God Will Give This Every Time You Ask! | Biblical Greek Words for Wisdom, Ask, Generously | sophia, aiteo, haplos

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Have you ever noticed that when you ask God for insight, or for wisdom about a situation, that he often gives it to you fairly quickly? What are some problems or situations that you could use some of God’s insight to help resolve or manage?

In numerous situations,  I’ve found that insight or an answer from God has been given pretty quickly after asking Him for it – not always – but most of the time.  I learned something this week about the underlying Greek in a verse in James 1, which caused me to have some, “Yeah, that’s true!”  moments.

In James 1:5, it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Then the next part sounds difficult. It says, in James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

Now, today, we sometimes use the words wisdom and knowledge interchangeably; but in the Bible, there are two words -sophia for wisdom and gnosis for knowledge - and they were not interchangeable. Sophia, or wisdom, always meant having specific knowledge or insight for the purpose of good decision making.  So here, the verse is saying – “If anyone needs insight, or needs good advice or direction based on insight -  then let him ask of God.”

Now the phrase “ask of God,” is unique because there is more than one word in the Greek that can be translated as ask, and in this verse, the underlying word for ask is aiteo (eye-tah’-oe).   Aiteo is used when someone is asking for something that they know they are supposed to get because they need it, and the person they are asking has what is needed. For example, it is used when a subordinate asks their supervisor for something they need for the job, and they are aware that the supervisor has it and will give it.  For example, as an educator, if I know that I need a certain textbook but I don’t have it, and I know my principal has the books in the book closet; I know that if I ask my principal for the book, that the principal is going to give it to me. In this situation – I lack something I need; I know where to get it; I do have to ask for it, but I know that I will get what I ask for because - it’s just a given. It would make no sense that my principal wouldn’t give me the book I need in such a case.  That is the type of ask that aiteo is.  We don’t have any word like aiteo for ask in English.

What James is telling us is this: When we have any problem or situation in which we need insight from God in how to solve, how to navigate, or how to handle -  we are told to go to God, ask for it, and know that we will receive the insight we ask for.  God has all the wisdom, and he knows we need it, and yes – it’s a given that God will provide the needed insight or wisdom.  The verse in James then goes on to say that God will give “generously and without reproach.”  The underlying word for generously is the word haplos, and it means that God is ready and willing to give us the requested wisdom, or insight, without holding anything back. The word haplos, also can mean that God will give it readily, simply, or clearly.  Finally, “without reproach” means that God, of course, is not going to criticize us or find any fault with us or be exasperated with us for asking for His wisdom.

Isn’t that amazing and fantastic?  So understanding about that word aiteo helps us to understand the next sentence in which James says, “one must ask and not doubt. “ It’s not so hard to ask without doubt now, with the understanding that we are asking in an aiteo way, in a way where we know the insight we are asking for will be given readily, generously, and clearly.

So what problem or situation do you have right now, today, that you need wisdom or insight from God?   Ask Him! I mentioned before that one of the “ah-ha’s” that I had - when I was studying the underlying language in this passage - is that I know, based on my own experience, that all of this is true.  When I have gone to God in close prayer, and  asked God for wisdom, for insight, in a number of different situations, I have nearly always received  the insight I requested readily. It usually has not taken long for the answer or the insight to be given.

 Do any of you have similar experiences?  Some of the things I have asked for insight on include:

 What does a very difficult passage of scripture really mean?

 I’ve asked for insight on how to best get bills paid on those months when there is more going out than coming in.

I’ve asked for insight on relationships with others – including co-workers, acquaintances, and even extended family members.  Do you know how much heartache we might save ourselves if we ask God to give us insight into our relationships?  When you start making a new friend or maybe start dating someone new if you are single –  you can pray, and you should pray early on - for God to give you insight on to whether or not it is going to be a good and beneficial relationship or friendship for you.  If you are in a relationship with someone who is not right for you, or who is trying to take advantage of you – God will give you insight if you ask Him for it.  You do have to ask Him for it; just like I had to ask for the book I needed that I knew I was going to get.

And remember, when you ask for God's wisdom or insight, He will give it to you readily, generously, clearly, and simply. In other words, God is not going to respond with a cryptic or mysterious response that we have to figure out or decode what He gives us. 

Some other areas I’ve asked for God for insight include how to best feed myself or exercise when I have needed to lose a lot of weight for health reasons. There were so many options and diets and exercise plans – and asking Him for insight made a difference. In fact, my first book published was about my experience with asking God for help with my health and my weight.  The book is still available at Amazon and can still be read for free with Kindle Unlimited. It’s simply titled Weight Loss for Christians, and I’m the author, Sherry Elaine Evans.  

When you understand more fully James 1:5; then James 1:6 also falls into place. Here it saysthat we need to ask without doubting, otherwise we are like are just being thrown around by waves. And this is understandable now, that if we are asking in an aiteo way, there is no doubt, because we understand our position with God, and we understand his nature and promise in that He will always give us His wisdom or insight when we need it and ask Him for it.

So what is something you need God's wisdom or insight in on now, today? I encourage you to go pray about it. Go to him in prayer, to your room, or to wherever you go to be alone with God. Ask him to give you insight, direction - to give you His good advice on the situation. I do believe as the Scripture says in James that He is ready and willing and will give that to you without holding back and without criticizing you. He will give you His wisdom. 

What Does the Word Prayer Mean to You? -Greek Word for Prayer | What Is Prayer Teaching | How to Pray Sermon

What Does the Word Prayer Mean to You?  Greek Word for What Is Prayer - How to Pray Teaching and Sermon  


How would you define the word prayer? Most of us would say prayer is simply having a conversation with God, or talking with God. To that I would respond – it’s deeper than that.  Saying that prayer is merely talking or conversing to God is true, but I think that it is a dumbed down definition of prayer. If conversation is all prayer is, then we wouldn’t even need the word prayer. We could just say, I’m  going to  talk to God, or I’m going to speak with God, or I am going to speak my wants and desires to the air.  

The Greek word underlying the word prayer, is proseuche (proe-soo-hey’). In this teaching, we will be focusing on three Greek words related to prayer with God: 1)  pros,  2) euchomai, and 3) thelema 

The Greek word underlying prayer is proseuche, and the word proseuche comes from the words pros and the word euchomai. Now the first part, pros is a preposition. It's a tiny little word, but it is a very specific little preposition. In nearly all cases when it is used in the New Testament, it it used to mean “to move or to go towards” a person, and it implies going towards to be close to the person. This is specific, and it is not used in the Greek when the someone is going or traveling to a place. See in English, we say, "I am going to my sister, or to see my sister;" or "I am going to the post office." It’s the same little preposition “to.”  In Greek, there are two prepositional words for moving to or moving towards:  pros – which implies going to a person to be with that person.

For example, when Jesus says,  "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." The word pros is used. When Jesus went to John to be baptized,  he went pros John.  When Jesus taught, the crowds went pros him.  They were coming to him, closely, so he had to go out into the boat and push out to teach from the middle of the lake in order to put some distance between himself and the crowds. When the sick came to be healed, they came pros Jesus.  It’s a different Greek preposition when someone is going to a place. 

 So do you now see why I am getting so excited about this little preposition?! The first syllable in proseuche means to go as one person goes to see or meet with to another person. It doesn’t mean to go to God as you go to a library. It doesn't even mean to go to God like you would go to church.  It’s come to God as one person to another person, implying coming close to God.  Remember, when Jesus says come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, it is this word pros, and when we come pros, Jesus will give us rest.

Now – the second part of proseuche, of prayer comes from the Greek root word euchomai, and in the religious sense we translate it as pray. However in the regular, non-religious Greek word, euchomai meant "wishes" It meant wish in the sense of having a wish, or having  a want or a desire for something. So now we see that prayer, proseuche, in the Greek literally means -  you as a person are bringing your wishes to God, and this implies closeness, like sitting side by side or speaking face to face.

Now, I could stop here, but I want to share one more perspective. It relates to the third word,  thelema. Thelema is the Greek word underlying the word will, like how we use it in the will of God, or God’s will. But there is one other way that thelema is translated in other places in the New Testament – it is also translated "wishes!'

Are you still on this road with me? Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer and in His own prayer at Gethsemane, modeled what proseuche within the thelema of God is.  Jesus goes to God, as one person goes to another, to talk closely with him, sharing His wishes while also releasing His wishes, wants, and desires to be in line with God’s wishes.  That is prayer.

When we begin treating this way – when we 

1)take time to go to God as one person goes to visit or sit down with and give our focus to another person; and when we 

2) share our honest wishes to God; and then, most importantly,  when we end that time that we are spending with God with 

3) an honest statement of acceptance that we want to exchange our wishes for God’s wishes for us….that is the powerful prayer that accomplishes much.

 Proseuche and Thelema. Going towards God to be with Him and bring him our wishes; and thelema – allowing and even desiring to exchange our wishes with His wishes. That is the full picture of prayer.

The word  prayer is not just talking, not just conversing.  It's not just speaking our wishes out to impersonal forces. It is proseuche - taking your wishes close to God as one person to another, and then releasing your wishes and exchanging your wishes for God’s thelema, for God’s wishes.

Friends, that's all I have for this teaching. I want to close again with a recommendation. If you have not already read it, my book Closer to God: SimpleMethods, Starting Today.  In that book I share how my  mindset changed and how my daily practices changed in order to find closeness with God. It’s a short and simple read. It’s a little bit of a “why to,” but it more appropriately is a practical “how to.” It is available on Amazon,  and you can even read it for free if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

For the next two to three months, I will be sharing more of these “gems” from the biblical Greek. So subscribe wherever you watch or listen, either to the podcast or the Youtube channel, both are titled and can be found through a google search for Gospel Life Learning with Sherry Elaine. You can also enter your email in the form below to get a monthly email letting you know of any new epsiodes released during the month.

Goodbye for now, and spend some time in proseuche within God's thelema today, tomorrow, the next day, and going forward. 

- Sherry 

What is the Greek Word for Joy in the New Testament? The Pursuit of Happiness and the Bible | John 15:11

What is the Greek Word for Joy

Fourth of July | Pursuit of Happiness

The 4th of July, Independence Day, is the day the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, agreeing that we are all given inalienable rights by the Creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As a Christian, I wondered, “What does Jesus teach us about the pursuit of happiness?”

The Bible doesn’t really use a word that is equal to the way we typically use the word “happiness” today.  Instead, the Bible relies on the Greek word “chara,” which is usually translated as “joy.”  Now the word “chara” comes from the word “charis,” which is translated as “grace” in English.  This word chara, as it is used in the New Testament, is not a feeling we can create within ourselves.  I believe that chara may be best explained as a state of “soul-satisfaction” that is given to us by and through God’s grace. 

This word chara is used many times in the New Testament, but for the sake of time, I want to focus in on John 15, because here, Jesus teaches us how to gain chara, how to gain this joy.  In this chapter, Jesus encourages us to “abide” in him –  which means to be with him throughout life. Jesus said that he will abide with us; and we are encouraged to abide with him. Jesus knew that he was physically going away soon at the time that he explained this to his disciples. There is no doubt that Jesus was speaking, not of a physical, tangible way of being together. He was speaking of a spiritual way of being together.

Why did Jesus encourage his followers to abide in him? He gives the answer in John 15:11. Jesus basically says, I am encouraging you to abide in me so that “my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  Let’s look at that again, remembering that the word chara is the word that underlies the word joy; and chara is a sense of a deep, soul-satisfaction that is profoundly deep and transformative. Let’s look at it again,  Jesus encouraged us to abide in Him, to spend plenty of time with Him. Why did he encourage this? Because when we spend ample time with Jesus, that is how we receive His chara in us, and how our chara becomes complete.

Over 10 years ago, I challenged myself to take on a new endeavor. I decided I wanted to o attempt to spend as much time with Jesus as I could, while also still having to manage all the things we all have to do – working full time, running errands, doing chores, parenting, paying bills, and more. I learned that we can do all those everyday things and still keep our minds on Jesus. I share my story and the strategies that I implemented to be able to do this in my short book titled Closer to God: Simple Methods,Starting Today. You can find the book on Amazon, and you can even read it for free if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited.




3 Strategies to Practice Giving Your Anxieties and Worries to God | 1 Peter 5:7 | Ephesians 6:18-20

 How do I give my anxiety to God? How Can God Help Me with My Anxiety?


Today, I'm going to share three strategies that anyone can use to help control and regulate their anxiety from day to day. This is part of the "Emotions Series" on this blog, blogcast, and on the Gospel Life Learning YouTube channel. 

We all know that Philippians 4 says,  "Don't worry about anything...Pray about everything." And scripture also tells us to cast all our anxieties, cast all our fears to the Lord - because he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7). For many people, those are two of our favorite verses. It is so comforting to know that is what God wants for us,  and that is one way the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ wants to help us. 

But is anyone else wondering, "How? How do I do that?"  I'm going to give you three strategies, and two of the strategies you can do quickly almost anywhere. The third strategy -  you could probably also do almost anywhere but it takes a little bit more structure. In the context of what I teach, I teach these strategies (without the spiritual aspect) to the people that I work with—my students, my teens, their parents—but here,  I am able to teach these anxiety management strategies that I've learned through my training in psychology.  I can also combine them with the spiritual part,  because when we use these techniques together with our spiritual helper, the Holy Spirit, it just takes an even deeper root. 

The first strategy is probably one that you've heard: visualization. Often times we're told, when we're stressed or even in pain, to visualize one of your favorite places, your relaxing vacation place, and just visualize that you are there. Now what I do, what I recommend relates back to the verse to  "cast your anxieties to him."  What I do is - I actually visualize all of my worries (in a large bag). I visualize all the little things going on in my head - what might happen later this afternoon, all the things that I need to get done and I don't think I have enough time to do it, waiting for someone to get a report back from the doctor—all of these things. I visualize that they are in a big laundry sack, and that is my laundry sack of my worries and anxieties, and it' has become heavy. When I visualize, I actually visualize that Jesus is standing right there, like four to five feet away from me, and I just toss it. I toss that bag to him, and he catches it, and he smiles and says thank you, I'll carry this load from here. 

That is the first strategy. When I am going through a really stressful week or a stressful time, I will actually do that each morning before I leave the home. I will do that visualization exercise where I'm tossing my anxieties; and it does make a huge difference for me. So go ahead and try that! 

The second strategy is through praying in the Spirit , or sitting still with God and just asking God to send his Spirit to pray on our behalf. In prayer, say, "I'm having a lot going on in my mind, I'm having a hard time even focusing on this prayer. I just ask that you bring to my mind the power of the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit will intercede for me." I've only been doing this for about the past year, and it's been pretty tremendous. It's a way to worship and to have the Spirit intercede for us. Sometimes I can sit there for as long as seven or eight minutes, allowing him to evaluate what's going on, to take care of it, and to take my worries. Praying in the Spirit is basically sitting still with God, thinking about things of God, and allowing the Spirit to intercede for you while you are requesting for it to pray on your behalf. That's the second strategy. 

The third strategy is to have a time and a place to worry and to have a worry journal for that time to worry. Now, some of you are saying, "Wait a minute, we're not supposed to worry. We're supposed to reduce worrying, and now you're telling us to purposefully worry?" Yes! What this does is it actually puts worry into its place. It puts worry into a box, into the notebook. So as you're going through your day, when you become aware that you're starting to get into an anxious spin, you can say, "Oh, I'm going to write that down at 8:00 and I'm going to stress as much as I can about it at 8:00."  Then you sit down each day at 8:00 p.m. or whatever time you've set, and you just set that timer for 10 minutes and you just scribble it out—all your worries, all your concerns, everything that's got you going - you put it down on that paper. 

In a regular counseling session without the spiritual component, that's all you would do, and that would be pretty effective in helping to keep you from being worried all day long. But once again, with the spiritual aspect, you take that journal, you close it, and set it maybe even on top of your Bible. Then you do the visualization task again, and you can visualize that you hand the notebook of worries off to God, saying, "Thank you, God, I'm handing this off to you." It becomes even a more powerful strategy.

 Now regardless of whether you do the spiritual handing it off to God or not, which I hope that you do, the strategy is effective because as you go through your day, you will have times when you aware that you're starting to spiral a little bit. When you realize it, you can say, "Oh, I'm going to write that down at 8 o'clock, and I'm going to spend as much time as I can, up to 10 minutes, worrying about that at my worry time at 8:00." Eventually, what happens is - you get to 8:00 or whatever time you've set, and you don't need a full 10 minutes. Maybe you only need 8 minutes, then maybe you only need four minutes, and eventually you get to that worry time and you realize, "I don't even really need to worry." At that point, you can turn your worry journal into a prayer and thanksgiving journal, and you can still hand those thoughts of gratitude off to the Lord.


How can we pray without ceasing? Is this instruction from the Bible just rhetoric? Should we even try? To learn simple strategies to grow closer to God in our daily routines and rhythms, read Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today by Sherry Elaine

Find the author's books at Sherry Elaine books on Amazon

Follow on YouTube Gospel Life Learning with Sherry Elaine

Acceptance and Commitment Strategy for Christians: Addressing Life's Ups and Downs with Evidence Based Strategies and Biblical Examples

There are 3 ways to access new blogposts: 1) Listen at the Gospel Life Learning podcast; 2) Read here on the blog; or 3) Watch the corresponding video cast on the Gospel Life Learning YouTube channel:


In the previous blogcast episode, I talked about the simple strategy that Paul demonstrated in Phillipians .  Do go back and review that when you are able if you didn’t read or listen to that one yet.  

Then today – I will share the second strategy, and then I will wrap up with a biblical example.  This second strategy is called Acceptance and Commitment, and it can be applied to any negative emotion, but especially depression, anxiety, fear, and issues of doubt.  It’s different from cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive therapy is good, but it’s actually hard, and it can be hard to implement on your own. It's hard because you have to be aware of your thoughts, and you often need someone trained to help you pull up the thoughts that you are having. You also have to identify the not-always conscious scripts that are running in the background of your mind. Then you have to learn how to reframe those thoughts more positively, and then you have to practice thinking those new thoughts. It’s very effective and there is more research on cognitive behavior therapy than any other therapy strategy; but it is hard. What I mean is - that it is definitely not always intuitive. So, I love this Acceptance and Commitment strategy, and even though it was developed by secular psychology, it is clearly demonstrated by what several biblical characters modeled for us.


The first thing has to do with Acceptance. This means taking a step back from your day and all its activity,  and just being aware of what you are feeling. For example,  “I’m starting to feel really down. I’m starting to feel tired,  starting to feel unmotivated.” Then you take time to accept those feelings. You don’t have to talk back to the thoughts. You don’t have to say to yourself, “Oh,  I shouldn’t be feeling tired and sad or unmotivated or scared.” You just accept it. You think about it. You validate it. These feelings are real for me at this time. I am feeling down.” You allow yourself to sit with the negative emotion as long as you need to.  You tune into the indicators that God has given you through your emotions.


Here is the next step, the important, transformative step. After you give yourself time to feel all of those feelings - and actually think about the negative thoughts you are already having - then you move to the next step – a very powerful step. You tell yourself, “Yes, I feel this way, and I accept that I feel this way; and I am still going to choose to act within my value system anyway.”


That is it. Well there is actually more to it than that. There is a whole acceptance and commitment therapy training that’s been developed around this strategy.  I’m just explaining the very surface of it. If  this hits home with you and you want to learn more you can read up on it or find a Christian counselor or therapist who practices Acceptance and Commitment therapy.  Again, you take the time needed to accept that negative thing that you’re feeling. You let yourself feel it.  You allow yourself to experience it.  We are not trying to squash the feeling. We are accepting it, acknowledging that it exists. Then after we have accepted it and acknowledged it; it breaks the power over our behavior. That is when we consciously decide,  “I’m going to choose to act or respond in a way that is congruent with my values.” 


One of the best examples of this in the Bible is the Psalms of David.  When you look at his psalms, David writes and sits with his emotions and his feelings first. When he writes,  “I am downcast in my soul!,”  he is acknowledging his emotion first. Then after he has taken the time to explore the emotion and the thoughts around the emotion; he then flips from acceptance to a commitment. He moves on to “And I still choose to believe in God and to trust God. I still know that there is nothing better than having God with me.”


There are more biblical examples: Elijah, Solomon, Hannah, Mary, Paul, and even Jesus - all give us examples of acceptance and commitment. I will have to save those examples for another time or for the book and journal I am currently working on.  I find it fascinating that the Bible models this for us beginning 4000 years before psychology began developing its theories. It's even more interesting to me that the process of exploring and developing those theories led right back to methods exemplified in the Bible by David and Solomon and Elijah.


When applying these strategies I’ve shared through this Emotions Series, you will maintain better mental health, and you will also strengthen your identity and values. So yes, this is something to use and to teach your children and teens. When you choose to act within your values, you actually reduce what psychologists and counselors call “cognitive dissonance.” Do you know what cognitive dissonance is? It is when a person becomes aware that the way they are behaving or the direction they are heading, or the life they are living or the thoughts that they are thinking are not in line with their true values.  Cognitive dissonance is not always at the forefront of our awareness, but from a spiritual perspective it is a disconnect between our physical selves and our spiritual selves. I believe you might even say it’s a disconnect between our physical selves and our souls.


So review this and use these strategies, and teach them to your pre-teens and teens. They will enjoy the process too, and they will learn that it feels good to make a decision in line with their values. They will also learn, “When I make a decision that is not within my values, it doesn’t feel good; but when I decide within my values – it feels good!” As I talked about in the blogcast episode just before this one -  Do we want natural dopamine or do we want “blah” and sadness and spiraling emotions?


Before I close, I again want to remind you where you will find a link to my books. One book which I want to highlight is titled Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today.  If you enjoyed these teachings on very simple strategies that can help you take charge of your emotions and your mental health; then you will also like the book title Closer to God: SimpleMethods, Starting Today.  A link to the book may be found at the website sherryelaine.com, gospellifelearning.com. The paperback and kindle versions of the book may be found on Amazon, and the Kindle version may be accessed for free if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited.

Finally, if you have missed any of the writings or episodes in the "Emotion Series," you may find a list of all the episodes, in the order they were released here:

The Emotions Series on Gospel Life Learning


Sherry Elaine

Positive Psychology Points Back to the Bible | Three Good Things | Paul and Philippians 1

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Have you ever wondered how Paul was able to demonstrate resilience and encouragment, even while in prison?  For one thing, of course, Paul had the Holy Spirit with him. Yet Paul intentionally did something else which directly contributed to his resilient spirit.  Paul wrote Phillipians around 60 or 62 AD, but he clearly demonstrated a decision to think in a certain way – and today, so much later, we know that what Paul did works, and that there is even neuroscience that proves it works.  In the 1980s, a field of psychology began studying resiliency in people. For the people in the world who don’t have significant mental health issues, who don’t struggle with depression or anxiety - what do those people do that contributes to their uplifted state?


In Phillipians 1, Paul is writing from prison.  In his writings, he remains positive and upbeat, as he talks about the good things that have happened in prison; and he mentions what he has been able to accomplish in prison.

Let me say that again:

First, Paul stated some good things that had happened while he was in prison, and

Second, Paul states some things  he had accomplished, even while in prison.  

  It’s been some months, and  I need to finish up the emotion series with a talk about  depression and anxiety within the framework of our theology of emotions. We are practicing identifying emotions and using them as indicators.  We view the emotion as an indicator, and then we decide how we are going to respond or what actions we will take. It sounds easy…but how, right? It can be hard in the moment. However, by using simple strategies, we can practice responses that are within God’s direction for us.  Eventually, those responses become positive habits.


A few statistics - at least 3 in 10 adults in the US have an actual clinical diagnosis of depression. 18% of US adults are currently being treated or are on medication for depression. Additionally, nearly 1 in 10 US adults have had a depressive episode within the past year. (This is data from 2023).  So if you are not affected, then someone close to you is.  For our youth and adolescents, it’s even more of a concern. A survey taken in 2019 indicated that 40% of our youth experience persistent depressive feelings or feelings of sadness. And anxiety is even higher than that.



So these strategies can be used daily – but most importantly – when a person begins to feel the “early slide” into depression. If you have experienced it, you know exactly what I’m speaking of.  It’s feels like a fog of heaviness, and it starts to creep up on you, and you know that a depressive episode is right at the door. It’s like you can feel it starting to seep in.  That feeling is your indicator to definitely start using some of the strategies that I’m about to share.  Secondly, even though all of my professional training was done in a state university, I always ensure that what I teach or recommend is in line with my theology and with biblical teachings.


Anyway – I am trying to keep this short so let me get back to where I was.  In order for us to use our emotions for good, we have to be aware of those emotions. We have to take time, at least a couple of times a week, to think about our own thinking and state of being. What have I been feeling this week? What have I been thinking? When you are doing that kind of check in with yourself, and you start to notice, “Oh, I’m starting to drag. I’m starting to not want to get up and go to work. I’m starting to not want to get up and even do fun things.” Or, “I stress ate a whole box of cheese crackers or chocolate chip cookies last night.” Those are the signals to look for, and then immediately activate this first simple strategy. 


I have been sharing this strategy with everyone I meet at work and with all the parents of the youth I work with. It is so simple, and it is so effective, and it even has research and neuroscience backing it up.  Here is what to do – when you feel that you are starting to slip into the “blahs” of depression. Then begin this process – near the late afternoon, evening, or near the end of each day – make yourself identify and name aloud at least two good things about the day. First, you are going to identify and name something good that happened that day. It doesn’t matter how small of a thing it is. Name something good that happened, even if it is the tiniest thing. Second, name at least one thing that you accomplished that day. Again, even if it is the smallest of all accomplishments.


Start there and start small if necessary. If you are interested in the evidence behind this very simple strategy – it comes down to a neuroscience finding. Paul modeled this, and research shows us this is so effective.  When we cause ourselves to think and reflect when we cause our self to think and reflect on our day in such a manner. When we choose to think about something good from the day in those two ways, we literally give our brains a shot of dopamine when we make ourselves have those types of reflective thoughts.  Try it anytime you are feeling a bit down, and you will realize that you actually feel  better after doing the exercise, even if it’s small, the dopamine still hits.  It works; it is a quick, easy, effective research-based potentially life changing strategy that anyone can do anywhere.


I am closing out for today, because I try to keep these under 15 minutes. My next post is going to be another strategy very similar that is also coming out of the research. It’s simple to do, and it is not cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s actually easier than cognitive behavioral therapy, and I will be sharing that next, along with people like David who definitely modeled it for us.


Now finally, if you’re finding these very simple strategies and tips to be helpful, I think you’ll also like a book that I wrote that has very simple, doable strategies to help you with your walk and staying closer to God. It’s called Closer to God:Simple Methods, Starting Today. It’s on the website and it’s on Amazon, both the paperback and Kindle version – the Kindle can be read for free if you subscribe to Kindle unlimited. You can also find the links to the books at sherryelaine.com or at gospellifelearning.com. We will see you in a few – bye!

How Does Israel - Hamas War Fit within Biblical Prophecy in 2023? The 3 Most Important Things to Know for Tribulation

Listen Here: Or read most of transcript below:

It is now one week since Hamas attacked Israel, and I have taken some time to gather my thoughts. I am not a scholar of biblical prophecy, yet I have read and followed many of the scholars for years. Over the past 5 months,  I have been systematically studying through the book titled Book of Signs by Dr. David Jeremiah - which I highly recommend. He has a study version published that is great for small groups, which is the one I am currently doing (and I have almost completed) with a small group.

 Now, I have wondered what should I share with my readers and listeners at this time? And it came to me that I need to share with you all what I have shared with my own children (who are now young adults).  About 9 years ago, I taught a class to teens (ranging from 6th grade to 10th grade), It was a class that incorporated some basic knowledge about biblical prophecy -  and this is what I taught them to be the three most important things to know about biblical eschatology, or prophecies about the 7 year tribulation and end times. I realized that what I am to share with my readers and listeners are these same things. 

Before I get to the three main things to know, I want to back up just a little and admit that biblical prophecy does not have a consensus on how it is to be interpreted. I can share with you a few big events that we have already seen occur, and I can share about some events that we should continue to watch for. I am referring to the big events that are clear in the prophecy. 

 First, the prophecy related to Israel that has been fulfilled was that the people of Israel would be dispersed and then become a nation again.  This happened in 1948 when Israel was made a nation again, in the area of it's homeland, with it's language and customs intact - after having been dispersed for over 1000 years. Many younger adults aren't aware of this prophetic history. Israel as a nation did not exist for over 1000 years until 1948 when after WW II they became a nation again. I'm not going to go into all of the history of how that happened, but if you have time to research it, its fascinating and explains what is happening and why there is no peace over there.

 So what to look for next? There are a few things to look for and watch for. First, we want to watch for the continued convergence of end time signs. Again, I won't go over those in detail so get Dr. David Jeremiah's book if you want to read more on the signs.  But watch Israel, because based on biblical prophecy, Israel is going to expand their land. Another prophecy to look for is that there will be a peace agreement with Israel. It will be a new peace agreement, or perhaps it will be an extension of one already begun. It will be a significant peace agreement when Israel and the world finally seem to collectively take a sigh of relief that the long sought for peace has been accomplished. 

 However, not long after that peace agreement is signed, the main broker of the peace deal with Israel will break their part of the treaty, and Israel will be invaded by a nation from its North. Many scholars teach that  Russia will likely be involved or Turkey or both (both are north of Jerusalem). There is so much more in the Bible prophecies, but those are the 3 key geo-political signs to be on the watch for. 1)Israel expands its land; 2) Significant peace agreement; 3) Invasion of Israel from the North.

Now - what do we need to know to be prepared for anything? In my opinion, these are the three top teachings from Jesus and the Bible that I taught my own children when they were teenagers (they are now young adults) regarding these prophecies:

1) When Jesus returns as Messiah, we will know.  No one will have to tells us, "Messiah is here," or "This person is the Messiah, or that person is Jesus."  If someone has to tell you or explain to you why "this person is the Messiah," then you know whoever they are referring to IS NOT Jesus nor the Messiah." This is important to know because a false leader will arise who will be able to perform miracles and signs; and many - even the majority - will be fooled into following the false world leader, who is an antichrist.  Jesus taught in Matthew 24: 23-27:  

"Then if anyone tells you, 'Look, the Messiah is here,' or 'There he is,' don't believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and  perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones. See I have warned you about this ahead of time."  

So if someone tells you, 'Look the Messiah is out in the desert,' don't bother to go and look. Or 'Look, he is hiding here,' don't believe it! For as lightening flashes from the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes."  Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby,  so these signs indicate the end is near." (NLT)

2) The second thing to know is that there will be a period of severe global tribulation lasting 7 years, and there may or may not be a physical pre-tribulation rapture.  The worst of the tribulation will surround Israel and the Middle East, but we will all be affected globally. Bible scholars are not in agreement over the rapture and whether or not it will occur physically, nor when it will occur if it does. There are three main theories 1) the church will be raptured just before the tribulation period begins (pre-trib rapture); 2) the church is raptured in the middle of tribulation period (mid-trib rapture); and the church is not raptured out of the tribulation (post-millennial or post trib).  My own view is that I hope for a pre-trib physical rapture,  but I plan realistically for no physical rapture. Specifically I consider that  "the rapture" may be something that occurs within our spirits, but not physically. In other words, I think that God's people could be here physically for the tribulation; but God will pour out his Spirit on us so strongly that we are strengthened in our spirits to such a degree that we will have inner peace and a deep awareness of His presence through it.  

With all this said,  the important thing to know is that in the middle of the tribulation,  the Bible prophesies that the whole world will be required to take "a mark;" and nearly everyone alive will take the mark, because they will be required to take it in order to participate in society, and in order to buy or sell anything, including basic necessities and food.  Most scholars have long held that "the mark" could be a microchip inserted either in the right hand or wrist or forehead.  It is important to refuse to take this mark in your hand or forehead.  By this time, things will be so bad globally that most of us will be wishing for death or for the afterlife anyway.  So if you get to a point where you must take "the mark" or die - don't take the mark on your hand or forehead or at all. Because on the other side of death for those who believe in Jesus - is eternal life with Christ.  Here are the passages of Scripture about this:

Revelation 13:16-17: "He (referring to the false leader, "the beast," the antichrist) required everyone - small and great, rich and poor, free and slave - to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name......

Revelation 14: 9-10:  "Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." (NLT)

3) The third thing to know is that there is only One who has promised to save us, and we can trust His promise to save us.  He can save us, either through these tribulation times or on the other side of it - and our savior is Jesus.  Today is the day to accept Jesus as Lord of your life. It is a free gift of salvation, and Romans 10:13 says that, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  If you need to know more how to accept the spirit of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior,  I made a Tik Tok video yesterday, and I also made an instagram post - you can see on the platform of your choice by clicking on one of the links below:

Please view, read, save, and share this post!  Yes, some will think you are crazy or rude to share it; yet others will be saved by the Lord, choose to return to the Lord, or choose to draw nearer to God because of it.