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21 Days to Beat Depression – Day 21 (FINAL DAY!)

Free Scripture booklet cover web“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12: 1 & 2

Jesus went through trials and difficult circumstances while He was living on earth as a man.  The cross was more than a trial and greater than an inconvenience.

The cross was pain!  It was suffering!  It was the greatest agony known to all of mankind.

How could Jesus endure the cross and the torment of the physical pain that was thrust upon Him?

He endured the cross, even though He despised the pain, because of the joy that was set in front of Him.  What was the joy that Jesus saw when He was on the cross?

What was the extraordinary joy that He kept His focus upon when the pain was nearly too much too bear?

The joy that gave Jesus the strength to carry on was you … and it was me.  We are His joy and He is our joy!

day 21Jesus knew that He had to die so that we could live … that was pure joy to Him!  Jesus knew that He had to be nailed on the cross so that we could be set free from pain, addictions and depression … that was indescribable joy to Him!

Jesus knew that His Body had to bear the pain of a horrific death so that we could be healed … and He counted that as pure joy!

Did Jesus like what He had to go through?  No … the Bible tells us that He despised it … but He did it because He named you “Joy”.

The only reason that we can experience joy during our tenure on earth is simply because we have Him!

MAKING IT PRACTICAL –

1 – Today, would you write me an e-mail?  Write to me at carol@justjoyministries.com.  Let us know how “21 Days to Beat Depression!” has helped you.  Also, let us know how we can pray for you!

2 – Read through your “Thanksgiving in January and February!” journal.  Remind yourself about all of the things for which you are thankful.  Make one final entry today!  Today, list 10 things for which you are grateful.  #beatdepression!  Mine are

1 – All of you who have gone the distance in “21 Days to Beat Depression!”

2 – The opportunity to serve the Lord at this time in history.

3 – The Bible!

4 – Pandora and Spotify where I listen to great worship music!

5 – Unsweet iced tea with lemon

6 – A great team of women who work with Just Joy! Ministries.

7 – Blizzards, hot tea in beautiful mugs and books to read.

8 – The Holy Spirit!

9 – The view out my kitchen window.

10 – That joy has the power to demolish depression in Jesus’ Name!

DECLARATION –

I declare that the power of depression has been broken in my life!  From this day forward I will walk in the joy of His presence and in the power of the Holy Spirit!  I will live an abundant life this side of heaven!

PRAYER FOR TODAY –

“Dear Jesus, I thank You for the Bible.  I thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.  I thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to empower me to live a life of joy and purpose.  You are God and I will praise You all of my days!  I thank You for Your presence where there is always fullness of joy!  Amen.”

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21 Days to Beat Depression – Day 20

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“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.  Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” – Psalm 51:11 & 12

 

One of the delights of my life is to “chew” on Scripture.  Today, we are going to do just that with Psalm 51:11 & 12!  Let’s read it again …

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.  Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” – Psalm 51:11 & 12

        Do you see what this verse says?! When you have joy in your life, it will increase your testimony!

When joy is restored to your life, you will have the power to make a difference during the days of your walk upon earth.

Sinners will listen to you because you have joy.

Transgressors will be interested in what you have to say when you exhibit the joy that only salvation brings.

Isn’t that what we all want?  We all want to make a difference during the span of our life.  We want our life to count more than just for a dash on our tombstones.  We want to leave a legacy found in the lives of people who have been changed because they crossed our pathway in life.  Joy will enable you to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Joy will strengthen your witness and you will have the capacity of changing someone else’s life.  If you thought that joy was invented just to make you feel better you need to change your thinking!

God needs a generation of joy-filled people who are willing to make a profound impact on the world in which we live.  I’m in … how about you?!

MAKING IT PRACTICAL –

1 – Today, practice joy!  At work … exhibit joy!  At the grocery store and post office … demonstrate joy!  At home … be a joy not a killjoy.  As you begin to express this Fruit of the Holy Spirit, that you may not feel in your soul, you will make a difference in the lives of others around you.

2 – Thanksgiving and joy are so dependent upon one another that I just have to challenge you one more time to express what you are thankful for today.  Me?!  I am thankful for daughters-in-law, walks through rustling leaves in the fall and Panera! #beatdepression!

DECLARATION –

I declare today that I will express joy regardless of how I feel.  I will change the world as I establish my life upon the Fruit of the Spirit known as joy! 

PRAYER FOR TODAY –

“Lord Jesus, You are my God and my King.  Thank You for restoring to me the joy of my salvation!  Thank You for giving me a willing spirit that will enable me to express joy to the world around me.  Lord, I thank You that as I demonstrate joy I will be making a difference!  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen.”

