Hello Darkness My Old Friend

O LORD, GOD of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to You at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry. For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near. I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left. They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from Your care. You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths. Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave You have engulfed me. You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape. My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for Your help, O LORD; I lift my hands to You for mercy. Are Your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise You? Can those in the grave declare Your unfailing love? Can they proclaim Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of Your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about Your righteousness? O LORD, I cry out to You. I will keep on pleading day by day. O LORD, why do You reject me? Why do You turn Your face from me? I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before Your terrors. Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me. They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely. You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.
Psalms 88:1‭-‬18 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.88.1-18.NLT

If you stop reading here, you’ll probably be filled with hopelessness and despair. This Psalm was written by Heman the Ezrahite, a Temple musician, song leader, and a wise and worshipful man. This psalm shows that anyone can suffer from depression. Even the great scholar and preacher Charles Spurgeon suffered terribly from depression. No matter how strongly you believe in God and salvation, depression can be a serious issue. There are many possible causes: situational, systemic (chemical imbalance), physical issues, satanic, or spiritual, but there are things God can teach us in the darkness that we cannot learn in the light. Like in verse 7, it can feel as though God is pouring out His wrath on us, even though we know He doesn’t do that. This Psalm shows that God truly knows how we feel.

Did you know that depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.? Statistically, we are the saddest, most depressed nation in the world. There’s plenty to be depressed about. Man made viruses, abortion on demand, war and rumors of war, violence threatened against conservatism, out of control inflation, food shortages, the highest gas prices in decades (ever?), and the utter confusion our kids and young people are dealing with with multiple genders and the LGB+ agenda being crammed down their throats from every side. Christians are constantly being attacked, in print and in the news as being bigoted. Being white or light skin automatically labels you as racist. It isn’t okay to be patriotic for our own country or to want our own country safe from invaders ….. but you’d better support sending billions of dollars to other countries to defend their borders! (It’s kind of depressing to me to even write about it!)

What can we do? How do we deal with depression? Keep talking to GOD! Tell Him everything. Cry to Him and with Him. Even our hymns show that other Christians struggle with depression and understand our needs from being depressed: “I need You, Oh, I need You….” “I must tell Jesus”…. Be reverent, but also be honest with God. Be persistent in prayer, even if you are being repetitious. Let the Spirit speak when you can’t form the words. We deserve the darkness because of our sins, but because of JESUS, we don’t have to dwell in it! “No pit is so deep, that He is not deeper still” – Corrie Ten Boom. Don’t be ashamed or let anyone embarrass you for needing antidepressants to help you out of the pit of depression. God gave us doctors for a reason. Let the LORD set you free from the darkness!

I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
Psalms 89:1‭-‬2 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.89.1-2.NLT

For His Name’s Sake

For the sake of Your Name, LORD, Forgive my wrongdoing, for it is great.
Psalms 25:11 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/psa.25.11.NASB2020

For HIS Name. Not my name. His Name.

In 50 years (or probably less), no one outside of a few family members will remember my name, or any of my so-called achievements. I won’t be in any history books, and there won’t be any statues or streets named for me. No holidays to remember my life. My reputation and my relationships won’t be of any consequence. That’s okay. I’m not looking for fame.

Here’s what is important. GOD’S Name. His Name is eternal, and immortal. His Name is Holy. David is asking God to for his, David’s, wrongdoing for the sake of the Name above all names, the Name of God Himself. When we call ourselves Christians, everything we do reflects on God, reflects on the Name of God. Going forward, maybe we should be more concerned about the way people see GOD’S Name in us, rather than how they see our name.

Stealing My Identity

Recently I was told that calling myself a native American was offensive. I was born in America; therefore, I am a “native”. I’m not Apache or Hualapai, or Choctaw or Sioux (although I do have some Cherokee and Delaware blood), so does that negate my native status? What am I, then, if not a native American? Am I “native” to another land?

When are we going to get over this obsession with labels? “Black” America…. why do you feel the need to identify by the color of your skin? If I call Navajo friends “Red” Americans or Indian Americans, would they be offended? Probably. How about calling my friends of Hispanic or Mexican descent my “Brown” American friends? Or my friends of European descent, my “White” friends? I think this would be considered wildly offensive by most people! I could say I’m a European American, but what is the point?

I’ve written about this before, but it is really going beyond any common sense. Congress is having laws introduced calling for segregation, and the Democratic “leadership” is actually considering it. What was the Civil War, that War between the States, fought for!? What did Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King die for? They died for freedom for all Americans of all colors, to end the disparity, and to unite us. Now people want to go backwards!

You may have dark skin or light skin; kinky hair or curly or straight – blonde, brown, red, black, and all colors in between; a big bent nose or a flat nose or a pointed nose, big ears or small; blue, green, brown, hazel, or black pupils; or your ancestors may have come over on the Mayflower, or by foot across a land bridge into the North American continent thousands of years ago. Here’s the truth, straight from the Word of the LORD:

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 1:27‭-‬28 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/gen.1.27-28.NASB2020

We all share the common ancestry of the original man and woman. We are all one tribe! I am human, descended from the original couple, and I am a native American. I don’t claim membership in any particular tribe, but I don’t begrudge anyone for being proud of their ancestry, or for claiming it. My ancestry is such that I could claim to be a European American, or German American or Irish American, but I prefer to known as an AMERICAN. Proudly proclaim that you are Chickasaw or Choctaw or Paiute or Hopi, claim your Hadzabe or Zulu heritage, Kirwan or Osraige, Aniza or Saluba, but don’t tell me I’m not native American! I wasn’t born in any other country but America, and I am 100% American. By definition, I am native.

Native: (adjective) being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being: one’s native land.

Dictionary.com

There’s a song by Imagine Dragons that goes like this:

It’s been a long time coming, coming
Seeming like we all been running, running
Feeling like the wild west, gunning, gunning
Listen to our elders shunning, shunning

All we see is faces, color, color
All the other races, other, other
Why couldn’t you just be my brother, brother?
We don’t have to kill one another, kill one another
All around the world, we are one, we are one
All around the world, we are one

So where did we all go wrong?

“…. He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,”
Acts 17:25‭-‬26 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/act.17.25-26.NASB2020

Can it be any clearer than that?

All Things…

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
1 Corinthians 6:9‭-‬12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/1co.6.9-12.NASB1995

“And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a SAVIOUR, who is CHRIST the LORD.”
Luke 2:10‭-‬11 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/luk.2.10-11.NASB2020

Thank GOD that JESUS was born! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Fear, or Freedom

“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Matthew 10:26 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.10.26.NASB1995

In a 1956 sermon on Matthew 10:34, Martin Luther King Jr. explained, “Peace is not merely the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.”

Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD.”
Isaiah 26:10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/isa.26.10.NASB1995

Pray, people. Pray for each other. Pray for people you don’t like. Pray for that person who is determined to be a thorn in your side. Pray for our nation, and pray for the world. That’s it. Just pray.

We The People….

I’m reading a book set in 1860, before Abraham Lincoln was elected President, and the controversy of slavery. It wasn’t just slavery, but a way of life for the southern states. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was popular in the North and loudly disputed as lies and falsehood in the South. Our nation was divided by state, but also within families. Parents were divided, children, brothers, sisters, cousins were adamant that their side was the right side. We know from our history that this led to the Civil War, a terrible, bloody war that destroyed families and lives. North v. South; the Republican antislavery party v. the Democratic proslavery party.

Think about that for a minute. How close are we to something very similar today? Once again, we have families divided over issues like abortion, the Black Lives Matter movement, mask and covid shot mandates, Critical Race Theory in schools, more government control/Socialism v. less government control/Freedom. Defund the Police. What’s right? What’s wrong? Is it a conspiracy theory if it’s true? All Christians should be united on all of these issues, shouldn’t they? Seems like we should be, yet I find myself at odds with Christian family members and friends over just these issues! I ask, how can a Christian support taking the life of an unborn baby? How is a person more valuable because of skin color? Should a government be able to tell me I must mask up or take a shot when the science doesn’t support it? Yes, we should “render into Caesar what is Caesar’s”, but at what point is it too much?

Many, many people are literally preparing for a civil uprising to protest against tyranny. Peaceful protests are already occurring in many cities across our nation. Personally, I’m afraid that in order to stop the tyranny occurring in our capital, it’s going to require more than these peaceful gatherings, but I continue to pray that our leadership will get the message and make the changes needed. Are Christians involved in this movement? Absolutely. Unfortunately, there are also many others involved in the violence that is happening throughout the nation.

What can we do? I believe in being as prepared as possible for this recession we are swiftly headed into. It is critical that Christians unite in prayer for our leaders, and for guidance from God on what to support, and how to support it. I try not to engage in debate with family on subjects that I know we feel strongly about, but I cannot completely back down when I know that my beliefs are biblically correct. The only answer I have to the question is to pray. What would God have me do? We each have to be patient and pray and wait for His guidance. If His answer is to resist tyranny, then that is what I will do, to the best of my ability. Remember, our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the enemy.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬13 NASB199

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.6.10-13.NASB1995

Thanksgiving, even when we don’t feel like it!

“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.”
James 5:13 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jas.5.13.NASB1995

As Americans, we are especially blessed. Even with all of the ridiculous shenanigans (I’ve always liked that word) in Washington and around the country, we really are blessed. That said, I know there are many who are struggling and suffering, and my heart and prayers go out to them. I’ve never been particularly good at being thankful in the midst of suffering, or being cheerful in times of stress. Pretty much the opposite… and definitely not like James tells us:

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;” James 1:19 NASB1995

https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/jas.1.19/2932

Here’s another one, this time from John.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:7 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/1jn.4.7.NASB1995

That’s a verse I really have to work on applying in my life! Coming up on Thanksgiving, with Christmas following close behind, I find that this might be the thing I struggle most with. I think most families have that person that we struggle with liking….. or even tolerating. God knows, and He is very clear on this. After all, being fully aware of the plans the Pharisees had for Him, and knowing that Judas would betray Him, Jesus showed love to them. He showed love to the thief on the cross next to Him. I am to reflect the love of God by showing love to everyone around you whether they deserve it or not.

If you don’t have that “special” person in your life, I almost envy you. However, if we are honest with ourselves, I expect that we have that someone whom we don’t like. Whether their actions or their personality. You, or I, might even be that person to someone!

LORD, Father God, I bring this to You today, and pray that You will take the resentment and anger and frustration from me, and help me to show Your love to that person. It’s only through YOU that I am able to do this. Let me be a blessing to that person, so that they might see Jesus. Amen.

My Power?

My power? What power? I don’t have any. I used to think that I could make things happen, and change my world to suit the way I wanted things. Do you think that you have gotten to where you are through your own effort and power?

“Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
Deuteronomy 8:17‭-‬18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/deu.8.17-18.NASB1995

I was very busy making my circumstances conform to what I wanted, so much so that I alienated my family. Does your family support you in your power? We weren’t at the point of feuding, but my actions were enough to create a gulf between us. I wasn’t concerned about God’s will, only mine. In my journey through life, I’ve come across several families separated like mine, but there were a few who were feuding, and it tore them apart. I didn’t want that for my family.

He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. …. Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”
Luke 11:17‭, ‬23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/luk.11.17-23.NLT

Finally, I came across a church with people who could see me, and who helped me to see how my destructive behavior was harmful to me, and to my family. Did my younger sisters and brother see me, and use my behavior as a reason for their own rebellion? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that my behavior harmed our relationships. I wasn’t working for the LORD. I was working for me, for my heart, and it didn’t work out too well for me.

How is your heart? Are you in control of your life? Is the power in your hands, or have you relinquished it to God? He loves us, and He only wants the best for us. So why are so many people in bad situations? There are consequences for our actions. Sometimes they are immediate, but sometimes they are delayed. I am dealing with the consequences of my actions from years ago, and they will stay with me until I die. Often, we get to deal with the consequences of our parents, grandparents, and so on. All of humanity has to live with the decision, the exercise of their free will, of Adam and Eve. Sin was introduced in the Garden, and runs rampant throughout the world today.

God gave us the solution when Jesus, His only Son, came to earth to have His Blood cover us and cleanse us. I need that cleansing, and I have received it. Does that mean I’m now perfect and my life will be filled with rainbows and butterflies from now on? No, I am forgiven, but I still have those consequences for my actions.

Are you forgiven?

Prayer for God’s Mercy on our Nation

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we are a nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan

Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth, And righteousness looks down from heaven. Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce. Righteousness will go before Him And will make His footsteps into a way.”
Psalms 85:14-‬13 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/psa.85.1-13.NASB1995

The psalmist wrote this for the nation of Judah, but I see it in the the United States of America. From school boards and town councils to the Oval Office, Christians are going to have to join together, on their knees, to restore our nation to it’s greatness. We have to denounce – not deny – the godlessness that is rampant in our country. If it is not scriptural, it is wrong. Are we as Christ followers guilty of sinning against God? Absolutely; every day. That doesn’t mean that we can just sit back on our hands and say, “well, I tried.” Prayer is immensely powerful, so if someone says that all they can do is pray; well, that’s the best thing any one of us can do! Take action. Do whatever you can.

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.” — Patrick Henry at Virginia`s U.S. Constitution ratification convention

“The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” — Samuel Adams at Massachusetts` U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

We must fall back to the Founding Fathers and listen to them. The majority of them followed Christ. ALMIGHTY GOD gave us the greatest country in the world. We must fight the enemy of God and of man to protect and preserve her. I stand with other Christians and Patriots, and I am not ashamed.

And all the people said ……