Labels

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

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Summer Ends Sunday - Suicidal Idols - Purity 839


Summer Ends Sunday - Suicidal Idols - Purity 839

Purity 839 09/17/2022  Purity 839 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the countryside illuminated by the light of the setting sun just off of Waite Rd in Easton comes to us from yours truly as I took some quick picks to capture the splendor of September as I took my canine companion, Harley, for a late afternoon walk yesterday.    

Well, we are past the ides of September and it is my prayer that all my friends enjoy the  last weekend of summer as the season officially will end with the Autumnal Equinox on Thursday the 22nd.   Even though the Autumnal Equinox is used to mark the season, the weather and return to school usually give us a Fall Feeling before it arrives. This year we had an abrupt shift in the weather on Labor Day weekend in the capital district of upstate New York as we experienced sunshine and a high of 81 degrees on Sunday only to crash into Labor day Monday with heavy rains and a drop to 66 degrees.   

I remember thinking on Labor Day, “Wow, there goes summer!” and then I remembered that the previous day, while out walking under the heat of the sun, I had a real sense of the urgency that summer was slipping away and I had a decision to make in terms of what to do with the rest of the day. 

I decided to spend the day with my wife indoors and have no regrets about it but after Labor Day’s storms and relative chill, I remembered that feeling during that Sunday walk that “this was it” and I poetically thought about this “prophetic” intuition with the phrase “Summer Ends Sunday”. 

And when I came up with that, I thought that the phrase “Summer Ends Sunday” would be an awesome name for an alternative band.  

We are “Summer Ends Sunday! Good Night!”   

And all of this comes flooding back into my recollections this morning because as I finished up my Bible Study and emailed myself the photo of the day from my phone I fell victim to some “click bait” on Yahoo that teased “Rocker’s wife states husband had delirium before suicide” or something like that and so I wondered who it was referring to and discovered it led to a story about a recent interview of the Vicky Cornell, the widow of the former front man of Soundgarden and Audioslave, Chris Cornell who took his life in 2017 (https://www.aol.com/chris-cornells-wife-vicky-says-201233639.html).  So it was recent interview, but not exactly recent news, on the rocker’s death.   

You can research the details on Cornell’s death if you like, but the recent interview by his widow and her comments about his “delirium” before his death coupled with the fact that he had a history of substance abuse, and was on some prescription medications ( which the family had alleged were over prescribed and caused Cornell to act erratically before his suicide) and one could easily speculate and make the case for demonic influence as a contributing factor to his death as well.   

Christ tells us in that the enemy want to kill us in:

John 10:10 (NKJV)
10  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. …

As Christ well knew from Satan’s temptation in the wilderness.

Matthew 4:5-6 (NKJV) tells us
5  Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,
6  and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' "  

So the devil takes Jesus to a high place and tells Him to jump, to tempt God with His safety, and potentially kill Himself.       

The enemy’s mission to kill and destroy us includes tempting us to suicide.   

From my volunteer work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and from listening to the testimonies of survivors of suicide attempts, and the families of people who died to suicide, I know that Cornell’s widows claims of “delirium”, and surrounding factors of Cornell’s death are not unique and because of my biblical worldview, education in Christian Counseling, my training as an CFMA for Freedom in Christ Ministries, and my experience personally with addiction, depression, condemning thoughts, and thoughts of suicide, I would state that spiritual forces of darkness or the spiritual conditions in someone’s life play a part in every suicide.      

Either through direct demonic influence or simply from a worldview of hopelessness that is born out of an atheistic worldview,  people suffer and will continue to die from suicide.  

This is obviously not a popular theory to bring to the discussion of suicide prevention. Our Western Post Christian Society denies the involvement of the spirit realm in our day to day lives and seeks to silence the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the confusion of “coexistence” and the proliferation of the idea that all roads lead to God.   And we suffer for it. 

The issues of mental health and suicide will continue to plague our world as we are enmeshed in a culture that refuses to offend anyone with the Biblical standards of morality, with a standard of truth that is based on the Bible,  or the solutions for negative mind states that are available through the application of Biblical wisdom to the way we live our lives.  

To state that someone is living in sin, or even to suggest that someone turn from drugs, alcohol, and sex that is outside of the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman, and to instead turn to the Lord and live according to His ways is almost laughable to our secular society or is met with stern opposition and fierce hatred that would condemn Christians as judgmental, hateful, bigots.

The world laments over it’s problems, seeks the cold comforts of better life through chemistry, and wonders why things seem to be getting worse because it refuses to accept the answer that God sent to save us all: Jesus Christ.  

So society through its rejection or separation from God, or nominal lip service to Him that says “I believe” but refuses follow Him in any discernable way is plague with the subject to the temptations and the oppression of the spiritual forces of darkness.  

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV) says
26  "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
27  nor give place to the devil.
 

Our sin, and everyone sins to some extent, makes us vulnerable to the devil. 

However, Christians have ben set free

Romans 8:2 (NKJV)
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Faith in Christ not only gives us power over death with our eternal life in the kingdom of God guaranteed. It also gives us the power to say no to sin.  

We won’t be perfect but we can progress in our freedom and victory to the sins that beset us and if we stumble on the road to sanctification, because of our life giving relationship with God through our faith in Christ, we have a way to reestablish our harmony with Him. 

1 John 1:9 (NKJV) tells us
9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And so in Christ we have an advocate and a constant source of power and peace to guide us in the way we should go and comfort us and remind us of why we need a Savior when we stray from His path.   

Our American dream culture whose philosophy is centered around circumstantial happiness fails to satisfy and provide meaning and purpose to life.  The enemy uses sins and disappointments to drive to confusion and despair and to destroy ourselves.  

As I did some research about Christ Cornell, I decided to google “grunge artists that killed themselves” and discovered that the search showed that 13 musicians from the “grunge era” of the mid 1990’s to the early 2000’s, had either died of suicide or overdoses to drugs.

The grunge movement was passionate about living life to the fullest and loving others deeply but without God to give peace the fruits it produced proved to be rotten and it’s idols proved to be suicidal.

As I was in college from 1990 to 1994, I knew most of the names and were fans of quite a few of the lost and it just reminded me that I was extremely blessed to have survived because I had been well versed in the spirit of rebellion and licentious living that surrounded the alternative music genre and the utter hopelessness that results from a lifestyle that has nothing to do and nothing to believe in other than seeking to please and affirm itself. Grunge defied and distained tradition and polite society and rejected God and biblical values and the results are talented individuals lost to drug overdoses and suicide. 

And those trends are still happening, and are on the increase in our post-Covid, increasingly confused society today.

So let me encourage myself and others out there who know the Truth that has set them free, that have been saved because of their faith in Jesus: we have the answer in Christ.  

My relationship with God through faith in Jesus took me out of the darkness of depression, suicidal thoughts, and addiction and I know I am not special.  Similar testimonies to mine are spoken of throughout the history of Christianity.   So we have to let others know the way out of the darkness and into a life of peace with God that begins here on earth and follows us into eternity.  

This world broken by sin can break your heart but in speaking of God,

Psalm 147:3 (NKJV) says
3  He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

 

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
1
0  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

 

Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)
22  Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

 

God is close to us and when we turn to Him, He heals us and sustains us.   

 

So keep walking and talking with God and when you encounter someone who has no hope let them know that the Lord loves them but the way out of the darkness requires that they make peace with Him by making Jesus their Lord and Savior and it also requires that they abide in Him by staying in His presence and casting out the spiritual forces of darkness by confessing any sin and living a righteous life based on the word of God.   

---------------------------------------

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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 18:28 (NLT2)
28  You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of the illuminating power of God.  

God is a lamp for all of us.  He lights up our darkness by showing us His love that was displayed and embodied in Jesus Christ and when we put our faith in Him, we benefit and share in the Light of the world. 

But as I have stated above, we have to let His light shine by living like Him. We can’t live in the darkness of sin if we are to claim to be a part of His kingdom. 

The enemy tempts us and seeks to destroy us subtly by forgetting about God’s perfect light and creating footholds in our lives though our sin or disbelief.  

So let the light of God shine in your life, Let Him light up your darkness to show you the abundant life that Christ came to give you.  

 

______________________________________________________________________

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 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

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

                                                                      Chapter Two

The Call to Discipleship - Continued

Following Christ means taking certain steps. The first step, which responds to the call, separates the followers from their previous existence. A call to discipleship thus immediately creates a new situation. Staying in the old situation and following Christ mutually exclude each other. At first, that was quite visibly the case. The tax collector had to leave his booth and Peter his nets to follow Jesus. According to our understanding, even back then things could have been quite different. Jesus could have given the tax collector new knowledge of God and left him in his old situation. If Jesus had not been God’s Son become human, then that would have been possible. But because Jesus is the Christ, it has to be made clear from the beginning that his word is not a doctrine. Instead, it creates existence anew. The point was to really walk with Jesus. It was made clear to those he called that they only had one possibility of believing in Jesus, that of leaving everything and going with the incarnate Son of God.

The first step puts the follower into the situation of being able to believe. If people do not follow, they remain behind, then they do not learn to believe. Those called must get out of their situations, in which they cannot believe, into a situation in which faith can begin. This step has no intrinsic worth of its own; it is justified only by the community with Jesus Christ that is attained. As long as Levi sits in the tax collector’s booth and Peter at his nets, they would do their work honestly and loyally, they would have old or new knowledge about God. But if they want to learn to believe in God, they have to follow the Son of God incarnate and walk with him.

Things used to be different. Then they could live quietly in the country, unnoticed in their work, keep the law, and wait for the Messiah. But now he was there; now his call came. Now faith no longer meant keeping quiet and waiting, but going in discipleship with him. Now his call to discipleship dissolved all ties for the sake of the unique commitment to Jesus Christ. Now all bridges had to be burned and the step taken to enter into endless insecurity, in order to know what Jesus demands and what Jesus gives. Levi at his taxes could have had Jesus as a helper for all kinds of needs, but he would not have recognized him as the one Lord, into whose hand he should entrust his whole life. He would not have learned to have faith. The situation has to be initiated which will enable faith in Jesus, the incarnate God. This is the impossible situation, in which everything is based on only one thing, the word of Jesus. Peter has to get out of the boat into the waves, in order to experience his own powerlessness and the almighty power of his Lord. If he had not gotten out, he would not have learned to believe. His situation on the tempestuous sea is completely impossible and, ethically, simply irresponsible, but it has to happen for him to believe. The road to faith passes through obedience to Christ’s call. The step is required; otherwise Jesus’ call dissipates into nothing. Any intended discipleship without this step to which Jesus calls becomes deceptive enthusiasts’ illusion.

There is a great danger in telling the difference between a situation where faith is possible and where it is not. It is clear that there is nothing in the situation as such to indicate which kind it is. Only the call of Jesus Christ qualifies it as a situation where faith is possible. Second, a situation where faith is possible is never made by humans. Discipleship is not a human offer. The call alone creates the situation. Third, the value of the situation is never in itself. The call alone justifies it. Finally and most of all, the situation which enables faith can itself happen only in faith.[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] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 61–63.


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.  

 

 ______________________________________________________________

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.

 ______________________________________________________________

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.