Where To Go When You’re Feeling Down

Where To Go When You’re Feeling Down

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

This time of year, seasonal affective disorder is an issue many face. Dealing with occasional slumps is part of the human experience, but for some people depression is a near-permanent experience. I’ll share some of the verses I go to for these exact issues, but with some explanation attached. 

Rom 8.18-27 can be summed up like this: “Everything in creation is a little broken, and we’re all waiting for the day when it’s not broken anymore.” 

This isn’t to say that everyone deals with depression, but everyone deals with something. Chronic depression is just as much a byproduct of a flawed reality as arthritis, economic downturn, and car accidents. 

For this discussion, there are two principles in Romans 8 that I take to heart: one, depression does NOT mean we don’t love God enough. It’s just another reminder that we aren’t supposed to be here forever. Two, it’s not going to last forever. We can put up with almost anything for a little while. Having the energy to put up with it, though, is something we’ll address with the next passage. 

I Tim 5.23 – “Stop drinking water exclusively and use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your constant sickness.” 

Look at the principle of this verse, please. It’s not a suggestion to use alcohol as a treatment for depression. Alcohol is known to make depression much worse! The principle is that God has given us the ability to use man-made substances to help sickness. 

In fact, Paul uses commands (imperatives), not suggestions here. “Stop drinking water (only),” is one. Paul tells him to make use of (χρῶ, an imperative) a small amount of wine because it would help him manage his chronic stomach issues. 

A person dealing with chronic depression – under a health worker’s direction, of course – is absolutely free to use medication to help manage daily life. It doesn’t indicate a “lack of faith” in any way, and it doesn’t mean a person isn’t dependent on God. God himself, through Paul, encourages the responsible use of medication when necessary. 

I Cor 7.7 (paraphrased) – “Not everyone has the same abilities.” 

This is specifically talking about sexual urges in a completely different context from our discussion. Paul encouraged Christians who were about to face difficulties to avoid the issues that may come with getting married. It’s a lot easier to disown God when an enemy can exploit a person’s love for their spouse. Paul pointed out that not everyone has the same amount of self-control, so if marriage would keep away sexual temptation, go for it. 

That said, there’s still a valuable principle here: not everyone has the same abilities. Many Christians who face chronic depression often make things worse for their faith by comparing themselves to other Christians. “(Insert Name) is way more involved, more energetic, more put together, way ahead of me spiritually.” God knows our heart (I Ki 8.39; Rev 2.23). If we aren’t putting all that we can into our faith, we’ll be held accountable for that. God knows what our limits are, and will judge us accordingly. 

This principle does not excuse anyone from serving God to the best of their abilities. What it should do is help us put our own abilities into perspective. We have different levels of ability, and God knows that. 

In summary: Chronic depression is a very real byproduct of a broken world. God encourages us to take advantage of whatever medical care we have access to. God knows our hearts, which should both provide comfort and push us to grow.  

Smiling man with beard, glasses, and ball cap.
Twelve Ultimate People Skills

Twelve Ultimate People Skills

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

Some people just seem to be born with great people skills. Perhaps their personality type just naturally draws others to them. While natural ability may give some a leg up, the great news is that anyone can learn to work well with others and you can develop better interpersonal skills. In fact, it’s really a biblical command!

The church is made up of all kinds of people and that being the case, we must all be in the people business. Thankfully, our Lord doesn’t leave us high and dry to try and figure these things out on our own. Dispersed throughout the Bible we find several sections of scripture that teach us how to communicate, empathize, and get along with others effectively. God’s interpersonal skills cannot be matched. As the Creator, He understands exactly how humans think and behave. Here are twelve insights on interpersonal skills sent to us from above.

1. Speak evil of no one (I Thess. 5:14)

2. A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger(Proverbs 15:1)

3. The wise of heart is called perceptive, and pleasant speech increasespersuasiveness (Proverbs 16:21)

4. Be gentle and show courtesy to all people (Titus 3:2)

5. Do good to everyone (Gal. 6:10)

6. Bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2)

7. As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them (Luke 6:31)

8. Discern your own thoughts, identify your intentions (Heb. 4:12)

9. Treat others like you would treat Jesus. How would you interact withHim? (Matthew 25:40)

10. Season your speech with grace. It’s the saviors All-Spice for everyrelationship building goal (Col. 4:5-6)

11. Praise God and be joyful, it attracts people (Psalm 100:1-5)

12.Be ready for every good work, speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, begentle, show courtesy to all people (Titus 3:1-15)

Notice how many passages in the Bible command us to speak differently than everyone else? All of these insights can be simply summed up in just one sentence. Talk, walk, and live more like Jesus. He was perfect in every way and that includes how he interacted with others. Modeling ourselves after the Savior will not only improve our relationship skills with others, but also with Him.

