Friday, May 21, 2021

Purity 424: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 Purity 424 05/21/2021 Purity 424 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of dawn’s early light on the beaches of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida comes from a friend’s vacation at the beginning of May.  They and a friend apparently “hopped outta bed and ran across two boulevards and through three hotel pool areas” to see this sight but their photo confirms that they got there!  

I was actually torn between sharing this photo or another one they had taken and almost shared both views today but have decided to use their photos that show a transition from dawn to morning as a way of transitioning us from Friday, the “dawn of the weekend” to Saturday, the “weekend’s morning”.   I think both shots are worthy of sharing and I hope no one gets upset by my decision to do another first on the blog of presenting a sequential series of photos.   

I feel compelled to do this because a part of me is right there with my friend waking up at the crack of dawn to run to the beach.  They didn’t let the fact that they didn’t have beach front accommodations stop them from “getting there”.   I just love the thrill of the excitement that I get to imagine because they shared this one small narrative detail of how they got this photo. The detail tells us of close friends rejoicing in the first moments of their vacation, running through the dark, possibly avoiding traffic, and maybe breaking some rules, to experience the splendor of their friendship as much as the beauty of the rising sun.  In moments like this the cares of the world are left behind as we can rejoice in one another and in the world that the Lord has made.   

So thank God its Friday, not only because the cares of our workday will diminish with each passing moment but thank God because of the friends and family He has given us to rejoice with as we walk, or run, through this wonderful world that He has created for us to enjoy.  

But also remember that as good as our friends and the things of this world can be, our appreciation of them is increased exponentially when we know that they are all provided for us by God and that we are loved and cared for by Him. 

Knowing that we are united with God through faith in Jesus Christ and experiencing the peace and harmony that comes from a relationship with Him is worth getting up in the morning and running across highways and jumping over fences.  Being united with God brings a joy that doesn’t end and gives us a friend who will run with us always, no matter where we go or what time it is.   

So whether you are alone or running with your bestie, make sure you bring God into your experience. He rejoices over you so we might as well rejoice with Him.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Today’s verse tells us the result of living by our faith in Jesus Christ. The result is the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding.

Most people want peace.  People schedule vacations and spa days in their attempts to get it. They are willing to pay for it.  Some people buy candles and incense to try to get it. Other’s buy comfortable furniture to lounge or sleep on to experience it.  Others turn to “comfort foods’ to taste a measure of it.  And while setting the proper conditions in our environments can bring us a measure of peace, none of our efforts to change the circumstances around us will give us the “peace of God, that surpasses all understanding.”

The only way to experience the “peace of God” is to have peace with God. And the only way to have peace with God is to put your faith in Jesus Christ.

The world doesn’t know peace because the vast majority of it doesn’t have peace with God because they refuse to seek it through Jesus Christ.   

The reason our peace with God surpasses all understanding is because we are given the assurance of our acceptance and a new eternal life when we place our faith in Christ. 

When we stand in our identity of who we are in Christ and realize that we are approved by the highest power of all existence, have overcome death itself, and are given the power to overcome the world’s darkness; things don’t bother us so much. With that perspective, the calamities of our daily lives are no longer as troubling as they used to be.   We can find a measure of God’s peace every day.  

So enjoy the peace that surpasses all understanding. Let it guard your mind and heart, your thoughts, and emotions, on a continual basis.  But be sure to let those around you know that you have the answer to peace.

You know the One who gave it all so we could have peace with God. Be a minister of reconciliation, by introducing people to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Assure them that ultimate peace is found in Him.    

I invite all to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 



Today, in continuing recognition of mental health awareness month, we continue to share from Dr. June Hunt’s “Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless “.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

C. How to Evaluate the Extent of the Suicidal Struggle

To determine the degree of despair, asking pertinent questions will give you much insight into the suicidal struggle.

Suicide Assessment

Initially begin with these questions about painful thoughts. ...

The Thoughts

“Do you ever think that life is not worth living?”           

“Do you wish you could go to sleep and not wake up?”           

“Do you think about dying ... or wish you were dead?”           

“Are you thinking about harming yourself?”           

“Tell me more about what you are thinking.”           

“When was the first time you had those thoughts? What was happening then?”          

“How long have you been thinking about taking your life?”           

“Have you ever thought of suicide as the ultimate revenge toward someone you resent?”           

“What has been happening in your life recently?” “What do you fear the most?”           

“How strong have these suicidal thoughts been?” “Have you talked with anyone about these thoughts?”           

Job, the man God called blameless, said in the midst of his painful ordeal ...

“I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life.” (Job 9:21)

The Method

“Do you have a plan now?”           

“How would you hurt yourself?”           

“When do you think you would do it?”           

“Where would you do it?”           

“Do you have access to the gun/knife/intended weapon?”           

“Where is it? Is it locked up? Who can get to it?”           

“Have you already swallowed any pills/poison?”           

“Have you written a suicide note?”           

“Are you taking steps to fulfill your plan at this time?”           

In his despair, Job even said ...

“I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine.” (Job 7:15)

Family Suicidal History

“Do any of your family members suffer from a psychological illness?”           

“Have any of your family members been suicidal?”           

“Have any of your family members taken their own lives?” If yes,

  • “Who? ... When?”           
  • “What were the circumstances?”          
  • “Had they received a psychiatric diagnosis?”           
  • “What impact did that have on you?”           

After a family member dies of suicide, their loved ones sometimes fear that they too will be suicidal. These words spoken by Job could reflect that same fear. ...

“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” (Job 3:25–26)

Personal Suicidal History

“Have you ever attempted suicide in the past?”          

“How many times?”           

“When was the first time you attempted suicide?”           

“What was happening at that time?”           

“What did you do?”           

“When did you do it?”           

“How close did you come to ending your life?”          

“What happened after you did that?”           

“At that time, how much did you want to die?”           

“At the time, how certain were you that you would die?”           

“Afterward, did you feel glad or sad that you were alive?”           

“At the time(s), were you drinking or using drugs?”           

“At the time(s), what was your mood?”           

“Has anything changed since you tried to end your life?”          

“Tell me about any other times you felt suicidal.”           

In severe pain, Job thought back to the past. ...

“Why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?” (Job 3:16)

Medical History

“How old are you?”           

“When was the last time you received a medical checkup?”           

“What was the result of the checkup?”           

“Have you recently had a baby?” (Checking for postpartum depression. If yes, ask about depression after the birth of any other children.)           

“Did you tell the doctor that you felt suicidal?”           

“Have you ever been to a psychologist or psychiatrist?”           

“Did you receive a diagnosis?”           

“Were you prescribed medications?”           

“Are you taking your medication exactly as prescribed ... or not really?”           

Job describes the lack of meaning in his life. ...

“I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.” (Job 7:16)

Spiritual History

“What is your religious background?”           

“Describe your spiritual journey.”           

“How would you describe God? Jesus?”           

“What spiritual beliefs are important to you?”           

“Where are you spiritually?”           

“How do you see your relationship with God?”          

“Are you a member of a church? ... an active member of a solid, biblically based church?”           

“Are you involved in a small group Bible study?”           

“Have you shared your struggle with anyone there?”           

“Is someone there with whom you feel you could share this? Who?”           

“Would you be willing to share this?”           

“What would make you more hopeful about God’s future, less likely to take your life, and more encouraged to keep on living?”           

“Do you think God cares whether you live or die?”           

Though he can’t seem to find the Lord, Job realizes he is not lost to the Lord. ... He realizes the Refiner is testing him so that he will come forth as gold. ...

“He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:10–12)

Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless.

----------------------------more tomorrow------------------------


God bless you all!


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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