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In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' (discussion) on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

6-23-18            SUICIDE
                               The thoughts                                The help

2 Samuel 17:23           discouragement/despair

23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.

Matthew 27:3-5         guilt

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 He cast down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went and hanged himself.

1 Kings 16:15-20         guilt

15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned in Tirzah seven days. The army was encamped near Gibbethon, a Philistine town. 16 When the Israelites in the camp heard that Zimri had plotted against the king and murdered him, they proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day there in the camp. 17 Then Omri and all the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him.  So he died, 19 because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD and following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. 20 As for the other events of Zimri’s reign, and the rebellion he carried out, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

1 Samuel 31:3-5         pride?

3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. 4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.

Judges 9:50-55            pride?

50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. 54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his servant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.

Judges 16:25-30          vengeance?

25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

Exodus 20:13

The sixth commandment say “Thou shalt not kill”

7523    ratsach             dash to pieces, put to death, kill, slay, murder

Webster’s        kill       deprive of life, slaughter, put an end to, destroy,
                        suicide put to death, kill  (n- take one’s own life)

As we see from the definitions we see this implies blatant murder, killing just to kill.  I’m not going to argue “justifiable homicide”, “mercy killing”, “killing in combat”, etc.  We’re talking about taking one’s own life and it does fit the definition cited in the Old Testament and Webster’s.

John 10:10                  Why did Jesus come?

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jeremiah 29:11           God has plans for us

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 34:18-19           God will deliver us from all our troubles

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;

1 John 4:4                   HG is greater than anything the world has

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  (We can overcome anything the devil puts upon us)

Romans 8:1-2             Spirit of life sets us free from sin

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  (We can overcome anything the devil puts upon us)

1 Corinth. 10:13 God helps us through

13        No temptation comes upon you that is not common to man.  God is faithful and He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond your capabilities but in the temptation He will make a way so that you are able to bear it.  (We can overcome anything the devil puts upon us)

Some reasons for suicide
            Pride                            King Saul
            Despair                        Bad situation (Ahithophel)
            Guilt                            Judas
            Depression                  (Psychology Today, Alex Lickerman MD - PT)
            Psychotic                     Evil thoughts (PT)
            Impulsive                     Under an influence (even a disaster) (PT)
            Seeking Help               Can’t express themselves properly (PT) (and not getting help)
            Philosophical Desire   Samson, A reasoned decision (suicide bomber) (PT)
            Mistake                       Oops (guns, etc) (PT) (didn’t mean to do it – too late)         

We see many reasons for why people commit suicide.  This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list and some things of which we may be aware may be an example of one of these suggested categories. People consider suicide once they feel they have nothing left to live for.  They feel totally hopeless and there is no other way out of their pain.  We find that some people may be so guilt ridden that they feel that they are no longer worthy of life.  They want help but don’t know how to get it. 

When I was a young man, I knew another young man who, while on the phone with someone, told them he would commit suicide.  He didn’t think the person he was talking with believed him so he shot himself while on the phone.  Now, drugs and alcohol played part in this, but he was also despondent over a relationship.  To this day, I’m not sure if his emotions were the main reason for his action or if he just wanted to prove he would do what he said.

Psychotic disorders and demonic possession are so closely related, we have to consider them almost as one.  Now, I’m not saying all psychotic disorders are demonic possession.  A chemical disorder in the body could create a psychotic episode, but demonic possession and psychotic disorders both cloud the rational thinking process.  People do that which they normally wouldn’t.

Consider when Jesus encountered the demoniac at the Gadarenes.  Jesus cast “legion” out of the man and the demons entered a herd of nearby pigs.  The pigs ran into the sea and drowned (Luke 8:26-33).  Would even the pigs normally do that if it weren’t for the demons?  Then there was the demon possessed boy who threw himself into the fire (Mark 9:17-27).  Demons can cause suicide or at least cause an attempt to do so.  Anyone thinking rationally would not normally try to harm themselves, would they?

There are also those philosophical suicides where someone feels it is right to die for a certain cause and does so.  This could possibly present an argument with “rational thinking”, but these actions would be clear, conscious decisions made by an individual.   Buddhist monks have set themselves afire in protest.  People have walked into crowded places with explosives strapped to their bodies.  And, of course, people have taken themselves out while trying to take out a perceived enemy (Samson).

And there’s always the accidental suicide.  It wasn’t meant or supposed to happen, but it did.  This might be like taking a risk and then discovering, too late, it was the wrong thing to do.   

Possible positive actions

Be compassionate (Blessed are the Crazy – Sarah Griffith Lund - SGL)
Be there for them & listen (National Suicide Prevention Hotline [1800-273-8255])
Listen & watch (What do they say, how do they act) (SGL)
Be part of safety net (SGL)
Offer hope, though only temporary (SGL) (see above & stay with I t)


Learn signals/warning signs for suicide (SGL)
Isolation (SGL)
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.  (Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 – VCL)
Looking for a way to kill oneself (VCL)
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live (VCL)
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain (VCL)
Talking about being a burden to others (VCL)
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs (VCL)        
            Talk about it (SGL)
           Help build self-worth
Where to get help (SGL) (know & suggest)
                        Pastoral , Professional, etc.
Advocate (SGL)
Be aware (SGL)  (but, like devils, not under every rock)

God’s love is and always will be the best preventative for suicide.  Someone in a suicidal mode is already disassociated from God’s love.  And it isn’t always easy to share His love with someone in that state of mind. 

When someone has self-worth, they are not likely to commit intentional suicide but when that self-worth is gone …(?)  The best source of self-worth comes primarily from knowing who we are in Jesus Christ.  But many non-Christians have a positive view of themselves as a person.  Self-worth also comes through our upbringing.  A child should be encouraged for the good behavior in his life and, even though punished, not condemned for incorrect behavior.  This normally should develop not just a sense of right and wrong and developing limitations, but mold the individual to have a positive outlook on life.  When my son reprimands his sons, he explains to them why they are being punished and has them explain why back to him.  Is this a cure al for everyone?  Unfortunately not, but it surely puts the odds in the favor of life.  Self-worth can also come from our environment.  Do we have a good or strong support system from extended family, friends and neighbors?  As a child, growing up in my neighborhood and probably because my dad had left the home, I literally had half a dozen moms on the street as my mom had to work a full time job.

Now, we’ve already mentioned some building blocks, but we can’t do anything unless we can recognize when someone is approaching suicide.  No, I’m not a qualified counsellor to talk about them except to mention that depression and isolation are two biggie tell-tale signs.  When someone is in a deep depression, they are very likely to seek being alone rather than to be around other people.  
Left to their own thoughts can lead to deeper despair or action.

Beyond listening and doing what we can to encourage people to do the right thing, we need to learn where we can encourage them to go to get “professional” help, a pastor, a counsellor, a clinic, etc.  Yes, Jesus heals, but sometimes ours (or their) faith level isn’t enough to ‘step out and walk on the water’.  God does work through natural resources.  That’s why He has given people knowledge in medicine and even psychiatric counselling.  So, if that sickness or devil cannot be cast out in Jesus’ name, if they don’t respond to our genuine caring in the situation, try to get that soul to a professional where they can get the help they need or even to a protective environment.  Jesus hasn’t gone anywhere and He works through many pathways.  He meets us at our level of faith.

A person considering suicide is not one to play with.  Yes, we can pray with/for them and encourage them, and we should, but we need to recognize our own limitations.  The disciples asked Jesus why they were unsuccessful with the demon-possessed boy and Jesus replied that this comes by fasting and praying (Mark 9:28-29).  And note, once the disciples realized that they couldn’t handle the situation, they brought the situation to one who could – Jesus.  Our faith levels may not be enough.  The person’s faith levels may not even be evident.  Remember, even Jesus couldn’t but heal a few sick folk when He went back to Nazareth (Matt. 13:54-58) because the people would not receive Him.  But somebody’s faith does make a difference in any situation.  Help the person to find the help they need and will receive. 

Above all else, when dealing with someone who may be suicidal, pray.  When we’re not sure what we should do, ask God for guidance then follow as the Holy Spirit directs.  Hmmmm.  That’s not bad advice for any situation in which we may find ourselves.  Is it?


Sarah Griffith Lund (SGL under cures) is a Christian counsellor and author who has a Master degree in both divinity and social work and a Doctorate in ministry. 
To schedule a speaking engagement

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

6-9-2018    The path to victory

This may seem a little out of season, but the Lord put it on my heart to do now, so here it is.
I’m not going to cite a lot of scripture this trip because I want you to go back, for yourselves, and read the accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

Let’s take a look at the path Jesus walked beginning that evening in the garden at Gethsemane through His resurrection and then ascension.

                                                                 From the mount      

After celebrating the Passover supper, Jesus took the disciples up onto the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives to pray.  Judas had left the group earlier to go and gather his band of men so he could earn his thirty pieces of silver. 

