David Inquired of the Lord

To My Fellow Church Leaders,

At times, I wonder how often we miss the opportunity to follow David’s example when disaster strikes our own camp, leaving God “holding the bag” because we are too exhausted, grief stricken, and facing too great an opposition to do what God has been teaching us to do as leaders.

In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men’s families were kidnapped, their belongings stolen, and their homes burned to the ground. After weeping until they were exhausted, David’s fellow warriors blamed him and they talked about stoning him.

But… David, though himself completely exhausted from grieving, then did something as a leader that transformed the enemy’s disaster into a Miracle from God!

He “found strength in the Lord” and he “inquired of the Lord”!

Instead of assuming that the tragedy must have happened as a result of God’s providential will and leaving it there, he refused to assume anything except one thing: Inquire of God!

It isn’t over until God says that it’s over. Pastors and Leaders, regardless of our level of exhaustion and the anger of the mob that might be threatening the very life of our ministry, we are not done until we have inquired of the Lord AND have heard back from Him.

Strengthen yourself in the Lord, just as David did. Inquire of the Lord, just as David did. Hear from God, just as David did. See the miracle of God take place as you follow through on His answer, just as David did.

See you at the altar of inquiry, my friends.

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#PastorsTip

Depression

Depression is likely the loneliest, most difficult life-challenge we can face. It is a condition that exhausts the mind and body of hope, strength, motivation, and courage.

“My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God… with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’

My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me… Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

~ Psalm 42:3-4,9-11

At the risk of sounding like an over-simplified explanation of Depression, there are basically two categories of Depression’s causes.

1. A Chemical Imbalance in the body. There are many, many chemicals and hormones that our body produces for its healthy functioning. The brain is an organ that [it is estimated] uses 20% of the energy that the body generates and uses. The brain, as an organ, requires a strict balance of chemicals and hormones to function according to God’s original design. A change in that chemical balance affects thought patterns, reasoning skills, IQ level, memories (saving and recalling), emotions… and the long list goes on.

2. A Circumstantial Stress that challenges our belief system, bringing on doubt and expectation of further pain and disaster.

Both causes influence each other, creating a downward spiral that takes the whole person deeper and deeper into a darkness of soul that is likely unmatched in life.

Of all the life-challenges we may face in our 80+ years of living on earth, Depression has been so misunderstood that most people are left to fight through their war by themselves.

Our Depression emphatically yells like a devil down into the dark pit that we are in, mocking us and telling us that God has abandoned us. (Have you heard that wicked voice too, reverberating down to the bottom of the dark pit that you are in?)

Jesus experienced some times of deep depression, including while hanging on the Cross. He cried out, “Father, why have You left Me?” He too heard that voice of depression that reverberated down into the pit of His despair, and He felt abandoned! His hope was dashed.

Father God, however, did not abandon His Son. He was raised back to life within 3 days, having accomplished the mission of the Cross. You may feel abandoned, but Father God has a plan for your resurrection from the pit of despair that you are in.

In times of Depression we must navigate through the dark terrain of our life-challenge by [in terms of an airplane pilot] using instruments only. We truly must “walk by faith, and not by sight.”

When we are healthy, our emotions add color to our view of life, providing some definition and enjoyment to the overall big picture. When our system is unhealthy, our emotions distort the overall picture that we see, causing us to crash if we rely on them to be fairly accurate representations of reality.

Without addressing the pros and cons of medicinal treatments here, let me point to the overall strategy for being an overcomer.

Call out to God verbally, like the Psalmist did in Psalm 42. Sometimes we might be so depressed and exhausted that we cannot find the strength nor the motivation to pray. But I’m not talking about a lengthy prayer (though if you can, go for it!). I’m talking about a verbal call to God for help… “Jesus, please help me!”

If those four words are too much (I know what that is like!), stir up your entire being so you can verbally say… “Jesus!”

If that one spoken word requires more strength and motivation than you can muster (only people who have experienced deep depression know what that is like; the struggle is absolutely real!), then simply in your mind call out… “Jesus!”

Our most muted thought, when directed to the Lord, is heard in His ear like a bone-rattling thunder clap!

I am praying with you, and praying for you. Depression is a very, Very, VERY real war. And so is the victory that Jesus brings to us!

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A Personal Note to Veterans

imageFirst, Thank You for your service!

Second, Thank You for your service, regardless of what your official rank and role were in the service!

In scripture, David is recorded as having established a statute for all of those who serve in Israel’s defense:

“’The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.’ David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day…”

‭‭~ 1 Samuel‬ ‭30:24-25‬

Likewise, I believe that every person who serves is due the same high honor, high respect, and many thanks.

Third, Thank You for the price you paid during your service so that our nation’s freedom would be preserved!

Fourth, Thank You for paying the price daily by enduring the wounds that you carry today as a result of your past service. Physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial, are just a few of the areas of a veteran’s life that are wounded in various measures as they served.

Fifth, Thank You for enduring the tragic loss of your comrades and friends who paid the ultimate price for their service to our country, a price you yourself were willing and ready to pay.

Sixth, Thank You for not giving up on yourself (and on us as a nation) as you daily may still be fighting a war, not on foreign soil, but within your heart, soul, body, and mind. A war called PTSD.

Seventh, Thank You again! My words, as sincere as they are, can never match the weighty reality of what you have experienced and risked on our nation’s behalf. More specifically, on my behalf.

May God Bless You on this Veteran’s Day, and on every day of your precious and valued life!

~ David J. Hall, A Free Citizen of the USA.