Sorry for the many months of absence. To be honest I don’t have a lack of material of this blog, but I need (and continue) to step back from writing this blog. You can still follow me at Writings of Seb and In God’s Holy Word.
My last post I talked about the link between (some forms of) depression and demon possession. I feel the need to talk more on the subject of the spiritual realm. In the so-called age of reason and science many in the Western Civilization have and continue to utterly ignore the fact that there is more to God’s creation than just our physical world. This is a big mistake, and it hinders many people from seeking the truth about God and spirits.
Writing the to church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul warns them:
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:11-13, ESV.)
As a Christian this raises several questions: What do we need to acknowledge? How does this affect us? And how can we fight against these “cosmic powers”?
The answer is simple: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” (Proverbs 3:5a).
At the same time it is hard: “and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,” (Proverbs 3:5b-6a).
Our “own understanding” is all we seem to have. At least on the surface that is. When we delve deeper into the spiritual warfare Apostle Paul speaks of, we see that our understanding of the world and universe are nothing.
The fact is demons and angels are just as real as you and I. When Jesus casted out demons in the Gospels it was not allegorical, it was real. When angel (heavenly messengers) showed up throughout the Old and New Testament they are not hallucinations, they were real beings.
So why bring up all this stuff? Some may call me “superstitious”, others call me “crazy” or “insane”. The truth is I believe in this, and my personal experiences have only reinforced this.
How is this linked to depression? I know I was not all too clear in my latest post. I will try to explain it as best as I can here.
Over a decade ago, when I was depressed, I could sense a darkness around me. It was limited but it was there nonetheless. The underlining reason for my depression was the sole fact that I was relying on people’s approval rather than God’s. And I was constantly failing.
Emotionally and spiritually I was weakened. In this state the demons could influence my mind more easily.
When people who suffer from depression area their lowest, or close to it, they are more susceptible to the forces of darkness. For some reason God allows this to happen to His children. The book of Job, in the Old Testament, is all about a God-fearing man whose life is negatively effected by Satan. (I know his story is a bit different.)
How did I escape the direct demonic assault? God-fearing friends, a Bible-believing church, and the Power of God Almighty. Truth be told, it is well beyond my “own understanding” how I got out of “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). This is something only God can do. A miracle if there ever was one in my life.
I cannot make you believe in demons, God or anything beyond this physical realm. And to be honest I do not want to even try.
I pray you have a blessed week, and seek after truth rather than blindly believing what society tells us to believe. God bless.
This is a hot topic and extremely controversial. I know some Christians who are under the assumption that depression (and all mental illnesses) are of the devil, either directly or indirectly. Personally, I believe this is a damaging belief system.
Can depression and demon possession be related? The answer is a simple one. While not all mental illnesses are demonic in nature, demons can use depression if we are weak: mentally, physically and spiritually.
I am no expert, I am only speaking from experience.
Over ten years ago, my first year out of high school, I had an experience many fellow Believers wanted to ignore. Eventually I received an ultimatum from the college I was attending at the time: drop out or be expelled. My choice? I dropped out of Bible college and tried to find my own way in the world.
As you all know, I have had multiple episodes of depression throughout my life. My experience with the demonic was part of my second last major episode. I cannot say for curtain if it was demonic possession or demonic influenced. I pray it was the latter, but only God knows the truth.
I will not reveal too much in this post.
I want to give you hope. If you are or know someone who is experiencing depression, please remember that God still loves you.
Job (in the Bible) lost everything; family, property, health, and eventually friends began to question him. What Job was going through was a sort of depression. As his three comrades questioned his faith, he began to question God and everything around him.
Does this sound familiar of your personal life? It does for me of my life.
When I suffered from depression I questioned God, the world, my friends and the church. There were times when I hated everything and everyone.
Who do demons come into all this?
During my time in college I saw everyone around me pairing off, this bothered me to the point of depression. I was even told, by the staff and faculty, that I was not allowed to want a relationship but focus on my studies instead.
Were my grades suffering? Not at this point.
