Reasons for Suicide

Matt. 27:3-5 – 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. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Judas was torn up over his wrongdoing. He went to church leaders who he thought could lead him to God, but they didn’t do their job. Judas should’ve taken a second step, going to his brother (Jesus) to make amends. If he had, he would’ve realized that Jesus would forgive him for the betrayal:

Matt. 5:23-24 – if you… remember that your brother has something against you… go and be reconciled to your brother

Instead Judas believed what the wicked church leaders had said. He accepted the lie that it was solely his responsibility, and right there he judged himself. We are not responsible for the final evaluation of anyone’s character, including our own. ‘He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes (1Cor.4:4-5)’. When it comes to judging a person’s inner personality, the only One who knows all the truth is God. And without knowing all the truth, we are not able to judge accurately or fairly–not others or ourselves. Only the Lord knows our motives. ‘He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives (counsels) of the heart (1Cor.4:5).’

Judas clearly stated that his motive wasn’t to see Jesus condemned, because he called that ‘innocent blood.’ The counsels of his heart were from church leaders, Judas perhaps thought he could trust, who deceived him with lies, and trapped him into their wicked ploys. Judas could not see clearly, making it the worse time to make a life altering decision. Sometimes we just need some time to sort things out and get a fresh perspective.

The whole point of Jesus is that we can now go directly to Him instead of to church leaders, who may have become corrupt, but in every case are sin prone humanbeings. We now have the Holy Spirit who comforts and counsels us. A leader who is close to God will be a great help however.

If you feel suicidal tonight, or are burdened by the weight of your own wrongdoings, have been deceived, have perhaps hurt or betrayed a loved one, or are suffering from a broken relationship–choose not to judge yourself. Accept what is wrong as wrong, and leave the judgement to God. Embrace God and He will forgive all your sin; ‘None of the sins that you have committed will be remembered against you (Eze. 33:16).’ With this clean slate, follow God’s lead in choosing not to remember your sins anymore. When we embrace God, accepting His son Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we stand before Him on the day of judgement and the Bible says, ‘The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight (Ps.18:24).’ In HIS sight we are pure and His judgement is not to condemn, but to reward. Stop condemning your sins, and start asking Jesus to wipe them away, so you can focus on rewarding your righteousness.

Eze. 36:31 – You will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations

Step 1 to being free from self hatred is: choosing not to remember what God chooses not to remember–your sins.

Eze. 36:33-36 – On the day I cleanse you from all your sins… the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins… are now fortified… those around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed

Give Jesus a chance before you give up. And if you’ve already accepted Jesus, keep trusting Him to bring you through by restoring and rebuilding you.

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Honoring God in the Work Place

If our boss wanted us to do something ungodly, would we do it? Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego decided they would not, even if they were ‘fired’ for it. They respected God more than man. Once they took their stand–may I add, in a respectful manner, still calling him Your Majesty–the bosses view of them changed. The boss became furious and made their work 7 times harder (v19). Would we refuse to do something against our God, even if it made our work lives miserable? Even if the boss hated us and made things harder on us? S,M,&A trusted God to take care of them, and God did just that. God kept them from being ‘fired’, ‘fired’ some of the people who tried to hurt them, caused the bosses view of them AND their God to change, AND even gave them a promotion. What if your next promotion rides on you honoring God in the workplace? What if someone’s eternity rides on it? What if the whole workplaces eternity rides on it?

Dan. 3:16-30 – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” 19Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. 28Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

The last season of my life has been a time of recovery. During that time, I didn’t do a great job portraying Christ to my atheist boss. The Spirit of God would not let me post this until I had texted him to apologize. What if my apology meant the reconciliation of him to God? What if he judged christians for being no different than the world? I can witness along side of him, that I am guilty by every measure, except the blood of Jesus has made me clean and purified me. I will try to do the things My Judge commands, even if it means sticking my foot in my mouth and becoming humiliated… I mean, humbled…

Matt. 5:23-26 – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Dan. 3:1-6 – King Nebuchadnezzar (said)… you must fall down and worship the image of gold… Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.

  • This government forced everyone to worship a certain god

Dan. 6:7 – The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den

  • This government condemned everyone who worshipped a different god

‘You must worship this’ or ‘You can’t worship that’? America not only has decided it will make abortions legal, but around 2014 the government decided that all businesses must provide it to their employees. If America chose, by vote, to have abortions that’s one thing, but to force everyone to provide that service for their employees is another. The Catholic church and Hobby Lobby respectfully opposed this law by doing things the right way through the laws of the land. They were under threat of death; the government tried to close the business, put them in the news under fire from the people, and threatened to fine them one million dollars a day. What will you do if caught in this situation, where you must choose between honoring God or man? – Chris Hodges

The Methodist church is about to face a similar situation. The national United Methodist Church leaders are deciding whether they will accept gay marriage as God honoring or not. If they decide to honor gay marriage, any individual church under their umbrella that doesn’t agree can lose the rights to their buildings and land. If the leaders accept gay marriage, will these churches trust God to make them stand, even at the loss of their buildings? What if making that stance means their greatest promotion? If you’re the only church that makes that stand in your city, you better believe, there will be members leaving the other methodist churches looking for a place to call home. What if making that stance makes an eternal difference in our nation, for the members of that affiliation?

At my last job, a woman prayed for a girl who requested it. This woman was in a group of staff members, both male and female, and no one offered to pray for the young girl, although it was a christian business. The woman prayed for the girl, and was later confronted by her boss over it. This was a Church of Christ business, under the belief that women should not speak in front of men–whether to lead worship, lead a message, or even pray. Praise God for this woman’s courage to honor God at the expense of losing her job! Not everything each denomination believes, lines up with the Word of God. If we know better, we are accountable for our actions. May this woman’s courage make an eternal difference at her place of employment! And may you find the courage to do the same!

In 2015, Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley, released a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling: “I have always believed in the Biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. That definition has been deeply rooted in our society for thousands of years. Regardless of today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, I still believe in a one man and one woman definition of marriage. The people of Alabama also voted to define marriage as between a man and woman. I always respect the people’s vote, and I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has disregarded the choice made by the people of Alabama in its decision today.” Governor Bentley went against the nation as he refused to marry same-sex couples in Alabama. He caught a lot of heat for standing up for what was right! Satan himself went to tempt, and ruin, his public witness, as a year later Bentley fell into an affair and praise God that he went on record asking God to forgive him. May God redeem those who honor Him.

In the Bible, Joseph refused to disobey God’s laws at the command of his master who wanted an affair with him. He lost his job over the issue, but later God made him the ruler of a nation (Gen.39:10; 41:40). If Joseph hadn’t lost that job, he wouldn’t have become ruler of a nation. Trust God’s plan in whatever happens, and do your best to stand up for what is right. We all need God’s forgiveness, for we are all tempted, and all sinners–but still people that God can use to make a difference.

Lord of the Poop

Beelzebul, a name for Satan, gets its roots from ba’al, meaning lord, and zebel, meaning dung. Satan is the lord of crap (to be polite).

According to 1 Kings 14:10, one burns crap until it is all gone. And according to Rev. 20:10, Satan’s end is to be thrown into fire.

If we then, are the body of Christ (1Cor.12:27), then we should be taking in the good nutriment and disposing of the waste; that way we are all doing our part in pushing Satan, the crap, out of the body. He’s just a big pile of crap to be burned.

Science tells us that poop that stays in the body too long releases toxins. A healthy body knows what is good and what is waste, and doesn’t get clogged up. History also shows us that poop that isn’t disposed of properly can have huge reprecussions. The Black Death, or Bubonic Plague, killed an estimated 200 million people in a 7 year span, due to rodents running around in open sewage. More recently sewage caused the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Let’s not be the dog that returns to its waste to eat it (Prov.26:11). Let’s keep on taking in the wholesome nutriment of Gods word, being made new and stronger, and cutting off that which does not produce. 1 Thess. 5:21-22, hold on to what is good and reject every kind of evil. I don’t want to be a fly, dog, or dung beetle feasting on crap. I want to be a king feasting on fine foods. I want to eat the fruit from the tree of life, which produces no waste. No more rotten fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It’s time for that to pass from our body.

So yes, Jesus poops (at least while on earth). And today, Satan gets the royal flush. But Satan is hardly a holy shit, because poop is unholy and unclean, and Satan definitely is. And no, I don’t have a problem with using words in their proper context; but that should probably be a topic for another post.

God is Passion

Be Fearless in the Pursuit of What Sets Your Soul on Fire

– Heb. 12:29 – Our God is a consuming fire

– 1 John 4:8 – God is love

One definition for the word fire is: ‘to inspire’

If you are looking for God, look for love.
Where there is fire, passion, inspiration, and love for something in your life, that is God leading you.
(As long as that passion stays on the path of righteousness)

“By following passion and love, we can find our purpose.”

God's people are led by a pillar of fire into their promised land. The same goes for you.

God’s people are led by a pillar of fire into their promised land. The same goes for you.

– Ex. 13:21 – the Lord went ahead of them… by night in a pillar of fire to give them light

– Eze. 1:26-28 – on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist … down he looked like fire

That pillar of fire was the leg of God. He was literally walking in front of Israel and guiding them into the promised land. Let that same God lead you; follow the flame of passion that’s in you.

– Ps. 104:4 – The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants

We were created to be burning and passionate. To serve what we love and let that fire drive our work. If passion has left, then its time to follow Him somewhere new. The Israelites stayed when God stayed and followed God when He up and led the way.

How do we follow passion?
Passion often produces dreams and desires for more, but we can’t get to the fulfillment of a dream without a process.

– Col. 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart… since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

You don’t have to do something all day, you just have to do a little each day. Focusing on the end product is productive for long term goals, but focusing on the end product with an instant gratification mentality is a set up for failure, frustration, & burn out. And In order to keep passion alive we have to protect against those things by:

– Being intentional (with our time, actions, steps, goals, etc.)
– Being practical
– Being consistent
– Expecting Results

Process is God inspired:

1. When we accept Christ we do not instantly become perfect.

– 2 Cor. 3:18 – And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

We are transformed into His image. We cannot be perfect. Perfection is unattainable to us. We are perfect only through Jesus, not ever from our own ability. God does not expect us to be perfect, He expects us to transform. Transformation is not instantaneous. His grace covers us in our imperfect state. He loves us despite our flaws.

We Are Being Transformed into the Likeness of ChristWe cannot will ourselves into the last phase. We can only get there by taking the small yet necessary steps. The caterpillar isn’t stressed out about getting into its final form. Everything happens in its own time. We can trust God in the same way. His timing is perfect and it’s not something that we have to perform on our own. We can take it one day at a time and trust Him that the daily process is getting us to that final form of what He has planned.

– Matt. 6:34 – seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Strive for Progress Not Perfection

2. We can’t teleport. If we want to get somewhere we have to take one step at a time.
The journey is meant to be fun. It’s like site seeing. Bad things can happen along the journey, but staying on the path of righteousness makes those things dust in the midst of a whole heep of glory.

3. Thankfully, when we want to eat, we don’t just insert the whole meal into our stomach. We, instead, take one bite at a time and get to enjoy the flavors.

“We cannot take on the whole of our calling at one moment. We need steps.
And if we are following the passion and the love, then we are following God into our destiny.”

Passion can teach us about God:

– John 14:26 – the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

God Himself will teach us who He is. I was torn today about what I should study: bible or art? Though I had planned on learning an art program for work, passion led me to play violin, and during the violin session the Spirit of God talked to me about patience and revealed Himself to me. Today is a smorgasbord of all the things I wanted to do. I followed passion, and then I realized that God is passion, and that as I follow passion, He will reveal Himself to me.

Our purpose is engrained in us and fire lights the way to destiny. I have both desired, and dreaded, learning an instrument for 19 years now. I thought it would take to much time to learn and would catapult me into a realm of competition. If I had just learned a little every day for the past 19 years, I would’ve been a master by now. But true God given passions do not leave. If you deny them, they will haunt you for 19 years! Just go ahead and follow it. Ten minutes of attention a day for 19 years is plenty to get you to that final phase you dream about.

Each person has a place and a realm of influence, given to them from God. Every persons talents have a purpose. If God is guiding you with a passion, don’t let the enemy shut you down with lies like you can’t do it, you won’t be as good as others, or it would take too much time to learn.

– 2 Cor. 10:12 – We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves

 1 Peter 4:10 - Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others

– 1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

“We can’t find our purpose if we keep killing the seeds
of desire that God has put in us to nurture.” 

In this parable God shows us that every person has a talent, and every person gets to choose whether they invest in it or not. God promises that if you invest in the talent that you will receive a 100 fold increase plus.

– Matt. 25:14-30 – “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Make us an uncontrollable fire that consumes everything. (except that your fire brings abundant life instead of destruction)

Make us an uncontrollable fire that consumes everything. (except that your fire brings abundant life instead of destruction)

Prayer: Thank you Lord for lighting my path. Thank you the prophesy that was spoken over me that I would be a worshipper, write great things, and even make songs. I do not see it, and I have neglected it, but God, you are a consuming fire. As I continue to seek you, set me ablaze. Guide me with your righteous passion; lead me into the promise, and set me on the land that you have prepared for me. Reveal now, where you are in the lives of those who read. Help them see you as that passionate flame that burns inside of them. Give us more of you. Be the seal on our hearts that keeps us as burning ones. Consume every part of us (Ps.69:9). Let us be your living sacrifice (Rom.12:1). Let us burn with a fire that waters cannot quench (Sos.8:6). Make us Elijah’s in the midst of the prophets of Baal (1Kings18); no matter how much water, or how many trials come against us, keep our hearts alive with blazing passion for your name. May passion light the way for purpose.

Worship: Jesus Culture – All Consuming Fire

Domestic Abuse

I’ve watched several friends stay in abusive marriages, and several divorce because of abuse. There are many reasons why people choose to stay in these relationships, though it’s hard to image why. I’ve listed some reasons at the bottom of this post, but lets attack the topic of boundaries for a moment:

We need boundaries. Without boundaries we will become victims of abuse and adopt a powerless mindset. We should have a standard set for ourselves of how we will allow others to treat us. If people do not treat us as we have designated, then we should not listen or continue in relationship. Here are some things that we should require, and reject, in relationships and conversations. These actions will encourage hope and self-control (empowerment), and help us escape abusive relationships. Boundaries cause the abuser to face the consequences of their own decisions while empowering us with the choice to leave if they don’t treat us with respect.

– 2 Chron. 7:14 – IF my people, my God-defined people, respond by (1)humbling themselves, (2)praying, (3)seeking my presence, and (4)turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.

What we should require & reject:

  1. Humility instead of pride & arrogance 
    Verbal abuse, or other means of belittling you, should not be tolerated.

  2. Requests (prayer) instead of demands
    Use of fear tactics, physical abuse, or other means of control, should not be tolerated.

    God gave us dominion over everything but people. We need to respect others and protect their ability to make their own choices. If their choice is to abuse you, then you need to make the choice to leave.
  3. Seeking presence instead of things
    If someone wants something from you, without wanting a relationship with you, then its un unhealthy relationship. This should not be tolerated.

    If you are married and your spouse habitually has sex with you without trying to connect on an emotional level, it’s abuse.

  4. Turn away from wrongdoing instead of continuing to wrong you
    Refusing to change, though you respectfully ask and show them how they are hurting you, should not be tolerated.

Notice also that God waited for these 4 things from His safe place, Heaven.

– Heb. 10:26 – For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins

If you are in an abusive marriage, you need boundaries. Consider a temporary separation if you do not want a divorce. Once faced with the consequences of their choices, if they repent then go back to them:

– 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

If they do not repent then divorce them:

– Rom. 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death

There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. Here are a few:

– My partner will kidnap the children and disappear.
– My partner will spread horrible rumors about me.
– I’m nothing. I don’t deserve better.
– I was brainwashed to believe that I couldn’t cope without my partner.
– I’m more comfortable with what I know, than the unknown out in the world.
– My children will blame me and resent me.
– My partner will turn the children against me.
– My partner doesn’t let me out of the house.
– I have no friends or family to call for help anymore.
– I believe my partner when he or she says that it will never happen again.
– My marriage vows.
– My religion.
– I love her or him.
– My partner has all the money.
– My partner charges up all my credit cards.
– My partner will lose her or his job if I report this.

Other reasons why women stay in abusive relationships

Make a list of your reasons and confront them. Get out of the situation. There are churches, programs, and safe houses designed specifically to help you. It’s scary facing these reasons, but its wisdom to escape the cause of these abuses. Say no to the abuser and leave them today.

– Prov. 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight

– Ps. 18:6-19 – In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

– Ps. 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

– Jer. 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.