DEPRESSION

Grace Fellowship International 3914 Nellie Street | P. O. Box 368 | Pigeon Forge, TN 37868

Telephone: 865.429.0450 |Fax: 865.429.0144 www.GraceFellowshipInternational.com

By: Dr. Charles R. Solomon Author, Handbook to Happiness and Dr. John Woodward

HEART TO HEART

When we come to the place of full retreat And our heart cries out for God, The only person whose heart ours can meet Is one who has likewise trod. Others may offer a word of cheer To lift us from despair; But above the rest, the one we hear Is the whisper, “I’ve been there”.

Charles R. Solomon

GRACE FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL 3914 Nellie Street | P. O. Box 368 | Pigeon Forge, TN 37868 Telephone: (865) 429-0450 | Fax: (865) 429-0144 www.GraceFellowshipInternational.com

DEPRESSION

Hello, I am Dr. Charles Solomon, author of Handbook to Happiness and Founder of Grace Fellowship International (GFI). GFI uses an approach to counseling known as Spirituotherapy® , a spiritual approach to counseling where the Holy Spirit does the therapy, as contrastedwith psychotherapy through a human therapist. Depression is, by far, the most common complaint in counseling and, also, the most commonly mistreated! Even though it is usually not an organic problem, the general trend is to treat it as a ‘chemical imbalance’ in the brain! If there is depression over time, it is true that there is a chemical imbalance; but which came first, the depression or the chemical imbalance? Sincewe have seen believers come out of clinical depression literally overnight, we choose to believe that the depression caused the chemical imbalance! As an example, there was a business man who had been clinically depressed for eight years and was on medication for that and for severe headaches. He had been hospitalized and was at the point where his psychiatrist told him that unless he improved in two weeks, he must have electroshock therapy (EST). He had agreed to such a regimen when a mutual friend referred him to me. He came on a Monday looking like it would crack his face if he smiled! By the end of the second interview, he was ready to surrender all and take his place of crucifixion and resurrection with Christ in full surrender. The next day, at the third and last interview, he was totally free of depression for the first time in eight years! The root problem is not the depression but a life centered on self, while bottling up frustration and anger. My first book,

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Handbook to Happiness , and the second, The Ins and Out of Rejection , clearly show how the Spirit uses the Word in setting captives free from depression and a myriad of other things. Assuming no organic cause of the depression, medication for a ‘chemical imbalance’ is treating the body for a spiritual problem! Conversely, it would be just as bad to treat depression spiritually when there is a physiological cause of the depression. A case in point: a lady I saw appeared to be very depressed and sought counselingwithme. After a session or so, I suspected an organic cause and consulted her physician who said she just needed shock treatments. I gave him my professional opinion of his professional opinion but received no fee! A week or so later, she developed more symptoms; and I directed the family to get her to a hospital. A CT scan showed a massive brain tumor which was malignant and she had immediate surgery. It is my professional opinion that the vast majority of depressive symptoms have the self-centered life as the root cause which the Holy Spirit easily and routinely resolves. Since the self-life is usually the root cause of depression, it is easily (and miraculously) dissolved and resolved as the Holy Spirit replaces the self-life with the Christ-life. You may view other presentations such as this, and an overview, on YouTube and our website www. GraceFellowshipInternational.com. Themost succinct statement of our message andministry is in Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

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DEPRESSION: PROBLEM OR SYMPTOM?

Charles R. Solomon, Ed.D.

This booklet is directed to those who are struggling with depression and to those who must live with them. I trust I will be able to dispel some of the popular notions concerning the understanding and treatment of this malady which seems to be no respecter of persons. Many Christians, including those greatly used of God in the past and present, have not found victory over this debilitating condition. I challenge you to step back and look at depression from an entirely new perspective. If you have been troubled by it over a period of years, you will know from experience that the common treatment modalities are less than satisfactory. Many have lived (or existed) with the mistaken belief that there is no permanent cure for it. This is primarily due to the fact that it is viewed from the psychological or psychiatric viewpoint, rather than God’s. It is of signal importance that we determine whether depression is the problem or merely a symptom of an underlying spiritual issue which has been neither diagnosed nor treated. Indeed, if it is a spiritual issue, it is obvious on the surface that psychotherapy and medication will be palliative, at best. True, there are those who are relieved of their depression by other than spiritual means; but, has the root problem been solved? Depression is frequently defined by those in the behavioral sciences as the result of pent-up anger

