Living a Life of Victory

archives images-banner

This is a collection of STFC articles and resources on Living a Life of Victory in Jesus Christ. More will be added here as they are written. You will always find a link to this article on the front page of the website.

ARTICLES:

Advertisements

Do We Have to Live With Depression?

jeremy-bishop-211453-unsplash

Recently one of my friends on WordPress has been writing about depression, and it got me thinking about my struggles over the years with this very common problem. There was never a time when I was diagnosed with it clinically, but then again I never asked anyone’s opinion. As I look back at the last few years I can see depression rearing its ugly head frequently and on one particular day, to the point that I wanted to end my own life.

In this clip from the weekly podcast I share that day…

In today’s secular world if you are diagnosed with depression you are likely to be given prescription drugs like Prozac or Zoloft, which may not be addictive like hardcore drugs, but could easily become “necessary” in the mind of the user to subdue depressive thoughts, not to mention you always have to be mindful of harmful side effects. My advice to Christians is to follow the medical advice you are given, but don’t be shy about getting a second or third opinion… and tread carefully with prescription drug use.

In this article I want to ask the question, do we have to live with depression? Then I hope to give you some answers you may not have considered.

This article is geared towards Christians suffering with depression and we should understand it can express itself in many ways. Additionally there are many different types of depression from “clinical” or diagnosed to the sadness people experience when life plays hard ball. Many people suffer from the very real illness of depression while others may be depressed over a spiritual condition (attack of the enemy), or due to a set of circumstances in their lives.

Along with the different types of depression there is a varied response to depression from the church, depending on who you ask. Some people will say it is sinful to be depressed and not trust in the Lord while others classify all depression as a mental health issue and discount the very real spiritual war we are engaged in. The bottom line, this is a very complex issue, and one article cannot possibly cover this subject matter in any meaningful way. So that is not my goal today. Here I just want to offer a glimmer of hope for those Christians in the world who have a hard time processing the difficulties we face each day.

This article is not a replacement for medical advice

Note: I want to be very clear, that medical professionals are a very important tool God uses to minister healing to the world. If you are diagnosed with clinical depression or believe you should be, I encourage you to seek and follow a medical treatment plan.

Maybe you are a Christian who has a troubled marriage, stressful days at work, financial problems, a secret sin you are dealing with or perhaps your children have you at your wits end. There are a million possible scenarios, but do you ever just want to to scream ENOUGH! Are you tired of being run down, depressed and miserable every day?

Aside from the children, each of those areas was a reflection of my life and there were SO many days I just couldn’t take it. Life sucks. When is Jesus coming back anyway? These are the thoughts that would course through my mind on a good day… on a bad day? You’re pathetic, you’re a loser, your family would be better off with you dead, just kill yourself and be done with it all.

My wife helped me work through a lot of these issues. She would say things like “you have the power to feel any way you want to feel, so choose”! HOW DARE SHE SAY THAT!!!! But after my pride recovered, and my bruised ego deflated… I knew she was right. How did I know? Because I tried exactly what she said, I changed my mind.

And it worked.

This doesn’t stop a depressing thought from entering my mind, or the fact that my job can really stress me out if I let it… but it does give me hope for all future days. You did it before Keith and you can do it again… don’t like the way you are feeling then STOP it. Break up the patterns of negative thinking and…

Start living with an “eternity” mindset.

Now before many of you jump out of your chairs screaming at your computer… you might say “oh sure just CHOOSE not to be depressed, what a FANTASTIC idea, it never occurred to me!” or “who the heck does this guy think he is, he was obviously never REALLY depressed in the first place.”

If planning to go to a remote desert location with a handgun to shoot myself in the head doesn’t qualify as depressed, then maybe you should revoke my membership card. As a matter of fact I will cut it up with scissors right now, I never liked that club anyway… and I never liked that label.

If however, you are still with me, and looking for that glimmer of hope. Let me encourage you to look ahead… just a wee bit, to the eternity in front of you.

Designed-For-Eternity-1024x576

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts…

“In the hinterlands of Pommerania, there is a mountain made of the hardest diamond.  It’s one hour deep into the earth, one hour up toward the sky, one hour long and one hour wide.  To this mountain comes a little bird, once every hundred years, to sharpen its beak.  And when this bird has worn away the whole mountain, the first second of eternity has passed.”

Our human minds cannot possibly fathom what an eternity really looks or feels like, but we can see time passing here on Earth, and let me tell you… the older you get, the faster it flies right by. Or perhaps we just become more keenly aware of its passing, that must be it, I’m sure the seconds of the clock still take the same time they did when I was 19.

