Hurting Through the Holidays

Serotonin in the brain is like police in the city. In Dr. Peter Kramer’s words, “The absence of police in the city does not cause riots, but if you do have a riot and you don't have police, there is nothing to stop the riot from spreading.” The "serotonin police" and other hormones in our brains set the tone for one's life.

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Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery

 

The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.

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The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

Wisdom

Wisdom (of Solomon) 7: 15. May El grant me to speak as he would wish and conceive thoughts worthy of the gifts I have received, since he is both guide to Wisdom and director of sages; 16. for we are in his hand, yes, ourselves and our sayings, and all intellectual and all practical knowledge.

17. He it was who gave me sure knowledge of what exists, to understand the structure of the world and the action of the elements, 18. the beginning, end and middle of the times, the alternation of the solstices and the succession of the seasons, 19. the cycles of the year and the position of the stars, 20. the natures of animals and the instincts of wild beasts, the powers of spirits and human mental processes, the varieties of plants and the medical properties of roots.

21. And now I understand everything, hidden or visible, for Wisdom, the designer of all things, has instructed me. 22. For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd, 23. irresistible, beneficent, friendly to human beings, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits.

24. For Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things. 25. She is a breath of the power of Elohim, pure emanation of the radiance of the Almighty; so nothing impure can find its way into her. 26. For she is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of YHWH's active power, and image of his goodness.

27. Although she is alone, she can do everything; herself unchanging, she renews the world, and, generation after generation, passing into set-apart souls, she makes them into friends and prophets of Elohim; 28. for YHWH loves only those who dwell with Wisdom.

29. She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations; compared with light, she takes first place, 30. for light must yield to night, but against Wisdom evil cannot prevail.

 

Wisdom's Word

John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with Elohim and the Word was Elohim. 2. He was with Elohim in the beginning. 3. Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. 4. What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; 5. and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it. …

9. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world. 10. He was in the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognize him. 11. He came to his own and his own people did not accept him. 12. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of Elohim, to those who believed in his name 13. who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from Elohim himself.

   14. The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. … 16. Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received, one gift replacing another, 17. for the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth have come through Yahshua Messiah. 18. No one has ever seen Elohim; it is the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

   Here is the Nativity story through the eyes of King Solomon and John the Evangelist. In a way, it’s a sad because, though the Word of Wisdom came of his own accord bringing light, life, power and truth, his own people didn’t recognize him or what he came to do. However, there are some who have recognized him and seen his radiance as the reflection of the Creator, and have been drawn to his life and light, like moths to a candle. And though the world was dark and few recognized him, the darkness had no power to snub him out.
   Today, many recognize him, drawn by his favor to his esteemed person and wholesome teachings. He has recreated some of us in his image and allowed us to live in the light of his life. Our re-creation in him should bring our lives into the light permanently, transform us and allow us to live in overcoming power in the darkness. Nevertheless, we have not always achieved total victory, and life in this world has dampened our ability to shine for him. Sometimes, we even feel overcome by darkness, though we are supposed to be continually experiencing his renewing and gratifying power. Often, we feel darkest during the holidays. At this time we are supposed to be celebrating his coming. These could be the brightest and most radiant days of the entire year. But sometimes they are the darkest of all.

Sharon Welch Story

   Sharon has been a fervent believer for many years. One evening just a week or so after a wonderful family Thanksgiving, Sharon placed two bottles on the dinner table. One held tranquilizers and the other Vodka. She knew that the two were harmless while separate but deadly combined. And she knew exactly what she was doing when she swallowed a dozen pills with a glass of the liquor. Sharon couldn't say why she felt so desperate and unhappy, so irritable and frantic, because she realized that things were just not all that bad. But she knew that if she ended her life, the torments that she could not explain would also end. She’d tried every way to overcome her irrational feelings: counseling, psychological treatment, internal medicine. She had logged 30 years of prayer for deliverance from her beast. Sharon's last hope was drastic. If it hadn't been for a concerned friend who found her and saw to her, she’d have succeeded in destroying herself.
   Sharon, like many other believers, suffers from clinical depression caused by a chemical deficiency in her brain. There was no way she could explain her feelings of doom and gloom because there is no way she could have known she had an imbalance.
Often the chemical imbalance of depression, anxiety and suicidal feelings is hereditary - it runs in families. But a permanent chemical imbalance can also be caused by physical or emotional trauma, like a serious disease or a divorce. Whatever the cause, Sharon is a believer in Messiah, and a fervent one, and a depressed one. To say that a Believer suffers from depression seems like an irreconcilable conflict that makes life even more unbearable for those claiming the Light of the Word yet enduring the daily blindness of an unnamed darkness.

Holidays

   The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year are meant to be happy days celebrating life, thankfulness to Elohim, and, for many, the advent of the Word. But for hundreds of thousands of people like Sharon, the holidays are agonizing weeks of insecurity and unhappiness. For the multitudes who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of clinical depression, there is often nowhere to turn for relief, not even to family and friends. No one understands.
  
I’m not talking about the holiday blues. Rather, I'm talking about those who persistently feel sad or "empty," suffering from loss of energy, sleep disturbances, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness or excessive negativity; people who may be overly irritable or isolated during the holidays; people who dwell on thoughts of death even when their life seems to be going great to all those around them. Clinical depression in the form of "Seasonal Affective Disorder" is a chronic chemical imbalance that generally worsens if left untreated. Although 20 million are treated for depression each year (8% of the population), many times this number suffer in silence.

"Seasonal Affective Disorder," Depression, and the Holidays

   Ironically, depression is generally most common during the holiday season. Dr. Paul Meier of Minirth Meier New Life Clinic explains why.

The holidays are a time when you think more about your family. If you come from a dysfunctional family, the holidays remind you of past abuses you haven't forgiven. You remember things that caused the anger in your life.

During a District Clergy Xmas Party a few years ago, ministers were asked to share their most memorable Xmas. Most of the stories we heard were sad. One minister cried as he gave his testimony about the year that Santa didn’t show up at his house. He became a pathetic nine-year old. He acted out his childhood disappointment and anger to everyone’s discomfort. One would think that ministers would want to share uplifting situations rather than holiday miseries. But after 30 years, this minister was still mad at Elohim, his parents, and especially Santa, a figment of his imagination.
   Suppressed anger -- toward others, toward Elohim, or toward self -- is the root of almost 90% of depression cases Dr. Meier sees. When anger or other explosive emotions are repressed rather than expressed and confessed, a chemical change may take place in the brain and clinical depression, anxiety or fears often results. Demons are then drawn into these brain imbalances, exacerbating and emphasizing one’s feelings of disaster. Many have lived with depression or anxiety so long they think it's normal or that it's Elohim's will or that they'll just have to live with the pain. Left untreated, these debilitations drive 90,000+ people to take their lives each year.
   The good news is that depression has now been recognized for what it is: a chemical deficiency that leads to mental disorder that draws demonic oppression. At the root, successful treatment may start by simply identifying the missing chemical and replacing it. Often within four to six weeks, the sufferer begins to feel much better. Medication should be followed up with counseling, self-help therapy, and the ministry of deliverance to scatter any demonic attachments. Getting proper and complete treatment (one way or another) is the key to recovery.

"Every Day With J-sus"

   Active believers also have another set of hurdles to overcome in their quest for healing. Mental health counselor Jim Matthews writes about these:

It's the idea that 'every day with J-sus is sweeter than the day before,' and that if you don't feel that way, then you're simply not walking with Him. Within the 'church culture' there's the belief that negative experiences like depression are not OK, so either you don't talk about it and it gets worse or you talk about it and you're judged as ... a marginal believer.

   Even when depression is caused by tangible reasons, believers - those who should lead the way in healing and deliverance - seldom understand enough about the disease process to help. Rick Mayer, a clinical therapist, relates the case of a pastor's wife who suffered from depression due to an allergic reaction to asbestos. Congregation members continued to blame the victim, believing that the problem was "all in her head," which, in fact, it was.  Mayer observes that

Believers are very good at responding to immediate, acute needs, as when someone has had major surgery or an accident. However, [they have] no idea how to respond to chronic, ongoing disorders.

Those who are clinically depressed are often shamed by "susie sunshine types" into hiding their illness; and many simply drop out on this account.

Understanding Miracle Drugs

   Treatment of depression and related disorders still divides the community of faith. Before changes in brain chemistry could be recorded, doctors prescribed old-style tranquilizers like Elavil and Amitriptyline. Depressed people on depressant medication get worse, not better; they are foggy-minded and bleary-eyed: thirty years ago someone called these folks “walking zombies.” But now we understand that a scarcity of essential brain chemicals like Serotonin interfere with the smooth workings of the mind, causing pain and anger to be amplified, resulting in a level of mental anarchy.
   Serotonin in the brain is like police in the city. In Dr. Peter Kramer’s words, “The absence of police in the city does not cause riots, but if you do have a riot and you don't have police, there is nothing to stop the riot from spreading.” The "serotonin police" and other hormones in our brains set the tone for one's life. Absence of the amount needed for whatever reason leads to insecurity, anxiety, negativity, and emotional and physical pain, or, as in the police metaphor, mental rioting. Modern antidepressants are not tranquilizers; they don’t calm you down by drugging you. Instead, they work to restore the amount of serotonin or some other necessary brain chemical by operating with your body to naturally preserve more for your use. Dr. Meier tells us, "Today's antidepressants don't make you happier. Rather, they restore serotonin to your brain to the level that Elohim wants it to be." In a person whose brain chemistry levels are normal, an antidepressant will have no effect at all.  But for others, when the correct amount is restored, they may for the very first time experience what it feels like to be 'normal.'

Still a Stigma

   Think of it this way: if you had diabetes, which is a chemical imbalance, and needed insulin to survive, you wouldn’t hesitate to take it. Depression, anxiety and phobia are also caused by a chemical imbalance just like diabetes. We aren’t made to feel stigmatized for taking insulin; why should be be labeled for taking antidepressants so we can feel better? Nevertheless, few other medical problems -- with the exception of AIDS -- remain so secretive because of the stigma of misunderstanding. This is especially true during the holidays, which are supposed to be full of happiness and joy. Our congregation should be a place where suffering people are able to find security and usefulness, and be accepted in their quest for wholeness. In fact, those active in congregations are four times more likely to recover. This is a great incentive to get involved here.
   In fact a local counselor (Bonnie Porter at the Mobile Life Enrichment Center) was right on when she told me, "there's nothing that beats depression better than being able to say, 'I accomplished something.'" Though it is difficult for the depressed to get motivated to work toward even a short-term goal, if that motivation can be found and the goal-line reached, the brain will actually make a greater effort on its own at supplying the necessary chemicals in the process.

Being busy as a bee

In the Father's little hive

Helps a bee who’s lost her hope

To feel whole, worthwhile, alive.

My Testimony

   I told you that after major surgery three years ago almost to the day that I suffered extreme feelings of apathy and depression for nearly two years. I know how to pray and fight the devil. I knew to stay in the congregation of the righteous. I took my medicine. It all helped a little, but not much. I had several opportunities to give up on life, but I kept studying instead. Then we moved 25 miles south to Venice, Florida. I changed doctors for convenience sake. On my first interview, I told this doctor the sad story I’d told five others and asked him if he could help me, not expecting much. He sent me for a special test and found a near total absence in my system of two vital chemicals. He prescribed a gel to rub on my skin that would replace one chemical and a capsule to replace the other. I was skeptical, but this doctored assured me that I would definitely feel better and better. Within three weeks, the apathy and depression began to lift. After six months, I started feeling a little ambition returning. After a year, my life was changed and, at this writing, is still changing for the better. The doctor said I would feel progressively better for years to come, and now I believe him. Because after almost a year of chemical replacement, I am here, and as active and involved as I ever have been. The apathy and depression is gone and I feel close to my Savior. I believe that he led me to that doctor and is affecting my complete healing.
   Now I’d like to know why those other five doctors just gave me a pat on the head when the solution was so simple. I didn’t have to suffer all that time, and you don’t either.

What to Do

   What can you do if you are seriously depressed; suffer from anxiety or fears or Seasonal Affective Disorder:

Learn about Depression. You are responsible for yourself. There are lots of good books, including the Bible, magazine articles and Internet pages devoted to teaching why you’re suffering and the kind of things that’ll make you feel better. If you want to get well, you can only rely on yourself. You must do something. There are people here who care and will help.
 

Get HELP! Most medical doctors are not qualified to make a correct diagnosis for depression or to even suggest the right treatment. Professional pastoral counselors and psychologists and social care professionals are, in my opinion, better qualified to diagnose clinical depression than medical doctors. But only medical testing can tell for sure whether you have a chemical deficiency. Your counselor will help you find a doctor who’ll help work you through to wellness.

Get Involved with Messiah's Work in the Ministry - many times the depressed find their depression lift when they are "distracted" by helping others worse off than themselves. Most importantly, improve your relationship with the Master. He is the source of all healing, whether he heals through miracle or medicine. Find a prayer partner and seek Messiah's face regularly and sincerely. Accept yourself and your struggle in Him.

I know all the 'doing' is very difficult to get started with; but even if nothing at all is accomplished, the awareness that He is suffering with you is very helpful.
 

“In him is life and his life is the light of men. And then light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it.” For those who are hurting through the holidays, let me introduce you to the light of men. A Savior is born who lives still. If you'll allow him, he’ll help you change your life to find inward peace and calm assurance for the future. He’s working through me and through some other folks in this congregation to bring you tidings of great joy. He can convert you and heal you; he can cast the devil out of your life; he can heal you broken or fearful heart; and he can transform you from hurting to hoping in him through the holidays. May he bless you in your quest for wholeness. Amein.

Jackson Snyder
December 8, 1996, 2001
Updated December 26, 2009