forgiveness. For

example, when a

person has had an

affair, frequently the

wronged spouse will

choose to forgive

with the head right

away, but it will take

the gut months to

catch up.

—CHARLES STANLEY

When did Jesus forgive

you for your sin?

Two thousand years

ago on the cross.

Two thousand years

before you came and

begged his forgiveness,

forgiveness

was there—ready,

rich, full and free.

—JOSEPH M. STOWELL

WISE COUNSEL

Often a person does not forgive because he doesn’t understand what forgiveness is. He doesn’t want to let the person off the hook. He needs to understand that forgiveness lets him himself off the hook and refuses to allow the perpetrator any more power in his life. Forgiveness sets him free to go on with his life.

Using scripture from Biblical Insights, learn that forgiveness is not about the offender or the offense—it’s about you being free from the need to retaliate.

Empathize with yourself and validate the evil that has been done. Don’t minimize it.

Grieve the offense and the losses that have resulted from it.

Human power alone

is not sufficient to

reach full forgiveness.

There is an

element of forgiveness

that is divine. It

cannot be reached

without God.

—FRANK MINIRTH

ACTION STEPS

1. Acknowledge the Hurt

Don’t minimize it or deny it. It happened.

Don’t make excuses for the offender. It was wrong.

Write it down. Journaling is a great way to work through anger and hurt. It organizes your thoughts and helps you acknowledge the truth as you see it in black and white. Sometimes writing a letter to the offender is helpful. Do not send it, but writing it is cathartic.

2. Identify Your Emotions

When someone hurts you, you experience hurt and anger. These emotions are not sinful, but are a normal response to an offense.

It is important to identify how the offense made you feel and then to express it. After writing down the offense, write down how you felt when the offense happened and how you have felt since then.

3 Set Boundaries

Decide what you need to do to protect yourself from letting this person hurt you again. This involves how you react to the offender. For instance, you can be polite without being her best friend. You can listen without taking her advice. Write these boundaries down in your journal.

Spend as little time as possible with unsafe people. Unsafe people are those who continue to hurt you without regard for the damage it does in your life.

Don’t continue to look for approval from a person who has hurt you. Just as you don’t pay full price for damaged fruit in the grocery store, don’t pay full dollar for the offender’s approval. Recognize that, in a sense, he is damaged and is never going to be able to give you what you need.

Recognize also that you do not need his approval in order to live a free and fulfilling life. The only approval you need is God’s.

4. Cancel the Debt

Write the blank check of forgiveness. Write in your journal that this day you have released that person from the debt he owes you. You may want to write down the offenses they have done and then write “Canceled” or “Paid in Full” over them. You may want to burn the letter you wrote expressing your grief and hurt.

5. Make “Stones of Remembrance”

After God parted the Jordan River so the Israelites could go through on dry land, God told Joshua to have each tribe choose a stone to be piled up as a memorial to what great things God had done that day. Those stones served as a remembrance for the people and their children in times to come (Joshua 24).

It is good to have something “concrete” to help you remember the day you set your offender free.

6. Remember to Forget

When Corrie ten Boom was reminded of an offense someone had done to her, she responded, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

Though you never really forget, you can remember that you forgave.

7. Recognize God’s Hand

God is in the offense; you were not a victim of Satan. Offenders are like tools in God’s hand to make you what He wants you to become. God is going to use this offense in your life for His plan.

Ask God to help you figure this out. Ask Him to show you how He will turn this into something good in your life.

Ask God to help you love the offender. Compassion is a type of love that feels pity for the offender and wants the best for him. Praying for the offender will help your feelings for him move from not wanting harm to come to him to wanting the best for him. Then you will know that you are truly free.

When you don’t

forgive someone,

in some way that

person is in jail, and

you are the warden.

You’re incarcerated,

too, because you

have to make sure

the prisoner stays

there.

—KERNEY FRANSTON

BIBLICAL INSIGHTS

He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest. —Leviticus 6:5, 6

The Old Testament offerings were designed so that the offender might receive
God’s forgiveness. But the wrongdoer also had to take responsibility for his or
her behavior by making restitution to the person who had been wronged.

We, too, must take responsibility for the effects of our sins on others. We need
to be reconciled not only to God, but also to those whom we have wronged.
Biblical law holds us responsible for our own behavior.

And when [David] had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom. —2 Samuel 14:33

Despite all that Absalom had done, David allowed for the possibility of reconciliation
by forgiving his son. Absalom, however, had no tears, no repentance,
no change of heart. Indeed, Absalom would eventually try to take his father’s
throne (2 Samuel 15:10).

One person can forgive, but it takes two to reconcile. Forgiveness does not
guarantee reconciliation. Forgiveness, however, does put salve on those who
are willing to let go of the hurt and wrongs done by others.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” —Isaiah 43:25

When the guilt of past sins weighs us down, we must remember that when we
seek forgiveness, God “blots out” our transgressions and forgets our sins.

