I did not plan to take a sabbatical, but it seems I did. Not as much online time. And when I have been on, been doing different things. For one thing, I put all the Devotions on Marriage in their own journal, posted in order for easy access. The link is in my side-bar, as well, if you know anyone who might benefit from them.
Some time back, I mentioned that when I was first journaling here I would have a Word on the Word at the end of most every entry. Thoroughly explored one subject a verse at a time, for example our speech and anger. I asked for suggestions as to a new topic, that I was about to pick this up again. Of the responses I got, depression, discouragement and anxiety were prevalent. I see a lot of it as I journey around J-land. I hear about a lot of it in prayer requests. I have dealt with some in the past.
I got out my trusty Living Bible with the extensive concordance. Seems they didn't use these terms. But they had some that coincide with these issues: fear, worry, affliction, discontent. "They" say that to train to recognize a counterfeit bill, people study the real deal, not the counterfeits. If they know the real thing inside and out they will spot all counterfei. Much of the Bible and indeed the principles of Christianity operates in this way. Setting your sites on the goal, whether than where you are now. On grace, rather than sin. On the Fruits of the Spirit whether than on worldly things. So, going on this premise and looking at some things opposite of what we are dealing with we get: comfort, contentment, happiness, health, joy.
So these are some of the things I'll be examining in the Word on the Word at the end of most every entry. This won't be a miracle cure. It won't answer physical reasons for emotional distress. But I pray it will be a balm to woundedsouls, a help to those who are hurting. God promises His words does not return void.
Without any further ado, today's Word on the Word:
It is not politically correct to say in this day and age, but when we are miserable one of the first things we need to check is whether it may be the conviction of the Holy Spirit trying to get us to turn to/ return to God. It's a repeated theme in the Old Testament, His People (Israel) forgetting God in times of plenty and good; or railing against Him when befell by hardship or in the shadow of their Enemy. We draw back from God. We turn to other sources for our strength, our joy, our needs. Yet He made it clear, we won't be blessed (happy) any way except in Him. Deuteronomy 28 is our text. When living for/with God: "The Lord will defeat your enemies before you...prosper everything you do...He will change you into a Holy People dedicated to himself; this he has promised to do if you will only obey him and walk in His ways...The Lord will give you an abundance of good things..." drawn from vs.1-13. But when we turn away from God and His precepts: "Each of these blessings depends on your not turning aside in any way from the laws I have given you; and you must never worship other gods...You will be confused and a failure in everything you do...you will...flee before your enemies in utter confusion...you will not prosper in anything you do...You will go mad because of all the tragedy you see around you...your lives will hang in doubt. You will live night and day in fear." vs.14-66. Go to the Lord. If you earnestly ask Him to show you if or where you have departed he will be faithful to show you. Once you see your sin as He sees it, come to agreement with Him and renounce and repent of, turn from, your sin He is faithful to forgive and restore your relationship with Him.
Is departure from God always the reason for suffering? No, it isn't. There are many reasons. But this is the place to begin. Introspection, guided by the Holy Spirit. Then you can knowthat God is for you and with you in whatever you face.