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or internalized hostility. This would mean that the depressed person is a very angry person who is taking out the majority of the anger or hostility on himself (herself). This, of course, assumes that we are not dealing with depression which stems from organic or physiological causes. Given this definition, it would seem obvious that the use of medication to relieve the depression would do little to alleviate the anger which is behind it. But, if we go back one step farther and aid a person in surfacing and dealing with the anger, have we yet approached the problem? What is the support system for anger in the believer? I submit that functional (non-organic) depression is rooted in the ‘flesh’ [Gal. 5:16,17] (not the physical body) and must be dealt with as such. This is not to say that all depression in a believer can be attributed to sin in his life; it may have more to do with having been sinned against than with his own sin. He may not be responsible for the action, but he is responsible for his response. If he is attempting to live the Christian life in his own strength (flesh), he is not appropriating the power of the Spirit for the inner and outer conflicts. What are some of the early warning signs of the onset of depression? A general dissatisfaction with one’s plight in life can be a precursor to depression. Being locked into a set of adverse circumstances which are defeating and to which one sees no possible means of escape is another. The loss of zest for living should be looked upon as one of the preconditions for the development of depression. Flattened affect, a reduction in normal emotional response, is typical of depressive states. It is not infrequent that a traumatic experience in early childhood may be the predisposing factor which sets the stage for depression later in life. For example, a woman who was sexually molested by her father had

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been depressed periodically for more than a quarter of a century. It seemed mysterious to others, but not to the counselor who found that she had never been able to tell anyone else about it. Another lady had an affair with her father-in-law and suffered from guilt-related depression for years. It is rather easy to see why she had difficulty in sharing this with her husband! Childhood rejection or unmet dependency needs can give rise to depression, from mild to severe, later in life. A significant rejection in adult life can reopen such old wounds and flood the person with waves of depression. The suicide of a parent is the ultimate rejection. The parent is saying, in effect: “I don’t care what happens to you; I’mgoing to take care of me!” A lady, age 50, had been in depression for more than 20 years. She had found her father after he had committed suicide by a shotgun blast to the head when she was 16. She had her first breakdown at 18 for which she received little, if any, treatment. Subsequently, she married and had two children. At age 30, she had another breakdown and was treated as an outpatient for 10 years and had a series of hospitalizations for the next 10 years. Her condition, among other things, was diagnosed as depressive reactions. Her body was victimized by the depression along with the side effects of such treatment as drug therapy, insulin shock, and electroconvulsive therapy; the result was that she was down to skin and bones, and her husband said she literally could not write her own name. God met her over a weekend and set her free from the reign of the flesh and from a lifetime of slavery to depression and dependency upon the medical profession. Yes, her case was severe; and it began with a tragic experience. Even so, the spiritual resolution confirmed that the underlying problem was of a spiritual nature with psychological symptoms. Today, she would have been diagnosed PTSD.

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But what about some of the less serious forms of depression? A person who is criticized and put down as a child will learn to feel unworthy and guilt-ridden and can easily develop depression as time and responsibilities take their toll. Such a person may have a pessimistic outlook on life which may run the gamut from discouragement to defeat to despair. He may be riddled with fear, guilt, and anxiety and find it difficult to have a daily, vital experience with the Lord. Requests for forgiveness of sin may be continually repeated with no apparent relief, while the continued depression gnaws away at the heart of the home. Insecurity is a way of life and every mole hill becomes a mountain. The lack of spontaneous love and affection in childhood sets the stage for feelings of unworthiness, lack of confidence, and self-rejection. The self-rejection, especially when accompanied by the above symptoms, is certain to culminate in strained interpersonal relationships, if not complete rupture. Let’s look at a summary of the symptoms reported by those who suffer from depression:

1. Physical ailments such as: continued tiredness, dizziness, aching, tighteningof the chest, headaches, constipation, heartburn, sweating, weakness, heart

palpitations, band around the head, etc. 2. Apathy: a couldn’t-care-less attitude. 3. Loss of appetite or eating too much

4. Loss of affection, weeping for no apparent reason, sadness, irritability, hostility, hopelessness, anxiety, fear and worry, poor concentration, indecision, concern about dying, remorse, general loss of interest, etc.

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5. Loss or reduction of sex drive. 6. Insomnia or escaping in sleep, early morning awakening. 7. Gradual loss of interest in personal appearance, perhaps to the point of becoming unkempt. 8. Withdrawal. It goes without saying that conditions such as the above will have a negative effect on interpersonal relationships and the discharge of responsibilities which were previously routine. The day is likely to start off black and stay that way or improve to a nice, even shade of gray! Decisions which had once been made with little thought now take on such significance as to be deemed worthy of a summit conference! Self-esteem is at an all-time low, and self-centeredness runs rampant. Days are filled with pity parties, and nights become an endurance contest. Man can’t help; no one understands; and God seems a million miles away! In severe depression it seems impossible that others around him can just get up and go to work without giving it a second thought. When depression hits, the rest of the family may not be able to understand why a once capable person finds every chore an impossible situation and involvement in the family a thing to be disdained. Rejection in early life may have played a great part in the person’s arriving at this state; and illogical actions and reactions may earn yet more rejection (perceived, if not actual) by family members. The rest of the family may not be so easily convinced that ‘the sky is falling’ and refuse to join the ‘pity party’—however whimpering the invitation! But is it all darkness and gloom? Is it necessary to submit to man’s answers which, in reality, are non-answers? Most frequently, a believer

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in such distress turns to the medical profession before turning to the answers which God provides in Christ. Many are the persons who hear that they have a chemical imbalance in the brain. That being the case, the treatment of choice may be ‘mood elevators’—medications which tend to assuage the chemical imbalance. In a great percentage of the cases, the depression is at least mollifed by such treatment modalities; and both doctor and patient are encouraged by a degree of improvement. Some would say that a positive response in the ‘patient’ confirms the physiological nature of the ailment, but does it? Did the chemical imbalance precipitate the depression or did the depression precipitate the chemical imbalance? That seems to be a moot question among psychiatrists at the present time. In the case of the non-functional lady cited above, God released her from a lifetime of depression over a weekend, and she was off heavy tranquilizers and sleeping medication in a month’s time. This, and many other similar cases over the past 50 years, would give rise to the conclusion that the chemicals were balanced out by the Spirit of God rather quickly! It could also be indicative that the depression caused the chemical imbalance! In the ensuing 20 years, she did not have to resort to the medication because she had been set free from depression. There could be many reasons given for depression which is truly organic in origin such as endocrine dysfunction, hormonal problems, pre-menstrual tension, etc.; however, these are neither as mysterious nor as controversial as the origin of functional depression—that which is psychogenic in origin. Though the root cause of the depression may stem back to early childhood rejection or traumatic experiences, the believer has access to resources in Christ through

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Whom these may be resolved. Though much depression is caused by the guilt of sin, more may be caused by unresolved conflict which predated salvation. Given the truth that the Holy Spirit can and does set a believer free from depression as root issues are dealt with, it becomes apparent that a believer who has not availed himself of these resources has a spiritual problem—ignorance of his resources in Christ and/or refusal to appropriate the victory which is his birthright:

Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6,7).

It was asserted earlier that the root problem is the flesh—the believer attempting to live the Christian life in his own strength (and even asking God to help). Or, more simply stated, it is the self-centered life. Depression is merely one of the more flagrant negative symptoms of a life centered on self. God’s remedy for the flesh is the experienced Cross— the experiential appropriation of the truth embodied in Galatians 2:20:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.

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It is the exchanging of the self-life with all of its inherent weakness for the Christ-life and the joy and victory that only He can give. Depression can very well be the beginning of the end of the reign of the self-life. When viewed from this perspective, it can be seen as a friend of grace which God permits to break our self-dependency. It also means that we must see the futility of depending on the self-strength of others—including the professionals with the latest answers developed by the world system. That being the case, it is expected that, as with Joshua and Caleb, the minority opinion is herewith presented (Num. 14:6-9). Comparatively few of the Israelites crossed the Jordan and appropriated their possessions in Canaan; in like manner, a small percentage of Christians—depressed or not—enter into the rest of Hebrews 4:9,10:

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works as God did from His.

As with the majority of the Israelites, so also with the majority of Christians—

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (Heb. 3:19).

Deliverance from bondage to psychological depression surely awaits the believer who is willing to step into the Jordan and

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deny himself, and take up his cross...for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it (Matt. 16:24b,25).

It will be obvious to all that an article of this length can not provide a formula which can be followed by the reader in finding freedom from depression. I have written it with prior knowledge that professionals from both the disciplines of psychology and theology will regard it as simplistic, and it is! Those who are depressed have been admonished to ‘turn it over to God’; and a seeming repetition of what they regard as a cliche can be all but maddening. Others might advise, “Let go, and let God”. This, too, is true; and, when properly understood, it can be the truth that sets the captive free. Identifying the problem is a logical first step in arriving at a solution. I have posited that the problem is the ‘flesh’ (Rom. 7:18)—not the depression. This puts the answer squarely in the arena of the spiritual, and the reader is referred to my books which provide a guide as to how a believer may find in the Scriptures the truth that the Holy Spirit will use in setting him free.

This I say then, walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16)

It is the walk in the Spirit exchanged for the walk after the flesh which will release from bondage—whether to depression or to other manifestations of the self-life.

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DEALING WITH DEPRESSION John B. Woodward, D.Min.

“I am trapped in my own thoughts. I am a prisoner of my own brain. Today has been very emotional for me. Very bittersweet today. I can’t seem to breathe. I have been sighing all day to get a little relief. My chest feels like its gonna explode. My feelings are holding me hostage and I don’t know how much more I can take. Does anyone out there ever have these days? HELP!!!! I feel so confused.” This plea for relief from depression was posted on the internet. The medical community would interpret this as an illness needing medication; the psychotherapeutic community would interpret such frustration as a call for self-help and improved coping skills. Whereas some cases of depression have (at least) a biological cause, and life skills could be useful, the key issue is an accurate diagnosis. Life isn’t intended to be successful and joyful apart from a vital relationship with our Redeemer. The symptoms of sadness and despondency should prompt the believer to turn his/her attention to God. Most of us have times when we echo the psalm, Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? For the person who is lost, this is a cry to be found. Saul of Tarsus was found by the risen Christ:

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…I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death… (Phil. 3:8-10). For the discouraged disciple, depressive symptoms are a summons to wholehearted surrender (Rom. 12:1,2) and personal identification with Christ by faith: If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:1-4). If you have appropriated your co-death and co- resurrectionwith Jesus, recognize the need for daily abiding. The old patterns of your flesh, the stress of circumstances, and the distractions of the hectic pace of life militate against the contentment of the life hid with Christ in God. What gets your attention gets you! For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death [defeat and confusion] , but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace [victory and clarity] Rom 8:5,6 (ESV).

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Have you been stuck in sadness lately? Take a heart exam: Where have you placed your affections? What channel have you been tuned in to? The law channel or the grace channel? (Rom. 6:14). After checking on health issues (such as nutrition and rest), let the trial of depression finish its work (James 1:4) by leading you back to the Cross and the flow of Resurrection Life. The Psalmist concluded, Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God (Psalm 45:11).

© 2012 by John Woodward. Permission is given to reprint this article for non-commercial use when credit is given.

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LOSING IS WINNING Carolyn Best

I came to know Christ as my Savior at the age of seven. I was afraid I would be left behind if Christ returned or my folks died. Scared and knowing I needed something outside myself I one night came to my mother and she led me to know Jesus. In simple faith and trust, I entrusted my eternal destiny to Him. I really loved the Lord so much that I wanted to please Him and I loved my parents so much that I wanted to please them as well. When I saw some of my older brothers and sisters hurt my mom and dad, I determined in my heart that I would be different. I would live right. And so I began my struggle to “live for Jesus”. Actually I lived a pretty good Christian life. I taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, went out on visitation, attended every church service, and even lead others to know Jesus. In fact, I did so well I thought within myself that I was really good. As a teenager, I dedicated my life to full-time Christian work and began attending Bible College. At first, I was very enthusiastic, but by the end of my last year I knew something within me was missing. And in the meantime I had fallen in love with John Best and married him. I went through a period my last year of Bible college of deep depression that continued off and on for several years.

The Pit of Depression

We moved to Dallas, Texas after college so John could attend Dallas Theological Seminary. Away from everything and everyone familiar, my depression deepened. By the end

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of John’s second year of seminary, I was totally bedridden, depressed, and in tremendous pain from a back injury. I was angry with God. Although I had dedicated my life to Him for full-time Christian work, I had served Him faithfully year after year, I had lived a good life, yet He was allowing me to be incapacitated and in unbelievable pain. Why? Why? Why? I began to doubt the very existence of God. How could there be a God of love? I had done my best and He was rewarding me with pain I could not bear. Relief was all I wanted. So I began my drop into taking pill after pill just to relieve the pain. I lived for the hour when I could take another pill. Without my realizing it or even caring, I became hooked on pain killers. In this semi- conscious state, I lost my desire to live. I wanted out of this horrible joke my life had become. I could not face the solid wall of pain that engrossed me from head to toe. I knew that if something did not happen to help me I was finished. I could not go on like this indefinitely. Lifted Out of the Pit I began to honestly face myself with truth. If there really were a God, couldn’t He help me? In brokenness, I confessed my sin to God. I saw clearly my spiritual pride. Now I could do nothing for God. I had to take from Him. I needed Him. I could not live without something beyond myself to really change me. I humbled myself, admitted my sin, and asked God to transform me. Jesus met me right there in such a real way that I will never doubt the existence of God again. Right in the midst of my pain I had a peace and joy in my heart. I went from deep depression to peace and joy in a short time. Tears of relief and joy filled my eyes time after time. God had performed a miracle within my heart, but He did not

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immediately change my circumstances. My intense back pain continued for months. Set Upon the Rock Now that I have learned more about what actually happened that day when I personally encountered Christ, I have a clearer idea of just howHe changedme. Nevertheless the fact that He had changed me was startling to both me and my husband. John told me that some deep seeded attitudes that I had were changed 180 degrees: for instance, instead of resenting being in Dallas and away from my family, I now really wanted to be there. Instead of fearing being different than the people I worked with, I now really desired not just to be different but to reach out to them with Christ’s love Because I didn’t understand exactly what had happened to me or how I could consistently walk in victory, I for many years had an up and down Christian life. I didn’t realize that Christ could give me His victory in even the small things. I thought He only cared about the big things. Time after time when the pressures of raising children were added to another battle with pain, I would become angry, discouraged, and disappointed in myself. I thought some things still depended on me rather than upon Jesus who indwelt me. How did I finally get to the place where I understood enough of the truly biblical concept of Christian living so I could consistently appropriate it in my life? My Way Established

Let me take you back to 1984. I was once again suffering severe pain, seeking for God to work in my heart

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to touch me once again with His power and strength. John brought home some books by Charles Solomon— Handbook to Happiness and The Ins and Out of Rejection. I read completely through those books in just a day or two and I knew immediately that this explained what I had experienced several years before. Now I knew how to consistently live with Christ as my life; and I knew how to share it with someone else. God has used me both with groups and individuals to help people, and I’ve seen God work miracles in other lives. It’s exciting to know I can’t change anyone; I don’t have the power to change people. But I know Christ has changed my life, and I’ve seen Him change others. ​My ‘Know It All’ Attitude My biggest problem was (and still is at times) my ‘know it all’ attitude. I thought I knew what was best for myself, my family, my church, unsaved people and the whole world as far as that was concerned. But I failed time and time again when the pressure was too great. Jesus in His love was breaking me down. When I clearly saw that I could not make it in my own fleshly efforts, I humbled myself, admitted my sin, counted on my death with Christ to sin and allowed Christ to live His life through me (Romans 6:11). The flesh is still with me and tries to regain control in my life but I have the power in Christ to not just overcome, but to live in real victory. The flesh wants to tell people where to get off, how they should change things to make their life better. In contrast, Christ in me wants me to admit my anger, to be honest about the way I feel. In love, Christ in me wants to point the way to a better life which is never found in fleshly efforts to live right or to change habits, but is only found when Christ is allowed to rule and reign.

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The flesh wants me to always be right and not listen to someone else. Christ wants me to be open to the fact I could be wrong in my personal judgment, that other people may be right and since it is not a matter of moral right or wrong why not try it someone else’s way. Even if they fail I will not criticize the person who is down. The flesh wants me to imitate good works. But Christ wants me to let Him live His life through me and good works will be the natural result. Freed from Fighting The flesh tries to control others. As a child, I was in many physical battles with my older brothers. Over the years I hardened myself to the point of becoming very controlling and mean to others around me. My sister, Linda, who is two years younger than I, recalls one Christmas when we both got identical dolls for Christmas. She says I smashed the head of her new doll and tore off the arms. I had turned from being the victim to being the victimizer at a certain time in my life. I became a fighter. I honestly could not recall these things very clearly until a recent session where I was helping someone else. God helped me to trace this flesh pattern all through my life up to today. I had to face the overwhelming truth of my guilt and shame. But along with this was an overwhelming sense of God’s forgiveness and love. Christ wants me to ask forgiveness and allowHim towork in other’s lives. By the way, I have asked my sister to forgive me and I’ve asked my immediate family who have had to live with me to forgive me. The greatest help, however, is knowing God not only forgives me but He loves me. Praise His name! It is His life that gives me power to allow God’s work to be done. In closing, I used to be a person who thought winning was all important. I played sports to win, I lived my Christian life

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to be a winner. But I lost. All my efforts could not make me a winner. I have found that ‘losing is winning since it turned me around’. I thank Jesus for all the pain and all the suffering because I have found something that is worth it all. I have found Christ’s life, joy, and peace and that is worth losing for!

Carolyn Best Exchanged Life Ministries Texas, Plano TX Abundant Living Resources, Garland TX Carolyn co-founded both of these Dallas area ministries with her husband, John Best

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FROM DESPAIR TO A LIVING HOPE

June of 2017, I was plunged into agonizing suffering involving insomnia, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. In the span of three months, I did everything I could to get better. I read a self-help psychology book, I prayed to God for help, read a lot of the Bible, researched like crazy on the internet for help, was prescribed six different drugs, and was even admitted into a mental hospital for suicidal patients for two weeks. All the help the world had to offer mysteriously had the opposite effect on me; instead of getting better, I grew worse. Towards the end of the third month, I lost 15 pounds and felt hopeless. My depression was so thick and dark that I felt as though I was a dead body walking around. My mind was constantly tortured with overwhelming fears, which increased my anxiety and panic attacks producing chest pains bringing me to my knees in tears throughout the day. Seeing no way out, I reviewed my life insurance plan and thought to end myself, but I was scared before God and my heart broke whenever I thought about leaving my family without a dad and husband. Then, at the end of three months, not knowing what to do, I simply gave up and stopped trying. God brought me to the absolute end of myself. By the grace of God, the next day my depression lifted. But the fearful thoughts, panic attacks, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts still remained. Then, it was at this time the Lord used my dad to give me a book called, Handbook to Happiness , by Dr. Charles Solomon. This book miraculously explained what I was going through, and what God was doing in me. A light switch turned on. I received counseling from Dr. John Woodward from the author’s ministry called, Grace Fellowship International. Along with his and my dad’s help, I started to read and listen to many other resources

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and they all pointed to the same solution: to die to myself and let Christ live His life through me. God showed me through Galatians 2:20, Romans 6-8, and other verses that I died with Jesus 2,000 years ago and that it was no longer I who lived, but Christ who lives in me. But the problem was, my flesh, or the self-life, was battling the Spirit of Christ dwelling in me for control over my mind and body. The only way to hand over control to Jesus was to deny my flesh, and I realized only God could do this for me. Through the intense suffering, Jesus slowly and graciously brought me to a point of complete surrender to Him. God enabled me to give up all my rights, to be healthy, respected, comfortable, loved, appreciated, receive good things, have a family, and have friends. I gave up all my hopes, dreams, career aspirations, goals, what I thought was best to serve God, my right to take my own life, and everything else. Then, the Holy Spirit led me to act on Romans 12:1 and offer myself as a living sacrifice to God to do with me whatever He pleased, not caring whether I lived or died. Then, I made up my mind to stop trying and understand, but instead fully trust God with everything. It was here I was challenged to whether I truly believed in the promises in the Bible or not. I knew if they were not true, I would surely die. Over the months, I wrote down many promises in the Bible that pertained to me and I meditated on a couple of them at a time all day. The three most powerful truths I hold onto are: His grace is enough for me at all times from 2 Corinthians 12:9; He uses all things for my good from Romans 8:28; and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me from Galatians 2:20. I took the promises by faith, hung my life on them, and jumped into the abyss expecting God to catch me. After this revelation, I was still in agony, but now I had hope in God. As I desperately hung onto His promises each day, God started to slowly restore my mind and soul. The first month was very painful, but He started to breathe

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life into me. He started to increase my faith and gave me more hope through His promises. When I rebuked the suicidal thoughts in the name of Jesus Christ, those thoughts immediately ceased to my amazement. So, it was there I realized those suicidal thoughts were not from me, but were from the devil. I was then able to rebuke the fearful thoughts away in Jesus name. That was a crucial discovery. Over the next three to four months, God miraculously restored me. He stopped the anxiety and panic attacks, restored my sleep, freed me from all medications, and gave me peace of mind. He lovingly blessedme through this suffering. I nowknowand believe Jesus died on the cross not only to save me from hell, but He also came to rescue me from hell on earth by being my life. I no longer dare trust myself again, but now strive to live by faith in Jesus alone. This is the “abundant life” Jesus spoke of in John 10:10 and Jesus’ command to deny yourself, carry your cross, and follow Him in Matthew 16:24. Dying to self and letting Christ live through us is something that must be done daily until we are done with this life. This truth is not just for me, but for every child of God. If you are over-burdened right now and face a seemingly impossible situation, I tell you the truth, that burden was never meant for you to carry but for Jesus alone. So I urge you to unload your burdens onto Jesus, and take His promises in the Bible by faith. Your life is not your own for He purchased you with His blood. Your life now belongs to Jesus and He expects to live His life through you for His glory and your complete satisfaction.

Aaron

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WHY ME?

As I walked along life’s pathway With happiness for my god, I ignored the wisened warnings Of those who had likewise trod. My way was filled with darkness, And the path I could not see; I refused to heed the warnings; Yet, my heart complained, “Why me?”

I began to sense a tugging At my being from within, And I learned the Holy Spirit Was convincing me of sin. As my God in sovereign love Continued in His pursuit,

The pain was great; the hour was late, Said my wearied soul, “Why me?” As the sinfulness of my sin Was beyond a doubt made plain, I saw my Savior’s agony As He bore my sins in pain. His look of love, His grace sublime, Compassion and purity— Exchanged for my exceeding sin; My broken heart cried, “Why Me?”

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Alone He went to Calvary As He purged away my sin; Though He carried my sins without, (1 Pet. 2:24) My ‘old man’ He carried within. (Rom. 6:6) Buried with Him and raised with Him, (Rom. 6:4,5) From sin and Self I’m set free; (Rom. 6:7)

Joy, peace, and freedom abound; And my heart yet asks, “Why me?” I’m free to live and free to love As my Savior lives through me; Tho’ Satan assail, he’ll not prevail Since in Christ is victory! Then, as He calls me to serve Him And others, too, are set free; My heart is o’erwhelmed by His grace As it humbly asks, “Why me?”

Charles R. Solomon

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COULD YOU USE A NEW PAST?

Living in a fallen world Gives all a share of pain; When children are abused, There is more to explain. Perfect parents do not exist Until we are all above; While living on planet Earth There’ll be a lack of love.

When lack of love is suffered Children perceive rejection; Though none may be intended, The response may be dejection. When anger is common fare And is vented on a child, The damage sustained within May never be reconciled. Though parents may be the source, A child can accept the blame; The adult life may be lived Out of an attitude of shame. When the cause of problems deep Is buried and escapes detection, Those in a world of hurt See no avenue for correction. The treatment of choice today Involves emotions and the mind; Behavior change is sought While to the Spirit we’re blind.

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The body may be blamed— A chemical imbalance in the brain; The problem is seldom touched Though there may be relief from pain. Many choose to try escapes With symptoms being addressed; Short-term relief and pleasure Allow the problem to be repressed. The longer the problem’s avoided

The more the life is enslaved; The power of sin is deceptive Even though a person is saved. When therapists are engaged And attempt to untangle the mess, The past with its myriad ‘issues’ Is a treasure trove to address! But therapists addressing the past, Like meteorologists and the weather, May discuss it ‘til the cows come home And still not know whither or whether! When we’re willing to own the problem And give the Spirit full sway, He knows all that’s happened And is capable of taking it away. Salvation assures a new future With a present unsurpassed; To a glorious inheritance, He graciously adds a new past! While we were in Adam His past and ours were merged; (Rom. 5:12) Now that we are in Christ, To claim our freedom we’re urged. (Rom. 6:11,13)

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Though the hurts and pain of yesteryear Are facts with which we’re dealing, Losing our lives at the Cross (Luke 9:24) Is the only complete way of healing. Our new life in Christ is Replete with blessing and healing; Not only a new destination But also the Spirit’s sealing. (Eph. 1:13) Our redemption is complete; The Lord Jesus said, “It is finished”. Nor the past beclouds the future, His power is undiminished. (Heb. 13:8) As one called to be an ambassador— A messenger of reconciliation, (2 Cor. 5:21) I invite you to bury your past (Rom. 6:4,5) At the Cross through identification. It’s literally amazing what death will cure, Since resurrection life is its sequel! In healing for past hurts and trauma His life and power have no equal. Come to the Savior and receive His life (John 1:12) In exchange for yours at the Cross; (Gal. 2:20)

Living out of past pain or success Will inevitably cause you great loss. The world, the flesh and the Devil Will taunt you with your past; But when you live out of Jesus’ life Freedom will be yours at last! (Gal. 5:1)

Charles R. Solomon June 30, 1999

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CARE VS CURE

Care and cure are cousins For our help brought to bear, With cure wrought by the Spirit While man renders only care ! While care can bring relief And comfort in the short term, Only cure by the Spirit Will His way and will confirm. While symptoms need assuaging Cure must address the core; Since care gives cure a setback, There’s the need for something more. The arm of the flesh is lacking When we find ourselves in trouble Anything short of spiritual help Will be wood, hay, and stubble! When care has run its course And our lives have hit the wall; The Spirit brings resolution As upon His name we call. Losing our lives to save them (Luke 9:24) Means gaining His instead; The symptoms will lose power As by His Spirit we are led.

C. R. Solomon September 7, 2012

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“I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE “ John 14:6

“I am the way” You are to walk; (1 John 2:6) I’m to be the theme Of your daily talk. “I am the truth” You are to believe; New birth is yours (John 3:3) When Me you receive. (John 1:12) “I am the life” You are to live; (Phil. 1:21) As yours you lose, (Luke 9:24) My life I give. (John 10:28)

C. R. Solomon October 23, 2009

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DON’T “GET A LIFE” — Exchange It!

How do you fix a broken person? Where do you take twisted emotions to get them repaired? The answer, according to Dr. Charles R. Solomon, is the Cross. He says we need to learn how to die to self and find life in Christ by appropriating His work on the cross, as taught in Galatians 2:20. Dr. Solomon calls this ‘exchanged life counseling’. You’ll call it revolutionary—even remarkable. For decades, thousands have found help and healing through Spirituotherapy ® —a completely Christ-centered strategy pioneered by Dr. Solomon. In Handbook to Happiness , the practical principles of this proven treatment are available to help you—or those you love. Dr. Solomon has discovered that the majority of those dealing with emotional struggles can be helped by returning to the cross of Christ and seeing themselves buriedwithChrist in His crucifixion and raised to new life in His resurrection. This book relies heavily on the truth of Scripture to give people hope and encouragement.

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Dr. Solomon’s second book clearly shows the role that rejection plays in the development of mental and emotional symptoms ofwhichdepression is perhaps themost common. The latter half of the book concentrates on the dynamics of Spirituotherapy ® and is a sequel to Handbook to Happiness . It is a book addressed to those who are hurting and includes Dr. Solomon’s personal testimony. It can also be used by those who would help others in a lay or professional capacity. Those who have appropriated Christ as Life will find it most helpful in understanding the role of the will in maintaining victory. The simplicity of the presentation of rejection makes it possible to understand the breakdown of relationships as well as the neurotic symptoms suffered by the individual. The passing of five decades since the publication of the first edition have only served to underscore the value of understanding the impact of a love deficiency in our developmental years. Most who have read the book have found themselves in one or more of the descriptions of rejection in its various forms, whether real or imagined. Some have wept while others

have praised God for the insight gained since the author coined the term, rejection syndrome. It is a timeless truth which may be re- versed by another timeless truth— that of our acceptance in the Lord Jesus Christ, as we find our identity in Him through our participation in His passion (Rom. 15:7, Gal. 2:20)

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Some have fallen into the enemy’s deceptive solution—suicide. Former GFI board member, John Stevens, has written a profound book on this theme entitled, Suicide: An Illicit Lover . The first chapters paint a stirring picture of the allure of this lover and the tragic consequences it leaves behind. The second part of the book communicates how knowing Christ as Savior, Lord, and Life is the answer. The death of co- crucifixion is the door to deliverance! In other words, you can die and stay here!!

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Carolyn’s story is from the book Exchanged Lives! The tes- timonies in this book are the stories of 31 individuals who have experienced, by faith, what God has already provided for them in Christ. These people were once in life-long ruts. Read in this book the stories of their dilemmas and deliver- ance. Order the book Exchanged Lives! or John’s book The Good News of the New Covenant from the website below.

John E. Best, Th.D. Abundant Living Resources www.AbundantLivingResources.org

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RESOURCES AVAILABLE FROM GRACE FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL Books by Dr. Charles Solomon : Handbook to Happiness Hacia la Felicidad Ins and Out of Rejection Del Rechazo a la Aceptación Rejection Syndrome and the Way to Acceptance Handbook to Happiness & You Handbook for Christ-Centered Counseling For Me To Live is Christ Handbook for Soldiers of the Cross The Next Step? A Spiritual GPS The Dynamic Step in Discipleship Revival Now: Dying to Live! Dicipling for Revival—Hope for the Church From Pastors to Pastors: Testimonies of Revitalized Ministries Discpling the Desperate The Wisdom of (Charles R.) Solomon: New Covenant Poetry — Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4 Gems & Jargon The Romans Road Tract Wheel & Line Tract Books by John Woodward: Man as Spirit, Soul, and Body Blessed Reassurance Conquering PTSD The Romans Road Let Us Rise Up and Build...the Church Completing the Reformation

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Media Materials: Exchanged Life Conference Audio CDs and DVDs For Me to Live is Christ DVDs How to Exchange Your Life for a New One DVDs The New Life DVDs Training: Exchanged Life Conference Spirituotherapy ® Workshop Solomon School of Spirituotherapy ® GFI Counseling Institute— Distance Education Program Book by Dr. Phil Jones: How To Exchange Your Life For A New One Book by John Stevens: Suicide: An Illicit Lover Books by Dr. Lee Turner: Grace Discipleship Course Advanced Grace Discipleship Course Understanding Grace Book by Captain Reginald Wallis: The New Life

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GRACE FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL 3914 Nellie Street | P. O. Box 368 | Pigeon Forge, TN 37868

Phone: 865.429.0450 | Fax: 865.429.0144 www.GraceFellowshipInternational.com

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