Mental Health

Mental Health

We have had so many things happening in our world over the last few years that it would be easy to fall prey to a stronghold of fear if we let our minds think upon all of the troubling things which are taking place.  Almost daily, we hear of more suicide bombings in Israel.  We are still losing some of our precious troops each week in Iraq.  Even where I live, the police departments can’t keep up with all of the meth labs.  That doesn’t even include the daytime robberies where the perpetrators just barge into your home, beat you up, then take your goods.  It appears that our city is being taken over by evil.  Even sitting here, typing this, I find my eyes filling up with tears.  It seems like our world is a hopeless place.

Let’s bring it a step closer to home.  What about the things taking place in our own life?  What about the child who has chosen to rebel against God?  What about cancer or some other disease that is ravaging our body?  What about someone who is spreading lies about us?  What about those of us whose spouse may be out of work?  How do we keep our minds and our hearts from becoming overwhelmed with fear?

Prov. 12:25 tells us that an anxious heart can weigh us down.  In John 14:1, Jesus tells us not to LET our hearts be troubled.  This is a command to us, meaning that we have something to do.  It means that we must not let those troubling thoughts come into our minds and find a place to rest.  When they come to our minds, we must remember the command in Phil 4:6 not to be anxious about anything but to give our requests to God.  Verse 7 tells us that after we leave our requests with God, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.

When the sinister things of this world enter your thoughts, make the choice not to sit and ponder on the seeming hopelessness of it all.  Don’t think upon the threats of more terrorist attacks.  Don’t think upon the unstable job market.  We are commanded to think upon those things which are true (certain, reliable, trustworthy), noble (excellent, supreme, lordly), right, pure (genuine, unmingled, uncontaminated), lovely (captivated, delightful, splendid), admirable (worthy, good), excellent, and praiseworthy.  Phil. 4:8

I have found that one way to speedily ruin my mental health is by thinking bad thoughts of others.  In Zech. 7:10, it tells us not to think evil of others in our hearts.  Often when we think the thoughts, we end up speaking those very thoughts because out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths often speak.  Prov. 12:14 tells us that from the fruit of our lips, we are filled with good things.  The only way this can happen is by renewing our minds and causing our thought life to be renewed (remade, reawakened, reconditioned).  Rom. 12:2

Another way to bring mental health to our lives is by learning not to be quick-tempered.  Yes, I know this a very hard one to do.  I struggle with this on a daily basis.  Prov. 14:17 says that a quick-tempered person will do foolish things.  When we do those foolish things, then we have to deal with the consequences, not to mention the guilt.  That can promptly remove any sense of well being that we had been experiencing.  In Prov. 15:18, it says that a hot-tempered person will stir up dissension.  This can happen in our homes, which God designed to be a refuge for our families, not a place of conflict, clashing, and opposition.  Prov. 14:26 says that the Lord has a secure fortress for those who fear Him, and for their children, it is a refuge.

Another thing which can suddenly zap our sense of well-being is envy.  Prov. 14:30 tells us that a heart at peace will give life to us, but envy will rot our bones.  I Cor. 13 tells us that love doesn’t envy.  We are told to rejoice with those who rejoice.  When we find it hard to rejoice with others when they have been blessed with something that we would like to have, we need to ask God to help us to be able to honestly rejoice with them in the blessing of God on their lives.

There is another snare that we may not think of right away when we ponder on what can hinder our mental health.  It is that of gossip.  Prov. 10:19 tells us that where words are many, sin is not absent.  The more we say, the more we find ourselves getting into trouble.  Do you ever wonder what may come back on you because of what you have spoken?  Prov. 21:23 tells us that if we guard our mouth, we will keep ourselves from calamity, distress, or trials.  If we don’t quickly repent of speaking sinful words, there is that separation between us and God.  I know when I find myself separated from my Father because of my sin, my frame of mind is not a good one.  I miss the peace, tranquility, and calmness that I have when I know that my walk with Father is what it should be.  God wants us to be wise with what we say because then our words have the ability to bring healing and restoration to those around us.  (Prov. 12:18, 18:21,)  If we guard what we say, we guard our very life, meaning that we will be mentally healthy, not to mention many other physical ailments which we may avoid.  (Prov. 13:3)

I remember when I first got saved.  I had been with a crowd that was really rough and sinister.  I had to let my parents screen all of my phone calls because they wouldn’t leave me alone.  I was stalked by one of them for several weeks after pulling away from that way of life.  It was a very fearful time for me, never knowing when one of them was going to be right on my tail.  A dear man at church prayed over me regarding this.  From that very moment, it stopped!  I was amazed.  Several months later, I saw the verse in Prov. 16:7 that reveals to us that when our ways please the Lord, He makes even our ENEMIES to be at peace with us.  I have seen the person who was stalking me only one or two times in the twenty years since this took place, and both times, the FEAR was in THAT person’s eyes!  Light truly does chase away the darkness!  I mention this illustration because many of you may have some “enemies” who are causing your mental health to be disturbed.  I urge you to start praying the above scripture over your circumstances.  You may see God work speedily on your behalf, bringing that tranquility back into your life.

I want to close with some final scriptures that talk about health.  This can refer to mental health, as well as a vast array of physical health in our lives, if we choose to follow the decrees given to us.
Prov. 3:7-8  Don’t be wise in your own eyes, but fear God and turn from evil.  This brings health to your body and it nourishes your bones.
Prov. 3:21-22 Preserve sound judgment and discernment because they will be life for you.
Prov. 4:20-23 Pay attention to God’s word and keep His word in your heart.  His word is life to you and health to your whole body.  Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Prov. 17:22  If we have a cheerful heart, it works like a medicine.  (Not to mention that it’s much cheaper than visiting the doctor!)

Awesome God, You love us so much, and you desire for us to have life, and life abundantly.  Help us to make changes in our thoughts, where needed, so that Your life, love, joy, peace, and tranquility can be ours at all times, in all ways, in all circumstances, and in all conditions.  (I Th. 3:16)  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Interesting insights from Lamentations

I listened to this last night:

It is Rick Wiles from just a few days ago.  Both of the guys he interviewed were interesting.  Anyway, at one point, he references Lamentations so I decided to read it.  I saw some very interesting, insightful stuff.

Lamentations 2:14Modern English Version (MEV)

14 Your prophets have seen for you
    false and deceptive visions;
they have not revealed your iniquity,
    to bring back your captives,
but have seen for you oracles
    that are false and misleading.
Sure sounds like a lot of the mega churches and the prosperity gospel that is still being taught by so many people.

Lamentations 4:6Modern English Version (MEV)

For the iniquity of the daughter of my people
    is greater than the sin of Sodom,
which was overthrown in a moment,
    and no hands were wrung for her.
I bolded the last line because it reminded me of Rev. 18 when Babylon falls and merchants weep and wail – not for the destruction of the people, but for their own loss of $$$ from Babylon because she is gone.  They will ring their hands for their own loss, not for OUR loss.  (I believe the US is Babylon from Revelation 18.)
As we ponder what is coming soon, like the famine, drought, etc., this next verse made my jaw drop:

Lamentations 4:9Modern English Version (MEV)

Those killed by the sword
    are better off than those who die of hunger,
for they pine away,
    stricken for want of the fruits of the field.
Doesn’t that make you think of ISIS bearing their swords and taking off our heads?  As horrid as that is, this verse says we will be better off to go that way than to die of hunger.
These next two verses make me think of the US and how we literally “sold” ourselves to the Middle East for their oil:

Lamentations 5:6Modern English Version (MEV)

We have given our hand to Egypt and to Assyria,
    to be satisfied with bread.

Lamentations 5:9Modern English Version (MEV)

We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
    because of the sword in the wilderness.

So that I don’t leave on such a negative note, here is another verse:

Lamentations 5:19Modern English Version (MEV)

19 You, O Lord, remain forever;
    Your throne endures from generation to generation.

Don’t Be a Meathead!

Don’t be a Meathead!

As a little girl, I remember watching All in the Family.  Archie would never fail to call his son-in-law “Meathead” at least once during every episode.  While we laughed to hear the bantering between the two men, it isn’t so funny when we think of being called a “Meathead.”  Nobody likes to be called degrading names.

In I Cor. 3:3, Paul calls the Christians carnal because of the jealousy and quarreling that took place among the believers.  He says that they are carnally minded.  In studying the word ‘carnal,’ I found that it comes from ‘carnivorous,’ which means ‘meat.’  ‘Minded’ refers to the head.  ‘Carnally minded’ means, in essence, being a ‘meathead.’

How many times do we find ourselves acting in carnally minded ways?  It sounds even worse when we think of ourselves as being a ‘meathead.’  Yet, we often do just that.  For example, maybe our husband says, “I wish you wouldn’t iron my pants this way!”  How will most of us respond?  A harsh word usually stirs up more harsh words.  (Pr. 15:1) Let’s look at our husband’s request in another way.  “Honey, do you think that you could iron my pants with a crease down the middle?”  Because he is asking in a gentle, respectful manner, we are much more likely to want to honor his request, and work to please him.  After all, Prov. 16:24 tells us that pleasant words are sweet to our soul.

When growing up, if your mother told you, “Don’t touch those cookies!” you would likely be fighting a fleshly battle.  The mere mention of the cookies probably got your taste buds in an uproar!  But, if she was wise, she would sweetly say, “After we eat supper, we can all have some cookies while we play a game.”  Your thinking would likely have been upon the enjoyable part of the evening (cookies and game time), rather than on the underlying command of ‘do not eat the cookies now.’

Many times people focus on the ‘do nots’ of the Bible rather than changing their thinking.  The Word tell us that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. (Jn. 8:32) Sometimes we forget that God gives us power to NOT sin!  We are too busy focusing on what we aren’t supposed to do, rather than focusing on the power that God abundantly gives us to help us overcome those things which try to ensnare us.

It’s not a magical formula, where someone performs a voodoo ritual over us.  It often takes bringing our flesh into subjection to our spirit, and that takes work!  A farmer must sow before he can reap. It requires much effort and diligence on his part.  It’s the same with us.  We must renew our minds, training ourselves to be godly, putting on the Lord Jesus, and walking in the Spirit.  As we seek to do these things, we will find the Holy Spirit right there with us, being our cheerleader as we journey away from our previous habit of being a ‘meathead.’
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Loveless

Loveless

“But mark this:  There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.”
II Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

I thought it was interesting to note that in the Greek, “without love” actually means to be without family love.  We have sure seen an increase in this over the last few years.  I remember the horror of hearing how Susan Smith had killed her two young sons by leaving them in the car, then letting the car roll into the water.  Yet, there have been countless other stories in recent years of other parents killing their own children.

There was also the highly profiled story of the Menendez brothers killing their parents.  Yet, they weren’t the only ones who have done such an atrocious act.  There have been countless others over the last few years.  Doesn’t it sound like these families are “without family love”?

How does this scripture apply to the lives of Christian families?  Half of all marriages end in divorce, even in the church.  I know of a personal example of a ‘Christian’ man who decided to leave his wife and children so that he could live with his same-sex partner.  I know personal examples of ‘Christian’ men who beat their wives.  These are hard-core cases of families who are “without family love.”

I have a friend who used to work in a battered women’s shelter.  She told me that the top three abusers are policemen, military men, and pastors.  I have heard so many stories of youth pastors sexually abusing teenaged girls.  That brings such pain, not to mention shame, to their families when it is exposed.  It also causes a lifetime of pain for the young ladies who have been violated by a man whom they should have been able to trust.

What about families who are too busy in outside activities to ever sit down to a meal together?  What happened to family nights, where families would play games and enjoy each others company?  Could it be that we have traded family love for outside activities?

There are many families who leave the spiritual training of the children to a Sunday school teacher.  That is contrary to scripture.  Deuteronomy 6 makes it very clear that spiritual training is the job of the parents.  In Proverbs, there are many verses that mention listening to your father and not forsaking the teaching of your mother.  Again, it is clear that spiritual training is up to us, as parents, and not someone else.  When we fail to be diligent to train our children in biblical principles, doesn’t that also show a lack of family love?