Why was I asked to stop wanting a relationship? They had their reasons. I can only guess. But this I know, I see to be destined or fated to be an unwarranted bachelor for the rest of my life. (That is for a different time.)
After this incident I fell deeper into the teen-depression I was silently suffering with throughout high school. Now I was in a place where the demonic realm could attack me with more ease.
Why at a Bible college? Anyone who follows God’s calling knows the Enemy attacks those truly following after God’s will for their lives.
Why me? Why was I attacked by the dark forces? This I cannot say. I have no answer.
What I can say is that when I was at my lowest (mentally and spiritually), when I needed strong Christians to help me along, all I had was darkness in my soul to rely on. At least that is how it seemed.
The demonic influences on my mind and soul were powerful, more powerful than I could handle. This verse might come to mind:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV).
But is it relevant? No! Are you sure? No! It is both relevant and irrelevant. How can this be?
We are all tempted in life. I had a demonic experience I could not handle on my own. “…with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape…” This means of escape is beyond any human alone. It is by the grace and mercy of God Almighty that any temptation or negative influence can be overcome.
In essence, it is only God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit who can help us through the turmoil of life.
Depression is one of those topics no one really wants to talk about. Many people go as far as to claim the psychological condition isn’t real, people only use it as an excuse or a crutch.
Most, if not all, people in the West go through moments of being depressed. These are times of sadness or regret. People need down time to recuperate from whatever is going in their lives.
How is this different from depression? Medically speaking, I can’t say for certain. I’m not an expert by any means. But from experience I can say a lot. Depressed moments require moments rest and rejuvenation. Depression needs a lot more than that.
As you know, I have suffered from depression most of my life (childhood and adulthood). It runs in my family. Some friends have speculated it may run in my people and culture. To be honest I believe depression is a result of the Western Civilization’s materialistic greed. (That’s a topic for another day.)
Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, just ask any good family doctor. While meds can help in some cases, they don’t help in all. All some people need is understanding friends and family. For me it was a combination of both: meds and friends.
(Please remember: these are my thoughts and experiences on depression. Please refer to your doctor for advice.)
How can one tell if a friend is going through depression or is merely depressed? The best sign is their level of rational. How logical or illogical is their rambling? My closest friends can tell you that I have been illogical many times. I talked about people hating me, ending my life, the world is better without me… In essence I felt sorry for myself and that was all i could think about.
People who are suffering with depression speak as if the world revolves around them and only them. Whereas people who feel depressed have a moment of sadness without making things all about them.
Everyone has a different trigger. The bouts of depression I feel last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. I thank God, my Heavenly Father, that I don’t suffer too long any more. In the past my depression would last from a few weeks to a few months. In high school years had gone by and no one seemed to care I was suffering.
What were or are my triggers? In primary and secondary school my depression was linked to the amount of bullying I received from peers, older students and teachers. In adulthood it was the fact I was alone, and it hurts when everyone around me was in a relationship. I wasn’t happy or pleased with my lot in life back then. What about now?
Yesterday I felt depressed over what I’d call stupidity. Being alone in a world that puts too much emphasis on relationship was the catalyst. The cause was my desire to experience true, loving relationship.
While depression is a thing of my past, I will never say that I have totally triumphed over it. In fact, it is only by the grace of God that I can detect a wave of depression and true it into a moment of feeling depressed.
My journey in and through depression as been long and difficult, but it isn’t over yet. I pray that my experiences can help others overcome it or aid them in helping their loved ones.
I like going through some of my old writings on “Writings of Seb”. The posts that are relevant to my journey through depression (and related events) I want to repost to “The Unwarranted Bachelor”.
Have you ever felt like an outsider? Have you ever felt like your life was an intrusion on everyone else? Like your right to exist infringed on their right to breathe?
Well, you’re not alone; this is how I’ve felt most of my life, whether with friends, in college or at work. I will tell you this, my brothers and sisters, do not worry about anything in life. As the lilies are clothed by God’s hands, and the birds of the air are fed my His grace so He will be with you. God, our Father, knew you before you were in the womb. He had a purpose for you from the moment time began.
Do not worry about what others will say about you, or what they do to harm you. At the end of the day and life you will stand before Christ Jesus, who is our God…
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Life goes on. Mistakes are made. God forgives.
With my recent move and my struggle finding employment my past mistakes are floating up to the surface of my memory. Some are fresh, within the past year, while many are nearly two decades old.
Most of these mistakes are temperament related. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I had a bad temper as a child. Over the years it has morphed into new forms of reactions, but in essence it hasn’t really disappeared entirely.
My entire life I’ve struggled with a negative temperament.
As an adult, in my early thirties, I fear my past has finally caught-up with me.
For each one of us, whether Christian or not, there is always at least one thing (a pet peeve) that irritates us the most. How do we react when other folks act in a manner we don’t appreciate? Or if they speak in an unwholesome way?
The truth behind this is we are not “our brother’s keeper” when it comes to the general public, our co-workers, or anyone else who is our equal. The fact is there is someone else who is in charge of them.
I’m not speaking about ignoring accountability with our fellow humans, that’s an entire different story. What I am speak about is changing them. We cannot correct everyone. We need to choose our battles. This is where I’ve struggled with in the past and I find myself doing so more often than not.
Why do we tend to fight up hill battles? Why not fight those that are truly worth fighting?
We, as humans, have the innate need to be “right on everything”. This is true for the theologians, scientists and philosophers. Everyone has an opinions, and everyone has a temper.
My explosive temper is my “thorn in the flesh” (or personality). This doesn’t have to be true, but it has become a part of my mentality. How am I doing to try to mend this ingrained mindset?
The hard truth is: alone it is difficult to fix. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26b, ESV). If this is what we believe, then why is change still not happening in our lives? I can’t answer for you, but I can answer for me. I’ve been separating my “Christian life” with the rest of my life. Why?
While this may be an infection within churches, this is no excuse for me.
(I guess this post is more of a confession than anything else.)
The reason why I keep finding myself in the pits of anger issues is a lack of relationship with God. What does God have to do with this? You may be asking yourself. In reality, God has everything to do with it, but not responsible for everything.
All the while, I’m striving for a positive temperament.
As a Bible believing Christian, my relationship with Jesus Christ should be first in my life. The lack of it, from my end, is I am not pursuing it as deliberately as I should be. Reading the Bible; praying to God; in essence communicating with the Most High is what I struggle with the most.
When I lived in Alberta, a good eight hour drive to my dearest friends, I tended to not regularly speak with them. We still had a relationship, but it wasn’t growing. My relationship with God fell into the same pattern.
If God feels far away, who moved? The answer is always I moved.
When I move away from God my old nature rears its ugly face. This has happened again and again, and I hope I have learnt from it by now.
God, my Heavenly Father,
You are Almighty, Creator of the universe. I am but part of Your creation. Forgive me, oh Lord, when I have acted contrary to this. Forgive my stubbornness, forgive my perfectionism, forgive me when I act like I know best. “Give me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence. Let my past misdeeds not affect my future forever. Give me a godly temperament, one that reflects You to those You’ve placed around me.
My personal spiritual journey is a complicated one. I grew up in a Christian home, attended church, my parents read the Bible, prayed with us, and they encouraged my sisters and me to do the same. But that is where it seems to end, right at the beginning.
If I had to use metaphorical names for people and situations in my life, from how I went from my parents’ faith to claiming my faith as my own to how am today, in the style of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress this is how I would tell my tale:
One day I had a dream, and this is what I dreamt… I saw a small child named Boy, who had two older sisters, Orderly and Care-Free. He was walking along Tradition Drive with his family. The road intersected Intolerant Way. Here he met Snicker and Mockery, who were not minding their own business.
The two looked at Boy and his family. They ridiculed them for wore different clothing and for speaking a different language; for being not like Snicker and Mockery. Boy was injured in this confrontation and started to use a crutch called Bad-Temper. Along his journey Boy began to rely on Bad-Temper more frequently, and soon it became part of him.
Some time had passed, I saw Boy as a young man, perhaps just a youth. A handsome lad? Not really. Boy was walking along a different road that ran along side Tradition Drive, this one also intersected Intolerant Way, but Boy did not stop this time to speak with the travellers who journeyed there.
Just past the conjunction Boy came across an old leather-bound Book. Up ahead he saw the House of Direction, a candle in the night caught his attention. He knocked on the big wooden door and stepped back, waiting for an answer. He knocked again, stepped back again and waited. After the third knock The Director opened the door, peered out and said, “I have been waiting for you. Come in and sit.”
Boy entered the big house and sat on a hard, backless stood. “What is this place?”
“The House of Direction,” the old man said.
“Direction to where?”
The Director looked at Boy and pondered for a few minutes. He paced the room before he answered, “Come,” he walked to the window on the far side. “Look,” he pointed to a Hill with three crosses. Beyond the Hill was another house, this one shone in the night and in the day.
Boy stood up to get a better view. Before he joined the Director at the window he looked back at the stool. On the stool was one engraved word, “LINGER”. He looked at the soft chair next to the stool; it read “RELATIVITY”. The last seat was a comfortable sofa chair. It had a lever on the side to recline the back. This one also had a word, and it read, “GO”.
“That is strange,” Boy remarked.
The Director explained, “Linger in tradition and you will become uncomfortable. If you become relative to the world’s standards you will become uneasy. But when you hear the Spirit say, “GO!”, will you heed His calling or fall asleep and remain?”
Boy thought on this and took the question with him for the remainder of his journey.
“If you do heed the calling you will find your way to the Hill with three crosses,” the Director continued. “There you must choose your crutch, Bad-Temper, or take up your cross, called His-Yoke, which is lighter and easy to carry.”
“Where do I go from there?” Boy asked the old man.
“To the House of Interpretation. There you will receive further instruction and training in order that you may reach the goal. There is only one road that leads from that house.”
Boy left the House of Direction and headed for the Hill. The Valley of the Shadow of Death surrounded the Hill with three crosses. Boy hesitated when he reached its edge. “I must go through,” he told himself. “I must.”
“Seriously?” Mockery was sitting on the bench called ‘My Way’.
“I was directed to go this way,” Boy explained.
“Not a chance, Boy. Do you not see everything you will leave behind? Too much will be asked of you.” Mockery laughed. It was not a joyous laugh, but a wicked one with the hint of deceit.
“I must go, for Bad-Temper shall no longer be my crutch. I must.”
As Boy spoke with Mockery a Dove of brilliant white light swooped over them and landed on Bad-Temper. Boy looked at the Dove and felt his crutch tremble in fear. The Dove looked at Boy and beckoned him to continue down into the Valley.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you!” Boy heard the words in his heart.
With newfound courage Boy walked down into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. He walked through fire; he walked through rain; he walked through darkness. The Dove lifted up and shone the way for Boy to travel.
At the Hill with the three crosses Boy become tired. Bad-Temper was becoming too burdensome to carry on anymore. With his other hand Boy held the Book close to his chest. The Dove alighted on the middle Cross. As stained with blood as it was, this Cross was the only one that caught Boy’s attention.
Boy fell on his face at the foot of the Cross and prayed for the promise of an easy burden. Bad-Temper fell away from his hand and a cross fell around Boy’s neck, like a necklace.
“Welcome, my child,” a Voice said from above the Cross. “Take My yoke. Go now, and heed My calling.” On the other side of the Hill new light shone through the Valley. The Dove led the way again. This road was called ‘His Way’.
His Way seemed more difficult to travel, but His-Yoke and the Dove helped along the way. Here Boy met Regret and Turn-Back. The two travellers followed Boy until he got to the House of Interpretation.
As Boy entered the house his two companions waited outside, knocking on the windows, calling out, “Let us in! Let us in!”
The Interpreter showed Boy many wonders, gleaned from teachings of the Book. Boy left behind his family long ago, and remained in this House to learn. One day he would join his family along His Way, or they him. There are times when every man, woman and child has to travel the road alone. The Dove will always remain to urge them forward, the Cross calling them hither and His Voice calling them thither.
This was originally for a class assignment for an English literature elective course in fall of 2016.