Tag Archives: suicide

I Tried to Commit Suicide

My Attempt to Exit

If I can accomplish anything with this blog, I want to let people know that Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. Part of that is allowing myself to be as transparent as reasonably possible.

In recent posts you have read about my personal struggles with depression, and thankfully that has been an encouragement to more than a few. Granted, some of you might have been confused, for you may be under the impression that a pastor of a church… a man of God… a “reverend”… should never get depressed. However, people from all walks of life – including those who have faith in God – can find themselves depressed, the reasons for which are not always easy to determine.

But what many, if not most of you may be unaware of, is that I actually attempted suicide when I was a teenager. I was within moments of pulling the trigger of a loaded 12-gauge shotgun that I had placed under my chin when my father (I believe prompted by the Holy Spirit) knocked on my bedroom door. That was the only time I came that close, but it was not the last time I seriously considered taking my life.

In the late 1990’s God had to do major surgery to remove the cancer of legalistic pride that had infected me. I had become self-righteous, religious, and prideful of my career, money, and stuff. However, in one fell swoop the Lord took it all away, leaving me with nothing but a faithful wife who I didn’t deserve, and a worried, scared family. Where I ended up was not rock bottom, but a depression that nearly put me six feet under. Suicide was an option in the past, so it became an ever-present option once again.

This is not the place, nor do I have the time, to go into every detail, but it wasn’t the friends and family who begged me to see the light; it wasn’t the multiple times every week of sitting with counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists; it wasn’t the anti-depressants I regularly consumed; and it certainly wasn’t the alcohol I began to use for the first time that released me from the “dungeon of despair.”  What changed it all for me were three main things: first, believing that God still loved me! – despite the times I cursed Him; second, believing the promise that God still had a plan for my life; and thirdly (but most importantly), the unmerited, undeserved, matchless grace of God.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m still recovering. In my personal opinion, based on what I’ve experienced and witnessed, when one crosses that line of attempting suicide, the Enemy will forever keep that temptation in reserve. Therefore, just as I sometimes act judgmentally and legalistic, even though I try not to, faint remembrances of the “suicide option” sometimes filter through my defenses. But it is in those moments that I remind myself of the Truth that set me free from the bondage of sin and death, and it is that golden key – the faithful promises of God – which is big and heavy enough to squash down any intruder.

EXIT, the Movie

This morning I took a few moments, not even 40 minutes, to watch Ray Comfort’s short new film, EXIT: The Appeal of Suicide”. Tears began to fill my eyes as I empathized with the familiar feelings of hopelessness and despair expressed by individuals interviewed in the movie.

However, toward the end of the movie I was able to wipe from my eyes tears of joy as some, not all, came to the realization that life is worth living.

Please, PLEASE!… if nothing more than to help a friend… take a few minutes to click on the link and watch the film below. It’s free, it won’t take long, and might just save a life… maybe even yours.

If you need help, or someone to talk with, please don’t wait. You are not alone in your pain, despite how you feel. There is always hope, always a reason to live, and your life is far more valuable than you realize. Think about it, Someone even allowed Himself to be ripped apart and nailed to a beam of wood so that you wouldn’t have to die!

If you don’t know anywhere else to turn, call 800-273-8255 and speak to someone who can help, or click on their website SuicidePreventionLifeline.org right now!

Your life is priceless, so live it.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christianity, Depression, Life/Death, self-worth

What Are You Worth?

What would you die for?

What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? If so, you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Pretty foolish.

What about non-concrete items, such as pride? Some people are willing to fight to the death, or kill others, when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be wrongly perceived.

Is family worth risking your life?

As close to a recent family photo that I have. But hey, we escaped in time!

Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society has a difficult time determining the value of life; one life is not as valuable as another if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would risk my life to protect my family, and if you doubt it, try to hurt them – I carry more than a big stick.

Many, however, kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that society values gold more consistently than life itself.

Are you willing to die for what you believe?

Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s OK. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who would rather die for what he believes than deny it.

Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you.

Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s; your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make your worth INCALCULABLE! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilt and failures as His own, and payed the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable; Jesus unique. How many others have done what He did for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that? How wonderful?

Let’s Review

  • Jesus Christ suffered the most excruciating death Rome could conceive, crucifixion…for you.
  • The Prince of Peace was shredded by a “cat of nine tails”…for you.
  • The King of Kings wore a crown of 4″ thorns…for you.
  • God became flesh so the world could know Him…including you.

Don’t believe the lies told to you by Satan, the culture, or your depressed emotions. Your life is of immeasurable worth because of the immeasurable price offered for it.

If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

 

This article was first posted 6/13/2014 and has been edited

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, Love of God, salvation, self-worth, World View

What’s Your Life Worth?

Someone needs to read this. Is it YOU?

A Serious Question

What would you die for? What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? Then you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Foolish, frankly.

Even more than concrete items, some value their pride more than life. They are willing to fight to the death, or kill others when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be thought of wrongly. So many have yet to learn that what people think of them does not determine the reality of who they are.

From the perspective of family, I would say that most believe life is worth risking life. If my loved ones were in danger, then it would be natural to put my life on the line. Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society is very fickled when it comes to how it determines the value of one life; one life is not always as valuable as another, especially when convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would die for my children, but many kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that values gold more consistently than life itself.

What about beliefs? Are you willing to die for what you believe? Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s ok. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance.

A martyr is one who will die for what they believe, rather than deny it.  Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

A Priceless Exchange

But here’s one more question…How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, correct? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you. Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own.

Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s. Your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make you of incalculable worth! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilts and failures as His own, and paying the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes Jesus incredibly unique! How many others have done what He has for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

What is your life worth?  Well, it was worth the Messiah suffering the most excruciating death Rome could conceive.  It was worth the Prince of Peace being shredded by a “cat of nine tails.” It was worth God becoming flesh so that we could know Him.  If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.

Your life is worth it.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, salvation, self-worth, World View

Ashley Lied

Her Father

You may have already heard the news, but a hacker released the names and information of men who used the services of the illicit affair provider Ashley Madison.

Screen grab from website

Screen grab from website

Unfortunately for her (I say “her” only because it seems appropriate in a proverbial sort of way) suitors, Ashley Madison was not able to provide complete anonymity to those to whom she promised could arrange an adulterous affair. No, all of her safeguards were useless. She lied.

Well, I guess you could say I am being a little unfair. Ashley Madison didn’t technically lie about keeping the secrets of men wanting to have affairs; she was hacked. But in reality, why would anyone have believed her promises in the first place? After all, she is of her father, the devil, and he is the father of lies.

Other Lies

If Ashley Madison didn’t lie when she said she would keep her suitors’ confidential information secure, then it was the only lie she didn’t tell. As a matter of fact, Ashley Madison was well versed in many lies of which her father, Satan, has been using for ages…some of which are made more dangerous because of the included element of truth.

Ashley Madison’s motto is “Life is short. Have an affair.” Truth is, life is short, especially in comparison to eternity. But what the motto doesn’t tell us is that the consequences of sin can last a lifetime, and eternity is even longer.

Ironically, I just logged on to Ashley Madison’s website and found a few other blatant lies still posted.

  • Over 40,860,000 anonymous members
  • 100% discreet service
  • Trusted Security Award
  • “Our Married Dating Services for Married individuals Work.”

Consequences

Now that the names are coming out, people are killing themselves. How’s that for “marriage dating services…that work?” What was Ashley Madison’s plan? For people to be happy? To have fulfilling marriages characterized by faithfulness? Not hardly.

Like I stated before, Ashley Madison (and her creators) is just like her father the devil and all the “strange women” he has always used to bring men and marriages to destruction.

“For the lips of a strange woman drop [as] an honeycomb, and her mouth [is] smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” – Proverbs 5:3-5

More men will be seduced. More names will come out. More marriages will be ruined. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. … For the ways of man [are] before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” – Proverbs 5:15, 21

Be warned.

