Tag Archives: Depression

Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How You Feel #4, Javie Solis’ Story

I want to share something that’s very, very close and dear to me, that’s the sensitive topic of suicide.

I am learning that more people than I ever imagined have been confronted with suicidal thoughts. It is extremely important to me because I am one of those people that has had a relationship with suicide.

As a pastor and church leader, and as a Christian I have my ups and downs like many normal people do. Just this morning was a downer to me. I started the morning arguing with my wife. I felt like my kids were driving me crazy. I felt completely overwhelmed. I just woke up like that. Whether it’s lack of sleep or things on my mind, those things do get to us.

Depression is very patient.

It will sleep in your life thirty years from when you were born. It may sneak up on you ten years from now. Depression is tied with the spirit of fear. Maybe that is why Paul told his son in the faith Timothy, “God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind” (1 Timothy 1:7).

The devil will wait for that perfect time to give you a Spirit of fear.

When I was twenty-one I felt overwhelmed with school, with my family, with my finances, with my life choices. I felt overwhelmed and in that moment satan went right into my ear and said, “Hey, there is a way out, give your soul to me.” At that time I listened to his voice.

Then in my time of desperation, when I did contemplate and when I did act that way, when I was going through my death moment, I heard one thing and one thing that was very clear. It wasn’t audible yet it was almost a physical sound. It was almost a jolt into my spirit and right into my heart. It was the very thing my best friend Ken told me two weeks before I tried to commit suicide and that was, “Jesus loves you.”

My best friend and I were altar boys at the same Catholic Church.

My parents were very religious, but yet I still went down this path.  It was there that the Lord became real to me. The Holy Spirit manifested into a reality and he spoke into my life and he intervened.  The one thing I remembered was, “Jesus loves you.” That was the reality.

I don’t believe that depression is something we can cure with drugs or medicine. Don’t take me wrong, medication can help especially for clinical depression, therapy can help, accountability partners can help. Yet, many of those who commit suicide have sought help in these areas.

I’m not the only pastor or even the only Christian that has had these thoughts. Some of you guys might be victims of, or had family members who have committed suicide. You might have tried to commit suicide or you know somebody that knows somebody that knows somebody that did or has tried.

Suicide is a Spirit

It’s not an emotion, is not a feeling. It’s a spirit and the spirit goes into our hearts and distorts our views of reality. It distorted my view of my reality of who I was. It tried to rob me of who I really was destined to be. It elevated my anxiety and elevated my thoughts of, “I’m not good enough.” It elevated my weakness, and it made me contemplate those things.

One thing that I’ve learned and I’m still learning is to master the filtering of my thoughts.

Second Corinthians 10:5 says: “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” So here are my thoughts:

1. Treat your Mind like Private Property

Your mind is an open battlefield, and you have to treat it like it’s private property. Let me say it again. Treat the thoughts of depression like they are trespassing on your property.

2. Check Every Thought by the Word of God

“The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple” (Psalms 119:130).   We must ask: “What does the word of God say?” If our thoughts are contrary to the word of God they are wrong. God is always right.

3. Develop a Life of Prayer

What I’m telling you is something that I’m in the process of learning right now. Making it a habit to submit my thoughts to the word of God. To develop a life of prayer that’s almost automated. I might not seem like it, but I always have some kind of prayer going on in my mind. Smith Wigglesworth the great evangelists and preacher said, “I don’t care to spend 15 minutes praying. I pray every 15 minutes”

4. Always Remember that Your Life has Purpose

When it comes to these thoughts of suicide, I’m learning that my life has purpose. You can’t throw away what doesn’t belong to you. If you feel those thoughts of the enemy rampaging in your mind and overwhelming your thoughts, I want to tell you that, “You have purpose!”  “You are loved.” There is an anointing over you. There’s a gifting in your life. Jesus desires to commit himself fully to you and to have you be fully committed to Him.

This is what I taught myself,  “I will not die, but live, and I will proclaim what the Lord has done” (Psalms 118:17). We are meant to live and God offers life fully. God gives life abundantly.

For you who are hurting or been victimized or have these thoughts from the enemy. I want to tell you this, you have life and it goes beyond your years on this earth that you’ve lived and will live. God loves you and there’s a purpose for you.

So be blessed in Jesus’ name,

Click here to hear the entire testimony and message.

