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An Important post from Dr. Charles Hodges, author of Good Mood Bad Mood

Marijuana Changes Brains: I Told You So! 

It is time once again for my semi-regular harangue on the subject of pot. I have several blogs in which I have risked the wrath of those who believe it is their libertarian free born American right to smoke dope, I mean pot.J I have also been chastised by those who believe that it should be their right as a Christian to smoke marijuana if it is not against the law. Somehow they think whacky tobacchy (as a friend of mine once called it) fits well in the Paul’s Romans 14 construct of Christian Liberty. 

I have consistently warned anyone who will listen that there is little to nothing good about humans smoking marijuana. I’ve spent the better part of 4 decades telling patients that if they smoke tobacco it will kill them. Why people think that smoking marijuana will be harmless is beyond my understanding. I have listened to people give personal testimony to the medicinal benefits of smoking marijuana or consuming marijuana laced products. I have said and continue to say that real research on medical benefits of cannabis should be done for the few it might help. 

On the other hand for the general public marijuana is a danger. Research published today shows what many of us have noticed in friends or loved ones who regularly smoke weed. They change. Their personalities change. The abilities to think, their desire to work, and their memories are affected. The reason they change is that even once a week use of marijuana appears to change the human brain.

The study examined the brains of young people who smoked marijuana at least once a week and those who did not. MRI Brain-scans were used to look for changes. What the researchers found was that two areas of the brain changed as compared to non-users. The nucleus accumbens and the amygdala thickened. “These data suggest that marijuana exposure, even in young recreational users, is associated with exposure-dependent alterations of the neural matrix…” In other words it changes your brain! 

In a study published in December of 2013, it was shown that areas of the brain that support memory were changed in heavy users of marijuana and that those changes remained even after 2 years of abstinence from pot. The current study would indicate that smoking marijuana for any reason is a threat to the ability to think. 

There may be individuals with seizure disorders that will not respond to anything but the CBD portion of Marijuana and individuals in that situation should be able to use the drug in a form that does not require smoking. But, for the rest of us with normal healthy brains, marijuana poses real danger. 

We know that 25% of young people who regularly smoke pot will be addicted and many of them will suffer brain changes that result in psychosis. Why would any Christian support the use, sale and taxation of recreational marijuana? 

Paul specifically tells us in Ephesians 5:18 to not be drunk with wine but be filled/controlled by the Holy Spirit. Paul is telling us that Christians should not give themselves over to the control of addictive substances. We should certainly not use substances such as marijuana that damage the body that God has given us to serve Him. It reminds of wise words an old friend told me once. “Will you be able to serve the Lord better if you make that choice, or serve Him better if you do not?” 

So, the question for the believer must be will I be able to serve God better intoxicated with marijuana, or sober?

Here is the link to the post on Dr. Hodges blog that has live footnotes included.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

From the Good Mood Bad Mood blog by Shepherd Press Author Dr. Charles Hodges

Over Medication: Sleeping ourselves to Death.

Research this week has shown us once more that we can do lots of things with medication. We can calm shaky nerves,make the sleepless slumber, and banish chronic pain. We do these with medications such as Ativan, Ambien, and Hydrocodone and they do work. Unfortunately, we are finding that this does not come without cost.

Click here to read the rest of the post.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

 

 

 

Good Mood Bad Mood – Separating theory from fact

February 19, 2013 Culture No Comments

Charles Hodges cuts through the medical fog with clear, understandable writing. Good Mood Bad Mood is a compassionate, caring resource that you can trust to shed the light of Scripture on the topic of mood disorders. Here is an exa

 

“There are many significant problems with the chemical imbalance theory, and they are key to understanding the way diagnoses of mood disorders have increased and evolved in recent years. The first problem is that the chemical imbalance theory of depression is just that—a theory. While the lay literature and the public statements of drug manufacturers seem to indicate that this theory is scientific fact, there has never been a peer-reviewed, published journal article that proves that a serotonin deficiency is the cause of any mental disorder. Further, even today we do not know what the correct balance of serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine should be in the human brain.”

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood Kindle ebook

February 24, 2017 No Comments

Author: Charles D. Hodges
Kindle ebook
ISBN 9781936908516

Looking for another format?
Paperback | ePub | Read a Preview (PDF)

Depression and bipolar disorder are two of the most common diagnoses made in medicine today. Are we in an epidemic of bad moods or is there another explanation? Good Mood, Bad Mood examines whether it is an epidemic or if we have simply changed how we label depression. While medical treatment is now the commonly accepted way to deal with pain and sadness, its promise has not been fulfilled. Dr. Charles Hodges offers an explanation to help the reader see the importance of sadness and the help and hope that God gives us in His Word.

Listen to an audio interview with the author

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Good Mood, Bad Mood ePub ebook

February 24, 2017 No Comments

Author: Charles D. Hodges
ePub ebook
ISBN 9781936908523

Looking for another format?
Paperback | Kindle | Read a Preview (PDF)

Depression and bipolar disorder are two of the most common diagnoses made in medicine today. Are we in an epidemic of bad moods or is there another explanation? Good Mood, Bad Mood examines whether it is an epidemic or if we have simply changed how we label depression. While medical treatment is now the commonly accepted way to deal with pain and sadness, its promise has not been fulfilled. Dr. Charles Hodges offers an explanation to help the reader see the importance of sadness and the help and hope that God gives us in His Word.

Listen to an audio interview with the author

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Good Mood, Bad Mood

February 24, 2017 No Comments

Author: Charles D. Hodges
Paperback, 192 pages
ISBN 9781936908509

Looking for another format?
ePub | Kindle | Read a Preview (PDF)

ShepherdPress.com exclusive: Buy the paperback, get the ebook free! Your purchase of the paperback automatically includes a link to download an ebook version as well.

Depression and bipolar disorder are two of the most common diagnoses made in medicine today. Are we in an epidemic of bad moods or is there another explanation? Good Mood, Bad Mood examines whether it is an epidemic or if we have simply changed how we label depression. While medical treatment is now the commonly accepted way to deal with pain and sadness, its promise has not been fulfilled. Dr. Charles Hodges offers an explanation to help the reader see the importance of sadness and the help and hope that God gives us in His Word.

Listen to an audio interview with the author

“Dr. Hodges has given the church an important resource in Good Mood, Bad Mood. With the scientific acumen of a physician and the loving concern of a brother in Christ, Dr. Hodges cuts through the morass of solutions for sadness, depression, mania or bipolar disorders. Written for the layperson but detailed enough for the physician or counselor, this book is for anyone who struggles with troubling moods and for those who help them.”
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Author, speaker and counselor

“Millions of Christians suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, many of them suffer in silence because of the stigma mental illness often carries in Christian circles. I’m tremendously grateful for Good Mood, Bad Mood, a book that compassionately offers medical and theological insights for those affected by mental disorders. Dr. Hodges is equally at home parsing the relevant biblical texts as he is dispensing medical advice. Throughout the book he intersperses stories of real people struggling to find freedom; this is a must-read book.”
Drew Dyck, Managing Editor, Leadership Journal

“I highly recommend this resource to anyone wanting to understand or help those struggling with depression or mood swings. While not neglecting the medical research and possible medical explanations for some mood issues, he helps the reader to see what is often at the core of many mood disorders.”
Dr. Garrett Higbee, Executive Director of Biblical Soul Care, Harvest Bible Chapel

Charles D. Hodges Jr., M.D. is a family physician who practices medicine in Indianapolis. He is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine, board certified in Family Medicine and Geriatrics. He is also a licensed marital family therapist.

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Good Mood, Bad Mood

“Millions of Christians suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, many of them suffer in silence because of the stigma mental illness often carries in Christian circles. I’m tremendously grateful for Good Mood, Bad Mood, a book that compassionately offers medical and theological insights for those affected by mental disorders. Dr. Hodges is equally at home parsing the relevant biblical texts as he is dispensing medical advice. Throughout the book he intersperses stories of real people struggling to find freedom; this is a must-read book.”

–Drew Dyck, Managing Editor, Leadership Journal

 
Click on the image below for more information.
Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Biblical Counseling Coalition & Good Mood, Bad Mood

Check out that the Biblical Counseling Coalition bas to say about Good Mood, Bad Mood, by Dr. Charles Hodges.

