Tips for better mental health over despair
By Tony Martin
The Baptist Record
In the journey of life, we are often presented with situations that are not within our control. It’s as if we are sailing on an open sea and at times the waves decide to show no mercy.
Remember, you can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can always choose how you feel about it.
This phrase carries an essence that is not only profound but steeped deeply in the Christian teachings that guide us when we’re navigating the stormy waters of life.
We often find ourselves at crossroads, where the trials and tribulations seem never-ending.
It’s during these moments that our faith stands firm as our guiding light, encouraging us to choose joy, hope and resilience over despair.
The Bible encourages us in James 1:2–3 to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because the testing of our faith develops perseverance.
Reactions and emotions
In the grand scheme of things, our reactions and emotions are the ship’s wheel of our journey. They possess the power to either anchor us in tranquility or leave us adrift amid turbulent waves.
How beautiful it is that, as children of God, we are gifted with the ability to choose the way we perceive and respond to our circumstances.
The story of Joseph (Genesis 37–50), a man who faced unimaginable adversities yet chose to harbor no bitterness, stands as a remarkable testament to this principle. Sold into slavery by his own brothers, wrongfully accused and imprisoned, Joseph could have easily succumbed to anger and bitterness.
Yet, he chose a path of righteousness, maintaining an unwavering trust in God’s plan. His journey wasn’t easy, but his faith and positive outlook transformed his circumstances and eventually elevated him to a place of honor and influence.
Choosing joy and maintaining a positive outlook is not about dismissing the reality of our situations or wearing a mask of false happiness. It’s about aligning our hearts with the teachings of Christ, who encourages us to cast all our anxieties on Him because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7).
It’s about standing firm in the belief that God is working behind the scenes, turning every setback into a setup for a comeback.
As followers of Christ, we are called to live lives that radiate the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22–23).
Even in the face of adversity, we have the divine ability to exhibit these attributes, choosing to feel and spread joy even when the world around us seems to be falling apart.
Moreover, the choice to feel a certain way even amid trials is a form of worship, a trust in God’s sovereignty and a testament to the strength of our faith. It’s a conscious decision to let our light shine even in the darkness, showcasing the transformative power of God’s love and grace in our lives.
So, as we walk this believers path together, let’s strive to embody the teachings of Philippians 4:8, focusing on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — to think about such things.
It’s not about ignoring the pains and challenges life throws at us, but choosing a perspective that aligns with God’s word and promises.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally published by The Baptist Record, news service of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.
Remembering the home bound
Ever get the sense that those in the home-bound community might be suffering from the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy? It’s definitely not true in many cases, but it does happen in some situations.
We are confident no church leader or church member would intend for the home-bound members to feel left out or isolated.
However, it can happen over time as the pull of church activities and life responsibilities crowd out schedules and energy.
For our home bound church members, those days of minimal contact can get pretty long.
What are ways your church stays connected? What are ways it could do better?
Send us your thoughts:
3310 Independence Drive
Birmingham, AL 35209
or email email@example.com
Showing grace even when it hurts
By Terry W. Dorsett
Baptist Churches of New England
When I was serving as the pastor of a local church, I remember how exciting it was to see a young family come into the church.
I recall one family who came to us with a lot of challenges. For two years, we poured into their lives and helped them overcome financial hurdles, marriage struggles, challenges raising their kids and past trauma. They gradually shifted from being our perpetual missions project to becoming fully devoted followers of Christ. It was exciting to watch.
But one day, they disappeared. After a couple of weeks, I grew concerned and dropped by their home to visit. I was shocked to learn they had been visiting a different church. They said that now that they were spiritually healthy, they wanted a church with more programs and ministries than our small church could offer.
I was stunned. And honestly, I was also hurt.
I wish I could say this was a one-time incident, but I’ve seen some form of this scenario over and over again in ministry. People come to the church broken, get healthier and then leave for another church. It’s painful, but this is just part of the way ministry goes. …
Sometimes, people we have invested in will leave us for one reason or another.
God’s not done
Though it is disappointing and painful, we must show grace to them.
God is not done working in the situation. We must let Him keep working it out in ways only He knows. In the end, it will work out for good.
“My faith affects everything I do — not just my career, but my life and my family and the choices we make and the things we do. I can’t separate it. It’s ingrained in the DNA of who I am.” NASCAR driver Michael McDowell on how his faith impacts his racing.
I remember a time when I had been called to work in a particular job setting. It was a wonderful place to work; however, the job that had been set before me was very difficult. I had almost convinced myself I needed to find another job, due to the fact of my limited understanding of the task before me. However, as I committed this decision to prayer, God made clear that I was to stay in that current position. As I obeyed, God gave me understanding and taught me things I am still using to this day. Sister, stay where God has you and ask Him to help you with your task. He will. He will do more than you could ever think possible. He is faithful, trust Him [Proverbs 3:5–6].
“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”
Many people are experts at constantly dragging something out of the dim, dark past and brightly shining light on that which should have been buried in the graveyard. The tendency to abdicate forgiveness is a continual problem in the home and the church.
Morris Murray Jr.
Had the wonderful opportunity to lead a new believer to Christ over lunch … . I wish I could tweet that every week. I pray I can be more intentional in sharing the gospel one on one this year.
It’s easy to be a hero behind the pulpit and a coward in your community.
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A me-centered church knows nothing of sacrificial service, because it is mesmerized by the bedazzled jewels on the crown of consumer Christianity in a way that a crown of thorns and a cross of wood cannot enthrall, unless you have experienced its power.
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Every pastor owes a congregation deep commitment to correct interpretation of a text. I’ve never seen that more evident than in the SBC in recent months.
Never read culture, or self or anything else into a text. It brings unrest, confusion, wrong ideas to the people.
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Pastor, you’ve prayed and prepared and soon you will preach the message the Lord has given. I’m praying for you. To those who will gather, let’s pray we will receive the message the Lord has for us. Speak to my heart, Lord Jesus!
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Our call is to follow Jesus, not build a following.
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