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

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Take This Cup - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 30 - Purity 1303


 Take This Cup - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 30 - Purity 1303

Purity 1303 03/19/2024 Purity 1303 Podcast

Purity 1303 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun setting on the shore of the Atlantic comes to us from Bonnie Schultz who shared this scene from near her home in Navarre Florida on social media back on February 25th

Well, It's Tuesday and as the dust has settled on a mental health crisis in home I am praying to God to move all things together for good with my son, Brennan, who is suffering from depression, and thanking the Lord for the systems of authority He had moved man to establish that protect us from ourselves. Early yesterday morning while recording my podcast the state police and county sheriffs came to my home based on a tip they received regarding suicidal statements made from my IP address which caused me to escort Brennan to the local hospital to get a psych evaluation.

I wasn’t aware of Brennan’s suicidal ideation. After a few appointments with a therapist, I thought my son was getting the help he needed, and things were going to improve. But yesterday’s emergency first responder visit made me realize that I had assumed wrongly and really tried to impress upon my son, the need to get the help he needed.  So I delivered him to the hospital with the expectation that he would be admitted and treated for depression. But my son is 22 years old, an adult, and after he was medically cleared, he was discharged into the care of his older sister, Jeanette, who lives with her husband in Troy. 

As much as I question the wisdom of this move, I am hoping that the shock of the hospital visit and the care and support of his sister and his brother-in-law will be the beginning of positive changes for my son’s mental health.  Brennan stopped by yesterday to pick up some things and to let me know he was going to stay with his sister, and I wished him well.  He didn’t talk to me about this before he decided to do it and I can only assume that he is angry with me for taking him and leaving him at the hospital, but I honestly thought that was what he needed, inpatient care.  I don’t take suicidal talk lightly and my work and ministry schedule prevent me from being able to watch him continuously.  And as it is, even when we are home at the same time, my kids and I do our own thing. We give each other privacy and while that’s normally a good thing when there is the possibility of suicide, it’s a recipe for disaster. 

So I am not happy that my son was discharged but I’m glad that he is with his sister and brother-in-law who have a smaller home and who may be able to help him. I have offered my son the solutions I know that work, but he rejected them because my methods are Christian, and he is not walking with the Lord. That’s my personal help, okay – granted – but I also encouraged to go to his doctor to possibly get medication to stabilize and I forced the issue of getting help to the point he actually did see someone at mental health, but now this… and so I am surrendering my son to the Lord and the care of his sister because I know that I can’t fix him and I know that he will have to decide to get help or change the way he thinks and lives to effectively deal with this depression.   So I am letting go and letting God – knowing that I have not been a perfect parent and could have done more – but also knowing that I tried to help my son and now its time to allow him to find his way.

I often teach the men I minister to that we are to be “problem solvers” – doing every thing we can think to do to make positive changes in the situations that surround us – but I temper that with the reality that we may not be able to solve all our problems or that they may take a long time to see any progress, and in those instances we have to trust the Lord to guide things that are beyond our control.  So I have to wait and see and be ready to give whatever help I can and in the meantime I will thank God for all the good that I have in my life that goes beyond this current crisis. 

When we have a trial, if we aren’t careful they can easily become all-consuming – stealing our peace and joy and negatively impacting our lives – but if we keep walking and talking with God and doing what we can and what’s right according to His word, we can have peace even in the midst of troubles and trials.

So I will continue to do my daily spiritual practices that ground me in the truth of all that the Lord has done for me, and I will give thanks to God for all the people He has put in my life who offer their prayers, help, and love when things go south.  Yesterday, I was reminded how blessed I am with my wife, my family, and my brothers in Christ as I received support and prayers in this time of need.   And even when I was alone waiting for a phone call from the hospital that never came, I wasn’t alone. The Lord was with me and stayed with me while I foolishly relapsed on my food plan and regressed by comforting myself with candy and ice cream and watching secular TV and even though the stress of the situation caused me to do something foolish, the Lord didn’t abandon me and today I asked for His forgiveness and went back to the way He has taught me to stay in His presence and experience His peace – through my daily spiritual practices that focus on Him.

And despite this present turmoil part of that practice is to encourage to do the same – focus on Him – and we just happened to be in the best season for doing that – Lent and speaking of Lent…  

It’s the thirtieth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 30

May your will come about on earth as in heaven.

What is this? Answer:

In fact, God's good and gracious will comes about without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come about in and among us.

So here also; although we have prayed for what is most necessary-  for the gospel, for faith, and for the Holy Spirit, that he may govern us who have been redeemed from the power of the devil- we must also pray that God will cause his will to be done. If we try to hold these treasures fast, we will have to suffer an astonishing number of attacks and assaults from all who ventured to hinder and thwart the fulfillment of the first two petitions.

Biblical Wisdom

He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; And the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22: 39-42.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 10-15 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       Why does holding fast to the treasures of the faith cause suffering and assaults?

Since the Fall of Man in the Garden, this world is ruled by the evil one and the world system that operates beneath the surface of things causes people to question, doubt, and reject the truth of God’s word. The spiritual forces of darkness and society at large will demonize those who choose to walk in the light with the Lord, tempting people to govern themselves and live independently of God, being consumed by their selfish and fleshly desires they will persecute those who stand in faith.  Christ teaches that we should expect persecution and suffering in this world when we follow Him because if the world hated Him it will hate us too.

·       Jesus prays to be spared drinking the cup of suffering but prays also that God's will be done. Why does the doing of God's will often involve so much suffering?

Doing God’s will often involves suffering because of the enemy. Ephesians 6:12 tells us our enemy is not flesh and blood and the spirit that rejects God’s holiness, purity and wisdom is demonic, and whether we oppose or join those forces, we will suffer attacks from them.

·       Luther states that “God's good and gracious will comes about without our prayer”. Why pray, then, that it be done “in and among us”?

We have free will and can foolishly choose to reject God’s plan for our lives – our sanctification – and suffer from the consequences of sin and being separated from God. God’s ultimate will comes to pass but to be a part of His kingdom and to reap the fruit of the Spirit, we must choose to follow it.

Psalm Fragment

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,  obedient to his spoken word. Bless the Lord all his hosts, his ministers that do his will. Bless the Lord, all his works, and all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 103:19-22.

Journal Reflections

·       Have you ever felt you were suffering attacks from those powers or people that were trying to thwart the will of God? If so, write about what spiritual resources you were able to bring to the struggle. If not, what's best spiritual resources will you have if such an experience comes your way?

Since doing recovery and freedom ministry, I have felt I was being attacked by the spiritual forces of darkness that were trying to thwart the will of God. The best weapons against these attacks are prayer, faith, praise, and a lifestyle of Christian discipleship. Our surrendered lives in Christ is the whole armor of God that helps us overcome the enemy. Our faith is the resource we can bring to the struggle.

·       Have you ever, like Jesus, prayed to have the cup of suffering pass from you? If so, write about the experience. If not, imagine what such an experience would be like.

Oh yes, I have prayed for things to be taken away from me in the past and I would say that all the things that have afflicted me personally are gone now, for the most part, but to overcome them, I often had to suffer through them and grow through the suffering to be free. Alcohol addiction, sex addiction, broken relationships, getting a new home, food addiction, and now this struggle for my children’s mental health and well-being could all be said to fall within my “ministry of suffering”.

·       There are both joy and suffering for those who seek to follow God's will. Journal about the joy and suffering you have experienced in your faith life.

In all of those aforementioned sufferings, I experience the joy of triumphing over them, and I can’t control what happens in my son’s life, I will accept what the Lord brings and never forget the joy He has brought to my life on a daily basis.

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you can be obedient to God's will despite suffering. Remember a friend or a member of your family who has suffered for the good, pray that they will be encouraged in their Christian journey.