Here is the link:

http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/books/interview/good-mood-bad-mood

More information about Good Mood, Bad Mood.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

 

Interview with Dr. Charles Hodges, author of Good Mood, Bad Mood

 

Listen to gain insight into Dr. Hodges reasons for writing Good Mood, Bad Mood. You will find a compassionate, compelling account how Dr. Hodges brings the light of scripture to this important topic.

 

Good Mood, Bad Mood

 

 

 

 

 

Good Mood, Bad Mood – Available Soon!

The Holiday Season is a season of moods. Thoughts of depression, discontent, and sadness mix together with the parties, presents, and promises of a better new year.  Moods, good or bad, are challenging to understand. Help is on the way!

 

Dr. Charles Hodges has written a compassionate and information packed resource that sheds biblical light on our moods. Shepherd Press is pleased to announce the publication of Good Mood, Bad Mood. Next week we will provide you with details on how you can take advantage of a special pre-publication offer as well as receive a free ebook copy of the book. Until then here are some endorsements for Good Mood, Bad Mood, that should peak your interest:

 

 

Dr. Hodges has given the church an important resource in Good Mood, Bad Mood. With the scientific acumen of a physician and the loving concern of a brother in Christ, Dr. Hodges cuts through the morass of solutions for sadness, depression, mania or bipolar disorders. Written for the layperson but detailed enough for the physician or counselor, this book is for anyone who struggles with troubled moods and for those who help them.”

–Elyse Fitzpatrick

 

 

“Millions of Christians suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, many of them suffer in silence because of the stigma mental illness often carries in Christian circles. I’m tremendously grateful for Good Mood, Bad Mood, a book that compassionately offers medical and theological insights for those affected by mental disorders. Dr. Hodges is equally at home parsing the relevant biblical texts as he is dispensing medical advice. Throughout the book he intersperses stories of real people struggling to find freedom; this is a must-read book.”

–Drew Dyck, Managing Editor, Leadership Journal

 

 

Good Mood, Bad Mood cuts through the fog and confusion of moods, medications and the Bible without being overly technical and critical! Pastors and laymen alike will find help for those who wander in the hype and confusion surrounding moods and medication. As a physician and counselor for many years, Charlie is well suited to write this book.  His use of Scripture secures the truth in God’s unchanging Word, while his compassion and warmth is obvious.  This helpful resource makes sense out of all that’s being said and done today in the area of moods and medication. Buy two copies of this book; one for you and one for someone else.

– Brad Bigney, senior pastor and biblical counselor, Grace Fellowship Church, Florence, KY

 

 

“I highly recommend this resource to anyone wanting to understand or help those struggling with depression or mood swings. While not neglecting the medical research and possible medical explanations for some mood issues, he helps the reader to see what is often at the core of many mood disorders.”

–Dr. Garrett Higbee, Executive Director of Biblical Soul Care, Harvest Bible Chapel


Marijuana and the presidential debate

September 17, 2015 Culture 1 Comment

Last night a leading presidential candidate dismissed marijuana as a serious health threat. A couple of other candidates challenged this view. Just to clarify I have reposted an article by Dr. Charles Hodges, author of Good Mood Bad Mood.

Dr. Hodges posts a clear warning about the dangers of this drug. It is worth your time. Here is his article:

I have written often about the perils of the recreational use of marijuana and I cannot resist writing again. The cause for my writing is that the New York Times that has stumbled into the reality that smoking pot does little if any good for those who smoke it. And it has the potential for great harm.[i]

In an October 29th article by Abigail Moore titled, “This Is Your Brain on Drugs,” the problems with pot are outlined. The first and most disturbing is that smoking marijuana changes the brain. The nucleus accumbens thickens and among those in the study, the more they smoked the more it thickened. The changes seen are thought to be the source of problems with learning and mental health.

At the center of the problem is an increased concentration of the active drug THC in available marijuana. Since 1995 the concentration of THC in pot has gone from 3.75 percent to 13 percent in 2013. The higher concentration of THC is likely to be responsible for an increased incidence of psychosis and paranoia. Emergency room admissions for marijuana related problems have doubled since 2004.

The adverse affects are particularly a problem in young adults. The changes that occur to the nucleus accumbens have direct bearing on motivation and decision making. There are similar changes in the amygdala that affect the way we process emotions, memories and our response to fear.  “THC can disrupt focus, working memory and motivation.”

Long term effects are a real concern. In one study teens that started smoking at the age of 18 and were then tested at the age of 38 lost 8 points on their I.Q. testing.  In another study the changes in the brain in those who had smoked for 3 years were still present 2 years after they stopped. And, their working memories we impaired. As Dr Hans Breiter said, “Working memory is the key for learning…If I were to design a substance that is bad for college students, it would be marijuana.”

There we have it. The New York Times is not a Bible thumping Biblical Counseling Journal. It is as liberal in its view of behavior and morality as any publication today. The article presents factual information that says that smoking marijuana harms people and their brains to say nothing about the risks of lung disease and cancer.

In spite of that I know that when I publish this blog there will be people who will come out of the woods to defend their favorite pastime. I know that someone will tell me that their great aunt Ethel was cured from some sort disease and because of it everyone should be allowed to smoke ‘em if they have ‘em!

While real, controlled scientific research is to be encouraged into whatever real benefit might exist from marijuana (the CBD portion), the current folk medicine approach is no better than the snake oil salesmen of the last century. Marijuana is a dangerous drug. The New York Times says so.

Christians of all people should have greater respect for their bodies. As Paul said, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1Co 6:19-20)  Now there is a really good reason to not smoke pot!
[i] All the factual information in the blog came from the New York Times article on the web under Education Life, This is Your Brain on Drugs, Abigail Sullivan Moore, October 29, 2014.

Click here to go to Dr. Hodges blog.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Wonderful Values on our Current Sales Page!

Check out our Current Sales Page.  This week you will find great values on books like Good Mood Bad Mood and the Herein is Love Series.  There always great new discounts available each week.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

 

Marijuana and the NY Times: Smoking away our brains

By Dr. Charles Hodges, author of Good Mood Bad Mood

I have written often about the perils of the recreational use of marijuana and I cannot resist writing again. The cause for my writing is that the New York Times that has stumbled into the reality that smoking pot does little if any good for those who smoke it. And it has the potential for great harm.[i]

In an October 29th article by Abigail Moore titled, “This Is Your Brain on Drugs,” the problems with pot are outlined. The first and most disturbing is that smoking marijuana changes the brain. The nucleus accumbens thickens and among those in the study, the more they smoked the more it thickened. The changes seen are thought to be the source of problems with learning and mental health.

At the center of the problem is an increased concentration of the active drug THC in available marijuana. Since 1995 the concentration of THC in pot has gone from 3.75 percent to 13 percent in 2013. The higher concentration of THC is likely to be responsible for an increased incidence of psychosis and paranoia. Emergency room admissions for marijuana related problems have doubled since 2004.

The adverse affects are particularly a problem in young adults. The changes that occur to the nucleus accumbens have direct bearing on motivation and decision making. There are similar changes in the amygdala that affect the way we process emotions, memories and our response to fear.  “THC can disrupt focus, working memory and motivation.”

Long term effects are a real concern. In one study teens that started smoking at the age of 18 and were then tested at the age of 38 lost 8 points on their I.Q. testing.  In another study the changes in the brain in those who had smoked for 3 years were still present 2 years after they stopped. And, their working memories we impaired. As Dr Hans Breiter said, “Working memory is the key for learning…If I were to design a substance that is bad for college students, it would be marijuana.”

There we have it. The New York Times is not a Bible thumping Biblical Counseling Journal. It is as liberal in its view of behavior and morality as any publication today. The article presents factual information that says that smoking marijuana harms people and their brains to say nothing about the risks of lung disease and cancer.

In spite of that I know that when I publish this blog there will be people who will come out of the woods to defend their favorite pastime. I know that someone will tell me that their great aunt Ethel was cured from some sort disease and because of it everyone should be allowed to smoke ‘em if they have ‘em!

While real, controlled scientific research is to be encouraged into whatever real benefit might exist from marijuana (the CBD portion), the current folk medicine approach is no better than the snake oil salesmen of the last century. Marijuana is a dangerous drug. The New York Times says so.

Christians of all people should have greater respect for their bodies. As Paul said, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1Co 6:19-20)  Now there is a really good reason to not smoke pot!

[i] All the factual information in the blog came from the New York Times article on the web under Education Life,

This is Your Brain on Drugs, Abigail Sullivan Moore, October 29, 2014.

Click here to go to Dr. Hodges’ blog.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Part Two of the interview with Dr. Charles Hodges

Dr Hodge is the author of Good Mood Bad Mood.

In this segment Dr. Hodges is asked direct questions about helpfulness of medications and depression.

Click here to see the second portion of the interview.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

 

 

 

 

What is depression and bipolar disorder?

Dr. Charles Hodges, author of Good Mood Bad Mood gives clear, straight forward answers to questions like what is depression, bipolar disorder in the interview link below.

This is a helpful interview that gets directly to important questions on these and other related topics.

Here is the link.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

To Sleep, To Dream: Sleep Disordered Breathing & Psychotic Disorders

by Dr. Charles Hodges, Author of Good Mood Bad Mood


It is not uncommon today to have patients come to the office with several diagnoses from several physicians. It is just as common for them to be taking several medications prescribed by different providers who do not always know what the other doctor is doing. And, at times it is up to me to help them sort it out as their family physician. 

I have seen several people who have come to me being treated for adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who were being treated for obstructive sleep apnea at the same time. Almost always the symptoms of ADHD predate the discovery of the obstructive sleep apnea. Generally neither the sleep specialist nor the ADHD provider knows about the others existence. It is important because if they did, they might change how they treated the patient. 

This week an interesting article in the Psychiatric Times pointed out something that I have been teaching about for years.[i] An important part of counseling is a trip to a trusted doctor and a thorough medical work up. There are any number of medical diseases that can and do affect emotions and behavior. It is important to find them and treat them in the best way possible. It is also very important that at least one physician knows all the diagnosis and treatments that the patient is receiving. 

The article examined the role that abnormal breathing during sleep plays in changing how we feel and act. “Sleep disordered breathing signs and symptoms overlap with mood, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. In some cases they may masquerade as these disorders…” Problems such as depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit, a decline in the ability to think, irritability, and difficulty dealing with problems in life all may find their cause in a patient’s inability to breathe normally while sleeping. 

The most common cause of sleep disordered breathing in North America is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When asleep the patient’s airway is either completely or partially blocked. This requires the individual to reposition themselves in order to breathe and keeps them from achieving normal restorative sleep. Generally, those with OSA are known for their snoring. It can occur in children with large obstructive tonsils and in adults who are overweight. It occurs in thin adults but is much less common. A good question is “has your spouse ever heard you stop breathing while you are sleeping.” 

Diseases that can be diagnosed in people who have Sleep Disorder Breathing include anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorder. I have seen many individuals through the years who have been diagnosed with ADHD initially only to be found to have obstructive sleep apnea. Correction of the sleep disorder will most often correct the psychiatric diagnosis too. 

 

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Depression & Sleep: Should we blame Edison or ourselves

February 7, 2014 Sleep 3 Comments

By Dr. Charles Hodges 

Author of Good Mood Bad Mood

Light bulbs have become a modest fixation for me. I hate anything that approaches fluorescence with a passion. I grew up in an incandescent world courtesy of one of the world’s greatest inventors Thomas Edison. And, frankly I would have preferred to finish under the somewhat golden light of a glowing filament. Thanks to a government that outlawed my favorite light source, I have become a hoarder of incandescent bulbs. 


By now you are wondering what depression has to do with light bulbs and Tom Edison. The answer is that Edison made it economically practical to stay up long after dark. Our bodies are made to cycle up when the sun rises and cycle down when it sets. Edison made it possible for us to fight against our circadian rhythm. As I write this it is dark outside and if there weren’t twenty-three light bulbs over head and a big screen television in the corner, I would probably be asleep. And, that would be normal. 

What isn’t normal is that I will stay up and watch the 11:00pm news and then set my alarm for 5:45am to knock me out of bed so that I can get to work. That is 6hours and 15minutes of sleep and it isn’t enough. It is also may be a prescription for depression. 

In a couple of studies published in the journal Sleep, researchers looked at the relationship between the number of hours people sleep and their risk for depression. One study of 4100 subjects between the ages of 11 to 17 found that sleeping less than 6 hours increased their risk of depression. Another study of twins with a family history of depression found that sleeping a normal amount of 7 to 9 hours cut the risk of depression from 53% to 27%.

As we seek to help people who come for counseling with complaints of depression and anxiety, one of the most important questions we need to ask is “how much are you sleeping?” I routinely tell counselees and patients that I may not be able to tell them what is wrong with them unless they change their life habits and get 8 hours of sleep a night for at least 2 weeks. If they cannot do this on their own I send them to see their doctor for a good medical work up and appropriate medical care. 

Most of us do not sleep nearly enough. And, it generally is not because we could not if we allowed the time. We have become a people who routinely burn the candle at both ends. Maybe, we would all be in a better mood if we just turned the light off and went to bed earlier. 

 

For a limited time you can purchase Good Mood Bad Mood at 40% off. Just use the code SPBLOG at checkout.

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Good Mood, Bad Mood

Grief and Anxiety: Diseases or Not?

Good Mood, Bad MoodHere is the latest entry of Dr. Charles Hodges’s blog. Dr. Hodges is the author of Good Mood, Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder.  In this blog post, he cites a leading British Professor, Peter Kinderman,  who comments about new findings in the psychological community regarding grief and anxiety. Since these issues touch so many, these are important matters to consider. Dr. Hodges has done a tremendous service in bringing the light of Scripture to bear on a problem where the secular medical community is finding more problems than solutions.

Grief and Anxiety: Diseases or Not?
by Dr. Charles Hodges

A little more than two months ago, Peter Kinderman wrote an editorial for BBC News Health and in it he said “Grief and Anxiety are not mental illness.” Kinderman also said that changes in the revision of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Illness, due out in May, would increase the numbers of people diagnosed with mental illness. He went on to say that what they really need is “help and understanding, not labels and medication.” Kinderman is the Professor of Clinical Psychology at theUniversity of Liverpool and the Chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology at the British Psychological Society, good credentials if you want to say these kinds of things about the current state of psychiatry and psychology.

The problem for those who use the DSM criteria to label strugglers with depression and anxiety is that the criteria have been relaxed even further than they were in 1980. The proposed changes will give an individual who loses a loved-one two weeks to make an adjustment to the loss or they can be labeled and treated as if they have a disease called depression. Anyone who has suffered this loss knows that the grief goes on well past two weeks and even into years.

The same problems can be expected for anxiety or worry. “The criteria for “generalized anxiety disorder” will be significantly relaxed, making the worries of everyday life into targets for medical treatment.” And so it is as I practice medicine. I regularly see people who struggle with real problems in life that make them feel ill at ease. The solution that medicine offers that is widely accepted by our society is a prescription. One commenter said about the article, “There is a no man’s land between GP’s (General Practitioners of medicine in Britain) and mental health professionals…neither set of these professionals are the ones to provide it(the help needed)…Our GP’s can’t do it and now the US suggests medication. Wrong, we need another form of help.”

When it comes to grieving loses and worry, truer words were never spoken. We do need another form of help to deal with the sadness of loss and the struggle of worry. Nearly 2000 years ago Jesus Christ offered the help that
the anxious and the grieving need.

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing…” “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive
today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? …for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus pinpoints the source of much worry and sadness in life. It is a subtle form of worship. We worship having the things we have lost or wish we had. Some worry over their health or the fact that they have lost it. Others worry about material things including food, clothing and income. Jesus tells us that we cannot serve God and stuff! God will provide our needs for food, clothing and safety. But, our needs will not always coincide with our wants. And, that is where worry and sadness often come.

Jesus tells us that God knows our needs and instead of worrying about them, we should seek His kingdom and His righteousness. That gives an alternative to worry and it is good news for those who struggle. We can apply our lives to worshipping and serving Him in a Romans 12:1-2 sense. Instead of focusing on the things we lose or our trials we can focus on serving Christ.

