The Battle With the Depression is Over, Pt. 2

Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
 

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The Battle With Depression is Over, Pt. 1

Philippians 4:4-9 says, “4Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
 

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Confronting and Overcoming Bitterness!

There are three areas where you may have to confront and overcome bitterness:
 
1) God – Many times this happens when we pray and it goes unanswered. Sometimes, He answers our prayers, but different than we initially expected. Some people never pray to God any more because they do not believe He exists. That one crucial need they were believing for wasn’t met, therefore He must not exist. How can you be bitter with a God who doesn’t exist? We are dealt a bad hand, and we do not know how to play it well. We blame God for things that happened, never hearing His side of the story. Being bitter with God never solves anything, but we must release our bitterness, knowing He has a much better plan than ours in mind. His grace can free us from bitterness, but if bitterness is rooted in our hearts, it will rob us of God’s grace. (Hebrews 12:15)

If a loved one passes away and goes to eternity to be with the LORD, your bitterness can prevent you from reuniting with them ever again! You cannot leave this life with bitterness. When John the Baptist, the man who claimed Jesus was the Lamb of God, was in prison struggling with bitterness, Jesus said, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Matthew 11:6). As Jesus was dying on the cross, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). You cannot leave this life in bitterness and expect to spend eternity in the presence of the LORD! We must allow His grace to heal us.

Bitterness with God can be rooted in not having a father. Since God is our heavenly Father, it is naturally translated in equivalence to our earthly father. If our natural father was abusive or abandoned us, then we will view Him the same way! Those people are not a father, but God is a true Father whose love drives out all fear! He gives you a new identity.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (NASB) says, “18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2) Other People – They have done something that we take offense too. It can be something that they said or didn’t say. It could be something that they did or we thought they did, but without discussing it we do not know the true intentions. We cannot live on eggshells and be offended over every little thing. This ultimately proves we do not have confidence in who we are in Christ. If something happens, it is o.k. to go to that person to get clarity so you can be healed, but you have an offense with like 30 people, more than likely it is not on the 30 people. That is when you have to check yourself!

When you forgive someone, you release them from guilt, but when you ask someone for forgiveness, God’s grace releases you. When you approach someone to mend the relationship, you do not go and say, “Well, you did this and this to offend me.” This is not apologizing. You search your own faults because a relationship is a two-way street. Even if it is simply saying, “I have had a grudge in my heart towards you, and I want you to forgive me.” That takes courage!

Our offenses can be the result of creating a storm in our minds, allowing one lie of the enemy to creep in and separate a positive friendship. These lies can be exposed through the proper approach in communication. Otherwise, you can misinterpret someone else’s actions and words to the point that you take it personally! Also, don’t pick at wounds God has already healed. If you are picking at them, it proves you have not forgiven or reconciled.

Matthew 18:15-20 (NLT) says, “15“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. 18“I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. 19“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Repentance and reconciliation automatically shift the atmosphere because it brings new bond among brothers and sisters in reconciliation. This unity of agreement and alignment allows for binding and loosing, executing the very authority on earth in accordance to what God has established in heaven.

3) Yourself – Bitterness can form an anger inside of you. You are mad at yourself for the mistakes you have made. You have held a standard over your life you couldn’t meet, and now you feel worthless. Never put a higher standard on yourself than what God puts on you. That is idolatry! When you enforce that standard on other people, it is religion! You struggle inside because of all of the mistakes you have made, and you have never been able to forgive yourself for it. But today is a new day! You cannot live in the mistakes of your past. This is what makes the sufferings of Christ so significant. He was bruised for our faults so we can be presented as blameless before Him. When you begin to recognize how much God really loves you, His love tears down those walls of bitterness that kept you introverted and away from people, enabling you to comprehend what your identity is in God. You are a son! You are a daughter! If God is willing to forgive you, how come you cannot forgive yourself?

Galatians 6:1-5 (TPT) says, “1 My beloved friends, if you see a believer who is overtaken with a fault, may the one who overflows with the Spirit seek to restore him. Win him over with gentle words, which will open his heart to you and will keep you from exalting yourself over him. 2 Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. 3 If you think you are too important to stoop down to help another, you are living in deception. 4 Let everyone be devoted to fulfill the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves, and not in being affirmed by others. 5 Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.”
 
Confess your faults to be healed (James 5:16). You can never bring healing if you leave the hurt uncovered. It is God’s will for you to be healed emotionally, and we must give room for the Holy Spirit to function in His purpose as a Comforter over us. 


The Exposure of Bitterness!

Matthew 5:21-24 (TPT) says, “21 You’re familiar with the commandment that the older generation was taught, ‘Do not murder or you will be judged.’ 22 But I’m telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment. And whoever demeans and insults a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation. And whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell. 23 “So then, if you are presenting a gift before the altar in the temple and suddenly you remember a quarrel you have with a fellow believer, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar and go at once to apologize with the one who is offended. Then, after you have reconciled, come to the altar and present your gift.”
 
Everyone has to confront this thing called bitterness at some point in their lives, and maybe even several times, but it bears evidence for the need of inner healing! It takes a greater courage to ask someone for forgiveness than it does to give an offering at the altar where you can be seen. Our need for reconciliation is humbling our pride! We have to come to the realization we are not enemies, but we need each other. We are the family of God, regardless of how diverse we really are!
 
Bitterness is that poison you drink, believing it will hurt someone else. It is rooted in unforgiveness. If Jesus could tell Peter to forgive His brother 70×7, and God can forgive us of the multitudes of sins we have committed, which can be covered by His love, then why can we never forgive someone else? Here are scriptures which testify of people needing an inner healing: 
 
1) 1 Samuel 1 – Hannah prayed for a son, and the bitterness of her soul led to pouring out her soul to the LORD. Eli, the high priest, perceived she was drunk, and if he would have prayed for her in that sense he would have missed it entirely. It is not about praying for the outward need, but the inward one! God would reward Hannah with Samuel and more children to follow.
 
2) Judges 16:16 – Samson’s soul was vexed (grieved) unto death, but through repentance, even his death resulted in the greatest victory he had achieved in his lifetime. There are some mistakes we make that we can never correct or change, but how we repent and move towards God positions us to still fulfill His will and purposes for us.
 
3) 2 Kings 4:27 – The soul of the Shunnem woman was vexed. She had received a prophetic word concerning a child, and God gave him to her. Now, she was grieved because this promised child died unexpectedly. She returned to the word of the LORD, laying her promise on the bed where prophets dream, and it resurrected with new life!
 
4) Job 27:2 – Job’s soul was vexed, but he was delivered the moment he prayed for the friends who did not comfort him but rather blamed and persecuted him! His family was restored, and he received double. What would happen if you did the same thing? Is the breakthrough you need for your soul rooted in reconciliation?
 
5) 2 Peter 2:8 – Lot’s soul was vexed, effected by the lawlessness (which is a spirit of antichrist) around him in spite of his righteousness, but the intercession and obedience of Abraham led to his deliverance from a city that was destined for destruction by the hand and voice of the LORD.
 
Everywhere you read concerning bitterness or grief, there is a resolve in scripture. Oftentimes, it is in the need of reconciliation, whether it is between two people, God and us or within ourselves between our soul and spirit. It is time we begin to open up our hearts to the Holy Spirit and yield to His direction and conviction so that we let go of bitterness and do whatever is necessary to reconcile what has been broken! There are a couple of examples of reconciliation in scripture:
 
1) Jacob and Esau
* Esau was betrayed by Jacob twice, once for selling his birthright for a pottage of stew and the second with Isaac pronouncing the blessing on Jacob rather than Esau, even though Esau was the oldest. This formed a wedge of bitterness that lasted for what is believed to be twenty years (Genesis 31:41).
* In Genesis 32, Jacob had wrestled with the angel of the LORD to the breaking of the day. It effected him in such a powerful way that he would walk with a limp for the rest of his life. He would now with a name change, from “Jacob” meaning “thief” to “Israel” meaning “prince of God”. The purpose of this identity change was not just to break those old labels off of his life, but also to prepare his heart for reconciliation with Esau in Genesis 33.
2) Paul, Barnabas and John Mark
* Barnabas’ name means “son of a prophet”. He was known for being the son of encouragement and operating in the ministry of reconciliation. When Paul received salvation and desired to unite and minister with the apostles, Barnabas brought him before them and defended him, explaining his miraculous conversion (Acts 9:27). In Acts 11:22-29, Barnabas, being a man full of Holy Ghost and faith and who added many to the family of God, went to find Paul. Paul had been driven home due to persecution, and Barnabas refused to let him stay when there was work to be done. He brought Paul to Antioch to instruct the people there due to the mighty revival taking place. This was where we were first called “Christians”.
* Barnabas and Paul would be sent on their first missionary journey by the Holy Spirit. The prophets and teachers there fasted and prayed for them and sent them on their way. They also took with them John Mark (Acts 13:1-5). However, John Mark would leave and go home to Jerusalem from Pamphylia, more than likely due to homesickness. When it came time for the second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark, but Paul wasn’t having it! The contention was so great that Paul would take Silas while Barnabas would take John Mark and each would go on separate missionary journeys. Scripture doesn’t really detail Barnabas and John Mark’s trip, but in reality the gospel spread to other places had they not went separate ways (Acts 15:35-41).
* They would later reconcile, as Paul would call for Mark, who was seen in his eyes as profitable in the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). He would commend Barnabas for being like him and not causing a strain on the church for support financially, but they worked to support themselves (1 Corinthians 9:6).
* Had Barnabas not defended Paul and brought him before the church, he would have not offered at least 13 books of the Bible. Had he not been a mentor to John Mark, we might not have Mark’s gospel for us to read today. Do not undermine the ministry of reconciliation and the power of encouragement! They are important and necessary for the body of Christ!
 
Reconciliation becomes easier when we see each other’s value in God’s sight and the kingdom of God! It is time we lay our pride aside and see people and things from a heavenly perspective! It not only changes things, but it changes our world! 


The Path to Reconciliation: The Healing of the Inner Man!

Isaiah 53:3-5 says, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

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Are Rededications Biblical?

John 3:3 says, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 
 

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Lover of Self vs Loving Yourself

2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 
 
Matthew 22:36-40 says, “36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
 

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Do Not Despise Prophecy

1 Thessalonians 5:20 says, “Despise not prophesying.” 

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Cultivating an Atmosphere of Encouragement

1 Samuel 30:6 says, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 

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Who the Holy Spirit is Not!

John 14:16, 26 says, “16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
 
Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 

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