Lord, I failed by giving into the flesh yesterday because of stress, help me to be obedient to Your will despite the suffering I am experiencing now. I pray for you to be with my son, Brennan, to bring into remembrance all the things he heard in the past when he went to church with me, use whatever means to draw him out of the darkness of what he is walking in and bring him back to the light and prayerfully into a life of faith and trust in Jesus.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer For Today

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that your will be done in me and in my life. Show me how to follow your way to the end.

Amen.

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Proverbs 28:6 (ESV)
6  Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

Today’s verse is the second of three passages of scripture that fall under the fifteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

15. Don’t wear yourself out to get rich.

Today’s verse highlights the importance of integrity – to do what is right even when no one is watching.  Wealth and unrighteousness don’t lead to happiness, without Christ, they lead to death, and the Bible tells us it is better to live a righteous life of integrity without riches, rather than have it all financially and to walk in darkness.  So let’s agree with God’s word and live lives of integrity and righteousness to give God glory.

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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 “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: LUKE 19

“The Lord has need of him.” – Luke 19:34

The ass or even the colt was a beast of burden. It could carry valuable or valueless burdens. But on this particular occasion, the animal was required for the purpose of bearing a very important burden – the Lord had need of him. The Lord still requires beasts of burden – those upon whom He can lay important burdens. He says, “Take my yoke upon you” (Matt. 11:29), carry my burden.

Notice also how the answer of the disciples (or rather the Lord through His disciples) silenced those who tried to question their taking the colt. When the errand is a divinely controlled one, there is no stopping it. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

Lord, “Here am I, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)[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 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Friday, September 15, 2023

Suicide, Destructive Ideas, and the Truth - Purity 1148

Suicide, Destructive Ideas, and the Truth  - Purity 1148

Purity 1148 09/15/2023 Purity 1148 Podcast

Purity 1148 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of this “cool tree” on the shores of Crater Lake comes to us from Chris Oswald who shared this scene, that he captured during his recent visit to Oregon’s only national park, on social media back on September 10th.  Crater Lake is located in southern Oregon and is the product of a destroyed volcano, Mount Mazama, and beneath its pristine stillness lies hidden depths, 1,949 feet at its deepest point, making Crater Lake the deepest lake in the United States!  I have never been to Oregon but if TammyLyn and I ever get a Minnie Winnebago, I would like to see Crater Lake and maybe this “cool tree” for myself.   

Well, it’s Friday, and while going on some cross-country trek isn’t in the plans for 2023, I appreciate it when friends share the views from their travels to inspire me to boldly go where I have never gone before.  Before this week, I didn’t even know Crater Lake existed and now I can imagine going to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and seeing it, along with some other places I spied in Oregon, and in Washington, on Google Maps for myself.       

Yeah, we can’t really plan on doing things or going places unless we know about them. One of the biggest traps that the enemy likes to lay for us to keep us locked in depression or despair is to convince us that we have “seen it all” or there is “nothing to do” or “nowhere to go”.  After he starts that dialog in our minds, it isn’t long before Satan will cause us to question the point of living and will suggest suicide as a final solution for our blues.   

The Colson Center’s Breakpoint shared an article this week that highlighted the Associated Press’ news that nearly 50,000 people committed suicide last year, which is an “absolute record in terms of raw numbers and is the highest rate in nearly a century. I am sharing a link to their article on line today which examines the possible causes for this increase, highlighting how our post-Christian culture encourages despair and suicide through “destructive ideas”  (https://www.breakpoint.org/suicide-rates-at-all-time-high/).  Colson Educators is doing their part to fight the lies that would lead us into despair with a free online course – “Hope Always: How to Be a Force for Life in a Culture of Suicide” (https://courses.colsoneducation.org/products/hope-always-how-to-be-a-force-for-life-in-a-culture-of-suicide) and I am sharing the link for that on the blog as well. 

As a former volunteer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I know how devastating and far-reaching the effects of suicide are to our communities and while I applaud the AFSP’s efforts at raising awareness and educating people about suicide, I thought that the organization’s focus on suicide prevention alone wasn’t enough and that my time was better spent encouraging people to discover the meaning and purpose to life that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  

The AFSP addresses the struggles of various populations of people that are at risk for death by suicide, like the elderly, military veterans, and the LTBGQ community, but their well-intentioned efforts to encourage people to be a community that discourage suicide,  and stresses diversity and inclusion, fails to deliver the Truth about life and death that is presented in the Bible and the solution that doesn’t discriminate: faith in Jesus Christ.  

Ironically, the AFSP actually encourages “faith communities” as a support to suicide prevention but because their focus is only on people not ending their lives, they are silent when it comes to which faith community would actually lead to life everlasting.  As much as diversity and inclusion is heralded as a “good thing”, the truth is that it muddies the waters of knowing the TRUTH  because by refusing to evaluate the truth claims of different religions and philosophies of life they validate ideas and philosophies that are contradictory to one another and as the Colson Center points out in their article – some of these diverse ideas are actually destructive. 

I don’t know about you but with the confusion of what is right and wrong and how our society trumpets the idea that “no one can know the truth” or “there is no Truth” or that we can all have our “own truth” it’s no wonder why people are depressed and feel there is no point to living. Our society echoes Pontius Pilate’s question, What is Truth?, but it is too worried about offending anyone to proclaim it. 

But Jesus didn’t have that problem.  

John 14:6 (NKJV)
6  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus told us boldly that He was the Truth and the only way to God.  What we believe matters and there is only hope in Jesus.   Speaking of Himself, He said:

John 3:14-21 (NKJV)
14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15  that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

Jesus not only claimed to be the way of salvation, He also wasn’t afraid to call evil for what it was and encouraged us to be people who would come to the light and do the truth.  Jesus taught repentance and salvation through faith in Him as the way to eternal life.  Anything that goes against this is a destructive idea. 

The idea that we could believe in another religion or philosophy is destructive. The idea that we could live contrary to the moral provisions of God’s word is destructive.   We are to turn from the darkness of these ideas and trust in the Light of the World, Jesus Christ and follow Him to discover the meaning and purpose of life that will cause us to choose life and to live to love and serve our fellow man by sharing this life-giving truth.  

So, speak the truth in love and encourage people to live today, tomorrow, and forever by following Jesus.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Anger, Hot Temper.

Proverbs 12:16 (NLT2)
16  A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.

Today’s verses fall under the third point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Anger, Hot Temper

 3. Love covers a multitude of sins and overlooks many offenses.

Today’s verse is the second of five passages of scripture that our resource provides to demonstrate love's power over anger. And rather than presenting them all at once, we are doing them “one at a time, one day at a time.  

Okay, this verse emphasizes that wisdom dynamic regarding anger. Fools are quick-tempered, whereas wise people stay calm when insulted.  Now, I have to admit that “love” is not necessarily seen in the text, but it does demonstrate the second aspect of this third point – it clearly demonstrates the “overlooks many offenses” by suggesting that the wise stay calm when they are insulted. 

Hey if we are going to share the truth, we should be ready to be insulted and temper our responses by forgiving those who offend us because they know not what they do, just like Jesus.   Jesus didn’t defend Himself and didn’t fight back and even when he displayed anger it resulted in righteousness and healing.  

Unfortunately, we are less skilled in expressing our anger and so we need to practice patience, gratitude, and forgiveness to slow down our quick tempers and stay calm when insulted.

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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  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

24 - The Spirit Sealing, concludes

The “sealing” or assuring operations of the Spirit are known to the believer in two ways. First, inferentially: by enabling him to perceive His work in the soul and from it conclude his regeneration. When I see smoke I must infer a fire, and when I discern spiritual graces (however feeble) I reason back to the Producer of them. When I feel a power within combating my corruptions, and often thwarting my intentions to indulge the lusts of the flesh, I conclude it is the Spirit resisting the flesh (Gal. 5:17). Second, intuitively: by a Divine light in the heart, by a Divine authority felt, by the love of God shed abroad therein. If I have any hope wrought in me, either by looking to Christ’s blood or perceiving grace in me, it is by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 15:13).

The Spirit brings to the mind of the Christian the sacred promises. He shows us the good contained in them, the grace expressed in them, the perfection and freeness of Christ’s salvation declared by them; and thereby He seals them on our mind and enables us to rest thereon. He shows us the veracity and faithfulness of God in the promises, the immutability of the everlasting covenant, the eternity of God’s love, and that He hath by two immutable things (His word and His oath), in which it is impossible for Him to lie, given a firm foundation for strong consolation to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us in the gospel (Heb. 6:18). It is in this way that “the God of all grace” doth, by the Spirit, “stablish, strengthen, settle us” (1 Pet. 5:10). It is by the Spirit’s operations that the Christian’s fears are quietened, his doubts subdued, and his heart assured that a “good work” (Phil. 1:6) has been Divinely begun in him. The Spirit indwelling us is Christ’s seal (mark of identification) that we are His sheep; the Spirit authenticating His own blessed work in our souls, by revealing to us our “title” to Heaven, is His sealing us.[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 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

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 Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).

 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

What to do in a World of Sadness - Purity 961


What to do in a World of Sadness - Purity 961

Purity 961 02/07/2023 Purity 961 Podcast

Purity 961 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a multicolored ribbon stretched out in front of a view of the Hudson River from the vantage point of Henry Hudson Riverfront Park in Hudson NY comes to us from my phone’s photo archives and an unnamed AFSP volunteer who captured this scene back on September 15, 2018 at the Columbia-Greene Out of the Darkness Walk.  

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention seeks to help prevent suicide and to support the community of people who have been directly affected by suicide.  During the Walk’s ceremony of remembrance and support people are encouraged to tie a colored ribbon to a large ribbon that acknowledges their loss or their part in the community of support.  

The AFSP’s Out of the Darkness ceremony gives people a way to grieve, to heal, to remember their loved ones, and to encourage others to get help when they are contemplating suicide.  If you have thoughts of suicide help is a phone call or text away. Call 988 or Text the word “HOME” to 741741to get help.  

Well, It’s Wednesday again, and don’t worry I am not contemplating suicide this morning but I have to be honest and say that there were many times in my life where I was in deep despair and wanted to die to stop the pain and thought about taking my own life.  However, I was too afraid to die because I must have realized that even though I was suffering that ending my life was not the answer.  I was afraid of death and the unknown more than facing the pains and frustrations of living, I guess.  So. I lived to face another day and it’s a good thing I did because it eventually led to my finding salvation in Christ, and a meaning and a purpose for my life.  

And that purposed is to let people know that their lives are of immense value because God Himself, through the person of Jesus Christ, came to earth to die in order to save us and to give us a new spiritual life that goes from here to eternity.  

My looking back to 2018 for the photo of the day this morning was inspired by one of the Freedom in Christ course participant’s comments last night who admitted that seeing the suffering that is happening in the world today sometimes fills him with sadness and frustration to the point that he doesn’t feel like reading the Bible or going to God in prayer.  The suffering that he sees in the world and in the various people he encounters in life makes it seem that he is in a world of sadness and it cause him to question God’s goodness, presence, and power. The hurt, pain, and suffering he sees causes him to feel sad and angry at the suggestion to draw close to God.  

Which is exactly what the spiritual forces of darkness would want us to do! Satan and demons seek to destroy us and their goal is to do anything to keep us from going to the Lord or from helping others to find life in Christ.   Deception is their primary strategy, to make us believe a lie about God or about ourselves to separate us from Him.  

So in this man’s case, the enemy is causing him to acknowledge the suffering of the world and to doubt God’s goodness or power because of the evil, pain, and brokenness he sees in the world.  Because of the suffering he sees he is a little jaded as the idea of a good God while there is this world of sadness doesn’t compute.   

However, there are several lies and misconceptions and basic ignorance of life as it really is that comes into play to view the world in this way and to cause us to separate ourselves from God.  

So what do we do in this world of sadness? People are really suffering! This is not good!

No it is not.  However, there are some things we need to realize about reality that will put things in their proper perspective and that could help us to see beyond the veil of the “world of sadness.”  

Please forgive me, for this might be a little too real or seem harsh in light of the questions asked about suffering which really amount to “Why do things have to be this way?”   But if we are going to accuse God of not being good, we need to see the truth.   

1.    We didn’t make ourselves. 

God is creator. He makes us and He will call us into eternity. The life we have is a gift and our purpose in life is to be in relationship with the Creator and to represent Him.   Whether we are representing the Lord or not, one day we will die. Our suffering on earth will end someday. 

However, our eternal destiny and possible eternal torment, will be determined by whether or not we make peace with God by putting our faith in Jesus.

We have no rights to our life. God gives it and He takes it away. But He offers us new life to all who trust in Him.

2.    The world is broken by sin.

God’s original plan for mankind was Eden and paradise was lost when Adam and Eve chose to disobey the Lord’s one commandment because they were tempted to believe that that God was holding something out on them and they chose to act independently of Him, causing their spiritual death and separation from God.  Since the Fall, every person born is spiritually dead and lives independently of God choosing to do good or evil according to their own wills and desires.  

Much of the evil in the world is the evil that men do.  Death, disease, and natural disasters are consequences of the Fall.  

Why is their suffering in the world? Sin changed the very nature of reality and we will live in the chaos of this “world of sadness” until Christ returns.  Scripture indicates that suffering will end, when God creates a new heaven and a new earth and all who put their faith in Christ will experience it.  

As harrowing as suffering may be in the here and now, it is a temporary condition that will be alleviated for all who enter God’s kingdom through Christ.

So when we see suffering in the world, we should draw close to God because He will one day prove His goodness by taking it all away for those who love and follow Him.  

When we see people suffering, we need to share this hope and encourage them to turn from their worldly ways and find peace with God.

In light of the ultimate reality of God’s kingdom coming to earth, death has lost its sting as the faithful live for ever and those who rebel and reject the Author of life, goodness, and love will get what they deserve, God’s wrath.

That might seem harsh, but God gave us life and when we waste it in selfishness and by joining in with the spiritual forces of darkness who would accuse the Lord of not being good, when the truth is that everything that is good comes from God, we have no leg to stand on – literally – if you got legs, God gave them to you!

Rather than lamenting over the suffering of this world, we should recognize the existence of the good in the world and rejoice. Seeing the world as a “world of sadness” is to believe the lie of the enemy because there is FAR more good in this world than bad but the enemy doesn’t want you to see that because if we were to acknowledge the goodness in the world, and to count our blessings daily, we would love the God who provided it and we would praise His holy name. We world abandon the world’s ways for His wisdom, because we would know that He is good and to follow Him is life, love, and peace. 

So open your eyes and see that God is good, even with the pain, even with the suffering in this world.  If you trust the Lord put your faith in Him, one day your suffering will end, forever, but until then you don’t have to choose to suffer.  Instead you can choose to see the good and thank God for it. You seek to change your ways that lead to personal pain.  You can seek comfort and help those who are suffering by telling them the truth about the God who is willing to save them and to one day take away all their pain. 

When we live in the truth of the Creator God who loved His creation enough to die for those who would believe in Him, our eyes should be open the ultimate reality that God has for us and we should rejoice.  

Therefore, keep walking and talking with God. Renew your mind with the truth of God’s word that gives us the wisdom to navigate through this world that is falling apart. Trust in Jesus and know that your new life has already happened and that you no longer live in a “world of sadness” because He has overcome the world.

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

This morning’s meditation verses are:

Matthew 12:34-37 (NLT2)
34  You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
35  A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
36  And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.
37  The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

Today’s Bible verse is a discourse from Jesus Christ, himself, on how our words will reflect the condition of our hearts and warns of the judgement that is to come that will consider every word we speak.  

In another passage of scripture, Jesus tells us that we will know His disciples by their fruit and obviously from today’s verses we can see that one of the things that we can use to gauge whether someone is good or evil is the words we speak.  

And I hate to say it biut, any argument, philosophy, or comments that one would make that doubts, denies, or contradicts God’s word are not just controversial or a diverse point of view, they are evil. 

If the things we say would cause someone to sin or to not to put their faith in Christ, those words will one day be rightly judged as evil as they will be seen to be evil and unloving as they convinced ourselves or others from trusting and following God. 

Treason are acts are words that seek to go against or destroy the government and is usually punished by death.  And the words we speak, will show whether our hearts are for God’s kingdom or against it, so as the rapper Ice – T said of his album’s – Yes, you have freedom of speech, but watch what you say be cause your words can and will be used against you, and in the final judgement they will reveal what you really believe in your heart and they either condemn you or acquit you.  

So speak the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. encourage people to trust and obey the Lord who loves them, and show the love of God to everyone with the things you say.

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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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

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

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER FIVE

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN REPROBATION continues

 

Once more we would avail ourself of the language of Calvin: “But, as I have hitherto only recited such things as are delivered without any obscurity or ambiguity in the Scriptures, let persons who hesitate not to brand with ignominy those Oracles of heaven, beware of what kind of opposition they make. For, if they pretend ignorance, with a desire to be commended for their modesty, what greater instance of pride can be conceived, than to oppose one little word to the authority of God! as, ‘It appears otherwise to me,’ or ‘I would rather not meddle with this subject.’ But if they openly censure, what will they gain by their puny attempts against heaven? Their petulance, indeed, is no novelty; for in all ages there have been impious and profane men, who have virulently opposed this doctrine. But they shall feel the truth of what the Spirit long ago declared by the mouth of David, that God ‘is clear when He judgeth’ (Psa. 51:4). David obliquely hints at the madness of men who display such excessive presumption amidst their insignificance, as not only to dispute against God, but to arrogate to themselves the power of condemning Him. In the meantime, he briefly suggests, that God is unaffected by all the blasphemies which they discharge against heaven, but that He dissipates the mists of calumny, and illustriously displays His righteousness; our faith, also, being founded on the Divine Word, and therefore, superior to all the world, from its exaltation looks down with contempt upon those mists” (John Calvin).

In closing this chapter we propose to quote from the writings of some of the standard theologians since the days of the Reformation, not that we would buttress our own statements by an appeal to human authority, however venerable or ancient, but in order to show that what we have advanced in these pages is no novelty of the twentieth century, no heresy of the ‘latter days’ but, instead, a doctrine which has been definitely formulated and commonly taught by many of the most pious and scholarly students of Holy Writ.

“Predestination we call the decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny: but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestinated either to life or to death”—from John Calvin’s “Institutes” (1536 A.D.) Book III, Chapter XXI entitled “Eternal Election, or God’s Predestination of Some to Salvation and of Others to Destruction.”

We ask our readers to mark well the above language. A perusal of it should show that what the present writer has advanced in this chapter is not “hyper-Calvinism” but real Calvinism, pure and simple. Our purpose in making this remark is to show that those who, not acquainted with Calvin’s writings, in their ignorance condemn as ultra-Calvinism that which is simply a reiteration of what Calvin himself taught—a reiteration because that prince of theologians as well as his humble debtor have both found this doctrine in the Word of God itself.

Martin Luther in his most excellent work “De Servo Arbitrio” (Free Will a Slave), wrote: “All things whatsoever arise from, and depend upon, the Divine appointments, whereby it was preordained who should receive the Word of Life, and who should disbelieve it, who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them, who should be justified and who should be condemned. This is the very truth which razes the doctrine of freewill from its foundations, to wit, that God’s eternal love of some men and hatred of others is immutable and cannot be reversed.”

John Fox, whose Book of Martyrs was once the best known work in the English language (alas that is not so today, when Roman Catholicism is sweeping upon us like a great destructive tidal wave!), wrote: “Predestination is the eternal decreement of God, purposed before in Himself, what should befall all men, either to salvation, or damnation.”[1]

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

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 112–113.