I can tell you from personal experience that the truths of scripture hold the answer to worry. When Jesus tells us not to worry, He intends to enable us to obey Him by His grace. Paul deals with the problem in the fourth chapter of his letter to the Philippians. Chapter 12 in Good Mood Bad Mood deals with worry and examines Paul’s words in more detail than I can in a blog. Philippians chapter 4 was a great help to me and I know it can help anyone who struggles with worry. Kinderman was right. People need help and understanding more than they need labels.

All quotations for this blog came from BBC NEWS/Health and can be found in the January 17, 2013 article “Grief and Anxiety are not Mental Illnesses” by Peter Kinderman.

Help for Patients Who Endure Much

 

 

 We still face the same problem that doctors did in Luke’s Gospel. We encounter diseases that we struggle to accurately diagnose and effectively treat. And patients endure much. 

 

The purpose of this book is to look at another area of medicine in which patients face the kind of problems this woman faced. The diagnosis and treatment of the disease do not result in a rapid and complete cure. The cost of treatment and the lost wages are a significant burden to those affected. Yet in a significant number of cases, the real solution may be found in a meaningful encounter with the “Great Physician.”

 

Recent research would indicate that the current medical treatments do not seem to work well for many who are identified as depressed. At the same time, there is concern that the way we make the diagnosis will apply the label of depressed to many who actually have emotional struggles but no disease. There is also some indication that medicines may not be working as well as they did in the past.  Instead of finding a cause and cure for depression, we seem to be diagnosing more people with depression, but with questionable benefit4 and significant side effects. 

 

Dr. Charles Hodges

From his book, Good Mood Bad Mood


The gospel and discipline

Parents don’t often think of the gospel and discipline in the same sentence. Typically, we tend to think that discipline is what you do now and the gospel is what you hope your children will embrace in the future. But Paul has a different understanding of the place of the gospel. For him, the gospel is the foundation, the hope of all of life for Christians (see Colossians 1:21-23).

This means that your parental discipline must rooted and built upon the gospel. Just as you know that you can’t make yourself “good” enough for God to accept you, your children must know that they cannot make themselves “good” enough to earn your acceptance and approval. This is huge! You are not acceptable to God because you are a good person. You are acceptable because Jesus was good when you were not. That brings such immense comfort. You can’t earn your way to God!

This is exactly the comfort that you must offer to your children. If they believe that they must earn your acceptance, if they believe that they have to achieve some level of goodness before you will “approve” of them, your discipline will only serve to create a deep relational rift in your children. No child can bear the weight of “earning” approval – that is not the gospel!

Discipline that leads to approval focuses on your child’s performance. For example, if your goal is to have your children share toys based on each child having a toy for an equal amount of time you are engaging in performance based discipline. The focus is on attaining a measurable goal: how many minutes can I play with the toy and how many minutes before I can get it back again. Even if this approach produces some order it misses the mark of the gospel. Gospel based discipline is focused on serving others instead of yourself.

So, instead of watching the timer to see when is the next time the toy is exchanged, a gospel based approach would be zeroing in on how can each child learn to prefer his sibling’s pleasure over his own. This might mean that the children learn how to play together with the toy instead of individually. It might mean that children find delight in seeing others having fun rather than being miserable that they can’t have what they want. Or, it could mean learning how to show care by engaging in sacrificial love.

The “problem” with gospel-based discipline is that no child can willingly learn to do this in his own strength! Like each of us, our children are selfish by nature. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can bring about this change where children begin to genuinely prefer others before themselves. And, there is no way a parent can force this to happen! But what you can do is to model this selfless love in the way you live with your spouse, with your children and with those the Lord places in your path. You can pray with your children and teach them that this is what gospel-grace looks like. This focus on the gospel and discipline together requires more time than simply stating rules and setting a timer. It requires a deep relational commitment to your children and to Christ.

Most importantly, it means making Jesus Christ the center of your life and of your parenting. If you are consumed with knowing Christ and making him known to your children, discipline based on performance will give way to discipline that leads to the gospel!

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