Suicide – To Die Or Not To Die

The choice is ours even though we had no choice in coming into this world. Yet what lies behind it all? If evolutionists are correct, then I guess ‘not much’! If there is no God, then again, ‘not much’ is the answer.

If there is no God, no absolute and final Authority, Creator, Source of morality… then what is our purpose, and if we don’t want to live… why not just die?
This article is written from a believer’s viewpoint of course. I can admit there have been times when faith was so weak, and questions flooding into my mind as to why all the stress and problems, that the feeling would flood over me to just be ‘done with it all’.
(Obviously the ‘temporary insanity’ passed.)

No one can force a person to live… but finding answers to life’s questions, and finding real purpose in life, can bring the desire no only to live, but live “abundantly”. For those with serious questions on Jesus, and the Authenticity and trustworthiness of the Bible, there are some good resources to research. Josh McDowell is an author which has written some good books on this. One such book is “Questions To Tough Questions”.
Now I don’t agree with his thoughts on how to be saved, but other than this, it’s a good book.

Besides, often people who are feeling ‘hopeless’ need to figure why these desperate feelings are coming. Troubles come to every one… it’s life. We can lessen problems by taking control of things we have control over. Good decisions will have positive results.
Finding faith in Jesus is the best, and most stable way to win over these feelings. Having a real relationship with Jesus at least gives you Someone who will always be with you through ‘thick and thin’. Do this by going to the source of the evidence for Jesus… The Gospels of MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE AND JOHN. Read, read, read… search for answers to life’s questions… The Gospels reveal at least a couple of things… Jesus came to the earth and shows us GOD (John 1). The disciples on the other hand, show us US! These disciples went through some pretty terrible times and a lot of life changes. The most critical time of their lives came when Jesus was betrayed, put on trial, beaten half to death, and then crucified.

Doubts and fears were like a huge black cloud over all of them. They believed in him, but never really, down deep, realized who HE was and IS. At least not until the resurrection. This my friend is the CRUX of Christianity. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then as Paul says in I Corinthians 15:17, “… your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” then in verse 19 “…we are to be pitied more than all men.” That’s putting it lightly!
If on the other hand, Jesus was raised from the dead… that makes all his claims TRUE! Thus one must work through this for themselves, and figure if there is enough evidence on the resurrection of Jesus to form a foundation of FAITH. From there, life begins to change. Purpose and direction and meaning of life come into focus. The longing for heaven becomes real, not just ‘pie in the sky’. Don’t take my word for it, do your own study….

Here are some points to consider:
1. Why would so many people in the first century follow a dead man to the point of giving their lives for an empty cause?
2. Where did the body of Jesus go? The Jewish leaders made sure there was a Roman guard (five or six men), who made sure that the tomb of Jesus was not disturbed.
3. Jesus was buried in the tradition of the time, where he was wrapped in linen strips of cloth (John 19:40). In John  20, we find these same linen strips had (according to the original language) just fallen, or caved in. He was not unwrapped… what would be the reason of this… If one is going to steal the body, just take it!
4. The stone was rolled away… but what about the guards?
5. All the leaders who hated Jesus had to do is PRODUCE THE BODY… Jesus is dead, and Christianity is dead with him.
6. The change in the disciples… who before were scared and hiding, and now were unafraid, and openly proclaiming the risen Lord (Acts).
7. The man who persecuted them… Saul of Tarsus… Read Acts 7-9. He was the champion of the Jews, and had letters to take Christians as prisoners in Damascus…
He HATED CHRISTIANS AND JESUS!!! Read also Galatians 1. Consider this statement….. “THE CHRISTIANS COULDN’T AND THE JEWS WOULDN’T.” The Christians were afraid of Saul, and wouldn’t approach him to try and convert him. The Jews (in general) wouldn’t want him converted, he was their champion. So the question remains, who did it? Who changed Saul? Who made him the Apostle Paul who wrote 14 books of the New Testament? Only one answer… JESUS!
8. Even Josephus spoke of Jesus and his miracles… (Josephus was not a Christian). You can ‘Google’ Josephus and read about him.
9. Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy of the Old Testament that referred to the coming of Messiah. The odds of this would be enormous.
All of this being said, one still has to deal with the problems, questions of life. However, with Jesus it all falls into place. Things we don’t understand (which are many), we trust that in time we will understand as we trust and pray to our Savior for answers. If we receive no answer, we wait. In any case, we wait… James says, that there are things in this life which are intended to strengthen our faith, and help us grow (James 1). God is not the one who tempts… Satan is. Sin is the result of our giving in to temptation.

