Depression in the Church

December 26, 2007

[Orig Sermon on October 26, 2003]

I appreciated what Brother Tom said this morning that he decided to do away with those anti-depressants. Either he was better … whatever – he just decided he didn’t need them any more. Sometimes – and brother, there is no condemnation for having to take those things – but sometimes we have to take them to realize we have a choice. We shouldn’t ever have gotten there, but we’re there.I want you to turn with me to Psalm 88, start at the 6th verse through verse 10.

Now this is David in a time of one of his lowest positions. I don’t believe that the Father intends for us to go through everything we go through. I think some of what we go through we bring upon ourselves by our actions or lack of obedience. I don’t think we ever surprise the Father. The Father is aware of what we are going to do it before we ever do it. He created us in our mother’s womb and He loved us knowing our nature–to me it’s the same way as with Adam – He built Adam from the earth, and He created him, KNOWING that he was going to betray Him. Yahveh created us knowing our inadequacies–He created us in SPITE of them, knowing that He was going to redeem us to Himself. Now I don’t want to relieve anybody of the responsibility of living kadosh (holy), because that is not what He said, but He knew what we were going to do from the start and He loved us.

David speaking: “You have laid me in the lowest pit, and in darkness and depths; Your wrath lies heavy upon me, You afflicted me with Your waves, You have put away my acquaintances far from me and made me an abomination to them. I am shut up and cannot get out. My eyes waste away because of the affliction. Yahveh, I have called daily upon You. I have stretched out my hands to you. Will you work wonders for the dead?– shall the dead rise up and praise you?”

I want to talk to you this morning about something that Brother Tom touched on earlier –it always blesses my heart when The Father verifies through somebody else who doesn’t have any idea what message the Father has given me. But I want to talk to you about The Church in Depression.

We need to understand what depression is. Now some of us think there isn’t any such thing as depression, but I‘m going to tell you depression is real. A person who thinks there isn’t any depression is a person who has never experienced true depression, because if you ever experience it, I’ll guarantee you that you will have compassion on the person who struggles with it. Depression is a spiritual as well as a natural phenomena. At one time or another probably almost all of us have dealt with depression in some form or fashion or to some degree. Depression is a phenomena I don’t truly understand. I know that it is demonic and that it attaches itself to us. I also know that we have choices and some of those choices give it permission. In the past we didn’t call it depression. Whenever I was growing up and probably some of you, too, we didn’t hear much talk about depression, “Well, you know–so and so is struggling with depression–give them anti-depressants.” You know we didn’t have much conversation about ADD and this and the other. You were either a good kid or a bad kid–you were disciplined or undisciplined. You either had a good mental attitude or you went around feeling sorry for yourself. We didn’t understand what was going on. I’m not sure that we are better off now that we understand it than we were when we didn’t understand it. When we didn’t understand it, we didn’t make excuses for it. But now that we do understand it, we make excuses for it: “Oh, they’re just depressed.”

But what is depression? What does depression do to you? Depression robs you of your power, depression robs you of your joy; depression robs you of your peace. I’m talking to you this morning about “the CHURCH” that is in depression! I’m not talking just about this congregation being in depression; I’m talking about ALL the churches. They are in depression, because they don’t have the power and are not showing forth the power and the glory of Almighty Yahveh as they should. Why? Because they are in depression. Why? Because the Devil wants them there, and they don’t have sense enough to get out. But we have to, somewhere along the line, we have to understand the characteristics of depression and how to fight depression. We didn’t name it for what it was. We didn’t know what it was when we were kids–we just called it “being down in the dumps”. Somebody who had a heavy spirit of depression on them; whenever we’d see them every time we say; “ They’re just down in the dumps. You know, they get down in the dumps, and that‘s where they stay.” But I tell you, depression is real–it‘s real. It’s used as an excuse for bad behavior, or an excuse for inactivity–”I’m depressed–I just don’t have any energy;” “I’m depressed–I just wasn’t thinking when I did that;” And that’s true–all of those things are symptoms of depression–lack of energy, lack of motivation, lack of concentration. Anybody who has ever experienced it, knows it’s real. You know when you want out and as bad as you want out of it, you don’t know the way out. It’s real!

The thing that the spirit of depression does most of all, it attacks your thought pattern. Brother Tom was telling us this morning that we need to know that we were wonderfully created in our mother’s womb, and the Father created us just exactly how he wanted us; to every detail he wonderfully knitted us from our mother’s womb. We need to know that we are not a great surprise to Him in our behavior, and that He has enough grace to reach down and embrace us, if we just allow Him to. You see, depression affects your thought pattern, and your thought process goes sort of short circuit, like an electrical circuit, you know–you can short-circuit that baby, and then it isn‘t any good to anybody–well, that‘s sort of what happens to your thought process when you‘re struggling with depression–it short-circuits your thoughts, and your thought process becomes ALL messed up. It becomes distorted, just kind of like when you look at a straight line through a glass, it isn‘t straight any more–it looks like you have a gap in it, it’s jagged, an off-set in it, or something. It‘s distorted because the water in the glass distorts the line and makes it look like it‘s bent.

We need to understand that the Church has seen the Father’s attitude toward it and the Father’s grace and reality and love toward it under the same conditions as that line you looked at through a glass of water, distorted. Has the Church been attacked by depression? I guarantee it has. To describe depression–clinically, depression is caused by chemical change in brain fluid, and many times causes you to see things as hopeless. Has anybody been there? Now scientists will tell you that changes in the brain fluid make you think that way. I’m in total disagreement with them. I believe that the thought process changes the brain fluid, and that’s the trap– it takes ten times the effort to come out of depression than it did to get in to it. But does the brain fluid change because your thought process changes, or does your thought process change because your brain fluid changed? Now I believe, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” and I think the devil is the most subtle creature there is on earth. I think he just keeps throwing things on–you know, just like you’re pulling a wagon. You know, as a kid I would be pulling a wagon, my brother was so stinkin’ ornery, I’d be pulling that wagon and he would just put a piece of iron or something in there to load it down. Pretty soon I would look around, and there would be a whole wagon-load of stuff in there. What he didn’t know was that he was teaching me a great lesson. He thought he was doing that just to be aggravating’, but he didn’t understand that The Father was using that to teach me a lesson–some of you people have heard me say, “When the wagon gets too heavy to pull, you better look around and see who’s loading it .” Now you know where that came from. The Father said He would not put a greater load on you than you could bear. If your wagon is too heavy to pull, then look around and see who’s loading it!

Depression is not caused by, but certainly accentuated and deepened by, the chemical makeup of your brain, and this is a fact. I don’t believe people wake up one morning and have become depressed. I think it is a process of getting there, and a process of getting out. As Brother Tom said, “We have to train our thought pattern, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

So many times, when we’re depressed, things seem hopeless. We look at them and think there’s no way out. It’s just one big dark hole tunnel, just one great big black wall. You know, it only takes a pin-point of light on that dark wall to see the light, and we as children of Yahveh ought never to be in blackness where we could not see any light at all. That doesn’t mean we can’t get there, because you can get there real easy, but I’m saying to you that there is a pattern to it. The devil wants you to see that deep dark hole where there is no hope, and most of all, the devil wants the Church to see that deep dark hole where there is no hope. He wants the Church to be going through the empty rituals to where when the Father has something to say to the Church like He did through Brother Tom this morning, he doesn’t dare get up and speak it, because somebody might not understand and get offended, and if they do, well, shame on them. I’d rather hear from Yahveh than anybody else, and I don’t care whose heart He puts it on. So, any times the congregation is robbed because people are afraid to speak out what the Father has given them. This permit’s the devil to keep the church in the hopeless black tunnel where there is no expectation of a miraculous deliverance, only further thoughts of desperation, frustration and defeat.

Now there are two methods of dealing with depression –one is healthy and one is not. You can deal with it by living in a fantasy world; you know–the whole world is falling down around you, but “Oh well, what a beautiful day today, look at the sunshine, look at the sunshine–.” That does no good, does it?

That’s like having a plateful of spinach–you can call it anything you want to call it, but it still tastes like dirt. I don‘t care what you call it! Fantasy–that’s where much of the Church is today. Why aren’t people concerned about whether Yahveh is going to pull them through or not.

Let me say something to you now. You need to hear what I am going to say because this is reality. If you can’t trust Him to pull you through the circumstances of this world, how are you going to trust Him to pull you through when you’re facing your last moment on earth?

