By Bill Byrnes

Illustrated by Rich Gowran

As a tree gives fruit; healing words give life, but dishonest words crush the spirit.             Proverbs: 15:4

As we start another Holiday season, many start their annual ride on an emotional roller-coaster that includes, among other feelings, discouragement, hopelessness & depression. At the least, this mix can be confusing–at the most–devastating!Holiday-Stress

A lot of us who have ridden on this “highway to Hell”(myself included) have found a way off. It’s marked by a sign where “exit” is spelled with five letters: BIBLE! There’s no self-help here; no “…isms” or “…oias” for you to contend with. It’s a very simple, no-cost first step. Open a Bible to the Psalms.

Also referred to as “songs”, the Psalms consist of 150 short passages that have several themes .Many describe God’s reaction to the “afflicted” heart–his anti-depressants (so to speak). Probably the most familiar is Psalm 23: “…lay me down in green pastures…”; “…He is with me when I walk thru the Valley of Death…”, etc., BUT there are several others just as comforting.

So, for any of you about to start your ride on the “Holiday roller-coaster”, take a brief exit & pick up some “anti-depressants”– for example, try some portions of Psalm 37. Your prescription is ready! No insurance necessary!

Psalm 37:

1-9:       Don’t be upset because of evil people. Don’t be jealous of those who do wrong, because like the grass, they will soon dry up. Like green plants, they will soon die away. Trust the Lord and do good. Live in the land and feed on truth. Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want. Depend on the Lord and he will take care of you. Then your goodness will shine like the noonday sun…Don’t be upset when others get rich or when someone else’s plans succeed. Don’t get angry or upset; it only leads to trouble,

11-13:      The meek shall inherit the earth and will enjoy complete peace. The wicked make evil plans against good people. They grind their teeth at them in anger. But the Lord laughs at the wicked because he sees that their day is coming.

16:18:26-28:      It is better to have little and be right than have much and be wrong. The Lord watches over the lives of the innocent, and their reward will last forever. Good people always lend freely to others and their children are a blessing. Stop doing evil and do good so you shall live forever. The Lord loves justice and will not leave those who worship him.

39-40:   The Lord saves good people, he is their strength in times of trouble. The Lord helps them and saves them; he saves them from the wicked because they trust in him for protection.

          And, like most other prescriptions, there are several additional treatments. Don’t forget the always popular (and comforting) Psalm 23. Perhaps, you can top-off your doses of Psalms 23 & 37 with some Psalm 91. They’re all good! Better still, your prescription has unlimited refills–no side-effects! Shop anytime–at your friendly neighborhood Bible–open 24/7 for the rest of your life! Just head for the aisle marked “Psalms”.


                                                             PSALM 91- Excepts

 2-9:   “The Lord is my refuge and my fortress. I will say to him ‘You are my God and I trust you’.  He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you can hide. His truth will be your shield and protection. You will fear no danger at night or any arrows during the day. Don’t be afraid of diseases that come in the dark or illnesses that strike during the day. At your side, 1,000 people may die but you will not be hurt. You will only watch and see the wicked punished! You have made God your protection–your place of safety.”

10: 14-16:    “The Lord says ‘Whoever loves me I will save. Whoever knows me, I will protect. They will call me and I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will give them a long full life, and they will see how I can save’.”



By Bill Byrnes 

Part 2:  Don’t Leave Home Without Him 

“And deliver those, who through fear of death were all their lifetimes subject to its bondage.”Hebrews:2:15


Being afraid of death makes us part of the largest club in history. But, the opening quote from Hebrews really addresses the notion that we cannot be afraid to live! Now, let’s look at a quote from Ephesians: 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Now, we have it!Being afraid of death should only make us afraid of going thru life not attending to our natural “gifts”  from God which he has given us to do good works in the name of Jesus Christ; gifts and tasks which He ordained for each and every one of us before our birth! In short, maybe we’re afraid of dying because we feel we haven’t lived the type of life we should have lived to fulfill that “higher calling”.

Now, I won’t go off on any tangents about what your higher-calling might be–that’s your business. I mentioned that only as one possibility. Haven’t most (if not all) of us ever been confronted with a choice of doing what we “have to” do, as opposed to what we would like to do? Which path do you choose?

Well, I’ve “been there-done that”. And, I remember the mixed emotions I felt regarding my choices about taking the “Christian path”, or the profitable one.

Each of us will discover (if we haven’t already) how these paths will intersect. But, until that time, we must all trust in God (and Jesus) to show us the way. Despite the ups and downs, twists and turns, our only certainty is that we cannot understand the workings of HIS schema.  

          Don’t let your faith be compromised by hard choices! Remember–we must trust in God’s plan for each of us! Don’t forget that Christ’s resurrection means that there is hope for each of us. Despite the fact that we all must die—something far greater comes after the sting of death–and it will last for eternity! As a famous poem once concluded, “…you’re gonna’ be a long-time dead…” .

Regarding dying, then, we must face up to the only question that matters: Do we accept and believe that Jesus Christ IS our Lord and Saviour? As long as we believe the answer is a resounding, “YES”–our fears about death should subside. And, when we leave home each morning, we shouldn’t depart with fears about not coming home. It should be like theT.V.  commercial’s “punch-line”:  “Don’t leave home without it”. Only our punch-line would be: DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT HIM!   

John:14:6: “Jesus said unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one cometh to the Father but by me.”



Author’s note:   A special thanks to Pastor Ted Max at Vale Community Church, Bloomington, Il., for his sermons on “Phillipians”. Those sermons inspired me to write this 2-part series. For more of his excellent work, go to