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

Friday, December 17, 2021

Reckless Abandon – Being Real and Being Compassionate - Purity 604


 Reckless Abandon – Being Real and Being Compassionate -  Purity 604

Purity 604 12/17/2021  Purity 604 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the fading sun beyond the horizon with a tiny nearly full moon rising somewhere between Glens Falls and Easton, NY comes to us from a “special friend’s” commute home from work on December 15th.  As another work week begins to fade to black and we are just a week away from Christmas Eve, we can rejoice over all that the Lord has done and thank God it’s Friday!  

Of course, in truth we all have a lot more to be thankful to the Lord for than just another Friday.  Personally, I am in a constant state of thankfulness and wonder over how the Lord has transformed my life and taken me out of the darkness that I lived most of my life in. 

Marijuana, Michelob Ultra, Porn, Video Games, Rap, Rock and Alternative Music, Vicodin, Ecstasy, Vodka, Magic Mushrooms, Internet Drugs, Sports Gambling, NFL Football, and Electric Guitar.  

Now, while that list could describe some of my old friends’ current Christmas wish list, it actually describes some of the things that I went to for relaxation and comfort when we rolled into the weekend in years gone by, before coming to faith in Christ. Okay, let’s be real. Those things weren’t just for the weekends, those things were good for any day of the week as I lived by a philosophy of meeting all my personal desires as they came up.   

I recently sat down with someone who reminded me of my former self and who is surrounded by the trappings of addiction that I used to be in bondage to but seemed blissfully unaware of the very real danger that they are living in.  I felt great compassion for this person but felt absolutely powerless to convey what I wanted to say without coming across as judgmental or old so I have taken the stance that I will remain silent and pray for the Lord to convict them and bring them to repentance.  I have made the hard choice to be present and ready to encourage but not to preach. 

I know that no amount of preaching would have changed me in my former darkness and instead am leaving them in the Lord’s care.  I feel almost reckless or irresponsible in trusting the Lord with this situation, but I somehow feel that this is the course I am being led into. 

I guess the Holy Spirit’s strategy in this is to love them anyway? Or I am to shine a light by my example of recovery and Christian discipleship in their lives? Honestly, I don’t know but every time I am thinking about “saying something” I feel led to remain silent. So I do, and will, and will wait on the Lord to see how this goes.  

Unfortunately, this person doesn’t seem to be content in their personal choices of addiction and actively encourages the corruption of others.  While it is hard to imagine anyone being impressed by their lifestyle and wanting to follow in their footsteps, I fear not only fear for this person but for those in their circles of influence. 

Scripture indicates that sinners are not content to sin but will feel compelled to justify themselves in their sin and seek to encourage others to join them on the road to perdition.  The Bible is the truth, and you can see its wisdom in situations like this.  

Depression, Anger, Wanting, Fear, Anxiety, Hatred, Lust, Shame, Guilt, and Suicidal Thoughts.   

This could be a list of things to ask about on a psychological evaluation, but it is also a list of how I felt while I was engaged in trying to satisfy myself with the previous list that began with Marijuana and ended with the Electric Guitar. 

I apologize to my friend, Bob, we both know that the guitar is not evil in itself but when we look to it or any other hobby for our peace instead of God we know we have gone astray.  

Anyway, I give that list of negative mind states because I know that they are all usually present in someone caught up in the cycles of addiction. 

While the secular world now allows for “recovery” to be defined by each individual and allows for the possibility for recovery to mean “less drugs and alcohol” or whatever the individual may choose, I have to point out that while we can play games with the amount of substances we take, or change them to not so illicit alternatives, those negative mind states basically will go untouched.   

The dangers of being “open minded” to recovery alternatives like safe injection sights or the use of a drug to cure my drug habit is that of the ultimate hopelessness we end up allowing people to live in.    

At one point in my life of addiction I was so low that I was willing to try anything to “feel good” again. I found some drugs available via the internet, but they were labeled “not for human consumption” and the literature was about 50/50 on whether this drug would get you high or kill you.  

