Paul and others used letters to help people grow in God’s grace and in their faith.
Depression and the soul
The soul presents itself in a variety of colors, including all the shades of gray, blue and black. To care for the soul, we must observe the full range of all its colorings, and resist the temptation to approve only of white, red, and orange – the brilliant colors. In a society that is defended against the tragic sense of life, depression will appear as an enemy, an unredeemable malady; yet in such a society, devoted to light, depression, in compensation, will be unusually strong.
Care of the soul requires our appreciation of these ways it presents itself. Faced with depression, we might ask ourselves, “What is it doing here? Does it have some necessary role to play?” Especially in dealing with depression, a mood close to our feelings of mortality, we must guard against the denial of death that is so easy to slip into. Even further, we may have to develop a taste for the depressed mood, a positive respect for its place in the soul’s cycles.
Some feelings and thoughts seem to emerge only in a dark mood. Suppress the mood, and you will suppress those ideas and reflections. Depression may be as important a channel for valuable “negative” feelings, as expressions of affection are for the emotions of love. Feelings of love give birth naturally to gestures of attachment. In the same way, the void and grayness of depression evoke an awareness and articulation of thoughts of a need for God, otherwise hidden behind the screen of lighter moods. Melancholy gives the soul an opportunity to express a side of its (God relationship) nature that is as valid as any other, but is hidden out of our distaste for its darkness and bitterness.
Today we seem to prefer the word depression over sadness and melancholy. Perhaps its Latin form sounds more clinical and serious. The depressed person sometimes thinks that the good times are all past, that there is nothing left for the present or the future. These thoughts and feelings, sad as they are, favor the soul’s desire to be both earthly and in eternity, and so in a strange wat they can be beneficial.
Sometimes we associate depression with literal aging, but it is more precisely a matter of the soul’s aging. Having been identified with youth, the soul now takes on important qualities of age that are positive and helpful. If age is denied, soul becomes lost in an inappropriate clinging to youth.
Depression grants the gift of experience not as a literal fact but as an attitude toward yourself. You get a sense of having lived through something, of being older and wiser. You know that life is suffering, and that knowledge makes a difference. You can’t enjoy the bouncy, carefree innocence of youth any longer, a realization that entails both sadness because of the loss, and pleasure in a new feeling of self-acceptance and self-knowledge. This awareness of age has a halo of melancholy around it, but it also enjoys a measure of nobility.
It’s difficult to let go of youth, because that release requires an acknowledgment of death. I suspect that those of us who opt for eternal youth are setting ourselves up for heaqvy bouts of depression. If you allow depression to visit, you will feel the change in your body, in your muscles, and on your face – some relief from the burden of youthful enthusiasm and the “unbearable lightness of being.”
Maybe we could appreciate the role of depression in the economy of the soul more if we could only take away the negative connotations of the word. What if “depression” were simply a state of being, neither good nor bad, something the soul does in God’s plan and for God’s reasons. Aging brings out the flavors of a personality. The individual emerges over time, the way fruit matures and ripens. Melancholy thoughts carve out an interior space where wisdom/God’s plan can take the residence.
In this sense, depression is a process that fosters a valuable coagulation of thoughts and emotions. As we age, our ideas, formerly light, rambling, and unrelated to each other, become more densely gathered into values and a spiritual life, giving our lives substance and firmness.
Because of its painful emptiness, it is often tempting to look for a way out of depression. But entering into its mood and thoughts can be deeply satisfying. Depression is sometimes described as a condition in which there are no ideas – nothing to hang on to. But that is when we are forced to realize that we can not control our life and that we need to find another way. This is when the Holy Spirit can step in and help us turn over control of our life to him.
When, as Christian Lifestyle trainers and friends, we are the observers of depression and are challenged to find a way to deal with it in others, we can bring them into a deep loving relationship with their God. We could learn from Christian training and follow its guidance, becoming more patient within the Holy Spirit’s guidance, lowering our excited expectations, taking a watchful attitude as this soul deals with God’s plan in utter seriousness and spiritually. In our friendship, we could offer it a place of acceptance and containment. Sometimes, of course, depression, like any emotion, caazn go beyond ordinary limits, becoming a completely debilitating illness.