Settled in the garden, Jesus separated Peter, James and John from the group and moved a little farther into the garden.  Finally, he separated himself a little farther from Peter, James and John and knelt down, alone.  This is where Jesus asked the Father that the cup might pass from Him. This where Jesus said to the Father “Not My will, but Your will be done.”  An angel of the Lord came to strengthen Jesus as His sweat flowed like droplets of blood hitting the ground.  Jesus knew what lay ahead.  He was preparing Himself to take those steps necessary for his last days before His crucifixion.  Jesus knew what He had to do, though His flesh thought it was a very crazy idea (I’m sure, mine would).  I’m not sure how much of a battle there was here, but when you pray hard enough to sweat as Jesus did, you ain’t just a pickin’ n’ grinnin’ for fun.  It WAS intense.  But in the Spirit, Jesus was determined to do what He was anointed to do.  He would not resist those who were coming for Him.

Twice Jesus came from His prayer finding the disciples asleep.  The third time Jesus returned He awoke them for Judas had arrived with his band of men.

Jesus asked the group whom they sought and they said Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus said that was he and the group stepped back.  Then Jesus again said the He was the one whom they were looking and asked that if they would let the others (the disciples) go and He would come with them.  They did and He did.

                                       To the hearing (Annas & Caiaphas, the high priest)

Jesus was taken to Annas (a former high priest), the father-in-law of Caiaphas (the current high priest).  This is where Peter denied Jesus three times.  He went out and wept because of the major change which had just taken place in his heart.  Now Annas questioned Jesus before sending Him on to Caiaphas for questioning.   Before the high priest and the scribes, Jesus was again taunted and slapped before being sent off to Pilate.

Now, you may say Matthew, Mark and Luke don’t say they took Jesus to, Annas.  One says they took Jesus to where the chief priests (note the plural), elders and scribes were.  Another account says they took Jesus the high priest’s house.  Note, John only says that Annas sent Jesus bound to Caiaphas, not confirming or rejecting the idea of a different ‘house’, just another location, possibly within that same structure.

                                            From the hearing to the trial (Before Pilate)

 I’m not going to relate all that happened before Pilate but the summary is Pilate questioned Jesus and found that He was only in violation of Jewish custom and had done nothing worthy of death according to Roman law.  He suggested reprimanding Jesus then letting Him go but the scribes and the Pharisees basically had a tizzy for they wanted Jesus dead.  Pilate agreed to scourge Jesus but after the trade-off with Barabbas, he bent to the wishes of the Jews and sent Jesus to the cross.
Remember, now Jesus had already been “slapped around” and taunted while with the priests and scribes and even though Pilate found Him innocent an any wrong doing, along with the scourging, Jesus was still humiliated and struck by the Romans before being sent to the cross. 

I had always heard about the “cat-o-nine” tails which was a pretty formidable whip.  It had nine leads, but the whip the Romans usually used in scourging was a short whip having only three leads BUT each lead had three or more bone or metal chips tied into it.  Three leads, but a minimum of nine elements of damage.  I remind you, the death penalty was forty lashes.  Add ‘em up.  That’s a minimum of 360 times a bone or metal chip would connect with the body.  And also consider that when those sharp objects hit their target, they would cut into it and then rip the flesh as the whip was pulled back.  I’ve read where people have been stabbed six, eight, a dozen times with a knife and I think that’s almost inconceivable.  But 360 connects!   

Now, Jesus was not given the death penalty by scourging.  He still had to go to the cross.  But imagine, they could have whipped Him as many as thirty-nine times.  Not enough to ‘kill’ Him, but to weaken Him.  I don’t know how many times they struck Jesus with the whip.  I know it wasn’t forty, but neither do I know how close they came to the thirty-nine!  Jesus had to have been one bloody mess after the scourging.  And they weren’t done!   After the scourging, they still buffeted and tried to humiliate Jesus even more. 

                                                               From the trial to cross

Now we usually see Jesus carrying the complete cross in depictions of his trip to Calvary, but, Romans, traditionally had the condemned man carry only the cross member, which weighed seventy-five pounds or more, all by itself.  Jesus was so weakened by the scourging, He was unable to accomplish that task.  The Romans commandeered Simon, a Cyrenian to carry it for Him.  In His weakened condition, it must have taken Jesus a very long time to take that trek to the hill called Golgotha.

 The condemned was usually crucified naked.  Remember, the soldiers each took a part of His clothing but cast lots for the coat of Jesus, for it was one piece.  And with the sign they posted over Him, the attempt at humiliation and mockery continued even on the cross. 

They offered Him a mixture vinegar and gall.  Gall could have been a poppy derivative which may have actually been an attempt to reduce pain.  Maybe that’s why Jesus refused it.  He was going all out in His sacrifice for us.

Jesus was crucified shortly before the sixth hour (noon) and at the ninth hour (3:00 PM) He commended His Spirit to the Father.

                                                          From the cross to the grave

Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon.  The Sabbath was the next day, Saturday.  But, the Jewish Sabbath started at 6:00 PM Friday evening.  According to the law, a man who is hung on a tree is accursed and to keep the land from being defiled, the body must be buried that day (Deut. 21:23).  So, to keep the Sabbath undefiled, Jesus was buried before the start of the Sabbath. 

Because they were rushed to get Jesus into the tomb before the Sabbath, and even though He was wrapped in a burial cloth and napkin, Jesus did not receive a proper burial which would have included ointments, etc. 

But, remember, even before Gethsemane, Jesus had gone to one Simon, the leper’s house and while there a woman came in and poured precious ointment of spikenard over His head.  Jesus’ response to everyone’s indignation at this ‘waste’ was not to trouble her for she was doing this beforehand for His burial.

                                                          From the grave to paradise  

So did Jesus remain in the grave from 6:00 PM Friday evening until His resurrection on Sunday morning?  The Apostle Peter tells that even though Jesus was put to death in the flesh, He was quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:19) enabling Him to go preach to the spirits in prison.  The word used for spirit in this passage is pneuma, the Greek word translated not only as spirit but as breath or rational soul.  Prison, from this passage is the Greek word phulake, which implies a place, condition or time, of holding, as in a cage, also watch.  Jesus went to those souls who were watching for Him, or waiting for Him (the Messiah).  They weren’t in heaven yet, but rather in paradise.  We may compare ‘paradise’ to “Abraham’s bosom” as noted in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.  The rich man looked up from his torment and saw Lazarus, whom he ignored in life, leaning on Abraham’s bosom, safe and secure.  Among other things, Abraham told the rich man that there was a gulf between them so that there was no passage back and forth between the two places.  The rich man was not in the ‘lake if fire’, but hell nonetheless.  Somewhere between the burial and the resurrection, Jesus went to these souls in ‘paradise’.  “Here I am.  Do you believe?”  so He wasn’t just ‘hangin’ around’ in the tomb waiting for Sunday to come.  As always, He was still about doing His Father’s business.

                                          From paradise to complete victory (full resurrection)

Did Jesus make a pit stop back at the tomb as He entered into His resurrection?  When the two Marys went to the tomb on Sunday morning to anoint the body of Jesus, the stone was already rolled away from the entrance.  This had happened before their arrival, But was the stone moved earlier overnight or perhaps even on the Sabbath?  I suspect that it would have created quite a ruckus if it had.  That would have been a hot news flash, which it quickly became anyway.  The disciples thought the Romans moved the body.  The Jews were sure the disciples had moved the body.  The only thing the Romans thought about were the guards at the tomb.  They were “dead meat” because the body which was left under their charge, was no longer there, on Sunday morning.  The missing body indicated they had not done their job and a guard derelict of duty was executed. 

For forty days after the resurrection, Jesus showed Himself to His disciples.  He talked with them, He walked with them, in the flesh.  At first, the disciples thought they were seeing Jesus’ ghost but He challenged them to take a closer look.  A spirit does not have flesh and bone.  Jesus did (and does).  At a different time, He even challenged Thomas to touch the nail prints in His hands and the piercing in His side.  Jesus was resurrected a physical being!

After Jesus had commanded the disciples to wait in Jerusalem, for the Holy Ghost, a cloud received Him up from their presence.  The Greek word nephele is used for “cloud” in this passage.  The word is translated as cloud, but the implication is a cloudiness, perhaps even a haze or something akin to a fog.   I won’t try to read anymore into this.

So is the victory Jesus’ ascension?  We know that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  The right hand signifies power and authority.  Jesus tells us that Father has given Him all power and authority (Matt. 28:18).  That power and authority are solidified as Jesus sits with the Father.  Victory in Jesus is complete! 

There is one thing left, though – for us to join Him.  Jesus says His Father’s house has many places to live and he’s preparing a place for us.  The Greek word mone is used in this passage and it means abode or mansion, a place to live.  No matter what you choose to call it, we WILL have a place with Jesus and we shall reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12).

The complete victory, for Jesus, was to leave His rightful position beside the Father to come into this world, then to be re-seated at the right hand of the Father through His resurrection and ascension. 
Complete victory for us is when we are called to join Jesus in that victory and we are with Him throughout eternity.

From the mount to the hearing, from the hearing to the trial, from the trial to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to paradise and from paradise to the ascension and into complete victory which is eternal life in the fellowship with the Eternal God who always was, still is and always shall be.