As Christians we should take a special interest in eternity, as it will change the way we see our time right now, here on Earth. Often at work I feel stressed, but when I want to, I can ask myself a question… “this thing at work, will it really matter in 2 weeks?
2 months? 2 years? 2 decades? and if it doesn’t really matter then, why do I let it stress me out right now?”

The answer is simple. I don’t have to let it stress me out, get me depressed or feeling sad. I can choose to stay focused on things that are really important. Eternity-minded things. Let’s face it, as Christians we proclaim some pretty lofty beliefs to the world. We proudly claim of the risen Christ. We tell the world of our savior (at least we should) and how His blood erased our sins past, present and future. We claim to believe we are going to Heaven to spend FOREVER with Jesus… but do we REALLY believe that?

Belief could be defined as something you claim with your mind and follow through with your actions. As a real world example… if you take a plate off the hot stove and turn off the burner… I would be willing to bet you wouldn’t touch that stove for quite a while, as you believe it will burn you badly. That’s a good way to live life! But as Christians we tend to do the opposite… we CLAIM to believe the stove is hot then go about touching the stove all day long! Meaning our actions don’t line with the beliefs we proclaim.

The hard truth – is often the hardest to swallow

If Jesus came down right now, knocked on my door, came inside my home and sat down with me… He might look me in the eyes and say “Keith, time is short my child. I have given you great news to share of my second coming and yet you sit here sad about your life.” In that moment, I would break down crying asking Him to forgive me AGAIN. I know because in my mind this conversation has happened more than once.

Friends, as Christians we have AMAZING, GREAT NEWS to share with the world. We don’t have time to sit around in self-pity, self-misery and sadness. WE have been REDEEMED, we are Children of the Most High God. We are ADOPTED into the Royal Family of God. We were put here to TELL people of the Jesus we love so much, so if you are down in a dark pit of despair and don’t know how to get out. Look up. You will find the hand of Jesus waiting to lift you up and out of that darkness.

Here are some more important articles that may help you…

Bottom-Post-Banner

Podcast Episode #1 Why Do Christians Commit Suicide?

Podcast Banner

Our first episode of the Stand Tall For Christ Podcast is now available. In this episode I discuss the topic of suicide. Why do Christians have suicidal thoughts? Why do they commit suicide? How can we control our thought life? Are demons real? These are a few of the questions I tackle in this episode as I share two stories of real life demon-possession I witnessed first hand.

VISIT MY SOUNDCLOUD PAGE

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

bottom-post-banner

Finding Joy in the Storms of Life

ben-white-128604
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

As Christians we face darkness, tribulations and storms frequently in life. In fact someone recently said you are either in a storm right now, coming out of a storm or heading into one! Well heck that doesn’t sound very encouraging. The source of our troubles can be very different and tragedy can strike at any moment… so let me ask you a question. Is it possible for a Christian to live a JOYOUS life EVERY day?

The Art of Joy

A few years ago I worked in an office with a gentleman named Art. This man seemed to be filled to the brim with joy… he always walked around with a pleasant look or smile. If you ever spoke to him, his voice was always soft and gentle and he would laugh at nearly anything. He never seemed to encounter a bad mood in the 10 YEARS I knew him!!! I mean, who did this guy think he is?! So one day at the time clock I asked him… Hey Art are you a Christian? He looked at me with a big grin and said… oh YES I love me some Jesus!

Wow, I wasn’t a Christian for very long in those days, in fact I loved the world more than I loved God and it showed in every aspect of my life. This guy Art had something that I wanted… that ambiance…. that overflowing spirit of God… that part of him that he couldn’t contain… it was like a huge billboard around his neck that read I LOVE JESUS.

How could I have that? I wondered. I never asked Art about it… I just kept living in the world, doing my thing. But not long ago, after a very long and boneheaded attempt at Christianity I discovered the secret to the Art of Joy:

Seek daily the presence of God.

My Pastor this Sunday said “Everything changes in the presence of God. Whether we are on a mountaintop or in a valley, everything changes in the presence of God.”

We are not guaranteed happiness in this life, in fact we can expect trials and tribulations… Storms will be frequent. It is not our circumstances that matter, but our Character. It is not WHAT is happening to us that matters, but HOW we respond. Here is what we find in the book of James 1:2-4:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We know we can expect bad things to happen in life, and we know there are various ways we can respond to every bad situation that comes along. So how do we respond regularly in a way that pleases God? That’s a good question, that’s a very good question.

