Combat Depression with this Simple Habit

Like me, you’ve probably struggled with depression, sadness, and anxiety. I’m not afraid to admit this since up to 47% of millennial’s have been diagnosed with depression, imagine how many there are who remain undiagnosed. You might have everything you need to be “happy”, your health, a family that loves you, friends, a good home, at least three meals a day, security, freedom, some source of financial income, and a pretty cool smart phone that can tell you anything you want to know. I mean, we have things today that our parents could never have dreamed up, what’s with you anyway? Well, it’s a simple answer. Although social media has done a lot of wonderful things it also has created an unrealistic reality for many. No further than the palm of our hand you can see perfect depictions of other people’s lives at any given moment and decide your life doesn’t measure up. As a result, you feel sad, dissatisfied, and helpless.

Depression has never been so accessible and is no more than an arm length away for us. The truth is everyone is struggling, we just don’t/can’t see that part of their lives because it’s very carefully hidden. IF we did, we might not feel so bad about our own, in fact we might feel very happy with it. But what if I told you there might be an even deeper problem here? What if it’s not so much about how great other people’s lives look and how “pathetic” yours seems? What if the one thing keeping you from true joy, happiness, contentment, and peace is just a matter of implementing a simple exercise into your daily routine? Ok, enough questions! so, what is it? It’s gratitude. Yes, simple, humble, unassuming gratitude. The one thing accessible to all but used by only a select few. The most superior and powerful of all behavioral exercises is the act of choosing to recognize the blessings you have been given and deciding it is sufficient to evoke your contentment and remaining in that state of peace because your heart is full, and there is a deep sense of solid, pure, real goodness that is “enough”. The act of gratitude automatically neutralizes and pulverizes any judgements against your life and resumes your human dignity to prevent you from wanting anyone else. That is powerful.

Being grateful for what you already have is so much LESS exhausting and deceptive than wishing you had what everybody else “seems” to have. “It can’t be that simple!”, you say? I challenge you to pick up a piece of paper and write (not type), using a pen, write out just ten things you’re grateful for, then add WHY you’re grateful for each of those things. This will completely transform your mood. “Well it will only do that for a few minutes” you might think. Yea, probably, that’s why the person who goes to the gym 5 times a week verses the guy who goes once a month gets the six-pack. You get the results and the rewards when you’re determined enough. It’s not about getting lucky with your feelings and waking up one day feeling incredible. The best things in life are free. Like oxygen, working hard and focusing on a goal doesn’t cost you anything other than the decision and commitment to do so. Yea, no PayPal or ApplePay attached, just you, your mind, and how happy you want to become.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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The Curse of Canaan: A Second Look at the Fifth Commandment

Exodus 20:12 – Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

When I ask people for their interpretation of the meaning of the second half of the fifth commandment, the most common response I get is that respect for elders translates into longevity.  The second most common response I get is a higher meaning pertaining to respect for our Heavenly Father and the gift of eternal life.  I think both of these are good answers.  But I would like to propose a third meaning in this commandment, especially as it could have been interpreted by the Israelites as they were about to enter into the land of Canaan.  This commandment has profound importance when looked at from the perspective of generational sin.

We have sayings such as “Like father like son” and “Like mother like daughter” to communicate the reality that we tend to pass our traits from generation to generation.  This is seen in the Biblical examples of the lineage of Cain as well as Abraham. In the case of Cain, the breaking of the sixth commandment was the dominant sin described in the Bible (Genesis 4:5-8).  Five generations after Cain this sin is demonstrated to have grown from father to son to the point where trivial offences resulted in murder at the hands of the hardened and boastful Lamech (Genesis 4:17-23).

Another poignant example of this is seen in the lineage of Abraham.  He had a problem with breaking the ninth commandment concerning lying.  Abraham lied to Pharaoh regarding his relationship with Sarah (Genesis 12:18-20), and the opportunity to witness to the kingdom of Egypt was lost by that generation.  Abraham lies also to the king of the Philistines (Genesis 20:2).  In the next generation, Isaac lies to the king of the same nation (Genesis 26:1-9).  Through the influence of Rebekah, whose family was also guilty of breaking the ninth commandment, Jacob proved to be a liar also (Genesis 27:5-19).  This sin of deceit kept rearing its ugly head from generation to generation.

What happens when commandment number five is broken?  Consider the story of Noah and his son Ham.  The only thing we are told about Ham as a person is an unfortunate interaction he had with his father in which he showed disrespect (Genesis 9:22-24).  His brothers were careful in how they honored their compromised father and they went in backward to cover him.  Surprisingly, when Noah knew what had happened, he pronounces a curse on Canaan, one of the sons of Ham and most likely the youngest.  Why was this done?  Canaan is especially important in the passage, as multiple times Ham is mentioned specifically in terms of his relationship to this son, as in “Ham the father of Canaan” (Genesis 9:19, 22).  Canaan was to be a servant-slave to the descendants of Shem and Japheth (Genesis 9:25-27), but why does this happen to him based on his father’s action?

The answer to this, I believe, can be seen in the lens of commandment number five and the genealogy of Ham.  In the lineage of Ham (Genesis 10:6-20) we find that from him come the Egyptians (Mizraim), the Canaanites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Sodom and Gomorrah and the Philistines.  With the exception of the descendants of Esau, Ishmael and Lot, the major people groups found in conflict with God’s faithful people in the Old Testament record come from Ham’s lineage.  This is no coincidence.  And why did the Canaanite people in particular become a population after the flood requiring a judgment of extermination?

I believe that of the four sons of Ham, Canaan was most like his father or may have further magnified the trait of Ham in the dishonoring of his parents.  As a consequence, Canaan and his brothers produced nations that rapidly turned away from and opposed God.  The religion that should have been handed down from father to son was lost through this disrespect, and these peoples soon projected this sinful trait against the Heavenly Father.

In the prophecy of Noah, the descendants of Canaan were seen prophetically to be made subject to the other peoples of the earth.  In ancient times, a person may have become a slave through financial straits, crime or birth.  But the most pervasive way that someone became a slave was through defeat in raids and war.  This brings us back to the Israelite people whom Moses was first writing to.  Moses is telling them that they will fulfill the prophecy of Noah.  They were to conquer the land of Canaan through war with the power of God, thus making the surviving Canaanites servants (1 Kings 9:20-22; Joshua 16:9-10; Joshua 9:17-27).  The Canaanites, descendants of Ham and recipients of Noah’s curse, were to lose the land as a judgement by God for their sins which were the outcome of breaking the fifth commandment.

As God is giving the land to Israel, He cautions them to beware of committing the same sin so that they won’t lose the land through the mechanism that led to the Canaanite downfall.  This is seen in what God commands them, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

But did Israel heed this and were they faithful?  The Bible record tells us that corporately they did not (Isaiah 3:4-5).  And so, it was just as Israel was about to be taken into Babylonian captivity and lose the land, God points out to His people the family of the Rechabites (Jeremiah 35).  The children in this family honored an oath to their father to never touch wine.  When Jeremiah put wine before them, they refused to partake because of their oath.  The prophet then contrasts this with the unfaithful behavior of Israel to their Heavenly Father and affirms their servitude to Babylon.

Despite Israel’s unfaithfulness, God eventually brings them back from Babylonian captivity with the same conditional terms.  If they will let Him, “…He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:6).  The Lord is calling His people to honoring the family structure.  The essence of this conditional restoration is based on honoring the fifth commandment.

Was Israel receptive to this work in their hearts?  During the ministry of Christ, the tradition of devoting property by Corban is exposed (Mark 7:11-13).  Jesus demonstrates that this practice was in direct violation of the fifth commandment.  The Israelite nation had not learned to submit to God and allow Him to work in their hearts.  As a consequence, we see that they lost the land.

The importance of the fifth commandment is all the more sobering when we consider our current generation.  We live in an age where the dishonoring of parents is pervasive and even praised.  It is therefore no wonder that with astonishing speed, atheism has flourished, sexual sins have become accepted and praised and rebellion is on the rise.

Yet the Lord’s desire and promise of blessing is before us.  “…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).  We need to understand the importance of the fifth commandment and allow God to work in our hearts, so that our days may be long in the land which the Lord our God will give unto us (Daniel 7:27).

Research on Egyptian mummies supports the Bible

Recent archaeological research on Egyptian mummies showed that the first Egyptian Dynasty which descended from the biblical Ham, the son of Noah could well be supported by evidence based on DNA.

According to CNN report, researchers from the University of Tuebingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, in Germany, found amazing discoveries when decoded the genome of ancient Egyptians.

Their research, which was published online in Nature Communications, stated that mummies in Abusir-el Meleq, Middle Egypt, were the closest genetic relatives of Neolithic and Bronze Age populations from the Near East, Anatolia, and Eastern Mediterranean Europeans.

The research was conducted on 166 samples from 151 mummies in Abusir el-Meleq dating back 1,300 years of Egyptian history, from about 1388 BCE to 426 CE. Using DNA capture techniques, the researchers “successfully got complete human mitochondrial genomes from 90 samples and genome-wide SNP data from three male individuals passing quality control.”

The Breaking Israel News (BIN) had a commentary confirming that the latest scientific findings correlate with biblical accounts, such as Genesis 10:5-6, which states: “Of these were the isles of the nations divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. And the sons of Ham: Cush, and Mizraim (or Egypt according to the New International Version of the Bible), and Put, and Canaan.”

Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz of BIN said: “According to the Bible, Mizraim settled in Egypt whereas Cush settled in Africa, establishing two distinct and separate nations that did not share a common heritage. The scientific theory implies the origins of Africa and Egypt were the same.”

The researchers affirmed, “We found the ancient Egyptian samples falling distinct from modern Egyptians, and closer towards Near Eastern and European samples,” “In contrast, modern Egyptians are shifted towards sub-Saharan African populations.”

As BNI pointed out, the new findings agree with the Dynastic Race Theory by archaeologist David Rohl, who taught that ancient Egyptians came from Mesopotamia, conquered the Nile Valley, and founded the first Egyptian dynasties.

Rohl’s theory was established on the biblical account of Ham, who traveled with his people from Mesopotamia to settle in Egypt after the Flood. In support of this theory, Rohl led an expedition in 1988 into Wadi Hammamat, a dry river bed in Egypt’s Eastern Desert, where he discovered ancient wall drawings portraying longs boats with as many as 70 oarsmen, thus, proving the migration of the early Mesopotamian people to Egypt.

 

Kirk Cousins: Faith Is The Reason for Turning Down A $53 M Contract

Kirk Cousins says that faith is the reason behind his decision to turn down a long term deal with the Washington Redskins. He said, that he wants to follow God’s plans for him.

Will Brinson reported that Cousins instead of signing a contract with the Redskins for the next few years that guaranteed $ 53 million, the 28-year-old Christian quarterback chose to sign a one-year deal with the team instead. Cousins explained the importance of hearing from God first about his career moves in the next few years:

“First of all, what rarely ever gets reported is that ultimately this decision is not about anything more importantly than my faith,” Cousins said. “My faith is ultimately driving this decision. Do I feel like the Lord is leading me to make this decision or that decision and where does he give me peace?”

Throughout the years, Cousins has been public about his faith and that God brought him to Washington, D.C., to play for the Redskins. He stated his stand on the CBS radio show:

“He brought me to D.C. then. He had a plan for me,” Cousins said. “I didn’t know if it was going to be for football or for something else, but he placed me in Washington, D.C. for a reason. I believe that with my whole heart, and as a result, I was content to be patient and allow time to reveal that and to continue to just wait on the Lord.”

Some may think that Cousins’ decision was a drastic measure but Cousins said he is trusting in the Lord for:

“He’s done far more in my five seasons here in Washington than I ever thought he would,” Cousins said. “And so here I sit and people are saying, ‘it appears to be a dead end. After this year, what’s going to happen to Kirk?'” “And I would say it’s the same answer: I’m trusting the Lord.”

Also, on a CBN report, Cousins said that he hopes to be more than just a leader on the football field. And that he wants to be a man that can lead people to Christ off of the football field:

“I do think naturally I am a leader. I believe that leadership at the end of the day is influence,” he said. “… I think that more than anything as a Christian I want to be able to influence my teammates for Christ and that’s not going to change.”

What a testimony of faith!

Super Bowl Add By Pam Tebow Saved My Child’s Life

Susan Wood watched a commercial by Pam Tebow in a Super Bowl party that changed her life for the good. When Susan found that she is pregnant, her boyfriend threatened that if she doesn’t get an abortion, he would kill himself.

Susan was confused and troubled. And to get her mind of that very stressful situation, she went to the Superbowl game. It was strange because Susan had never before watched football and didn’t even know the players.

Strangely, during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLIV, Focus on the Family’s “Celebrate family, celebrate life” commercial aired for the first and only time. Pam Tebow appeared onscreen, speaking of her “miracle baby”—son Tim.

The anti-abortion commercial wasn’t judgmental and was coupled with an encouraging message of a mother’s love. And Susan couldn’t get that one out of her head.

Susan narrates of another prior incident that took place in her life which really got her thinking. She said, “A few weeks earlier, I was folding laundry alone and the TV was on ESPN, I was too lazy to change the channel and watched an entire special on Tim Tebow. Literally the only college player in the entire country I could have named or recognized.”

At home, Susan searched the web for the Focus on the Family Ad. And she watched it many times. She also found an interview with Bob and Pam Tebow where Pam was telling her story of when she was pregnant with Tim, Pam’s doctor’s recommended that she should abort her unborn son because of medical complications.

But Pam refused to do so believing God for a miracle. And God did answer her prayers and rewarded her faith by healing her child completely. Today, Tim Tebow’s faith in God shines in his career as leading football player, Philanthropist, author, and speaker.

As a result, Susan made the decision not to abort her child believing that God had a special plan for the child as well. And Anita Grace was born that September. This year at 2017, Anita is six years old filling her mom’s life with joy and purpose. All this is because of a commercial her mom Susan saw during the Super Bowl. God does reach people in mysterious ways!

 

 

 

Noah’s Ark: Reclaiming God’s Rainbow

Ken Ham founder of Answers in Genesis announced on Facebook that he decided to reclaim “God’s rainbow”—announcing the massive ark exhibit will be permanently bathed in rainbow lights.

The ark, a 500-foot-long construction, is the focus of the biblical theme park built in Williamstown, Kentucky. Hundreds of thousands of people have come to visit the replica of Noah’s ark.

Ham said, “We now have new permanent rainbow lights at the Ark Encounter so all can see that it is God’s rainbow, and He determines its meaning in Genesis 6,” “The rainbow is a reminder God will never again judge the wickedness of man with a global flood—next time the world will be judged by fire.”

Ham added, “The ark is lit permanently at night with a rainbow to remind the world that God owns it and He decreed it’s a sign of His covenant with man after the Flood—Christians need to take back the rainbow as we do at the Ark Encounter.”

Secular Critics condemned the decision—criticizing Ham of stealing the rainbow colors from the LGBT community.

The Orlando Weekly, in a headline, wrote that Chris Hartman, Kentucky Fairness Campaign told USA Today the following:

“This is Ken Ham’s sad attempt to take back the rainbow symbol from the LGBTQ community,” “It makes the ark look incredibly gay.”

Since last year, Ham urged Christians to reclaim the rainbow and teach young people its true meaning saying:

“The rainbow itself wasn’t designed to be a symbol of freedom, love, pride or the LGBTQ movement. God created this beautiful, colorful phenomenon and designated it as a sign of His covenant with Noah and his descendants forever.”

“Sadly, people ignore what God intended the rainbow to represent and proudly wave rainbow-colored flags in defiance of God’s command and design for marriage. Because of this, many Christians shy away from using the rainbow colors. But the rainbow was a symbol of God’s promises before the LGBTQ movement—and will continue to be after that movement has ended. As Christians, we need to take the rainbow back and teach our young people its true meaning.”

The Love Story Of Turia Pitt And Michael Hoskin

Michael Hoskin fell in love with a beautiful woman before a devastating accident destroyed her lovely appearance. In 2011, a freak accident during an ultramarathon through the Australian Outback, left 65 percent of Turia’s body covered in extreme burns.

During her hospitalization, Michael bought an engagement ring, and promised himself, “If she lives, I’ll marry her.” Turia spent the next two years in the hospital having extensive reconstructive surgeries, and intense physiotherapy. She even wore a compression mask designed to smooth scars and promote healing.

Throughout her medical journey, Michael took on the role of being Turia’s full-time caretaker giving her hope, courage, and love. Even though she no longer looks like the woman he fell in love with, Michael had bigger reasons than beauty for staying with her. He loved who she was.

In July of 2015, Michael proposed to Turia in the Maldives. They got married in 2016. And in June 2017, the couple announced the exciting news of their pregnancy on 60 minutes Australia. Parenting is a big responsibility. Turia said of being a mother, “not every woman in the world gets to experience this. I’m still here and I get to do this journey with my best friend.”

Through several interviews with a focus on her survival, love, trials and beauty, Turia has made one thing clear: Michael’s unwavering love for her, despite the way she looks now, is what saved her life after the devastating tragedy.

Turia’s story resembles the human race that was created perfectly but the devil destroyed its beauty. But God in utter compassion, loved us regardless of our hopeless and devastated condition. He left heaven, suffered untold pain, and finally gave His life on the cross to redeem us back to Him.

There is no greater love than this.

 

Gianna Jessen: Abortion Survivor Thankful For Life 

Gianna Jessen, (1977) is an American pro-life and disability rights activist. She is a survivor of a failed saline abortion attempt when her 17-year-old biological mother was seven-and-a-half months pregnant with her. Gianna was born 2½ pounds.

Jessen has cerebral palsy, which she traces directly to the lack of oxygen to her brain during the failed abortion. Despite spending the first years of her life mostly immobile, Jessen learned to walk with the help of her loving foster mother, who later became her adoptive grandmother and a very important influence in her life.

Jessen has since campaigned against abortion, saying “It’s more comfortable for people to think of abortion as a political decision, or a right. But I am not a right. I am a human being.”

Jessen travels the world telling the unusual story of her birth. Her circumstances and the evangelical Christian beliefs she accepted at an early age have made her a passionate anti-abortion advocate. She said, “It’s not easy. But I’ll tell you… I signed up for an extraordinary life. A lot of times we forget that so much wisdom can be gained through a struggle, not by eliminating them.”

Jessen says, “I always tell people, when I’m speaking to audiences. ‘Can you get up and walk from there to there without thinking about it?’ I wait for them to say yes,” she said. “When they do, I say, ‘Can you do me a favor? Can you stop complaining?’ Gianna celebrates life and despite her disabilities, she’s ran two marathons.

The New York Times noted, in writing about her life to the world,  that Jessen and Becky Bell, a teenage girl who reportedly died as a result of an unsafe abortion in 1988, had become the symbols of America’s debate over abortion. The New York Times set them as “poster girls whose stories are being shrewdly marketed by their supporters to keep passions high.”

In September 2008, Jessen was sponsored by the Australian Christian Lobby, to lobby federal politicians on late term abortions. And in the same year, she appeared in a political advertisement during the 2008 US presidential campaign stating, “if Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn’t be here”, referring to Obama’s opposition to “born alive” legislation.

In September 2015, Jessen testified at a Congressional hearing investigating Planned Parenthood’s practices regarding fetal tissue donation, following the Planned Parenthood 2015 undercover videos controversy. During her testimony, Jessen said she would ask Planned Parenthood the following question: “If abortion is about women’s rights, then where were mine?

And in 2017, Gianna spoke at St. Cloud State University again advocating the rights of the unborn who have no voice of their own.

One of the most unusual things about her life is her forgiveness to her biological mom. At one meeting, a woman came up to her after her talk and said,  “Hi, I’m your mother.” Jessen said, “I absolutely knew she wasn’t lying,”  “I just said, I’m a Christian and I forgive you.”

 

Jaelene Hinkle: Taking A Stand For Her Faith

Jaelene Hinkle—who plays defense for the North Carolina Courage, made a public stand for her faith. In May, U.S. Soccer announced that both their men’s and women’s national teams would be wearing jerseys with rainbow-colored numbers on them for the month of June to support LGBTQ pride month.

When Jaelene Hinkle heard of this decision, she withdrew from the U.S. roster, explaining that the decision was made for “personal reasons.” Jaelene Hinkle was called to play for the national camp against Sweden and Norway in June, but released herself from that.

Jaelene proudly displays her declaration of Christian faith on social media. Her Twitter proudly cites Colossians 3:23 in the bio tagline; “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

But her stand was not new, when in 2015, on the day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, Jaelene posted on Instagram a photo of the gay-pride logo, converted into a cross.

Then she wrote: “Jesus didn’t come to save those who already believed in Him. He came so that the lost, rejected and abandoned men and women would find Him and believe. I believe with every fiber in my body that what was written 2,000 years ago in the Bible is undoubtedly true. It’s not a fictional book. It’s not a pick and choose what you want to believe. You either believe it, or you don’t. This world may change, but Christ and His Word NEVER will.”

“My heart is that as Christians we don’t begin to throw a tantrum over what has been brought into law today, but we become that much more loving. That through our love, the lost, rejected and abandoned find Christ.”

Jaelene added that although the rainbow has become in today’s world a symbol for the gay pride movement, it has always been and always will be a symbol of God’s love to man.

“The rainbow was a covenant made between God and all his creation that never again would the world be flooded as it was when He destroyed the world during Noah’s time. It’s a constant reminder that no matter how corrupt this world becomes, He will never leave us or forsake us. Thank you Lord for your amazing grace, even during times of trial and confusion. Love won over 2,000 years ago when the greatest sacrifice of all time was made for ALL mankind.”

Rather than calling out the LGBTQ community for their beliefs, Jaelene is simply living for Jesus.

 

American Independence Started With A Prayer

America’s fight for independence from British rule began with Scripture and prayer. On Sept. 7, 1774, the gathering of America’s First Continental Congress summoned a minister from Philadelphia named Jacob Duché to lead the assembly in prayer.

John Adams, who was present at this historic meeting  wrote to his wife Abigail describing the event:

“Accordingly the next Morning [Rev. Jacob Duché] appeared with his Clerk … and read several Prayers, in the established Form; and then read the Collect for the seventh day of September, which was the Thirty fifth Psalm.”

This psalm begins, “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation!'”

Adams continued, “I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning.”

Rev. Duché prayed to the Lord: “Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly,” “Enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people.”

Adams admitted to his wife, “I must confess, I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced,” said Adams. “It has had an excellent Effect upon every Body here.”

Seven months later the shot heard around the world at the Battle of Lexington and Concord officially inaugurated the Revolutionary War.

Our Founding Fathers who, in the face of European persecution, refused to compromise their religious convictions, sought the Lord in prayer for wisdom and strength. But today, we’ve turned our backs to God when we’ve forbidden prayer in our schools and took away the Ten Commandments from our public buildings. The result of our defiance to God is that our American freedoms that were bought with the blood are now at stake.

It is my prayer that an awakening will take place in our beloved nation to turn us back to our Redeemer who purchased our freedom and happiness with an infinite price.

God bless you all