What I read today

Leviticus 1-2; Psalm 46; Isaiah46; Luke 2; Galatians 1

Yeast is used when your baking bread.  When you add it to bread dough, it causes the bread to rise.  If you add too much, it will cause the bread dough to climb out of the pan and spill onto the bottom of your oven creating a mess that won’t be fun cleaning up.

Jesus talked many times about yeast, or leaven depending on your Bible translation, in our lives.

He specifically talked about avoiding the Leaven of the Pharisees.  The teaching of the Pharisees caused many people to end up in doubt and despair.  If you read Matthew 11 vs. 28-30, you will see precisely what teaching Jesus was fighting against.  That teaching that says we have to measure up to a man-made standard that we just can’t live up to.

In our lives, sin and depression will do the same thing as Leaven does to bread.  A small amount of it will begin to rise through us and all of a sudden sin is overflowing out onto the floor of our lives.

Maybe it’s our attitude toward someone, or it could be a hidden pleasure on the internet, or perhaps it’s drugs or alcohol.  Maybe, we’ve screwed up our marriages.  Possibly our professional lives or our financial lives are out of control.

Slowly over time, we fall into a dark place.  Sometimes we fall so far into the hole that we can’t see the light anymore.  We find ourselves in a place where we can go so low that we start thinking about ending it all.

Last week a famous chef named Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.  Here’s a man who had a considerable following, money and a hit TV show.  But according to friends he was in a very dark place.  All the fame, money and adulation in the world couldn’t overcome the darkness that had entered into his heart.

The week before designer Kate Spade committed suicide.  She was suffering from depression and anxiety and going through a divorce and ended her life.

Some years ago my uncle took his own life.  He left his mother and brothers and sisters broken, and to this day no one really knows why.

Recently earlier this year a gentleman I served with in the US Air Force committed suicide.

Suicide is currently the 10th leading killer in the United States.

It doesn’t take much leaven in our thoughts and actions to send us spiraling into depression and darkness.  Satan is right there waiting for an opportunity to tell us we’ve failed.  Satan has no qualms about telling us that we’re worthless and that the world would be better off without us.  In fact, he’s hoping we’ll do just that.  He’s hoping that we’ll end our time of grace on this earth and send our friends and families into despair so that he can cause even more chaos.  That’s the type of turmoil Satan loves to sew.

But Jesus says to each one of us that we are precious in his sight.  In fact, we are so valuable in God’s eyes that Jesus himself walked out of Heaven, subjected himself to being a human and walked up a hill and willingly went to a cross for each and every one of us.

When those dark thoughts come to you, remember what Jesus did.  Remember that the creator of the universe genuinely cares for you.

And then get help!  There’s no shame in asking for help!

If you suspect that someone you know is depressed or in a dark place, please pray for them.

However, the minute you get off your knees, do not hesitate a second longer.  Talk to them, and do whatever you can to get them help.  I’ve known too many people in my life who committed suicide.  Every time it’s happened I find myself thinking what could I have done.  Don’t wait.

Prayer is a vital part of our lives, but sometimes God wants action as well.

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