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Dealing With Depression | Turn to Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2022 3:00 am

Dealing With Depression | Turn to Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 28, 2022 3:00 am

It may come as a surprise to some . . . it may be welcome confirmation for others . . . but believers can get depressed. Yes, there are numerous Scriptures about joy and contentment, but we’re humans living in mortal bodies, in challenging times. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on a depressing time in the life of the great prophet Elijah, and highlights a number of practical principles to help us in our times of challenge. You might want to take some notes.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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We're glad you're joining us for a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Maybe you'll find yourself in a cave of sorts right now. You're isolated. You're hurting. You're deeply depressed.

It just gets worse with each day. Just as Elijah found himself in a deep, dark cave, figuratively and literally, Pastor Greg Laurie says we can too. So I'd ask you, do you want to get out of the mess you're in? Do you want to get out of the cave you find yourself in? You want to get out of the misery you find yourself in? Then turn to Jesus Christ.

He's the answer. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day where life begins.

It may come as a surprise to some. It may be welcome confirmation for others, but believers can get depressed. Yes, there are numerous scriptures about joy and contentment, but we're humans living in mortal bodies in challenging times. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie focuses on a depressing time in the life of the great prophet Elijah and highlights a number of practical principles to help us in our times of challenge.

You might want to take some notes. This is the day, the day where life begins. Let's grab our Bibles and turn to 1 Kings chapter 18 and the title of my message is Dealing with Depression. We're at part two of the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel and this is the last message of my Elijah series. So we remember all the prophets of Baal were gathered there together for the big showdown. 850 prophets of Baal versus one man of God. Elijah says let's let the real God answer by fire. Look at 1 Kings 18 27.

About noon time Elijah began mocking them. They'll have to shout louder he scoffed. For surely he's a god. Maybe he's away on a trip or he's asleep or he needs to be wakened and so they shouted louder. Oh I left out one word, one phrase.

Perhaps he's daydreaming or is relieving himself. We don't want to miss that one. So shout louder. So they shouted louder following their normal custom. They cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out.

They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice but still there was no sound, no reply, no response. So Elijah says yeah you guys go do your thing. Okay you done. Okay wow what a mess. Blood everywhere.

Seriously. Now it's my turn. And he says I want you to repair the altar which they did. Now I want you to douse it with water. I want you to do it again. Do it again. Three times they douse the altar.

Why? Because when God answered this prayer he wanted everyone to know it was the Lord. First Kings 18 36 at the time of sacrifice the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed Lord God of Abraham Isaac and Israel let it be known today that you are God in Israel and I am your servant and I've done all these things at your command. Answer me Lord answer me so these people will know that you Lord are God and that you are turning their hearts back again. I love this prayer.

Just confidence in God. He didn't cut himself. He didn't scream. He didn't yell. He didn't jump up and down. He just prayed.

What happened? First Kings 18 verse 38. Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice of wood the stones and the soil and looked up the water in the trench and when all the people saw this they fell prostrate and cried the Lord he is God. The Lord he is God.

Love this. So Ahab goes back to the palace and he tells his wicked wife Jezebel what just happened. She was probably waiting for good news. The prophets of Baal won. Elijah's dead.

It didn't work out quite that way. You know all those prophets yes 850 yeah they're dead. They're gone and Elijah's alive. So Jezebel was very angry. First Kings 19 when Ahab got home he told her everything Elijah had done including the way he killed all the prophets of Baal.

Jezebel sent this message to Elijah may the God strike me and even kill me by this time tomorrow if I've not killed you just as you killed them. And now this twist Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. Wait what?

Wait what? Fled for his life? You're the guy that just stood on Mount Carmel. You called fire down from heaven. You're the guy who stopped the rain. You're the guy who raised a little boy from the dead. How could you be afraid?

Why? Because Elijah was human just like we are. James reminds us. Human just like we are. You know we put spiritual leaders on pedestals.

We think because God has called them to teach or preach or to lead that they don't have the same pressures and emotions that we all have but they're people just like you. Not only was he afraid he got depressed. First Kings 19 four. He went on alone into the wilderness traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed he might die. He said I've had enough Lord take my life. I'm no better than my ancestors who have already died.