We are all very busy, but we must constantly guard against becoming so inundated with activities that we fail to properly teach and train our children.  We must be militant in keeping the family love alive, in both our marriages and in our parenting.

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

My Dream and God’s Judgment

I had a horrific dream last night.  At first, I couldn’t even talk about it this morning.  I just wanted to cry.  I knew I needed refresh myself in the Lord.

Once I got before the Lord and refreshed my spirit, He spoke some things to me that I think would be beneficial to all of us to hear. And one thing the Lord knows about me, I don’t want to go through anything difficult and miss what He is trying to teach me, even if the difficult thing is “just a bad dream.”

I was in a very large house — more like a mansion. (Yet we actually live in a 2 BR, 1 BA house, so MUCH smaller than what was in my dream.) I knew we needed to have all the doors, windows locked. I thought they were, but they weren’t. (Now this could actually have to do with something I experienced in real life, but can’t post details.) Anyway, the Lord spoke to me that we all know we need to close “openings” in our spiritual armor. Yet we need to get before Him to allow Him to show us where there might still be openings, no matter how small they may be, then close those openings.

At one point, I was shooting a gun and it started misfiring. As scary as it was in my dream to have that happen, the Lord reminded me that I was not injured during that time. In fact, suddenly, I had a mag that kept firing, w/o ever going out. He gently spoke to me that when we stay grounded in His Word and plant it deeply within our hearts, we can use it as a weapon and it will NEVER misfire. Our spiritual “mag” will NEVER run out of ammo.

One of the things I did while I was allowing the Lord to refresh my spirit was to listen to this playlist on you tube of Harvest.

In one song, it asks, “Are we walking into the enemy’s camp and laying our weapons down?” The Lord reminded me that it is critical to be mindful of our spiritual armor and be more ready to use it than even physical armor/weapons because we ARE living in the enemy’s camp NOW.

The one part of the dream that had me so rattled involved watching iSIS taking my daughter. As I shot the gun, my aim was off. The bullet hit something that caused a wet chemical of some kind (likely gasoline) to cover her. The person I was trying to shoot laughed a maniacal laugh and lit a match. It was HORRIFIC to see it. However, once I calmed down and allowed the Lord to speak to me, He reminded me that I immediately used my spiritual weapons and cried out to Him, asking Him to keep that match from lighting up the chemicals on her. AND HE DID!!! In fact, right after that, she was able to get free. Lesson from the Lord: Don’t ever discount the weapons He provides for us. As important as it is for us to be physically prepared for what is ahead of us, our spiritual preparation is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE.

So while the dream was very disturbing, in reality, God used it as a to speak some powerful things to me.

Later this afternoon, I saw this on Steve Quayle’s site and it resonated with my spirit.  It goes right along with some of what the Lord was showing me I must take very seriously.

http://www.stevequayle.com/index.php?s=33&d=1499

I have been sensing the same thing in my spirit, and even more so, once gay marriage got passed.  The walls of our land were severely breached on that day.

Here is another word that goes right along with the above:

Leftovers

Leftovers

Whenever I mention to my husband that we are having leftovers for supper, I can count on hearing a disappointed, “Oh,” coming from him.  It never brings excitement to him to think of eating leftovers.  I’m much better off if I just try to use some creativity to make the meal appear as if it’s not leftovers.

In Christian circles, we often hear that we can’t live off of yesterday’s anointing.  In other words, we can’t eat spiritual ‘leftovers’ and still expect to thrive in our walk with the Lord.

In reading the book of Ruth, I noticed that Ruth ate all she wanted and had some leftover. (2:14) It occurred to me that God wants us to come and eat of His Word, getting ourselves so full of His Word that we have some ‘leftovers’ to give out to those around us.

Our ‘leftovers’ might be seen as being patient instead of going into a temper tantrum when things aren’t going our way, showing compassion instead of indifference, sacrificing rather than being selfish, giving discipline to our children rather than punishing them, doing devotions with the kids rather than letting the TV baby-sit them.  It could be shown in being submissive as opposed to insubordinate, granting grace instead of nagging, listening instead of being so quick to speak.

Do you have any ‘leftovers’ to offer those around you?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller