Friday Free-fall

I have decided I’m not going to read any morepolitically -oriented stuff on Facebook for a while.  It just raises my blood pressure. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to refrain, because I’m passionate about my beliefs. Maybe I should just stay away from the yellow journalism kinds of posts that aren’t verified with anyone I trust. Those I do NOT trust would be Snopes and any of the MSM.  You know you’re getting highly left-slanted news. Of course, there are those on the right who are just as guilty of posting highly emotional, questionable “news” that is designed to tempt you to share it with all your friends, thereby circulating stuff that has very little verification behind it.

Come on, folks. I think we all agree that 2016 was an awful election year, with endless accusations and counter-accusations.  I’m glad that’s over, but now I wish both sides would just shut up and go about the business of making the best of things.  I’m sick of the whining of the left.  I’m embarrassed by the unkindness of some on the right.  Let the rancor and animosity die. It’s totally not productive.

Yes, for sure I will be glad when Barry’s face doesn’t dominate everything completely.  Yes, I’m sick of his arrogance and dishonesty.  After all, they’re off on another multi-million dollar vacation during a time of incredible danger in the world.  As usual, all he’s saying while people are dying is “FORE!”

I saw something the other day about Michelle running for President in 2020.  God help us. A more entitled, angry, and arrogant person couldn’t be found?  It has to be Michelle? Poor woman would have to start waking up in a house built by slaves all over again.  Tsk.

Okay, does anyone really think I can keep my resolve to stay away from politics?  Really?

No?  Me neither.


Even to the Neck

Isaiah 8:8. “And he shall pass through Judah: he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck: and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.”

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Here’s another clear map of the geographical situation during this time of Isaiah’s prophecies.  The Assyrian Empire hovers there above Aram/Syria and Israel/Ephraim like a lion watching its prey. Judah sits below Israel, believing the pact they have made with Assyria will protect them.

Our verse today, however, makes it clear that Assyria will sweep over Judah as well as Israel like a river overflowing its banks. The interesting little  phrase, though that indicates the destruction will not be complete or forever is even to the neck.  Just as God is going to protect Israel in today’s attempt to utterly destroy it, so God protected Israel in Isaiah’s time.  Why?  the last two words of the verse tell the reason:  O Immanuel.

The land belonged to Immanuel then, and it still does now.  The UN and world leaders can make all the laws they want about Israel. The fact is, Israel is in for some terrible times–again! We are gradually seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy that all the world, including Obama’s America, will turn against Israel.  But Obama can’t rule God, and his word will not be the final pronouncement over this land that he hates.  Just as God preserved the land in Isaiah’s day, so will He preserve it again. Those who hate Israel today are going to be screaming in fury when God finally restores Israel to being the center of world government during the Millenial Kingdom.

Obama has a few more days to do as much damage as he can.  Don’t worry.  He’s just a grain of sand in God’s sandal. Insignificant and easily brushed off.  We’re seeing prophecy fulfilled.  It’s exciting!

A Raging Flood

Isaiah 8:5-7. “The Lord spake also unto me again, saying, Forasmuch as this people refuseth the water of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son: Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels and go over all his banks:”

You can read some interesting information about the “water of Shiloah” here, if  you’re interested:

Image result for what are the waters of shiloah

Because the people of Judah and their king, the stubborn Ahaz, refused the peaceful, nourishing waters of Shiloah, there would be terrible consequences.  They could have turned to God, but they chose instead to trust instead in kings in other lands to protect them. Ahaz foolishly made what he thought was a pact with Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria;  God, however, likens Assyria to a raging, out-of-control river in full flood that would consume the land of Judah.

The waters of Shiloah had been divinely provided at Zion and Moriah, and were symbolic of God’s promises concerning the throne and lineage of David.  Those promises would be kept in spite of Judah’s rebellion, but there would be great suffering in the meantime.

God always keeps His promises, in spite of our arrogant disobedience. However, we are not spared His displeasure when we choose against Him. We should pay attention.


Isaiah 8: 2-4. :And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah .And I went unto the prophetess: and she conceived and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Mah-her-shalal-hash-baz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

Image result for The riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away

I like to know where places are.  Here you see the location of Samaria.  Syria (Aram) was to the north and west of Samaria, which was a geographical part of Israel (Ephraim.)  Assyria was farther north yet, but extended its empire all the way through Israel, Judah, and farther south.

In our passage today, we read first that Isaiah had a couple of reliable witnesses  to what he had written on the tablet: The name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, meaning plunder speeds, booty hastes.   Booty  is an old-fashioned word for the spoils of war; the conquering army took whatever grabbed their fancy, leaving those who still lived with very little by way of food, furniture, money, even clothing. These two witnesses (see II Kings 18:10 and II Chron. 29:1 and 13) would be able to attest  to the people how Isaiah had long before foretold, by his inscription and by the name of his son, what had now come to pass.

Then, we are told, Isaiah went in unto his wife, the prophetess.  I’ve always loved it that Isaiah and his wife shared this calling. We don’t hear much about her, but she clearly had a part in Isaiah’s work. She conceived, and bore the son who would be named Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.

So, from the time of conception to the birth of the child was nine months. He would not learn to  speak the words Mother, Father,  before the destruction of Damascus and Samaria came to pass. The King of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser, would have swept through the area and left it in complete disarray.

Image result for The riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away

His sweep through Samaria and Damascus would be just the prelude to his attack on Judah, and King Ahaz should have been shaking in his sandals. Instead, he was deluded by his supposed alliance with Tiglath-Pileser, and would not, did not, choose to turn to God for help.


Fourth Post on Depression

Depression: Why Did This Happen? Will it Come Back?

There are so many factors that can play into depression.  Today I’m going to cover as much as I can in a reasonable amount of space.  This could well end up being a multiple-part topic.

Let’s look at genetics first.  One of the questions I always ask a new client who presents with depression is, “Who else in your family, in your own generation or your parents’ or grandparents’ generations, has had a “nervous breakdown,” or been given some sort of medication for nerves, such as Valium?”  Almost without fail, there is someone.  Typically, there will be more than one in the family tree who has suffered from depression.

So, is there a “depression gene”?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I found some articles on the subject.  Here is one link you may find interesting.  Just remember, this whole topic is in a very new state of research:

What I do know is that some people are more resilient about how they handle stress than others are, and there is a personality type that can “run in the family” that does not handle stress well without some help.  This is why I look for the genetic connection; it helps me understand if there is a generational tendency toward depression, and knowledge helps me know how best to help my client.

What personality type am I talking about?  The Melancholy, according to the study I like best.  There are other studies that call it by different names, but the traits are the same.  Here is one thumbnail sketch:


Much more can be said about this personality.  It is the deepest, richest, most complex and most contradictory of all the four basic temperaments.  Often, the Melancholic is richly gifted in some way.  Many of our most beloved writers, poets, composers, artists and other creative people are/were deeply melancholy.  They are indeed perfectionists, and they are world-class worriers.  While they can be super organized, to the point of OCD, they can also live in utter chaos because they want to be orderly and neat, but they think they have to make that happen all at once.  It’s so overwhelming that they simply walk away from the task and start some other project–or go read a book🙂  Melancholics are sentimental, holding on to relationships even after they are cold and dead. They are almost always the “dumpee” rather than the “dumper” in relationships.  They are deeply introspective, always looking inward to see how they’re measuring up to their own often unrealistic expectations.  That in itself is depressing.  Melancholics are born with a strong sense of guilt, although they’re often not sure what it is they’re guilty of doing/thinking/feeling that is so wrong. They tend to allow people to use them, then complain about how no one appreciates them. “I’ve given up everything for my kids/husband/friend/work and no one appreciates/understand/knows what I’m going through.  No one loves me.  Everyone takes advantage of me.  I’ll never be understood/appreciated/happy.”

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

At the same time, these folks are tremendously generous and others-oriented. Yet, they can be unbelievably critical, narrow, self-righteous, and unforgiving.  Unforgiveness turns to self-pity turns to bitterness turn to depression. Tim LaHaye wrote a wonderful little book many years ago titled How to Win Over Depression.  It’s an excellent resource.  I also like his book on the temperaments.  The latest rewrite that I know of is called Why You Act the Way You Do. I read his first temperament study years ago, and it’s been a most valuable resource ever since.  It’s title is The Spirit-Controlled Temperament. 

All right.  I suspect that’s about enough for this week.  There is a great deal more to say on the how and why of depression, but I guess we have lots of time now that we don’t have to worry about the Mayan Calendar any more!




A Warning

Isaiah 8: “Moreover the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-shalal -hash-baz.”

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Things were heating up. God used  a very tangible way of warning King Ahaz and Judah that they were soon going to be in a very bad way.  He told Isaiah to take a large tablet, not a parchment scroll but more likely a stone, and inscribe on it in common letters that most people could read.  He was to write the words Maher-shalal-haz-baz.  The meaning:  The spoil speeds; the prey hastens.

How about that for a name for you new little baby boy?

There’s a lot more to this story, and it’s very interesting. We’ll take it apart tomorrow.




More on Depression and Medication

Third in the series on depression that I’m recycling from Dec. 2012.


There is a third class of antidepressants known as MAO Inhibitors, or MAOI’s.  You can read all about them here:

As with the others, the targets of this class of medication include serotonin, dopamine, epinephrin–all the so-called “feel-good” chemicals that the brain produces.

The question I’d like to address today is, “If depression can be treated without medication, then why take the pills?  Wouldn’t it be better to get to the root of the problem instead of just masking it?”

There are some assumptions in those questions.  I hear the questions a lot, because unfortunately, there is still stigma attached to taking medication for “nerve problems,”  or “emotional problems.” People of faith worry about depending on medication instead of God, believing that if they could just pray enough, read the Bible enough and deal with whatever their lack of faith is, they’d get better.  What follows is how I answer all that in my office, usually in a first or second visit with someone who is typically depressed, anxious, and embarrassed to be sitting in a “shrink’s” office.  This could take several posts to really get the job done, I’m not sure.  We’ll see!

So, let’s pretend you’re sitting in my office, we’re getting to know each other, and I’m seeing clear indications of depression.  The first thing I’m going to do is reassure you that you’ve made a good choice to find some help; that you certainly are not alone in your misery, and that it WILL get better. About this time, I will point out that there’s a box of tissues sitting right behind you on the back of the little sofa you’re sitting on.

Once you’ve told me your story, or at least enough to get us started, I’m going to ask you about the stressors in your life.  That question always gets me a wide variety of responses, from floods of tears to anger to uproarious–but sad–laughter. The reason I ask that question is that more and more clinical evidence is pointing to the reality that anxiety comes first, then depression.  Anxiety is just another word for fear.  Every single one of us deals with some level of anxiety at some point or points in our lives. It can stem from marital relationships, extended family, an obnoxious neighbor, illness, financial stress, job stress– to just about anything else you can think of. These are anxious times we live in, but that’s nothing new.  The folks who lived through World War I  thought it was Armageddon.  It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.  Those who endured through the Holocaust thought nothing could ever be worse, and then the atom bomb and nuclear warfare became something new to fear.

On a much smaller, but far more personal scale, most of us experience anxiety just in the routine of our daily lives, rarely thinking about the predictions of world-wide disaster.  The disasters at home are far more consuming. So you, sitting in my office, begin to tell me that you can’t sleep, that you often have sweaty, heart-pounding moments when you think you’re going to die; you can’t get a deep breath, you feel buzzy and faint, and then it passes and you’re terrified of the next attack.

Which takes us to a conversation about anxiety, panic attacks, anti-anxiety meds, and whether or not to use those meds. Please understand that not everyone who experiences depression will experience extreme anxiety and panic attacks.  It can be a part of the total picture, but it doesn’t have to be.  Sometimes, people who live with panic attacks have some deep trauma that has never really been addressed.  This can be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, common among military veterans and victims of childhood sexual abuse and/or rape; victims of natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, and so on.  There are special treatments for this type of problem, including EMDR, which is a specialty of mine.  You can google it to find out more about it.

All right.  Just a quick note about anti-anxiety meds and then we’re done for today.  Here is a list of the most common medications:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax) – approved for GAD, panic disorder; used off-label for agoraphobia with social phobia
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) – approved for anxiety (in general)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin) – approved for panic disorder; used off label for anxiety (in general)
  • Diazepam (Valium) – approved for anxiety (in general)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan) – approved for anxiety disorders (in general)
  • Oxazepam (Serax) – approved for anxiety (in general)

GAD, by the way, stands for General Anxiety Disorder.   These medications are almost always prescribed “as needed” and can be helpful in calming you down if you suffer from panic attacks. Also, several of the common antidepressants are considered anti-anxiety as well.  Sometimes a physician will prescribe both, suggesting the anti-anxiety be used only when absolutely necessary.

And yes, I know there’s a lot of controversy about all this.  Be patient.  I’ll get there eventually!

Ruined Land

Isaiah 7: 23-25. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.  With arrows and with bows shall men come thither: because all the land shall become briers and thorns.  And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.”

Image result for briers and thorns

Assyria would so destroy the land that nothing but briers and thorns would grow where once there had been vineyards, olive trees, and other crops.  Where there had been a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there would be nothing but weeds.

Men would hunt animals with bow and arrow  where once there had been agriculture. Domestic animals would wander at will , and would be hunted for food.

A mattock was a tool used to plow the earth on hillsides where a plow couldn’t be easily used.  It was short-handled, with a wider sharp blade at one end and pointed at the other. After the battle was over, men wouldn’t even be able to plow with such a tool because of the unchecked growth of briers and thorns, and the roaming of oxen and cows  that would tread down any growth.

We see here barrenness of the earth, and barrenness of the heart of the small remnant left alive in the land.  We cannot turn our backs on God and expect anything else.


A Remnant

Isaiah 7:21-22. “And it shall come to pass in that day that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; And it shall come to pass for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.”

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There would be a very small remnant of people left in the land.  It would be a hard-knock life after Assyria roared through, destroying everything it its path. There would be so few animals left that a single cow and a couple of sheep would suffice to feed many.  The people would depend upon the milk, making  thickened milk (curd) and depending upon wild honey for food.  Crops would be pitiful, animals would be slaughtered or taken for food. The land would suffer as well as the people.

The after-effects of war are pretty awful.