Saturday, July 22, 2017

Expressing Christian Love Through Active Relational Christian Mentoring

We were created to love and serve God and His children. But most of us have little concept of what true love is let alone what service to God or to His children entails. That is because we have such a minuscule capacity for love when compared to God’s capacity for love. The Apostle Paul tries to explain the depth of God’s love for His children with these words: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  -- (Romans 8: 38, 39. NASB). So, God loves us with an infinite love that can’t be measured or taken away.

Although some people cannot fathom the type of love that God has for His children and they are thus missing out on God’s infinite love, there are still other people who are searching for God’s love, but do not yet realize where it is or how simple it is to obtain it. Instead, they look for love in all the wrong places. Some people will even create and perpetuate loveless scenarios while trying to find that love that will fill the emptiness in their hearts. Others are so love starved that they have finally quit looking for love and instead have just settled upon belittling the whole concept of love. They do not understand what God’s love is, or the sacrifice that He willingly made to give them a life of love forevermore.

All these people need to know that God’s great love for us led Him to sacrifice part of Himself, His Only Son, so that we might live forever with Him. They need to know that our love for others should be the same type of sacrificial love, which is a love that goes beyond like, affection, friendship, etc., to become the same type of self-sacrificing love -- the type of self-sacrificing love that is seen within our service to God and to others. In fact, we read in the Bible: “Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave Himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to Him.”  -- (Ephesians 5: 1, 2. NLT).

Our human minds, though, can barely grasp the concept of love, let alone understand how powerful love is or how powerful it can be. Even for authentic Christians who have received the all-encompassing love of Christ within the gift of our Salvation, it is still sometimes hard for us to get our minds completely around the all-encompassing wonderful love that God has for us. Yes, we say that we understand the love that it took for God to give His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins so that in believing on Christ we can then spend eternity with God. But, do we really understand the love that it took to allow His Son to be crucified for our sins, or do we really understand the amount of love that God expresses to each of us every day in so many ways?

All of us need to learn about God’s love through the true stories in the Bible, and then acknowledge the love that God continually pours out on us throughout our lives. We also need to know all about godly brotherly love so that we can grow our love in order to express in service our love for God and others. For, “no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”  -- (I Corinthians 13:3. The Message). Therefore, Christians must be willing to not only grow their brotherly love, but be willing to give out this brotherly love in order for the people that we are around to be able to see that there is something different about us from the rest of the world that is searching for love. 

Do you have love for others in your heart? I am not talking just about a compassionate love that many people have for those that are hurting. I am talking about love for others that is the self-sacrificing type of love that comes from knowing Christ as your Savior. It is a love that follows the path of true godly love – a love that puts on the true character of Christ. If you do not have that type of love, what can you do to begin to see others from the standpoint of God’s love. You need to discover God's sacrificial love for yourself.

Our Heart Yearns for Love

God created us with the potential to love Him and others. He gave us a heart that not only has the potential to love Him but that has the potential to grow in love for God and others. For, once we are “Saved”, we actually have the ability to love many other people all at once, if we focus on looking at others through Christ’s eyes. But in order to see others through Christ’s eyes and with His love, we first have to ask Christ to come into our heart and forgive us of our sins. In other words, we have to repent of our sins and believe in the fact that God loved us so much that He sent and sacrificed His only Son, a part of Himself, so that we could be saved from eternal death and destruction. We have to believe that with this sacrificial love, Christ arose from the grave conquering eternal death and that He is back in heaven sitting at the right hand of His Father. Only when we believe in Christ, and once we accept Christ as our Savior and the living Son of God, will our heart begin to expand in love. Our heart then expands with the love that Christ has placed in our heart – a love for Him and a love for others.

Actually, there is no limit to the amount of love that our hearts can hold, if we will just allow our hearts to expand and grow in love. A great example of the limitlessness of our capacity to love is seen in the love that emanates from a mother who has eight to ten children. She loves all of them, and if she had even more children she would love the next ones just as much too. But, in our daily world of living and looking at other people and their needs, we often fail to nurture or grow our heart in love. Instead, some Christians turn inward and fail to see others as Christ would want us to see them. Their hearts become a dry desert that has lost the capacity to love others as God would have us love them. Additionally, without love in their hearts, some people often grow the weeds of hate, jealousy and frustration, which seems to be continually watered with their selfish motivations. But, Jesus said, “Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”  -- (John 13: 36. LB). So we are to show others just how much we truly love them by sacrificing our time in service to the needs of others. But, if we allow our selfish motivations to interfere in our service to others, we are not growing our love or living for Christ.