People had been known to get high on this substance and others reportedly had died from it.  I was so depressed, and frankly when you are in an addictive cycle you sort of have a death wish, to make it all go away, or at least I did and I’m not afraid to admit it, - I was so depressed that I figured I would give it a try. 

So I wrote a note to my wife and kids saying I was sorry, and not knowing if I would live or die took the substance.   I didn’t die, I got high, and I tried it more than once. I eventually stopped taking it because it did make me sick on a few occasions and I didn’t like that.  

So I know what hopelessness and a life of addiction can make you capable of. Your pain can be so great that you take chances that could cost you your life.  So instead of advocating for medications or moderation for recovery. I know that you have to stop completely, and you have to have hope.    

So I offer the hope of the new life that comes from faith in Jesus Christ, and I offer it in full and with all its implications. 

The biggest complaint the nonbeliever has of the church are of the hypocrites in the church, those who proclaim faith in Christ but who live just like the rest of the world but claim to be holier than thou.  

I had similar complaints before coming to Christ.  So when I heard the gospel message that saved me. I endeavored to make sure “this thing was real” and that if I was going to “do this” – be a Christian – I wanted to “do this!” – be a real authentic Christian.   

So I have tried to follow the Lord’s call to be that and to live according to His ways and discovered that the path that the Lord has for you to walk isn’t always easy, but it will take you out of the darkness you are living in by trying to satisfy yourself according to the world’s ways and it doesn’t play games with your sin.  

Just because Christians are forgiven doesn’t mean there are no consequences for sinning.  If we choose to sin we choose to suffer and stay locked in bondage to our sin and all the negative mind states that come with them.   

So as we draw close to Christmas, decide to have a real Christmas by being a real Christian.  Don’t just talk the talk and thank the Lord for saving a “wretch like me”.  Walk the walk and practice what you preach. Repent of the things that you aren’t good.  We are personally supposed to take responsibility for our lives in Christ by picking up our crosses and following Jesus into a life where we have progressive victories over the things that ensnare us and that is defined by an increase in the fruit of the Spirit.  

But as for the weaker brother or sister, or the ones who are lost and who are so entangled by the lies of the enemy, let’s love them anyway and try to encourage them to discover the hope and new life that comes from not just saying the name of Jesus but by following Him.   

So be wise and discerning. Don’t compromise with your personal sin but realize that it is the Lord that grants repentance, so you need to surrender to Him in order to be set free.

And know that no amount of “tough love” will change the hearts of those who are trapped. Christ sets the captive free and all we can do is pray, encourage, and point to the One who bought our forgiveness and who gives us new life.


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

 Proverbs 2:5 (NLT2)

5  Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.

 Today’s verse reminds us where true knowledge comes from. 

 Proverbs is considered one of the books of wisdom literature in the Bible and today’s verse tells us that understanding what it means to fear the Lord will give us knowledge of God.  

 I think this verse works both ways.  If we have knowledge of God, we will understand what it means to fear the Lord.  

 Think about it. God created everything and will one day call us into eternity.  He decides our ultimate fate.  He also controls the course of creation when things begin and when things will end.  His power is undeniable.   So if we really understand that God exists and is over and above all things, we will respect Him and seek peace with Him. 

 A contemplation of God and all his attributes should cause us to fear Him.  But His word reveals that we can have peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. 

 So for the Christian, there is nothing to be afraid of. God works all thing for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  

 But those who don’t know God, and don’t fear Him, have the most to worry about as they will refuse to seek the peace and new life that is offered through faith in Jesus Christ.   

 So seek the Lord and share the gospel of Christ, our warning people of what awaits those who fail to come to Christ may give them the fear of the Lord that will lead to their knowledge of God and their finding rescue.   We know Him and we must try to make Him known.

 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. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven,  for Day 20 as this current resource series will lead us to Christmas Eve.

 As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.

DAY 21

JESUS—THE JUDGE OF HUMANITY

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

MATTHEW 25:31–33

What is your concept of Jesus Christ, my brother? If the “ten-cent-store Jesus” that is being preached by a lot of men, the plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice and is pictured as a soft and pliable friend to everybody—if He is the only Christ there is, then we might as well close our books and bar our doors, and make a bakery or garage out of this church!

But that Christ that is being preached and pictured is not the Christ of God, nor the Christ of the Bible, nor the Christ we must deal with.

The Christ we must deal with has eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished brass, and out of His mouth comes a sharp, two-edged sword.

He will be the judge of mankind. And, thank God, you can leave your loved ones who have died in His hands, knowing that He Himself suffered, knowing that He knows all, that no mistakes can be made, that there can be no miscarriage of justice, because He knows all that can be known!

This is one of the neglected Bible doctrines of our day—that Jesus Christ is the judge of mankind.

The Father judges no man. When the Lord, the Son of Man, shall come in the clouds of glory, then shall be gathered unto Him the nations, and He shall separate them.

God has given Him judgment, authority, to judge mankind, so that He is both the Judge and Saviour of men.

That makes me both love Him and fear Him! I love Him because He is my Saviour and I fear Him because He is my Judge.

Human justice does its best, but because it is not all-wise it makes mistakes.

But God Almighty is never going to judge the race of mankind and allow a mistake to enter. The judge must be one who has all wisdom.

Therefore, I appeal away from St. Paul; I appeal away from Moses and Elijah; I appeal away from all men because no man knows me well enough to judge me, finally. And I don’t know you well enough to judge you, finally.

I may pass brief judgment upon you on some simple matter, or you on me, but when it comes to the placing of my eternal and everlasting soul somewhere, I don’t want any mistakes made.

To be a judge, according to the Scriptures, the judge considers those who are accountable to Him, and accountable to Him not by a law imposed by another, but accountable to Him morally and vitally, rather than merely legally.

And in order to be a righteous judge of mankind, the judge has to have all knowledge so there can be no error.

In human affairs, many an innocent man has been hanged. Many a “life-termer” has died in gray pallor behind prison walls while the rascal who actually committed the crime died in his own bed, surrounded by his friends.

Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Monday, May 31, 2021

Purity 432: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


 Purity 432 05/31/2021  Purity 432 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of a misty sunrise is brought to us by a friend in Hudson who captured this moment on Thursday to wish his friends and the city a good morning.  

While Thursday was pleasant in Hudson since then the temperatures in Columbia County have dropped into the 40s and 50’s and we have received a steady flow of some much-needed rain, as if God is marking this Memorial Day weekend as a time of mourning with a cold wind and tears from heaven.   

While we could think of those we remember on Memorial Day as being from some distant war of the past, military families know all too well that this holiday has an ever-increasing roll of personnel that give their lives in service to our country.  A friend shared just last night that one of their brothers in arms paid the ultimate price for their country just two days ago.   

So as we may lament over the less than perfect weather conditions that we have to commemorate this holiday, let’s be sensitive to the fact that until the world is reclaimed by God the governments of this world will continue to wage war and the cost for those wars is paid in blood and that some very real families are suffering heart wrenching grief.

I normally share a Bible verse a day on my blog. Today I grabbed two by mistake as the index cards were perfectly aligned together. I could have chosen one over the other but they both seemed eerily appropriate for the day. The second will be on the blog, but the first one was:

Psalm 4:8 (NKJV)
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4 is a psalm of David. The scriptures chronicle David’s story as a man of war and a man who had a heart for God.  David faced the fears of battle and could handle himself, but He knew that the Lord alone could make him dwell in safety. David could lie down and sleep in peace knowing He could trust the Lord. 

So on this Memorial Day, I pray that we remember those who gave their lives for their country and that we pray for the family and friends that they left behind.  

But I also pray that you remember the One who died for every man in every nation, Jesus Christ, and that you place your faith in Him and encourage your loved ones to do the same.  Faith in Christ alone can give us peace with God. Christ alone can make us dwell in safety.

Death is a sad and frightening thing to consider but Christ is the One who overcame the grave.  When you place your faith in Him, He will guide you here on earth and welcome you into eternity to serve His kingdom forever.


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 56:3 (NKJV)
3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

 Today’s second verse is another psalm of David and the notes regarding this psalm tell us that David composed this psalm when he was at war and had been captured by his enemy, the Philistines. 

David was public enemy number one to the Philistines, even over Saul, the King of Israel. For David was a slaughterer of the Philistines, causing the Israelite women to rejoice in song that: "Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands." (1 Sam 18:7). 

So, the Philistines finally got their man. David was captured.  He had no logical reason to believe he would live another day.  But David knew God and although things looked hopeless and he was afraid, David knew to trust in the Lord. 

David’s sentiment to trust in the Lord in times of fear is the attitude that the Christian should have at all times.  Living the life a disciple of Jesus Christ means trusting God over trusting our feelings. 

We agree with what God says over what the circumstances indicate. We recognize the reality of the state of things here on earth, but we are comforted knowing the higher reality of God’s kingdom.  Although we may suffer and fear here on earth, Christians are assured of God’s love for them and know that He will work all things together for the good of those who love God.  

So love the Lord you God, thank Him for all He has done for you, and if you should be met with fearful circumstances remember to trust in Him.   

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

 

Today, on the final day of mental health awareness month, we conclude from Dr. June Hunt’s “Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless “.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

K. How to Comfort Those Caught in the Aftermath

Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you’re hurt.” Empathy says, “I’ll hurt with you.” Compassion says, “I’ll stick with you until the hurt is gone.” We all need that compassionate friend when we’ve lost a loved one to suicide.

Typically, those who have lost suicidal family members feel more pain than those whose loved ones have died of natural causes. They feel more rejection and more abandonment and often feel responsible for the suicide.

No one is exempt from the gravity of this kind of grief. ... It is a grief like no other. For those left behind, the emotional fallout from suicide is more devastating than most people could ever imagine. Few people know how to come alongside and comfort those who suffer the aftermath.

Tormenting emotions cause survivors to spiral through the process of grief, and their haunting question of “Why?” is never really answered. Even when suicide strikes within our own boundary of relationships, we can feel inadequate to face the reality of such a tragedy! Survivors experience ...

A Grief Like No Other

As a survivor, you can feel ...

Shock ... “This is a mistake. I saw her just a few hours ago.”

Rejection ... “He thought death would be better than living with me!”

Guilt ... “I should have done something to prevent this.”

Anger ... “How could she do this to me?”

Shame ... “What will I tell others?”

Fear ... “I’m afraid of whatever is wrong with our family!”

Sadness ... “I keep dreaming that I’ll be with him again.”

As a survivor, you need to know the compassionate promise of the Lord. He hears your heartache and sees your tears. The Bible says that after a period of time ...

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

A Friend Like No Other

As a friend of the survivor ...

Be honest ... Express your own feelings of grief and confusion. ... Don’t hide from the truth or be afraid to use the word suicide.

Be present ... Be willing to just “be there”—your presence is enough!

Be listening ... Hear your friend’s heart and encourage your friend to express feelings.

Be accepting ... Accept all the emotions, no matter how raw or offensive the feelings may seem to you.

Be nonjudgmental ... Refuse to pass judgment on the one who died of suicide or those who have survived. Trust in a compassionate God.

Be forgiving ... Let the survivors see your heart of forgiveness. They may feel the need to confess and receive God’s forgiveness, especially if they are experiencing guilt.

Be spirit-led ... Be led by the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to give you the appropriate words to say.

Be prayerful ... Offer to pray if the survivor seems receptive. Commit to lifting the whole family up in your personal prayers.

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Discussing Suicide

Question: “Is there a ‘better way’ to talk about suicide?”

Answer: Although many people speak of someone who “committed suicide,” the less judgmental, more sensitive term is speaking of one who “died of suicide.” Likewise, rather than a completed or successful suicide (which sounds too positive), the term “suicide death” is preferable. Pray that you will use wisdom with your words. ...

“Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” (Proverbs 9:9)

L. How to Address Young Siblings After Suicide

When a child carries out a suicide attempt, family and friends are left emotionally shattered and mentally scattered, not knowing what to do with their feelings or how to make sense of what has happened. Many loved ones feel as though they are in a dense fog with no sense of direction and no destination in sight. Just trying to survive is often seen as the task at hand, but overcoming is what the Lord has in mind for His children.

The depth, degree, and duration of the impact on your remaining children and how you deal with them will vary per child based on individual temperament, age, and maturity. However, there are some common clues to look for, identify, and resolve as you seek to help your children become overcomers. Some of the feelings they may experience include ...

Feelings of Siblings Left Behind

  • Anger at the sibling for leaving without saying goodbye or talking with them about it before doing it, or anger at God for allowing it, or anger at a parent for causing it
  • Rejection because of the sibling’s not wanting to be with them or not valuing them enough to stay alive for them
  • Fear of being alone in their bedroom or playroom at night because something or someone in the darkness may hurt them, or fear that their sibling may be punished by God for all eternity
  • Sadness over the loss of a cherished confidant, constant companion, or committed “cheerleader”
  • Confusion about why the sibling chose suicide and whether they are destined to suicide too or actually should follow the example of the suicidal sibling
  • Guilt that they may be somehow responsible for their sibling’s being unhappy and despondent enough to want to die rather than live with them
  • Hopeless about facing the future without their sibling to help them, to spend time with them, to teach them the ropes, to understand them
  • Alone without the only family member they can truly relate to, play with, confide in, tell secrets to, look to for security, advice, and guidance

Helping Siblings Left Behind

Typically, children lack the skills to clearly express their emotional reactions to traumatic events, therefore, you will need to ...

  • Ask questions that will aid your children in both clarifying and communicating their feelings.
  • Listen intently to them and mirror their feelings back to them, validating them, comforting them, and extending hope and encouragement to them.
  • Respond to their questions and needs by attempting to answer and meet them in practical, meaningful ways.
  • Spend more time with your children. Engage them in activities they enjoy and include them in some of your activities, including your work and free time.
  • Pay attention to any change in their mood and in their patterns of eating and sleeping, studying and playing, socializing and relating.
  • Realize your children are most vulnerable to suicide during the days and months following the death of their sibling and on future anniversary dates such as the deceased child’s birthday or the suicide date.
  • Provide professional counseling for your children should they show signs that depression or stress is impairing their level of functioning.
  • Pray for and with your children. Read the Bible with them and work through the daily devotional book Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes with them.

As you seek to yield yourself and your children into the Lord’s strong, healing hands and as you keep your heart fully committed to Him, be assured that ...

“The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

M. The Do’s and Don’ts for Family and Friends

King Solomon models the kind of heart and attitude that we need to carefully and compassionately minister to other people. God told Solomon to ask for whatever he wanted and it would be granted him. But instead of asking for wealth or fame, he asked for discernment to wisely govern the people God had entrusted to him. “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9).

The king’s request so greatly pleased God that He not only poured out wisdom in abundance upon Solomon, He gave him riches and honor as well. Likewise, it pleases God when we ask for wisdom and discernment about ministering to suicidal people, seeking help from above to restore hope. Our desire should always be that the perfect love of Christ be manifested through us. We should also heed the wise words of Solomon. ...

“Preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you.” (Proverbs 3:21–22)

Words can wound, and words can heal. Those whose hearts are heavy with thoughts of suicide need true healing. Be aware of the power of your words. ...

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)

Don’t trivialize talk of death by saying, “Stop talking that way.”

Do ... Be willing to listen—really listen. “I want to hear what is really going on in your heart and life.”

Don’t minimize emotional pain by saying, “It can’t be that hopeless.”

Do ... Ask questions. “When did you first feel this way?”

Don’t ignore feelings. “You shouldn’t feel that way.”

Do ... Draw out feelings. “Tell me how you really feel.”

Don’t contradict statements of low self-worth. “You can’t be that bad.”

Do ... Communicate, “All of us have failed, but that does not make us failures.”

Don’t promise, “I will never mention this to anyone.”

Do ... Explain, “Because I care, I can’t be sworn to secrecy. I love you too much.”

Don’t give a dare like, “Go ahead; kill yourself.”

Do ... Remove all impulse weapons, such as guns and poisons.

Don’t blame something or someone else. “It’s his fault that you feel this way.”

Do ... Realize that God knows the injustices, yet we all choose how we respond. Will we act responsibly or react irresponsibly?

Don’t attempt to “cheer up” with comparisons. “Many others are much worse off.”

Do ... Appeal to the heart. “Are you aware of how devastating suicide is to those left behind? Often loved ones blame themselves for a suicide.”

Don’t offer quick solutions. “Just put the past behind you.”

Do ... Help initiate a medical/psychological evaluation as soon as possible. Going with the struggler can reinforce a sense of hope: “You don’t have to do this alone. Let’s make the appointment, and I’ll go with you.”

Don’t assume that you must continue with a specific doctor if you feel no positive connection and care. “You’re already seeing this doctor, you don’t want to start over.”

Do ... Seek a 2nd opinion (or a 3rd ... or a 4th ... etc.) until you have peace about how well you both are relating. “If this isn’t the right doctor or counselor for you, we will meet with someone else until we find someone you are comfortable with.”

Don’t give the assurance, “Your problems will soon be over.”

Do ... Admit the fact that life is hard. “Although I don’t know how long the dark tunnel is, I’ll

be your friend each step of the way until you come into the light.”

Don’t refer to depressed people as unspiritual.

Do ... Confirm that the heart of each of us has been “pressed down” and that your own heart has also been depressed.

Don’t lecture on the value of life or get into theological arguments.

Do ... Earnestly pray for wisdom for every person involved and give the assurance that “God will never leave you or forsake you.”

Don’t presume that once someone has decided to commit suicide there’s nothing you can do to stop it. “They’ve already made up their mind.”

Do ... Realize suicide is the most preventable cause of death. The vast majority of people who get help recover from their suicidal feelings.

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:23)

“To be, or not to be, that is the question.” Or to put it another way: To live or to die ... which is better? That is the fictional question posed by Shakespeare in his centuries-old tragedy Hamlet.

The answer to that question goes back much further in time and is spoken by God Himself. ... .

“I have set before you life and death ..... Now choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

 

Life without Christ is a hopeless end. Life with Christ is an endless hope. CHOOSE LIFE!
—June Hunt


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless.

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

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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, and Audible.com. 

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Purity 431: Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


 
Purity 431 05/29/2021  Purity 431 Podcast

Good morning.

Today’s photo of a sunrise over a daisy covered property comes from a friend who relocated to West Liberty Kentucky to enjoy their retirement. Like, me they keep their eyes on the sky and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and their photos have been shared by me more than once.     

My friend pulled a Snake Plissken, as he “escaped from New York” and he might be pleased to know that the forecasted weather for Memorial Day in his old neck of the woods calls for rain and temperatures 15 cooler than at his new home.   While I’m sure they are not looking back in anger, as the old Oasis song goes, I’m sure they are pleased with the new oasis they found for themselves.  

Our lives are meant to be enjoyed and sometimes we have to move where we are or change how we think to find a better place.  

Yesterday, I discovered that an acquaintance that had grown up in my local community, was a couple of years older, and had worked with me during my recent moonlighting season of life suddenly passed away.  It was quite a shock to hear of their death as I had just seen them while out on a shopping excursion a couple of weeks ago and we had greeted one another.  

This was the second sudden death this year of someone, I guess you would say, that was from the “neighborhood” of my school district growing up, both of which died not making it to even their mid-50’s. In both cases, they leave behind friends and family that testified of their goodness and love.  

