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.”
Depression is like a big bear who gobbles up the joy of life. Joy and depression cannot coexist. Have you ever known of someone who was in the cage of depression, being eaten alive? It was obvious that they were being devoured by a sense of hopelessness and fear. Many beautiful people have become unbearable to live with after falling into the cage of depression. So the question is: how can a person get out of this cage alive?
First let me give you a very simple illustration. A tiny 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 colony of millions of ants, the neurons, according to their nature, organize, supervise, and deputize. So when the army of ants marches across the forest, 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 tiny ants so it is with tiny neurons of the brain. The brain cells have a tendency to organize to work together to bring about constant joy or chronic depression. This depends upon what scouts we have sent out. Bad memories of hurt, pain, and bitterness will come together as a relentless army. One bad memory may not hurt, but too many of them will organize, program the brain, and become a fierce enemy marching through one’s life destroying everything that is good.
Who can save us from this death march? Since we have allowed the pain and bitterness to organize in our mind we also have the innate authority to stop the mad march of depression across our mind. Dr. William J. Diehm, a clinical psychologist, has a proven method to this dilemma.
He says, (1) Make an album of good memories and every time your mind fixes on something depressing open it up and laugh. Take charge. (2) Read the Bible daily because it will lift you up emotionally and spiritually. (3) Pray daily to your heavenly Father using positive words. You will see results. (4) Turn depression in to joy by surrounding yourself with positive people and those who care for you. (5) Fall in love with life and speak out loud every morning, “This is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (6) Smack your lips at a cool glass of water. This may seem elementary but has effective results. (7) Forgive and live for a better tomorrow. The past hurts but the future heals. Focus on the things that bring peace and fidelity. For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
A workman on a road construction crew told the story of a time when he was working on a project deep in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Every morning as he drove to work in his pickup he would see a young boy at a fishing hole near the road. He would wave and speak to the boy each day. One day, however, as he drove slowly by the fishing spot he asked how the boy was doing and he got a strange reply. “The fish aren’t biting today, but the worms sure are!”
When he pulled into the local gas station down the road a few minutes later, he jokingly related the boy’s comment to the attendant. For a moment the man laughed, but then a look of horror crossed his face. And without another word he ran to his truck, jumped in and drove quickly away. Later that day the man on the construction crew found out what had happened.
The gas station attendant had arrived on the scene too late to save the boy who had somehow mistaken a nest of baby rattlesnakes for earthworms and had been bitten to death. F.Y.I., baby rattlesnakes are born with their full amount of venom. They may look and seem harmless, but they are deadly. And so is sin. It may appear harmless even colorful and cute, yet it contains death. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).
Sin is very colorful, enticing, and alluring. But the consequences are painful & destructive. Remember the story of Moses how he was raised in Pharaoh’s palace experiencing all the tantalizing sins of the Egyptian culture? But when he came of age he made a clear decision to “Choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). Why? He knew that his decision would pay off in big dividends. The pleasure of sin is always just for a season then concludes in pain and death. But the choice to serve God always has an amazing conclusion. The rewards are remarkable.
Near Watsonville, California there is a creek that has a strange name: Salsipuedes Creek. Salsi puedes is Spanish for “Get out of it, if you can.” The creek is lined with quicksand, and the story is that many years ago, in the early days of California, a Mexican laborer fell into the quicksand. A Spaniard, riding by on a horse, saw him and yelled out to him, “Salsi puedes!” which was not very helpful. He needed help. The creek has been so named ever since. This is what sin is like.
We need all the help we can get to be rescued. And that is what Jesus came to do: to set us free from the poison of sin. His strength will pull us up and out of the mire we are in. He will clean us up and break the chains of sin that bind us. For this reason, “Jesus was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8). He is our Savior. We are like the boy who was bitten by the rattlesnakes or the man who fell into quicksand. We need someone’s help! We need God’s Son Jesus! For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
A successful businessman was asked the secret of his success which he said, “And then some! The difference between the average Joe and a top-notch person is…they do what is expected, and then some!” It’s too bad that many students of education have accepted the average Joe mentality. Many will say, “If I get a C I’ll be happy.” A very large number of employees are content with just getting along when they have the potential to go to the top.
Clarence DeLoach, Jr. writes, “To be average is to be as near the bottom as the top. It is the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Why seek to be average in anything? Seek to excel, to go higher, to grow!” Just suppose a farmer purchased a sack of seed to plant in his field, but when it came time to plant he kept the seed in the sack in the barn. What would become of the seed? The field? The farmer? The seed would do absolutely nothing, the field would go to weeds, and the farmer would starve.
Now let’s say the farmer is very diligent to work his field so he plants the seed and waters it. He can expect to reap a harvest, and depending upon how much seed he planted and how hungry he is to succeed, the harvest can be bountiful enough to meet several needs. The Word of God calls this the law of “Sowing and Reaping.” We know that whatever we sow we can be sure to reap it.
Bob had run out of gas in the hot desert and had to walk to the nearest town. Tired, thirsty, and weak he stumbled upon a ghost town with a well in the very center. Reaching out to pump the handle he noticed a note attached to it which read, “There’s plenty of cool water in this well, but to get it you have to prime the pump with a gallon of water. You will find a one gallon bucket full of water in the general store. Pour all of the water into the top of this pump then vigorously pump the handle. When you are finished, please fill the bucket with water and put it back for the next person. Remember, you must pour all of the water into the pump in order for it to work.”
This was one of the most difficult decisions Bob had ever made. He thought, “Do I trust the note and pour all of this water down a hole with the possibility of getting nothing or do I drink this hot stale water in the bucket leaving none for others to drink?” After much deliberation he decided to pour all of the water as instructed. He pumped the handle vigorously and out flowed cool refreshing water. He received much more than his share of water. He learned a dynamic lesson of giving and receiving.
When we apply ourselves to higher education that is what we receive. If we apply ourselves to seeking God, that’s exactly what we attain. If we want to have what we have never had before we must start doing what we have never done before. Jesus said, “And whoever compels you to go one mile go with him two” (Matthew 5:41). So, do what is expected of you “and then some!” For more info you can visit us at 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.