One great anxiety associated with depression is that it will never end, that life will never again be joyful and active. This is one of the feelings that is part of the pattern – the sense of being trapped. This anxiety seems to decrease when we stop fighting the elements the elements that are in the depression, and turn instead toward learning how to love God better and how to be closer to him.
Insinuations of Death to Self-control
People of all ages sometimes say from their depression that life is over, that their hopes for the future have proved unfounded. They are disillusioned because the values and understandings by which they have controlled their lives for years suddenly make no sense.
Care of the soul requires acceptance of all this dying to self-control. The temptation is to champion our familiar ideas about life right up to the point of conversion, but it is necessary in the end to give them up, to enter into the moment of the soul making its most important decision. If the symptom is felt as the sense that life is over, and that there’s no use in going on, then an affirmative approach to this feeling might be a conscious, artful giving-in to the emotions and thoughts of ending that depression has stirred up.
The emptiness and dissolution of meaning that are often present in depression show how attached we can become to our ways of controlling our lives. Often our personal plans and our control of our life seem to be all too neatly wrapped, leaving little room for God’s control. Depression comes along then and opens up a hole. Depression makes holes in our theories and assumptions, but even this painful process can be honored as a necessary and valuable source of healing.
This peculiar kind of education – learning our limits – may not be a conscious effort only; it may come upon us as a captivating mood of depression, at least momentarily wiping out our happiness, and sending us off into fundamental appraisals of our knowledge, our assumptions, and the very purpose of our existence.
Coming to Terms with Depression
Many people are full of religion, close to life, empathic, and connected to people around them. But these very people may have difficulty LOVING GOD WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART and moving closer toward that goal and therefore to see what is going on, and to relate their life experiences to their ideas and values. This difficulty of loving God with their whole heart separates them from God’s close involvement with their life. We see this development in people as they reflect on their past with some distance and detachment. To suddenly find need for withdrawal and with vague emotions of hopelessness. Such feelings have a place and work spiritually on the soul.
If we persist in our modern way of treating depression as an illness to be cured only mechanically and chemically, we may loose the gifts of soul that only depression can provide. We may find it exhausting trying to keep life bright and warm at all costs. Identity is felt as one’s soul find’s its relationship with God. We know who we are because we have uncovered the purpose we were created. It has been sifted out by depressive thought, “reduced,” in the basic point to it’s existence.
Care of the soul asks for a cultivation of the larger world depression represents. When we speak clinically of depression, we think of an emotional or behavioral condition. For the soul, depression is an initiation, a rite of passage. If we think that depression, so empty and dull, is void of a spiritual factor, we may overlook God’s purpose for it. In our cities, boarded-up homes and failing businesses signal economic and social “depression.” In these “depressed” areas of our cities, decay is cut off from will and conscious participation, appearing only as an external manifestation of a problem or an illness of the soul.
We also see depression, economically and emotionally, as literal failure and threat, as a surprise breaking in upon our healthcare plans and expectations. Hospice workers will tell you how much a family can gain when the depressive facts of a terminal illness are discussed openly. We might also take our own illnesses, our visits to the doctor and to the hospital, as a reminder of our mortality. We ar not caring for the soul in these situations when we protect our-selves from their impact.
Because depression is one of the faces of the soul, acknowledging it into our relationships foster intimacy with our God. If we deny or cover up anything that is at home in the soul, then we cannot be fully present to others. Hiding the difficult factors results in a loss of soul; speaking about them and from them offers a way toward genuine community and intimacy with our God.
The Healing Powers of Depression
Care of the soul doesn’t mean wallowing in the symptoms, but it does mean trying to learn from depression what qualities the soul needs. Even further, it attempts to weave those depressive qualities into the fabric of life – coldness, isolation, darkness, emptiness – makes a contribution to the texture of everyday life. We discover that depression uses the Holy Spirit as a guiding spirit whose job it is to carry the soul into a better relationship with their God.