Words from God

Very recently, in the last week, God has given me two words…. Stability and Focus. The two words were given in much different ways and on different days, but they have helped open my eyes to what it means to seek daily the presence of God.

In my Christian life, I have had ups and downs spiritually speaking. Some days strong in the force, other days wanting to be left alone by everyone. I have had weeks of regular Bible reading followed by weeks where I never even cleaned the dust off the top. There have been seasons of active willful sin, followed by seasons of true repentance.

But as I sit here now, I don’t believe that is the way it is supposed to be.  When I hear words like stability and focus I think of my daily relationship with God. How seeking his presence daily will BRING STABILITY to all areas of our lives. How making God the one true FOCUS arranges everything else into its proper place. Your marriage or relationship will be taken to new levels, your work will be more fulfilling… in short ALL of your relationships will improve.

But how do we seek?

Many people think being a Christian is about a checklist… I went to church on Sunday, check… read my Bible today, check… prayed this morning, check… check, check, check! You can check off 100 things a day and still NOT have a close relationship with Jesus Christ!

So I have a word I want to pass on to you. Surrender. A relationship with Jesus is all about Surrender. Give up your life for Him, 100% of it, and trust that He can do it better. Let’s face it, I don’t know how old you are, but you have been living life all along, on your terms… your way. How is that working out for you?

Start today, and maybe for the first time ever, place Jesus on the throne over your life… you see He is not JUST your Savior, but He is also your LORD. Let Him rule over your life and sit back in awe over His plans for you… it may not look or feel like anything you imagined, but I can promise you it is far better than your best imagined life could be.

And this my friends is the secret to finding true joy in your life.

 

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

bottom-post-banner

Feeling Hopeless or Unloved?

Living a Life of Hidden Sin

As you may have discovered if you have been looking around my blog, Jesus Christ has saved my life. For 35 years I was an Atheist and for many of those years in bondage to lust and an addiction to pornography. Today, at the age of 46 I can loudly proclaim that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and the God of first, second and fifteenth chances! He has forgiven my sins, shattered the stronghold of pornography in my life, restored my marriage and given me the promise of eternal life.

He is a God who can restore any life, and rebuild any shattered mess you find yourself in. Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, fear, anger, lust, addiction to drugs, alcohol, co-dependency, eating disorders, financial ruin, grief, physical pain or any other affliction… Jesus Christ alone is the answer to a new and victorious life.

Does your life feel out of control? Hopeless? Do you feel like there is no way out? Do you feel like the pain is too much to handle? Do you just want to give up? Do you want to run away or even have thoughts of ending it all? I know I have. Life can be filled with pain and grief and unless or until we learn to find the one way to cope with the trials and tribulations of life… there will be no end to it. Life will continue to be a vicious cycle and we will sink further and further into a pit of despair.

If this sounds like your reality, let me share something with you… something that will change your life forever. There is a God who created all that you see in the universe. He created you, a unique being in all of His creation… there have been no others like you and never will there be another. Your DNA is yours alone. That same God knows and loves you more than anything else. He wants to have a personal loving relationship with you… but He wants you to come freely into His arms.

You have a choice to make, we all do. Turn away from God and face the world on our own, or turn towards God and leap into His waiting arms. You may look back on your life and your story is unique… but let me ask you… how has life been so far, doing things your way? When I asked that question of myself, I realized very quickly that I hated the life I had created under my own power. It was littered with destruction as a result of my sinful choices and I knew there had to be a better way.

Once you accept that you are hopelessly lost where you are, cry out to God and ask Him to forgive you for your life of sin… put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and you too will be freely given the gift of eternal salvation. Not only that, but this call to faith will invite the Holy Spirit of God to come into your life and be your guide and counselor. You will learn to leave all of your worries, anxieties, fears, and old habits at the foot of the cross… and with time you will know what it means to walk in Victory.

You will become renewed, a new creation and as you walk side by side with Jesus your life will start to look more and more like His. Brother or Sister, if something you read above has appealed to you, or has described your life I want to encourage you to reach out to God right now, right where you are!

You can begin this new walk, this new chapter of your life this very moment… God is waiting. If you would like, it would be my honor to pray for you. You can leave a comment below and I will pray for you right away, or if you prefer privacy you can send a prayer request to standtallforchrist@gmail.com

God Bless You

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

bottom-post-banner