Purity 431 05/29/2021 Purity 431 Podcast
Today’s photo of a sunrise over a daisy covered property comes from a friend who relocated to West Liberty Kentucky to enjoy their retirement. Like, me they keep their eyes on the sky and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and their photos have been shared by me more than once.
My friend pulled a Snake Plissken, as he “escaped from New York” and he might be pleased to know that the forecasted weather for Memorial Day in his old neck of the woods calls for rain and temperatures 15 cooler than at his new home. While I’m sure they are not looking back in anger, as the old Oasis song goes, I’m sure they are pleased with the new oasis they found for themselves.
Our lives are meant to be enjoyed and sometimes we have to move where we are or change how we think to find a better place.
Yesterday, I discovered that an acquaintance that had grown up in my local community, was a couple of years older, and had worked with me during my recent moonlighting season of life suddenly passed away. It was quite a shock to hear of their death as I had just seen them while out on a shopping excursion a couple of weeks ago and we had greeted one another.
This was the second sudden death this year of someone, I guess you would say, that was from the “neighborhood” of my school district growing up, both of which died not making it to even their mid-50’s. In both cases, they leave behind friends and family that testified of their goodness and love.
While these loses shock us, after you turn forty and continue to age the chances of sudden death increases and the accompanying shock decreases as we see these early losses of life are within the realm of possibility. These sudden unexpected losses can and do happen. We don’t know if we will live to see our retirement. And considering sudden deaths like that of my acquaintance, we don’t know if we will live to see tomorrow.
Memorial Day and the deaths of those around us causes us to remember the brevity and value of life. So as we are moved to remember the departed this weekend, I would encourage you to appreciate the life that you have and the friends and family that you have to enjoy while you live.
Death is a scary thing. But we must remember that Christ came and died for us to take away death’s sting. It is through faith in Christ alone that man can be saved from the wrath of God. So if you value your life, let God know that you appreciate what He has given you. Recognize what He did for you in sending Christ to save us. Place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and live.
We all see death as a loss or a waste but if we put our faith in Christ nothing is lost, nothing is wasted. For Christ said:
25 … "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
After another death in “the neighborhood”, I must seriously ask you: Do you believe this?
If you can’t believe the testimony of one whose life has been transformed though faith in Christ, I ask you to consider the words of Christ Himself.
He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Him (John 14:6).
A new and eternal life is Christ’s gift to all of those who believe in Him.
As you contemplate the loss of life this Memorial Day, contemplate the life that is promised by Christ and choose to take the gift that He paid so dearly for.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
2 Chronicles 19:3 (NKJV)
3 Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God."
Today’s verse chronicles the leadership of King Jehoshaphat who turned the spiritual tide of the nation of Judah from darkness to light as this section of scripture describes his efforts to turn the people back to worshiping the one true God, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Here the seer, or prophet, Jehu encourages King Jehoshaphat that the Lord recognizes the goodness in his heart as proven by his attempts to stop idol worship and his desire to seek the Lord.
While scripture indicates that no man is righteous in himself, the Lord does call it good when we seek to repent of our foolish ways and seek Him.
If there is a heart attitude that I would encourage Christians to take on the disciple’s path of life it would be to foster a desire to continually seek the Lord. We are to seek His presence in prayer and throughout our day by talking to Him. We are to seek Him through the study of His word to know His wisdom. We are to examine our lives and turn from our selfish ways and seek to align our conduct according to His ways.
My first book, Fire on the Mountain, which chronicles the preaching of Pastor Robert Engelhardt, has the underlying theme to continuously seek the Lord. The theme of seeking the Lord is put into practice through Fire on the Mountain’s accompanying Study guide that provides the reader with suggested “Faith Exercises” to facilitate the discipled life and to lead to an experiential knowledge of the Lord to deepen one’s faith. Those resources are unpublished currently but are available upon request by emailing me at email@example.com.
The reason why I push seeking the Lord is because I did, and He has revealed Himself to me in ways that cast all doubts of His truth aside. The Lord encourages us to seek Him.
29:13 (NKJV) says
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
The Lord calls us to seek Him and tells us that if we do we will find Him. This verse is true. So seek the Lord and keep on seeking Him. He is infinite Truth and Love. There is always more that we can learn from Him.
I invite all to mt4christ.org 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:
J. How to Connect with Compassion
Tragically, those who take their lives fail to move from destructive to productive thinking. They fail to realize that now is not forever. They fail to see that suicide is a permanent reaction to a temporary problem.
One fact about life as we know it is that it is constantly changing ... people and circumstances are constantly changing. Just as the seasons of the year change, the seasons of life change. ... Now is not forever! ... Now is not forever! ... In His time, God can and will change your circumstances and—if you let Him—He will change your heart. Like David, you can one day say ...
“To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy .... You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:8, 11–12)
Reasonable Responses to Suicidal Statements
When first responding to suicidal statements, don’t counter—instead, connect. Don’t focus on countering with your points, but rather connecting with the person. Then, through the relationship, you “earn the right” to be heard.
is nothing left in life I care about. It’s pointless to go on living.”
“I know your present pain is overshadowing everything dear to you right now. Tell me, please, what you have cared about up to now that has made life meaningful for you. Are there other things you could care about if your pain were not so great?”
can’t face the future. The only thing to do is just escape it all.”
“I hear your desperation, and I know the future can sometimes seem impossible to bear. Tell me what the future holds that you think you can’t face. And talk to me about some of the fearful challenges you have already faced and conquered that seemed insurmountable at the time.”
will never change. Death would be better than this.”
“I definitely agree with you that there are things in everyone’s life that will never change. But that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out a way to change the degree of their impact on us. Would you be willing for us to talk about the things in your life that you want to change and then explore ways to diminish their control over your life?”
- “I may
as well end it all. I don’t matter anyway.”
“You certainly matter a lot to me, and it hurts my heart that you feel so defeated and down on yourself.
What would it take to make you feel valuable—to let you know that your life has meaning?”
won’t really hurt anyone else. Actually, I’ll be doing everyone a favor.”
“Well, I’m already hurting just knowing you are hurting so badly. It is heartbreaking to me that you feel so uncared for that you actually think no one would be hurt by your death and that you would be doing everyone a favor. What has caused you to come to such a drastic conclusion? What could the people who love you have done that you would feel this way about them?”
done all that can be done. There is only one thing left to do.”
“I can hear your discouragement in your voice, and I am sorry. Please tell me what you are referring to and what you have hoped to accomplish by your efforts. Maybe between the two of us we can come up with another way of looking at it and hopefully gain a new perspective.”
it will be all over, and then I will have peace!”
“You sound really tired and exhausted and just ready to give up. Would you share with me what it is that has worn you out and robbed you of your peace? What does the peace you are wanting look like to you? How did you attain peace in the past, and how did you come to lose it?”
can’t go on living like this. Life is hopeless.”
“You sound like you have really come to the end of your resources and are in desperate need of a drastic change in your life. What is making life seem so unbearable? What has led you to conclude that life is hopeless? What would have to happen for you to have hope?”
too depressed to go on.”
“I know life seems hopeless right now and you don’t feel like you have the strength to keep on keeping on. If I could, I’d pour my own strength into you but I can’t. All I can do is remind you that each day you work to get better will bring you another day closer to conquering the mountain you are climbing. And I can be here as a constant reminder that you are not alone and that you are loved more than words can ever express. Together with the Lord, we can and we will meet this challenge. We will experience ‘the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’” (Psalm 27:13).
will understand. I have suffered long enough.”
“I understand your wanting the suffering to stop. I have no doubt that everyone who loves you hates to see you suffer and would take it from you if they could. But taking your life will bring suffering to them, and I know you don’t want to do that.”
has given up on me, so I’m giving up on me!”
“I realize you feel that you cannot change, and it seems easier to just give up than to keep on trying. But I know everyone hasn’t given up on you because I haven’t given up on you. I’m sure there are others who feel the same as I feel about you. You may not yet be the person you want to be, but you can become that person by taking just one step at a time. Let’s look for a possible step you can take today.”
Unless hopeless words are replaced with hopeful words and those who feel disconnected from others feel reconnected ... those who have lost hope will come to the conclusion that death is the only possible solution to their problems. This is a lie! Satan is the father of lies and the author of such fatal thinking. Ultimately, suicide is a deliberate choice to believe the enemy’s twisted reasoning: that taking your own life is the most reasonable way out. Jesus said of Satan ...
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship