Archive for the ‘Comfort for the Anxious and Depressed’ category

Why I Didn’t Kill Myself on Christmas Day

December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013 007Christian radio nearly put me over the edge, however. Driving down to Ocean Beach at midnight, full of despair, and wanting to hear a voice of reason that would give me one single piece of evidence that the world would not be better off without me. Because apparently by the mess I had made of things, it would be. And I was tired, so tired of trying and failing, and I listlessly turned on the radio for reassurance, and quickly turned off the program, a garish and chirpy ‘breaking news’  retelling of the events in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Oh dear. Sometimes Christian culture can be so tone deaf.

When  fatigue is great and resistance to lies is low, and especially during the holidays’ midnight hours, the church can do better than this. Tullian Tchividjian does it right, in his post “Christmas For The Weary And Heavy Laden.” I am a battle hardened veteran of the Christmas wars upon the soul, and so I have learned through many of these skirmishes  the duty which calls me back from the brink –my responsibility for the children who remain in my home, and my allegiance  to my Lord.  God arrested in midflight his AWOL soldier, offered amnesty, and we went back to the front lines, together. As Tullian writes,

Christmas is the beachhead of God’s campaign against sin and sadness. It is the coming of light, life, and love into the occupied territory of darkness, death, and hate. Christmas is a war fought by a Peaceful Prince whose battle plan is to defeat death by dying, fear by forgiveness and slavery by salvation.

And that is why I did not kill myself at midnight on Christmas Day this year, as I sat on the sand at Ocean Beach at midnight, as I stared at that “great wink of eternity”, as I listened to those “silver snowy sentences”, those waves alluring me the way they had Hart Crane eighty years ago in Caribbean Sea, when the poet looked too long at the Southern Cross  and “slid on that backward vision, (his) mind was churned to spittle,whispering hell.” So that tormented soul  pitched himself forward from that ship into what he thought was oblivion.

Ocean Beach

I looked to another Cross with an upward vision, and my mind cleared of this churning. This Cross called me to die to my need for respect. It told me to die to laying down the law. It told me I am not my own, that I have been bought with a price. The One who gave his life upon it speaks in a still small voice, not an evil whisper.  My Lord  says, “Come”,  so I come, I am so weary and carry heavy burdens, and he says, “I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” He is no liar, and I find that rest.  I turn away from those dangerous midnight riptides, and drive back home.

Because he has rescued me from death, and has so transformed my life, when my Lord says “Go”, then I go where he sends me. I go to tell the world of this glorious being, Jesus, who came down to Earth from heaven two thousand years ago, a little baby who came to die a terrible death for these kinds of terrible days I have been enduring. He rose up from the dead, and now lives in me, and so I know the plans he has for my life are for good and not for evil. The plans he has for you, oh weary reader, are very good too! He will help you put your life back in order, if you trust him. And tell someone you trust about your struggles, someone who will not, because of fear, immediately place a psychiatric hold on you.

I needed to set my life back in order. I asked forgiveness of those I frightened when I drove off, then slept off some exhaustion. And, dear Reader, sleep therapy is proving to be the most promising treatment for depression. In the morning I rose early and was given a necessary and encouraging rebuke in the “Daily Light on the Daily Path.” I reprinted the evening’s reading, and then the morning, in the hopes it will encourage you as well.


He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”—“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”—He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.—“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen

Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

Knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.—As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.—“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”—“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”

For you stand firm in your faith.

“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.


Another way I fight fear and forgive, is to  put Josh Garrells  on continuous play during this trying season — especially this song:

“Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.”

April 27, 2013

English: The Song of Songs (1853) by Gustave M...

(Song of Solomon 2:10)

He is risen,
I am risen in Him,
why then should I
cling to the dust?
From lower loves,

desires, pursuits,
and aspirations, I
would rise
towards Him.
He calls me

by the sweet title
of “My love,”

He calls me.
“Come away” has no
harsh sound in it
to my ear, for
what is there to hold me

in this wilderness of
vanity and sin?
O my Lord, would that
I could come away,
but I am taken–among the thorns!

and cannot escape
from them as I would.
I would, if it were
possible, have neither
eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin.

You call me to yourself
by saying “Come away,”
and this is a melodious
call indeed. To come to you
is to come home from exile,

to come to land out of the
raging storm,
to come to rest after long labor,

My Lord, Save Me  From the Maze o' Shadows  an...

My Lord, Save Me From the Maze o’ Shadows and Songs….. (Photo credit: -RejiK)

to come to the goal of my desires
and the summit of my wishes.

But Lord, how
can a stone rise,
how can a lump of clay
come away from
the horrible pit?

O raise me, draw me.
Your grace can do it.
Send forth your Holy Spirit
to kindle sacred flames
of love in my heart,

and I will continue
to rise until
I leave life and time
behind me,
and indeed come away.

( Adapted  from Spurgeon’s  “Morning by Morning” — 4/25)

A Broken-Up Piece from “The Bruised Reed”

March 25, 2013

Some are reluctant to do good because they feel their hearts rebelling,
and duties turn out badly. We should not avoid good actions
because of weaknesses attending them. Christ looks more
at the good in them which he means to cherish
than the ill in them which he means to abolish
. ..
Though sin clings to what we do, yet let us do it, since
we have to deal with so good a Lord, and the more strife we meet with,
the more acceptance we shall have. Christ loves to taste
of the good fruits that come from us, even though
they will always be flavored with our old nature.

A Christian complains he cannot pray. “Oh, I am troubled
with so many distracting thoughts, and never more than now!”
But has he put into your heart a desire to pray? Then he will hear
the desires of his own Spirit in you. “We do not know
what to pray for as we ought” (nor how to do anything
else as we ought), but the Spirit helps
in our weakness with “groanings too deep for words”
which are not hid from God. “My sighing is not hidden from you”
God can pick sense out of a confused prayer.
These desires cry louder in his ears than your sins.

Sometimes a Christian has such confused thoughts
that he can say nothing but, as a child, cries, “O Father”,
not able to express what he needs, like Moses at the Red Sea.

These stirrings of spirit touch the heart of God and melt him
into compassion towards us, when they come from the Spirit
of adoption, and from a striving to be better.
“Oh, but is it possible”, thinks the troubled heart,
“that so holy a God should accept such a prayer?”
Yes, he will accept that which is his own,
and pardon that which is ours.

Jonah prayed in the fish’s belly, being burdened with the guilt of sin,
yet God heard him. Let not, therefore, weaknesses discourage us.
James takes away this objection . Some might object,
“If I were as holy as Elijah, then my prayers might be regarded.”
“But,” says he, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.”
He had his passions as well as we, or do we think that God heard him
because he was without fault? Surely not. But look at the promises:
Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you”
“Ask, and it shall be given to you” and others like these.

God accepts our prayers, though weak, because we are his own children,
and they come from his own Spirit; because they are
according to his own will; and because they are offered
in Christ’s mediation,and he takes them,
and mingles them with his own incense
There is never a holy sigh, never a tear we shed, which is lost.
And as every grace increases by exercising it,
so does the grace of prayer. By prayer we learn to pray.
So, likewise, we should avoid a spirit of discouragement
in all other holy duties, since we have so gracious a Saviour.

Pray as we are able, hear as we are able,
strive as we are able, do as we are able,
according to the measure of grace received. God in Christ
will cast a gracious eye upon that which is his own.
Would Paul do nothing because he could not do the good that he would?
No, he “pressed on toward the goal”.
Let us not be cruel to ourselves when Christ is so gracious.
There is a certain meekness of spirit in which we give thanks to God
for any ability at all, and rest quiet with the measure of grace received,
seeing it is God’s good pleasure it should be so. He gives the will
and the deed, but this doesn’t keep us from further endeavors.

But when, with faithful endeavor, we come short
of what we would be, and short of what others are,
then know for our comfort, Christ will not quench
the flickering flame, and that sincerity and truth,
with effort towards growth, is our perfection.
What God says of Jeroboam’s son is comforting,
“He only shall come to the grave, because in him there is found
something pleasing to the LORD, the God of Israel”
though only “some good thing”.

Lord, I believe”
with a weak faith, yet with faith;

English: Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)

love you with a faint love, yet with love;
endeavor in a feeble manner, yet endeavor.

A little fire is fire, though it smokes.
Since you have taken me into your covenant
to be yours from being an enemy,
will you cast me off for these weaknesses,
which, as they displease you, so
are they
the grief of my own heart?

By Richard Sibbes,  the complete text  here

HT: Tim Challies

The Rough Fight of Love, Spurgeon March 12

March 12, 2013

Deposition. Heures d'Étienne Chevalier, enlumi...

Would you be a feather-bed
warrior, instead of bearing
the rough fight of love?

He who dares the most,
shall win the most;
and if rough be your path of love,

tread it boldly,
still loving your neighbours
through thick and thin.

Heap coals of fire
on their heads
and if they be hard to please,

seek not to please them,
but to please your Master;
and remember if they spurn your love,

your Master has not spurned it,
and your deed is as acceptable
to Him as if it had been acceptable to them.

Love your neighbour,
for in so doing you are
following the footsteps of Christ.

Be Bold to Believe: Charles Spurgeon’s Spoken Word, February 23

February 23, 2013

I will never leave thee.”—Hebrews 13:5.

Be bold to believe, for He has said,
“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
In this promise, God gives to His people everything.

“I will never leave you.”
Then no attribute of God
can cease to be engaged for us.

Is He mighty?
He will show Himself strong
on the behalf of them that trust Him.

Is He love?
Then with lovingkindness
will He have mercy upon us.

Whatever attributes
may compose
the character of Deity,

every one of them to its fullest
extent shall be engaged on our side.
To put everything in one,

there is nothing you can want,
there is nothing you can ask for,
there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity,

there is nothing living, nothing dying,
there is nothing in this world,
nothing in the next world,

there is nothing now,
nothing at the resurrection-morning,
nothing in heaven which is not contained in this text—

“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

A Happy Storm — Spurgeon’s Morning Song, August 31

September 3, 2012

Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this!
O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!
There is no getting at our God sometimes
because of the multitude of our friends;
but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless
that he has nowhere else to turn,
he flies into his Father’s arms, and is blessedly clasped therein!

When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar,
that he cannot tell them to any but his God,
he may be thankful for them;
for he will learn more of his Lord then
than at any other time.
Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble
that drives you to your Father!

Now that you have only your God to trust to,
see that you put your full confidence in Him.
Dishonour not your Lord and Master by unworthy doubts and fears;
but be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Show the world that your God is worth ten thousand worlds to you.
Show rich men how rich you are
in your poverty — when the Lord God is your helper.

Show the strong man how strong
you are in your weakness –
when underneath you are the everlasting arms.
Now is the time for feats of faith and brave exploits!
Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord your God
shall certainly, as surely as He built the heavens and the earth,
glorify Himself in your weakness.

The grandeur of the arch of heaven
would be spoiled
if the sky were supported
by a single visible column,
and your faith would lose its glory
if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye.
May the Holy Spirit give you to rest in Jesus!

Mark Heard also reminds us here, “In the eye of the storm,
the friends of God suffer no permanent harm.”

Everyday Incense of Thanksgiving: Spurgeon Spoken Word, 11/20

November 20, 2011

"Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Je...

“O Lord,You  have pleaded
the causes of my soul;
You
have redeemed my life.”
A grateful spirit should ever
be cultivated by the Christian;

and especially after deliverances
we should prepare a song for our God.
Earth should be a temple filled
with the songs of grateful saints,
and every day should be a censor

smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving.  gratitude. =)smoking  with the sweet incense of thanksgiving

How joyful Jeremiah
seems to be while he records
the Lord’s mercy.
How triumphantly
he lifts up the strain!

He has been in the low dungeon,Dungeons / Mazmorras

and is even now no other
than the weeping prophet;

and yet in the very book
which is called “Lamentations,”

clear as the song of Miriam
when she dashed her fingers
against the tabor, shrill
as the note of Deborah
when she met Barak with shouts of victory,

we hear the voice of Jeremy
going up to heaven—”You have pleaded the causes
of my soul; you have redeemed my life.”
O children of God, seek

after a vital experience

Song Thrush

of the Lord’s lovingkindness,
and when you have it,

speak positively of it;
sing gratefully;
shout triumphantly.

Upon His Palms : Spurgeon’s Spoken Word, 11/7

November 7, 2011

O unbelief, how strange a marvel you are!
We know not which most to wonder at,
the faithfulness of God

The Unbelief of Suspension

or the unbelief of His people.

He keeps His promise
a thousand times,
and yet the next trial
makes us doubt Him.

He never fails; He is never a dry well;
He is never as a setting sun,
a passing meteor, or a melting vapour;
and yet we are as continually vexed

with anxieties, molested with suspicions,
and disturbed with fears, as if our God
were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,”
is a word intended to excite admiration.

Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling.
Heaven and earth may well be astonished
that rebels should obtain so great
a nearness to the heart of infinite love

as to be written upon the palms of His hands.
“I have graven you.”It does not say, “Your name.”
The name is there, but that is not all:
“I have graven you.”See the fulness of this!

I have graven your person, your image,
your case, your circumstances,
your sins, your temptations,
your weaknesses, your wants, your works;

I have graven you, everything about you,
all that concerns you; I have put you
altogether there.

Will you ever say again
that your God has forsaken you
when He has graven you

Forsaken

upon his own palms?

Interchange with a Leper: Spurgeon’s Spoken Word, 9/04

October 24, 2011

Primeval darkness heard
the Almighty fiat,
“light be”

William Blake Ancient of Days

“light be,”

and straightway light was,

and the word of
the Lord Jesus
is equal in majesty to
that ancient word of power.

Redemption like Creation
has its word of might.
Jesus speaks
and it is done.
Leprosy yielded to

no human remedies,
but it fled at once
at the Lord’s “I will.”

The disease exhibited
no hopeful signs or
tokens of recovery,
nature contributed nothing
to its own healing,
but the unaided word
effected the entire
work on the spot
and forever.

The sinner is in a plight more
miserable than the leper;
let him imitate
his example and

Brooklyn Museum - The Healing of Ten Lepers (G...

go to Jesus,
“beseeching him
and kneeling down to him.”
Let him exercise

what little faith he has,
even though it should
go no further than
“Lord, if thou wilt,
thou canst make me clean”…

Jesus heals all who come,
and casts out none.
… Jesus touched the leper.
This unclean person
had broken through
the regulations of
the ceremonial law
and pressed into the house,
but Jesus so far from

chiding him
broke through the law himself
in order to meet him.

He made an interchange
with the leper,

Mycobacterium leprae, one of the causative age...

for while he cleansed him,
he contracted by that touch
a Levitical defilement.

Even so Jesus Christ
was made sin for us,
although in himself he knew no sin,
that we might be made
the righteousness of God in him.

Brooklyn Museum - Healing of the Lepers at Cap...

O that poor sinners would go to Jesus,
believing in the power
of his blessed substitutionary work,
and they would soon learn
the power of his gracious touch.
That hand which
multiplied the loaves,
which saved sinking Peter,
which upholds afflicted saints,
which crowns believers,

that same hand
will touch every seeking sinner,
and in a moment
make him clean.
The love of Jesus
is the source
of salvation.
He loves, he looks,
he touches us,
we live!

Rejoicing with Little Faith — (more Spoken Word by C.H. Spurgeon)

October 19, 2011
Cover of "Little Faith (Faith of a Child)...

Cover of Little Faith (Faith of a Child)

Are you mourning, believer
because you are so weak in the divine life:
because your faith is so little, your love so feeble?

Cheer up, for you have cause for gratitude.
Remember that in some things you are equal
to the greatest and most full-grown Christian.

You are as much bought with blood as he is.
You are as much an adopted child of God
as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child

of its parents as is the full-grown man.
You are as completely justified,
for your justification is not a thing of degrees:

your little faith has made you clean every bit.
You have as much right to the precious things
of the covenant as the most advanced believers,

for your right to covenant mercies lies not in your growth,
but in the covenant itself;
and your faith in Jesus is not the measure,

but the token of your inheritance in Him.
You are as rich as the richest,
if not in enjoyment, yet in real possession.

The smallest star that gleams
is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light
has affinity with the great orb of day.

In the family register of glory the small and the great
are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your Father’s heart
as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender over you.

You are like the smoking flax; a rougher spirit
would say, “put out that smoking flax,
it fills the room with an offensive odour!”

but the smoking flax He will not quench.
You are like a bruised reed; and any less tender hand
than that of the Chief Musician

would tread upon you or throw you away,
but He will never break the bruised reed.
Instead of being downcast by reason of what you are,

you should triumph in Christ. Am I but little in Israel?
Yet in Christ I am made to sit in heavenly places.
Am I poor in faith? Still in Jesus I am heir of all things.

Though “less than nothing I can boast, and vanity confess.”
yet, if the root of the vine be in me
I will rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the God of my salvation.



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