Gifts from God

Gift of salvation – Can mental illness take it away?

Romans 5:8

On Sunday I had the privilege of sharing my testimony at Church. It reminded me how far God has brought me which is good thing to meditate on when depression and anxiety seep in.

My pastor said to me that sometimes when we look back we can see how different things really have become. And he is so right. I find it very easy to think that because I haven’t been divinely healed that healing hasn’t happened at all, when it has. That nothing has changed, when, in fact, everything has.

All this is because of an awesome gift that God gave me in May 2013.

I was very ill, I was house/sofa bound and I was getting sicker. I couldn’t trust Drs, I had cut out my family and friends, I had no where to go, so I turned to God and He heard my cry.

And my life changed completely, even though I didn’t start to notice the physical changes until 3 years later. But I was saved and that gave me such Joy despite my feelings that I spent 3 years everyday reading His word and talking to Him. My anxiety and depression were still very difficult to live with but I received such comfort from the Holy Spirit, it was an amazing journey.

When anxiety and depression take over it is so hard to remember this gift, it is tempting to start thinking that salvation has been taken away but it does not depend on us or how we feel! If we have repented of our sins, and turned to Him He saves us!

Romans 6:23 says:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Remember the definition of gift from my last study? No strings attached, there’s nothing we can do to be saved, Jesus did it on the cross 2000 years ago! He took our punishment for us, it’s done. No matter how deep the depression how gripping the anxiety, it cannot take our salvation away because we did nothing to receive it in the first place! Would you take a Christmas present from someone just because they were ill? This is so much more!

It means something else too, that one day (if we are not healed in this life) we will never feel this way again.

In revelation 21:4 it says:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The week before I shared my testimony I sat sobbing as we sang to Jesus, the toll of looking after 2 children and a poorly husband while feeling dizzy is so hard and I am battling a bout of depression as a result of that and other burdens I have. But when I shared my testimony and meditated on that day it reminded me that I am still saved, that over the years as my mental and physical health has gone up and down The Lord has never taken away that gift he gave me in May 2013. My salvation is secure.

Are you struggling? I recommend spending time thinking about your testimony as those of us who have repented and turned to Jesus all have one. Write it down, remind yourself of it and look at what the bible says about the gift of salvation. It really is worth it, I promise.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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Gifts from God

The Gift of Faith – Can a depressed person have faith?

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to do a study on faith this week and this is what I have found. This is part of my gifts from God series that I am doing to help me through the winter as a suffer from mental health issues. Christmas gift giving may be over but Gods gifts can be received any time 🙂

I have heard many Christians who suffer from depression (myself included) say, how can I be a Christian with this? We wonder if we have any faith at all and how can we possibly be trusting God?

But lets look at what God says on this subject as He is our authority.

First lets not forget what we discovered last time about Gods word, how it is implanted in us so now matter how we feel its still there.

The first verse I want to look at (quoted above) says that saving faith is a gift of God and not of anything that we do, so all we have to do is repent and believe on Him and we are saved! We didn’t look at this last time so maybe now is a good time to look at the definition of the word gift:

  • Gift: a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. (source)

Willingly! God willingly gives us this saving faith!! With no strings attached! Or according to Merriam-Webster a gift is:

  • something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation (source)

How wonderful is that?

Here’s the next verse I want to look at:

 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews12:2

This verse has been so encouraging for me in my dark times, when I have been reminded of it it’s given me encouragement to keep going and seeking His face.  It says that He is the author and finisher of our faith! Isn’t that amazing? This means that our faith has nothing to do with how we feel as it is Jesus who began it, Jesus who sustains it and Jesus who finishes it when we come to glory! So, just like His word, He keeps giving this gift whenever we ask for it.

The word also says that:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6

That means if He has started it He will carry it to completion!

If you are having a dark day, a day were moving feels like an impossible task, a day where you have to live from moment to moment please be encouraged that this does NOT mean you have no faith, in fact as you move from moment to moment, despite your feelings whether depressed or anxious or whatever it looks like for you (I have had some very bad anxiety days where I know I wouldn’t have got through without the Lords care for my faith) He will take care of us and sustain our faith.

The last thing I want to share is this:

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20

If you look at this verse and others where the Lord tells someone they have little faith what does he do? He builds them up, helps them, encourages them. (Matthew 8:23-27) He says even with little faith, I can do great things. And what happens when He does that? Our faith grows! As I meditate on this I can see how it all works for my good as I step out in Faith (in Matthew 8:23-27 they called out to Him, that is stepping out in faith), He gives me the faith, then my faith grows. It’s always worth remembering that He created us for fellowship with Him and is working in us so we can be with Him, He loves us so much. And this is not based on how we feel.

Be encouraged! He has not given up on us! He will build up our faith He will care for it as it is His gift to us! Why not do a study for yourselves, pick one of the verses I’ve shared as a starting off point, see what awesome things you can discover about this gift from God. Then come and tell me. I’d love to know!

 

Gifts from God

Gifts from God

So Christmas is over and New Year is upon us, for those of us that struggle with mental health issues the beginning of a new year can actually be quite daunting as the days are dark and the winter seems long.

I was reading James the other night and found a passage that gave me such hope and caused me to mediate on all the wonderful gifts that we can have from God. So I have decided to do a study on the gifts of God and share it here to keep me accountable and also to encourage anyone else who has the same issues as I do.

Christmas may be over and the fun of present opening long gone, but these gifts are there every day for us to receive joyfully and I invite anyone reading this to join me in exploring these gifts so that we can look/ to Him for our help and encouragement through the long winter days.

If you wish to join me, I will share them on my Facebook page but also you can sign up to my blog posts on the right hand side margin. Please do feel free to add any comments or insights you have yourself.

So, like I said I was reading James, and came across an awesome passage of scripture which I decided to study deeper and I am so glad I did its

James 1:21:

21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

There were two words which stuck out to me, one was implanted and the other receive so I looked at the definitions:

  1. Receive: be given, presented with, or paid (something).
  2. Implant: insert or fix (tissue or an artificial object) in a person’s body, especially by surgery.

I then did a little a googling and found this quote by John Piper:

Now verse 21 says that this word didn’t come and go. It was implanted. It took root. It is in us and is part of us. This is amazing. I pray the Lord causes this truth to sink in and grip you. We are born again by the word. And the word stays. Indeed, verse 21 says that this implanted word “is able to save your souls.” Don’t underestimate the power and the importance of the word of God.

When we read Gods word it is implanted in us! So that means that even on those dark days, His word is still in me. There’s no getting away from that fact!

Spurgeon had this to say about the word receive:

“The first thing, then, is receive. That word ‘receive’ is a very instructive gospel word; it is the door through which God’s grace enters to us. We are not saved by working, but by receiving; not by what we give to God, but by what God gives to us, and we receive from him.”

How awesome is that? This is a gift with no strings attached, we just receive it, that’s all we have to do.

 I looked for other bible verses about Gods word and there was so much, here is a few that ministered to my soul:

  1. Gods word is perfect Psalm 19:7
  2. Gods word is pure Proverbs 30:5
  3. Gods word is true Psalm 119:160
  4. Gods word is our nourishment Matthew 4:4
  5. And it will never fail Matthew 24:35

So what should we do with this awesome gift?

Receive it and let it dwell in us Colossians 3:16  says:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

In other words, read it, mediate on it, talk to Jesus about it! Use it to help and encourage others.

So with all this in mind I want to share one more piece of scripture to encourage you to read and receive this wonderful gift from God.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:7

Ask in His will and He will give it us. But His word has to abide in us and we have to abide in Him, is this true of you? Are you born again? Are you receiving his word?

I know this time of year is hard but I hope this encourages you to pick up your bibles and read it, it is so powerful and wonderful and so much better than gifts given one day a year that are forgotten about a week later. We get to open this one every single day and receive the wonderful truths found there.

 

God bless you and I hope you have a blessed new year in the Lord!