What do I mean by selfish motivations? Well, most of us at least love ourselves. Moreover, in loving ourselves we do things that we want to do while often ignoring those things that could help other people. Additionally, we also do things that limit the amount of love that could be poured out on other people. For example, a person can begin to focus too much on themselves, whether it is in focusing on doing only what they want to do, or in focusing only on their sickness, depression, or some other perceived need, so that there is not enough love left to give to another person. They have used up all the limited love within their hearts on themselves and their perceived needs. Furthermore, these selfish motivations are always represented outwardly by what they are no longer able to do for others. For, if they allow anger, hate, and distrust to grow in their hearts alongside the little bit of love that is still there for themselves, their outward actions toward other people are likely to be based on anger, hate, and distrust instead of love.

God, though, created our hearts to yearn for love and to grow love. That is why we have the potential to see the love around us and within this world. Certainly we see and feel the love that God has bestowed upon us. But, if we can recognize God’s love and the love that He showed to us in giving us His only Son, so that in believing in Him we can someday spend eternity with Him, then we can certainly fill our hearts with not only love for God and ourselves but with love for other people as well. Unfortunately, when we add into our life the problems of this world, which include but are not limited to pain, unexpected problems, and emotional hatred, we can often stifle our yearning for godly love and then stifle the desire to shower that love on others through brotherly service.

There are other problems as well that will interfere in the growth or development of our brotherly and godly love, which can then also interfere in the expressing of our love through our missed chances for service for others. One type of problem that easily interferes in all our lives is the one that we refer to as “life getting in the way of good intentions”. For example, we all have things that we love to do, i.e., we have our heart’s passion or hobbies, our jobs, our family, etc., and we also want to do other things that we care about. However, often there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do all the things that we want to do. So, if we don’t prioritize the time we have been given here on earth for our responsibilities and the things that we love to do or want to do and care about, then all of these things taken together can drive the direction of our lives, while leaving little time to be of service to others. So, whether it is that job that we really like, a hobby we love to participate in, or a recreation that we enjoy doing, Christians sometimes allow our love for those earthly endeavors to control the amount of time that we spend upon rest of our life and in service to the Lord. In fact, the time that we spend on our own activities can impede and consume our time to the point that we are no longer doing for God what we were created to do in ministry or service.

A Ministry or Service that Reflects our Love to Others

All Christians have been given a ministry or service to preform for the Lord. Recognizing our individual ministries, such as that of Active Relational Christian Mentoring or that of teaching a Sunday school class is very important to the fulfillment of our service to God and others. But besides recognizing the ministry that God has created us for, Christians need to stay focused on developing our brotherly and godly love for other humans so that we can do what God has called us to do.  Indeed, all Christians need to focus on growing and showing our love for other people. In fact, one of the things that we can do to grow our love is to be of service to God and His children. For, love begets love. In other words, the more that we express or show our love for others the easier it becomes to love other people including those that at first seem unlovable, because we are growing our love. It also becomes easier for those who are mistrusting of brotherly love from a Christian to see that we are indeed concerned and caring people who want to be there to help others. However, if we shelter our lives from getting involved in a ministry or if we selfishly only do the things that we want to do, then no matter how talented we are or how much we want to be of service to another, our love will not expand or grow. Neither will our capacity to be of service to God and others grow.

We all ask ourselves why we can’t do more to share the Gospel with others, but the real reason is that we have not allowed ourselves to love others the way that God wants us to love them. For, it takes a great deal of love to step forward to share the Gospel and to not be afraid of being shot down for doing so. In fact, when we love others unconditionally, we are not afraid to show our love by stepping forward to mentor another or by stepping forward to share the Gospel message. However, when we pull back into ourselves, focusing only on our love of self or by focusing only on our needs, we are essentially tamping down or destroying the roots of love that are supposed to grow for the Lord.

Unfortunately, humans often tamp down those things that would grow their love for the Lord and others. For example, not serving the Lord, not helping a friend, not ministering to the needy or not providing some other loving service for God are all things that a person doesn’t do that will eventually tamp down their love for God and others until they become a dry empty desert. When that happens people often justify their failure to love others with many deceptive reasons. For example, although they may tell ourselves that they lack the time to serve, they are really not making the time to serve. Essentially, they are putting God and Christian service on the back burner, so to speak. Thus, they are tamping down their love for God and for others that was meant to grow in our hearts. However, in doing so, they are not only hurting ourselves, but are hurting God and those for whom they have failed to be of help.

We all should remember the proverb: “As a face is reflected in the water, so the heart reflects the person.– (Proverbs 27:19. NLT). Consequently, we can’t ignore the importance of growing our heart of love. Instead, we need to nurture our heart by investing in our interests, talents, gifting, etc., which can then be used in our service for other people. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is just one of the many Christian services that we can perform. Furthermore, our love for a specific job, hobby, recreation, etc., can often be used in our mentoring of or our service to other people, if we utilize it the way that God intended for us to use it. Indeed, our individual interests, talents, gifts, etc. can be used to empower another woman who not only needed to learn what we know, but needs to feel the Christian love of a woman who cares about her. By investing our mentoring time in the people who can use a little support, help, coaching, fellowship, etc., we can make not only a change in our own heart, but in the heart of the other woman. Then when we look at our face reflected in the water, we can see a woman who has a heart filled with love for others.

