Depression And Thoughts Of Ending it All

Here is an article to save [Click HERE] for when you or a friend are depressed and even consider suicide. The article is written by Senior Pastor Brian Jones.  Brian is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of Second Guessing God, Forgiveness, and Finding Favor. He’s the Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in suburban Philadelphia. Brian and his beautiful wife Lisa have three amazing daughters, one of whom, Chandler, we had the privilege of hosting in our home while she was an intern at The International Justice Mission in DC  during the summer of 2015.

I enjoy Brian’s writing style and wit and have reblogged a couple of his articles in the past. This particular article grabbed my attention due to the fact that over the years I’ve had the opportunity to walk with some dear friends who were dealing with depression.  I’ve always felt less than adequately prepared to be of much assistance to them even as a friend, much less as a counselor.  My one piece of sound advice to them has always been to seek well-qualified professional help.  But I always have sought to be a good listener and to truly understand what it is they are experiencing.  Incidentally, I don’t pretend to do even that as well as I would like.  

Anyway, when I read Brian’s article it seemed to be of such a quality that I would like to share it with others.  Before doing that, however, I thought it wise to run it past a friend who is currently struggling with depression.  I asked him if he believed it was worth sharing.  Here is his response:

“I appreciate you sharing the article with me. Needless to say I have read a tome of such things over these last few years by my own initiative, but it is an exceedingly rare occurrence for someone to share such things with me out of concern. Interestingly, Jones quotes Psychologist William James (1842–1910, whom I believe is often called the father of modern psychology) saying that there are those who are “organically weighted on the side of cheer.” If James was correct, then there is in those people—who I assume constitute the majority—an inherent and endogenous inability to comprehend the experiences of those who are weighted otherwise; it is for them, a natural blind spot. This deduction (or induction—whichever it is) I find helpful in contending with the loneliness and isolation that is such a universal experience for those in recalcitrant depression. 

“As for your questions about the usefulness of the article, unfortunately I (and others in my lot) are not always the best people to ask. The darkness (as I have come to name it), particularly at its most unmitigated points, produces a cognitive fog—a haze through which nothing is seen clearly. All sound becomes like white noise that does not soothe, but rather distracts with its incessant din—I have often likened it to how a sunburn feels in the shower. Words on a page get jumbled. Compassion, pleasure, and general interest are anesthetized to the point of numbness, and the outward and manifold expressions of joy and laughing in everyone else seem perplexing and incoherent. The point, I think, is that it becomes nearly impossible to discern things that are useful from things that are superfluous, things that are helpful from things that are desensitizing, and things that are superficial from things that have form and dimension. Even worse…is the suspension of the ability to discern what is God-centered from what is man-centered. So, truthfully, I struggle when I try to engage such things.

HOWEVER….I would say that Jones’ article is nothing if not engaging—I was able to stay with it to the end. More often than not, I find that I kind of “trail off” without finishing such self-help thoughts due to lack of connectivity. So, if he can hold my attention all the way through, it is very likely worth re-posting—especially since he includes some practical steps and critical resources at the end.
Hope that helps, / S /

So, with that clearance for sharing the article from my trusted friend, here it is:  RMF

A Note For Anyone Who Has Thought About Suicide (Like Me)

By Brian Jones

Brian Jones

I talk to my cat a lot.

If you spent five minutes with him, you would too. Seriously.

He acts like an affectionate Golden Retriever. He’s big and fat and cuddly and constantly wants to jump on your lap and snuggle. Anytime Lisa and I hug he’s like, “Hey, let me in on some of that!”

If you’re not a cat person, I will pray for your dark, miserable soul. 🙂  Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why We Should (& Should Not) Be Excited About Today’s Blood Moon

God is at it again. He’s actually at it every second of every day. But there are moments here and there, like today, where he cranks up the show. Three notable lunar events are coinciding.  Check out The Cripplegate post by Eric Davis at: Why We Should (& Should Not) Be Excited About Today’s Blood Moon.  RMF

Why We Should (& Should Not) Be Excited About Today’s Blood Moon

by Eric Davis

Click HERE:  Why We Should (& Should Not) Be Excited About Today’s Blood Moon

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

March For Life

Last Friday morning I was in a breakfast gathering at Bagel Buddies with some very dear Catholic friends. During our time together the discussion turned to the upcoming 45th March For Life which will be held in DC this Friday, January 19th, 2018. To say that they are excited about it would not do their zeal for the event justice! I have long considered the abortion on demand policy which is still embraced by large segments of our population and indeed most of the legal establishment and apparatus to be the nation’s greatest social justice blight. It goes right to the core of what is most important as a people created in the image of God and the way life itself should be considered and valued. The following article by Professor Randall B. Smith, the Scanlan Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, is an excellent articulation in support of the sanctity of life. His article appeared at: www.thecatholicthing.org as: Im-Personal Human Beings? I’m grateful to Professor Smith and all others who work in any way, including Marching, to preserve the lives of the most vulnerable. RMF

Im-Personal Human Beings?
Randall Smith

A person’s a person no matter how small.” – Horton Hears a Who!

Professor Randall B. Smith

For most of human history, moralists have sought to convince people that it was a good and necessary thing to protect the lives of their fellow human beings. For much of that time, other voices have suggested that there was a fundamental difference between “us” and “them,” between those deserving full respect and those who, for some reason, did not.

Sometimes the division was done on the basis of “our tribe” vs. “other tribes.” At one point in history, the division was between “Greeks” and “barbarians.” Later it was between Romans and Germans, then Jews and Christians, Arabs and non-Arabs, Muslims and Christians, civilized Europeans and uncivilized Africans, Aryans and Jews, whites and blacks.  Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sin-Killing Weapons

Here is a neat little article that is much needed by all.  The author is Kristen Wetherell who, along with Sarah Walton wrote Hope When It Hurts – Biblical Reflections To Help You Grasp God’s Purpose In Your Suffering.   Ms Wetherell blogs at: www.kristenwetherell.com.  RMF

Kristen Wetherell

via 20 Practical Ways to Kill Sin Every Day

20 PRACTICAL WAYS TO KILL SIN EVERY DAY

Sin perplexes us.

We love it, and we hate it. We embrace it, and we war against it. We act on it, yet we don’t always understand why. Sin is alluring and confusing, pleasurable and destructive. The redeemed heart has been set free from sin’s power, yet still wars with sin’s presence—and sin distances us from the God who willingly came to rescue us from it.

When I asked friends, “What are some sins and areas of temptation we must fight every day?” the response was overwhelming: jealousy, laziness, discontentment, control, discouragement, pride, a sharp tongue, vanity, slander, inadequacy, anxiety, fear, selfish gain, impatience, anger, disobedience, lust, fear of man, and critical judgment of other Christians.

20 PRACTICAL WAYS TO KILL SIN EVERY DAY

Which of these resonate with you? Do others come to your mind? No Christian is exempt from the battle with sin, and it’s wise to consider what and how we’re actively fighting each day. But we do not fight alone:

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:9-11)

Believer in Christ Jesus, you are dead to sin and alive to God – and your calling is to “consider yourself” in this way. So what does it look like to fight sin on a daily basis, when temptation is all around you and spiritual death is sin’s goal (James 1:15)?

 

Ponder these 20 practical ways to “consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God” by killing sin today:

1. PRAY FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT’S CONVICTION AND HELP.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)

2. PRACTICE REGULAR CONFESSION.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

3. REMOVE THE TEMPTATION.

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:43)

4. TELL A FRIEND.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

5. MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil….take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… (Ephesians 6:11, 17)

6. MEDITATE ON THE CROSS.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

7. DEAL QUICKLY WITH OFFENSE.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

8. DISCERN YOUR DESIRES.

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22, 24)

9. HELP SOMEONE IN NEED.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

10. PRAISE AND THANK GOD.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:5, 16).

11. WATCH YOUR WORDS.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

12. FORGIVE THE REPENTANT.

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)

13. KNOW YOURSELF – YOUR HABITS, WEAKNESSES, AND HEART.

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)

14. HEED YOUR CONSCIENCE.

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

15. FLEE SEXUAL SIN.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

16. PREACH THE TRUTH TO DOUBT, FEAR, AND UNBELIEF.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… (2 Corinthians 10:5)

17. DEAL WITH YOUR ANGER.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)

18. AIM TO PLEASE CHRIST.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)

19. REMEMBER GOD’S WORK TO SAVE YOU.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?…And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 11)

20. FOLLOW JESUS.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What If – Jesus?

I only know about Judge Andrew P. Napolitano because I’ve seen him as a legal matters commentator on the Fox News Channel.  For some reason I was a bit surprised when I read the Washington Times this morning, 12/28/17, and discovered the following column, “America at Christmas – What if everyone really meant Merry Christmas,” by him.  Then, I also ran into the same article at www.foxnews.com captioned:  Judge Andrew Napolitano: What if millions of us worship government-as-god and miss the true God?  It is also included on Judge Napolitano’s website as America at Christmas Well – I guess it doesn’t really matter too much what the caption is or source, it is the content of the article that is really important and I believe the content in this case is really good.  It is certainly a thoughtful and thought provoking piece.  I hope you enjoy it.  RMF

America at Christmas

What if everyone really meant Merry Christmas?

By Andrew P. Napolitano

Judge Andrew P Napolitano

What if Christmas is a core value of belief in a personal God who lived among us and His freely given promise of eternal salvation that no believer should reject or apologize for? What if Christmas is the rebirth of Christ in the hearts of all believers? What if Christmas is the potential rebirth of Christ in every heart that will have Him, whether a believer or not?

What if Jesus Christ was born about 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem? What if He is true God and true man? What if this is a mystery and a miracle? What if this came about as part of God’s plan for the salvation of all people? What if Jesus was sent into the world to atone for our sins by offering Himself as a sacrifice? What if He was sinless? What if His life was the most critical turning point in human history? What if the reason we live is that He died?  Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Beware the Star Wars Worldview

Here is a timely reminder regarding the need for critical thinking regarding what we watch and read as we go through life.  This  is an excellent Randy Alcorn article regarding exercising caution when watching the newest Star Wars movie.  It appeared at Mr. Alsorn’s Eternal Perspectives Ministry website: www.epm.org as:  Star Wars Movies Are Fun, Just Remember They Sometimes Contradict a Biblical Worldview.  RMF

Darth Vader

Star Wars Movies Are Fun, Just Remember They Sometimes Contradict a Biblical Worldview
By Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspectives Ministry

With the release of Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, I’ve been asked again about my views on Star Wars. I enjoy science fiction and I do like Star Wars, especially the original three movies. Nanci and I actually attended, in Portland, the first showing of the original Star Wars in late May 1977, over forty years ago (we started our church earlier that same month). The theater was less than half full. We were blown away by the quality, and by the time we brought friends back to see it the following week, the word had spread and lines to buy a ticket were almost out to the street. (Some of you remember!)

That said, it was obvious even then that Star Wars was fun to watch but a very poor place to get your theology! I am not a Star Wars naysayer, and it might seem self-evident that “these movies aren’t based on reality.” But I’ve found that while almost no one ends up believing that the particular aliens onscreen really exist, matters of worldview are much more subtly conveyed. So I encourage parents to talk with their children about this, since many of them don’t yet have the filters in place to screen out what’s false.

Full of Theology
I can hear some people saying, “What are you even talking about? There’s no theology in Star Wars. These are just some fun movies.” Well, yes, they are fun movies, but if you think they don’t contain theology you are, no offense intended, naïve. Here’s just one example from the second of the original Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda is mentoring young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars theology: Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backstory for My Favorite Christmas Hymn

My favorite Christmas song is the much loved O Holy Night.   Through a www.thecripplegate.com  blogpost by Clint Archer (see HERE)  I learned that there is a rich history behind the hymn.  That backstory is related masterfully by author Ace Collins in his book: Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas

I wrote to Mr. Collins and he kindly gave me permission to share his research into the genesis of the hymn in this post.  I believe you will find his account of the song fascinating.

[You may also be interested in checking out Mr. Collins’ website (Here).  It contains a link to a YouTube video where he discusses his approach to storytelling.  (HERE)  I believe you’ll enjoy viewing it.] RMF

O holy night!

By Ace Collins

Ace Collins

 

The strange and fascinating story of “O Holy Night” began in France, yet eventually made its way around the world. This seemingly simple song, inspired by a request from a clergyman, would not only become one of the most beloved anthems of all time, it would mark a technological revolution that would forever change the way people were introduced to music.

In 1847, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure was the commissionaire of wines in a small French town. Known more for his poetry than his church attendance, it probably shocked Placide when his parish priest asked the commissionaire to pen a poem for Christmas mass. Nevertheless, the poet was honored to share his talents with the church.

Placide Cappeau

In a dusty coach traveling down a bumpy road to France’s capital city, Placide Cappeau considered the priest’s request. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau imagined witnessing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Thoughts of being present on the blessed night inspired him. By the time he arrived in Paris, “Cantique de Noel” had been completed.

Moved by his own work, Cappeau decided that his “Cantique de Noel” was not just a poem, but a song in need of a master musician’s hand. Not musically inclined himself, the poet turned to one of his friends, Adolphe Charles Adams, for help.

The son of a well-known classical musician, Adolphe had studied in the Paris conservatoire. His talent and fame brought requests to write works for orchestras and ballets all over the world. Yet the lyrics that his friend Cappeau gave him must have challenged the composer in a fashion unlike anything he received from London, Berlin, or St. Petersburg. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment