When you’re feeling depressed, it can be very helpful to read encouraging passages from the Bible out loud. Everyone goes through ups and downs. We all seek spiritual renewal. And we all struggle with conflicting emotions’sometimes even teetering between the extremes of despair and hope. Confessing God’s truth out loud can remind you that His truth supersedes anything you may feel or think on your own.
Set some time aside to reflect on Psalm 42 and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The psalmist spoke the truth to himself when he was feeling down, saying, ‘Why am I so downcast? Why am I so sad? I’ll put my hope in God! It’s true; I’m deeply discouraged right now. But my present discouragement doesn’t define my life, my God, or me. Therefore, I’m committed to remembering your kindness, oh Lord. I’ll confess it openly. Each day You lavish your unfailing love upon me.’
You see, despite the psalmists’ troubling situation, he remembered that God really is a good and loving God. He was stubborn in his refusal to let his present circumstances blind him to the fact that God is God! One important way he did this was speaking this truth to himself. Then he wrote it down for our instruction, and ourexample.
Men, the greatest truth we can speak is that the Lord has been good to us in the past, and that He’s still good to us today. Meditate upon it; confess it; impress it upon your heart, and be encouraged.
Guys, have you ever noticed that when a woman is feeling stressed or angry, she’ll often call a friend? Have you also noticed when guys feel those same things, we usually do just the opposite?
When it comes to dealing with emotions, most men run for the hills’alone. We tend not to be as good as our female counterparts at facing our feelings, let alone talking about them. Most of us have been trained to treat our emotions like dirty laundry ‘ we don’t want anything to do with them.
When our emotions surface, our internal ‘Sweeper’ moves to action. The sweeper is that part of our subconscious who methodically and logically eliminates the threat that rogue emotions present. The ‘Sweeper’s’ job is to prohibit any situation from heating up too much and to sweep stray emotions back under the surface, where we think they belong. The Sweeper’s job description looks something like this:
Hide and mask anger
Withdraw in the face of hard truth
Push others away
Excuse me from feeling the hurts of others
Men, does this sound familiar? If so, I think it’s time you put your Sweeper up for review, and seriously consider cleaning out his office. The ‘Sweeper’s’ so-called services are, in fact, doing you a great disservice.
Take gambling-obsessed Las Vegas, drug-crazed Amsterdam, and the super-sexed red-light district of Bangkok. Now roll them together. That approximates the reputation of Sodom and Gomorrah.
God decided to take action against these cities. Abraham pleaded with God to halt His judgment so long as fifty righteous men could be found in them. At the end of Abraham’s pleas, the number was reduced to ten.
But Abraham was overly optimistic in hoping that ten righteous men could be found there. When God sent two angels to inspect Sodom, Abraham’s nephew Lot asked them to stay in his house for the night. What happened? In one of the Bible’s most grisly scenes, a rowdy gang of men gathered outside Lot’s house demanding that the guests be sent out so they could have their way with them. That’s where we get the term sodomy.
God’s patience was exhausted. He displayed His holiness and righteous judgment by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. But in His mercy, God allowed Lot and his family to escape judgment by leaving this horrible place. Yet, they were reluctant to leave!–
Men, Lot had grown accustomed to his evil surroundings. He’d learned to feel at home there. Can you relate? You’re called to live in this world, and it’s an evil world. The solution isn’t to search for paradise on earth. Only the coming of God’s kingdom will bring this. But at the same time, beware: don’t let this world make it’s home in your heart.