John 3:16 Arrow For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life ^DREAM interpretation ministry

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I’ve had a tendency towards melancholy for as long as I can remember, starting right back in my childhood. I became a Christian in my early twenties and even though it was quite a dramatic conversion, it didn’t stop the sadness, confusion and even rage within me. I met my husband Paul while I was on antidepressants, and I came off them a year later, a couple of months before we got married. I have been advised numerous times since then to go back on antidepressants, and at one point I carried a prescription around in my pocket for weeks. But each time I came close, the bottom line I always came back to was this: These drugs are not going to heal me. They might take the edge off for a while, but only God can heal me. And He did. It wasn’t what I expected. If I had been the boss of my own healing it probably would have been a zap-pow, I-now-pronounce-you-depression-free kind of a thing. We all long for a shortcut out of suffering. But God did something much better. When Paul and I had been married a couple of months, I was walking in our local park, and I was in a bad way. Deeply troubled, really lost in darkness. That day, God spoke clearly to my spirit: ‘Do not be afraid. The fullness of your healing will come through pregnancy and motherhood.’ I was delighted about this. Full healing sounded great. And so did motherhood. Bring it on! It wasn’t until four years later that I became pregnant for the first time. And those four years were still spent in varying degrees of depression. There were plenty of times when I had angrily doubted and questioned what I’d heard. Then, when I did finally find out I was pregnant, I assumed this was the fulfillment of God’s promise. But again, it wasn’t to be the way I had imagined. At the 12-week scan we discovered that the baby had no heartbeat. We then went on to have two further miscarriages. It was tough, and at the time I just couldn’t see how it matched up with God’s promise. But God’s Word tells us that He is close.......
'THE HOLY SPIRIT SHOWED ME A NEW WAY TO LIVE' ' the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). And during those pregnancies and miscarriages I found His closeness in a new way; my roots went down deeper, into the truth of who He is. And so His promise stood firm: healing was coming, even through those losses. And then, finally, came motherhood. When my daughter Anna arrived, it was like she opened up a door to life and love and joy in a way that I hadn’t known before. My heart was softening. God was at work, just as He had promised. But I was still a long way from being free from depression. I still woke every day in a dark pit of despondency. Each morning I had to trudge out of it, and each day was a huge effort to not slip right back in. And many days I didn’t manage very well at all. It was two years later, now with two children and still in a place of deep depression that God spoke to me through the scriptures in a way that truly transformed my life: ‘Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near Your altar…’ (Psalm 84:3). Through this scripture, the Holy Spirit showed me a new way to live: build my home and raise my family close to Him, at his altar. I asked God about this, and He showed me two things that take place at an altar: sacrifice and praise. So I began to practice turning my dark thoughts into praise, taking delight in the sacrificial giving and serving of motherhood. For me, this was not an effort of the will (although effort and choice are involved) but a work of God that I was joining in with. In no way would I say that sufferers of depression should be able to ‘snap out of it’ by an effort of the will. But in my experience, a choice must be made to praise instead of to despair, and that each time we make that choice, a new way is carved out in our mind and spirit, and we grow stronger. Equally, when I speak about learning and choosing to praise God, I am not saying it lightly. It is not a superficial response to a real problem. I believe it is the only real and right response. When we are lost in depression we are not free to give glory to God the way that we are made to. This truth has delivered me out of that prison of despair – where the only thing I was really connected to was my own sorrow – and into the wide open spaces of understanding that my life is not about me but about Him, ‘for the display of His splendour’ (Isaiah 61:3).
Your 28 Days of Change
'I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation’ Philippians 4:12 TLB


IN ‘WHAT HAPPY PEOPLE KNOW’, Dr. Dan Baker writes: ‘The man in front of me seemed to have it all; money, freedom, friends and family. But he didn’t have the one thing he wanted most – ‘happiness’. His home life would horrify most people: alienated kids, a wife who resented his obsession with work, no time to kick back. His biggest concern: ‘Keeping what I’ve got.’ Sound familiar? Maybe you’re reading this thinking, ‘Yeah, but that doesn’t apply to me. In his situation I know I could be happy!’ But it does apply to you! The road to happiness is filled with pot-holes and one of the biggest of them is that the very things we think will feed our souls, end up feeding our fears, stressing us out and making happiness elude us. Paul says, ‘I’ve found the recipe for being happy… whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it [because of my relationship with Christ]’ (Philippians 4:12 TM). Happiness isn’t about being on an emotional high all the time and never feeling down. And it doesn’t change with circumstances. Paul says in essence, ‘I can make it because I’ve a life-giving relationship with One who gives me the courage, love and fulfilment I need each day.’ Happiness also involves: a) taking responsibility for your own actions b) realising that life is precious and maximising every moment of it. Over the next few days we’ll examine some ‘happiness traps’. Each one is uniquely seductive and has been capturing people for thousands of years. So read on..

Prayer Point - God is bigger ;
Almighty and everlasting God, You created all things, and You hold all of creation together. When the troubles in my life seem like mountains, and the waves of depression seem set to overwhelm me, help me remember that You are bigger than the tallest mountain and stronger than the most powerful wave. I thank You that You are bigger than depression, and that You can carry me through It
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'Find Something To Praise God For
'If anything is praiseworthy... think about such things’ Philippians 4:8 NIV'

GENERAL ROBBIE RISNER described the seven years he spent as a prisoner of war as ‘the essence of despair.’ He said, ‘If you could have squeezed the feeling out of the word despair, it would have come out lead-coloured, dingy and dirty.’ What’s amazing is how he survived. He pried the cover off a floor drain in his cell and lowered his head into the opening. There he noticed a solitary blade of grass, the only smidgeon of colour in his colourless world. Calling it a blood transfusion for the soul, Risner began each day in prayer, lying on the floor of his cell with his head down the vent, focused on that single blade of grass. Jesus said, ‘Your eye... provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness’ (Matthew 6:22-23 NLT). What are you looking at? Each day you get to decide where you’ll focus. And you won’t have to look hard to find things to complain about: war, petrol prices, the economy, global warming, and crime. God gave Adam and Eve everything they needed in the Garden of Eden, but they chose to focus on the one thing they couldn’t have. He divided the Red Sea, sent signs to guide the Israelites in the wilderness and provided food so they’d never go hungry. Initially, ‘They... sang His praise. But... soon forgot what He had done’ (Psalm 106:12-13 NIV). Don’t be like that. The Bible says, ‘If there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.’ Surely you can find something to praise God for today.
Step By Step Guide
1. REALISE you can’t make yourself better

Your guide to overcoming depression with God’s help

Start at the easiest place for those in darkness. Start with despair. Despair of finding any answer in yourself. I pray that you will cease from all efforts to look inside yourself for the rescue you need. I pray that you will do what only desperate people can do, namely, cast yourself on Christ.’
‘Cheer up! Get over it! Pull your socks up!’ Most of us grew up being taught that most things in life can be overcome with a positive attitude and a bit of hard work. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves. But depression won’t be overcome by a smile and a straight back. We only load on more guilt and shame by beating ourselves up about how we should be feeling better. It’s time to drop unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and those of others.

Think of all the ways you have been subtly condemning yourself through your depression. Let go of the responsibility to ‘make yourself better’, and instead ‘cast yourself on Christ.
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2 REST And Eat Well

The angel of the Lord came … and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. (1 Kings 19:7-8) You may have been taught or come to believe that your body and mind are unconnected – and that your state of mind has nothing to do with your state of health. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Small changes in our physical lifestyle can reap dividends for our outlook. Read 1 Kings 19 to see how God dealt with Elijah when he was depressed. He was so down, he was asking God to take his life: ‘I have had enough, Lord.’ (1 Kings 19:4) First, God sent him to a place where he could sleep, then he ensured he was well fed and watered. We can’t overestimate the value of good sleep patterns and a healthy balanced diet, but it’s easy for us to let these things slip when depression hits. Any physical exercise – even gentle walking – will have positive benefits too.


