Ivanovich was visiting the Moscow Zoo for the first time and to his amazement he saw a little lamb sharing the same cage that held a big black bear. Ivanovich expressed surprise to his guide. The guide smiled and said, "That is peaceful coexistence." When Ivanovich doubtfully shook his head, the guide explained, "Of course, we have to put in a fresh lamb every morning." And comparatively, depression is like a bear that gobbles up the joy of life. It is impossible for joy and depression to coexist. In fact, you may know of someone who has dropped into the cage of depression and been eaten alive with fear, stress, and low self-esteem.
So, how can a person get out of this cage? Let me explain something to you first that is very important. The ant has only two neuron fibers to guide its life along. It is only slightly more complex than a white or red blood cell. But when one ant with two neurons joins a nest of millions of ants, the neurons , according to their nature, organize, supervise, and deputize. So, when the army ants march across the jungle, the elephants run from this fierce mobile brain. The cooperating neurons become so intelligent that the small ants climb trees, cut off leaves, form boats, ford streams, and ferry the army across.
As it is with the ants so it is with the neurons of the brain. The brain cells have a tendency to organize and work together to bring about constant joy or chronic depression, depending on what scouts you have sent out. Bad memories of hurt, pain, and unforgiveness will come together as an army. One bad memory probably won't hurt but too many bad ones will organize, program the brain, and become a fierce evil force marching through one's life destroying everything good in a person. So, who can save us from ourselves? Well, we ourselves, allow the sins and unforgiveness to organize into bad memories. And we, ourselves, have the ability to stop the madness of depression from marching across our minds.
Dr. William J. Diehm, a clinical psychologist, has a proven method to get out of the bear cage alive. He says: (1) Make an album of good memories and every time your mind fixes on something bad open it up and laugh a lot. (2) Get the Word of God and read it daily because it has healing properties. (3) Pray daily with confidence to your Heavenly Father. (4) Turn depression into faith and joy by surrounding yourself with productive people. (5) Teach your mouth to speak positive words rather than doom and gloom. (6) Fall in love with life by saying daily, "This is the day that the Lord hath made and I will rejoice and be glad in it." Get excited about the little things. (7) Be forgiven by giving forgiveness to others. Sure, you may have been hurt, but don't let that stop you. Let the hurts go and the wounds will heal. You will annihilate the pain and regain your confidence. But most of all you will live life at its fullest. This is peace! For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
A man was shown a red glass bottle and asked what he thought was in the bottle. He replied in succession, "Wine? Brandy? Whiskey?" When told it was full of milk he could not believe it until he saw the milk poured out into a cup. What he hadn't known, of course, was that the bottle was made of red glass and its redness hid the color of the milk it contained. So it was and is with the Lord's humanity. Men saw Him tired, hungry, weak, suffering, weeping, and thought He was only a common man. Yes, He was made in the likeness of men, yet He is the Almighty Eternal God blessed forever.
The story has been told of Shah Abbis, a Persian monarch who loved his people very much. To know and understand them better, he would mingle with his subjects in various disguises. One day he went as a poor man to the public baths and in a tiny cellar sat beside the fireman who tended the furnace. When it was mealtime the monarch ate with the fireman his coarse food and talked to his lonely subject as a friend. Again and again he visited and the man grew to love him. One day the Shah told him he was the monarch, expecting the man to ask some gift from him. But the fireman sat gazing at his ruler with love and wonder and at last spoke, "You left your palace and your glory to sit with me in this dark place, to eat of my coarse food, to care whether my heart is glad or full of sorrow. On others you may have bestowed rich presents, but to me you have given yourself, and it only remains for me to pray that you never withdraw the gift of friendship."
This story reminds us that Jesus Christ left the glories of heaven in order to share Himself with us. That gift of His love and friendship will never be withdrawn from us. He chose to be your friend and mine forever. He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). The word NEVER means under no circumstances.
George Eliot writes, "Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." The Apostle Paul left us quite comforting words when he declared, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich" (II Corinthians 8:9).
I have thought many times: "Who am I that a King would bleed and die for? Who am I that He would say 'not my will, but thine' for? The answer I may never know; why He ever loved me so, and to an old rugged cross He would go, for who am I?" (Goodman). To know that the King of kings did this for me gives me confidence to live my life in joy. Yes, it is God's desire for us to enjoy life! This was His purpose for taking on flesh. For more information visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Lewis Sperry Chafer, referring to a friend who was devoting most of his time and energy in pursuit of a most insignificant matter said, "He reminds me of a bulldog chasing a train: what's he going to do with it if he catches it?" It is true that the fantasy of having a thing is more thrilling than having it. Because, many times, once a person gets it he doesn't know what to do with it.
Countless people have gotten into trouble because they were driven by the fantasy of having what they should have left alone. They allowed a fantasy to come in between their priorities and vows. It is impossible to enumerate how many marriages and bright futures have been sacrificed for nothing more than a fantasy. I know of people whose lives are broken and shattered today because their priorities were surrendered for a fantasy, a fantasy of having what was not suppose to be.
At the Milan Cathedral there are three inscriptions over the respective doorways. Over the right-hand door there is this motto: "All that pleases is but for a moment." Over the left-hand door the words are: "All that troubles is but for a moment." But over the central door there is a simple sentence: "Nothing is important save that which is eternal." The conclusion is: life has many opportunities and we are responsible for choosing the door that we walk through. Also, we choose to follow a forbidden fantasy or to not be distracted from our most important priority. So, consequences are the outcome of our own choosing.
There are certain things we need to let go of so our full potential can be attained. During a flood in the hill country of Texas in 1978 there was a lady who needlessly lost her life. Her daughter told reporters, "My mother did not climb the tree with us. She lost her way before we got to the tree. See, she always kept every little bill and slip and stuff. She would not let go of her purse with those papers in it." It was revealed that the family was trying to make a human chain, holding hands to get through the water. But the mother had her insurance papers all gathered up in her hands and wouldn't drop those documents. So she just washed away in the current. Her priority to live was distracted by papers. It sounds relevant. Too many people are holding on to things that aren't important.
When asked why he had been so successful, Tom Landry responded to a crowd of more than 2000 students at Baylor University, "In 1958, I did something everyone who has been successful must do; I determined my priorities for my life--God, family, and then football." He whipped out many destructive fantasies by cleaving to his priorities. It's true, we can't help what goes through our minds, but we can keep harmful thoughts from taking root simply by establishing the priority to put God first in all we do. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). For more information go to www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.