Jovier Solis
Evangelist Praise Chapel Rancho Cucamonga

Larry Neville

If you are feeling Overwhelmed, depressed or have any thoughts of hurting yourself, please seek help now.

Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How you Feel #2

The Troubled Heart

This past week Janet and I went to see the movie, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.”  This move begins where the fist Unbroken movie ends, sharing the next amazing chapter of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini’s true story. During WWII his plane was shot down in the Pacific, Louis and Russell Phillips, the pilot, miraculously survived 47 days in a raft only to be captured by the Japanese. The ultimate story is that he was tortured by a Japanese officer they nicknamed: “The Bird”.  The first movie ends with Louie returning to a hero’s welcome home at the end of WWII.  I had already read his life story in the book, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, so I knew that was only half of his troubling story. 

This second movie picked up where the other one left off and shows how he was tormented by nightmares and mental problems after the war. The only help Louis found was in alcohol. The only way he could sleep was when he was drunk. His life was falling apart, and his marriage was almost over when his wife Cynthia was invited to the 1949 Billy Graham meeting in Los Angles. After she had been a few times, she finally convinced Louis to attend with her. The first time Louis went, he ran out of the service at the altar call. She convinced him to attend again and he finally surrendered his life to Jesus. The movie shows him going home that night and pouring all the alcohol he had into the kitchen sink. Later he went to a Japanese military prison and forgave his captors who were facing trial for war crimes.  At the end of the movie they had the real Louis who was in his 90s at the time testify and he said that he never took another drink of alcohol after that night and never had another nightmare. He spent the rest of his life traveling and sharing his testimony about Jesus.

As I was preparing to share a message this past Sunday on, “Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How You Feel.” I had worked all week and had my notes ready when I went to bed Saturday night. After a few hours I could not sleep. That is unusual for me as I normally don’t have any problem sleeping except when I have jet-lag from a long trip. So, when I can’t sleep It is usually the Holy Spirit wanting to talk to me. It’s like I feel the Holy Spirit saying, come-on get up I want some time with you. So about three AM I got up and as soon as I began to pray, I felt the Holy Spirit say these words to me:

 “Tell the people about Jesus. The only true source of peace is Jesus.”

Then the Holy Spirit gently brought this scripture to my mind, first John chapter fourteen and verse one, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.”  I just sat there in the quite of the early morning and I felt like Jesus was there just as he was when he shared these words with his disciples the night he was betrayed.

Please take a moment right now and say this, “Don’t let  your heart be troubled.” My dear friend, that is the Holy Spirit speaking to you right now.

These words impressed me so deeply, “The troubled heart”

Jesus had just told them he was going to be betrayed, suffer, and go away. He’s washed their feet and shared the Passover Last Supper with them. I’m sure they felt, overwhelmed. Then he says those precious words to them, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” Don’t let what I have told you or what is about to happen trouble you. Then he said, “Trust in God, and trust also in me.”

There it is — trust also in me.  

That is what Louis Zamperini experienced at the Billy Graham meeting.  He was Italian Catholic, he believed in God. His wife believed in God. But, they did not know Jesus. If you believe in God without a personal relationship with Jesus,  all you really have is dead religion. The disciples believed in God before they met Jesus but all they had was religion. Jesus tells his own disciples, “you believe in God, believe also in me.”  Even though you may be entering into some very troubling experiences, your heart does not have to be troubled.

Jesus ties the troubled heart to a promise.

”There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you.  And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too” (John 14:2-3 NET).

In this is the promise of eternal life, the coming return of Jesus Christ and a place in heaven prepared for all believers.  Also, in this promise Jesus is sharing with his disciples who, I think are feeling overwhelmed, about the dwelling place of God among us. He is saying that,  by going to the cross and returning back through the resurrection I am preparing a house where there is room for for each of you, people from every nation and ethnicity with room to spare in  my church that will be the body of Christ, the house of God. Every believer will be one of the many dwelling places that make up My Father’s house. A little while later Jesus says,  “If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him” (John 14:23 NET).

 The disciple Thomas is not getting it, so says to Jesus: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Then Jesus make this wonderful declaration, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (v6).

Trouble and suffering come to upset your mind.

John Chapter 16, verse 33,  in this same discussion Jesus is said, “In the world you have trouble and suffering.” But, he prefaced this statement with, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.” Did you catch it? “In me you may have peace.” There it is!  Here’s the promise. We’re talking about a peace that is in Jesus Christ. A peace like the world doesn’t understand, they can’t comprehend and can’t teach. The peace that is in me will be in you. Then the he says,“take courage—I have conquered the world.”

It doesn’t get any better than that. Amen!

You can respond to this blog right here  with your story. If you would like me to join you in prayer you can email me at Larry@praisechapel.com.

You can listen to the entire message  click HERE.
We will continue with: Overwhelmed: How to Deal with How you Feel, next week.

Larry Neville

OVERWHELMED – How to Deal with How You Feel

Recent Headlines where I live and serve:

 4 Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Teens have committed suicide since school started.
Pastor of Mega Church takes his own life. 

The first week school opened this year in the town our church is in, Rancho Cucamonga, four young people committed suicide. Then two weeks later, pastor Andrew Stoeckiein the leader of a very successful church in our area took his own life.  Apparently, he had been suffering from severe depression and anxiety and had taken the summer off to try and deal with it. When he returned home after two weeks he ended his life. Within a week a fifteen-year-old student in another high school near us tried to hang himself and at the time of this writing is in critical condition.

The reason that I refer to these heartbreaking stories is because they are examples of a society that is filled with people who are feeling overwhelmed and do not know how to deal with how they feel. People suffering from mental illness come from all types of families, all backgrounds, economic, ethnic, and religions.

Rick and Kay Warren, pastors of Saddleback church in our area lost their son to suicide. Rick wrote, “It was my role as a father that I heard the call to be an advocate for people living with mental illness. Our youngest son, Matthew, struggled terribly with mental illness almost his entire life. His suffering was immense, and in 2013 and impulsive moment of despair, he took his own life. As a family we were crushed and devastated.”

I think that there are more people in our culture, including pastors and church leaders, along with faithful believers, who are feeling overwhelmed and do not know how to deal with these feelings. This includes depression, anxiety, fear, grief, thoughts of suicide and so much more. The depth of what people are feeling overwhelmed with today seems to be getting deeper and darker. This past year I have sat for hours in the office of a psychiatrist with a pastor who is suffering from the darkest depression I have ever seen. Visit after visit end  in frustration, as we have seen no progress in this brother, the psychiatrist  has said that the there is so much that science does not understand about the mind.

Of course, humans have always had to deal with extreme feelings of being overwhelmed. Human history is filled with times of such misery that we can only imagine how they felt. But, today in our Western culture especially, with all the prosperity, creature comforts, increase of knowledge, technology and so forth, everyone should be living the dream of peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. In reality, many of those who appear to “have it all” from the most famous celebrities and business tycoons to the pastor in our area and these teens in the middle-class communities around us who recently took their own lives are feeling overwhelmed and do not know how to deal with how they feel.

How do you feel?

Perhaps you are not feeling like you think that you should feel. One or more of a million things could have happened in your life that is affecting how you feel right now. You may not even have any idea what the source(s) of how you feel may be. Trying to understand, you can dig into your past or evaluate the events that have happened to you recently.

Sometimes the more that you search the darker and deeper the feelings become.

The pastor in our area who recently took his own life had taken time off for the entire summer to try and deal with how he was feeling. He did not hide his struggle; he and his wife were transparent about his personal struggle with depression and anxiety.  When they returned he preached two Sundays at the church and  then took his own life. I’m not saying any of this to fault him in any way, there is no doubt that he was a gifted teacher, loved God, and was a faithful man of character.  I’m saying that the solutions to what so many are feeling will not be found in a few church services, some counseling secessions.

We are talking about serious business here.

I’m not going to load you down with statists about depression, anxiety or suicides in America. You can do your own Google search and find all of that. I don’t dare to write a blog and think that between these paragraphs you are going to discover the answers. Our modern world is filled with way too many wished-for simple solutions just skimming over the Word of God to find a few positive points to solve our problems.  I want to take a journey with you, prayerfully and delicately into the Word of God. Let’s discover what God says about, how to deal with how you feel. . . we will move further on our journey in my next blog.

Check out the audio story of the Lopez family and how they are walking through depression with one of their children as a family.  Download the audio here.

My preaching team is speaking on this each week in September at Praise Chapel in Rancho Cucamonga. Be watching for my next blog on, OVERWHELMED: How to Deal with How you Feel.

Larry Neville