‘Tis the Season

tis-the-season

Once Thanksgiving dinner is over with, the cleaning up is complete, perhaps a little resting, the Black Friday abuse is over with and recovered from…it truly is a feeling of “’tis the season” moment! As believers in the Most High God, His loving Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit we should always be “in” that mood of “’tis the season” mindset. We are to be in the ever forgiving mood of our enemies, the ever loving of our neighbors, the always willing to give the shirt off our backs for those in need, etc. Jesus taught these things to all mankind…every person he came in contact with; whether high or low position in their lives. I, myself, have not been shopping on a Black Friday in many years, because it is like suicide by customer shopping. It is truly not the Christmas seasons and shopping experiences that I had when I was a kid; though I am certain that it was a little more festive shopping 40 years ago. People have lost the true Spirit of Christmas over the years. It is truly sad!

On a more positive note, we can each make that little bit of difference in the lives of everyone else simply by carrying on that little bit of Spirit in your lives while out shopping. Say “Merry Christmas” with a bit of a warm smile. Kindness truly can be spread easily and without personal pain. Just in that simple little act. Put the needs of another ahead of yourself; your wife, your husband, your son, your daughter, or a complete stranger. Just help them in some small way. Maybe they are having a meltdown and need a break; perhaps having a tough time and need to get something off their chest; the list can truly be endless. And I will not even get into the corporatizing of the Christmas holiday, THAT would be a completely different blog posting!

You may ask why would that be during the holiday season? The holiday season it the greatest time of pressure; whether it be personally imposed, work imposed, relative imposed, etc. The Christmas season is the highest known time where people think about, contemplate, and commit suicide.

Here are some numbers on Suicide, in general:
  • Suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in the US
  • Each year 42,773 Americans die by suicide
  • For every suicide 25 attempt, and
  • Suicide costs the US $ 44  Billion annually. (AFFSP, 2016)
Some Additional Facts About Suicide in the US:

  • The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 12.93 per 100,000 individuals.
  • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 117 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2014.
  • Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular. (AFFSP, 2016)

Overall, the statistics show that between the years 1999-2014 that suicide has risen 24%. Which is both a travesty on a human level, but also understandable as the population has grown so do the potentiality of such travesties increase. While I cannot understand the reasoning to take one’s own life, it must be understood that the person thinking that to take their life is the best possible solution is very real to them at that time…if not for a period of time! It is truly sad and very devastating to the surviving family members. There are those in your daily walk where you have the potential of crossing the path of someone who has chosen or is planning to choose to take their life. You may even be the catalyst of their decision (without meaning to be so).

There are six reasons that people decide to commit suicide:

  1. They’re depressed
  2. They’re psychotic
  3. They’re impulsive
  4. They’re crying out for help
  5. They have a philosophical desire to die
  6. They’ve made a mistake

God’s word can guide each of us to help those in need, this season, by remembering the reason for the season! Many teens struggle with such thoughts. A multitude of veterans returning from hot zones & those undiagnosed from Vietnam and other conflicts still struggle. Be aware of those who are out there that seek their own demise as an answer.

For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,  in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.  But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,  I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.  I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;  that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” ~Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NKJV

We know the reason for the season is Jesus, because we celebrate His birth. We also remember His death on the cross where He suffered for our sins…the sins of the world! (John 1:29) Here are some other verses that indicate the wrongfulness of suicide in the Bible: 70 Bible Verses on Suicide.

While there is no proof that being kind to, or even loving our neighbor, or putting them first in your life will prevent even a single potential suicide; isn’t it worth a try? After all, as one person you can do so very little to effect change in the world…but you are ONE person and you can do SOMETHING! Even if that something is just being nice to those you come in contact with.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Advertisements

DEATH comes to us all…

…but like taxes – we wait until the last minute to plan for the aftermath!

cemetary.jpg

“We are all born with a noose around our necks, and each step brings us closer to our death.” ~St. Cyprian

 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” ~Matthew 25:13 NIV

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” ~Hebrew 9:27 NIV

There are other verses and quotes that discuss death, but I believe this is sufficient for our discussion.

From the moment of our birth, we are destined to die! Is that a dose of reality you never expected? When you were a child you never thought of such things. In fact, most children thought they would live forever, because watching television everything just seemed to live on and on. You almost got fashioned into believing in reincarnation, because one character in one show who was killed off mysteriously was reborn in another show. But, in reality, we know and slowly learned that things didn’t work that way. We each learned that death eventually comes to us all, one way or another.

We either have noted, slowly, that our aunts, uncles, and grandparents we no longer with us for those special holiday gatherings. A car accident and tragedy avails itself to a neighbor, a friend, or even a classmate. Again, another empty hole in our lives whether it was a large one or a small one is (and was) for you to decide. Everyone touches our life in some small, but often subtle, way. We love them, or hate them, like them, or just fond of them…but they all add another dimension to our lives.

death

“Don’t take life too seriously. After all none of us are getting out alive anyway.”

~Jill Shalvis, Simply Irresistible

That is a cold hard fact and truth of the matter. Also, you need to give some hard thought to the matter of your afterlife. You know…after you have passed on to the next life. If you believe as many others do, death may not be the end of your troubles…it may just be the beginning of some even worse problems where there is nothing you can do to correct the outcome. Think about it for a moment, Pascal’s Wager while it does not prove God’s existence it does force one to think that if God does, in fact, exist then His judgement and promise(s) of eternal damnation also exist:

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) offers a pragmatic reason for believing in God: even under the assumption that God’s existence is unlikely, the potential benefits of believing are so vast as to make betting on theism rational. The super-dominance form of the argument conveys the basic Pascalian idea, the expectations argument refines it, and the dominating expectations argument gives a more sophisticated version still.“(IEP, 2016)

Cheap shot at non-believer? Yeah, probably so; but even the bible tells us to:

And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.~Jude 22-23 NKJV

The unfortunate truth is this, man does not always respond to logic or facts; but man almost always responds to a fearsome problem ahead of him. Everyone knows that death is coming; hence, if it is understood that a possibility of eternal damnation is involved – that in and of itself gets a person to ponder his choices in life. There are those who say that a good and loving God would not sentence a person to Hell. Maybe so, in your world; however, God is carrying out judgement upon all of your choices throughout your life. Sin must be dealt with in a righteous manner with swift justice in mind. God does not want to send you to Hell, but your choices are what determines your eternal final resting spot. God gives you up until your final dying breath to change your ways. Yes, you understood me…I firmly believe you can change up until that final breath, your final heartbeat, your final thought.

saved

While I do believe in each and every step on this chart, it is my firm belief (biblically) that when we are Baptized in Jesus’ name, we are symbolically being buried with our sins

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ~Romans 6:3 NKJV

and when we rise from the water we are being resurrected with the new man, that of Christ.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.~Colossians 3:8-11 NKJV

But here is what cinches it for me, that one great promise from Jesus to one of the two thieves he was hung between:

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ~Luke 23:39-Luke 23:43 NKJV (see HUNG BETWEEN TWO THIEVES, 8/29/2016)

That was the greatest promise to a dying man. Why? you may ask…well, I will tell you:

  1. What made one thief better off than the other? Both were condemned thieves, but only one of which believed Jesus was the Son of God (believed), had remorse for his sins (repented), acknowledged Jesus as Lord (confessed), feared and revered God, and his baptism would have to be a spiritual baptism. (Most thieves would stick together, but this one sought…truly sought God’s forgiveness.)
  2. When was the thief baptized? There was no water on the cross nor would either of them be able to do any physical baptizing;
  3. By logic and reason you can surmise the following possibilities:
    1. Jesus, being God in human form (aka, the Son of God) forgave the thief his sins. Very, if not highly, probable!
    2. Jesus lied to the thief? Is it a possibility, yes; but not likely based upon scriptural and extra biblical writings.
    3. Jesus was a lunatic? Again, based upon the writings, witness accounts and the extra biblical accounts is highly unlikely because the majority of lunatics do not do things for the betterment of a society, they are more of a bane upon it.

God wants you to be His, once again! He wants you to follow His word, be renewed in the new man and the new Spirit, He wants you to cast off the old man of sinfulness. The only way to do so is to acknowledge your sinful nature, pray for His forgiveness and and a renewing of your Spirit. Jesus did, after all, promise an advocate which He would send to us after He left.

The best Sinner’s Prayer is the one you speak out to God in all truthfulness and humbleness. But you could look on the internet for one or just pray to God out of repentance, sorrowfulness, and lay your life bare before God in the name of Jesus! God Knows precisely what you need before you ever ask for anything. NEED not want!! God Bless you my friends, seeking God is a humbling experience and a prayerful life is a way of getting in touch with God through Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit.

Forever your friend in Christ!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

CODE BLACK…

codeblack

My wife was discussing an episode of the series “Code Black” where they were discussing assist-suicideassisted suicide in California. She just wasn’t sure how she felt about it. My position as a person, as a Christian, and as a believer in the One True God is this: If you are endowed with the right to life, the right to live and breath as you so choose; then, you have also been endowed with the equal and opposite right of choosing your demise, or not. That is pure logic. Consider this aspect, if you will…God gave each and every one of us our right to live, to breath, and in time to eventually die. If that be the case then we have also been given the right to speed up such a process, as well. However, keep in mind, I truly believe that we were given the gift of life in order to live out our days according to God’s purpose, to submit to His will, to seek His purpose for our lives, to seek salvation and redemption. While suicide may be a choice, as a person, as a Christian, and as a believer in the One True God is this: That suicide is a bad and wrong choice for your life. While you may not see it, there are a great number of things to live for and to celebrate.

God gave us the right to choose the path between good and evil, right and wrong, etc. While speaking with Cain, God said,

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” ~Genesis 4:7 NKJV

God gave us the choice of good or evil, right or wrong; He also gave us the abilities to rule over our baser instincts of following our evil desires. After all, “…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (~Genesis 8:21 NKJV) and we are quite easily swayed and tempted to follow such a path. It is our dedication to God’s will that would enable us to rule over our evil desires.

But getting back to the base topic of this is a person’s right to die. If God gave us the inalienable right to “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” (Declaration of Independence); then, God equally gave us the right to end our lives. However, we are not protected from the decisions we make or the ramifications that will most assuredly follow…i.e., the consequences of our choices and actions. Meaning that we will be held accountable (according to the scriptures) for our decisions & actions while here on earth. Upon our demise, or at some soon afterward time-frame, we will be judged by God. We will be questioned and we will be expected to answer for our actions, decisions, and our words. On the other hand, we will receive kudos for our good deeds, good words, and better decisions. Our problems do not end with our death, but they may be compounded by it as “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (~2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV)

No matter how noble the decision, or merciful the thought, or thoughtful you may be…God will judge us all! Who is to say that the pain you are in is not a test of your character & integrity? Perhaps, it could also be a tempting thought, or gamble, between God and Satan as were the trials and tribulations of Job. By ending your life, won’t you concede and fail? We have been promised that we are not given more than we can handle. (ref: 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV)

We each have our breaking points, but at the same time we are given more strength by the one who created us…God! More often than not, we each have this nasty habit of giving in much earlier than we should. There is an old story where a man who bought a parcel of land with a valuable ore in it. He drilled and withdrew a good amount but not enough to come-this-farpay for all his debts. While drilling the well went dry and the trail went cold, so-to-say. He scrapped all the equipment and sold the parcel of land. The new owner brought in an expert on tectonic shifting and geological matters. The old drilling hole was three feet away from the shifted line of ore. The new owner reaped the benefits of a wealthy line of earthly ore.

Just remember not to give up too easy, you may just be 3 feet or 3 minutes away from success.

With eternal life in the balance, death is not much different than any other goal, in the very end you will be judged by your Creator…whether you believe in Him or not is irrelevant. His judgement will be final and everlasting in it’s consequences. So, before you decide that you need to end your life to avert great pain that you are afraid to face, keep in mind that there is an everlasting pain that you may be in danger of facing due to your fear of death and pain. Seek His will and understanding in all your earnestness. Seek His will through solid prayer and diligently seek His way and guidance.

Also, something you need to keep in mind is the fact that when seen to be losing a battle with cancer, most men will give up. I saw this with my own father back in 1989, after chemotherapy and radiation therapy, there was no change in the mass. He gave up and before you knew it he was gone. Men tend to do this as they lose hope and tend to have little faith. Without hope or faith man is doomed! On the other hand, women tend to last longer and survive longer even when the battle seems insurmountable. Because women (mothers, grandmothers, etc.) they have hope and faith…a reason to live. Fight the good fight of faith my friends!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Let’s face it, none of us are in Gods will, as we’re all sinners!

sinners1I was reading a book on leadership by Billy Graham. He was speaking about an incident in which he inferred that Ruth’s father (his father-in-law) was not saved because of his denomination, i.e. due to the beliefs and tenets upon which this religion was based. Which, in my mind brought up an interesting point: Who are we to that one is, or is not saved? After all, don’t we all sin? Isn’t it written:

There is none who does good, No, not one.” ~Psalm 14:3

Hence, we are all sinners and doers of evil. Also, it is written in the book of Genesis:

…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” ~Genesis 8:21

There is a meme running around on Facebook which states, quite truthfully really:

sin-differently

There are other variations, but I believe they make a very valid point. Although, to a degree, it is taken out of context within ourselves. One of the commands given to us (within the laws) is this:

you shall put away the evil from among you.” ~Deuteronomy 17:7

However, I read this not as a community or societal action of primary importance, but of secondary importance. The primary importance is placed upon “you”, of course this is my opinion. But think on this for a moment, When God was speaking to Cain, and it was said:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”” ~Genesis 4:7

God was speaking directly to Cain, and for that matter…each and every one of us. We must control our own urges, desires, our sinful natures. We must place them under our control. Or more to the point, we must submit ourselves to God’s sovereignty. We must emulate the Christ in our everyday lives. In the midst of temptation, we need to be screaming out to God for His guidance and help. But all too often, we just give in to our sinful natures. Why? Firstly, because it is easier to sin and ask for forgiveness later. Secondly, because following God’s ways of righteousness, and spiritual revival within our hearts is, quite frankly too damned hard. These answers may surprise you. They may even astound you. But in our hearts you know you have felt that way, or some manner like it!

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” ~1John 5:3

While God’s commandments are not burdensome in and of themselves, we make it much harder than it ought to be, because let’s face it…we want a simple and easy life. But we also know that easy and simple is not what we were promised. Anything good takes an amount of effort, sometimes more than we can bear…but God is willing to add to us the blessings of accomplishment if we will only try without ceasing! God will have your back and He will support you, and me. But we need to do our part. If you want a better world, society, community, country…you have to spread the word and message of God as it was given to us in the Great Commission:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20

There is no such a thing as an inappropriate audience, because everyone needs to hear it…we were told to pass on the word! There is no such thing as an inappropriate time; although, there are better opportunities than other. But God will guide you in these matters.

Get into some quiet time with Him and seriously pray. Talk to Him. Listen for His voice. Seek His wisdom! For it is not until we fully and completely turn ourselves over to our Creator and to Jesus, that we will continue to be tempted. Unfortunately for all of us, it will not stop there, because we will be attacked by our temptations even more so until that time when we get hold of our carnal natures and God firmly has a grasp of us; thereby acknowledging that we have completely trusted in Him and Him alone for our eternal lives!

While we know that we “…can do all things through Christ who strengthens…” us (Philippians 4:13), intellectually; but many of us fail miserably with our spiritual understanding and truths! We can all use work on such things. This promise has such profound meaning, spiritually…but we all seem to rest on earthly meanings and descriptions. What is wrong with this picture? Like anything else in life…we are afraid. Afraid to stretch our faith a little bit further. We are afraid to stretch our limits just a little bit more. We as man have a nasty habit of fearing the unknown, but it is in the unknown where God seeks to take us; thereby enabling us all to spread our wings, so-to-say, and perhaps even test our fortitude. Through such testing, we build our character, integrity, mental acuity & strength, and other such valuable traits which will allow us to fulfill our purpose for our God!

We are sinners at our heart, our imagination, and at our baser instincts. But we can also be forgiven for all our sinfulness, we just have to ask for that gift. God freely offers each of us…all of us…the forgiveness we desire & need. It is out there for all, to be had by all, but you (we) need to change, truly desire to change ourselves. We also need to learn to control ourselves, our base instincts, rule over our sinful nature, etc.

Believe it, or not, God does desire to see each and every one of us in heaven; however, He wants each and every one of us to choose to submit ourselves to Him and His rule over our lives. People often think God is a heartless, megalomaniacal, egomaniac…along with numerous other descriptive terms. But the fact of the matter is that God created you and He loves you.Therefore, you are His property and He can do whatever He wishes with or to you.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” ~Psalm 24:1

The question is, or remains to be, What are you willing to do for such love shown to you? God gave you the breath of Life, the gift of Choice, and the passions that are in your heart (at least the good ones!) YOU must rule over all of the bad thoughts and sinfulness within yourself. With God’s guidance and help you can do all things, both within and without yourselves.

Keep the faith and God will keep the promises. We are all sinners at heart, but what YOU do with that free bit of knowledge is all on YOU. Are you wise or knowledgeable? Prove your wisdom by applying the knowledge you gain from the bible toward the ruling over your carnal and sinful nature, this will get you farther in life than anything else from an ethical standpoint. Many will judge you on how you act, and they do so daily whether you notice it or not. Here is a nickel’s worth of free advice: What you do in secret should match what you do in your public life. Most people’s secret & public lives are diametrically opposed or contradictory. Train, or rule, yourself to where you are ethical and good in both secret, as well as, public!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD