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One Answer for Depression

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Above music from Gilberto Barreto and Friends "Lord of All" (left)
and "When the Messiah is Come" (right).

    We should recognize that there are many contributing factors to depression: physical disease, over work, emotional trauma, lack of sleep, too much sugar in the diet, lack of proper exercise, improper nutrition, lack of exposure to sunlight, use of alcohol, and even the use of many antidepressants. Some additional spiritual factors are: sin, guilt, doubt, demonic influence, worry, anxiety, and fear. However, there is one overriding factor. Solomon wrote, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7a). What we think determines, to a large degree, how we feel. What we think effects both chemical change in our bodies and the emotions we feel.

    David addresses the issue of depression when he wrote, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God" (Psalm 42:11) (see also Psalm 42:5, 43:5). Everyone has opportunity to become depressed. This morning as I am writing this article, I am sick in bed with a rather painful headache from a sinus infection. I would much rather be in the Sunday morning service of our church worshipping the Lord with the body of Christ. However, with the situation being as is, I decided to take advantage of the time to rest and write. I first began to learn to praise God about twenty years ago while I was sick in bed with the flu. I had my wife to purchase two books on praise, then I used the time to read the books, study the Word on praise, and to begin to praise Him. We should understand that every situation is an opportunity to praise God.

    David did not deny depression by saying, "I am not depressed." Neither did he give in to it. He made a decision to do something about it. He began with self-talk. He said, "Soul, you hope in God who is the health of my mental and emotional state. He is my God." The Hebrew word that is translated "hope" means "to wait". We are not to give up hope, but we are to wait, even enduring pain, trusting that God will work all things together for our good. While waiting, we are to continue to praise God.

    Jonah, the prophet of God, had disobeyed God. He had been in a terrible storm at sea, had been thrown overboard by the ship's crew, had been swallowed by a giant fish, and had been there in the stomach of the fish for three days with seaweed wrapped about his head. This was certainly an opportunity for being depressed! However, he began to pray and praise God. He said, "But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD" (Jonah 2:9).

    Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, was surrounded by the armies of three of his enemies. His army was far outnumbered by the armies of his enemies. Surely this was an opportunity to give in to hopelessness. What did he do? He sent the singers out before his army to sing and to praise the LORD (II Chronicles 20:20-22).

We find another example in the book of Acts. Paul and Silas had been severely beaten and had been put in prison with their feet in stocks, all for preaching the gospel. Here was a real opportunity to believe that God had deserted them and become depressed. However, "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God: and the prisoners heard them" (Acts 16:26).

    No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can know what God's will is for us. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18). We can praise God knowing that He is working all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Paul exhorts us by saying "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20). Again he writes, "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). David declared, "Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments" (Psalm 119:164). We take coffee breaks, rest breaks, and lunch breaks. Why not take praise breaks!

    God's answer for depression is praise! He tells us to put on "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isaiah 61:3). Praise is the one antidepressant (medicine) that we all need. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). Amen.

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Scripture Exercises

The following exercise is designed to help you to remember to praise:
  • 1. Print out this exercise.
  • 2. Choose three verses to work on each week and write them on 3 x 5 cards.
  • 3. Read each of the three verses aloud 5x in the morning and 5x in the evening.
  • 4. Do this for seven days.
  • 5. Confess the verses of praise when you are tempted to be depressed.
  • Joshua 1:8  = "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

    Philippians 4:4 = "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."

    Philippians 4:6 = "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

    Colossians 3:16 = "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

    I Thessalonians 5:18 = "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

    Psalms 43:5 = "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

    Nehemiah 13:2 = "Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing."

    Hebrews 13:15 = "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."

    Psalms 149:9 = "To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD."

    Genesis 50:20 = "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

    Psalms 67:5-7 = "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him."

    Psalms 92:1 = "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:"

    Psalms 146:1-2 = "Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being."

    Psalms 148:5 = "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created."

    Philippians 3:1 = "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe."

    James 1:2-3 = "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."

    Psalms 50:23 = "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God."

    I Kings 8:56 = "Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant."

    II Chronicles 20:21 = "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever."

    Ephesians 5:19-20 = "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;"

    Psalms 84:11 = "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."

    Revelation 4:11 = "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

    Also see: Encouragement Menu

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