While these loses shock us, after you turn forty and continue to age the chances of sudden death increases and the accompanying shock decreases as we see these early losses of life are within the realm of possibility. These sudden unexpected losses can and do happen. We don’t know if we will live to see our retirement. And considering sudden deaths like that of my acquaintance, we don’t know if we will live to see tomorrow.

Memorial Day and the deaths of those around us causes us to remember the brevity and value of life.   So as we are moved to remember the departed this weekend, I would encourage you to appreciate the life that you have and the friends and family that you have to enjoy while you live.  

Death is a scary thing. But we must remember that Christ came and died for us to take away death’s sting.  It is through faith in Christ alone that man can be saved from the wrath of God.  So if you value your life, let God know that you appreciate what He has given you. Recognize what He did for you in sending Christ to save us.  Place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and live.   

We all see death as a loss or a waste but if we put our faith in Christ nothing is lost, nothing is wasted. For Christ said:

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
25 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

After another death in “the neighborhood”, I must seriously ask you: Do you believe this?  

If you can’t believe the testimony of one whose life has been transformed though faith in Christ, I ask you to consider the words of Christ Himself.  

He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Him (John 14:6). 

A new and eternal life is Christ’s gift to all of those who believe in Him. 

As you contemplate the loss of life this Memorial Day, contemplate the life that is promised by Christ and choose to take the gift that He paid so dearly for.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

2 Chronicles 19:3 (NKJV)
3 Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God."

Today’s verse chronicles the leadership of King Jehoshaphat who turned the spiritual tide of the nation of Judah from darkness to light as this section of scripture describes his efforts to turn the people back to worshiping the one true God, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Here the seer, or prophet, Jehu encourages King Jehoshaphat that the Lord recognizes the goodness in his heart as proven by his attempts to stop idol worship and his desire to seek the Lord.   

While scripture indicates that no man is righteous in himself, the Lord does call it good when we seek to repent of our foolish ways and seek Him. 

If there is a heart attitude that I would encourage Christians to take on the disciple’s path of life it would be to foster a desire to continually seek the Lord.  We are to seek His presence in prayer and throughout our day by talking to Him. We are to seek Him through the study of His word to know His wisdom. We are to examine our lives and turn from our selfish ways and seek to align our conduct according to His ways.  

My first book, Fire on the Mountain, which chronicles the preaching of Pastor Robert Engelhardt, has the underlying theme to continuously seek the Lord. The theme of seeking the Lord is put into practice through Fire on the Mountain’s accompanying Study guide that provides the reader with suggested “Faith Exercises” to facilitate the discipled life and to lead to an experiential knowledge of the Lord to deepen one’s faith. Those resources are unpublished currently but are available upon request by emailing me at mt4christ247@gmail.com.   

The reason why I push seeking the Lord is because I did, and He has revealed Himself to me in ways that cast all doubts of His truth aside.  The Lord encourages us to seek Him.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV) says
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

The Lord calls us to seek Him and tells us that if we do we will find Him. This verse is true. So seek the Lord and keep on seeking Him. He is infinite Truth and Love. There is always more that we can learn from Him. 

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

Today, in continuing recognition of mental health awareness month, we continue to share from Dr. June Hunt’s “Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless “.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

J. How to Connect with Compassion

Tragically, those who take their lives fail to move from destructive to productive thinking. They fail to realize that now is not forever. They fail to see that suicide is a permanent reaction to a temporary problem.

One fact about life as we know it is that it is constantly changing ... people and circumstances are constantly changing. Just as the seasons of the year change, the seasons of life change. ... Now is not forever! ... Now is not forever! ... In His time, God can and will change your circumstances and—if you let Him—He will change your heart. Like David, you can one day say ...

“To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy .... You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:8, 11–12)

Reasonable Responses to Suicidal Statements

When first responding to suicidal statements, don’t counter—instead, connect. Don’t focus on countering with your points, but rather connecting with the person. Then, through the relationship, you “earn the right” to be heard.