We'll stop there. Elijah was not the first man or woman of God to feel this way. Moses became so blue he asked God to take his life as well. Jonah after the great revival of Nineveh effectively did the same thing. Even the apostle Paul got so down he said he despaired of life.

Again he was human like us. Emotions can get the best of us. So let me just close this message with a few points about dealing with depression.

Before I do this let me say this. There is something called clinical depression that is real. You should talk to your doctor about that. I'm not talking about clinical depression. I'm talking about the kind of depression that we might face in life in general when we get down in the doldrums. So let me say this. Here's my first point. Times of depression and vulnerability often come after great victories.

Let me say that again. Times of depression and vulnerability often come after great victories. Elijah had just had the greatest victory of his life. In fact everything in his life was effectively building up to this. He was being prepared for it. He goes into the court of Ahab.

He says it's not going to rain. The Lord calls him to a brook that he gets his water from and ravens drop his food by each day. And then the brook dries up and then the Lord has him go be dependent on a widow to care for him. So the Lord's getting him ready. And then he emerges and he has this amazing event. And then the death threat.

Depression often follows disappointment. Maybe Elijah thought that King Ahab would believe. Maybe he even thought that Jezebel would come around. But the opposite happened.

Ahab went back ratted out Elijah and Jezebel put a contract out on his life. So this can happen in our life as well. Maybe you just took a bold step of faith. God used you in a powerful way and all of a sudden all of this spiritual warfare began.

You didn't even understand it. All of a sudden your kids are turning from the Lord. You're leading people to Christ and your kids are not interested in spiritual things. Or you're having problems in your marriage. Or you're having problems somewhere else. There can be a cause and effect here. And you find yourself slumping into depression. You know I am not a person that deals with depression in general.

But I've had depressing moments I can tell you that. And you might be surprised to know that I have found that there's a little slump of depression that will come right after we do some big thing. We do a big crusade.

It's all exciting. A bunch of people come to the Lord and I just know Monday morning I'm going to be down. It hits me and here's how I learned how to deal with that. I observed Billy Graham up close and personal. Because toward the end of his ministry I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with him. Helping him with his sermons.

Hanging out with him. And I remember one event in particular we're in Portland Oregon. And Johnny Cash sang and Billy Graham preached. The place was packed.

And think about this. This is Portland Oregon. This is Portlandia right. Okay this is they're very it's probably one of the most unchurched cities in America. And so here's Billy Graham preaching. It's like revival like.

Amazing. All these people come to the Lord and we're on the platform. And we're coming down and Billy Graham is now walking out to his car.

There are people on each side and we have us sort of holding them back. And I'm right behind him. He's just walking along his head that's kind of down.

People are like Billy Billy we love you Billy. He just keeps walking. He gets into the car and we're driving out.

And so I'm thinking you know I want to compliment him and encourage him. So I'm riding shotgun next to TW Wilson his long time associate. And Billy's in the back seat.

Next to him is his son Franklin. Turn around over the seat and I say Billy that was a great message tonight. Billy looks at me with those steely blue eyes and he says it was just gospel. Turn back around. Whoa okay I knew that. And then I turned back around.

I love that one point when you said Christ can resensitize your conscience. Billy shot back well he can. Okay I turned back. I'm not talking to him anymore.

Clearly the man does not want to be complimented. Then we drove to the hotel. He invited us up to his room. Someone had given us some roast beef sandwiches before the crusade started. That was a long time ago. They were cold.

So we are going to all now eat these sandwiches. And Billy disappears for a moment and comes back into the room in his pajamas and dress shoes. I guess he left his slippers at home.

So there's Billy Graham who just preached to thousands of people in his pajamas and dress shoes eating a cold roast beef sandwich. What was a lesson I learned? Don't take yourself too seriously. Okay this is something God did. You didn't do it. Return to normal as quickly as possible.

And I observed that in his character and the way he functioned. So don't focus on your emotions. Focus on God. You're not as good as people say you are. You're not as bad as people say you are.

Some of you maybe but I don't know. You are God's servant. You're just doing what God calls you to do. Give him the glory and move on. Get over yourself. Don't live in the past. Instead prepare for the future. I read about a sign that's posted on an airport runway at the end of the road. And the sign says this keep moving if you stop you are in danger and in danger to those who are flying end quote. Just keep moving and that's what we need to do. I feel down today. Really we'll just keep moving forward. Yeah but I feel yeah don't obsess about it.

Keep moving. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We love hearing from our listeners.

Whether it's a short word or they take some time to tell us what's going on we read every word. Pastor Greg I'm thankful for your devotions and tweets each day. They always seem to have a direct impact on what I'm going through and that is indeed the case today. Thank you for staying true to the word through all these years. I can trust your teachings and that's golden to me. Thank you Greg.

How have these studies and God's word touched your life? If you have a story to share why not call us and tell us about it. Call 866-871-1144. That's 866-871-1144. Well today Pastor Greg is presenting some helpful principles that can get us through times of challenge and depression.

Point number two. When you're depressed do not isolate but surround yourself with friends. When you're depressed don't isolate from others.

First Kings 19-4. Elijah went on alone in the wilderness traveling all day. He was alone. He needed a trusted friend who could have encouraged him. Often when we're down we separate from people when we should do the opposite. Even Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to simply sit with him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Right? And why?

Because the scripture says he was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Research reveals that three out of five Americans feel lonely. Experts have long known that loneliness and isolation has long-ranging effects on the mind and body ranging from anxiety and depression to vulnerability and even illness. Having just one or two friendships can dramatically decrease loneliness. Get some friends around you. People that can encourage you. Don't isolate yourself from everyone.

And social media is not filled with friends. Get real living breathing human people around you. Right? Point number three. Don't ignore the practical when you're feeling down. Don't ignore the practical.

I love this part. First Kings 19 four. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and he prayed that he might die. I've had enough Lord.

Take my life. And he laid down and slept under the broom tree. As he was sleeping an angel touched him and said get up and eat.

Sounds like a mother. Get up and eat. He looked around and there was some baked bread on hot stones and a jar of water so he ate and drank and sat down again. Sometimes you don't need a sermon. You need a sandwich. I'm serious.

Sometimes it's the practical. When did you eat last? What did you eat last? Have you gotten some exercise? Have you gone outside? Have you put your phone down and just looked at God's creation or had a conversation with somebody? You see sometimes it's a simple thing.

Final point. When you're feeling down you need perspective from God's Word. When you're feeling down and depressed you need perspective from God's Word.

First Kings 19 eight. He got up and ate and drank and the food gave him enough strength to travel 40 days and nights to Mount Sinai the mountain of God. He came to a cave where he spent the night and the Lord said what are you doing here Elijah? When we are feeling down we need to look up and listen for the voice of God. There's a lot of voices coming at us. We need to hear God's voice and where are we going to hear God's voice? You're going to hear God's voice and God's Word.

So you've got to open the book and listen. The story goes on to say that while he was in the cave there was a mighty earthquake but then it says but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then there was a fire but the Lord was not in the fire and there was a wind but the Lord was not in the wind and then he heard a still small voice. Sometimes we're looking for God in the big events in life and we should but sometimes he's speaking to us quietly.

So we need to be quiet. You know Johnny Cash had a similar event in his life when he was at the peak of his fame. He found himself addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates.

He used amphetamines to keep going on the road. Then he used barbiturates to get to sleep at night and he began to isolate himself from friends and family and he said I never wanted to see another dawn. So he went to a place on the Tennessee River known as the Nickajack Cave. It was a series of caves somewhere larger than two or three football stadiums.

It just went on and on and on and people were known to go in those caves and never come out again because they'd get lost disoriented and they would die. Johnny was kind of hoping that would happen to him. So he went deep into that cave where it was pitch darkness and then he said that lack of light was appropriate for at that moment I was as far from God as I had ever been. And Johnny said when he was in the darkness of that cave not even wanting to live another day the Lord spoke to him and said what are you doing here?

Just like Elijah right? It was there that Johnny Cash made a recommitment to Christ and he said of the experience God saved me from killing myself. Maybe you find yourself in a cave of sorts right now.

Not a literal cave but a cave nonetheless. You're despondent. You're isolated. You're hurting. You're deeply depressed.

It just gets worse with each day. And the Lord might say to you what are you doing here? You don't have to be here. You can get out of this place that you're in right now by turning to me. Listen for that still small voice.