“Blotting out” sins pictures wiping the slate clean. Whatever sins we have committed,
God promises to erase them. He knows what we have done, but He
treats us as though we have never sinned.

Because God has forgiven us, we must forgive ourselves.

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” —Matthew 18:21, 22

Don’t even keep count; just keep on forgiving.

Jesus then told a parable about a man who, after receiving great forgiveness for
a large debt he owed to someone, refused to forgive a person who owed him a
small debt. Jesus was illustrating that we sinners have been graciously forgiven
by God—and are being forgiven daily, over and over again.

We should be just as gracious in forgiving others. To refuse to forgive shows
that we have not understood how much God has forgiven us.

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

—Mark 11:26

Jesus stated that God’s forgiveness of us is somehow related to how we forgive
others. When we accept God’s forgiveness of all the wrongs we have done Him,
we should be so grateful that we willingly offer that same kind of forgiveness to
those who have wronged us.

To refuse to forgive others shows that we do not appreciate the forgiveness God offers us.

Intellectual and

spiritual forgiveness

are important,

but you must work

through all the stages

to achieve emotional

forgiveness. You

must feel the pain,

feel the anger, weep

for the losses; then

you can forgive with

your mind, spirit and

heart.

—SHARON SNEED

PRAYER STARTER

Lord, you servant has been deeply hurt. I want to let go, to be free of the pain, but I am finding it very difficult. The emotions go all over the place and I don’t want this pain affecting me one more waking moment. Can you help me let this go?

Can you help me to forgive this offender as he has been forgiven by you? Can you give me a free life once again? . . .

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

As they say in baseball it’s the dog days of summer.  So I figured I’d turn to the Rolling Stones for motivation for whatever happens to follow!

Through the years certain lyrics become stuck in my psyche.  Why, I have no clue.  The title of this article is the name of a Rolling Stones song from my youth.  The complete phrase is as follows.  “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time you just might find, you get what you need.”

Interestingly enough I would bet I’m not the only one who has heard teaching that we pray for our needs and not for our wants.  In fact if God granted us our wants life could get pretty messed up because the fact is we have no idea what we need and many times the things we want aren’t in tune with God’s plan for our lives.

I’m going to keep this brief in hopes maybe one person will take me up on my offer.

You might suffer with depression, bi-polar disorder, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, or an eating disorder.  When these afflictions impact our lives strongly we tend to pray according to what we want.  Typically that is to be free from the affliction.  I don’t see a thing wrong with that prayer but have learned that there will be times when that prayer isn’t answered in the affirmative.

Has anyone reading this article experienced what I’ve described?  Maybe you could share a little about it and how God has worked in your life.  Your words might be just what somebody needs to read.  God bless!  Allan

Psalm 13:1  How much longer will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How much longer will you hide yourself from me?
Psalm 13:2  How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night? How long will my enemies triumph over me?
Psalm 13:3  Look at me, O LORD my God, and answer me. Restore my strength; don’t let me die.
Psalm 13:4  Don’t let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.” Don’t let them gloat over my downfall.
Psalm 13:5  I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me.   Good News Bible.
Psalm 13:6  I will sing to you, O LORD, because you have been good to me.

Continue In Prayer. Streams In The Desert, July 26th

"And there was Anna, a prophetess . . . which
departed not from the temple, but served God with
fastings and prayers night and day" (Luke 2:36,
37).
 
No doubt by praying we learn to pray, and the
more we pray the oftener we can pray, and the
better we can pray. He who prays in fits and
starts is never likely to attain to that
effectual, fervent prayer which availeth much.
 
Great power in prayer is within our reach, but we
must go to work to obtain it. Let us never
imagine that Abraham could have interceded so
successfully for Sodom if he had not been all his
lifetime in the practice of communion with God.
 
Jacob's all-night at Peniel was not the first
occasion upon which he had met his God. We may
even look upon our Lord's most choice and
wonderful prayer with his disciples before His
Passion as the flower and fruit of His many
nights of devotion, and of His often rising up a
great while before day to pray.
 
If a man dreams that he can become mighty in
prayer just as he pleases, he labors under a
great mistake. The prayer of Elias which shut up
heaven and afterwards opened its floodgates, was
one of long series of mighty prevailings with
God. Oh, that Christian men would remember this!
Perseverance in prayer is necessary to prevalence
in prayer.
 