  • “There is nothing left in life I care about. It’s pointless to go on living.”
    “I know your present pain is overshadowing everything dear to you right now. Tell me, please, what you have cared about up to now that has made life meaningful for you. Are there other things you could care about if your pain were not so great?”
  • “I can’t face the future. The only thing to do is just escape it all.”
    “I hear your desperation, and I know the future can sometimes seem impossible to bear. Tell me what the future holds that you think you can’t face. And talk to me about some of the fearful challenges you have already faced and conquered that seemed insurmountable at the time.”
  • “Things will never change. Death would be better than this.”
    “I definitely agree with you that there are things in everyone’s life that will never change. But that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out a way to change the degree of their impact on us. Would you be willing for us to talk about the things in your life that you want to change and then explore ways to diminish their control over your life?”
  • “I may as well end it all. I don’t matter anyway.”
    “You certainly matter a lot to me, and it hurts my heart that you feel so defeated and down on yourself.

What would it take to make you feel valuable—to let you know that your life has meaning?”

  • “It won’t really hurt anyone else. Actually, I’ll be doing everyone a favor.”
    “Well, I’m already hurting just knowing you are hurting so badly. It is heartbreaking to me that you feel so uncared for that you actually think no one would be hurt by your death and that you would be doing everyone a favor. What has caused you to come to such a drastic conclusion? What could the people who love you have done that you would feel this way about them?”
  • “I’ve done all that can be done. There is only one thing left to do.”
    “I can hear your discouragement in your voice, and I am sorry. Please tell me what you are referring to and what you have hoped to accomplish by your efforts. Maybe between the two of us we can come up with another way of looking at it and hopefully gain a new perspective.”
  • “Soon it will be all over, and then I will have peace!”
    “You sound really tired and exhausted and just ready to give up. Would you share with me what it is that has worn you out and robbed you of your peace? What does the peace you are wanting look like to you? How did you attain peace in the past, and how did you come to lose it?”
  • “I can’t go on living like this. Life is hopeless.”
    “You sound like you have really come to the end of your resources and are in desperate need of a drastic change in your life. What is making life seem so unbearable? What has led you to conclude that life is hopeless? What would have to happen for you to have hope?”
  • “I’m too depressed to go on.”
    “I know life seems hopeless right now and you don’t feel like you have the strength to keep on keeping on. If I could, I’d pour my own strength into you but I can’t. All I can do is remind you that each day you work to get better will bring you another day closer to conquering the mountain you are climbing. And I can be here as a constant reminder that you are not alone and that you are loved more than words can ever express. Together with the Lord, we can and we will meet this challenge. We will experience ‘the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’” (Psalm 27:13).
  • “Everyone will understand. I have suffered long enough.”
    “I understand your wanting the suffering to stop. I have no doubt that everyone who loves you hates to see you suffer and would take it from you if they could. But taking your life will bring suffering to them, and I know you don’t want to do that.”
  • “Everyone has given up on me, so I’m giving up on me!”
    “I realize you feel that you cannot change, and it seems easier to just give up than to keep on trying. But I know everyone hasn’t given up on you because I haven’t given up on you. I’m sure there are others who feel the same as I feel about you. You may not yet be the person you want to be, but you can become that person by taking just one step at a time. Let’s look for a possible step you can take today.”

Unless hopeless words are replaced with hopeful words and those who feel disconnected from others feel reconnected ... those who have lost hope will come to the conclusion that death is the only possible solution to their problems. This is a lie! Satan is the father of lies and the author of such fatal thinking. Ultimately, suicide is a deliberate choice to believe the enemy’s twisted reasoning: that taking your own life is the most reasonable way out. Jesus said of Satan ...

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)


Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless.

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

 

God bless you all!

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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) and Google podcasts (https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL210NGNocmlzdDI0Ny9mZWVkLnhtbA%3D%3D

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

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship