How do you beat anxiety, depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)?
The attitude of gratitude is a powerful pill against viruses of all kinds.
Thanksgiving is more than a one-time holiday during the year. Biblically, we’re to give thanks consistently to the Lord. One verse that I repeatedly come back to is Psalm 107:1. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His faithful love endures forever!” You cannot go very far in Scripture without being reminded of the importance of being appreciative. Being grateful is seeing things from a heavenly perspective. And as we approach the holiday season, I want to encourage you to keep the heart of gratitude going strong into 2023 no matter what you’re facing.
During Thanksgiving, we typically give thanks for what we have or what God has done for us throughout 2022. But the ultimate form of faith is thanking God in advance. Thank God for what you’re asking Him to do in the future! While it is necessary and appropriate to thank God for what He has done, faith is thanking God in advance, trusting that He’s working right now as you wait for the answer to your prayer.
Expect God To Move
In Romans 4:20-21 it says, “Yet Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” Abraham thanked God before it happened!
Let me ask you, in the situation that you are in right now, what are you expecting God to do? We’re all in a situation of some kind. Some of us aren’t expecting God to do anything. The Bible says, “According to your faith let it be done for you” (Matthew 9:29).Maybe God gave you a dream and when you went after it, you experienced delays and difficulties. That’s to be expected. But now you’re at a dead-end and you’re discouraged.
Keep The Faith
Your next step is to keep the faith … expect God to move because being grateful displays our trust in the Lord. He may have a different answer than the one you are expecting. Hebrews 11:39-40 tells us that, “…yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us …” sometimes the answer we thought we needed does not come because God has something better in mind.
Remember what God can do because He can do ANYTHING (Ephesians 3:20). Rely on Scripture. Memorize it! Here is one I’ve spent a considerable amount of time meditating on, “… but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
With a grateful heart, make your requests known to God and you can have a peace like no other that He WILL move. It’s a peace that cannot be explained, only experienced once you’ve stepped into that faith.
I have some God-sized dreams when I think of the future of Skyline Church.What is your God-sized dream? Dream big! And when you hit that dead-end, keep the faith and expect God to move mountains.
No matter who you are or what city, state, or country you live in, you are allotted a maximum of 168 hours a week that comes in 24-hour segments called days which add up to 7 days in a week. Yet, if you’re like me, our to-do lists are never-ending, and rest always appears just out of reach.
Maybe you feel this way too? Whether it’s your work, family, volunteering, finances, or even social media that make you feel like you always have to be “on,” you may be struggling to find rest. I’m not talking about a little break, I’m talking about true rest.
I want to encourage you to take some real time off this summer … if you don’t take a break this summer, this summer will be breaking you!
Here are two simple tips to make sure you have a restful and rejuvenating summer.
How to Rejuvenate
1. Schedule Rest and Recreation
Put your time off/breaks on the yearly calendar. If we don’t schedule it, it is hard to make it happen. Also, studies show that when we schedule a vacation weeks or even months out, endorphins and serotonin are released in our brain (the natural happy drugs) as we look forward to our time off.
That’s the big picture, but what about the weekly grind? On a weekly basis, it may be just a day or two a week where the phone is turned off and the email is not checked, and rest and recuperation are the main focus of that day. To get the rest we need, we need to have boundaries and not let people encroach or break down those boundaries. We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that we can or need to do and be everything for everybody.
If you’re not sure what to do to get rejuvenated, I’d ask you this question, “What do you like to do?” Go out and do it! The word recreation is the word re-create… what re-creates you, brings you joy, rejuvenates you … that means it’s the opposite of what drains you. Sounds simple but most people don’t take time to re-create.
2. Be around people you love
Take that trip and go visit your family or friends you haven’t seen in a while. That trip may be all you need to rejuvenate your life. Make sure it’s people who energize you, not drain you. It will be an encouraging time that you think back on throughout the rest of the year.
3. Adventure to somewhere you’ve never been
One of the things that can really inspire and encourage you is by visiting a place you’ve never been. If you don’t like to travel, then it doesn’t have to be far away. There are probably places within a short drive that you’ve never been to that will amaze you. If you like to travel, then you already know this principle is true. Personally, discovering new places and new things brings me joy and excitement. I love learning about the different places where I may travel. The history, how the town was founded, what the main industry was or is and discovering if there are any trails where I can ride my dirt bike!
Whatever causes you to feel rejuvenated this summer, I want to encourage you to get out there and do it! Because God created Re-creation and He created this beautiful planet to be explored and enjoyed!
The other day, I was sitting in my backyard and I was staring at my ant problem. We live on a verifiable ant hill. So, I am always seeing ants around. Believe me. Even though I try to keep them away, they are always around.
As I was sitting there, I decided to use a few fallen Plumaria leaves to redirect the ants and I sort of laughed to myself because the ants had no idea what I was doing. And then I got deep. I remembered the verse in Proverbs 3:5-6 about how God directs our steps and it made me think that we don’t even realize how often God is actual directing our steps.
Do You Believe?
And then I noticed two ants had gotten on my hand and as I watched them my mind went even deeper. I thought to myself … what if one ant said to the other ant, “Hey, do you believe in Jeremy?” The second ant might respond, “Jeremy? That’s a myth.”
Am I the only one who does this?
And then I wondered, how could I resolve this dilemma and prove that I exist? Only if I, with all of my knowledge and intelligence about the world, entered their world as an ant.
An ant has such a finite mind that it could never comprehend what I am as a human being. When I become an ant and I come down to their level that’s when they’re going to realize that Jeremy exists.
As Easter approaches, we’re reminded that just a few months ago we celebrated Christmas representing the fact that the mission began when God became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). But on Easter, we celebrate the fact that the mission was accomplished! He came, He lived as one of us, He died for us and then He showed His power as God and He came back to life to prove He is God!
We Believe In Jesus!
Man could not comprehend God, so God became man. I guess if God wanted to relate to cows, he would have come back as a cow. If He wanted to relate to birds, he would have become a bird. If He wanted to relate to cats … well, even God can’t do that, cats are satan’s spawn! 🙂
I’m so glad that God took the time to come, to die, and to live … for you and me! I want to encourage you to celebrate Good Friday with us at 7:00PM at our Rancho San Diego campus and join us for Easter services in person and online at Rancho San Diego at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am; and at 9:00am and 10:45am in Lakeside–because we BELIEVE IN JESUS!
Do you have a game plan for spiritual growth? I guarantee your opponent has a game plan to defeat you, and it isn’t pretty. There was a big game on February 13, and it’s really no surprise that the best team won. I mean, I predicted this before the game that there was no way that the Cincinnati Kitty Cats could win. As you all know, cats are Satan’s spawn. And Satan never wins! Amen? (ok, just kiddin’ cat people, I have heard there are some good cats out there, I have just never seen them).
Spiritual Super Bowl
In order to be rooted in Christ, you need to know areas of weakness in your life that can uproot your faith. This is so crucial to our walk with Christ that I’ve written a book on it. We need to be aware of the field we’re on. Until we’re in heaven, our field is a spiritual battleground that is much more intense than any Super Bowl.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
In addition, 2 Corinthians 2:11 warns us to not let the enemy outsmart us with his evil schemes. And we know that God’s opponent comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). But here’s the thing … Satan can’t force you to do anything. But he can sure try to devise ways to tempt you with the purpose of defeating you.
Temptation is not an event, it’s a process. If you don’t do anything to keep the weeds of temptation off the field of your life, weeds will just naturally sprout right up. We need to be intentional about tending our crop to keep the weeds, beetles, and bugs out. And let me be clear, asking God to forgive our sins one time, only to immediately return to the offense is not enough to keep tomorrow’s weeds from sprouting. We need to continually choose to be on Christ’s team, which means confess (agree with God that I was wrong) and repent (stop doing the action), and that leads to a cultivation of our spiritual growth every day. I’m not talking about perfection, but I am talking about making progress.
If we’re going to prevent the enemy from infiltrating our lives, we need to know the difference between difficulties and temptations.
Difficulties: Can be designed by God to help us grow.
Temptations: Designed by Satan to pull us away from God.
We have to be intentional about cultivating a life that produces a healthy mind and focus in on God’s plan for our lives. We do that by reading His Word and not flirting with evil desires.
Satan starts with the natural desires within you. What we think, becomes what we say, and what we say becomes what we do. A lot of times, we think that temptation is out there, but the truth is that it’s in you. If you don’t have a desire for something, you won’t be tempted. For example, I’ve never been tempted to smoke. I don’t like the smell. It’s that simple for me. Sometimes a Christian will ask me if they’re going to Hell for smoking cigarettes. I always say NO … smoking cigarettes will not send you to Hell… it’ll just make you smell like you’ve been there. The things that tempt me may not be an issue for you, and the things that tempt you may not be an issue for me.
Here’s the thing with desires though; whether it’s drinking, food, sex, sleep, or any other natural desire, the enemy will tempt you to take it to the extreme. Oftentimes, temptation is an attempt to fulfill a legitimate desire in an illegitimate way.
Doubt & Deception
Temptation goes all the way to the Garden of Eden when Satan said, “Did God really say _______.” The enemy’s plan is to get you to doubt God’s Word, God’s love for you, God’s plan for you, and that God knows better what will make you happy in life.
God’s opponent always replaces God’s truth with lies. The enemy uses the same old strategy again and again. And if he achieves his goal of deceiving us, it always leads to disobedience against God. Once we find ourselves in this scenario, we need to realize that we’ve signed with the wrong team. And the only way back is to confess, repent, and stop it. Sadly, many people are too prideful and tend to justify their actions, which ultimately leads to defeat.
Have you ever heard of National Signing Day? This actually just recently took place on February 2nd. Signing Day is when young High School athletes decide which college they’re going to attend and play their sport. Typically, they’re sitting behind a table with several hats on it. After sharing some words, they make a public profession of faith to a university by putting on a hat claiming loyalty to that University team. Sunday February 13, was National Signing Day for 120 people at Skyline Church. That’s a BIG deal! Every one of those people put on what I call the Team Colors. They got baptized and publicly claimed loyalty to Team Jesus.
Here’s the thing, you have free will. It’s a gift from God! We get to choose to do whatever we want in life. We can fall for temptations, give in to urges, and completely ignore God’s plan for our lives. But we do not get to choose the consequences after we’ve made our free-will decision. Do you know what team you’re on? Have you professed your allegiance to Jesus? And are you continually cultivating your faith every day by making progress in reading and feeding your mind with the truth of God’s Word?
Spiritual Super Bowl
If you could know your opponent’s game plan, you could have an incredible advantage. Why would anyone join the losing team? Christ’s opponent is sneaky, crafty, and devious. We need to be aware of his schemes so that we can grow deeper and deeper roots in our faith in Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a Game Plan for Spiritual Growth, I would encourage you to get one! At Skyline Church, I’ve created seven classes that will transform your spiritual life … I call it Your Game Plan for Growth.
Let me know if you’re interested and we’ll get you situated on the winning team.
Many of you shared your New Years’ resolutions with me after I stated that “rooted” was our Word Of The Year at Skyline Church. I want to encourage you to make some spiritual goals this year as well. Or, statements of faith rather. Did you know goals are really statements of faith? What can you do this year to grow spiritually? Maybe for you, it means dedicating yourself to reading the whole Bible in a year (yes, the whole Bible, even Leviticus), joining a Bible study group, or becoming a member of your local church. For some, maybe it’s starting smaller, like reading a Bible verse a day. Here’s another resolution for you—join us in our daily devotional, Today Matters! This year, we’re doing an expositional study through the Book of Psalms.
Book Of Psalms
As we go through this incredible book in the Bible, verse by verse, you will see resolutions from all of the different authors. Resolutions of hating evil, doing good, loving the Lord more, worshiping and honoring God more, etc. Goal setting is a spiritual discipline and is seen throughout God’s Word. Did you know God sets goals? He has goals for the universe, for the earth, and for YOUR life! Let’s take a look at the first part of Psalm 1 together, also known as a wisdom psalm. Here the Psalmist lays down some foundational wisdom for happiness in life
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Searching for Happiness
Blessed is translated, as “Happy.”So many people are searching for happiness in life. And right here in the very first psalm, we learn where happiness comes from. However, the joy mentioned here is not automatically given to everyone. Those who love God’s Word AND act on its commands, will be blessed. When we say “Happy” New Year, we need to consider that a “Happy” year won’t just happen. We must get those spiritual roots growing deeper and deeper in Christ. No matter what happens in 2022— more and more economic crisis may arise, spiritual drought, political agendas will surface, but I want everybody at Skyline Church to be rooted in the faith! We’re going to continue to thrive because we are rooted in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! And we can do that by meditating (thinking about and applying) the Word of God day and night (verse 2). And when we do that, no matter how dry our situation may seem, we’re sure to be firmly planted near streams of water, bearing much fruit.
Statement of Faith
It’s impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). When you set goals you’re making statements of faith. So what is your statement of faith? What will you resolve to do this year to grow spiritually? You’ll never drift into spiritual maturity and happiness. I want to encourage you to sign up for Today Matters to be sent to your phone daily, or subscribe to the Skyline Church YouTube Channel and click the bell for notifications! Set yourself up for spiritual growth by putting steps in place that ensure you get in the habit of reading, listening, and applying God’s Word. In addition, we have a whole system designed to help you get rooted to grow and thrive in Christ. It’s called Seven Steps and it’s your game plan for growth.
We have Core Four to get you started. These are four classes you take to get a solid Christian foundation and to learn about God’s plan for YOUR life. Then, there are three bonus classes to help grow your roots deeper and deeper. It is an intentional process to help you reach your spiritual goals in 2022.
God won’t force you, I can’t force you, hold you down, and make you grow. It has to be a goal of your life to grow to all Christ wants you to be. But we CAN provide the tools and classes to help you keep your resolution to be more rooted in 2022 than you’ve ever been in the past.