Tag Archives: God

You do not have to go through it alone!

The Valley of the Shadow of Death 1867 George Inness with Words 700Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

No matter how dark things may seem.  No matter how alone we may field.  We are not alone.  Even in the darkest valley, also known as the “valley of the shadow of death”, we can find comfort in the knowledge that God is with us.

This Psalm does not promise that God will pluck us out of the valley of the shadow of death.  In this Psalm, David, a great warrior and king, proclaims that he is confident that God will protect and comfort him as he travels through this valley.  And that God will provide everything he need (Psalm 23:5).

We do not have to let fear paralyze us.  God will guide us through these difficulties.  It is our responsibility to trust, listen and follow.

This time or situation in your life may be like a dark valley.  Take courage that others, such as King David in this Psalm, made it through dark times by trusting in God.  Many others share similar experiences.

You do not have to go through dark times alone!

Comments:

If you have an encouraging story (testimony) please share it in the comments/reply section.  It does us good to hear good news!

Can peace be experienced in the midst of chaos? Part 1 of 2

Hurricane_Isabel_ISS“Just make it go away!”  Many of us can relate to this desire to escape or just get rid of a problem we are facing.  At times circumstances in our lives can seem overwhelming.  It is no wonder why many turn to substances (alcohol/drugs) or unhealthy levels of certain activities (shopping, gambling, eating, etc.), in order to try and cope with their circumstances.

There is no escape.  These things may provide a diversion.  The reality of the problems still remain.  Our attempts to alter the perception of reality do nothing to the real situation.

Is it possible to experience a peace, and the resulting clarity and strength, in the middle of whatever is happening?

YES!  This has been my experience.  And not my experience alone.  Many followers of Jesus Christ report the same experience.  One such follower is Paul, the Apostle.  He wrote in his letter to the Christians at the city of Philippi in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey): “Do not worry about anything, 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.” (Philippians 4:6, 7 – NRSV)

Sometimes we may confuse the idea of “prayer” with wish making or demands.  St. Paul, in prison for his faith at the time of writing, expresses prayer as “requests”—not demands.  When we use prayer as some magical wish or demand formula we miss the relational aspect God is offering.

God does not sit on high and only have an abstract connection with our suffering.  He entered into our suffering.  Jesus lived a life that included much suffering.  He still enters our suffering every time we call upon Him. 

People, in their freedom, may choose to hurt us.  They may choose to do wrong to others for whom we care.  At times there seems to be no shortage of people choosing to do hurtful acts.  No matter what others choose to do; God will never leave us alone in our distress.

From my perspective I would rather God simply remove the problems, problem people, etc.  However, God most often does not choose to violate our (or other’s) human freedom.  At the same time He will provide all that we need to make it through the difficult environment we create for ourselves or others create that impacts our lives.  His presence, strength, wisdom and peace are available to all who call upon the Name of the Lord.

If all our problems were removed then the peace Paul speaks of would not go “beyond understanding.”  It is understandable to experience peace in the absence of conflict or adversity.  A peace that “goes beyond understanding” is a peace experienced in the middle of turmoil and chaos.

In Part 2 we will consider some examples of experience God’s peace and provision in the midst of our troubles.

Question: Have you ever experience a peace that “goes beyond understanding”?

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004 Questioning God

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DopamineseratoninIn today’s episode we will:

1. We will explore the struggle that can arise in faith as a result of trauma.  We will consider the question: Is it OK to question God?  If so, how?

 

2. We will take a look at light…

  •  Does light really have the power to change our brains?
  • Impact of light on sleep problems, depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and possible connections to PTSD care.

Jumping right into our main topic for today: Questioning God

  •  Does God mind if we question him?
  •  What about doubts?
  •  What about people of faith from times past?
  • Consider Psalm 77 – He boldly expressed his concerns and…

 Science and the Brain:  In the light…

– Does light really have the power to impact and even change what is going on in our brains?

  •  Serotonin: important brain chemical – clear thinking, emotion control, sleep…
  •  How can we make more serotonin?
  •  How can we have our brains release it so that
  • Taking a walk in the daylight — even on a cloudy day. 
  •  Tryptophan: something you need to eat in order for your brain to make serotonin
  •   Extra Cautions…
  • > If you are on medication that can affect who your body responds to light.
  • > Too much UV light?  How much is too much for your skin and eyes? (ask your Doc.)
  • > You are already taking an antidepressant medication (SSRI or MAO) or other medication that affects your brain chemistry.
  • > Light/Skin/Eye sensitivity or problems

 Some “Light and Brain” Info:

 – How does a lack of sun affect us?, Science Channel – http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/affects-of-lack-of-sun

– Boosting Your Serotonin Activity, Psychology Today –  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201111/boosting-your-serotonin-activity

– Discovering Light Effects on the Brain, The American Journal of Psychiatry –  http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=96553

– Study suggests bright light therapy may improve sleep and brain function post mild TBI,  http://www.news-medical.net/news/20130601/Study-suggests-bright-light-therapy-may-improve-sleep-and-brain-function-post-mild-TBI.aspx

– Can light make us bright? Effects of light on cognition and sleep. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21531248

– Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain, Lancet –  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12480364

– Unraveling the Sun’s Role in Depression, WebMD http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20021205/unraveling-suns-role-in-depression

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_therapy

(NOTE: The following links are provided by way of reference only.  There are many resources available on the web and some may contain differing views, facts and opinions.  This podcast, and HART does not endorse any of the authors, their views or products.  This is only a sample of articles that you may find helpful.  Always investigate for yourself.  Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes that could impact your health.]

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