Growth in grace for the Christian is a fact (Ephesians 2:4-10). Christians are not perfect… but they are forgiven. There’s more truth there than meets the eye. Grace is something that is missing in many pulpits and churches, simply because they are afraid of it. (Study my series on grace for in depth study of the subject.) For now, just know, that what turns a lot of people off are the COLD, RITUALISTIC, NON-RELATIONSHIP BASED religions which are being offered. It may be good enough for others to just go and once

Find your hope, life, purpose, salvation, joy… in the man, JESUS. He is the Son of God, and is alive forever more (Revelation 1). His sacrifice is enough to cover your sins… PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE! No sin… not one sin… is unforgivable (except blaspheming the Spirit… ie calling the work of the Spirit Satanic).

You don’t have to know it all to go to heaven. You just need to know JESUS.
What must a person do to be saved? Read for yourself… Repent and be immersed for the remission of sins in the name (possession) of Jesus and you will also receive God’s Spirit at the same time (Acts 2:37-39; John 3:1-10). Read the book of Acts! See how people… thousands of them… were saved. Do what they did.

Then grow… pray… study… and share the same with others…. Get involved in helping others.

Commit suicide? Never… Why? Because He created you for a reason. You may not know it now… but it will be clear in time. Sometimes it takes time… Read Genesis 37, 39-45. A lot of reading? Sure… but here you will see how God works in someone’s (Joseph’s) life. His song after it was all over was (in my mind), “Now I know… now I know. Many years have come and gone… and I didn’t understand it all… but now I know.” Bake a pie! Take it to someone who does not expect it. Tell them, “Just thinking about you.” Get involved… Take your eyes off yourself… Others are hurting too… Find a purpose in life.

(Read dad’s articles… there’s a lot of wisdom and help there as well.) Feel free to write me if you want to study, or have questions. (“Whoever finds this: I love you”).

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The Birth Of A Smile

Teeth have always been a sore spot with me. Ever since I was a teenager, I have had problems with my teeth!  Head brace retainers, cavities, chipped teeth, crowns, root canals, e-rays, novocain and needles, numbness, drills and the smell of ‘smoke’, infected gums, antibiotics, teeth that cracked, broke off, and eventually were pulled. Every time in ‘the chair’ brought memories of ‘hot sweats’ and ‘white knuckles’.
   “Are you allergic to anything?” Dr. Phillips (my dentist) asked. “Yes… PAIN!!!” I asked him one time, “Why not just do what dad did at the age of 25 and yank ‘em all out’ and start over… instant smile!?” Then I could do what dad did to the kids when we all went for a visit… He used to get Alex in his lap and use his tongue to move his lower teeth out so he could see them.) (Of course we all laughed and told dad how gross it was!)
   Anyway, as Dr. Phillip said, “There is nothing like the teeth God gave you.” So I ‘pressed on’. Besides, dad always said, “Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you, by gum.” With help of some more novocane, a bridge here and a tooth pulled there, a partial here and a bridge there… a smile was born.
    Did Jesus smile? Sure he did! Don’t know about his teeth, but I know he smiled! I guess I never thought of it when I was growing up, but I remember the study materials, and VBS books and they had pictures of Jesus smiling. I mean what kid is going to be attracted to someone who is frowning all the time? For that matter, what adult is going to be attracted to a Savior who doesn’t smile? Think of it… Jesus loved children (Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:14-15), and blessed them. Children wanted to be around Jesus!
   Jesus went to wedding feasts, and enjoyed going to dinner at other people’s homes. Was He somber and solemn all the time?! I doubt it, don’t you?
   Christianity is meant to be a life of joy. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, “Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). The fruit of the Holy Spirit in our life is “… JOY …” (Galatians 5:22). This does not mean there are no hardships, no tears, no burdens, no temptations, no failures. It doesn’t mean we should go around with a painted smile on our face which the heart does not support. When Jesus died on the cross and was buried and rose again… it was the BIRTH OF OUR SMILE (John 20)! Whether you have all your teeth or not… you can SMILE!
   Jesus has destroyed the PRINCIPLE of sin in our life (Romans 6:1-4). Jesus has given Christians the POWER over sin (Romans 6:8-14). Jesus has
delivered Christians from the PUNISHMENT of sin (Romans 6:23). All sins, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE are forgiven in Christ Jesus (I John 1:7)! “Therefore, there is NOW (from now on), no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

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One Man Stood!

   He was nicknamed the “Tank Man”, and he stood alone in Tiananmen Square during a protest June 5, 1989. The suppression of the Chinese government had reached a peak. With a column of tanks coming, the “Tank Man” (assumed to be Wang Weilin), stood and blocked the tanks from moving forward.
   All through history there have individuals, who took no concern for themselves, but made a stand whether it be against injustice or slavery, or against a harsh suppressive government.
   (Junior) Senator Ted Cruz made a stand for something he believed was (and is) very important. Martin Luther king Jr… made a stand for what he believed was (and is) important! Both made a difference.
   Not everyone makes a stand like this, but all have the potential for doing so.
   Jesus came onto the scene, and made a stand against hypocritical traditionalism of his day. This was not his mission though. Why did He come? He came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Not everyone saw themselves as “lost”. Many saw Jesus as totally wrong. They crucified him for it.
   In Luke 19 Jesus was passing through the area of Jerico. There was a short guy named Zacchaeus there who was evidently a good tree climber. He was filthy rich, and was hated (not by the government though). He just wanted to see Jesus. I doubt he ever expected what was going to happen, but to him, it would have been enough just to see Him.
   For some reason Jesus stops at that very spot where Zacchaeus had climbed the tree and looks up and calls out to him. “… Come down immediately, I must stay at your house today.” Is Jesus trying to hob-nob with the influential tax collector? Is He forgetting, that people will judge Him, and hate Him if he does this? You recall, “All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone home to be the guest of a sinner!” Isn’t it odd, that people who live in glass houses are often the first to throw stones?
   Zacchaeus is overjoyed! He cannot believe what is happening. He probably fell half way down the tree trying to get down! What a thrill! “Jesus is coming to MY HOUSE!” The over-joyed “sinner” tells the Master “Here and now I give half my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Is this what Jesus wanted? Did Jesus say, “Now if you don’t pay back and make everything right you can’t be my follower?” Is this what is needed to be saved? Of course not… it was a sign to Jesus that this man wanted to change. There is no way a person can ‘balance the books’ with Jesus.
   His concern is about the heart. Zacchaeus was a searcher. He got more than he hoped for from climbing that tree. “Salvation has come to this home” Jesus said.
   Today, we don’t have to ‘climb a tree’ to find Jesus… just open The Book. There you will find the story of one who MADE A STAND… NOT AGAINST A TANK, OR A HOUSE FULL OF POLITICIANS BUT AGAINST SATAN, AND WON!
   If you want to study about Jesus? Give me a call or send me an email!

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The Way In, Out, Through And Down