2 Kings Book Overview
|930 b.c.||Kingdom divides
|853||Ahab dies in battle
|848||Elijah’s ministry transfers to Elisha
|841||Jehu becomes king of Israel
|835||Joash becomes king of Judah
|797||Elisha’s ministry ends|
|793||Jeroboam II becomes king of Israel
|760||Amos’s ministry begins
|753||Hosea’s ministry begins
|742||Micah’s ministry begins|
|740||Isaiah’s ministry begins
|722||Israel (northern kingdom) falls
|715||Hezekiah becomes king of Judah
|640||Josiah becomes king of Judah
|627||Jeremiah’s ministry begins|
|622||Book of the Law found in the Temple
|605||First captivity of Judah; Daniel taken
|597||Second captivity of Judah; Ezekiel taken
|586||Judah (southern kingdom) falls|
|Purpose:||To demonstrate the fate that awaits all who refuse to make God their true leader|
|Author:||Unknown. Possibly Jeremiah or a group of prophets|
|Setting:||The once-united nation of Israel has been divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, for over a century.|
|Key Verses:||“Again and again the Lord had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: ‘Turn from all your evil ways. Obey my commands and laws, which are contained in the whole law that I commanded your ancestors and which I gave you through my servants the prophets.’ But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors and refused to believe in the Lord their God” (17:13, 14).|
|Key People:||Elijah, Elisha, the woman from Shunem, Naaman, Jezebel, Jehu, Joash, Hezekiah, Sennacherib, Isaiah, Manasseh, Josiah, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar|
|Special Features:||The 17 prophetic books at the end of the Old Testament give great insights into the time period of 2 Kings.|
The tone for the book is set in the first two verses.
After Ahab died. Moab broke away from Israel’s rule. Ahazial fell down through the wooden bars in his upstairs room in Samaria and was badly hurt. He sent messengers and told them, “Go, ask Baal-Zebub, god of Ekron, if I will recover from my injuries’(1:1-2)
In those inaugural words you find death (Ahab died), rebellion (Moab broke away), calamity (Ahaziah fell down), and superstition (Go ask … the god of Ekron).
What a beginning. It doesn’t get any better. Second Kings is not a book for the faint of heart. But it is a book for the serious disciple. It’s message is embossed at the top of every page: “The way of transgressors is hard.”
Remember what Paul said about the wages of sin being death? The book proves his point. Twenty-five chapters of people reaping the harvest of sin. Story after story of people learning firsthand the eternal truth: The consequence of persistent sin is pain. Pain, not just in your life but in the lives of those you love.
The book relates the decline of two powers.
The Northern Kingdom, Israel, was headquartered in Samaria. Nineteen kings led this nation. Not one was godly. Not one! In spite of strong prophets like Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Elijah, and Elisha, the kings didn’t listen.
The Southern Kingdom, Judah, used Jerusalem as its capital. Of its twenty sovereigns, only eight walked wit God. Again powerful prophets challenged them. Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah were just a few of the men who proclaimed God’s message.
But the people didn’t listen. They slipped from conviction to compromise into capacity. The book ends with the battered nations of Israel and Judah dragged behind the horses of their conquerors. God will leave them in captivity for seventy years. Plenty of time for them to ponder the lesson: Do not be fooled: You cannot cheat God. People harvest only what they plant (Galatians 6:7)
It took these people several decades to get the point, I hope we are better listeners.
Sparkling as it crashes against boulders along its banks, the river swiftly cascades toward the sea. The current grabs, pushes, and tugs at leaves and logs, carrying them along for the ride. Here and there a sportsman is spotted in a kayak or a canoe, going with the flow. Gravity pulls the water, and the river pulls the rest … downward. Suddenly, a silver missile breaks the surface and darts upstream, and then another. Oblivious to the swirling opposition, the shining salmon swim against the stream. They must go upstream, and nothing will stop them from reaching their destination.
The current of society’s river is flowing fast and furious, pulling downward everything in its way. It would be easy to float along with the current. But God calls us to swim against the flow. It will not be easy, and we may be alone, but it will be right.
In the book of 2 Kings, we read of evil rulers, rampant idolatry, and a complacent populace—certainly pulling downward. Despite the pressure to conform, to turn from the Lord and to serve only self, a minority of chosen people moved in the opposite direction, toward God. The Bethel prophets and others, as well as two righteous kings, spoke God’s word and stood for him. As you read 2 Kings, watch these courageous individuals. Catch the strength and force of Elijah and Elisha and the commitment of Hezekiah and Josiah, and determine to be one who swims against the current!
Second Kings continues the history of Israel, halfway between the death of David and the death of the nation. Israel had been divided (1 Kings 12), and the two kingdoms had begun to slide into idolatry and corruption toward collapse and captivity. Second Kings relates the sordid stories of the 12 kings of the northern kingdom (called Israel) and the 16 kings of the southern kingdom (called Judah). For 130 years Israel endures the succession of evil rulers until they were conquered by Shalmaneser of Assyria and led into captivity in 722 b.c. (17:6). Of all the kings in both the north and south, only two—Hezekiah and Josiah—were called good. Because of their obedience to God and the spiritual revivals during their reigns, Judah stood for an additional 136 years until falling to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 b.c.
Throughout this dark period, the Bible mentions 30 prophets who proclaimed God’s message to the people and their leaders. Most notable of these fearless people of God are Elijah and Elisha. As Elijah neared the end of his earthly ministry, Elisha asked that he might become Elijah’s rightful successor (2:9). Soon after, Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind (2:11), and Elisha became God’s spokesman to the northern kingdom. Elisha’s life was filled with signs, proclamations, warnings, and miracles. Four of the most memorable are the flowing oil (4:1-7), the healing of the Shunammite woman’s son (4:8-37), the healing of Naaman’s leprosy (5:1-27), and the floating ax head (6:1-7).
Even in the midst of terrible situations, God will have his faithful minority, his remnant (19:31). He desires courageous men and women to proclaim his truth.
|A. The Divided Kingdom (1:1–17:41)
1. Elisha’s ministry
2. Kings of Israel and Judah
3. Israel is exiled to Assyria
|Although Israel had the witness and power of Elisha, the nation turned from God and was exiled to Assyria. Assyria filled the northern kingdom with people from other lands. There has been no return from this captivity—it was permanent. Such is the end of all who shut God out of their lives.|
|B. The Surviving Kingdom (18:1–25:30)
1. Kings of Judah
2. Judah is exiled to Babylon
|The northern kingdom was destroyed, and prophets were predicting the same fate for Judah. What more could cause the nation to repent? Hezekiah and Josiah were able to stem the tide of evil. They both repaired the Temple and gathered the people for the Passover. Josiah eradicated idolatry from the land, but as soon as these good kings were gone, the people returned again to living their own way instead of God’s way. Each individual must believe and live for God in his or her family, church, and nation.|
|Elisha||The purpose of Elisha’s ministry was to restore respect for God and his message, and he stood firmly against the evil kings of Israel. By faith, with courage and prayer, he revealed not only God’s judgment on sin but also his mercy, love, and tenderness toward faithful people.||Elisha’s mighty miracles showed that God controls not only great armies but also events in everyday life. When we listen to and obey God, he shows us his power to transform any situation. God’s care is for all who are willing to follow him. He can perform miracles in our lives.|
|Idolatry||Every evil king in both Israel and Judah encouraged idolatry. These false gods represented war, cruelty, power, and sex. Although they had God’s law, priests, and prophets to guide them, these kings sought priests and prophets whom they could manipulate to their own advantage.||An idol is any idea, ability, possession, or person that we regard more highly than God. We condemn Israel and Judah for foolishly worshiping idols, but we also worship other gods—power, money, physical attractiveness. Those who believe in God must resist the lure of these attractive idols.|
|Evil Kings/Good Kings||Only 20 percent of Israel and Judah’s kings followed God. The evil kings were shortsighted. They thought they could control their nations’ destinies by importing other religions, forming alliances with pagan nations, and enriching themselves. The good kings had to spend most of their time undoing the evil done by their predecessors.||Although the evil kings led the people into sin, the priests, princes, heads of families, and military leaders all had to cooperate with the evil plans and practices in order for them to be carried out. We cannot discharge our responsibility to obey God by blaming our leaders. We are responsible to know God’s Word and obey it.|
|God’s Patience||God told his people that if they obeyed him, they would live successfully; if they disobeyed, they would be judged and destroyed. God had been patient with the people for hundreds of years. He sent many prophets to guide them. And he gave ample warning of coming destruction. But even God’s patience has limits.||God is patient with us. He gives us many chances to hear his message, to turn from sin, and to believe him. His patience does not mean he is indifferent to how we live, nor does it mean we can ignore his warnings. His patience should make us want to come to him now.|
|Judgment||After King Solomon’s reign, Israel lasted 209 years before the Assyrians destroyed it; Judah lasted 345 years before the Babylonians took Jerusalem. After repeated warnings to his people, God used these evil nations as instruments for his justice.||The consequences of rejecting God’s commands and purpose for our lives are severe. He will not ignore unbelief or rebellion. We must believe in him and accept Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf, or we will be judged also.|
Key Places in 2 Kings
The history of both Israel and Judah was much affected by the prophet Elisha’s ministry. He served Israel for 50 years, fighting the idolatry of its kings and calling its people back to God.
1 Jericho Elijah’s ministry had come to an end. He touched his cloak to the Jordan River, and he and Elisha crossed on dry ground. Elijah was taken by God in a whirlwind, and Elisha returned alone with the cloak. The prophets in Jericho realized that Elisha was Elijah’s replacement (1:1–2:25).
2 Wilderness of Edom The king of Moab rebelled against Israel, so the nations of Israel, Judah, and Edom decided to attack from the wilderness of Edom but ran out of water.
3 Shunem Elisha cared for individuals and their needs. He helped a woman clear a debt by giving her a supply of oil to sell. For another family in Shunem, he raised a son from the dead (4:1-37).
4 Gilgal Elisha cared for the young prophets in Gilgal—he removed poison from a stew, made a small amount of food feed everyone, and even caused an ax head to float so it could be retrieved. It was to Elisha that Naaman, a commander in the Aramean army, came to be healed of leprosy (4:38–6:7).
5 Dothan Although he cured an Aramean commander’s leprosy, Elisha was loyal to Israel. He knew the Aramean army’s battle plans and kept Israel’s king informed. The Aramean king tracked Elisha down in Dothan and surrounded the city, hoping to kill him. But Elisha prayed that the Arameans would be blinded; then he led the blinded army into Samaria, Israel’s capital city (6:8-23).
6 Samaria But the Arameans didn’t learn their lesson. They later besieged Samaria. Ironically, Israel’s king thought it was Elisha’s fault, but Elisha said food would be available in abundance the next day. True to Elisha’s word, the Lord caused panic in the Aramean camp, and the enemy ran, leaving their supplies to Samaria’s starving people (6:24–7:20).
7 Damascus Despite Elisha’s loyalty to Israel, he obeyed God and traveled to Damascus, the capital of Aram. King Ben-hadad was sick, and he sent Hazael to ask Elisha if he would recover. Elisha knew the king would die and told this to Hazael. But Hazael then murdered Ben-hadad, making himself king. Later, Israel and Judah joined forces to fight this new Aramean threat (8:1-29).
8 Ramoth-gilead As Israel and Judah warred with Aram, Elisha sent a young prophet to Ramoth-gilead to anoint Jehu as Israel’s next king. Jehu set out to destroy the wicked dynasties of Israel and Judah, killing kings Joram and Ahaziah, and wicked Queen Jezebel. He then destroyed King Ahab’s family and all the Baal worshipers in Israel (9:1–11:1).
9 Jerusalem Power-hungry Athaliah became queen of Judah when her son Ahaziah was killed. She had all her grandsons killed except Joash, who was hidden by his aunt. Joash was crowned king at the age of seven and overthrew Athaliah. Meanwhile in Samaria, the Arameans continued to harass Israel. Israel’s new king met with Elisha and was told that he would be victorious over Aram three times (11:2–13:19). Following Elisha’s death came a series of evil kings in Israel. Their idolatry and rejection of God caused their downfall. The Assyrian Empire captured Samaria and took most of the Israelites into captivity (13:20–17:41). Judah had a short reprieve because of a few good kings who destroyed idols and worshiped God. But many strayed from God. So Jerusalem fell to the next world power, Babylon (18:1–25:30).
Second Kings completes the historical narrative begun in 1 Kings. It chronicles the succession of kings in both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. The verdict upon most of these kings is sadly repetitive: They “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Elisha succeeds the great profit, Elijah, and is “doubly blessed” with God’s Spirit.
1 To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.
2 The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness.
3 Wickedness never brings stability; only the godly have deep roots.
4 A worthy wife is her husband’s joy and crown; a shameful wife saps his strength.
5 The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous.
6 The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.
7 The wicked perish and are gone, but the children of the godly stand firm.
8 Everyone admires a person with good sense, but a warped mind is despised.
9 It is better to be a nobody with a servant than to be self-important but have no food.
10 The godly are concerned for the welfare of their animals, but even the kindness of the wicked is cruel.
11 Hard work means prosperity; only fools idle away their time.
12 Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, while the godly bear their own fruit.
13 The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble.
14 People can get many good things by the words they say; the work of their hands also gives them many benefits.
15 Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.
16 A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.
17 An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies.
18 Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
19 Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.
20 Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!
21 No real harm befalls the godly, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
22 The Lord hates those who don’t keep their word, but he delights in those who do.
23 Wise people don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their folly.
24 Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.
25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
26 The godly give good advice to their friends;£ the wicked lead them astray.
27 Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.
28 The way of the godly leads to life; their path does not lead to death.
If you don’t want to learn, years of schooling will teach you very little. But if you want to be taught, there is no end to what you can learn. This includes being willing to accept discipline and correction and to learn from the wisdom of others. A person who refuses constructive criticism has a problem with pride. Such a person is unlikely to learn very much.
To have deep roots and to be stable means to be successful. Real success comes only to those who do what is right. Their efforts stand the test of time. Then, what kind of success does wickedness bring? We may know people who cheated to pass the course or to get a larger tax refund—is this not success? And what about the person who ignores his family commitments and mistreats his workers but gets ahead in business? These apparent successes are only temporary. They are bought at the expense of character. Cheaters grow more and more dishonest, and those who hurt others become callous and cruel. In the long run, evil behavior does not lead to success; it leads only to more evil. Real success maintains personal integrity. If you are not a success by God’s standards, you have not achieved true success. (See the chart “How to Succeed in God’s Eyes.”)
Evil people twist the facts to support their claims. Those who do this will eventually be trapped by their own lies. But for those who always tell the truth, the facts—plain and unvarnished—give an unshakable defense. If you find that you always have to defend yourself to others, maybe you are not being honest. (See the chart “Honesty and Dishonesty.”)
When someone annoys or insults you, it is natural to retaliate. But this solves nothing and only encourages trouble. Instead, answer slowly and quietly. Your positive response will achieve positive results. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.”
Truth is always timely; it applies today and in the future. Because it is connected with God’s changeless character, it is also changeless. Think for a moment about the centuries that have passed since these proverbs were written. Consider the countless hours that have been spent carefully studying every sentence of Scripture. The Bible has withstood the test of time. Because God is truth, you can trust his Word to guide you.
This is a general, but not universal, truth. Although harm does befall the godly, they are able to see opportunities in their problems and move ahead. The wicked, without God’s wisdom, are ill-equipped to handle their problems. (See the note on 3:16, 17, the note on 10:3, and the note on 11:7, 8 for more about general truths that are not intended as universal statements.)
Wise people have a quiet confidence. Insecure or unstable people feel the need to prove themselves, but wise people don’t have to prove anything. They know they are capable, so they can get on with their work. Beware of showing off. If you are modest, people may not notice you at first, but they will respect you later.
The diligent make wise use of their possessions and resources; the lazy waste them. Waste has become a way of life for many who live in a land of plenty. Waste is poor stewardship. Make good use of everything God has given you, and prize it.
For many, death is a darkened door at the end of life, a passageway to an unknown and feared destiny. But for God’s people, death is a bright pathway to a new and better life. So why do we fear death? Is it fear of the pain we expect, the separation from loved ones, or the unknown? God can help us deal with those fears. He has shown us that death is not final but just another step in the eternal life we received when we followed him.