More God, More Peace

By Jerry Newcombe Published on April 28, 2024

These are crazy times. How does one retain sanity in these tumultuous days? Read the world’s bestseller — and read it often — and it will give a great deal of comfort. Indeed, many of our great American leaders have found comfort and solace in the Word of God.

Change Your Life

Want to change your life? Here’s a simple practice, which I have engaged in fastidiously for the last four years or so. Every day, in addition to other personal Bible reading and studying, I read the chapter of Proverbs for that day. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, just as many months have 31 days.

As I began writing this column on April 19, I read my corresponding Proverbs for the day and came across Proverbs 19:23: “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” But many are troubled today because they have rejected God and the church.

Don’t Go To Church? It Could Be Bad For Your Mental Health

A recent article in theeditors.com  revealed that not going to church may be bad for mental health. Hmmmmm. Interesting. Church attendance goes down. Mental health problems go up.

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The author cites a Harvard  study which suggested that declining in church attendance between 1991 and 2019 could account for nearly 30 percent of the rise in depression among teenagers over the same time period. He also notes that a 2022 review of 215 studies (each with more than a thousand participants), showed that “weekly religious service attendance is longitudinally associated with lower mortality risk, lower depression, less suicide, better cardiovascular disease survival, better health behaviors, and greater marital stability, happiness, and purpose in life.”

In other words, more God, more peace.

The author adds that “plenty of mental-health clinicians I know see in religious-service attendance some of the habits and attitudes that can help to combat depression and anxiety. There’s the supportive community, the face-to-face interaction, the getting out of bed and out of the house, the sense of purpose and meaning, the expressions of gratitude and humility.”

The Kids Are Not Alright

In a blog for Psychology Today, Harvard epidemiology professor Tyler VanderWeele notes the downturn for today’s youth:

Relatively speaking, young people are not doing as well as they once were. They report being less happy and less healthy; having less meaning, greater struggles with character, and poorer relationships; and less financially stable compared to their older counterparts. The differences in well-being with age were, in fact, much larger than they were for gender or for race. Some of the issue may also pertain to a crisis in meaning.

Life can be painful. Life without meaning and purpose can be unbearable. But life has meaning because there is a God, and He has revealed Himself in creation and in the Holy Scriptures. Through the years, many noteworthy Americans have allowed themselves to be shaped by the Bible.

Shaped By the Word

George Washington read the Bible so frequently that many of its phrases come out in his speeches and writings. Appendix 2 of the book I cowrote with Peter Lillback, George Washington’s Sacred Fire, demonstrates this. If you were to cut Washington, he would have bled Scripture.

When Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Polly, died in 1804, his other daughter, Martha,  remarked that she found Jefferson “with the Bible in his hands seeking consolation from the Sacred Volume.”

Abraham Lincoln read the Bible all the time. It comes out in his speeches, too. Chiseled in stone at the Lincoln Memorial are some of them, including his Second Inaugural Address. That speech alone has three direct Bible quotes.

When he received a gift of a Bible, the sixteenth president noted, “All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong.”

Ronald Reagan once said, “Inside the Bible’s pages lie the answers to all the problems that mankind has ever known. I hope Americans will read and study the Bible.”  

The Best Invitation Ever

Despite those who would reject virtually anything Christianity would have to offer, Jesus’s invitation to those who will listen still stands:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Even in our highly secular age, multiple studies show that good things come from walking with God in prayer, through His Word, and by attending church.

 

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of Coral Ridge Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. He has written or cowritten 33 books, including (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and (with Dr. Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire.

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