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Summary: Depression is something we can all struggle with during the Holidays. This series directly addresses the causes, and counters with the Promises that God gives us to endure and overcome.

God’s Promises for the Holiday Season:

You are Loved…

Psychiatry students were in their college class one day when their professor began a discussion to prove a point. “What we’re going to talk about today,” the professor said, “are the emotional extremes that many mentally disturbed people go through… for example

“What’s the opposite of joy?” he asked one student.

“Sadness” the student answered.

“The opposite of depression?” he asked a young lady.

“Elation,” she replied.

Turning to a young man from Texas he asked “the opposite of woe?”

“Well, now,” the Texan replied “I suppose the opposite of woe, would be giddy up.”

Contributed by Jeff Strite

All kidding aside, the state of depression is a very real and common affliction among people of all ages, race and culture.

In January of 2005, Bob Murray, PhD and Alicia Fortinberry, MS complied some staggering statistics on Depression:

- Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

- Everyone, will at some time in their life be affected by depression — their own or someone else’s, according to Australian Government statistics.

- 30% of women are depressed. Men’s figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.

- The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23%

- 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.

- 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.

- 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.

(upliftprogram.com/depression_stats.html)

I know what you’re thinking, “Thanks for the buzz kill.” But as sad and sobering as these statistics may be, there is hope this morning.

Many years ago a young Midwestern lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his life’s calling and the prudence of even attempting to follow it through. During this time he wrote, “I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not.” But somehow, from somewhere, Abraham Lincoln received the encouragement he needed, and the achievements of his life thoroughly vindicated his bout with discouragement.

We’ve spoken at length in the past few months about how we are to face our giants and adversity in the seasons of life, and about a month ago I felt inspired by God to highlight the “Promises of Hope” in my life.

And as I was doing this, I felt like God was revealing some very timely “reminders”. As we enter into the Christmas Season, a time that was meant for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, many of us enter into a state of extreme discouragement.

A survey a few years ago asked people if they were looking forward to Christmas. While most answered “Yes,” far too many said “No.” When asked why, they gave a variety of answers, “Christmas reminds us of things that ought to be, but are not. Christmas is a time of love, but we feel very unloved.”

“Christmas is a time of giving, but we don’t want to give, or can’t afford to give. Christmas is a family time, but there is anger & hostility within our family circles.” You see, Christmas is a time of peace & good will, but too many are at war with themselves & with others.

But the simple truth is that God has given us many promises, and over the course of the coming weeks we’re going to focus in on how God wants to “inspire” during these seasons.

-Prayer

Today, we remember the Promise: “You are Loved.” If it sounds too simple, it’s because it really is that simple. We live in a society that is constantly seeking love, yet looks in all the wrong places.

Why Does God love us so much?

In God’s Eyes We Are…

1. Forgiven

Antithesis: Guilt/Shame

“There’s no way God can forgive me!”

A. Forgiveness is Needed

We will all fall short of God’s Glory in life. But God loves us enough to forgive us of these shortcomings.

Acts 13:38-39 (NIV)

38″Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

One of the first steps to overcoming any type of addiction is admitting there is a problem. God wants to take this guilt and shame, but we must be first willing to let it go and give it to God.

When we do this, we are taking the problem solving out of our hands, and putting our faith in God to be the one to begin the healing.

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