You know Jesus could have said that to Peter when he was warming himself by the enemy's fire about to betray the Lord for the third time and deny his name. Like what are you doing here dude? Why? You know we get ourselves in crazy places and we don't know why things are going so badly. What are you doing there?

Did you have to go there? You know you struggle. I struggle with drinking. I'm an alcoholic and when I was at the bar the other night wait what? What are you doing there?

Well I don't know why I make these bad decisions. I hang around with all these people and we're partying. Wait what are you doing there? Why weren't you at church?

See we make bad decisions then we reap the consequences of them and we wonder why things are going the way that they're going. God says what are you doing here? Come out of that cave. Oh God can help you but you need to get up and say I don't want to be here anymore.

You know there was that man that Jesus healed and he said do you want to be made whole? So I'd ask you do you want to get out of the mess you're in? Do you want to get out of the cave you find yourself in?

Do you want to get out of the misery you find yourself in? Then turn to Jesus Christ. He's the answer. He's the one who can save you and forgive you. Now listen if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life.

If you want him to forgive you of your sin. If you want to know that you'll go to heaven when you die I want you to pray this prayer after me. You could even pray it out loud if you like.

Just pray these words. Lord Jesus I know I'm a sinner but I know you're the savior. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward.

And father I know that there are some of us that maybe find ourselves in a cave we placed ourselves into and we need to come out of that place. We need to recommit ourselves to you again. And I'm going to pray a prayer for anyone that needs to make that recommitment to Jesus for you to pray as well. You could just pray Lord Jesus I need to repair my altar. I need to get back to those things you've called me to.

I need to return to my first love. So Lord hear my prayer. I recommit myself to you now. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie praying with those who are making a change in their relationship with the Lord today. And if you're coming to the Lord for the first time and asking him to forgive your sins and if you've meant those words today as you prayed with Pastor Greg we want you to know your sins have been forgiven and you're now a new child of God. And Pastor Greg would like to send you something called our New Believers Growth Packet. It'll help you get started in walking with the Lord day by day. It's free of charge. Just ask for the New Believers Growth Packet as you call 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. And then we want to mention Pastor Greg's enlightening book called Revelation a Book of Promises. You know Pastor Greg some people have a rather cloudy understanding of prophecy. You know they're not sure of the terms and some prophecy is just so rich in symbolism that they wonder where they can get the key that unlocks all the meaning. Is your book sort of a pass key that helps us access that insight today?

Yeah you know I think that's a good description. You know my objective as a pastor, as a Bible teacher, as an evangelist is make things understandable to people. I don't see any value in speaking over someone's head and using theological terminology that people don't understand.

The Bible says of Jesus the common people heard him gladly which simply means regular rank and file people understood what Jesus was talking about. So the book of Revelation this is a book many people are fascinated by but it's also a book many people are mystified by. And there is a password a password or an encryption key that will help you understand the book of Revelation and it's found right in the first chapter. I think you're going to be surprised by how understandable this great book of the Bible is.

I write in a way well it says oh we're just sitting down over a cup of coffee and we're just reading the verses together and we're talking about them together and I'm trying to explain to you with simple analogies and other scriptures commentating on scripture and showing you how these great truths apply to you. So it's in a book called Revelation subtitled a book of promises and we'll send it to you for your gift of any size. Now some can only give a little we'll send one to you some can give more of course we'll send one to you but whatever your gift is large or small we will use it to continue to teach the word of God and proclaim the gospel. So get your copy of Revelation a book of promises and we'll rush it to you. Yeah that's right and we'd like to send a copy of this book to you right away. Hey Dave let me jump in really quick and not only are we offering this book Revelation a book of promises but we have this really cool graphic bookmark that we have put together that gives you a timeline of end times event.

So you probably wondered okay I know I've heard about the rapture and the tribulation period and the anti-christ and the second coming what happens when well this very beautiful little visual bookmark sort of lays it out for you that's included in the book you're talking about right now. Yeah that's right so we hope you'll get in touch today and ask for Revelation a book of promises and we'll only be able to mention this resource a short time longer. Just address a letter to A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. In so many ways the world has lost its way but God wants believers to bring the kind of change it needs. Next time tune in for some practical help on how to be a world changer. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life share your story leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-01 13:17:18 / 2023-01-01 13:27:04 / 10

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