We live in a fantasy and don’t even think about it. But that’s not dealing with reality, people. Somebody says, “I don’t like sermons like this–they’re depressing:” No they’re not–they’re reality. You see, if you don’t deal with depression, realistically, then you don’t deal with it, and it eats your lunch for you. It cripples you, it hinders you, and stops you.

The Father was so merciful and so good to Brother Tom in all this–He just took you by the hand and carried you through it, didn‘t He, brother? And I sat and watched it, and I remembered, how faithful and how loving a Father that we serve. And it reminded me that it’s not just me that He’s kind to, and not just me He’s faithful to, but to ALL of His children. And let me tell you something–you will have an opportunity to be depressed. I don’t care who you are–you are going to have an opportunity to be depressed.

And the reason churches are depressed is because they don’t deal with reality. They don’t deal with reality in relationship with The Father, therefore they’re not real sure that The Father is going to come through for them. They don‘t really know whether they (no, I think they really know) many times–most of the time–most of the Churches are not really trying to do what The Father wants them to do, they’re trying to pacify The Father and get where they want to be. Now, hopefully, that’s not true in this Body, but I know that there are instances when it applies. I’m not stupid enough to think that everybody is where this Body is, and I’m not stupid enough to think that this Body has “gotten there,” either.

So what I am saying? Somewhere along the line we have to establish the relationship and we have to determine what we choose the Father will for ourselves. We can either walk staying in depression, or we can come out. If the Church is in depression this morning, the Church has a choice: it can continue in depression, or it can come out, but you cannot deal with depression by living in a fantasy world saying, “Everything‘s all right.” If everything’s all wrong, then it can’t be all right, and it’s time to get all things right. The Father hasn’t forgotten you–He’s still there. Sometimes the only way up is to get down on our knees and look up.

We need to understand this morning that we have to deal with the depression in the Church. You can deal with it in reality, realistically, or you can deal with it in perversion. Those are the choices you have to make. Realistically, the Father says that you have power over all the power of the enemy. Depression says, “I don’t know whether The Father Yahveh is going to do it or not; you know–He said He would, but He hasn’t done anything for me in so long,”

“Well, my goodness, you are breathing–you’re up this morning–if it weren’t for Him, you wouldn’t be there. You know, the congregation just doesn’t always see and recognize what He’s doing for us.”

Many of today’s churches have chosen a fantasy outlook. Pardon the expression, but they are up to their butt in alligators in theology, and this, that, and the other, and say, “Oh, everything’s great!” People, you cannot live in fantasy, particularly in your dealings with the spiritual world. You have to be spiritually attuned with The Father. You have to desire to hear and to follow Him. Sometimes we are so depressed because we have done things our way and our way has led us down a path that has let the Devil throw a dark curtain over us. I don’t know whether any of you can remember hearing some of the old preachers talking about the Devil running around and grabbing people up and throwing them in a sack. One guy spoke up one night and said, “Well, the Devil don’t bother me.” The preacher said, “Why should he–he already has you in his sack.” Some of us are in the sack and don’t even know it! But there’s a time when you’ve got to see the light! Now is a time when you’ve got to see reality. There’s a time when you’ve got to understand that we cannot just sit here and say, “Great, great, it’s great, it’s wonderful.” There is a time when you have to get down on your knees, on your face, and hear what the Father is saying to you. Then live in such a manner to line up with the Father‘s will. For that is the light at the end of the tunnel. What did The Father create you to be? You see, the reason we go into depression is because we’re not being what The Father created us to be. Many times we are resisting the Father’s plan for us. We have to yield ourselves to the Light and walk in the Light. Many of today’s churches do not deal with spiritual situations. What that breeds and brings forth is a group of people that do not deal with spiritual situations in their life. If you do not deal with spiritual situations in your life and darkness is all around you and then darkness is all you can see. The only way out of that darkness is toward the light. The only way to go toward that light is to study and see what the Father is saying to you. He will be faithful to turn light into your life. He is so faithful! Go with me to Isaiah 61:1–“Because Yahveh has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor, He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of prisons to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of Yahveh, and the day of vengeance of our Elohienu; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahveh, that He might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Now then, we are offered a trade, and to me, this is the whole point behind what Brother Tom said this morning. We are offered a trade. We have an option here; Yahshua haMaschiach came and offered us a trade. Now it’s not like it is on “Let’s Make a Deal”–not Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3–but the Father offered us a trade, and this trade was very specific–it was detailed, and you know what amazes me–The Father is a covenant Elohienu–I mean, when He says something, it is FOREVER. It will never get cancelled; it is forever, it is a contract, it is a covenant FOREVER. So the Father told us, He’s going to offer us a deal–not like Door #1, #2, Door #3.but one door. You either walk through that door or you don’t get any door at all. There is only one door. Here you either choose that door, or you reject the covenant. We well know that that door is Yahshua HaMashiach. We all know that when we choose that door, He writes His covenant and His commandments on our heart, and they are not grievous to us. See, that’s the thing–there is a transition–once you submit yourself to it, there is a transition–something happens inside you that is no longer natural. There’s such a joy that takes place when you feel or when you understand that you have just fulfilled an instruction that the Father has given you.

It amazes me–it amazes me–the only answer to what I am about to say is what Brother Tom said this morning. It amazes me that The Father could take a Louisiana boy–that don’t know nothin’ about nothin’ except acting wild and acting like an idiot–and say, “Son, you’ve acted the fool long enough, and I created you to do something.” Brother, it humbles my heart to know that of all the world, of all that He could have chosen, that He had His option, He gave me an opportunity to be part of His Kingdom. It’s no small thing when the Father puts something on your heart. When He put that on your heart this morning, in all of the world, He chose you, Tom, to share. Is that’s not heavy–that is Blessed, people; that is blessed that He would choose you. And that’s the only explanation there is — that each and every one of us was one of the created from the Mother’s womb for a purpose in the Kingdom. When we don’t do what the Father wants us to do, when we don’t follow that calling He has placed on our life, there is nothing left for us but darkness and depression. So we need to walk through the door and we need to be obedient to the One Who delivered us. But if you choose that door, you must follow His instructions, and when you follow the instructions, the oil of joy will be given to you for mourning. Where you mourned in the past, where you’ve been so miserable in the past, there will be an oil of joy. We are talking about the in-filling of the Ruarch ha Kodesh. I’m not talking about you going running around and rolling on the floor and laughing and going on all the time. There’s going to be a joy inside you that you are fulfilling the Will of Almighty Yahveh in your life. No matter what happens, you are fulfilling the Will of Almighty Yahveh in your life, and it is WELL WITH YOUR SOUL. O Joy, that takes the mourning away. He said, “If you will hear my voice and yield yourself, I will give you the oil of joy for the spirit of mourning; and I will give you a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Now, who thinks this Church understands that? How many times have we come in here in a spirit of heaviness and we just couldn’t get up to praise the Father? We made a half-way attempt at it and made an awesomely terrible attempt at praising the Father, because we didn’t get out of ourselves, didn’t get out of our depression, didn’t get out of our self-focus, didn’t get out of whatever we were in. We failed to focus on Him because you cannot focus on the wonders of Almighty Yahveh and the preciousness of His Mercy and His Grace without having praises come forth. He said He would give you the Spirit of Praise–if you don’t have the Spirit of Praise, He will give it to you . You say, “But I don’t believe in that.” Then be a Believer! I’m praying for the Father to do something in this Body that I can praise Him like I want to one more time, because I want to jump and dance and shout. That’s what I’ve always done all my life and I want to do that and I believe the Father is doing a work in that area. He will give you the oil of joy for the mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. What is that spirit of heaviness? Somebody tell me. De-pres-sion! When you are in depression, you have that load on you and you are all worn out, you can hardly move with it and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have any energy to get up and do something and you don’t have any interest in getting up and doing anything. You know it isn’t right, but you’re there. Listen! When you come through that back door, you may not feel like praising the Father. All I want to say to you is if you like that spirit of heaviness; keep your hands down, and keep your mouth shut and you’ve got it.

But if you will raise your hands and start praising the Father, He will clothe you, He will give you a garment of praise. Come on–that’s what it said, isn’t it. He said, “I will clothe you in praises. I’ll take the spirit of heaviness off of you and clothe you in praises. What the Church needs to understand, better than any anti-depressant in the world for depression, is the praises to Father Yahveh. You see, the cure for any depression is not anti-depressants; instead, the cure for depression is praise to Yahveh, glorifying the Maker of heaven and earth, glorifying the One Who created you, and showing forth His praises and His Glory, because that is what He created you to do. When you praise Him, I don’t care whether you feel like it or not, but when you start praising Him, you are submitting yourself to His Word, you are submitting yourself to the contact, and He will be faithful to do exactly what He said he would do. How many times–does this ever happen to anybody else besides me?–come into Church, just worn out, tired and feel like the world is on your shoulders, and somebody starts singing one of these praise songs to Yahveh, and you raise your hands, you start mouthing the words, and about half way through you start feeling like a hypocrite, because you don’t feel like anything you are saying is going on inside. Has anybody experience that other than me? And first thing you know, something happens in the middle of it when you’ve got your hands up and you are feeling like a fool, because you’re saying something that you are not really feeling in your heart at the time. The first thing you know, something happens in the middle of it and all of a sudden the Ruarch HaKodesh takes over and Glory to Yahveh! the praises start bursting forth in such a way that you can’t stop them and you don’t want to stop them, and you definitely mean everything that you say because the Father has clothed you in a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

Oh-h-h, the best thing for depression is praise to Yahveh. That we might, that we might–that means permission, “might” means “permission”–that we might be called “The Tree of Righteousness”– Whoa! Is there any power in praises? He says, “I’ll give you a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that you might be called–you have permission to be called–I will call you “The planting of Yahveh,–the tree of righteousness.” Oh-h-h Glory. Do you hear what I am saying? The Church has been depressed too long. They’re looking into the dark tunnel, and they’re not looking into the promises of Almighty Yahveh. The church is looking at the problem and they’re not looking at the answer. The answer is to praise Him, that we might be called “the trees of righteousness”! Now that might not seem like a great deal. It’s a real miracle in my life that the Father may call me “a tree of righteousness”

Somewhere we’ve got to understand that we must deal with this depression that is falling on the Church. And we can’t deal with it except by being in submission to the Father and using the answers He provides, because He is the only One Who has them. I believe there is no gardener in all of creation like Father Yahveh. I believe the Garden of Eden was a wonderful place, and I believe there is no plant that can live, exist, prosper, and bear fruit like a plant that is planted by Father Yahveh.

He said, “That you might be called the plant of Yahveh.” I want to tell you this morning, if you are in this place, you’re not in this place because you chose to be here; you might think you are in this place because you chose to be here, but you are in this place because Yahveh planted you in this place, and you are a planting of Yahveh, and He has planted you here to bring forth fruit. He didn’t plant you here so that you could be happy, you could be comfortable, you could be this, that, and the other. He planted you here so that His Name might be glorified, and I‘ll tell you, I am convinced that if He can do any work with this old boy, His Name has got to be glorified. You are not an accident. You are not here by accident. You are here because the Father planted you here. He planted you here because He wants you to grow here, and He wants you to produce fruit here. He planted you here because He expects you to do exactly what He created you to do, because you were wonderfully knitted from your mother’s womb, to look like He looks, to like what He likes, to have the nature of Almighty Yahveh

You were created, Brother Art, for such a time as this right here. Father didn’t just create you by mistake out of time. You were created for such a time as this. Every person here was created for such a time as this, and if we can focus on what the Father is, if we can focus on praising Him, and spend your time praising and glorifying Him and take on the garment of praise, if you will, the cloak of praise, the mantle of praise, for the spirit of heaviness, let me tell you something, there’s no mantle like a mantle from the Father, and that‘s what that mantle of praise is–a mantle of power and authority, a mantle of walking into it. That mantle protects you, oh it protects you so, when the whole world caves in on you, and let me tell you–there are some of you who haven‘t experienced it–there’s no way that the world can cave in on you any worse than hearing that your child has just died or that your grandson has died- -the whole world caves in on you, and it just feels like somebody has just kicked you in the head, but if you don’t have that garment that the Father gave you to protect you in that time, then how can you make it? But He said He would give you a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and I praise Yahveh for what He has done, and Brother Tom likewise. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Brother Tom, and I know how serious that pain got, but isn’t it wonderful to be able to look back and see how faithful The Father is. The Father didn’t create us for this world–that’s not what He created us for, people; He created us to be with Him. That’s the deal. He gave you an option to live with Him, and that’s the most precious option in the world. The choice is yours, and you must make the choice, because He loves you- -He’s not trying to keep you out. He’s trying to encourage you to come in.

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