Those great intercessors, who are not so often
mentioned as they ought to be in connection with
confessors and martyrs, were nevertheless the
grandest benefactors of the Church; but it was
only by abiding at the mercy-seat that they
attained to be such channels of mercy to men. We
must pray to pray, and continue in prayer that
our prayers may continue.  --G. H. Spurgeon
 

Beautiful Christian Music. Praise & Worship, July 25th

Song List

1.  Freedom-  Jason Upton

2.  When The Tears Fall You Are Never Alone-  Newsboys

3.  Eagles Wings-  Hillsong

4.  My Soul Longs For You-  Misty Edwards

5.   Miracle-  Jeff Leslie

6.  Just A Closer With Thee-  Mahalia Jackson

7.  You Never Let Go-  Matt Redman

8.  Lead Me To The Father-  Vineyard

9.  Everlasting God-  Brenton Brown

10.  Revelation Song-  Kari Jobe

11.  Amazing Grace-  Judy Collins

12.  Guilty Pleasure

Prayer Requests & Praise Reports, July 24th

“You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.” (A.J. Gordon)

Past Prayer Requests

Mary Bullock-  I would greatly appreciate any prayers for my son. He is 29 and is heavily medicated for his mental illness, plus he has many health problems also. It is such a struggle dealing with all his mental and health problems, but he is such a blessing to us. You are so right about the stigma and misinformation that seems to abound about mental illness. It is so comforting to know that there are others who really do understand the daily struggle.

Allan-  Our nephew’s wife has M.S. and it is progressing incredibly fast. She had what they are calling a seizure yesterday. Twice her jaw has dislocated but yesterday it popped back into place.  They have found another new lesion on her brain.  Please keep Tiffany, her husband Jeremy, and their two children in prayer.

Dorci- I have two different headaches, one of them every day, (for a little over 3 years) the other at least a few times a week. (for about 8 monhts) It’s very draining physically and emotionally. Sometimes I don’t even go to church on Wednesday nights because nights are when the headaches are the worst.

Dorci-  I don’t want to have happen to others what has happened to me. I don’t know if anything will come of this, but I’m going to start praying and asking the Lord if there’s anything He would have me do to reach out to them. I’ve had a break from serving for a year and have recently started praying about what, if anything, the Lord would have me do next.

Shawn Sells-  Keep Shawn in prayer for wisdom as he seeks to continue his ministry to those with mental illness in his church.

Anne-  Hello Allan – I was very touched by your story as well as Shaun’s reporting of stepping out in faith to find a way to support those struggling.
I am currently in the darkest depths of depression I have yet experienced – can’t imagine things getting any darker. Bringing myself to even type an effort. But you were so kind to think of me that I did not want to leave you hanging without thanking you. May God grant me freedom from my depression and anxiety as He has so mercifully done to you – so much so that you can be a support and comfort to your mom and son.
I am feeling more and more like an inconvenience to everyone.
Pray for me.

Okie Preacher-  Please keep Okie Preacher in your prayers. He has been diagnosed with mononucleosis.

Tomorrow, he will be seeing a heart Dr. He has been experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea.

Allan-  Three days ago Stephen and his girlfriend let us know there is a baby on the way. I was in shock initially and didn’t respond as I would have hoped. We are in a much better place and are supporting them as they move forward. Please pray that this child is born into the best environment possible.

I’m going to be a Grandfather! :)

Okie Preacher- My wife and I have been going through some very difficult times since we left our last church pastorate. I would rather not go into detail at this time, although I may in the future.

There are many things that are currently distracting and many hurts from the past that need healing. I have been advised by a good friend to perhaps consider taking a sabbatical for a period of prayer and reflection, which I am inclined to do so at this time.

Please pray for us as we wait on God for healing, guidance, and direction.

Dorci- I would love it if people could pray that our son Eric would fall in love with Jesus and would follow Him with all his heart. Thank you.

miniErunner- Please pray for my best friend’s father. He was just diagnosed with throat cancer and will be starting intense chemo within the next few weeks. Please also pray for his wife and 2 daughters. Pray that they will stay strong through all of this. Update – Surgery was done and his voice box was removed.  He will now undergo further treatment.

Set Free-  Please keep us in prayer we are in need of a place to worship. Things have taken place where we share a building and I believe they are looking for ways so that we can move from there. I know it has to be God who opens the doors to where he wants us to be. I also know that the enemy does not like the progress we have made in spreading the Gospel. Thanks again!

Cash-  Hello, friends. May I ask you to pray for me and my family. I just lost my job on Tuesday. It was a good job with really good benefits, so we’re job searching now.

Dorci-  I have some weird issues with my lower legs, swelling, pain, etc. They’ve done ultrasounds but haven’t found anything.

Dusty- Continued prayer for deep depression.

Rachel-  Continued prayer as she struggles with bi-polar disorder.

Past Praise Reports

Shawn Sells-  Their second meeting went well with a few new attendees.  Continue to pray for this ministry and for those who have taken the step to attend.

Anne-  Praise report:
#1 I’ve been offered a job
#2 My dr’s and counselor had suggested starting part-time if possible.
#3 The position is designed to start as part time and grow gradually

I am so grateful for the encouragement and prayers from all of you!

Holding all the above prayer requests close to heart, that they too will be answered in ways better than anyone could have ever imagined or expected.

Blessings to you all
Anne

Allan-  The biopsy I had came back negative.

Susan-  Allan – I wanted to take this time to express my appreciation to you and your prayer partners in keeping my husband in prayer. This Tuesday is another exciting day for us they will remove the catheter from his chest where he was hooked up for the dialysis treatment. I learned that only 6% make it off of dialysis so with that in mind I know that it was a miracle of God and the prayers of Gods people that he made it to where he is at now. I only share this so that others can have hope that God is on the throne and we don’t always understand his ways which are not our ways. I believe our work is not done here in our ministry and only God knows why he brought healing to my husband. All I know is that I’m so grateful for the opportunity to continue on for the work of God’s Kingdom & to serve God’s people. I’m also happy to hear the news of your Son Steven & your Mother. We will continue to keep everyone in our prayers. Thanks Allan to you and my beautiful Sister.

Love Always,
Susan (Your Favorite Sister In Law)  :)

Allan- My mother’s surgery was successful.  She was without pain and walking the following day.

Long Term Prayer Requests

Natalie Tan-   She is battling an eating disorder and has a tough battle ahead of her. There is a new article posted that is about her. She puts a face to eating disorders and is a young woman that will need prayer.

Nene - Prayer for her father to be saved and to come to a place of peace. Father and brother have been estranged 27 years.

Dorci-  I just have a praise report that in almost 3 years of suffering with daily headaches I am finding some relief. I still have them every day, but I have times during the day when I don’t have one at all, and at night they are usually not as bad as they have been.

anne-  Keep anne in prayer as she has moved and struggles with dark bouts of depression and deals with anxiety. There is much trouble with extended family and anne will need a job.

Allan- The wife of our nephew has MS .

Allan-  We have a niece who is coming out of ten years suffering with Anorexia. She is now battling depression and would covet our prayers. She is a beautiful young Christian mother with a fantastic husband and two adorable young boys.

Charles Spurgeon-When A Preacher Is Downcast, Part 2

Many pastors fight depression.

Many pastors fight depression.

Preachers, by Lack of Exercise and Recreation, Tend to Melancholy

There can be little doubt that sedentary habits have a tendency to create despondency in some constitutions.

Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, has a chapter upon this cause of sadness. Quoting from one of the myriad authors whom he lays under contribution, he says:

Students are negligent of their bodies. Other men look to their tools. A painter will wash his pencils. A smith will look to his hammer, anvil, forge. A husbandman will mend his plow irons and grind his hatchet if it be dull. A falconer or huntsman will have an especial care of his hawks, hounds, horses, dogs, et cetera. A musician will string and unstring his lute. Only scholars neglect that instrument (their brain and spirits I mean) which they daily use. Well saith Lucan, “See thou twist not the rope so hard that it break.”

To sit long in one posture, poring over a book or driving a pen, is in itself a taxing of nature. But add to this a badly ventilated chamber, a body which has long been without muscular exercise, and a heart burdened with many cares, and we have all the elements for preparing a seething caldron of despair, especially in the dim months of fog—
When a blanket wraps the day,

When the rotten woodland drips,

And the leaf is stamped in clay.
Let a man be naturally as blithe as a bird, he will hardly be able to bear up year after year against such a suicidal process. He will make his study a prison and his books the warders of a goal, while Nature lies outside his window calling him to health and beckoning him to joy. He who forgets the humming of the bees among the heather, the cooing of the wood pigeons in the forest, the song of birds in the woods, the rippling of rills among the rushes, and the sighing of the wind among the pines, needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy.

A day’s breathing of fresh air upon the hills or a few hours’ ramble in the beech woods’ umbrageous calm, would sweep the cobwebs out of the brain of scores of our toiling ministers who are now but half alive. A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best.


God Allows Fainting After Great Victories Lest We Should Be “Exalted Above Measure”

The times most favorable to fits of depression, so far as I have experienced, may be summed up in a brief catalog. First among them I must mention the hour of a great success. When at last a long-cherished desire is fulfilled, when God has been glorified greatly by our means and a great triumph achieved, then we are apt to faint.

It might be imagined that amid special favors our soul would soar to heights of ecstasy and rejoice with joy unspeakable, but it is generally the reverse. The Lord seldom exposes His warriors to the perils of exultation over victory. He knows that few of them can endure such a test and therefore dashes their cup with bitterness.

See Elias after the fire has fallen from Heaven, after Baal’s priests have been slaughtered and the rain has deluged the barren land! For him no notes of self-complacent music, no strutting like a conqueror in robes of triumph. He flees from Jezebel, and feeling the revulsion of his intense excitement, he prays that he may die. He who must never see death yearns after the rest of the grave.

Even Caesar, the world’s monarch, in his moments of pain cried like a sick girl. Poor human nature cannot bear such strains as heavenly triumphs bring to it. There must come a reaction. Excess of joy or excitement must be paid for by subsequent depressions.

While the trial lasts, the strength is equal to the emergency. But when it is over, natural weakness claims the right to show itself.

Secretly sustained, Jacob can wrestle all night, but he must limp in the morning when the contest is over, lest he boast himself beyond measure.

Paul may be caught up to the third heaven and hear unspeakable things, but a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him, must be the inevitable sequel.

Men cannot bear unalloyed happiness. Even good men are not yet fit to have “their brows with laurel and with myrtle bound” without enduring secret humiliation to keep them in their proper places.
Burden and Weakness Are Given to Humble Us Before Great Tasks

Whirled off our feet by a revival, carried aloft by popularity, exalted by success in soul winning, we should be as the chaff which the wind driveth away were it not that the gracious discipline of mercy breaks the ships of our vainglory with a strong east wind and casts us shipwrecked, naked and forlorn, upon the Rock of Ages.

Before any great achievement, some measure of the same depression is very usual. Surveying the difficulties before us, our hearts sink within us. The sons of Anak stalk before us, and we are as grasshoppers in our own sight in their presence. The cities of Canaan are walled up to Heaven, and who are we that we should hope to capture them? We are ready to cast down our weapons and to take to our heels. Nineveh is a great city, and we would flee unto Tarshish sooner than encounter its noisy crowds. Already we look for a ship which may bear us quietly away from the terrible scene. Only a dread of tempest restrains our recreant footsteps.

Such was my experience when I first became a pastor in London. My success appalled me. The thought of the career which it seemed to open up, so far from elating me, cast me into the lowest depth, out of which I uttered my Miserere and found no room for a Gloria in Excelsis.

Who was I that I should continue to lead so great a multitude? I would betake me to my village obscurity or emigrate to America and find a solitary nest in the backwoods where I might be sufficient for the things which would be demanded of me.

It was just then that the curtain was rising upon my lifework, and I dreaded what it might reveal. I hope I was not faithless, but I was timorous and filled with a sense of my own unfitness. I dreaded the work which a gracious Providence had prepared for me. I felt myself a mere child. I trembled as I heard the voice which told me to arise and “thresh the mountains…and make the hills as chaff.”

This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry. The cloud is black before it breaks and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy.

Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison. So have far better men found it. The scouring of the vessel has fitted it for the Master’s use.

Immersion in suffering has preceded the filling of the Holy Ghost. Fasting gives an appetite for the banquet. The Lord is revealed in the backside of the desert, while His servant keeps the sheep and waits in solitary awe.

The wilderness is the way to Canaan. The low valley leads to the towering mountain. Defeat prepares for victory. The raven is sent forth before the dove. The darkest hour of the night precedes the day-dawn.

The mariners go down to the depths, but the next wave makes them mount to the heaven. Their soul is melted because of trouble before He bringeth them to their desired haven.
Failure to Take Regular Periods of Vacation and Rest Promotes Fainting and Weariness

In the midst of a long stretch of unbroken labor, the same affliction may be looked for. The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needed to the mind as sleep to the body. Our days of worship (which were, in the Old Testament, sabbaths) are our days of toil, and if we do not rest upon some other day, we shall break down. Even the earth must lie fallow and have her sabbaths; and so must we; hence the wisdom and compassion of our Lord, when He said to His disciples that they should go “apart into a desert place, and rest a while.”

What! When the people are fainting, when the multitudes are like sheep upon the mountains without a shepherd, does Jesus talk of rest? When scribes and Pharisees, like grievous wolves, are rending the flock, does He take His followers on an excursion into a quiet resting place?

Does some red-hot zealot denounce such atrocious forgetfulness of present and pressing demands? Let him rave in his folly. The Master knows better than to exhaust His servants and quench the light of Israel. Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength.

Look at the mower in the summer’s day, with so much to cut down ere the sun sets. He pauses in his labor—is he a sluggard? He looks for his stone and begins to draw it up and down his scythe, with “rink-a-tink—rink-a-tink—rink-a-tink.” Is that idle music? Is he wasting precious moments? How much he might have mown while he has been ringing out those notes on his scythe! But he is sharpening his tool, and he will do far more when once again he gives his strength to those long sweeps which lay the grass prostrate in rows before him.

Even thus a little pause prepares the mind for greater service in the good cause.

Fishermen must mend their nets. And we must every now and then repair our mental waste and set our machinery in order for future service. To tug the oar from day to day, like a galley slave who knows no holidays, suits not mortal men. Mill streams go on and on forever, but we must have our pauses and our intervals.

Who can help being out of breath when the race is continued without intermission? Even beasts of burden must be turned out to grass occasionally. The very sea pauses at ebb and flood. Earth keeps the sabbath of the wintry months. And man, even when exalted to be God’s ambassador, must rest or faint; must trim his lamp or let it burn low; must recruit his vigor or grow prematurely old. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough.

In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. On, on, on forever, without recreation, may suit spirits emancipated from this “heavy clay”; but while we are in this tabernacle, we must every now and then cry halt and serve the Lord by holy inaction and consecrated leisure.

Let no tender conscience doubt the lawfulness of going out of harness for awhile, but learn from the experience of others the necessity and duty of taking timely rest.
The Inevitable Blows of Betrayal, Slander, Criticism Depress God’s Best Preachers

One crushing stroke has sometimes laid the minister very low. The brother most relied upon be-comes a traitor. Judas lifts up his heel against the Man who trusted him, and the preacher’s heart for the moment fails him. We are all too apt to look to an arm of flesh, and from that propensity, many of our sorrows arise.

Equally overwhelming is the blow when an honored and beloved member yields to temptation and disgraces the holy Name with which he was named. Anything is better than this. This makes the preacher long for a lodge in some vast wilderness where he may hide his head forever and hear no more the blasphemous jeers of the ungodly.

Ten years of toil do not take so much life out of us as we lose in a few hours by Ahithophel the traitor or Demas the apostate. Strife also and division, slander and foolish censures, have often laid holy men prostrate and made them go ‘as with a sword in their bones.’ Hard words wound some delicate minds very keenly.

Many of the best of ministers, from the very spirituality of their character, are exceedingly sensitive—too sensitive for such a world as this. “A kick that scarce would move a horse would kill a sound divine.”

By experience the soul is hardened to the rough blows which are inevitable in our warfare. At first these things utterly stagger us and send us to our homes wrapped in a horror of great darkness. The trials of a true minister are not few, and such as are caused by ungrateful professors are harder to bear than the coarsest attacks of avowed enemies.

Let no man who looks for ease of mind and seeks the quietude of life enter the ministry. If he does so, he will flee from it in disgust.

To the lot of few does it fall to pass through such a horror of great darkness as that which fell upon me after the deplorable accident at the Surrey Music Hall. I was pressed beyond measure and out of bounds with an enormous weight of misery. The tumult, the panic, the deaths were day and night before me and made life a burden.

From that dream of horror I was awakened in a moment by the gracious application to my soul of the text, “Him hath God exalted” (Acts 5:31). The fact that Jesus is still great—let His servants suffer as they may—piloted me back to calm reason and peace.

Should so terrible a calamity overtake any of you brethren, may you both patiently hope and quietly wait for the salvation of God.

When troubles multiply and discouragements follow each other in long succession, like Job’s messengers, then too amid the perturbation of soul occasioned by evil tidings, despondency despoils the heart of all its peace.

Constant dropping wears away stones, and the bravest minds feel the fret of repeated afflictions. If a scanty cupboard is rendered a severer trial by the sickness of a wife or the loss of a child, and if ungenerous remarks of hearers are followed by the opposition of deacons and the coolness of members, then, like Jacob, we are apt to cry, ‘All these things are against me.’

When David returned to Ziklag and found the city burned, goods stolen, wives carried off, and his troops ready to stone him, we read that he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God”; and well was it for him that he could do so. He would then have fainted if he had not “believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13).

Accumulated distresses increase each other’s weight, play into each other’s hands and, like bands of robbers, ruthlessly destroy our comfort.

Wave upon wave is severe work for the strongest swimmer. The place where two seas meet strains the most seaworthy keel. If there were a regulated pause between the buffetings of adversity, the spirit would stand prepared; but when they come suddenly and heavily, like the battering of great hailstones, the pilgrim may well be amazed. The last ounce breaks the camel’s back, and when the last ounce is laid upon us, what wonder if we for awhile are ready to give up the ghost!

This evil will also come upon us, we know not why, and then it is all the more difficult to drive it away. Causeless depression is not to be reasoned with, nor can David’s harp charm it away by sweet discoursings. As well fight with the mist as with this shapeless, undefinable, yet all-beclouding hopelessness.

One affords himself no pity when in this case, because it seems so unreasonable, even sinful, to be troubled without manifest cause. Yet troubled the man is, even in the very depths of his spirit. If those who laugh at such melancholy did but feel the grief of it for one hour, their laughter would be sobered into compassion.
God Allows a Minister’s Troubles for His Glory

Uninterrupted success and unfading joy in it would be more than our weak heads could bear. Our wine must needs be mixed with water, lest it turn our brains.

My witness is that those who are honored by their Lord in public have usually to endure a secret chastening or to carry a peculiar cross lest by any means they exalt themselves and fall into the snare of the Devil.

How constantly the Lord calls Ezekiel “son of man”! Amid his soarings into the superlative splendors, just when with eye undimmed he is strengthened to gaze into the excellent glory, the word “son of man” falls on his ears, sobering the heart which else might have been intoxicated with the honor conferred upon it.

Such humbling but salutary messages our depressions whisper in our ears. They tell us in a manner not to be mistaken that we are but men, frail, feeble, apt to faint.

By all the castings down of His servants God is glorified, for they are led to magnify Him when again He sets them on their feet, and even while prostrate in the dust their faith yields Him praise. They speak all the more sweetly of His faithfulness and are the more firmly established in His love.

Such mature men as some elderly preachers are, could scarcely have been produced if they had not been emptied from vessel to vessel and made to see their own emptiness and the vanity of all things round about them.

Glory be to God for the furnace, the hammer and the file. Heaven shall be all the fuller of bliss because we have been filled with anguish here below; and earth shall be better tilled because of our training in the school of adversity.
Victory in Trouble Possible for God’s Man

The lesson of wisdom is: Be not dismayed by soul-trouble. Count it no strange thing, but a part of ordinary ministerial experience.

Should the power of depression be more than ordinary, think not that all is over with your usefulness. Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward [Heb. 10:35]. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord who forsaketh not His saints. Live by the day—aye, by the hour.

Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone. Lean not on the reeds of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you; it is a failing world. Never count upon immutability in man: inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment.

The disciples of Jesus forsook Him, so be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers. As they were not your all when with you, all is not gone from you with their departure. Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret.

Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord.

Set small store by present rewards, be grateful for earnests by the way, but look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue, with double earnestness, to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you.

Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide. Between this and Heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all provided for by our Covenant Head. In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue.

Come fair or come foul, the pulpit is our watchtower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of our God, to “trust under the shadow of thy wings.”


When A Preacher Is Downcast, Part 1- Charles Spurgeon

I have made a connection with a ministry over in Great Britain that deals with the same things I do here.  They have been kind enough to allow me to share their information here.  They are  Christian Mental Health U.K. and feel free to give them a visit.  I have chosen an article from their site that addresses the Preacher and depression.  I’m running it in two parts.  This will be good for any Pastor who drops by and also gives us a look into the topic as addressed by Charles Spurgeon.   Allan

“Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint” II Sam. 21:15.

“For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus” II Cor. 7:5,6.

“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?” II Cor. 11:27–29

As it is recorded that David, in the heat of battle, waxed faint, so may it be written of all servants of the Lord.

Fits of depression come over the most of us. Cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.

There may be here and there men of iron to whom wear and tear work no perceptible detriment, but surely the rust frets even these; and as for ordinary men, the Lord knows and makes them to know that they are but dust.

Knowing by most painful experience what deep depression of spirit means, being visited therewith at seasons by no means few or far between, I thought it might be consolatory to some of my brethren if I gave my thoughts thereon, that younger men might not fancy that some strange thing had happened to them when they became for a season possessed by melancholy; and that sadder men might know that one upon whom the sun has shone right joyously did not always walk in the light.

It is not necessary by quotations from the biographies of eminent ministers to prove that seasons of fearful prostration have fallen to the lot of most, if not all, of them. The life of Luther might suffice to give a thousand instances, and he was by no means of the weaker sort. His great spirit was often in the seventh heaven of exultation, and as frequently on the borders of despair. His very deathbed was not free from tempests, and he sobbed himself into his last sleep like a greatly wearied child.

Instead of multiplying cases, let us dwell upon the reasons why these things are permitted; why it is that the children of light sometimes walk in the thick darkness; why the heralds of the daybreak find themselves at times in tenfold night.
God’s Preachers Are Still Frail Humanity

Is it not first that they are men? Being men, they are compassed with infirmity and are heirs of sorrow. Grace guards us from much of this, but because we have not more of grace, we still suffer even from ills preventable. Even under the economy of redemption it is most clear that we are to endure infirmities; otherwise, there were no need of the promised Spirit to help us in them.

It is of necessity that we are sometimes in heaviness. Good men are promised tribulation in this world, and ministers may expect a larger share than others, that they may learn sympathy with the Lord’s suffering people, and so may be fitting shepherds of an ailing flock.

Disembodied spirits might have been sent to proclaim the Word; but they could not have entered into the feeling of those who, being in this body, do groan, being burdened.

Angels might have been ordained evangelists, but their celestial attributes would have disqualified them from having compassion on the ignorant.

Men of marble might have been fashioned, but their impassive natures would have been a sarcasm upon our feebleness and a mockery of our wants.

Men, and men subject to human passions, the all-wise God has chosen to be His vessels of grace; hence these tears, hence these perplexities and castings down.

Moreover, most of us are in some way or other unsound physically. Here and there we meet an old man who cannot remember that ever he was laid aside for a day; but the great mass of us labor under some form or other of infirmity, either in body or mind.

Certain bodily maladies, especially those connected with the digestive organs, the liver and the spleen, are the fruitful fountains of despondency; and let a man strive as he may against their influence, there will be hours and circumstances in which they will for awhile overcome him.

As to mental maladies, is any man altogether sane? Are we not all a little off the balance?

Some minds appear to have a gloomy tinge essential to their very individuality. Of them it may be said, “Melancholy marked [them] for her own”; fine minds withal and ruled by noblest principles, but yet they are most prone to forget the silver lining and to remember only the cloud.

These infirmities may be no detriment to a man’s career of special usefulness. They may even have been imposed upon him by divine wisdom as necessary qualification for his peculiar course of service.