   Dad used to say, “The way in is the way out, the way out is the way through, the way through is the way down, and the way down is the way up.” Sometimes I still struggle with this riddle.
   With every passing day, life presents problems and difficulties to deal with. Sometimes we choose not to deal with them… perhaps they are too difficult, stressful, painful, or perhaps there are other things more ‘important’, or we just don’t want to be bothered. Usually we just hope the problem will go away and solve itself. Unfortunately problems are not solved this way.
    Mankind has a sin problem… it will not go away by itself. You cannot get rid of it by doing good or keeping the ten commandments… or being a good moral person. You cannot “balance the books” with God. Let’s look at the ‘riddle’…
   “The way in is the way out.” Since “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12), and as Paul said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”(Romans 3:23), it remains that there is only one way out… the way is “in” Jesus.
   “The way out is the way through.” Sin is like a trap, when you are caught, that’s it. Sin opens the doors to guilt, fear, shame, depression, anger, bitterness and a myriad of other life destroying things. Trying to escape your own sins is like a dog trying to run from its fleas… it just won’t work. You can run from one end of the earth to the other… sin goes right along with you. The only way “out” of sin is “through” Jesus.  He once said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man can come to the Father but by (“through”) me” (John 14:6). It really is all about Jesus… His life, His work, His cross, His blood, His love, to receive His promises…
   “The way through is the way down.” You can’t come to Jesus with a boat-load of pride and selfishness. Give it up! Peter told Jesus when He was about to wash his feet, “No way Lord!” Jesus said, “If you don’t let me do this… you’re out!” Humility came quickly to Peter’s heart (John 13). Pride prohibits surrender to Jesus. Humility opens the heart to Jesus. Getting down is hard but being forced down is harder.
   “The way down is (truly) the way up.” Often times you get knocked down, and don’t want to get up. A reporter asked Muhammad Ali what he was thinking when he was knocked down by Joe Frazier. Ali said, “I was thinking about getting up!” James says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).  It must have been strange for the champ to be knocked down… For us, I guess we get used to it, and loose the desire to fight on. Friends, this is one fight you cannot afford to loose… and even though you may not be able to fight… the good news is we all have a “Champion” in our corner… His name is Jesus!

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Jesus And Jonah (The Reluctant Prophet)

   Once again ‘hard headed’ Pharisees approached Jesus. As usual it was to challenge Him. They wanted to see a “sign”, something which would speak directly of his authority. 
   Where had they been?! Jesus had been openly performing miracles and signs (Matthew 12:22-23). Their response… 24 “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Would Satan work against himself? Of course not. Their hard heart was so obvious. Their request for a “sign” was answered this way… “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:39-41).  He had called them hypocrites and “vipers”, and now He points them to Jonah…. but why? 
   Jonah had prophesied some 800 years before. (Here is the short version.) God had called Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell them, “Repent of perish… He didn’t want to go, because they were the enemies of Israel. He figured, if he didn’t go, God would destroy them which would help Israel. Instead of going to Nineveh he went the opposite direction by boat. God sent a big storm, which threatened the ship, and Jonah confessed, he was running from God. This frightened the others, so he volunteered to be thrown over-board. Now God sends a big fish which swallows Jonah. Three days in that situation would make anyone repent, so he did. I can just imagine how sick Jonah made the fish sick, and he vomited Jonah up on the land. He then went and preached his short “REPENT OR PERISH” sermon. They repented, and God spared them…. Jonah pouted, God rebuked him. 
   Now you can’t call Jonah a fable without calling Jesus a liar. Jesus referred to Jonah as the only “Sign” they would get. So what is he referring to?
   Jesus was speaking of the time when he would be crucified, and then on the third day, He would rise from the dead. (Just as Jonah had spent three days in the belly of the whale/ big fish…. Would this convince them? Evidently not, at least most of them rejected Jesus. This is why Jesus said that the people of Nineveh would testify against them in the judgment…. because the people of Nineveh repented, but these hard hearted Israelites did not.
   All the miracles done in their presence… all the messages presented in their hearing…. all the prophesies fulfilled… even the greatest miracle of all… the resurrection of Jesus… who was seen by hundreds afterwards, (I Corinthians 15) … and many still refused.  What will God do with those who’s hearts are so hard, that they are unmoved by His grace? (Luke 10:13-14).  It’s not over, till it’s over friends.

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What’s With The Clay Pot?


Clay Pot

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” 2 Cor. 4:7

   A pot is a pot, right? Not necessarily. This one is dated 670AD, and is from Pre-Columbian times in Mexico. Probably used for water or something. It use to have decorations which can be seen if you look closely, but time and wind blown sand has done it’s work. It’s value now, we don’t really know.

   Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4:1-12 Paul speaks about a “ministry” and a “treasure” and “pots of clay”.  The treasure, the ministry of Jesus is given to us, not just to hold it. But of course to share with others. Don’t worry, the pot won’t go empty. It seems the more you share, the more you have. But there is more… because he repeats thoughts like “we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” and “the power is….not from ourselves”. The pot is only important as the container, it’s the content that’s important.  The power is from Jesus, living within. The “pot” may be, “hard pressed on every side”, “perplexed”, “persecuted”, “struck down”… The purpose of the pot is that “his life may be revealed in our mortal body”.

   Yes Paul spoke of himself, but the principle is clear and applies to us, that we are to “go into all the world and make disciples of every nation”. The best sermon, is truly the one we live. We are 21st century clay pots of God.


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Dear Father, Can We Talk?

   Have you ever had to try and change something on your phone service? You call, and the first thing you get is a recording of a man or a woman stating that “this is a new voice system and so they can direct your call to the right person please state why you called.” They give you several options. They ask for the number you are calling about. They repeat the number and ask is this the correct number, or they state, “oops, I didn’t understand that, can you repeat it?”Then you find out that the “lady” has transferred you to the wrong department, and you have to go through the whole thing over again, giving out your name, address and last four of your social security number. After going through that two or three times, your Christian virtue of patience is out the window.

   Well, what happens when we call on God in prayer? Happily, gratefully, David says in Psalms 86:7 ”In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.” It doesn’t matter about the time, Morning (Psa. 5:1-3; Mk. 1:35), Evening (Gen. 24:63), Always (Lk. 18:1; Rom. 1:10; I Thess. 5:17). Doesn’t matter where you are!!! In secret (Mt. 6:6), in bed (Psa. 63:6) , out in the open (Gen. 24:11-12), on the battlefield (Joshua 10:12-13), anywhere (I Tim. 2:8).

   We go through one man, who doesn’t ask questions, JESUS,

   ( I Tim. 2:5).  Through Jesus, direct to the Father…. and because of the Spirit who indwells us, He knows exactly what we need. WOW!


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The Rich Family In Our Church

   I’ll never forget on Sunday in 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy, 12, and Darlene was 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the we knew what it was like to do without.  Dad had died five years before, leaving mom with seven kids and no money. By 1946 my older brother and sister were married and had moved out.

   A month before, the preacher announced,  a special offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially. When we got home we talked together of what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20.00. Then we turned off the electric lights as much as possible, and didn’t listen to the radio,  to save money on our electric bill.  Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as she could, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could make 3 pot holders and sell them for a dollar. We made $20.00 on pot holders.

   That month was one of the best of our lives. Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we imagined how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them.

   The day before the “big day”, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got three $20.00 bills and one $10.00 bill for our change. We ran home with more money than we had ever had in our hands. That night we could hardly sleep as we waited to go to church on Sunday.

   When the offering was taken, mom put $10.00 in the plate and each of us put in $20.00.  After church, we went home where mom surprised us with boiled eggs to eat with our fried potatoes.

   Late that afternoon, the minister came and spoke with Mom. When he left, she showed us what he gave her. It was the envelope with the money from the church, $77.00. We all just sat there and just stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling rich to feeling like we were poor.

   On Saturday, mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. We didn’t know. We had never known we were poor. We certainly didn’t want to go back to church, but mom made us go. It was sunny, everyone was singing in church… but us.

   We had a missionary who talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun-dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said that $100.00 would put a roof on one church building.  The minister said, “Can’t we sacrifice to help these poor people?” We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Mom reached in her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me and I handed it to Ocy, and Ocy put it in the offering. The minister counted the offering and it was just over $100.00. The missionary was excited because he had not expected that from a small church. He said, “You must have some rich people in this church.”

  Suddenly it struck us! We had given $77.00 of that “little over a $100” given. We were the rich family in the church. From that day on I have never been poor again. I know I am rich in Jesus.  (Mark 12:41-44).


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