So many times when I start a series on the Pastor’s Desk, by the time the next installment is due, other topics come to the forefront of my life and I need to write about those things, while they are on my mind.

That is what happened this past month.  Weeks went by and I just couldn’t get back to the intended subject.  If I have to struggle to prepare a message, I have learned that the Holy Spirit wants to go another direction.  I hope to continue the January message, for the March posting, but I can’t promise. All I can say is, "as the Lord leads."

When I began writing several years ago, I really didn’t have a plan.  I would write about personal observations in my own life, and then I would do a Bible study article, as the Spirit moved me, but in no particular order... that seems to have continued to be my non-patterned, pattern!

One of the best life lessons God has taught me is, if the Spirit doesn’t flow (a certain direction), I cannot go (in that direction).  To be without a plan, and even a back-up plan, can be quite frustrating to a Type A personality such as myself.

The title of today’s message was easy.  February was a month of stress which has rolled on into March.

I guess that should have been my first clue as to what to write about, especially when the posting deadline came and went, which further intensified my stress!

For several months, I had been battling a rather incapacitating ailment, which I didn’t realize until the middle of February, was NOT a virus, but an intermittent reaction to a medication.  On the 1st, I felt well enough to take my car for inspection.  Instead of a 20-minute wait, and a $20 charge, it turned out to be a 45-minute wait and a $100-plus charge (needed new brake shoes, etc.).  An unexpected expense, on top of illness.

About the 2nd week in January, my furnace broke down for the second time this winter.  It was close to a month before the repairman could come, so I had to use electric heaters, which tripled February's electric bill.  When the furnace man did arrive, he had to return 3 times to complete the job.  The third time, he said that I was now out of oil, even though the gauge measured half a tank.  I had to order oil the next morning, besides pay for the parts and labor for the original repairs.  (I couldn’t afford to get the gauge fixed at that time).  Extra expenses, more stress.

Then, the church I had pastored for 5 years, had to close it's doors in February... a sad time for us all.

A few days later, there was a horrible misunderstanding with a dear friend (not connected to the church), which left me bewildered, heartsick, and mourning the loss of a friend.

Within the same week of those traumas, another dear friend needed my help with an urgent family problem, which had reached a crisis point.  Her situation affected me deeply.

February brought several other stressful and financially draining situations, and a dear missionary family in Africa, whom I love very much, fell into dire straits, which really disturbed me.  It was one thing after another, continuing into March.

There was another car repair situation on March 1st, including having to be towed, this time, to the garage.  This was also the same day that the bill for my property taxes arrived in the mail; the total tax amount had almost doubled from the previous year. 

More health issues, requiring lab tests, an ultrasound and an MRI, caused some apprehension as the second week of March rolled around.

I had to forget about watching TV reports... it’s like if it weren’t for bad news, there’d be no news at all!
 Between politics, natural disasters, wars, terrorists, rising oil prices, and bird flu, it is enough to cause all of us to take to our beds.

The Christian news programs are not much better... perhaps even worse, because they tell a more unbiased truth.  They do give us a hope, however, that God’s people will be Raptured (caught away) out of here before Armageddon breaks loose.

We are told that everything we love to eat causes cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.  We are warned not to smoke or drink, told to lose weight, and to exercise... guilt, guilt, guilt!  It seems to be a toss-up as to what is going to kill us first: earthquakes, food, or suicide bombers.  I think it is the stress of worrying about all of the above!

The Bible says that in the last days, men’s hearts will fail them for fear (i.e. heart attacks).  I certainly believe that.  Stress kills.

There are people who deal with constant stress.  Even my "Frantic February" pales by comparison to what a lot of people must deal with in this world.  In fact, my life is usually very peaceful.  Not many months have been as crazy as this one, thank God.

Everything we go through is JUST LIFE in the 21st century, and we must remember that whatever we have to endure, Jesus is there to bear us UP.

I realize that after a certain age, or prolonged health, family, or financial problems, our resistance to stress thins out a bit; yet the reality is, if any of us were sent to live in a third world country, we would never utter one complaint about our present lot in life.  I often wonder how those people cope with their stress.

Life has brought suffering since the Garden of Eden.  It is nothing new to God's people.  I've heard it said that pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.  We do have a choice to be on top of our situation, or let it be on top of us!

The Christians of Hebrews 10:32-36 could have really complained.  The writer reminds them that they are in need of steadfast patience and endurance.  He continues to tell them in verse 38, that the justified shall live by faith, and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, God has no delight or pleasure in him.

We can see that fear is the opposite of faith... fear is the source of most stress, therefore it is not a delight to the Lord, nor does He take pleasure in it.  Besides, most things that we fear or worry about, never happen!

I heard a story about a man who kept a "Wednesday Worry Box" on his desk.  Since he was a very busy man, he felt that he couldn't take time out of every day to worry about his problems.  He decided that he would only worry on Wednesdays, so he would write each of his problems down on a slip of paper, and put the piece of paper in a worry box.  When Wednesdays rolled around, he discovered that most of those things either hadn't happened, or had resolved themselves.  What wisdom!  Amen.

Certain types of stress are good... stress can be what makes us get to work on time, obey the law, and be a responsible person.  When we exercise, we are putting stress on our muscles, which makes them stronger.  One of the previous verses (36), relates to creating endurance in our SPIRITUAL muscles.

Stress also initiates release of the "fight or flight" adrenalin, for our personal safety.

In the book of Psalms, David is talking about the negative kind of stress when he says to himself, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?" (KJV).  The Amplified Bible reads, "Why are you cast down, O my inner self?  And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me?"

Obviously, David had hit a bad patch, as he repeats this 3 times to himself in Psalms 42 and 43.  He was stressed and going into a depression, but he started encouraging himself.  David asked himself a question... when reading further, we see him answer his own question. (Be sure to read it for yourself. His answer is our answer.)

When we get into a stretch of constant upsets, we must go to the Word.  This is what I always try to do before I get so far down that I don’t even try to get out of my doldrums.  A friend in my early years used to ask me if I had taken to my bed yet when she knew I was going through something.  I would jokingly answer back, "Nope, I’m under the bed today!"

We would laugh... and that is another answer. "A merry heart (laughter) is like a medicine," (Proverbs 17:22).  Before our conversation was over, I would feel a lot better, and it started with a laugh.

David said, "Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God."

It looks like David is saying, even if things are going badly for him, he knows that he can have hope in the Lord, and to wait with expectation for Him to show up in his circumstances.  David goes by faith into praise and worship.  When David sings or speaks praise to his God, even his face is changed.  Peace has replaced the look of despair.

In summation, when you are in a dark place in your life, remember how David handled it:

  1. Encourage yourself in the Word. Speak Psalm 42:11 out loud to yourself.  Jeremiah 29:11 is also a very uplifting scripture.  When you read the Bible, be sure to underline any scripture that blesses you... you’ll never know when you might need it.
  2. Start laughing.  I know it sounds strange, but we need to change the direction of the corners of our mouth.  They get stuck in that downward position.  Even if you can’t think of anything funny, just do an out loud LAUGH!  It is amazing how such a simple act can break that downward spiral into depression.
  3. Start thanking the Lord for all the great things in your life... nature stirs my gratitude: when I take a walk, hold an infant, play with the dog, or look at the stars, I realize the greatness, power, and the awesomeness of the Creator and His magnificent handiwork, and it puts my life back into perspective.
  4. Music soothes the savage beast, someone once said.  It also soothes the beast in us.  Playing Christian music of our own liking changes our outlook.  We can eventually start singing along with praises to our Lord.

All these steps are done by faith, because we don’t FEEL like doing any of them. We must have faith in the Word of God as spoken by David, and just do it. 

These applications are not a cure, but a preventative measure for depression.

They worked for David, and obviously for me.  An old saying, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" applies here.  A not-so-old saying, "try it, you’ll like it!" also applies.

I know this works, because I have practiced what I am preaching, and I haven’t been "under the bed" in years.  LOL!

Also, I finally got this article finished, praise God, which is the "proof of the pudding" for me! Amen.

God bless you all,
Pastor Moser
"February," 2006

Please email me at if you need further information on depression.