People around us will be able to see our heart by the actions that we take and by the words that we use to lift other people up. Certainly, they will see our heart love for God by the way that we live our lives for Him and by the way that we willingly step forward to help or support another person. Remember that people can see us for who we really are, because our heart is reflected in all that we do. If we do not have love in our heart for others and a love for sharing the Gospel message, we will not be seen as caring, concerned, kind, and loving Christians. How then can we share the Gospel message to those who are hungering for God’s love and peace? But, if we show our love through our actions and words and in service to God, we can become harvesters of love for the Lord.

The Melding of God’s Purpose With Our Purpose

God’s purpose is to make us one with Himself. Oswald Chambers said it best when he said, “I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God is not after perfecting me to be a specimen in His showroom; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He likes.” -- (The Upmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, December 2).  I don’t know about you, but I want to be used by God. I want to create a longing for God in other people as I help them discover who Christ is. I want to be able to uplift other women so that they will be empowered to be all they can be for God, themselves and their family. However, to do so, I must allow God to make me one with Him. But how can God make us one with Himself? Well, God is love! God is Truth! God is justice! God is honor! These are just a few of the things that we can list about who God is. But, to understand the oneness that God wants us to have with Him, we must first understand God’s love and the depth of love that God wants us to express to each other here on earth, starting with our sharing of the love of God that produces that same love longing in others for the Gospel message, so that others can also have a relationship with God.

When we allow our hearts to grow in love and then get to that place where God can use us, we have become true servants of the Most High. Then it is through our helping service to other people that we are able to exemplify the love of God and what living for God actually means. When we exemplify God’s love in everything that we do, people can see the difference in our lives from those people who do not have the love of God and the love of His Son living within them. Moreover, when we allow the love of God to infiltrate our hearts through the Salvation of Jesus Christ, His Son, we learn to truly love. We then meld God’s love with the love that we have for Him and His Son. This love grows even greater in our hearts by doing for others with heartfelt service. But, in order for our love to continue to grow, we have to continue to pursue our purpose to love others, which ultimately leads to our honoring and glorifying God with our service. For, God not only asks us to love Him and Christ, but He asks us to show that love through our obedience to Him. It is then our obedience that actually reflects the love that has taken root in our hearts.

You have been Shaped to serve God and others in Love

Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, and everything is for His glory.”  -- (Romans 11:36. LB).  These words written by the Apostle Paul, explain the reason for our existence and why we are here on this earth. We were created by God for God. For, in creating us, God wants us to love Him and each other. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and chose to believe Satan’s twisted and false words instead of God’s truthful and loving words, they destroyed their perfect world. Then, because they listened to Satan and failed to trust in God, mankind has to now face temptation, lies, physical death, decay, and worse. Now because the truth is so hard to determine within Satan’s lies and people’s lies, which are an everyday occurrence, many people can’t see the truth or the love that awaits them in knowing Christ as their personal Savior. They have been deluded by Satan and the philosophies of this world, which results in hurt, anger, loss of freedoms, fear, and in many cases results in people just existing without a purpose and without love. But, Christians can still make a difference in the lives of those who are lost. For we have been given a commission to help the lost to see that God loves them and that Christ can be their Savior your too. Indeed, every Christian has been given a service or ministry to perform for the Lord. Christians have a purpose!

The Apostle Paul tells us: “Use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.”  -- (Romans 6:13. NLT). That tool is a service that you can perform for the glory of God. Later Paul told the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  -- (Colossians 3:23. NIV). This means that we are to love the Lord and love others. At the same time, we are to work with all our heart to help other people come to know Christ as their Savior. We are to also be willing to help other people through whatever trial that they are going through, by being there for them and by actively mentoring to their needs. In other words, our love of God and others is to be reflected out from our hearts through the work and the services that we perform.

Love is what matters most in our lives. In fact, God wants us to learn how to love and how to grow love within our hearts! We know this because throughout God’s Word, He emphasizes the importance of love in the lives of His children. Here are just a few examples of verses within the Bible relating to the importance of loving and learning to love. God’s Word says:

Let love be your greatest aim.– (I Corinthians 14:1. LB).

Love means living the way God commanded us to live. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is this: Live a life of love.”  -- (II John 1: 6. NCV).

The whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love others as you love yourself’”.  – (Galatians 5:14. LB).

Show special love for God’s people.”  -- (I Peter 2: 17. CEV).

Jesus said, “Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”  -- (John 13: 35. LB).

We also know that love will last forever, because the Apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament: “These three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.”  -- (I Corinthians 13:13 NCV). This verse then brings us back to the topic of love and service. We know that it is love that matters the most for our lives. But, it is ultimately the expression of that love through service to the Lord and service to others that impacts our eternal lives. We will receive rewards in heaven for helping others and sharing the Gospel message. Moreover, we are told in the New Testament that “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.”  -- (Galatians 6:10. NLT). We also read that Jesus said that the way to express our love to Him is to love His family. Who, then, is considered to be the family of Christ’s? Well, Christ’s family is everyone who has asked Christ to come into their heart and who has asked Him to forgive their sins. This means that every authentic Christian is a member of Christ’s family. Moreover, Christ tells us that we are to care for His family’s practical needs as well as for their spiritual needs. For Jesus Christ said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of My family, you did it to Me.”  -- (Matthew 25: 40 NRSV).

How Do We Express our Love to Others and to Members of Christ’s Family?

We express our love to those who do not know Christ as their Savior by being willing to step forward and share the Gospel message even when we are uncomfortable in doing so. We express our love to non-Christians by being there for them in times of trouble, or when they have health issues that are daunting. We express our love to non-Christians by inviting them to church and by being willing to mentor them when they need a friend. We express our love by making time for the other person and by willing to be their mentor, if needed.

It isn’t always easy to give up our own time to help someone in need. But as a Christian it is not only our responsibility, but it is a way to outwardly show our love for them. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is just one way or one service in which we can show our love for someone in need. It is also a way to fellowship with other Christians and help them, sometimes just by listening to what they have to say. In fact, there are many categories of ARCM, so there is a mentoring category for every Christian. However, if God is calling you to a different ministry or service, that is fine too. Just don’t fail to grow your love for others or fail to reach out to be of service to God. You can do it! You can share the Gospel message in love.

If you are interested in showing love for another person through the service of ARCM, please check-out the book: The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring, Women Mentoring Women with Christ at the Center. The author is Vicky Lynn Thomas. In this book, you can read true stories about lives that have been changed through the service of Christian mentoring. You will also be able to understand the different types of mentoring and the different mentoring categories in Christian mentoring that you can pursue. In fact, there is a category and type of mentoring for every woman. The book also explains how easy it is to become a Christian mentor. You can do it! You can both grow and share the love of God and the love you have for others that you have within your heart with someone who needs to be empowered in a certain area or who needs to know Jesus Christ personally. (The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, iTunes, Google Play, and Christian Faith Publishing.) 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dealing with Depression

Active Relational Christian Mentoring is a wonderful way to be of service to God and others. However, there may be times, in both the mentors’ and mentees’ lives, when depression or having a few days or weeks of the “blues” may interfere in the mentoring process. Obviously, depression or the “blues” may keep the mentor from mentoring the way that she wants to mentor or also keep a depressed mentee from focusing on what the mentor is saying. These days of depression or blues can keep the mentor from focusing on God and from trusting in Him, because depression or even a few days of just feeling blue means that the person, i.e., the mentor, is focusing on themselves instead of on God. Isn’t that inward focus what depression or the blues is all about? For when we are depressed or blue we only think about how life is affecting us and causing us to be sad and unable to see the sunshine that is above us.  So, how then with such an internal focus on herself can a mentor begin to look outside herself to see the needs of the mentee and then provide uplifting God inspired words of direction, counseling, or coaching when the mentor is not looking to God for wisdom and support? Or how can a depressed mentee focus on the mentor’s godly words if she is only looking internally at her own depression?

Even though the Christian mentor is supposed to be a strong Christian spiritual guide and counselor for her mentee, there are times when life throws the mentor an unexpected curve or when the devil attacks and suddenly depression or the “blues” sets in. The same thing can also happen to the mentee, which can keep the mentee from wanting to meet with her mentor or can keep her from seeing the Truth from God that is front of her. She needs reminding of the following scripture:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  -- (II Corinthians 1: 3, 4. NKJV).

The Attack

Authentic Christians have the Holy Spirit living in them helping them to stay focused on the Truth of the Word of God and to be focused on God’s help that is always there for them.  Moreover, because we live in a fallen world wherein the devil delights in causing problems for everyone including Christians, we find that just like non-Christians we can be attacked by the devil when we least expect it.  But, unlike the non-Christian, authentic Christians have godly knowledge, their faith, and the Truth that they have received through their Savior, Jesus Christ, as well as the Holy Scriptures which are needed to deflect the evil and nasty emotional arrows that the devil sends our way.  In other words, authentic Christians have been given God’s Truth and the tools we will need from our loving Lord to overcome these assaults and the negative emotional arrows that Satan throws at us. Every person, though, has to recognize when they are being attacked and then take the appropriate actions. We may take a few hours or a few days to recognize the attack for what it is, and then it can take the same amount of time of being in prayer and being in the Word of God to overcome the devil’s emotional attacks. We must polish God's Armor to deflect the arrows of Satan.

The Apostle Paul gives us some very important advice that mentors should take to heart and remember from within the book of II Corinthians when such attacks occur. Christian mentors can also use these verses to uplift and support their mentee when they are feeling blue. Paul says:

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed –

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  – (II Corinthians 4: 8, 9, 16-18. NKJV).

It is during those “down” times when a mentor is being attacked with sudden depression or the blues that mentors have to be extra vigilant and be willing to immediately turn to the Word of God and to Christ their Savior in prayer for the support and strength that they will need. It is also during those down times that both the mentor and mentee can grow in grace, patience, and trust in the Lord by simply relying on God and meditating on His Word. In fact, no matter what the problem or reason for your depression, God has an answer for you in His Word.

 One of those answers that we can cling to and memorize is found in the Older Covenant/ Testament when God told the prophet Isaiah to tell the Israelites that despite their spiritual failure, He was going to show them mercy. God told Isaiah that He was going to bring the Israelites back from captivity and pour out His love on them and restore them.  God said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; … Do not fear, for I am with you; …-- (Isaiah 43: 2, 3, 5. NASB). In other words, no matter what your problem is, you just need to turn to your Savior and rely on and trust in God to get you through your times of trouble. For, God will never forsake you!

Sometimes when we try to go through rivers of difficulty alone, such as when dealing with depression, we can feel like we are drowning. Moreover, trying to overcome such a trial in our own strength may lead to a type of emotional drowning. But we are never really alone, for God is always there with us. However, we must have first invited Christ into our heart before we can truly turn to Him completely in faith and trust. But if we do, we are assured that God will always protect His children, for “He heals up the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  -- (Psalm 147: 3. NKJV).

Overcoming Emotional and Physical Issues

God knew that we would have to overcome many emotional and physical issues as well as other issues while living on this earth. That is why God gave us the Bible. He gave us His Word to teach us His Truth, to offer us the path to Salvation, to sustain us in times of trouble, and to help us grow in spiritual maturity. In fact, the Bible contains stories of real people who have overcome many seemingly insurmountable problems simply by relying on God. But, the Bible also contains God’s Words of Truth to help us fight off the devil’s destructive arrows. So, within His Word, God gives us examples of how to fight off and overcome the adversary in this world. God’s Word also gives us examples of the many problems that we often create for ourselves and how we can overcome them in repentance and in love with God's help.

Through all these examples that have been given to us within God’s Word, we can see that we are all sinners who need a Savior and His healing power of grace and mercy. So, in addition to all the examples of problems that we can get ourselves into including the many examples of our sinfulness, God also includes the Gospel message of God’s offered Salvation. Additionally, God gives us through Salvation the indisputable hope of a future that does not contain the destructive emotional and physical issues that we may have had to deal with here on earth. Just as importantly, though, God has given us His Words of Truth that teach us how to handle those times when we feel overwhelmed. Until God takes us to Heaven, we have to deal with all the issues that may arise from living in a fallen world. So, God has given us the Bible to help us on a daily basis. We also learn from the Bible that in trusting in God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ, we have the assurance that God will always be there for us! He will never forsake us, and if we just turn to Him, our days will be immediately brighter if we rely on and trust in Him.

For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up n or leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax my hold on you)! Assuredly not!– (Hebrews 13: 5b. Amplified Bible).

Unfortunately, one of the hardest things to do is to be faithful and trust when we are in the throes of emotional blues or depression. Yet, we know from the Bible and through experience in trusting on God that God will never forsake us or leave us stranded just as the author of Hebrews in the above scripture reminds us. But, it seems that emotional depression or the blues is harder to overcome than some physical problems. That is probably because the individual who is in the throes of depression is looking inward and is failing to look up to God, whereas with a physical problem the individual knows that God is the One who can heal and care for them. But, one of the biblical psalms in the Bible gives us a wonderful example of God’s emotional healing power through our trust in Him and through our meditation upon the Word of God. As we see in this psalm, the individual who wrote it finds comfort as he turns to the One Person who can draw his eyes from the inward position to the upward position of focusing on God.

Psalm 42

We are told that the writer of Psalm 42, was a choir director for the Temple, but that he had been exiled far from Jerusalem and could not worship in the Temple. Although this man was depressed, he knew that an antidote for depression is to meditate upon the goodness of God and to look to God for his depression. He knew, too, that turning to the Bible and reading about God’s record of goodness to all his people could take his mind off the situation that was causing him to be so despondent. For, when we focus on God’s power and His ability to help us, rather than focusing on our own lack of ability to get out of the situation on our own, we suddenly realize that God’s goodness and His love for us far out reaches any earthly trauma or depressive situation. So, the writer of this Psalm focused his thoughts on God’s kindness and love. This song was written to help not only himself, but to help others who are hurt by faithless friends, have been slandered, find themselves in a situation not of their making, or have been hurt emotionally by any other situation. So, when we are depressed or blue, we should turn to Psalm 42 and meditate on God’s goodness.

“As the deer pants for the streams of water,
So, I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I come and stand before Him?
Day and night, I have only tears for food,
While my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
‘Where is this God of yours?’

My heart is breaking
As I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
Leading a great procession to the house of God,
Singing for joy and giving thanks –
It was the sound of a great celebration!

Why am I so discouraged?
Why so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again
My Savior and my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged,
But I will remember your kindness –
From Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
From the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
As your waves and surging tides sweep over me.

Through each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me,
And through each night I sing His songs,
Praying to God who gives me life.”

‘Oh God my rock,’ I cry,
‘Why have you forsaken me?
Why must I wander in darkness,
Oppressed by my enemies’
Their taunts pierce me like a fatal wound.
They scoff, ‘Where is this God of yours?’

Why am I discouraged?
Why so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again
My Savior and my God!

Notice how the author of this psalm started out greatly depressed and feeling that he was totally alone. Yet, in looking at the things that God had done for him and for all the people, he was able to see that God had never forsaken him. God was still there for him! Moreover, he found that God continues to pour out His “unfailing” love upon all of us. Finally, in the last stanza, the author turned around and pulled himself up out of the mire of depression, and in his realization that God never forsakes His children, he said, “I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!” So, to take your mind off looking inwardly and your mind off your inability to help yourself, just read the Bible’s accounts of God’s love, His goodness and His unfailing ability to help us no matter what the situation. God can help us no matter how bad the problem appears if we just trust in Him.


We live in a fallen world that is full of temptations and deceptions. We also are fallible humans who can make many mistakes on our own. Because of our fallibility and because of this evil fallen world, we can now and then find ourselves overwhelmed with all the problems we have gotten ourselves into as well as those that come about through no fault of our own. Then there are the emotional arrows that we know come at us from Satan as well as the arrows that we shoot at ourselves when we turn inwardly into our mind to try to handle an emotional issue on our own. At other times, we do not really know why we feel so down, blue, or depressed, but we know that we have been attacked by the negative emotional arrows that can either come from the devil or perhaps from some physical chemistry imbalance. But wherever the depression comes from, the devil would love for Christians to stay depressed or down in their spirit, because that means that we are not trusting in and relying on God for all things in our lives.

God on the other hand, wants us to be happy and live fulfilling, kind, and service oriented lives for not only ourselves, but for other people. It can, though, become a battle within the mind as to what the outcome will be. Will we turn to God and ask Him to help us get back to our normal God loving and fruit producing lives? Will we turn to the Word of God and read about those who have experienced depression and what they have to say about trusting in God? Will we meditate on the Word of God and God’s goodness, or will we simply wallow in our depression letting it get worse and then letting it also affect those that are around us? What becomes of our mentees when we succumb to depression? Moreover, what kind of trusting and faithful example are we setting for our mentees if we allow depression to control our lives?

 Christian mentors cannot allow our momentary blues or depression to affect our mentees. Rather, active relational Christian mentors must do everything they can to focus on Christ and focus on serving their mentee’s needs? But, how do we get our mind off the negative things and start focusing on the positive love and concern for us that Christ has? Well, we can turn to God and His Word for help. For, we are told that:
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  -- (Isaiah 40: 29-31. NKJV).

We can also focus on the Christ’s love – the love that it took for Christ to die for us on the cross and to conquer eternal death so that we no longer have to fear dying. Through Christ’s love and offered gift of Salvation, we can look forward to an eternal home in Heaven when God calls us home. In the meantime, while we are still here on earth, one of the ways that we can start to see the light of Christ’s love is to share that love with another, such as sharing our Christian love with our mentee. Lots of times, when we get outside ourselves, i.e., when we think of someone else’s needs and then actually do something for another person, we can begin to look outwardly and overcome our depression. That is because we are thinking and doing for another person, which then takes our minds off of ourselves. Then together, with being in the Word, with being in prayer, and with doing for others, we can often get out of our momentary “blues” and sometimes out of light our depression. (There are times, though, when even Christians need to seek out a Christian counselor. Please be wise enough to acknowledge when you need professional help as God has also given us resources to help us when we can’t seem to get the strength to deflect the arrows of the devil or get the strength to look outwardly and upwardly to God.).
Christians should remember, too, that if we put on the complete Armor of God we can overcome the destructive arrows of the devil, including the arrows of depression he shoots our way. What is the Armor of God? Well, below is the description of the Armor of God.

The Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm.
In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, …– (Ephesians 6: 10-18. NASB).

Trusting in the Lord

Do you remember the true story of David who eventually became King David? (See the books of I and II Samuel, I Kings chapters 1 and 2, and I Chronicles for the complete story of David). Well, early on in his young adult life David had many reasons to be elated or joyous. His joyousness came from the goodness of God, as well as from God’s help in being able to take down the giant Goliath with one rock and a sling-shot, and with God’s help in giving David the ability and protection for him to win many battles against the Philistines for King Saul and for the nation of Israel. In whatever he did, David praised the Lord and David always remembered to give God all the credit for his victories.

Even though David always remained faithful to God and joyous in God’s grace and goodness, David often had to struggle to stay alive around his king. For, when King Saul had a psychological meltdown, which came to the forefront when Saul got into a bad depressive emotional situation that would eventually turn into jealousy and anger, David had many reasons to be depressed. For, when King Saul became depressive and jealous, he would attempt to throw a sword or javelin at David to kill him. David put up with King Saul’s bad days and even tried to sooth King Saul by playing music for him. But no matter what David did for King Saul, Saul’s psychological problems invariably rose up again and again against David. Finally, David seemed to always be at the center of Saul’s jealousy and anger. Eventually King Saul turned totally against David and plotted to capture and kill him.

The turning point for King Saul and his attitude toward David seemed to be when Saul finally let his jealousy overwhelm his logical thinking in regard to David. This turning point occurred one day during a parade celebrating one of David’s victories over the Philistines. The people along the parade route made up songs glorifying the military prowess of David. But, these songs gave David more credit than King Saul for many of the military victories. So, King Saul, being manic-depressive himself, became very jealous and ultimately made it his life’s work to destroy or kill David.

You can imagine David’s frustration at being hunted down like a criminal, so you can also probably understand why David would have some days of depression as well. Like all humans, David had good days of victories and joyousness in just living for God, but he also had bad days when he felt that nothing was going right. However, the problems that David had to overcome were actually life and death situations, and on the really bad days he had to run and hide out from King Saul and his troops who were hunting David down to kill him. His desperate running, though, did not keep David from living for the Lord or from seeking God every day of his life. In fact, no matter how bad things got, David wrote songs, i.e., Psalms, that told of God’s provision and God’s protection of David. One of those praise songs is Psalm 34.

Psalm 34

David wrote: “The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. … The Lord redeems the soul of the His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” – (Psalm 34: 17-19, 22. NASB). This was true for David, and it is true for every Christian who turns to God for help and comfort. Remember, too, that “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Waiting on the Lord

What does waiting on the Lord actually mean? To me, it means that we not only trust in the Lord, but we do the work that God has asked us to do no matter how long it takes for us to get it done. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is just one of the many ways that we can do the work that God has asked us to do as Christian followers of Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians and said, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – (Galatians 6: 9. NKJV). Depression makes us weary and keeps us from doing the work of the Lord. So, mentors have to be vigilant and not allow depression or the blues to bring us to the point of being weary and frustrated with what the Lord has asked us to do. Certainly, David could have become depressed as he ran from King Saul and waited for the Lord to make him the next king.  He could have even been depressed to the point that he gave up running from King Saul and just accepted whatever King Saul did to him. But David didn’t give up! Moreover, while David waited on the Lord’s timing, the Bible tells us that David even had opportunities to kill King Saul. But here again David did not give up waiting on the Lord and his timing, for he knew that he was doing what the Lord wanted him to do in order to survive and that God did not want him to kill King Saul. So, although David had already been anointed as the next King of Israel, he waited on the Lord’s timing and trusted in the Lord to provide and take care of him until it was time for him to take the throne.

There were many times when David could have given up, but David specifically wrote about trusting in the Lord in Psalm 37. If we understand what all David went through while on the run from King Saul and then later when he became King David, we can see that God was with David all the time, even during the worst of times. In fact, it didn’t matter if David was being disciplined by God, as was the case with the discipline he received for his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, or if David was being rewarded for his faithfulness and trust in God, because David constantly had words of praise, while glorifying and expressing his trust in God whether he was disciplined or rewarded. One of the songs David wrote tells us today how David lived his life and how we are to live our lives for the Lord as well. That song is recorded as Psalm 37.

Psalm 37

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as light and your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evil doing.– (Psalm 37: 1-8. NASB).

We have been called to do good for others, such as when we engage in the service of Active Relational Christian Mentoring. However, when we allow our “blues” or our depression to go unchecked, we cannot do for others or ourselves the way that the Lord wants us to. In order to do good and cultivate faithfulness, we must stay in close fellowship with the Lord through prayer and through the reading of our Bible every day. Because if we do not stay in communication with the Lord, we will not have much to offer to another person, especially if we are inwardly focused on our problems instead of turning them over to God.

Just as David’s song says, we are to daily delight ourselves in the Lord. Part of that delight is knowing that we can totally trust in God to take care of us and give us what we need. Moreover, it delights God when we totally turn to Him for not only all our needs, but also for all our thanksgiving and praise. The more that we trust in and faithfully live for the Lord, the more that we see even the smallest of things that God has done for us. This means that we can really delight ourselves in the Lord, and the more that we delight in Him the more joy fills our lives. Praise the Lord for everything that He does for you; from the smallest raindrop or ray of sunshine to the greatest thing that you have received from Him, which is the Salvation of your soul. Furthermore, you will discover that the things that God does for us or provides for us are what gives us our lasting peace and satisfaction. Certainly, it is not the things of this world that we want or the things that we rely on here on earth to bring us joy that will really give us satisfaction; rather it is the trust, faithfulness, and grace that we have acquired from God along with the provisions that God makes for our lives that give us true satisfaction, peace, and enjoyment.

Comfort from a Spiritual Guidance Mentor

Christians are not to fear. We are told that fearing is a sin, because when we fear we are not putting our faith and trust in God. Depression engages in some type of fear. Without a doubt, at some time or another, every Christian has experienced some type of depression that if dissected would reveal that it is caused by the devil’s arrows of fear. This fear steals our trust in God, which is exactly what the devil wants. It can be the fear of losing our job, the fear of not making enough money to pay our bills, the fear we may have for one of our children who does not seem to want to follow society’s rules, or one of many other fears that suddenly come upon us. No matter what causes us to fear and be depressed, such fears can either be momentary or they can grab onto a part of our brain and hang on with such tenacity that we can’t seem to let go of the fear. Some of these tenacious fears can gradually turn into depression, because we turn the fear inward and cling to it. Instead, we should have turned the fear over to the Lord, trusting in the Lord to care for us.

Whatever the type of fear or depression that we are facing, we need to turn to God in faith and trust. Furthermore, we need to make sure that we have on the complete Armor of God so that we can ward off those fears and the arrows of destruction shot at us by the devil. In some circumstances, we may also need the support of other Christians or spiritual guidance mentors who can help us polish our Armor and can help us to focus on the Truth of God’s Words.

Spiritual Guidance Mentors

What is a spiritual guidance mentor? Well, a spiritual guidance mentor is an authentic Christian who spends a great deal of time meditating on God’s Word and has been given the gift of discernment when it comes to recognizing the spiritual needs of others. Spiritual guides are authentic Christians who can take you to the biblical scriptures that can help you focus on God’s Truth at just the right time. Spiritual guide mentors can listen closely to what their mentees are saying or are not saying, and they often have insight into the problems that their mentees are facing, because they have prayed and listened for God’s wisdom and direction for their lives and for their mentee’s life. In fact, spiritual guide mentors can be there for you when you least expect it, because God has arranged for one to be there just for you.  Because of God’s constant provision for our lives, you may find that a Christian spiritual guidance mentor is suddenly there in front of you to help you, without you even having had to search for one. This is because God knows your need and will often put just the right Christian person in your path. A spiritual guidance mentor can be a friend, someone you met at church, or sometimes just a Christian acquaintance. Sometimes, too, the spiritual guidance mentor doesn’t even realize that they are being used as a spiritual guidance mentor until the mentee recognizes that something they have said was exactly what God wanted them to hear.

For example, the other day I was talking to a new acquaintance. We were both excited to realize that each of us loved the Lord. Then, a short time into our conversation, the lady told me that she was having to fight off fear and depression after a job that she and her husband had prayed about turned out to not be what they had expected. Her husband had made a job change after much prayer, but now the money was not coming in as they had been promised. Consequently, they were having to use the little savings that they had to make ends meet, and they did not know what was going to happen when their savings ran out. She was in great fear of what would happen when the money ran out and depression was setting in.

I started telling her that she and her husband needed to trust in God and she just needed to remember that God would not forsake them. God never leaves His children stranded or without food. I told her that one of my favorite Bible verses was Hebrew 13: 5b where God says that He will never forsake us. We just need to trust in Him. Suddenly, she looked at me and said that I was the second person that day that had told her to trust in the Lord. She now believed that God was sending her a message. I agreed that God wanted her to have faith in Him and not to fear, but to trust in Him. At that moment in time, I believe that I was being used as a spiritual guidance mentor to help this woman overcome her fear and depression. As you can probably see, sometimes it is the smallest of encounters that can give someone the hope of God’s help and provision! But, in order to be that spiritual guidance mentor, we must be willing to step forward and say what God has laid upon our hearts to say. We also must have God’s Scriptures close to our hearts so that we can share them with others.

God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. So, we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and the mountains fall into the center of the sea, and even if its waters go wild with storm and the mountains shake with its action.” – (Psalm 46: 1-3. New Life Version).

In Summary

Active Relational Christian Mentoring is a wonderful way to help others and do the work that God has asked us to do in sharing the Gospel and helping others to live for Him. However, there will be times when the mentor or the mentee may be depressed or blue. In these cases, the mentor must focus on meditating on the Word of God and on praying to the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. For, Christian mentors have to remember that God will do for us just as He does for our mentees when we give them His Word. We too must focus on God’s Word and the Truth that He has for us. I hope some of the verses that I have listed above in this post will speak to your heart if you having a “blue” day. Remember too, that you can use those same verses to help your mentee get through bouts of depression.

I would also like to remind you of the newly published book entitled The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring; Women Mentoring Women with Christ at the Center. The author is Vicky Lynn Thomas. There are personal and true stories of mentoring as well as factual information about Christian mentoring. This book is an easy read and great way to find out about all the In’s and Out’s of relational Christian mentoring. The book can be purchased from the publisher, Christian Faith Publishing, as well as from Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, iTunes, and Google Play. If you are interested in serving others through Christian mentoring, this book is a great way to find out how to go about being a mentor to another.