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Showing posts with label Suicide Prevention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suicide Prevention. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2022

Not Today. Ending it All on Father’s Day – Purity 762

Not Today.  Ending it All on Father’s Day – Purity 762

Purity 762 06/20/2022 Purity 762 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a Sunset over Anclote River Park in Holiday, Florida comes to us from a friend’s recent family vacation to the Sunshine State that they shared on social media back on June 3rd.  

Well, as the sun has set on another Father’s day weekend and we face another work week, I am contemplating how good life is even if we are facing problems and the fact that as long as we keep living, and preferably keep walking and talking with God, there is hope.  

Yesterday, I rejoined my parents, my son, and a couple of my brothers and their significant others at Red Lobster in Kingston for a Father’s Day lunch.  My parents and my son were actually delayed getting to the restaurant because local authorities closed the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge for an hour while police negotiators successfully prevented a man, who climbed over the railing of the bridge a number of times during their talks, from committing suicide. (https://midhudsonnews.com/2022/06/19/kingston-rhinecliff-bridge-re-opened-after-police-prevent-suicide/) True story.  

My brother Tommy’s finance stated that they saw the man had pulled over his vehicle on the opposite side of traffic and had climbed onto the pedestrian’s walkway. He was upset and screaming into a phone when they had crossed the bridge.  We may never know the reasons behind what caused this man to threaten to take his life but the fact that yesterday was Father’s Day and the fact that this man was on the phone yelling at someone could cause us to imagine that broken interpersonal relationships may have been part of the story.    

The good news is that this man got the help they needed, and it makes me glad that there are people who serve our community to protect and serve the lives of its citizens.  The sparse report indicates the situation was precarious and while I can only speculate about the methods used to convince this man to come off this bridge I would imagine that compassion and the assurance of hope was given.  

What do you say to someone who wants to kill themselves?

I am not consulting any resources here but if put in this situation: I would try to emphasize that there are alternative solutions to this man’s problems other than suicide. I would probably share the fact that I too had daunting problems in my past that made me consider the same choice but then I would tell them how because I decided to live I was able to find a way out of those problems. Because I decided to keep on living there was hope and  one day the pain of those problems was alleviated. I would point to the fact of my current condition as proof that we can work through the problems that face us and life goes on, if we keep living. I would point to myself as evidence that people cared about this man.  Even if all his relationships were broken, I would assure them that I cared and that there was hope, and help they could get, if they chose to live.

As a member of the Mobile Crisis Assessment Team in Columbia- Greene Counties , we are called to give hope and show concern to those in crisis.  In every situation our team is called out to we have to assess the situation, engage the person, and assure them that there is help available to get them through whatever problems they are facing. Thankfully, all the calls I have gone out to thus far on have been successful as our team showed up and were able to refer the individuals to the resources they needed or at least develop an immediate plan that would keep the person safe.

In these situations, our experiences and our stories can be used to give people the hope they need to make the decision to keep going in life.  

As I also teach Christian Discipleship, I also encourage Christians to keep going in their faith life, and I use my testimony of how I was born again in 2010 and have since overcome some major problems and have enjoyed some very significant victories because I not only decided to keep living but decided to follow the Lord’s ways and learn from the wisdom of His word.  I teach what I have learned and share my experiences to encourage Christians to be a follower of Jesus Christ with the way they live their lives because I know that the decision to live as a disciple of Christ contains the best solutions to life’s problems and is a pathway that is paved with, and leads to, the fruit of the Spirit.

If you truly want peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, patience, and self-control to define your life I would encourage you to get the help you need from the Lord and to consult the resource in which His wisdom is contained: the Holy Bible, the inspired and inerrant word of God.  

This morning my Bible Study took me to:   

Psalm 119:25-32 (NKJV) which says:
25  My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
26  I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes.
27  Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wondrous works.
28  My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.
29  Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously.
30  I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.
31  I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!
32  I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.

 

It's a small section of scripture but in it, we learn that we can be both revived and strengthened by God’s word.  Although there are lying ways all around us and our souls can feel heavy, the psalmist knows that the Lord can help them through His word and so they make the commitment to cling to it’s wisdom and to run in it’s courses.  

 

It’s Monday, and undoubtedly the new work week will come with its problems and we could feel heavy just contemplating the fact that another work week has begun, but let me encourage you as long as you are living there is hope and if you make the decision to make the commitment to walk in the Lord’s ways by applying the wisdom of the word of God to your life, you can have peace as walk through the problems of the day.  

 

When you walk with the Lord, you are never alone and when you study His word you will never lack for wisdom, inspiration, and hope.   So keep walking and talking with God and while your at it share the hope that you have and tell others what the Lord has done for you. 

 

Your story can give someone the hope to carry on. You story can bring the dead to life and introduce someone who thought there was just no way into a relationship with God where there is always a way.  

 

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men.

This morning’s meditation verse:

Psalm 31:7 (NLT2)
7  I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.

Today’s Bible verse tells us what we need to hear when we contemplate a relationship with God. God not only sees our troubles but cares about the anguish of our souls. 

When we believe the lies of the enemy that there is no God, we are deceived into believing that we live in a cold, heartless, and dangerous universe where no one know that troubles we see and thus no one really cares.  

That’s a lie. God is omniscient and omnipresent. That means God knows all and is everywhere all at once.  That means he knows about your situation personally and that He is always available to call on and to lean on in times of trouble.  

When we seek the Lord, we will find Him, And in today’s verse the psalmist testifies that they have discovered that God’s love never fails and they can rejoice in it. They declare that the Lord has been with them through their troubles and anguish but because they know God’s love personally, they can rejoice.   

So seek the Lord. Walk and talk with Him everyday through Bible Study and prayer and you will be assured that He knows all about your troubles and that He can help you through them and somehow, because you know His love, you can rejoice!  

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

3

Astrology

Horoscopes appear in our newspapers every day. although many people have been reading them more for their entertainment value than as a basis for decision making, motivations are changing. Western culture is showing an increasing fascination with the stars and how their influence is felt in day-to-day situations.

In the first century virtually no one was skeptical about the major tenets of astrology. From the highest social classes (including the Caesars) to the lowest classes, everyone believed the motions and positions of the heavenly bodies directly corresponded to the course of events on earth.

Astrological belief and practice varied from a quasi-scientific approach to an “animistic” perspective on the stars; that is, the heavenly bodies either represent or actually are spirits, gods and supernatural powers. In the Greco-Roman world the bulk of ordinary people believed the latter. This fact is important to know in order to understand the background of Paul’s readers. The terms that Paul used for the principalities and powers and what he had to say about them was especially relevant to people who believed the luminaries populating the heavens were gods and spirits.

Cosmic Sympathy: A System of Correspondences

Astrology was an accepted profession in antiquity. Learned astrologers were called “mathematicians” (mathematikoi) by the Greeks. These professionals used their skill in charting the daily positions of the sun, moon, planets and stars. They recorded the data in complex tables (ephemerides), which plotted the relative positions of the heavenly bodies. Based upon this information, they could extrapolate the future relative position of the stars for a given point in time. People believed a skilled astrologist could use these charts to predict future events on earth with the same precision that the next eclipse could be forecasted.

Astrology distinguished itself from astronomy by assuming there is an inextricable relationship between movements in the heavens and the unfolding of life on earth. Astrology was based on a world view that saw the universe as an integrated whole: what affects one part affects the other. This “cosmic sympathy” enabled the astrologer to give inquirers fairly detailed insight into what they could expect in the future. The astrologer was essential for his or her role in interpreting the stellar phenomenon and relating it to the concerns and situations of people.

Ironically the various ancient (and modern!) systems of astrology were actually based on two faulty assumptions about the universe. First, astrology presupposed that the earth was the center of the universe and that all of the celestial bodies revolved around this one motionless constant suspended in space (a geocentric universe). Second, the ancients based their division of the heavens on an errant spherical understanding of the universe in which the planets and stars all seemed to move on one plane. This belief enabled them to divide the heavens into twelve, 30-degree houses, which became the basis for the zodiac. Each house of the zodiac was further divided into three decans for a total of thirty-six, with each constituting a span of 10 degrees. In popular belief both the zodiac and the decans were deified and thus regarded as quite powerful over the affairs of life.

The zodiac, together with all of the foundational astrological beliefs, is quite ancient, dating back centuries before the time of Christ. In ancient Babylon astrology flourished, playing a significant role in all succeeding civilizations and generations. In its Chaldean (Babylonian priestly) roots astrology was closely attached to religious beliefs. In fact, the figures of the zodiac were linked to Babylonian deities. By the time of the New Testament era astrology held an integral, unquestioned part of the peoples’ world view throughout the Roman Empire.

The Relentless Grind of Fate

Among many of the well-educated people of Paul’s time, the philosophical and religious outlook of Stoicism was popular. In fact, after Zeno founded Stoicism in Athens early in the third century B.C., the great Roman philosopher Seneca expounded it during Paul’s lifetime. The Stoics believed a single divine principle permeated all of life. This divine principle was often identified with Zeus, the one divinely powerful spirit who governed the mutual relationships of all of life in a way that results in cosmic sympathy, one part affecting the other. For the Stoics, the movement of the stars directly affected the fate of people on earth.

The Stoic writer Manilius, also a contemporary of Paul, had an unswerving belief in astrological fate. In his writing he lauds the Egyptians for passing on what they had learned about interpreting the movements of the stars. He writes:

They [the Egyptian priests] were the first to see, through their art, how fate depends on the wandering stars. Over the course of many centuries they assigned with persistent care to each period of time the events connected with it: the day on which someone is born, the kind of life he shall lead, the influence of every hour on the laws of destiny, and the enormous differences made by small motions.… From long observation it was discovered that the stars control the whole world by mysterious laws, that the world itself moves by an eternal principle, and that we can, by reliable signs, recognize the ups and downs of fate.

While Stoics were convinced some of the details of fate could be known ahead of time, adherents to this mode of thought were equally convinced it was unalterable. Fate must run its course. Each person should therefore accept what happens and view it as part of the mysterious outworking of fate. The secret of happiness in this life is to quit worrying about the future. Manilius advises, “Set your minds free, mortal men, let your cares go and deliver your lives from all this pointless fuss. Fate rules the world; everything is bound by certain laws; eternities are sealed by predetermined events.… No one can catch Fortune by praying against her will or escape her if she comes close to him. Everyone must bear his appointed lot.”

Some astrologers assumed a dual role for themselves in dealing with people, something like an astrologer-psychotherapist. Knowing that most people were either unwilling or unable to accept their allotted fate, Stoic astrologer Vettius Valens felt responsible to tell his clients the truth about the future and help them face up to it.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 48–50.

 

Monday, May 30, 2022

You are Not Alone - Remembering the Dead, Caring for the Living - Purity 744

 


You Are Not Alone - Remembering the Dead, Caring for the Living – Purity 744

Purity 744 05/30/2022    Purity 744 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a solitary figure standing next to a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Ontario at dusk comes to us from a friend who took an unexpected turn after a late day hike at Beechwood State Park yesterday and found themselves visiting nearby Sodus Point where they captured this scene.  

Well, It’s Monday again, but unlike most Mondays, today most of us will not be heading into work this morning because today is Memorial Day, where our country will honor those who not only served in the armed forces for our country but who paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying while serving.  

To make clear the purpose of this holiday, it should be stated that in a sense it is not a holiday for the living, it is for the dead.

As much as we respect and admire those who are actively serving, like my step-daughter Rachel in the Marine Corp, or those who have served previously and who are still alive, like my Father, Matt, my brother, Michael, and my brother in law, Steven, or who have gone now on to eternity, like both of my wife’s grandfathers, Memorial day is “a day to honor those who were killed in or as a result of participating in battle.”   

That’s pretty specific so I am sharing the link to article on History.com on the blog today (https://www.history.com/news/memorial-day-veterans-day-differences-quotes) that makes that distinction and shares some historical facts of why we have the day off today.  

So even though we may enjoy the day off by having a barbecue or doing other fun activities, and we should because I believe the Lord gave us life to enjoy it and live it “more abundantly”, the reason for the today’s holiday is a solemn one.

We are to remember that people have died in the service of our country and that our freedom in America has wasn’t a free gift. Our freedom in America was obtained and is maintained because there were those who were willing to fight and die for it.   

So although we could and should thank those who are actively serving or who once served and are now veterans, or want to fondly remember those who once served, but survived, and since have died, that is not what today’s holiday is for.

If they understand the meaning of the holiday, active service personnel and veterans are not expecting your thanks today, although I am sure they would appreciate them. 

No today’s holiday’s specific purpose is to remember the horrors of war and the lives that were lost in them.  We are to remember the dead, to try imagine the cold hard reality of what it must have been like to die in a war, and to deeply appreciate the lives that were sacrificed for our nation and the lives we enjoy in freedom because of them today.  

While this day casts our imaginations back to previous wars and conflicts where American lives were lost, it also comes with the hope that such horrors of the past are not repeated but paradoxically the holiday is celebrated with the certainty that as long as there is evil in the world the sacrifices of lives in the support of freedom will continue.  

So today, my family and I will take some time to honor the lives that have been given but will do so as part of an organization that seeks to support the men and women who could possibly be remembered next Memorial Day.  

My Father In Law, Cliff Seguin, is retired but dedicates his time serving as the Chairman of Operation Adopt a Soldier (https://www.operationadoptasoldier.org/) which is a non-profit organization that he founded in 2003 that provides support to U.S. Soldiers stationed worldwide by sending care packages through the generous assistance of volunteers from the Saratoga, Albany, Queensbury, and Clifton Park, NY areas.    

I am proud to be marching in the Glen Falls Memorial Day Parade todayto remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice as part of an organization that supports U.S. service men and women who are actively serving our country.

While remembering the dead by placing flags on fallen service member's graves at Saratoga National Cemetery yesterday, Operation Adopt a Soldier also serves the living.

Operation Adopt a Soldier sends care packages to men and women who are actively serving and also work with returning members and their families during deployments and after the service members return.

The very real problem of feelings of isolation while serving and the difficulty in adapting to life after military service is reflected by the fact that military suicide rates are at an all time high. (https://www.uso.org/stories/2664-military-suicide-rates-are-at-an-all-time-high-heres-how-were-trying-to-help) I am sharing links on the blog today for the USO that documents how they are trying to help and from veteran’s crisis line that veteran’s in crisis can use to get support. (https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help-now/military-crisis-line/) because even though today’s holiday is meant to remember the dead, we should always be obedient to Christ’s call to love our neighbors as our selves  and care for the living.

 Years ago, I visited the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco where I visited a memorial near the bridge that honored all four branches of our armed services. A tour guide or something at the memorial explained that for many the Golden Gate Bridge was the last thing in America that many service men saw before being shipped out overseas and how many of them would never return.  At the time, the thought of it gave me chills as I realized how exciting, scary, and lonely you could have felt when being shipped out never knowing if you would come home again.  

I shared today’s lighthouse photo because I want everyone to know, whether you are serving, have served, or have never served, that our lives are precious and that there is a God that loves and cares for each and every one of us and that no matter what situations you may be going through or how you may feel this Memorial Day, you are never alone and no matter where your travels take you, you always have a home in God’s kingdom.   

While we could be distant from friends and family at various times in our lives, God is always with us and available to give us strength, guidance, and love. For anyone serving in the military or who is dealing with their own personal battles in life, God word tells us in:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)
6  Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

In this passage of scripture, Moses who couldn’t go with them, was encouraging the nation of Israel, that the God who led them through 40 years in the wilderness would continue to be with them as they entered the promise land. Even though the prospect of going into unknown territory without knowing if they would live was scary, the Lord spoke through Moses to tell the Israelites, and us, to not be afraid and to always trust God’s presence in His people’s lives.  

Our God is faithful and ever present and when we accept the new life that He has available through faith in Jesus Christ, we become his people and we can realize just how faithful and present He is.  

So if you haven’t already, make the ultimate sacrifice with your life by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and making the daily decision to trust in and follow the Lord for the rest of your days.  

Our lives are precious, and God doesn’t want us to lose them. Through faith in Christ, He made a way to live with Him forever. 

In Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV) Christ said:
24  … "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  

We find life eternal in Christ alone. So on this day that is dedicated to those who have died in battle, let’s honor their memory but let’s learn the lesson of the brevity of this life and make sure that we are fighting for the new life and ultimate freedom that is found in Christ alone by showing the love of God by serving the living and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ while we are here on earth.

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 58:11 (NLT2)
11  Then at last everyone will say, “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.”

Today’s Bible verse reminds us that God is a just judge and those who live for Him are rewarded.     

As awesome as that Bible verse is, I would remind everyone who seeks the wisdom of the word of God to always check the context of scripture before you draw conclusions from it or share it with others.