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Filed under current events, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce

He Didn’t Strike Me Dead

I pray the following will encourage someone.

Confession time… I shook my fist at God, cursed Him, and asked him to kill me where I stood.

It was around 15 years ago in Kentucky, and it was a bad time in my life, needless to say. It wasn’t that I had lost almost everything except my wife and children; God was doing a work in my life, purging me of my pride.

The Unfaithful One

Kentucky offered a step up in what was proving to be an already successful career. On top of that, I thought by moving to Christian County (get that? Christian? A sign?), a place where at the time there were thirteen churches without pastors, surely God was opening a door for me to preach. Yep, things were looking great, and it was all about me.

Long story short, not only did my new position not pay the expected $90k+ a year, it was completely done away with! No longer could I afford the nice house in the historic district, or the nice car, or the private education for my girls; it took working four part-time jobs just to keep the power on! What was worse was watching my wife wait tables and clean houses (with a smile, no less) just to make ends meet.

That’s when full-blown depression set in. We’re talking suicidal thoughts, counseling, meds, nearly getting committed…you name it.

One evening, on my way home, I stopped by a liquor store  (they actually have drive-thru’s in KY) and bought a bottle of Kentucky bourbon. I had not eaten anything all day, so on an empty stomach this non-drinker decided to down a bottle of alcohol while walking around our neighborhood. After much contemplation, I’d already determined I was too fearful to kill myself, so I tried a different approach – tell God exactly what I thought of Him and His so-called “plan” for my life.

Literally, with my fist clenched and thrust toward the sky, I cursed God with every word I could think of. I condemned Him for letting me be humiliated; for bringing me to this point and abandoning me; for making me think everything would work for the best. I literally dared God – I begged God – to take my life. Like I had told a former prayer partner whom my wife had called on my behalf, just to try to talk some sense into me – he said, “Don’t you know you have a family who loves you? – I just didn’t care anymore.

Again, it was all about me.

The Faithful One

But even at that moment of total despair and resentment, that “still small Voice” was hard to drown out with my obscenities and vulgarities. “I love you,” He said, “and I know you don’t really mean what you’re saying…and even if you do, I still love you.

I didn’t want to hear it! Like a little boy throwing a tantrum, I was bent on pushing the envelope, just to make God angry back at me, I suppose… just to hear the kind of response I wanted to hear – confirmation I was worthless – which in turn would prove I was right about God.

But my Father was patient (Psalm 86:15). When I was faithless, He was faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). And when I came back to my senses, when I begged to be forgiven for the blasphemous things I’d said, He didn’t condemn me (Romans 8:1). No, on the contrary, He sat me on His knee, put his arm around me, and gently whispered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust.” – Psalm 103:12-14 

Friends, I am so thankful for the mercy and grace of God! All glory and honor are His! My God is Faithful and True!

Do you know Him?

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Filed under Alcohol, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, God, Life Lessons, Love of God, self-worth, worship

Suicide? Let’s Talk.

“God moment.” 

This morning, before I started working on a post which I had originally intended to write, I did the usual glance-over of posts on blogs I follow. (By the way, when you’re away from the computer for a few days, it’s amazing how many blog posts can be written by other people!) That’s when I came across a post on Conform to Christ, “What does the Bible say about Suicide?

Once I read the above post, I could not help but to lend some kind of response. The article did a decent job of presenting a biblical perspective on the subject, but I felt it needed some additional perspective. So, I wrote my comment, submitted it, then planned to get back to writing a post on my own blog. That’s when I re-read my comment, thought about it, and felt the overwhelming need to re-share my comment here.

I feel this is a “God moment.” Somebody needs to read this.

My Perspective

I am very well acquainted with the issue of suicide – very well acquainted. As a matter of fact, I have had a long history of dealing with the temptation, nearly following through [with a 12 gauge] back in my teen years. Now, even as a pastor, the thoughts still come, they still haunt. Unfortunately, once a person has crossed a certain line, things are never the same.

Nevertheless, I know that I am still here for multiple reasons, the most important of which is the glory of God. But even though I know “the words,” … suicidal thoughts can attack when I least expect them, and especially when I do. But I have come to understand that suicide is a LIE: it will not, it cannot, fulfill its promises. No matter the circumstances, suicide will not accomplish its goals. At most it may get others’ attention, but it robs one of the opportunity to see the problem fixed…to see what God could have done.

For the most part, I believe suicide is an attempt by the hurting to get others to notice, to empathize. But what Satan enjoys doing is blinding us to two very important facts:

  1. We are NOT alone in our pain.
  2. God NEVER wastes a tear.

The One who literally laid His life down so that we could live walks with us, just like Daniel’s friends in the Babylonian furnace. And no matter the pain, no matter the situation, no matter the shame, there is someone else out there who needs us to shoulder up to them and say, “I understand.”

 Seek Help

Coming from someone who has walked down the suicidal road for 30+ years, never try to deal with this on your own. Fight the temptation to put a wall between yourself and others. If you are struggling, God already has someone prepared to be a shoulder to lean on. Seek help!

You may even be a Christian and find yourself thinking, “How does Jesus understand what I’m going through? He never sinned!” I used to think that, too! And if not for my dad knocking on my bedroom door to see how I was doing, I might have pulled the trigger on that shotgun…all because I though God didn’t understand.

But here’s the thing: Jesus not only bore your sin on the cross, He bore your shame, too! As a matter of fact, the Bible even says that He who knew no sin, “became sin” for us (2 Corinthians 5:21)! In other words, if guilt is behind what you feel right now, and you think nobody could understand or has walked in your shoes – Jesus understands!

Your sin is what He took to the cross, and it was the shame of THAT sin He felt as He hung there – instead of you! …FOR you!

If you are feeling suicidal, talk to somebody about it. Find a good, Christian counselor who isn’t legalistic and judgmental, but understands God’s grace and mercy. In other words, if you are feeling suicidal, I’m sure there’s someone available who’s not only sympathetic, but knows the “Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).

Your life is priceless because of Who was paid for it; don’t throw it away.

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Filed under Christian Living, Life/Death, self-worth, Struggles and Trials

What Are You Worth?

What would you die for?

What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? If so, you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Pretty foolish.

What about non-concrete items, such as pride? Some people are willing to fight to the death, or kill others, when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be wrongly perceived.

Is family worth risking your life?

My wife, two of our daughters, and me.

Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society has a difficult time determining the value of life; one life is not as valuable as another if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would risk my life to protect my family, and if you doubt it, try to hurt them – I carry more than a big stick.

Many, however, kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that society values gold more consistently than life itself.

Are you willing to die for what you believe?

Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s OK. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who would rather die for what he believes than deny it.

Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you.

Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s; your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make your worth INCALCULABLE! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilt and failures as His own, and payed the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable; Jesus unique. How many others have done what He did for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that? How wonderful?

Let’s Review

  • Jesus Christ suffered the most excruciating death Rome could conceive, crucifixion…for you.
  • The Prince of Peace was shredded by a “cat of nine tails”…for you.
  • The King of Kings wore a crown of 4″ thorns…for you.
  • God became flesh so the world could know Him…including you.

Don’t believe the lies told to you by Satan, the culture, or your depressed emotions. Your life is of immeasurable worth because of the immeasurable price offered for it.

If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

 

This article was first posted 6/13/2014 and has been edited

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, Love of God, salvation, self-worth, World View

Thoughts On the Death of Robin Williams

Mork

My earliest memories of Robin Williams are of him battling with Fonzi on “Happy Days.” Later, I always wanted to have some rainbow-colored suspenders (before rainbow-colored things took on a whole new meaning), just like Mork from Ork, the character Williams brought to life on the hit TV show “Mork and Mindy” (btw, I had a crush on Pam Dauber, too).

Mork, evidently, was the quick-thinking, ultra-intelligent alter ego of Robin Williams. It was difficult to tell whether or not Mork was Williams, or if Williams really was an alien from outer space. He was brilliant.

Loss

Losing Robin Williams was a kick in the gut. I mean, he has been part of our culture for over three decades, 30+ years! Even though some may righteously brush his death off as just another celebrity gone from the stage, he was a genuine human being with a truly God-given talent to make people laugh.

I have lost money before. Once I lost a $100 bill. Oh, I cried, but I never felt a piece of me get yanked out soul. Even though I lost that $100 bill, there were others like it in the world. Robin Williams, however, was exquisitely unique, a singular work of art formed by the Master. There will never be another like him.

Depression and Suicide

It seems that for years Robin Williams battle depression. For many, especially those who have never had to go to counseling, they think of this battle as insignificant. But I have been there, and believe me, I have the t-shirt. As a matter of fact that “demon” still bites at my heels from time to time.

Apparently, Robin Williams committed suicide. He has been called a “coward” by a few. But what’s most concerning for me is that some in the Christian community (of which I belong) have been all too quick to attribute Williams’ suicide to a Hollywood lifestyle, drugs and alcohol, or just a life of sin.

Here’s a shocker: even Christians can become depressed AND commit suicide.

There were two times in my life when I came close to suicide, the closest being when I was a teenager – I literally had the weapon in my mouth when my dad knocked on my bedroom door to see if I was OK (can you say “divine intervention”?).

Depression can come upon one unexpectedly, even when life seems perfectly fine and happy. Now, I ultimately believe that depression is a tool Satan uses, but I don’t believe it is simply a creation of his. The onset of depression can be the simple result of overworking, too much pressure, poor diet, or physical pain. Depression is NOT a Hollywood demon that attacks the godless.

And when it comes to suicide, all it takes is one getting to the point where he/she feels hopeless and out of control. It can even be the cry for attention from someone who only wants others to recognize his or her pain. I am not quoting a text book; I am speaking from experience.

The Answer

What is the answer? Is there any help for those suffering with depression or considering suicide? Of course! Frankly, one doesn’t necessarily require biblical counseling or direction founded in a Christian worldview to find help. However, I personally feel that when we look to the Bible we can find more than enough strength for the weak, more than enough comfort for the hurting.

Let me just stay that it is unfair to judge Robin Williams when we don’t know what was in his heart. All we can say at this point is that regardless of circumstances, there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Despite our self-evaluations, His sacrifice proves our immeasurable worth. Despite our earthly circumstances, the purpose and future He offers can fill us with hope and expectation. However, we don’t know, at this point, from what well Robin Williams drew his strength, his hope, and whether or not he ever drank of the Water of Life.

“At times I wondered how a perfect God could ever understand

The pain I feel when I know I’ve failed time and time again

I wondered how my Lord could know all the loneliness I feel

He never felt this painful shame, no wounds of sin to heal

But that was what the cross was for!

There, in love, He opened Heaven’s door.

His own Father had to turn His face from the sin our Savior bore.

What He never knew, there He became,

And all the guilt He bore the same.

How could He understand the sinner’s place?

That was what the cross was for.”

– Anthony Baker

 A final note…

There is an Enemy, the father of lies, who loves to bring pain through heartache and loss. Never forget that even though suicide may be the result of our own faulty perceptions, Satan loves to be the one distorting reality. Remember, he is like a roaring lion, roaming about, always on the prowl, seeking whom he may destroy.

Never underestimate a powerful enemy, but rest in the victory won through an empty tomb.

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Filed under current events, Do not judge, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

Forsake Foolishness, Or Else

A Lost Post

It has been a while since I last wrote a new post for ProverbialThought.com, but in the process of re-posting entries I found that Proverbs 9:6 had never been addressed! Not only was it not published on the blog, but it never made the book! (Click HERE to purchase) That’s terribly embarrassing, especially since all of the editing that has been done. How did we miss it?

Therefore, this is a web exclusive!

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. – Proverbs 9:6

Forsaking

The first word in this verse is an imperative: forsake.  It’s not a word that suggests temporarily turning away, but abandonment. To forsake something is like saying “to heck with you,” turning on one’s heels, walking out the door, slamming it, going to the airport, buying a plane ticket, arriving at the destination, then burning one’s passport.

Why are simple words hard to understand?

Foolish

If you have been reading Proverbs at all, even the least bit, you should be aware of what foolishness is. Foolishness is man’s wisdom, not God’s. Foolishness is acting stupidly, even when you know there is a better way. Foolishness is rebellion, selfishness, seeking one’s own way, and never caring where the road leads, just as long as the trip is fun.

The “foolish” we’re commanded to forsake could be a combination of things. The “foolish” could be people, ideas, actions, philosophies, worldviews, attitudes, etc. There are foolish friends, foolish plans, foolish job opportunities, foolish desires, and foolish dreams – all of which lead down a bad road.

Forsake the foolish, and you might survive; don’t, and you’re in trouble.

The Way

The “way of understanding” can be interpreted as the “right” way, or even the way on which wisdom has already walked. It is the way in which people walk who walk in wisdom, seek wisdom, and love wisdom.

When we walk in the “way of understanding” we consider the consequences of each step and the direction we are going. The direction is a 180 away from foolishness.

Living

But why is it that so many are more likely to hold on to the “foolish” rather than travel in the way of understanding? Instead of walking out the door and leaving the old ways behind, why is it that so many are more apt to slam the door from the inside, lock it, and turn up the music? The reason is based on one’s understanding of “living.”

playstationOne beer company is famous for touting the “high life.” Another shows people partying away the night saying, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Everything from hotels to video game systems have encouraged consumers by promising, “This is living!”

Funny. Even kind of ironic, I must say. It’s hard to go down any path when you’ve locked yourself inside with computer game.

Timely?

Yes, this post is technically 2 years late. On the other hand, God knew exactly who would be writing it and what would be going on. As my daughter Katie looked over my shoulder and read the proverb about which I was to write, she said, “Well, that’s timely…”

This week we’ve dealt with foolishness, the foolish, and an unwillingness to forsake it. I have personally witnessed a close family member, blinded by a lack of wisdom, detail a specific plan for destruction. I’ve even faced down a foolish physical threat. Foolishness…simply foolishness.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. – Proverbs 16:25

Forsake foolishness and live, or shut the door and die. The way is up to you.

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Filed under blogging, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Life Lessons, wisdom

What’s Your Life Worth?

So, I get a phone call from a reader who asks, “Is everything on your site serious?” Well, obviously, no. Even my chili recipe contained humor. But this post may be more serious than others.

This one is serious.

What would you die for? What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? Then you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Foolish, frankly.

Even more than concrete items, some value their pride more than life. They are willing to fight to the death, or kill others when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be thought of wrongly. So many have yet to learn that what people think of them does not determine the reality of who they are.

From the perspective of family, I would say that most believe life is worth risking life. If my loved ones were in danger, then it would be natural to put my life on the line. Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society is very fickled when it comes to how it determines the value of one life. One life is not as valuable as another, after all. Life is not as valuable to some if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.  I would die for my children, but many kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that values gold more consistently than life itself.

What about beliefs? Are you willing to die for what you believe? Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s ok. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who will die for what they believe, rather than deny it.  Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

But here’s one more thought…how much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you. Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s. Your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make you of incalculable worth! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilts and failures as His own, and paying the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable. That makes Jesus pretty unique. How many others have done what He has for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that; and how wonderful?

What is your life worth?  Well, it was worth the Messiah suffering the most excruciating death Rome could conceive.  It was worth the Prince of Peace being shredded by a “cat of nine tails.” It was worth God becoming flesh so that we could know Him.  If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, salvation, self-worth, Uncategorized, World View