The Only Way to My Father is Through the Cross

 

Can you imagine having access to God 24/7? You can talk to Him, pray to Him, sing to Him, cry to Him anytime you want? This is exactly what Jesus made happen when He died on the Cross.

In the Old Testament, God directed Moses and the Jews to build Him a temple. It was quite an exquisite and intricate piece of architecture. You can read about it in the book of Exodus.

There was a room called the Most Holy Place. It was separated from the rest of the temple by a curtain. This curtain is described in the book of Exodus as “a special curtain of finely woven linen . . . with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.” This was no ordinary curtain. It was used to separate God from people because of sin. (Exodus 26:31)

No one but the High Priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place, and that was only after he had performed a series of rituals, which included offering animal sacrifices, cleansing his body, and wearing a specific set of clothes.

The High Priest entered the Most Holy Place in order to make the people holy and sinless in the sight of God. This is how people were cleansed from sin before Jesus arrived.

Jesus changed everything when He gave himself to die on the cross.

In Matthew 27, it’s recorded that when Jesus released his spirit . . . the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” This is the same curtain that was used to separate God from His people, because His people were sinful and unrighteous, and could not be in the direct presence of God. (Matthew 27:40)

Do you realize what happened here? Jesus death not only saved us from eternal condemnation, but it gave us a direct path to God the Father. We no longer have to perform rituals of cleansing and animal sacrifices in order to be in the presence of God.

This truth speaks to my heart every time I think about it. Jesus has done so much more for us than simply save us from sin. His death has allowed us to have a relationship with God the Father.

Have you ever looked at Jesus death as more than just a means of forgiveness from sin? What does it mean for you to have a direct path to God?

(Content from this blog article was taken from my group Facebook study and 30 Day devotional, 30 Days to More of Jesus.)

 

Join us over in our Facebook group, Choosing JOY, where you’ll find support and encouragement as you journey through depression and anxiety.

 

 

 

Why You Are a New Creation (even if you don’t believe it)

Have you ever asked yourself, “Who Am I”?

Years ago, when I was at my darkest moments with my battle against depression, I was asking that question all the time.

I felt like I had lost myself. I didn’t recognize who I was. During that time of my life I was angry, full of self-condemnation, snapping at my family, and sometimes being downright mean to my kids. I don’t say this lightly when I say I hated myself.

Then God . . .

Through counseling and God’s grace I learned that I am a new creation. I am NOT a toy the enemy of my soul can play with. I have control over my thoughts, which means I have control over WHAT I allow into my head and WHO I allow into my life.

The truth was (and still is) that I’m a new creation the moment I surrendered my life to Jesus.

You see, because I allowed negative thoughts and false beliefs to flood my mind, I was full of anger, guilt, and self-doubt. I believed that God could not reach me where I was, and this was even AFTER I had decided to give my life to Jesus.

The enemy wanted nothing more than for me to remain stuck in this mindset. And you’re fooling yourselves if you don’t believe he wants the same thing for you too.

If we believe that Jesus cannot or does not completely change us once we become His, then we are still living under the law, not grace. The enemy of our souls would love nothing less than for us to believe that Jesus is not powerful enough to miraculously change our lives.

Does this mean that all of our bad habits and attitudes are instantly gone? No, not at all. What it does mean is that God has made our souls new. He has provided us with everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, we need to grow in Him and become more like Him every day.

We need to remember, because of what Jesus did on the cross over 2000 years ago, we are NEW CREATIONS!

Your homework for this week:

Read 2 Corinthians 5: 17-18. How has God given you the gift of a being a new creation?

(Content from this blog article was taken from my group Facebook study and 30 Day devotional, 30 Days to More of Jesus.)

 

 

Join us over in our Facebook group, Choosing JOY, where you’ll find support and encouragement as you journey through depression and anxiety.

 

 

 

3 Virtues to Look For in a Friend When You Have Depression

3 Virtues to Look For in a Friend When You Have Depression

When you’re struggling with depression or anything else that may hinder your mental well-being, you want to have a friend beside you that will be a support and encouragement for you. Below I’ve listed three virtues I highly recommend you look for in a friend to walk alongside you during your darkest times.

Honest but Loving

When you are struggling with depression or anxiety, often you are not thinking rationally. Runaway emotions and panic can set you off and cause your mind to imagine the worst possible situation.

You need someone who will be honest with you about what you’re feeling or thinking. Someone who will come alongside you and tell you you’re being irrational, or that you need to take a break. But you also want this person to do it in a loving manner.

Often I tell my kids, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it that matters.” Isn’t that the truth? Two people can say the exact same words, but with different inflection or a high or low tone, it can come across as kind or as terribly mean.

Look for someone in your life who has spoken honestly to you, but in a loving, compassionate manner. This means they express truth to you in love.

Encouraging but Truthful

You want someone who will encourage you but not tell you something that isn’t true. A person who will flatter you in order to make you feel better is no better than someone who outright lies to you. They are placing your feelings over the truth, and that is never a good thing.

You need to be encouraged during times like these. You need to hear positive affirmations, but not at the expense of the truth. Look for someone who will encourage and support you on your journey but will not tell you a lie in order to make you feel better.

A true friend wants to see you grow and flourish while being truthful in their encouragement and support of you.

Confidential but Respectful

This is extremely important. How can you open up to someone if you are afraid they are going to share your life with other people? Sharing your depression and anxiety with someone can leave you feeling extremely vulnerable. You need to be able to trust this person with your life, maybe even some secrets you’ve been hanging onto. You can never fully confide in or share with someone if you do not completely trust them.

On the other hand, this person also needs to respect you enough to tell you if it’s time for you to go see a counselor or a therapist. They need to have your permission to share with your spouse or another significant person in your life if they feel you are going down a harmful path. You will only share with someone else if you know they respect your feelings and you know they will keep them in full confidence.

In my newest course, 5 Keys to Winning the Daily Battle with Depression & Anxiety, I tackle this issue along with 4 others that will help you live a victorious life no matter your circumstances. I would love to have you join me. Click here to learn what’s included in this course (HINT: A 30-minute strategy phone call with me for FREE is just one of the bonuses included.)

Have you found a friend with the virtues I described above? Who helps you with your journey towards peace and strong mental health?

 

 

 

 

Discover Your Breaking Point (Before IT Breaks You!)

There are many strategies you can use to prevent an anxiety episode or minimize the effects of a depressive episode.

One of those strategies I teach my clients is to discover your breaking point, and then stay far away from it!

What is a “breaking point”?

For me, my breaking point was when I was overwhelmed, freaking out, and feeling completely out of control of my life. This would send me into a spiraling cycle of anger and guilt. When this happens (and still does at times) I am miserable, exhausted, and so is the rest of my family.

A very practical way to discover your breaking point is to perform your very own self-test.

Keep a daily log of your activities and attitudes. Do this for one full week. At the end of your testing period, take note of your poor moods and attitudes. Then ask yourself questions like these:

Does my bad attitude follow a particularly hard day?

What activities were I involved in that may have had an effect on my attitude?

Was it a bad day at home with the kids?

How was work for myself that day?

The following week, remove one of those activities that appeared to influence your mood.

Are you volunteering somewhere and you need to take a break or cut your time in half?

Can you have your spouse or another parent drive your child to his/her after school activities?

Do you need to say “No” to certain events that you have attended in the past?

If you simply cannot remove any of these activities from your life then you need to ask for help.

Do you need help with the kids after school?

Do you need help with cooking meals or with cleaning the house?

Ask your spouse to take on more of the child-rearing responsibilities or house-cleaning responsibilities. Trust me, my husband would much rather be in charge of putting all the kids to bed each and every night, or take over laundry duty, then to see me making myself miserable, and the rest of the family along with it.

Take note if this helped or hindered your attitude. You can repeat this process to pinpoint any certain activities that bring you close to your breaking point.

 

 

Join me January 1, for “5 Keys to Winning the Daily Battle with Depression & Anxiety”. In this self-paced course you will learn how to change your mindset, separate self-deception from truth, and discover your own breaking point.