Look at your daily routine and ensure that you are doing enough exercise, and eating a properly balanced diet to function through the day and sleep well at night. Seek help from a friend or medical professional if this is something you have found especially difficult.
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3. RE-ENGAGE with the world

'IF we are to re-engage with “life on the surface”, we need to engage with people and with purpose… Activity gives us a useful purpose, a clear focus and a reason for “being” (Ledger and Bray) Chris Ledger and Wendy Bray describe the tendency of people suffering from depression to gradually cut themselves off from the world in order to avoid dealing with difficult situations. This leads to a build-up of negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness, which in turn leads to further withdrawal from the world. It’s a cliché that depressed people never leave the house, or spend all day in bed – but when a person gets locked into a ‘lethargy spiral’ it can begin to become reality. Sometimes, the activity doesn’t need to be all that remarkable – it’s more important that we make the effort to interact with others and purposefully re-engage with the world.


Ledger and Bray suggest making a list of all the activities you’ve stopped doing since becoming depressed, and setting small, achievable goals to recover them, according to your energy levels. For instance, making phone calls to keep in touch with a friend; doing one small housework chore each day; attending a small group once a week.
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4. RECRUIT a climbing companion
wo people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 (NLT) Already you may be thinking: I can’t do all that on my own. And you’re right – you weren’t meant to! The journey out of depression must be one that is walked together – together with God and together with others. Who should this be? There’s no right or wrong person. The most important thing is that they care for you, and want God’s best for your life. Many churches have trained counsellors available to help people struggling with depression, but training is less important than compassion and time. However, it is important that we are aware not to make unrealistic demands of those who care for us in these times and not to rely exclusively on one person (see box)


If you have yet to ask someone to ‘climb with you’ seek God about who that person might be – then be brave and ask them. If you already have someone helping you, why not go through the points in this booklet with them?
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5. Give REGARD to your thoughts

e take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) The battle to overcome depression takes place first in the mind: ‘Our thoughts shape our world, so depressive thoughts – arising from biased and negative interpretation – will shape our world negatively.’ (Ledger and Bray). A huge part of overcoming depression is learning to see situations, other people and especially ourselves in a fair light – not jumping to conclusions, not blowing things out of proportion, not seeing everything negatively. This has to do with managing our thoughts by taking care of what we allow into our minds, and then being vigilant about testing every thought in the light of what we know God has said about us.


Try keeping a ‘thought diary.’ Carry around a small notebook in your pocket and capture on paper any negative thoughts you f ind yourself thinking during the day. At the end of the day, read through the list asking, ‘Is this true? Is this what I hear God saying about me?’ Write, in a different colour pen, the truth. Seek help from your ‘climbing companion’ if you find this difficult at first.
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As if suffering with depression isn’t bad enough, many Christians also admit to feeling some degree of guilt that they are struggling in this way. One reason for this is a common assumption that depression is somehow connected to an absence of God; that deeper prayer, more church and more Bible reading should fill the void and chase away the darkness. Depression can be due to many things but it is definitely not about the absence of God. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to His disciples: ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death’ (Matthew 26:38). This wasn’t a simple case of Jesus feeling off-colour and a bit down; through these words He was seeking to communicate something of the profound despair and utter darkness that came upon Him. In suffering this anguish Himself, Jesus was acknowledging that depression is real and legitimate, something to be taken seriously, and certainly nothing to feel guilty about.


The good news is that there is always the hope of healing with Jesus. Throughout the pages of the gospels, it wasn’t extra time spent reading the Bible or praying that increased the chances of somebody being healed; what made the difference was when people came to Jesus with their needs and he touched them. At some point, they had to admit their weaknesses and recognise that they could not help themselves, and turn to Him. It was the touch of the Healer himself that was needed. In Matthew 4:23, we read that ‘Jesus went throughout Galilee … healing every disease and illness among the people.’ Presumably this included depression! For those who are suffering today, it is still the touch of Jesus the Healer that is desperately needed – and that means having the courage to approach Him for help.

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