Jesus also teaches us that no matter how gentle and loving we are, we’ll still make some people upset. That’s alright! As long as we’re acting like the Lord in all things.

Marks Of True Friendship

Marks Of True Friendship

Henry Adams wrote, “One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, and three are hardly possible.” While I do not share his pessimism or cynicism, I do believe that true, close friends are certainly not prevalent. There are too many factors at play. Friendships take time, trust, and transparency. Some things can be barriers to developing close companionship from contrasting values to clashing viewpoints.

The Bible gives insight into factors essential to building true, lasting friendships. Since God made man, He knows what makes us tick and operate at our optimism levels. Here are four quick principles:

A Friend Loves At All Times (Proverbs 17:17).

Solomon does not suggest blind loyalty or blanket endorsement. Scripture does not encourage fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11), but it also points out that we all struggle with sin problems (Rom. 3:23). We also are prone to weak moments and we go through trials and reverses of fortune. It is a blessing to know we have people we can count on to be there even when we’re not at our best or enjoying our mountaintop moments (Heb. 12:12-13; Rom. 12:15).

For The Despairing Man, There Should Be Kindness From His Friend (Job 6:14).

For every one we exchange superficial greetings with, even as we are carrying our hidden cares, we need true friends to turn to for help when we face deep needs in our hours of trial. Rare is the friend who knows, sympathizes, and is ready to help with a kind word or deed. You can imagine how Job’s friends added to his despair by failing to offer that when he needed it most. So many things bring despair–job loss, family crisis, financial reverse, health issues, and other life changes. It is then that astute acts of kindness make a lasting impact and forge true friendships.

If They Fall, One Will Lift Up His Fellow (Ecc. 4:10).

Solomon does not specify whether the falling is physical, emotional, or spiritual. No matter what makes us fall, it is the trustworthy response of a friend that he focuses on. How tragic not to have someone in our lives with a ready hand when we are sinking! What if we are falling away from God (Jas. 5:19-20)? What if we are losing faith or overwhelmed (Mat. 14:30)? “The Lord sustains all who fall” (Ps. 145:14), and what a blessing when He does so through a faithful friend!

Faithful Are The Wounds Of A Friend (Prov. 27:6).

We need people in our lives who are more than “yes” men and women. True friends care enough to correct if we are going off course. We need those who don’t just rubber stamp our speech, validate our every action, or automatically take our side. None of that helps us refine our character or makes us fit for the Master’s use. It’s not easy to tell someone we like and care about that they’ve fallen short in some way, but having a friend that deep and genuine is a true blessing in life.

These passages challenge me to ask, “What kind of friend am I to others?” Am I deeper than a fellow sport’s fan, a person with common interests, or even a co-member of the church? Can I be counted on to be there in the valleys as well as the mountaintop days? Can I be trusted with kindness on despairing days? Am I a lifter? Do I have the courage even to say the difficult things in difficult moments? I want to be that kind of friend to my friends!

Some of our dearest friends, whom we were blessed to see this past weekend.
A Passion For Heaven

A Passion For Heaven

Sunday’s Column: Learning From Lehman

Cayden is a student at Western Kentucky University and is from Scottsville.

Cayden Ross

If you’ve ever taken any kind of introductory biology or ecology class, you’ve probably heard of a few animals that display what we call migratory patterns. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but what these animals do is they live at one location for one part of the year and somewhere else for the other part of the year. For example, there are certain species of whales that inhabit the waters around Alaska. In the Alaskan summers, there’s an abundance of food for these whales to feed on, but when the harsh winter temperatures set in, these whales’ food source becomes scarce, and these whales will migrate south to waters around Hawaii, Central Mexico, and even Asia. But when the summer returns in Alaska, these whales have this instinct to return home. Another example that might hit closer to home is that we saw tons of migratory birds flying right over Kentucky, heading south for the winter within the last few weeks and months. When spring comes back around, we will see these same birds heading back north for the summer. I find it interesting that these animals have this instinct to return home, but the neat thing is that God gives us this instinct as well. Now obviously, I’m not talking about some sort of strange migratory pattern or anything of that nature. I’m speaking about a homesickness, a passion that we Christians should have for heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

This verse tells us that we are all eternal and that God created us with eternity in mind. We know that when we pass on from this life, we are going to either one of two places, but we as Christians have this desire to live in heaven with our father forever. This world just simply isn’t our home.

Let me give you this illustration…  imagine you take a fish out of water and put it on land. That fish will never be happy! It doesn’t matter if you give that fish a wad of 100-dollar bills or build it a giant home and give it a fancy car. It still won’t be happy because it doesn’t belong on land.

As Christians, our life here on Earth is similar. It doesn’t matter how much money we have, or how big our house is, or what kind of car we drive because we will never be as happy here as we will be in heaven. 

Heaven is a place that we cannot even imagine… 

1st Corinthians 2:9 says, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

     nor the heart of man imagined,

 what God has prepared for those who love him.”

We don’t have all the answers to what our home in heaven will look like or what it will feel like, but the most important thing is that when we get there, we will be in the presence of God for eternity, and He wants each and every single one of us there.

“The Driver Came Out Of Nowhere”

“The Driver Came Out Of Nowhere”

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Brent Pollard

Many ethical lawyers provide valuable legal services to the public. However, “slip-and-fall” attorneys likewise exist to encourage you to sue any and everything. This latter type of legal practitioner typically advertises on television or buys up many billboards to boast about how much money they have earned for their clients. One such commercial for a particular “ambulance chaser” in Atlanta features an actress portraying a female accident victim claiming that the one responsible for her crash had come “out of nowhere.”  

This statement is, of course, ridiculous. Unless this client lived in a fictional sci-fi world where physics allowed for the spontaneous generation of matter from nothing, it was more a matter of her senses “betraying” her. This truth sounds strange, but it is a matter of science. Our five senses intake 11 million bits of information per second but compress it to less than 50 bits. Amazingly, it only takes our brain a half-second to achieve this feat!1 

Sometimes, when we focus on a task, like driving, we fall victim to what is called “inattentional blindness.” This phenomenon results from the energy required to compress the previously mentioned information.2 In the case of our accident victim, the other driver was most likely visible to her. Yes, that driver may have been driving recklessly. However, it was more likely that she became “blind” to that driver until it was too late for her to react. (Remember there is that half-second delay in receiving sensory information and the processing thereof.)   

So, what is our devotional thought? It is not that the flesh fails us. We know that the physical body has limitations, such as inattentional blindness. Our study, instead, is about what we will term inattentional spiritual blindness. Like our accident victim, some claim that the universe we inhabit “came out of nowhere.” It boggles the mind that, though we’ve never witnessed something arise from nothing outside of science fiction, some maintain that an explosion of matter from nothing, billions of years ago, gave rise to you and me today.  

Why is that? It is not a lack of information. David reminds us that the heavens proclaim God’s handiworks (Psalm 19.1-6). To this, Paul adds that God’s “invisible attributes” are “clearly seen” in creation (Romans 1.20). The inattentional spiritual blindness results from people focusing too much on the physical than the spiritual. As Paul continues in Romans 1, unbelievers exchange the truth for a lie to worship the creature rather than the Creator (1.25). Atop of the testimony of nature, though, we have the added testimony of God Himself in the book He inspired (cf. 2 Timothy 3.16). So, despite the atheists mocking demand for God to reveal Himself, He is standing beside the atheist in the blind spot of his own making.  

Such people remaining disobedient to the Gospel will find themselves taken unaware by the Judgment of God. At that moment, their knees, and tongues, reluctant to do so in life, will be bowed by the presence of He Who would be their Savior, and they will confess His name (cf. Philippians 2.10).  But, of course, the recognition comes too late to prevent the eternal destructive consequences. 

I would encourage you to work on your attentiveness to your surroundings. More than preserving your physical life, it may likewise profit you spiritually. Blindness, whether caused by limitations of the flesh or choice, eventually proves detrimental.     

Sources Cited: 

1. Markowsky, George. “Physiology.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,www.britannica.com/science/information-theory/Physiology

2. Chadwick, Jonathan. “Human Brain Has a ‘Limit’ on How Much Information It Can Process.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 3 Aug. 2020, 13:02, www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8588167/Human-brain-limit-information-process.html

The God We Serve

The God We Serve

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

25 ways God has shown His love to us: 

  1. Creation (Genesis 1-2) 
  2. The Cross (Matthew 27:32-56) 
  3. Salvation (John 3:16) 
  4. The Bible (2 Timothy 3:16) 
  5. The Church (Ephesians 2:19-22) 
  6. The Ability To Pray (Philippians 4:6) 
  7. A Caring High Priest (Hebrews 4:15) 
  8. The Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) 
  9. True Peace (Philippians 4:7) 
  10. Purpose (1 Peter 2:9) 
  11. Made Us Alive (Ephesians 2:5) 
  12. Servitude (Matthew 12:18) 
  13. Gave Us An Identity (John 1:12) 
  14. Joy (Proverbs 10:28)
  15. An Example (John 13:1-17) 
  16. Revealed Knowledge (Ephesians 1:17)
  17. Compassion (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) 
  18. The Good Shepherd (John 10:11) 
  19. Strength (Exodus 15:2) 
  20. Good Advice (Matthew 6:34
  21. Takes Our Anxiety (1 Peter 5:7) 
  22. A Refuge (Psalm 46:1) 
  23. A Resurrection (John 11:25) 
  24. A Place Of Rest (Matthew 11:29)
  25. He’s Coming Back (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Macaroni And Ketchup

Macaroni And Ketchup

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing passages that help me in some way. Our faith is a lifelong work-in- progress. It can be high maintenance. The Bible helps us maintain a healthy faith in any circumstance. It counsels us, convicts us, excites us, scares us, and gives us hope for a perfect future.

I once thought I was the only person who liked ketchup on macaroni. Turns out, there’re like four other people on earth who like it, too. Finding out that we aren’t alone in something is super cool!

Maybe we’ve thought, “Man, I don’t know if other Christians struggle as much as I do.” I’ve used these passages in an article before, but they’re very powerful. We aren’t alone in our struggles!

“So I have learned this rule: when I want to do good, evil is there with me. In my mind I am happy with God’s law. But I see another law working in my body. That law makes war against the law that my mind accepts.

That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and that law makes me its prisoner. What a miserable person I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death?

I thank God for his salvation through Jesus Christ our lord! So in my mind I am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful self I am a slave to the law of sin.

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the spirit that brings life made you free” (Rom 7.21-8.2).

A December Look Back At Halloween

A December Look Back At Halloween

Tuesday Column: Dale Mail

blond man with goatee smiling at camera with blazer on
ale Pollard

For a long time it seems that every October when this ancient holiday comes around many issues come with it. Somebody will undoubtedly bring up their problems with this holiday, but are they right? If they are, I suspect there will have to be a major change in many Christian families around the US. The ancient holiday really did have some creepy and messed up origins. It was originally a day set aside for the dead. More specifically, the people’s deceased relatives (history.com). To try and communicate with their loved ones, they would perform many rituals. The idea of masks came later when people would try and ward off the evil spirits. They hoped that the masks would help them to blend in, or even scare them off. It’s understandable that this would make some people wary of this holiday. Claims have been made against this day that it is a “satanic holiday,” is this true?

In order to answer this question we need to look at what Halloween is today. I suppose there are those out there that may attempt to spend their halloween nights trying to duplicate the practices of the olden times. On the whole, Halloween is a day for kids. It’s a time for children to dress up, walk around the neighborhood and stuff themselves with candy. Like most things in this world, it can be a day that is abused. Any day, can be a day that is abused. Most people are not thinking about the devil, or trying to worship the devil. When it comes down to it, Halloween controversies are not salvation issues. It only becomes wrong when we try and force an unbiblical opinion on somebody else. This goes either way. If somebody’s conscience is affected by the celebration of Halloween, we should not be a people that try and convince them otherwise (Acts 24:16). We can explain if they’re interested, but that’s probably where we should leave it in order to maintain unity (Ephesians 4:3).