21 Days to Beat Depression – Day 19

Free Scripture booklet cover web“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” – Psalm 32:11

Never underestimate the importance of righteous living in your determination to be a joy filled Christian.  If you think that you can live a life of compromise and selfishness and still be the beneficiary of heaven’s joy, think again!

The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is filled with God’s opinion on the importance of living a righteous life.  I am not talking about legalism or bondage but I am talking about the decision to make sure that your life is aligned with the principles set forth in the Word of God.  Righteousness is God’s idea of freedom and life at its very finest!

Righteousness is simply living your life in submission to God’s ways.  It might mean ridding your life of compromise or second-rate decisions.  It might mean changing the way you talk or how you spend your time.

Perhaps today would be a great time to take stock of your life and to ask God to reveal anything in your life that needsday 19 to change.  If the thought comes to your mind that you have been impatient with your spouse lately, don’t minimize that thought.  It is probably from God and He is revealing an area of your life that needs to change.

Perhaps, after asking God to reveal areas in your life that need to change, you might wonder if you have been spending too much money lately.  Or you might wonder if you have been wasting too much time on the computer.  Don’t throw those thoughts away.  It might just be God helping you to clean up your life so that you are able to life a life of joy today!

Sin is a thief that targets the valuables  which will determine your potential to live an abundant, joy-filled life.  If Satan can keep you in a place of sin or compromise, you will find it much harder to live a life of heaven’s joy.

This is hard stuff, isn’t it?  We want the joy without having to give up gossiping, fantasy and selfishness.  I can tell you from personal experience that you can’t have sin and joy at the same time.

God doesn’t want you miserable … He wants you filled with the joy of His presence!  You can do it and I can, too!  We can all determine to demolish the momentary pleasures of sin in order to be blessed with the joy of His dear presence!

MAKING IT PRACTICAL –

1 – In what ways have you been compromising your life with sin?  Why don’t you write those things down, repent for each one and then throw that piece of paper in the trash!  Today is a new day and God loves to help us overcome!

2 – If you don’t understand what joy is all about … that’s o.k.  This is what I can tell you:  joy and thanksgiving are not so very far apart!  Thankful people just happen to be the most joyful people on planet earth!  So … today I am thankful for Christmas music, pumpkin pie and the beach.  What 3 things are you thankful for?  Write it in your journal and share it with me on Twitter or on Facebook.  #beatdepression!

DECLARATION –

I declare today that I will no longer be in bondage to sin and its chains.  I will live a life of righteousness and joy!  I will put the past behind me and choose to live my life in alignment with the Word of God!

PRAYER FOR TODAY –

“Dear Jesus, I know that I have often sinned and therefore disappointed you.  Will you forgive me?  Will you forgive me for my selfishness and my compromise?  Jesus, I confess that I need You in order to overcome the sins of my flesh.  Thank You for giving to me Your Power and Your strength.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

21 Days to Beat Depression – Day 18


Enjoy the new single by Chris McLeod – “Remind Me”

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“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, ‘rejoice’! – Philippians 4:4

Philippians is one of the shortest Epistles in the New Testament and was written by Paul by the murky light of a window in a Roman prison cell.  Certainly a man in the cesspool of life is entitled to write a letter of complaint to the management!  Surely a man who has been beaten and bruised for choosing to preach the Gospel gets to vent his emotions or tell his side of the story at least one time!  None of us would blame the great apostle Paul if he chose to be “real” and share his disappointment with God … with life … and with the hand that he had been dealt.

Instead, in this short letter written to an obscure church that existed nearly 2 millennia ago, Paul uses the words “joy” or “rejoicing” no less than 14 times!

One thing that we can surely learn from the life of Paul, is that our circumstances do not need to be perfect in order for our lives to be a walking, talking demonstration of the joy of heaven!

“Rejoice in the Lord always!  Again I will say rejoice!”  This is strange advice written by a man in the bowels of a Roman prison cell.

This is the advice of Paul that is strongly declared from a first century Roman prison cell straight into your 21st. Century heart:  Your inner attitudes do not have to reflect your outward circumstances!

There will always be situations in life that will cause you to be unhappy or unproductive or even weak emotionally.  But there should never be any event in your life that causes you to stop rejoicing!  There should never be any episode or happening that steals your joy.

This is only possible when you are rejoicing “in the Lord”.  It is not possible in our humanity but it is indeed possible in the Lord!

Your joy is a result of a vertical point of view as you are looking straight up into the face of God Himself!  If you have a horizontal perspective on your life, as far as the eye can see you will only gaze at a dry and barren wasteland of existence.  But if you can choose to look up into the face of the Father, you will be captivated by His love … His peace … and His goodness!

MAKING IT PRACTICAL – 

1 – Sometimes it is the simple joys in life that are the best!  I want to challenge you today to participate in a simple joy.  Go for a walk either by yourself or with a friend.  Make yourself a favorite snack.  Cuddle up with a good book and your favorite CD. Call an old friend and have a long chat.  Watch a favorite TV show.  Buy yourself fresh flowers at the grocery store.  Take a deep breath … and revel in a simple yet valuable joy in life!

2 – You always have time to be grateful!  Get out that “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal and make at least 3 entries in this beloved book.  I am thankful today for fresh raspberries, Skype and bubble baths. #beatdepression!

DECLARATION –

I declare today that I will rejoice regardless of my circumstances.  I declare that my outward circumstances do not have the power to determine my inner attitudes. 

PRAYER FOR TODAY –

“Dear Jesus, I love You so much.  Today I thank You for sunsets, for the promise of spring and for freedom.  I thank You for strength to carry on and a song in my heart.  Thank You for being so very good to me!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

21 Days to Beat Depression – Day 17

Free Scripture booklet cover web“But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.” – Psalm 5:11

The Bible says, “A joyful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Do you believe it?  Do you believe what the Bible says?  If you do … then you will agree with me and with the Bible,  that when you express joy from your heart that it will begin to heal you!

This word “joyful” from Proverbs 17:22 is an active word!  It means to express joy or to rejoice!  When we express joy it acts like a powerful healing agent to our souls.

That’s what the Bible says!!  And I believe that the Bible is the final authority on everything, don’t you?!

It is more important for you to express joy every day than it is for you to take your vitamins, your blood pressure medicine or eat an apple.  Just like a powerful antibioticAT - hormones

heals infections, joy is a powerful healing agent when applied daily to our souls. (Disclaimer:  Please keep taking your vitamins, blood pressure medicine and keep eating those apples!)

The word “heart” in this verse is the Hebrew word “leb” and it encompasses these parts of your life: your heart, soul, mind, thinking, reflection, memory, will, conscience, resolution, appetite, emotions and passions.

AT - birth and diapersYou must think joyful thoughts!  No more stinkin’ thinkin’ from you!  Change the way you think from depressing, dark, gloomy thoughts to thoughts of sparkling joy!  You can do it!  You choose what you will think about every day.  Today … just for one day … think about joy!  This one choice will heal you!  No one else tells you what to think about but YOU!  So YOU can do it … think about things that are lovely, pure and joyous!

When your memory kicks in, don’t remember all of the times when people were unkind, when you didn’t get your way or how rotten your life used to be … remember the good times.  Recall the happy days of your life.  Think about childhood friends and kind teachers.  Remember winning moments and precious times.

We all have bad memories.  We all do!  None of us have lived perfect lives … but the secret to living a joy-filled life today is to leave the pain of the past behind which means not to think about it any more!  Do not rehearse the pain of your childhood, former marriages or evil employers!AT - dreams come true

Resolve to leave the Eeyore part of your persona behind and become the most joyful version of yourself possible.

I am never offended when people call me Mary Poppins or Pollyanna.  Wouldn’t you rather be identified by those sunny characters than as Cruella deVille or Scrooge?!

Resolve to choose joy … to express joy … and to be healed by joy!

It all starts with a single, healthy choice.

  • You can smile at someone.
  • You can think positive thoughts.
  • You can remember happy days.
  • You can sing rather than whine.
  • You can invite a friend to lunch.
  • You can send a sweet e-mail.
  • You can bake cookies and take them to a large family.
  • You can encourage your boss.
  • You can serve your spouse.

You can can thank the Lord that these daily choices of joy are healing your heart!  You can … you can … you can!

MAKING IT PRACTICAL –

1 – What does it mean to you to “choose joy”?  Write it down in your “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal and then take your own advice!

2 – I have thousands of things for which I am grateful!!  How about you?  After you write three more things in your journal today, share it with me on Facebook or on Twitter.  #beatdepression

DECLARE IT! –

I declare that as I express joy it is healing the deepest places in me!  I declare that I will think joy-filled thoughts and speak words of joy today!

PRAYER FOR TODAY –

“Father, I thank You that You are rejoicing over me today and I determine in my heart to live a joy-filled life.  I thank You that as I choose the joy of Your presence that the healing of my emotional pain and heartache has begun!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

21 Days to Beat Depression – Day 16

Please enjoy this song by Ginny Owens as you read today’s blog.  {“If You Want Me To” – Ginny Owens}

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“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” – I Peter 4:12 & 13

There are certain themes in Scripture.  God’s unconditional love for His children is a major theme … forgiveness is a dominant theme … giving and heaven and righteousness and wisdom and peace are all mentioned again and again and again.

One of the themes in Scripture that I love the most is the central idea that calls us … perhaps “demands of us” … would be a more appropriate way to phrase it … to rejoice during the difficult days of life.

How can the Bible even use the words “rejoice” or “joy” in the same sentence with “trials”, “fiery ordeal”, “sufferings” or “tribulation”?!  That’s outrageous!

It might be outrageous … but it is also possible.  It is possible to keep our hearts intent on following the loving, forgiving, compassionate, wise God of the Bible during days of harsh trials and unending fires.

Do you want to know what I really believe?

I believe that we have idolized our feelings to the extent that they have more control over us than does the Word of God when we are going through a trial.  I believe that our human conviction that we must rant, rave, complain, whine and carry on during days of pain are a sad and weak deception.

God never promised that life would be easy but He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us.  I can worship a God like that!

Jesus never declared that trouble-free living was a part of His assurance of abundant life on planet earth.  He did assure us, however, that He would send the Holy Spirit to comfort us when our lives were uncomfortable.  I can rejoice knowing that the Holy Spirit is the best Comforter in the history of the universe!

Today, my heartfelt prayer for those of you who are dealing with depression too dark and deep to verbalize, is that you would open your mouth and sing.

My longing for your life is that you would lift your hands toward heaven, at your moment of most excruciating pain, and declare your trust in God.

The only advice that I can give you today is to worship regardless of how you feel.  Do not allow your feelings to have the last word.

Joy and rejoicing should have the first … the central … and the last words of our lives every day that we spend this side of heaven.

Count it all joy whenever you encounter various trials … knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4

MAKING IT PRACTICAL –

1 – What is your favorite worship song or great hymn of the faith?  Write out the words to that song and mediate on them today.

2 – I am thankful for so much that my heart is overflowing … how about you?  Let’s share three things for which we are grateful today in our journals and through Twitter and Facebook.  #beatdepression

DECLARE IT! –

I declare that I will worship the Lord today!  I will set my emotions aside and allow a song of praise to well up in my soul!  I will not idolize my emotions any longer but will keep Jesus on the throne of my heart!

PRAYER FOR TODAY –

“Dear Jesus, thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me.  Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to be my comforter in days of darkness and pain.  I worship You today in spirit and in truth.  I declare that nothing is too difficult for you and I worship You for Who You are!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

21 Days to Beat Depression – Day 15

Free Scripture booklet cover web“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” – I Peter 1:6-8

Did you know that you already have been given everything that you could possibly need to live a life of contagious joy?  God the Father, through Jesus the Son, has already provided everything that is necessary to live a life of godliness!  And, because joy is a quality of God’s own character, that includes a life of full-blown, dynamic joy!

Let me share with you an extra verse or two today!   Now … don’t skip reading these verses because they are so important in your battle against depression!

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them YOU may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” – II Peter 1: 2 –  4

This is a WOW! scripture, indeed!  Let me explain it to you …

When you have Jesus Christ, you already have everything you need to deal with PMS, depression, the tendency to criticize, impatience and past failures.  God, Who is more generous than any historical figure of any time period, has already given to us entirely everything that we need to live a life of fullness and joy.

It is a precious promise that we get to be partakers of the divine nature.  We are not an earthly counterfeit but we get to look, act, talk, walk and emote just like Jesus did when He was on earth.  God’s very own divine nature can replace our weaknesses in every area of life if we just allow Him to do so.  When we walk and live in the Spirit, we are actually walking in the opposite direction of our natural tendencies and our own genetic pre-disposition.

If you will apply these verses to your life, you will be the very best version of yourself possible.  Will it take hard work?  Yes!  It takes whole-hearted diligence but God, Himself, will strengthen you and cheer you on as you become more like Him every day of your life!

MAKING IT PRACTICAL –

1 – Think about a character trait that you admire in someone else.  Write them a note or an e-mail and let them know what their nature has meant to you.  Now … determine to embrace that same character trait in your own life.  Ask God to give it to you!

2 – You knew I wasn’t going to let you off the hook for one day!  It’s time to be grateful.  Take out your “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal and write down at least 3 things, people, events or blessings for which you are extremely grateful.  Share it with all of us on Facebook or on Twitter! #beatdepression!

DECLARE IT! –

I declare that I am a partaker of God’s divine nature!  I declare that He has given me everything that I will ever need pertaining to life and godliness!  I declare that I will, indeed, rejoice every day regardless of my circumstances!

PRAYER FOR TODAY –

“Lord Jesus, I love You so very much.  I am honored that You would share with me Your divine nature.  I thank You that You have already given to me everything that I need in order to live an overcoming, joy-filled life.  Make me more like You every day … in every way.  In the sweet Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.”