7 Ways Your Car Can Remind You of the Essentials of Emotional Health.

When I see clients, assessments for anger, depression, anxiety, the unexpected, self-care, and the past proceed continually. Sometimes it is helpful to have a constant visual to remind us of the essentials of our mental and emotional health. If you are like me, you drive every day. We often spend hours in our cars and other vehicles every week.  For what it is worth, here is a brief overview of how your car dash can remind you of the essentials of emotional health?

  1. Speedometer – How fast am I going in life? Should I slow down a bit or do I need to pick it up in an area?
  2. Heat gauge – How are my anger levels? I need capacity for anger for courage, but is it getting a little too hot in here? If so, how can I be cool on the inside – to be emotionally regulated?
  3. RPM’s – How is my anxiety level? Anxiety can be good, I need capacity for anxiety for essential tasks and deadlines. Is my “engine” revving into the red more days than not? If so, that may be a danger zone.
  4. Gas gauge – How is my self-care? Am I running on empty? Should I ‘pull over’ and fill back up? If so, how do I fill up? What is meaningful to me? How can I reconnect to beauty? If I am neglecting my spiritual life, what can I do to replenish it?
  5. Check engine light/warning lights – Life happens! What unexpected things should I address? Do I need to seek professional help to make sense of, or find meaning in, the unexpected?
  6. Rearview mirrors – Though I keep my eyes on the road 99% of the time, I need to remain aware of what is behind me. Is there anything from my past I need to turn my attention to so it does not sneak up on me?
  7. Odometer – My mileage. Remember Raiders of the Lost Ark? Marion says to Indiana Jones, “You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.” Indy replies “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.” Absolutely true! How’s my ‘wear and tear?’ Am I taking care of my body by eating healthy, with proper exercise, taking my medication as prescribed, and getting adequate sleep?

This is just a brief, fun and easy way to remind ourselves of some essentials of emotional and mental health. What would you add? Leave a comment below and let’s learn from each other. Thanks for reading!

Mercy For A Madman

Mark 5:1-20 HCSB

Mark 5:1-5 is a graphic depiction of the darkness at its worst in a human. Our context: Mark was a master at constructing context in his Gospel. In chapter 4 Jesus deals with the point of parables (speaking in mystery, hyperbole and stories to expound on God’s Kingdom – these truths are for those with “ears to hear” and explained to those closest to Jesus.) Three times in 4:35-41 we read of those around Jesus as fearful/terrified. Jesus calmed the storm and their fear was transferred from the storm to the awe of Christ’s power.

In the beginning of chapter 5 Jesus calms a more significant storm…

I – A Description of Darkness – This story highlights the “bullet-points” of evil and darkness.

Darkness (sin, rebellion, disobedience) is… Self-destructive (vs 5) Abusive (vs 3) Lonely (vs 5) Filled with a hollow cries (vs 5) Frightening to others (vs 4) Had a history of danger (vs 4) Even fearful of God! (vs 7)

II – Jesus and the Darkness meet face to face

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do You have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You before God, don’t torment me!” 5:6-7 This meeting is evidence of the Lord’s mercy (which is credited with this deliverance in vs 19) Jesus and the demon possessed man were face to face – right where possessed man needed to be – he was now exposed to the light after so long in utter darkness When someone is in darkness they need the light – though this will be often uncomfortable (“don’t torment me”) – this now happens by presenting the gospel to them w/ truth, wisdom and love.

It is interesting the tormented one (or rather he as under the control of demons) was afraid of torment from Christ – harkens back to Genesis 3:9-10 “So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

When Jesus comes to us, even in correction, it is for our good

Jesus asked his name, which was Legion, meaning there were many, many demons in this man. The point isn’t the number of demons – and it is certainly not teaching we should have conversations with them (this was narrative – not a teaching passage). The point was this man was in utter darkness and thus had relinquished control of his life to satanic forces. He was absolutely lost and in need of deliverance.

III – One Miracle – Two Messages

The demons begged Jesus to cast them into the pigs – the demons had some fear of being thrown into the abyss (perhaps the abyss or pit in Revelation 9:1) Jesus cast the demons out of the man and they entered about 2000 pigs who immediately ran over a cliff and drown. – The majority of the people ran Jesus out of town because of an economic hit Notice also of the fear which grips witness to the calming of the sea and the man in his right mind (Mark 4:41 and Mark 5:15) – The delivered man evangelized (told every one of the Lord’s mercy)

Mercy for a Madman

This isn’t a “how to” on exorcisms – Mark isn’t giving us step-by-step instructions on how to cast demons out of people – or how to speak to demons. The context surrounding this passage deals with Jesus power over seemingly uncontrollable situations from storms (4:35-31) to death (5:35-43), hemorrhaging (5:34).

Mercy is God’s restraint – this man did not deserve love, he deserved judgement.  Mercy was the motivation for Jesus.  Rest assured, His motivation concerning you is mercy – He is not desiring that you should perish but for you to experience the gift of repentance and mercy (John 10:28, 2 Peter 3:9)

Like this man – we, or our loved ones, may be out of control, hurting ourselves or others.  Controlled by compulsions which are only after our destruction (the 1st thing the pigs did was kill themselves – this is evidence of evil’s ultimate goal when there is no restriction.)

No matter how you got in your mess, or how dark it is, Jesus desires to set you free.  Call out to Jesus right where you are, right now, as well as get help from a trusted Christian resource.  Today can be your last day of madness.  When your mess and Jesus meet – the darkness and madness are driven from you, and you are left at peace and promised His loving presence at all times. 

Listen to Mercy for a Madman, download the presentation in PDF, Keynote, and PPT as well as the Presenter notes here: http://j.mp/MercyForAMadman

Here are the Presenter Notes in Google Doc form (which may be updated over time): http://j.mp/MercyForAMadmanDoc

Concerning 3 John 2

Perhaps one of the most common examples poor exegesis is the use of 3 John 2, usually quoted in the King James: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth”. This is a favorite among extreme prosperity preachers. By misunderstanding this verse, one could say “…if my soul is prospering, then I should prosper by default in my money and body.”

I do not believe this was John’s point. This was a common ancient greeting. Basically, I believe John is saying “May all go well with you, inside and out”. In fact, this verse is bookended with statements concerning “the truth”. In vs 1, he says “I love you in the truth”. In the following vs, John mentioned “faithfulness to the truth” and “walking in the truth” and the same statement in vs 4 again. Perhaps, this was on John’s mind, much more than money. Though to be clear, I do believe God prospers us financially, taking care of all our need (Phil 4:19).

The danger in the above example would be thinking that if I’m doing well spiritually, I will do well financially, that I will be rich with no exceptions. This is not supported in the larger context of the Bible at all. It is certainly not supported in 3 John. This could cause damage to a Christian, especially a new one. If they go through a hard time, which is normal in the Christian experience, he/she may become disillusioned and perhaps be tempted to give up. We would not want that.