Fear and Awe of God even fries depression!

The Fear of the Lord Even Fries Fringes of Depression

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IGNITE March 2024

Greetings, precious friends growing in the fear of The Lord!

I received this book as a Christmas gift from our dear PIT Crew captain, Amy Stoehr. By the sixth chapter, I had called John Bevere’s offices and ordered 200 copies for many of you as partners and leadership teams at The Well and San Marcos Academy. This month, I will share how this study on the positive fear and awe of our God is transforming my heart, renewing my mind, and frying the fringes of depression that had been circulating like vultures in my corrupted thinking.

Awe of God Book By John Bevere

Also, I want to thank one of my closest friends and a founding member of our BOD, Hank Marion, who encouraged me to continue sharing my journey with depression in a spirit of open transparency.

 

Let Us Review My Depression Discovery

1.     Through My Family—

In mid-April 2023, just two days apart, God orchestrated true heart-transparent conversations with both of my precious sons. But, like much of my life, I’d once again been all over the dartboard with over-activity and commitment. Yet, this time, the bull’s eye/heart of the matter came to focus on depression.

Both Nick and Chris have struggled with seasons of depression. And through our conversations, for the first time in my life, I, too, accepted that I have been in seasons of depression these last two years.

The Young-Life Leaders Team!

Then, recently, my precious sister, Jan, sent this revealing text message to my darling bride:

“Hello, dearest Nancy; you must be getting excited about your break away in Florida (Click for full story)!🥰 I think of you so often, knowing how *difficult and stressful* it is for you to try and tell Colin to *”TAKE TIME TO SMELL THE FLOWERS!”*🌸🌷🌻

 I saw it easily when I was there last December. He just doesn’t listen. Getting that bad chest infection perhaps made him realize that he’s not 40 anymore and can’t take on the whole world by himself!! Hopefully, Florida will do you both a world of good. 🌊☀️🌴 I love you lots, xoxo!”

2.     Dealing with Dots and Potholes of Depression—

Over the last two weeks of July, we’d begun slowly, prayerfully, and strategically engaging relationally between Igniting Prayer Action at The Well and the San Marcos Academy. Yet, on this very morning, I found myself facing fringes of depression for the third time. And quite honestly, I was afraid.

Oh, sweet Saints, if you struggle with depression, I sincerely encourage you to embrace transparent friendships with one or two people. And if you are married, I sincerely pray you’ll develop and/or maintain a consistent prayer life with your spouse. Prayer, open transparency, and feeding on God’s word are vital to your overall Spiritual, social, physical, and emotional well-being.

I praise God for my 6 AM prayer walks with Brian Guenther, President of the San Marcos Academy, who prayed the armor of God over us from Ephesians 6:10-19. This routine was followed by my weekly walk/talk/prayer time with my son and pastor, Chris.

My son’s words of wisdom were: “Dad, turn from fear of depression and embrace it, asking God: “Lord, what do You want to teach me here? What am I saying yes to instead of wait or no?”

Continuing the story in January:

After a lovely morning in San Antonio (Click for full story), we stopped at our counseling appointment with dear Jeremy the next day. My Sweetheart joined me for the first time. One of the deep, heart-penetrating questions he asked was, “Colin, do you think you could live for two days without having an impact on a single person’s life? Mediate deeply about this question and answer as truthfully as you can!”

WOW! There was a long silence in which I sensed the Holy Spirit painfully plowing the soil of my heart. [I weep right now as I’m tapping the keys on my laptop to write, reviewing some of the experiences I shared with Jeremy before his probing question.]

At The Well’s young married retreat, just before Nancy’s surgery, Chris had asked us to share a need that we may have that our spouse may not be meeting. My Sweetheart is a very strong and often independent woman. So, when she would say something like, ‘I’ll take the trash out after dinner.’ Of course, I’d say, ‘I’ll take it out, Sweetheart,’ because she didn’t like to ask me directly to do something for her.

Yet, after her surgery, she was forced to ask me to do even the tiniest of routine things. And I absolutely loved those 5-6 weeks when, at her direct bidding, I was able to serve the most beautiful bride in the world with everything she needed and a lot of little things she didn’t really need!

Now, back to Jeremy:

He said, ‘You were having your need for life impact met.’ And THEN, my darling wife began to regain her strength, maneuverability, and independence, asking me less and less to do things for her.

At the same time, and in a much bigger picture, a significant transition was slowly in process. In truth, I realized that God was using these potholes of depression, my daily time of slowly reading and meditating from Waiting on God, and my often vain attempts to wait on God in peace-filled silence to perform slow and sometimes painful spiritual surgery on my heart.

That very same day, as I drove through the gates into The San Marcos Academy, I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, “Colin, we’ve had a problem… It’s a hidden part of your heart.”

As those words came, it was as if He was allowing me to look into a mirror of my heart and see Him use the scalpel of His Holy Spirit to pare back the tissue inside my heart and reveal a hard, black stone of spiritual PRIDE! For the second time in two hours, I began to weep, repenting out loud before our God. Then, to underscore God’s seriousness in speaking to me, when I got into the class, we read the very one chapter out of 33 chapters in C.S Lewis’s Mere Christianity entitled, “The Great Sin,” which we know is PRIDE.

3.     “Three mornings in the FOG with GOD”—

In the Hill Country, staying in the beautiful home of one of our IPA partners, I had three wonderful mornings with God. In those days, I was mesmerized by John Bevere’s crystal clear and heart-transforming call to live in the awe and fear of our God. I slowly and deeply plowed the soil of my heart by studying many scriptures with multiple side references as I mined the word of God through 21 chapters of John’s book, The Awe of God.

God met me with an intense, dense fog all three mornings, and I so richly experienced the reality of His presence. Also, I often thought about how Moses must have felt on top of the mountain with “OUR” Father!

The following is an entry from my Prayer Journal:

“Lord God, as I understand more of what it means to fear and be in awe of You, I repent for my many times of irreverence towards You, oh God. I commit, oh Lord, to engage my heart and mind to grow in the fear and awe of who You are, Lord God. I desire to prioritize the relationships I have in my life before You today and to weigh all ministry opportunities with a Yes, No, or Wait response from You— then the ‘Yeses’ in how they might bring You glory, grow Your Kingdom, and deepen these relationships.

1: First and foremost is my deepening relationship with You, my God.

2: My darling bride, Nancy Ann— “I ask You, Lord, to give me ways to love and honor her that will model my awe and fear of You; thank You, Jesus.”

3: To love and engage intentionally and prayerfully with Nicholas and Tegan—”Thank you, Lord, for their deepening friendship and engagement in their marriage.”

4: To love and engage as a father, first, to Christopher and Ashley, and to serve honor and respect Christopher as my pastor most joyfully and fruitfully— “Thank You, Jesus.”

5: To love, as You love, our precious grandchildren, each individually and as siblings— Thank You, Lord, for Caleb, Ella, and now Liam, being adopted into our family.

6: To serve your kingdom lovingly and joyfully through IPA in our two focused spotlights of The Well and The San Marcos Academy

Since engaging my heart on this fear of the Lord study journey, I praise God I have not experienced even a fringe of those depression feelings!

My deepest encouragement to you is to get The Awe of God book.

For the first 10 requests for The Awe of God book emailed to me at [email protected], I will send the book for free! Please be sure to include your full name and address in your email.

The following are four comments from our IPA Partners:

Al Ewert

“I just completed reading the “Awe of God book.” My heart was transformed more and more each chapter. I have been telling others this book is a must read for those who long to walk deeper with Christ. It is so easy to go about doing His work before having His presence. The fear of God has taken on new meaning for me. When Brother Colin gave it to me, I instantly knew this would be greatly used of God. I carry the book with me. People take pictures to order their copy. Thanks so much for this gift to Ruth and myself!”  

Simon Upfill-Brown

“John Bevere’s book has made me realize that I have been relying too much on the “fear not” verses in the bible and not enough on the “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” verses. Holy fear of God means total obedience to His word— even in thoughts, motives, and intentions. And I need God to get me to the point of total obedience.”

Marcina Simones

“I’ve enjoyed this book from the moment I opened it. But when I hit Chapter 14 (Eternal Decisions), I found myself returning to that chapter for several days. The line— “what we do with the cross determines WHERE we will spend eternity; however, the way we live as believers determines HOW we will live in the forever” really grabbed my heart. He mentions the effects of what we do and also what we DON’T do. As a believer attempting to run the race He’s called out for me, I am inspired to minimize the ‘what could have been’ moments in my life. I want more of Him, more of His plans, His purpose, and His promises every single day!”

Kyle Vann

“I’m a little more than halfway through the book. I really like his examples and also his end of the section questions: 1) Passage, 2)Point, 3) Ponder, 4) Prayer, and 5) Profession. 

I am starting to understand the difference between “holy” fear and regular fear. One I run to, and the other I run from. This book is helping me be more in awe of God and experiencing His grace and presence.

The section on Jim Bakker was excellent. Bakker said he’d always loved Jesus but lost his fear of God! They should never be separated, but some people run to Jesus and away from God. They have created a “ knockoff” Jesus and not the God of the universe.”

Thank You, Precious Partners & Prayer Igniters!

Lastly, we extend our deep and heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have reached out in prayer and have faithfully supported God’s continuing work through IPA.

Perhaps you’ve never, or haven’t for some time, made a gift to Igniting Prayer Action. In either case, will you pause now, be still, and ask God if He might have you make a financial gift to IPA today?

Freely Click Here to GIVE!

Thank You & May God cause you to grow in your understanding of what it means to live in the fear of Him!

Chkk-Chirrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Colin

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