The Cry of the Lost

Do you hear the cry of the lost

Who for eternity will pay the cost?

Suffering torments they cannot tell

In the everlasting fire called Hell.

There they dwell where the worm dieth not

And no relief can ever be sought.

Eternal flames around them ’bout

Such horrid screams can you hear them shout?

It’s too late.  It’s too late for me.

But please dear Jesus set my loved ones free.

Tell them of your saving grace

So they won’t come to this wicked place.

Send someone to warn with tears

Of this place worse than all their fears.

To point them to the Savior above

And tell them of your eternal love.

Prepare a man to be sent

And compel them to repent.

From all their guilt, sin, and strife

So they may have eternal life.

Jim Kelley

Thoughts on Suicide

*** Note from Mark – knowing how much this has affected Sony, this is not an invitation to debate on this one, nor will derogatory comments be permitted. It is simply meant to be an encouragement to people to reach out if they are struggling with the thought of suicide. We are not all going to agree on every aspect of doctrine, but these words are helpful. ***

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Last week, I found out that an acquaintance committed suicide. This was not a close friend but it affected me as I’ve pondered why people take such extreme measures when, more often than not, the trials of life are only temporary afflictions.

This is only the second time I can remember someone I know dying by his own hand. In the other case, the motive seemed to be selfishness: getting back at someone else.

In many cases, the motive is extreme hopelessness, and this makes me sad. Where there is life, there is always hope. It is only after death that nothing can be changed. At that point, not only your past, but your present and future are determined forever.

I wonder, though, if sometimes people commit suicide due to guilt. Could people honestly have done something “so bad” that they don’t think even God would forgive them, so they take the “easy way out” instead of humbling themselves in repentance and trusting God’s saving grace?

This last thought concerns me even more than the others. There is no sin that God won’t forgive IF a person is willing to repent and turn from that sin. The problem is that many don’t want to do that and so they live with the guilt of the life they are living until tragedy claims that life.

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I understand discouragement, and I have been down to the point of wanting to die. But I remind myself that there is a reason that I am still alive, and it has nothing to do with me. The God who placed me on this earth still has a plan for my life and, until that plan is finished, I must be faithful. There is no “easy out” for a Christian. We are called to take up our cross daily and follow Him.

The thoughts going through my mind right now are many. First of all, my heart goes out to those who think the only way out of their problem is to end their life. But I also wonder how many people I know are struggling more deeply than I would ever imagine. We live in a world of “happy” faces, where people don’t want to be burdened with others. Therefore, there are a lot of lonely people in this world. As Christians, we should never be so busy or unconcerned that we don’t take time to listen to someone who is struggling. If someone is willing to open up and talk to you, it may be because they are hoping you will show them the Hope they need.

If you are one who is down and suicide has even crossed your mind, please find someone to talk to. I realize that you can’t trust just anybody but ask God to show you someone who would be willing to pray with you and check on you periodically to make sure you are okay. Although there will always be trials in this life, they truly are temporary, and God can give you the strength to walk through them if you allow Him to.

Don’t become another statistic. Be a victor! And help others to be victorious as well.

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Are You Like Judas or Peter?

When I can’t sleep at night, I often listen to my Bible app. Last night, I heard the account of Peter denying the Lord. After declaring three times that he did not know Jesus, Luke 22:61-62 tells us: “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out …”

If I had never heard the story before, I would have been holding my breath. What was he going to do?!

Back in Matthew 26 and 27, we read of Judas betraying Jesus. Matthew 27:3 says that, when Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, Judas changed his mind and returned the money to the chief priests and elders. They had what they wanted, though, so they weren’t going to give up the man they had been waiting for for so long.

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Upon hearing this, verse 5 says about Judas, “throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went … and hanged himself.” How sad! He could not live with the guilt of knowing he had betrayed an innocent man so he ended his life prematurely.

Peter, on the other hand, had a different outcome. Instead of hanging himself, Peter “went out and wept bitterly.” He too felt the depths of his sin but, instead of giving in to despair, he chose to live.  Because of this, God was able to use him, and he became a bold witness of the One he had once claimed to not know.

I doubt there is a person alive who has not failed the Lord at some point or another. Some give up and decide there is no point in even trying, while others fall on their knees in repentance and then get up, wipe the dust off, and move on, growing stronger than ever before.

Who are you more like? Judas or Peter? When you make a mistake, do you crumble and give up, or do you ask God for forgiveness and then set out to fulfill your calling once again? Let me encourage you to learn from Peter. God is there and ready to forgive a repentant heart. Sometimes it is through failing that we learn our humanity and turn to Him like never before. He loves you. Don’t lose sight of just how much.

The Importance of Communicating Well

Communication. Everyone knows that this is important in relationships, but many don’t seem to know how to communicate well. Or maybe they just don’t want to take the time to do so. Communication is more than just talking; it’s also important that you weigh your words and deliver them in such a way that the hearer will not only hear, but will also understand what is being said and will receive it with thanksgiving that you had the conversation.

The way you say things can make a person smile, or it can make them defensive and angry. It can let them know you love them, or they may feel like you don’t.

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Because this can be hard to accomplish, some give up and decide to let a lot slide, regardless of how they feel, but this is not the answer. Instead, you need to ask God to help you to “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). Be willing to admit when you are wrong and, if you are confronting someone about something they are doing wrong, do it humbly, realizing that you are not always right either.

I think true humility is one of the hardest things for humans to achieve, including Christians. Everyone wants to be liked and thought well of. When someone tears us down and, in our mind, makes us look bad in front of others, our flesh rises to the surface. This is one reason we must not do this to others.

Maybe you were hurt recently by something someone said or did. Or maybe you see someone making a major mistake and you feel you need to talk to them. Take time to pray until God’s love fills your heart for that other person. This can make all the difference. Without love, you are like a “sounding brass or tinkling cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). In other words, you are easier to ignore.

Relationships are important. They are the only thing we will take to Heaven with us (assuming they are in Christ). Do not take them for granted. Do not let pride cause them to disintegrate. A good friend (or spouse) is hard to find. When you find them, you must fight for (not with) them! The enemy wants to do everything he can to tear God’s people apart but, if you are faithful to fight against his tactics, you will find overcoming victory, and God will perform an even greater work in and through you, as well as give you stronger relationships that will last through the fiercest storms.