Hope Against Depression

Hope Against Depression

Scripture: Psalms 34:18, Psalms 39:2-7, Micah 7:1-7
Date: 02/12/2011  Lesson: 7
Depression is a serious medical condition and should be treated as such. The Lord offers advice about how to overcome these feelings with a relationship with Him.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you who are joining us this morning, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks, joining us on dvd. However it is, we welcome you to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for another Sabbath School Study Hour together. We are going to sing, as we always do, some requests that have come in from around the world. And the first one is 337, "redeemed! How I love to proclaim it." Those of you at home, pull out your hymnals and join us this morning. This is from stuart and gail in australia, barbara in California, saskia in cayman islands, lew and katie in Georgia, eric in ghana, derek in india, jean and gloria in italy, lester and margaret in Maryland, wayne in Minnesota, michelle in New York, angel in Philippines, hugo and vuyani in south africa, jenny in South Dakota and jerusha in trinidad and tobago.

We're going to sing all three stanzas this morning, 337. Thank you so much for sending in that song request. And we thank each and every one of you who have sent in many requests. Since April 2004, we have gotten over 11,000 requests. And it's so exciting to hear from our extended Sabbath school family around the world.

We thank you so much. If you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's very simple. Go to our website at saccentral.org, and click on the "contact us" link. And we will sing your favorite as soon as possible. Our next one this morning is 626, "in a little while we're going home.

" Do you believe that? I absolutely do. You see the things that are going on in this world, and you know it is a little while, 626. This is from harold, stuart and Karen in australia, ralph and birdie in bahamas, leonardo and hander in brazil, robert, anne, mohan and judith in england, daphnie in florida, hyacinth in india, donnolee, ryan and ramie in jamaica, elias in Maryland, raul in Mexico, wayne in Minnesota, teniel in New York, sandie and vern in North Carolina, sherry in Oregon, angel in the Philippines and Philipina and verna in saint lucia. We're going to sing the first, second and fourth stanza, 626. Father in Heaven, we cling to that promise that in a little while we are going home.

We know in this world there is so much pain and suffering. And we look forward to that day when we will be in heaven with you. There'll be no more tears, no more pain. Father, this morning we want to remember those who have lost loved ones this week, children and family. And I just pray that you will be especially with each and every one.

We don't know everybody out there, father, but you do. You love us all so infinitely, and you are our wonderful Heavenly Father. And so we come to you this morning. We just thank you for the love that you shower on us every single day. We don't deserve it, but that's the beauty and the mystery of you.

And father, I just pray that you'll be with us this morning in a special way as we open up Your Word and we study together, that you will speak to our hearts, and that your spirit will fill us. Thank you so much for Pastor Doug and his ministry here at central and around the world. And I pray that you will continue to bless him with health and strength, and that he will always stand up for the truth. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor.

He is our senior pastor here at central church. Thank you. I want to thank stacie and florentine, cheri, jolene, debbie, jenny and jessica for leading the music. Now don't ask me to recite all 1400 names of all our members, because I don't know how I'd do at that. No, I know how I'd do at that.

Good morning. Happy Sabbath. Good to see each of you here. Want to welcome our--of course our local class, visitors, congregation, and our extended class that studies with us. Many of those are actually members of central church.

You know, one of the things that we're excited about is because of the power and the effect of media, Sacramento central is able to minister to people who are scattered around the planet that have no local church they can attend. And they are members of the Sacramento central kind of a global family. People all over the world speak english, they watch this on satellite or on the internet. And it's fun as we travel to meet our friends and family, part of the extended central group. And welcome to you.

By the way, if some of you who are watching, if you are isolated and you're not connected with any church, we'd love to talk to you about a process to do that. Just go to saccentral.org, and we want to get you connected. Hey, they reminded me, I never told you about the free offer. And the free offer that we have for our viewers is the book, "steps to Christ." "Steps to Christ," it's-- and you get it just by calling this number. We'll send you it, if you don't have it already.

I hope if you already have it you won't--you won't exploit the offer. Read the one you have. But if you don't have this book, 1-866-study-more. We'll send it to you. 866-788-3966.

We like to provide these materials. By the way, there's a great chapter in there called, "rejoicing in the Lord." That's one reason we're connecting that book with this study. Also if you'll indulge me just for a moment, I don't often get to get around physically and visit the people who are studying with us, but two occasions are coming up where we're going to be doing a little traveling and be in churches with our friends. And I will be in the loma linda area at the campus hill church on March 11th. And we'd like to greet our friends there, so if you are in that area, we'd love to meet you.

That's the campus hill church in loma linda, March 11th. And for those on the east coast of the u.s. Around tennessee, we'll be at the collegedale community church in collegedale, tennessee, February 26, February 26 at the collegedale community church. I look forward to seeing our friends there then. We are continuing with our study guide dealing with "human emotions," talking about "Jesus wept: the Bible and human emotions.

" And today we're dealing with lesson number 7, "hope against depression." Hope against depression. And we've got a memory verse, a lot of verses we're going to look at. Memory verse is from psalm 34:18. If you've got your study guide, you can read along with me right out of the quarterly. And it comes from the n.

i.v., Psalm 34:18, you ready to help me out? Here we go. "the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." I remember when years ago I traveled with the heritage singers when I first joined 'em they used to sing a song during the appeal called, "tears are a language God understands." And the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. Does God have emotions? We've been talking about that through this series. We are made in the image of God. It's not like God says, "these creatures down there, I made them and they've got these emotions, but you know, I'll have to become one of them to find out what emotions are like.

" Well, first of all, God knows everything, so he didn't need to become a man to learn anything. Does everyone realize that? But it does help us to know that he knows because he became a man. But God had emotions before he made man. We have our emotions because we're made in his image. So does the Lord get sad? Are there things that sadden the Lord? Now I've got to be careful about saying the Lord being clinically depressed, because I don't know that the Lord struggles with it in that dimension, but the Lord certainly knows sorrow.

What was God's response in the beginning, in the days of Noah? It tells us "when The Sons of God saw the daughters of men," when the descendants of seth, who had been serving God, began to intermarry with the descendants of cain who had rejected God, and they lost that purity. And it says, "then the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually." And what does the Bible declare after that? What was God's attitude? It says, "it grieved the Lord in his heart, and he was sorry that he made man." Does that seem to communicate to you that the Lord just sad, grieved, shaking his head, depressed that he made man, you could say. And so God has these things. So when people are sad, does he share our emotions? Does he know how we feel? When nobody else knows how you feel, God knows how you feel. And I appreciate something pastor branner said last night during the marriage seminar about being honest with God when you pray.

And he pointed out those Psalms of David where David says some things, and you think, "wow, that's pretty heavy, some--" you know, just being honest with God that you--sometimes bad things happen. Have you ever felt angry with God? And you think, "what right do you have to feel angry with God?" Well, maybe you don't have a right, but you should be honest with him and say, "Lord, I may not have any right to feel this way, but you know I feel this way and this is how I feel." Isn't that being honest with God? And I think it's important that we do that. And just open our hearts to the Lord, because the Lord invites us, for one thing, to reason with him. And I think a good parent might sit down with their child and say, "tell me, how are you feeling?" And you know, their emotions, they might be going down the wrong road that's making them feel that way, but you need to process it with them and say, "tell me what it is." And so the Lord wants us to open our hearts to him and tell him. And so in this lesson, we're going to explore a little bit about depression.

I'd like to especially focus on hope, because that really is the antidote. Matter of fact, why don't we look at a definition for hope here. Hope--i just got this from some online dictionaries: "to have a wish, to get or do something or force something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely, or feeling something that seems desirable is likely to happen, to bring success or relief." Now I heard somebody say one time that this man was on a cruise ship. And he was terribly seasick, and it went on for days. And he was up on the deck sitting there green.

And the steward felt sorry for him, and he came over and he put his hand on his shoulder, and he said, "sir," he said, "I just want you to know, don't worry, no one ever died from being seasick." And the sick man looked up at the steward, he said, "don't tell me that." He said, "hope of dying is the only thing keeping me alive right now." [Laughing] you ever felt like that before? So talking about hope and some of these issues and depression. Turn in your Bibles to the book of Psalms. And I think we've distributed some verses in our midst here that some of you are going to help me read. Psalms 42, psalm 42:1-5, talks about yearning after God, and just, you know, some of these feelings that we've talked about. "As the deer pants for the water brooks--" how many of you know that song? It's often sung in youth groups, "as the deer pants for the water," this is where it comes from.

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, o God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears--" now here's the part-- "my tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, 'where is your God?' When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim's feast. Why are you cast down, o my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

" Now you hear what's happening in this psalm? David is saying--he's describing a condition of being heartsick and discouraged, maybe even depressed. And then you hear him reasoning with himself about how you could find hope again in God. So, you know, one of the solutions that we're finding right here for discouragement is in communion with God through the Holy Spirit. One of the gifts of the Spirit, he's called the comforter. And through prayer, we open our hearts to the Spirit.

That often alleviates the pressure of discouragement. It parts the clouds and the light comes through during prayer. But you might need to pour out your heart with God. Any of you ever--i won't ask you to show your hands, but when you've gone through a very discouraging experience, you might get a devastating lab report, or you might get a phone call that you've lost a loved one, or you know, you get some bad news that just depresses you. I mean, there's all kinds of things that could send us spiraling, hear a discouraging report.

You might turn on the news and see something that just depresses you. And you might be going through a process of grieving. Is it wrong to just drop to your knees and cry out to God? And you ever noticed after a good cry sometimes strangely you feel better? How many of you know what I'm talking about? And you might say, "yeah, I'm just going to bottle all this up. I'm just going to be depressed." Sometimes you need to just cry out to God and pour out your heart to him. And you can see in this psalm there's an evolution taking place, where he's starting out saying, "you know, I feel dry.

I'm thirsting for God. I'm crying out." And by the end, he's talking about hoping in God, seeing his face again. It's like God's face has been hidden. And he finds relief. Somebody read for me Ecclesiastes 9:4.

"But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion." If you are a jew, one of the animals that's considered the lowest and unclean, you'll often hear them categorize dogs and pigs. Now I know you all love your dogs. Americans spend so much on pet food that you almost, you know, loath to say this, but dogs were considered scavengers. And you know, he talks about the dog returning to his vomit. And don't give that which is holy to the dogs.

And the dogs came and licked his sores. And dog was just considered the lowest of the animals. They, you know, they don't shake hands the way most people shake hands. Dogs are not known for being cultured in that respect. I know we primp 'em and we take 'em into dog shows, but in Bible times they were considered scavengers.

They're the ones that ate jezebel, dogs. Outside the new Jerusalem, dogs. You got that picture? But so Solomon says--now a lion on the other hand, Jesus is called the "lion of the tribe of judah." They were considered majestic. While still unclean for food, they were considered the most majestic of the unclean animals. But he says a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Because for him that is joined to the living, there is hope. You ever heard the expression, "where there is life, there is hope?" That comes from this verse. Where there is life, there's hope. And so sometimes--and some people say, "oh, you know, I'm alive, but things sure look bad. What have I done? Have I grieved away the Holy Spirit?" I get that question a lot.

Things seem to be going so bad, God's face seems to be hidden. "Have I grieved away permanently? I'm alive, but maybe there's no hope anymore." Who was it said, "hope springs eternal?" We need to continue hoping. Carl sandburg said, "hope is an echo. It ties itself yonder, yonder." Sometimes it's just out of reach, but it keeps people going. Norman vincent peale said, "hope is wishing for something to come true.

Faith is believing that it will come true." He who has hope and he who-- well, let me see here. "He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything." So have you ever met people who are healthy and rich, but they lost hope and they killed themselves? I shouldn't say you met, have you heard of people like this? You think, "they committed suicide? They were famous. They were good-looking. They were wealthy. And they took their life.

" Drugs are often involved. They find no purpose. They've lost hope. And so that is everything. A living dog is better than a dead lion.

So hope is just so important. I heard about this experiment. And you maybe have heard me mention this before, but it illustrates how crucial it is even physiologically to have hope. What a difference it makes for us. And I forget what the university was that did this, where they took these rats.

They'd never allow 'em to do it now because it was a--it seemed like a cruel test. And they put these rats in this bucket. And they dropped 'em in there. And they had them swim around the bucket looking for a way of escape. And the first group of rats that they put in, there was no lever, no ladder, no platform that they could reach.

It was obvious there was no way out. They swam for, you know, 40 minutes and just kind of gave up and drowned. But then what they did is they put something within reach, just out of reach, but they could see if they could pop up somehow or swim or lunge, they might be able to get out. They swam three times as long. Because they had hope within reach.

And even though they never made it, they lasted much longer, 'cause they had something to look forward to. I heard about this hospital chaplain. She was actually a--is a children's hospital and she was a teacher for kids that were in the children's hospital, help them with their schoolwork while they were convalescing and healing. And she was sent at one point to visit this one child that was in the burn ward. And she said, "this child needs to work on verbs and adverbs.

" And given the assignment from the teacher. And she went into the burn ward, and she wasn't prepared for what she saw. She went into the room, and there was this child that was all wrapped up and groaning and in a lot of pain and horribly burned. And she came in, and the child saw her come in, some 8 or 10-year-old, I forget. And she first looked at the child, and child looked at them, and she was horrified.

But she thought, "well, they've seen me now. I need to come in or it's just going to look bad." So she came in and said, "I've been sent by your school to help you work on your verbs and your adverbs." And she kind of sat down awkwardly and she went through this lesson. And I don't know how much response she had and she left. The next day the nurses called and said, "what did you say to that boy that was in the burn ward?" She said, "oh no, what's wrong?" She said, "no, no," she said, "it's great! Up until you came they were looking like they were just going to give up and they wouldn't respond. And we were really afraid they were going to die.

And after you came everything was different." And so teacher went back and said, "you know, I understand you began to do much better after I came. What's going on?" They said, "well, I thought I was dying. And they sent someone to make me work on my verbs and adverbs. I figured there was hope!" Because you don't--you don't send someone to do their homework on their verbs and their adverbs if they're dying. And so that changed everything.

And so believing, and modern medicine will bear that out, is very important in helping us get out of discouragement. Isaiah 38:14, "like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; my eyes fail from looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me!" Does it sound like Isaiah there is a little bit discouraged? Yeah. So do God's people sometimes get depressed? Alright, go ahead, read for us then 1 Kings 19:4. I think we're ready.

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'it is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'" Now something that you might consider, Elijah got discouraged. Now you look at the circumstances and you can see why he'd be discouraged here. He thought he was going to implement a great revival. And prophets of baal who had been leading the people in false worship are slain.

the Lord demonstrated his power by sending fire down on the mountain. The people turned back and said, "the Lord, he is God." The rain came. But by the end of that day, he realized jezebel who had been killing the prophets of God and manipulating the King and the Kingdom was still in power. And she now is threatening to kill Elijah. And Elijah just threw his hands in the air and ran.

Gets out there in the desert, and he's just ready to give up and die. You know what might have contributed to his depression and discouragement? We talked about this I think in an earlier lesson. He was tired and he was hungry. And an angel woke him up and fed him twice and gave him something to drink. And that, you know, gave him some power to cope at least for a little while.

I saw they've had this commercial. People are looking for encouragement in a bottle. You know that? And it might be alcohol, or it might be something else, but they've got this commercial I noticed where this man, he wakes up and he drags down the stairs. And he doesn't even want a pot of coffee, just this little vial of 5-hour instant energy. And he drinks that and that's what gives him encouragement for the day.

And so people now are really looking for encouragement in a pill or in a bottle or in some drug. Where does the Bible tell us to get our encouragement. Now I think nourishment, a night's sleep and nourishing food ought to make a big difference in just helping rest your mind and bring up your blood sugar levels. But we got a whole culture that's gone way beyond that. There are some times chemical things that can cause discouragement.

I'm not a doctor, but I know that you can be deficient in vitamin d, a lot of people are. They don't get enough sunshine. You could be deficient in vitamin b12. And those things can have serious consequences. And so, you know, taking care of your health is one thing.

But circumstances also. Here instead of thinking about the miracles that God had performed that day, Elijah fixated on the one thing that he had not accomplished: jezebel was still in power. And that just brought him down. You look in the book of job. And you know, after all the trials came on job, and his friends come, and they just stare at him.

He looked so bad, they don't even go over verbs and adverbs. They don't even speak. They just sit silently there for seven days and seven nights. No one speaks a word. Finally job opens his mouth in chapter 3:3, and he wails, "may the day perish on which I was born, and the night in which it was said, 'a male child is conceived.

' May that day be darkness; may God above not seek it, nor the light shine upon it. May darkness and the shadow of death claim it; may a cloud settle on it." Well he's being really heavy on his birthday. "May the blackness of day terrify it. As for that night, may darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year--" take my birthday out of the days of the year. Somebody was telling me yesterday, "yeah, it's the 30th of February.

" I thought, that doesn't even come leap year, does it? "Oh, that I might--that it might--that might be barren!" You go down to verse 11, "why did I not die at birth?" I won't ask you to raise your hands, but I suspect there are some here who have thought, "I wish I was never born." I remember saying that. I got so discouraged one time, I told my father, "it's all your fault that I'm here. If it wasn't for you, I'd never been born." I was a teenager at the time. And sometimes hormones can contribute to depression. And you just need patience.

So there's a lot of things the Bible identifies. Psalm 77:4, "you hold my eyelids open. I'm so troubled I cannot speak." "Hope deferred," Proverbs 13:12, dashed hopes can devastate. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." You know, people long for something. They anticipate something for years, and then it's not realized.

And it can send a person into a spiral of depression. Some people, they've got great expectations in their marriage. They have the wedding, and a few months into it, they think, "this isn't at all what I thought was going to happen. And this isn't at all what I thought--" maybe they had these fantastic, you know, a lot of times people have this fantasy idea of what marriage is going to be like. And they go into a depression.

And it can just devastate them. "But when desire comes, it is a Tree of Life." I'm still in Proverbs 13:12, "hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes," when a person realizes and receives what they've been hoping for, it can bring health, "it's a Tree of Life." Someone once said the greatest enemy of man is not disease, it's despair. Despair can make a person sick. Dashed expectations have been the source of much heartache. I'm going to read psalm 31:10, and again king David, "for my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.

" Have you ever been discouraged by sin in your nature, your selfishness and your sin and your failures? You don't have to raise your hand. I'll raise it for you. I'll raise my hand. You pray. You ask God to forgive you.

You believe in his forgiveness. You feel much better. You rejoice in the Lord. And then you do the same thing again. And you pray, and you say, "Lord, could you forgive me again?" Oh, he said seventy times seven.

And you pray, he forgives you and you rejoice, and you're walking in the Lord. Then you fall again. Or it's something else you weren't expecting. And you can become, say, "boy, how long is this going to go on?" And you can get to the point where you just say, "oh, I don't think I'm ever going to be a Christian." And you get depressed about your relationship with the Lord because of your perpetual failures. And people get depressed because of that.

Isn't that what we just read? "My strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away." So what do you do about that? I'm not going to answer that yet. That's coming in another section. Psalm 102:4. "My heart is stricken and withered like grass so that I forget to eat my bread." Now some people respond a couple of different ways to discouragement when it comes to food. Some people when they're discouraged, they just stop eating.

And you can even think of cases of that in the Bible when David was confronted with his sin with bathsheba. And the child that was the result of that relationship got sick, he went seven days, he just didn't eat. And other people, of course, fasting because of something, they may not eat. Some people when they're discouraged, eating actually becomes the way that they deal with their depression and their discouragement. But all of these things can be interrelated.

Alright, I don't want to spend all our time talking about that. We have about half our time left. Under Tuesday, "relief from depression." Alright, go with me to Psalms 39, and here it's got verses 2 through 7. "I was mute with silence, I held my peace even from good; my sorrow was stirred up. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing, the fire burned.

Then I spoke with my tongue: 'Lord, make me to know my end, what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, you have made my days as a handbreadth, and my age is as nothing before you; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah. Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and he does not know who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.

" So, this actually is David. It sounds a lot like Solomon in Ecclesiastes where he talks about the vanity of life. And how does Solomon sum up Ecclesiastes? Anyone remember the summary of Ecclesiastes? "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." And so here David is summing it up. He says, you know, "life, our lives are so brief.

They're like a shadow. They're like a vapor. What is the purpose of life?" And he says, "my only hope is in you." I was talking to a friend who is an atheist. And is it okay for you to have friends like that? I mean, how else are you going to reach 'em? I was talking to a friend who is an atheist, and he doesn't mind, you know, some atheists, they say, "doug, we're friends because you don't preach to me. Don't talk to me, I won't talk to you.

" Then I've got friends who love to argue with me. And I like that, you know. I like to engage people like that. And I remember this one fellow was saying, "well doug, one of us is right." And I said, "well, the difference is that if you're right, nothing matters. And if I'm right, nothing else matters.

If God is real, that is our only hope. That is our only purpose. And if God is not real, there is no purpose." So as David is musing all the struggles that we go through in life, ultimately our hope is in God. That's what gives everything purpose. And that's what gives everything hope.

It's like, you know, Paul said, I think I'm getting to this later, he said, "if Christ didn't rise, than we're all dead in our sins and there is no hope really." Alright, go ahead, read for us, what is it, psalm-- or 1 Thessalonians 1:3. "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and father." You know, I like the way-- thank you--i like the way that John bunyan said this, "hope has a thick skin and will endure a many a blow. It will put on patience as a vestment. It will wade through a sea of blood. It will endure all things if it be the right kind for the joy that is set before it.

Hence patience is called the patience of hope, because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience and longsuffering under the cross until the time comes to enjoy the crown." You notice it talks about in that verse the patience of hope. Hope gives us patience. Like that illustration I was telling you again, people can endure all kinds of things. Even rats will last longer if they think there's hope. Zig ziglar said, "hope is optimistic.

" He said, "I'm such an optimist, I would go after moby dick in a row boat and take tartar sauce with me." I like zig ziglar. Any of you ever hear zig ziglar is a famous motivational speaker, also a dedicated Christian. And he used to say, "why do you call 'em all stop lights. He said right there with all the stop lights there's also go lights, but no one calls 'em go lights. We always think about them stopping us.

" He said, "but if there were no stop lights," he said, "nobody would go anywhere." He says, "you'd have gridlock." He said, "they're really go lights. That's what makes us able to go." I mean he had a positive outlook on everything. Okay, read that verse for us. Psalm 55:17, "evening and morning and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice." So what's the source of our hope? Where do we find our relief? It can't be overstated. All through the Bible people turn to God and they prayed, and it was prayer that gave them hope, that gave them purpose.

And when you're going through--you know what I worry about is prayer has become a cliche for Christians. You know, someone says, "well, I'll pray for you." Or "you just need to pray." And it's sort of like, "how are you?" "I'm fine." And we really don't understand how potent the medicine really is. And the word can get to the point where we don't recognize and appreciate how powerful prayer really is. And so when I say prayer will help heal depression and give you hope. What did Jesus do? He prayed.

In the garden of Gethsemane, think about the clouds that were distracting him. When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane and he was perspiring blood, would it be safe to say he was depressed? If you read that book, "Desire of Ages," he was staggering. He couldn't even walk straight under the burden of--and you know one reason, I believe when he was burying our sins it was hard for him to look beyond the portals of the grave. His hope was being cut off when he felt the gravity of our sin. By the way, he didn't start burying our sin when they erected the cross, he started burying our sin in the garden of Gethsemane when The Father withdrew his presence and his protection.

And he was bearing the sin and the penalty of sin which is hopelessness. Isn't part of the penalty of the lost hopelessness? And so Christ was experiencing the hopelessness of the lost sinner. Would that depress you? Yeah, and it certainly did with Jesus as well. Anyway, but hope looks beyond that. Turn to psalm 32.

This is one of these great Psalms of David that talks about forgiveness for sin. Psalm 32:1, "blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man in whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old. Through all my groaning all the day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer." Oh, I read this didn't i? "Selah. I acknowledge my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden 'em. I'll confess my transgression. You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

" I meant to read Micah 7:1-7, let's go there. Book of Micah 7, we're going to read 1 through 7. "Woe is me!" Oh, how does that sound? "For I am like those who gather summer fruit, like those who glean vintage grapes; there is no cluster to eat of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires. The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net.

That they may successfully do evil with both hands-the prince asks for gifts, the judge seeks for a bribe." You remember when Elijah ran to the cave? He said, "Lord, there's none righteous left. I am the only knee that has not bowed to baal." You ever felt that? You look at the news, and you think, is there anything good in the earth?" And it just seems like evil men and seducers wax worse and worse. Sort of what Micah is going through here... "The prince asks for gifts, and the judge seeks a bribe, and the great man utters his evil desire; so they scheme together. The best of them is like a brier; the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; the day of your watchman and your punishment comes; now shall be their perplexity.

Do not trust in a friend; do not put your confidence in a companion; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom. For The Son dishonors father, the daughter rises against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies are those of his own house." How many remember when Jesus quoted that in Matthew 10:36? He's talking about this tribulation. Now that sounds like pretty negative headlines if you stop there. But you read on, verse 7. I'm glad it's in verse 7.

It's like you find rest in verse 7. "Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me." When you look on the earth, and it seems like everything is dark and discouraging and despairing, and you might even see you've got friendly fire in your own family. That's what Jesus said. You might not even find comfort in that. You might feel betrayed by the ones you love.

Was Jesus betrayed by one of his own apostles? Was David betrayed by his own family? Was Joseph betrayed by his family? You can March through the history of the Bible and see a lot of that. Esau came to attack Jacob. Though Jacob probably induced some of that. And so even though you might see all of this horizontal negative, you can then look vertical. And that is the solution for the horizontal problems.

It's turning to God in hope. In Isaiah 65:17, God promises, "behold I create a new heavens and a new earth. And the former will not be remembered or come into mind." So we look beyond the things in this life for what God has. And that's what gives us hope. You know, I heard years ago, when submarines were still in their infancy, true story, submarine called s4.

It was ramped. It had gone through its test mission. Everything was fine. It came back to shore and it was surfacing. And a u.

s. Coastguard ship ran over it as it was surfacing. Immediately it just rolled over and it went down in 100 feet of water. Well, this, the coastguard ship that hit it, it went down to shore quickly, reported what had happened, they sent out all these navy people to try and see if they could rescue the submariners that were down there. They dropped them down.

And back then, this was, you know, before they had the simple scuba equipment we have now. They had these heavy metal scuba things that the navy used. They dropped off in 100 feet of water. And they lumbered up on the sea floor to the submarine. They heard tapping.

Well that's back when everyone still remembered morse code. If any of you are ham radio operators you probably still remember a little morse code. You used to need it to get your license. And they heard 'em tapping. And that was really good news for them.

And they put the helmet up to the--'cause he could hear a lot better when he put the metal of his helmet up to the hull of the submarine. And they were tapping, "is there any hope?" And they were able to tap back, you know, "we're doing the best we can. How long can you last?" And they said, "not long." Well, it turns out there wasn't. And six men had survived, they were in the torpedo bay up front. And they just didn't have the equipment to get to them in time so they suffocated.

But they kept hanging on wondering, you know, "we can hang on as long as we can, but tell us please is there hope?" And those men at least died with hope, 'cause they knew, "they know that we're here." And before that they didn't know. And that's really the cry of the human race. Is there hope? You know for a Christian, even if you get a report that you've got some terminal disease, does a Christian lose hope when they know they're growing old and dying, or they know they're sick and dying? How will that really affect our hope? I heard 125 a.d., A Greek by the name of aristides was writing to one of his friends about this new Christian religion. And he was trying to explain the reasons for their extraordinary success. Here's a sentence that he wrote to one of his listeners.

Speaking of Christians, he says, "if any righteous man among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God. They escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he was setting out from one place to another." You know, they've got this cryogenic society that they'll freeze you. A lot of 'em went bankrupt, which I don't know what happened. I guess the people thawed out. But the idea is, you know, people put these vast amounts of money into this fund and they were supposed to freeze you in the hope that, you know, when you died from your cancer or heart attack or disease, they'd quickly freeze you and they'd put you in this frozen chamber somehow and hopefully they thought science would get to the place where they could thaw you out and spark you back to life.

I don't know, but people had that hope. And they spent phenomenal sums of money. Put, you know, large part of their estate in this trust fund to keep them on ice, 'cause it's very expensive to do that. In the hope that they could somehow be resuscitated some day. Now I hope all you Christians here know you don't have to do that.

You don't have to put a bunch of money in a fund to resuscitate the old body. Who would want that? I heard they froze, what's this famous baseball player, ted? Ted williams, yeah. I think he's on ice. Isn't that right? But I mean he died in his eighties or more. I mean who would want to be resuscitated like that? I don't want to be resuscitated at 50.

I want a glorified perfect body, right? And that's what Christians have to look forward to is--but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:19, "if in this life only we have hope, we are of all men the most pitiable." I mean because Christians here, they're taking up the cross and denying themselves and going through all these things in the hope of everlasting life. And if that hope is not there, if the only hope is what we have here, then it would seem really pathetic. "Hope against distress." Romans 15:12-13, here Paul in Romans is quoting Isaiah. He says, "there will be a root out of jesse; and he who will arise to reign over the gentiles, in him the gentiles will hope." And then he goes on to say, "now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." This kind of hope that gives us abounding--where's it come from? Last words here in the verse are the answer. "Through the power of the Holy Spirit," we can have hope.

Now again I want to reiterate that there's a lot of things that can cause discouragement and depression. If you are in prison, would you find that depressing? You know, Paul wrote his most optimistic letters from prison. Have you read Philippians and some of the different letters that Paul wrote? And he says, "I rejoice with exceeding joy. Rejoice in the Lord forevermore." And Paul had such joy. You know, I've gotten some of the most encouraging letters.

Amazing Facts gets a lot of mail from prisoners because our correspondence Bible school. A lot of them aren't allowed on the internet to do the Bible school there and so we still do a lot of the correspondence with these people as well as others. And we've gotten some letters from people in prison, they say, "oh I just praise the Lord. He's so good to me. I'm glad I found Jesus.

I'm freer now than I ever have been!" And they're still in for 10 years. And I'm reading their letter, I'm thinking, "here I am. I'm grumbling around 'cause I got a flat tire today. And it's just ruined my day, changed all my plans. And I get this letter from a prisoner who's in jail for 10 more years or longer.

And they're rejoicing." And I feel ashamed. I go oh Pastor Doug, you got a bad attitude. Something else that can depress you is the devil, plain old rank devil, spiritual forces in high places that will crowd in and cloud in your mind. Just a few minutes of listening to the devil can depress you. The devil in a few minutes of listening to his suggestions, he can eclipse years of miracles that God has performed for you and all the providences and all the blessings you have to be thankful for right now, the devil can crowd all that out so all you can see is the negative.

And you know the old adage, a cup of water, half full or half empty. The devil can make you see everything as half empty. And you could be in prison, sick in prison and alone in isolation. And if you've got the Lord, you could end up writing "pilgrim's progress." I mean that's how it was written, and be rejoicing. And so the Holy Spirit in your life makes the biggest difference.

Hope springs eternal. Let me see here. I had some other verses I was going to share with you on this subject. Romans 5:3, "and not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope doesn't disappoint, because the God of love has been poured out on our hearts by the Holy Spirit that he's given to us.

" There you have it again, the Holy Spirit and hope. So we don't need to be like those who have no hope. You know, h.g. Wells and george bernard shaw, brilliant writers, bright men, but for the most part they were both atheists. They placed their trust in their own systems of belief.

H.g. Wells, he called life a "scream of despair." Think about how sad that is. Shortly before shaw died in 1950, he wrote, "the science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt." He claimed to be an atheist. He said, "the science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, have led directly to the suicide of europe," right after world war ii.

He thought, "oh this enlightenment is going to change everything." "I believed in them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions. Now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith." Think about that, an atheist who lost his faith in what he believed. That's pretty sad. The only faith that's going to sustain us in where the world is right now is our faith in Christ, in His Word, amen? I want to remind our friends who are watching, we do have a free offer.

And we'll send you the book, "steps to Christ." If you don't have that, please call 866-study-more, 866-788-3966. We'll send that to you. Bless your hearts. Thank you for studying with us today. God willing we'll be together again next week.

Virtually everyone on the earth, regardless of religion or nationality recognize that there is some form of battle raging in the world around us, between the forces of good and evil; a colossal struggle between light and darkness, truth and error, oppression and freedom, right and wrong, and ultimately life and death. Journey back through time to the center of the universe. Discover how a perfect angel transformed into satan, the archvillian. The birth of evil, a rebellion in heaven, a mutiny that moved to earth. Behold the creation of a beautiful new planet and the first humans.

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