Those so inclined could see the mention of “reward” in this verse and decide to boldly “stand on the word” “to name and claim” their “reward” and try to force the Lord’s hand to bless them or to  “speak into being” the object or circumstances of their desire.      

To avoid the “prosperity gospel/ word of faith” heresy, I just like to remind people that God is in charge and that while He may choose to bless our prayers with fulfillment, we, while made in God’s image, are not “little gods” and we do not “speak things into existence” and that we should not take Bible verses and try to twist them to do our bidding.   

Today’s verse is a perfect example of the importance of knowing the context of scripture.   Psalm 58 is a short psalm that speaks of man’s wickedness and the psalmist’s desire for the Lord to avenge them by severely punishing their enemies!  

The preceding verses give us an idea of the theme:   

Psalm 58:9-10 (NLT2)
9  God will sweep them away, both young and old, faster than a pot heats over burning thorns.
10  The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked.

Whoa?!? Rejoice as both the young and old are swept away! Let’s wash our feet in the blood of the wicked!  

Yikes! So be careful in cherry picking verses that speak of rewards. We have to know what the word says and use it appropriately, and not think too highly of our selves to think we can have the Lord do our bidding by saying the “right words”.

But today’s verse and psalm 58, does give us hope, that evil will be punished and the righteous, those who are made righteous because of their faith in Jesus Christ, the only way we can be righteous, will be rewarded.  This can happen circumstantial through God’s providence as he influences world history to move men to stop wicked men and governments on the earth, but it is also promised when Christ returns to rule and reign.  

When love comes to town, there will be hell to pay. For when the God who judges justly sends Christ back to earth, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess the Jesus Christ is Lord. 

For the wicked, those who reject Jesus, they will confess that He is Lord in defeat and bitterness as they will be separated from God for all eternity in a place that is described as outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

But those who have put their faith in Him, they will declare Jesus Christ as Lord triumphantly and rejoice. When that day comes, the saints will echo the sentiments of today’s verse in the NKJV that says:

Psalm 58:11 (NKJV)
11  … "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth."

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

Alive to Christ and Dead to America

Judson’s conversion was not immediate. But now it was sure. God was on his trail, like the apostle Paul on the Damascus road, and there was no escape. There were months of struggle. He entered Andover Seminary in October 1808 and in December made solemn dedication of himself to God. On June 28, 1809, Judson presented himself to the Congregationalists for missionary service in the East.

He met Ann that same day and fell in love. After knowing Ann Hasseltine for one month he declared his intention to become a suitor. He knew that the life he was about to embrace would not only be dangerous and dirty, but also distant. He never expected to return to America. He did only once, thirty-three years later, then never again. Ann went with him and died in Burma. Here is the letter Judson wrote to her father asking for her partnership in missions:

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

Her father let her decide. She said yes.

God does not call us to ease, but to faithful joy. He is closing in on some of you, smiling and with tears in his eyes, knowing how much of himself he is going to show you—and how much it will cost. As I write, I pray that you will not turn away.

Pity for People and a Passion for Christ Are One

If you have pity for perishing people and a passion for the reputation of Christ, you must care about world missions. One of the burdens of this book is to show what life looks like when you believe that you dare not choose between the motives to love people and glorify Christ. They are not separate motives. Acting on one includes acting on the other. Thus, if your aim is to love people, you will lay down your life to make them eternally glad in God. And if your aim is to glorify Christ, who is God incarnate, you will also lay down your life to make people eternally happy in God.

The reason for this is that any good-hearted goal, without the desire to give people eternal joy in God, is condemnation with a kind face. Love always wants what is best for the needy, and what’s best is enjoying God fully and forever. Similarly, any effort to honor Christ that does not aim to make him the all-satisfying Treasure of God’s treasonous subjects is complicity in the revolt. God is only praised where he is prized. We pay our tribute to him when he is a Treasure to us. You cannot love man or honor God without doing both. This single passion—to see that Christ be glorified as perishing people become eternally satisfied in him—drives the great global enterprise we call world missions.[1]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 157–159.


Saturday, May 7, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month - "Talk Saves Lives" - An Introduction to Suicide Prevention - You Tube Presentation.

 

Hello Everyone,   

For those who don't know May is Mental Health Awareness Month and to recognize it I decided to present the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's presentation "Talk Saves Lives" on YouTube. 

In my long walk through trials and errors on the way to finding Christ and the path of Christian Discipleship, I had struggled with suicide at various times in my life and am fully confident that I have victory over the darkness of suicidal ideation because of my faith in Christ.   

After being born again and set free of my addictions and negative mind states I decided to volunteer for the AFSP back in 2018 and was the Walk Chair for the Out of the Darkness Walk  for Columbia & Greene Counties in Upstate NY in 2018 and 2019 raising funds for the cause of suicide prevention.   

The Lord's call on my life to has lead me other endeavors since then and while I am not an active volunteer for the AFSP currently, I still believe in the cause of suicide prevention and decided to share this presentation.   

“Talk Saves Lives”:  An Introduction to Suicide Prevention shares valuable information about suicide prevention and if my presentation even helps one person or encourages one person to join the cause of suicide prevention the time spent this afternoon putting this amateur presentation together will be well worth it.    

Talk Saves Lives Video Presentation on You Tube

If you would like to share the link to this presentation, here it is : https://youtu.be/mSGt1IWVRns 

I share various posts and resources regarding, depression, suicide prevention, grief, and various other resources from a Christian worldview on mt4christ.org 's desktop site.  See the "labels" to research the areas that interest you.  I have found the all the answers to life are provided in the Christian faith but they sometimes are difficult to discern and apply to our lives.  My sharing my testimony and various resources from Christian counselors and theologians is my attempt to share those answers.   

If you our someone you know are struggling with thoughts of suicide: 

To Reach Help call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 800 273-TALK (8255), or  text TALK to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

You can learn more at afsp.org, or by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have any questions about your local chapter, our current initiatives, and how you can get involved, go to afsp.org.


The AFSP presentation correctly points out that faith is a powerful weapon in the battle against suicide and I encourage everyone to seek out the help that you need for your particular situation.  


God Bless You All, 


M.T. Clark 

 


Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Compass to Guide You on the Path of Christian Discipleship – The Holy Spirit and our Conscience – Purity 717


 The Compass to Guide You on the Path of Christian Discipleship – The Holy Spirit and our Conscience – Purity 717

Purity 717 04/28/2022    Purity 717 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the waters of the Colorado River under a cloudless blue sky near Boulder City Nevada comes to us from a friend who recently took an epic trip throughout the southwest which included a kayak tour of the Colorado that took him  all the way to Emerald Cove. 

Well, It’s Thursday again, and I share this photo of a river “pathway” not to encourage you to take the “yellow brick road” to an Emerald City but to encourage you to take the path less traveled by making the daily decision to walk in the Spirit on the path of Christian Discipleship.

What’s that mean? That means I encourage you to do the Lord’s will for your life that is described in His Word, the Holy Bible, which begins with making Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior and continues with the renewing of your mind with the truth of God’s Word and by applying it’s wisdom to your life, not just on Sunday, but every day,  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because the value of our faith, of our relationship with God, is only truly “redeemed” when we choose to live it out continuously.

People on the outside of this Christian life, often question why anyone would want to be Christian.  They see Christianity as a set of rules and restrictions and to be a religion of repression. They are spiritual blind to the truth of God’s word that would show them that God’s commandments are put in place to protect us from the things that would harm us or that is wrong.  

I was reading Jay Adams “Competent to Counsel” yesterday and although it was written over 50 years ago, our society still hasn’t learned anything in terms of how we can have “good mental health”, how we can have peace.   Taking on Freud’s view that man’s problems are caused by too strict a conscience, Freud’s superego, and that we need to reject our conscience’s guilt and to just do what we want to be fulfilled, Adams wrote: 

If Freud’s view were correct, namely, that trouble arises whenever the Id has been repressed by an overstrict conscience or Superego, then really our day ought to be a day of widespread mental health rather than a day of unparalleled numbers of personal problems, for ours is not a day of repression, but of permissiveness.

If there was ever a time in which the lid was off, in which there was wide open rebellion against authority and responsibility, ours is that day.

And yet unprecedented numbers are in trouble.

If Freudianism is true, the most immoral people, or at best the most amoral people, should be the healthiest, whereas in fact the opposite is true.

People in mental institutions and people who come to counseling invariably are people with great moral difficulties.

“Moral difficulties” does not always mean sexual violations; that is only one aspect of it.

Immorality of every sort, irresponsibility toward God and man (i.e., the breaking of God’s commandments) is found most prominently among people with personal problems.[1]

This was 50 years ago! Do you think we have “let the lid off” anymore since then?  We are a more permissive “tolerant” society than we ever have been, and yet mental health problems have only gotten worse.  

“New research from Boston University School of Public Health reveals that the elevated rate of depression has persisted into 2021, and even worsened, climbing to 32.8 percent and affecting 1 in every 3 American adults.” (https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/depression-rates-tripled-when-pandemic-first-hit/)

On average, adjusted for age, the annual U.S. suicide rate increased 30% between 2000 and 2020, from 10.4 to 13.5 suicides per 100,000 people. In 2018, 14.2 people per 100,000 died by suicide, the highest rate recorded in more than 30 years.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_the_United_States#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20adjusted%20for%20age,in%20more%20than%2030%20years.)

Hey guys, as our society has become more permissive morally and less “religious”,   depression and suicide rates have increased.  Letting our freak flag fly has not liberated us to the point where there is an increase in happiness and peace but the subsequent moral no man’s land of “anything goes” has caused confusion, depression, and disillusionment because people are discovering that satisfying our selfish and fleshly desires doesn’t bring satisfaction or peace.  

If we have exercised our “freedom” to do what ever we want, why isn’t society overflowing with happiness?

Well, unfortunately, people are living out the consequences of their sins.  Not only does the pleasure dissipate and negative consequences accompany the choice to sin, our consciences – our hearts- suffer because it knows, even if we deny it to everyone , including ourselves, that the way we are living isn’t right.  

We can lie to ourselves and reject the opinions of others, but our hearts were made with God’s law written on them. Our consciences are God given and it should cause us to turn from the things that are we once knew were wrong.  

As a child, I could see that getting drunk “wasn’t right”.  It made people act strange.  But through the influence of society and my own rebellion, I decided to ignore my conscience and changed my mind and suddenly what was “bad” was “good”.  

But as much as I indulged and as much as I loved my addiction to alcohol and other things, even in the midst of them, I knew these things were wrong.  My experience taught me that, but I knew in my heart that the way I lived was wrong.   I was living in “total freedom”, so where was the peace?   

Well, I’ve learned that there is no peace without God and when we think and behave in ways that our contrary to His truth, we suffer and if we are never reconciled with God through faith in Jesus Christ, our suffering never ends.   

But we know the truth. There is a God. He has revealed to us in our hearts and in His word what is right and what is wrong.  While we can deny Him and His tenants for morality, just like gravity, we are still subject to His moral laws which affect our minds, bodies, and emotions. When we separate ourselves from the One who gave us life and violate His commandments we suffer.   

But there is great news. There is hope.  Christ paid the cost on the cross so we could be forgiven of the violations we have made and when we put our faith in Him we receive a new life that gives us the power to listen to our consciences and gives us the power to overcome the sins that so easily beset us.  

When we come to faith in Christ, our hearts – our consciences, are strengthened by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and we receive the power to obey the Lord and walk away from the darkness of this world.  

So share the good news and keep walking and talking with God. When we are “in this thing” called Christianity, we have the power of God in us to choose what is right and holy and turn from the  things that tempt us and lead to destruction.  Instead of being hopeless in a cycle of condemnation by sinning and confessing, we can follow the “Compass”  of our Holy Spirit empowered conscience to walk out of depression, out of sin, and into the light of the new abundant life that God always wanted us to experience.     

______________________________________________________________

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 25:9 (NLT2)
9  He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of how the Lord will lead the humble into doing what is right and how He will teach them His way.  

To believe in God and  the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must be humble.  To believe, we have to admit that there is a higher power than us, who has a holy standard for living that we have violated, and that we are powerless to make things right with Him through our own efforts. We have to be humble to ask for forgiveness. We have to be humble to make Christ our Lord and Savior.  

But when we humble ourselves before God by admitting our sins, and by asking for forgiveness, and by making Christ our Lord,  God will lift us up!

Our humble decision to trust in Christ gives us eternal life but it also gives us the opportunity to live a righteous life by receiving the power to learn God’s ways and to apply them to our lives.  

When we humble ourselves, God will lead us to do what is right. 

When we humble ourselves, He teaches us His way.  

So if things have gone astray or if you are feeling you have lost your way humble yourself by calling on the Lord and asking for His help to show you how you can do what is right. If we are humble, He will lead us and He will teach us His way.

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

 

The Christ-Exalting Paradoxes of Life

A life devoted to making much of Christ is costly. And the cost is both a consequence and a means of making much of him. If we do not embrace the path of joy-laden, painful love, we will waste our lives. If we do not learn with Paul the Christ-exalting paradoxes of life, we will squander our days pursuing bubbles that burst. He lived “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:10). The Calvary road is costly and painful, but it is not joyless.

When we embrace with joy the cost of following Christ, his worth will shine in the world. The cost itself will become a means of making Christ look great. The apostle Paul had one great passion in life. We have seen him say it several ways: to know nothing but Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2); to boast only in the cross (Galatians 6:14).

Paul’s Single Passion in Life and Death

He talked about his great passion another way that shows us how the cost of making much of Christ is also the means. He said to the Philippian church, “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20–21). Here the question is raised and answered: How do you honor Christ by death? How can the cost of losing everything in this world be a means of making much of Jesus? Let’s listen carefully to Paul. Christ has called us live for his glory and to die for his glory. If we know how to die well, we will know how to live well. This text shows both.

Again we see Paul’s single passion in life—“that … Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” If Christ is not made much of in our lives, they are wasted. We exist to make him appear in the world as what he really is—magnificent. If our life and death do not show the worth and wonder of Jesus, they are wasted. This is why Paul said that his aim in life and death was “that … Christ … be honored.”

Our Shame and Our Treasure

Notice the unusual way he makes this clear in verse 20: “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed.” Stop here just a moment. Shame is that horrible feeling of guilt or failure when you don’t measure up before people whose approval you want very much. It’s what the little child feels in the Christmas program when he forgets his lines, and the tears well up, and the silence seems eternal, and the other kids snicker brutally. I remember these horrible times. Or shame is what a president feels when the secret tapes are finally played, and the foul language and all the deceit emerges, and he stands disgraced and guilty before the people.

What then is the opposite of shame? It’s when the child remembers the lines and hears the applause. It’s when the president governs well and is reelected. The opposite of being shamed is being honored. Yes, usually. But Paul was a very unusual person. And Christians ought to be very unusual people. For Paul, the opposite of being shamed was not his being honored, but Christ’s being honored through him. “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that … Christ will be honored in my body.”

What you love determines what you feel shame about. If you love for men to make much of you, you will feel shame when they don’t. But if you love for men to make much of Christ, then you will feel shame if he is belittled on your account. And Paul loved Christ more than he loved anything or anyone. “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8).

Whenever something is of tremendous value to you, and you cherish its beauty or power or uniqueness, you want to draw others’ attention to it and waken in them the same joy. That is why Paul’s all-consuming goal in life was for Christ to be magnified. Christ was of infinite value to Paul, and so Paul longed for others to see and savor this value. That is what it means to magnify Christ—to show the magnitude of his value.

Doesn’t Death Make Magnifying God Impossible?

But what if someone objected to Paul at this point and said, “Paul, we see how valuable Christ is to you now—how you enjoy his fellowship, how he gives you a fruitful ministry and delivers your life from spiritual shipwreck. But what will all that mean in the hour of death? Where is the value of Christ then? If being a Christian costs you your life, how will that help you make much of Christ? Won’t that rob you of the very life that can magnify him?”

So Paul adds at the end of verse 20 that his eager expectation is that “Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” Death is a threat to the degree that it frustrates your main goals. Death is fearful to the degree that it threatens to rob you of what you treasure most. But Paul treasured Christ most, and his goal was to magnify Christ. And he saw death not as a frustration of that goal but as an occasion for its fulfillment.

Life and death! They seem like complete opposites—at great enmity with each other. But for Paul—and for all who share his faith—there is a unity, because the same great passion is fulfilled in both—namely, that Christ be magnified in this body—our bodies—whether by life or by death.

In Philippians 1:21, Paul gives a packed summary statement explaining how he is so hopeful that Christ will be magnified in his living and in his dying: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Then in verses 22–26 Paul explains both halves of this statement so we can see in more detail how Christ is magnified by life and by death.

Let’s take these one at a time.[2]

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

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Jay Edward Adams, Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling (Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library, 1986), 13.

[2] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 63–66.