Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Own Concordance

Or, Depression, Part 3.

One of the best ways I have found to counteract the negative thought processes of depression is by using the truth of scripture. Because Scripture is the living Word of God, it has the power to change. One of the things I do is construct my own concordance.

I bought a small 7"x9" three-ring binder and refill pages at Staples. I did not put alphabet tabs in mine, but I do keep the subjects alphabetized, using a heading that makes sense to me. For instance, my first page heading is "Alcohol," and subsequent pages are labeled "Depression," "Faith," "Grace," "Hardships," "Healing," etc. As I come upon a scripture that strikes me in a particular way, I add it. I put the reference and a brief description or partial quote. Because it's a three-ring binder, I can just slip a page in anywhere it alphabetically fits.

This could also be used to keep sermon notes, but I've decided to keep mine on my laptop so I can easier search and find what I'm looking for.

Today, I read Psalm 19 while using Praying the Bible for Your Children. I took some time to meditate on these words concerning the Word of God and its effect in my life:

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

And verse 14 is what I added to my Concordance under the headings of "Depression," "Words," "TV & Time":

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing
in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

One of the greatest battles a depressed person faces is the one that goes on in their mind. If left unchecked, the negative thoughts can bring a person spiralling downwards quickly. It takes a lot of effort to combat these thoughts, and it is exhausting. However, remember 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness." When I'm weak and tired from the fight, I quote this to myself and to God in prayer, admitting my weakness.

Another verse on my "Depression" page that deals with controlling our thought-life is 2 Corinthians 10:5:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

These are by no means quick-fixes, but rather tools for the battle. I would encourage everyone to begin such a concordance, particularly those who are dealing with depression.

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