Some plants owe their medicinal qualities to the marsh in which they grow; others to the shades in which alone they flourish. There are precious fruits put forth by the moon as well as by the sun. Boats need ballast as well as sail. A drag on the carriage wheel is no hindrance when the road runs downhill.

Pain has, in some cases, developed genius, hunting out the soul which otherwise might have slept like a lion in its den. Had it not been for the broken wing, some might have lost themselves in the clouds, some even of those choice doves who now bear the olive branch in their mouths and show the way to the ark.

Where in body and mind there are predisposing causes to lowness of spirit, it is no marvel if in dark moments the heart succumbs to them; the wonder in many cases is—and if inner lives could be written, men would see it so—how some ministers keep at their work at all and still wear a smile upon their countenances.

Grace has its triumphs still, and patience has it martyrs—martyrs nonetheless to be honored because the flames kindle about their spirits rather than their bodies and their burning is unseen of human eyes.
The Preacher’s Work Has Much to Try the Soul

The ministries of Jeremiahs are as acceptable as those of Isaiahs. Even the sullen Jonah is a true prophet of the Lord, as Nineveh felt full well.

Despise not the lame, for it is written that they take the prey; but honor those who, being faint, are yet pursuing.

The tender-eyed Leah was more fruitful than the beautiful Rachel. And the griefs of Hannah were more divine than the boasting of Peninnah.

“Blessed are they that mourn,” said the Man of Sorrows, and let none account them otherwise when their tears are salted with grace. We have the treasure of the Gospel in earthen vessels, and if there be a flaw in the vessel here and there, let none wonder.

Our work, when earnestly undertaken, lays us open to attacks in the direction of depression. Who can bear the weight of souls without sometimes sinking to the dust? Passionate longings after men’s conversion, if not fully satisfied (and when are they?), consume the soul with anxiety and disappointment.

To see the hopeful turn aside, the godly grow cold, professors abusing their privileges, and sinners waxing more bold in sin—are not these sights enough to crush us to the earth?

The kingdom comes not as we would, the reverend Name is not hallowed as we desire, and for this we must weep. How can we be otherwise than sorrowful, while men believe not our report and the divine arm is not revealed?

All mental work tends to weary and to depress, for “much study is a weariness of the flesh.” But ours is more than mental work—it is heart work, the labor of our inmost soul.

How often, on Lord’s Day evenings, do we feel as if life were completely washed out of us! After pouring out our souls over our congregations, we feel like empty earthen pitchers which a child might break. Probably, if we were more like Paul and watched for souls at a nobler rate, we should know more of what it is to be eaten up by the zeal of the Lord’s house.

It is our duty and our privilege to exhaust our lives for Jesus. We are not to be living specimens of men in fine preservation, but living sacrifices, whose lot is to be consumed. We are to spend and to be spent, not to lay ourselves up in lavender and nurse our flesh.

Such soul-travail as that of a faithful minister will bring on occasional seasons of exhaustion, when heart and flesh will fail. Moses’ hands grew heavy in intercession, and Paul cried out, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Even John the Baptist is thought to have had his fainting fits. And the apostles were once amazed and were sore afraid.
The Loneliness of God’s Prophet Tends to Depression

Our position in the church will also conduce to this. A minister fully equipped for his work will usually be a spirit by himself, above, beyond and apart from others. The most loving of his people cannot enter into his peculiar thoughts, cares and temptations.

In the ranks, men walk shoulder to shoulder with many comrades, but as the officer rises in rank, men of his standing are fewer in number. There are many soldiers, few captains, fewer colonels, and only one commander in chief.

So in our churches the man whom the Lord raises as a leader becomes, in the same degree in which he is a superior man, a solitary man. The mountaintops stand solemnly apart and talk only with God as He visits their terrible solitudes.

Men of God who rise above their fellows into nearer communion with heavenly things in their weaker moments feel the lack of human sympathy. Like their Lord in Gethsemane, they look in vain for comfort to the disciples sleeping around them. They are shocked at the apathy of their little band of brethren and return to their secret agony with all the heavier burden pressing upon them because they have found their dearest companions slumbering.

No one knows, but he who has endured it, the solitude of a soul which has outstripped its fellows in zeal for the Lord of Hosts. It dares not reveal itself, lest men count it mad. It cannot conceal itself, for a fire burns within its bones. Only before the Lord does it find rest.

Our Lord’s sending out His disciples by two and two manifested that He knew what was in men. But for such a man as Paul, it seems to me that no helpmeet was found. Barnabas or Silas or Luke were hills too low to hold high converse with such a Him-alayan summit as the apostle of the Gentiles.

This loneliness, which if I mistake not is felt by many of my brethren, is a fertile source of depression; and our ministers’ fraternal meetings and the cultivation of holy intercourse with kindred minds will, with God’s blessing, help us greatly to escape the snare.


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