Not Today. Ending it All on Father’s Day – Purity 762
Purity 762 06/20/2022 Purity 762 Podcast
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:
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:
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.
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.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 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.