A comedian once said, tongue-in-cheek, “We stand at a crossroads. Down one path lies total annihilation and destruction. Down the other path is the apocalypse. I hope we choose the right road.”
Many today are sounding similar, alarm bells over our future as a people… and as a country. We have followed a slippery, moral slope into ethical confusion and chaos and, as a whole, have written God out of our vocabulary except to punctuate the occasional profanity.
There truly seems, to many, that there is no hopeful future for America: no “right road” to choose. And yet, there is a remnant of people in this country who are disciples of the crucified Lamb. These people, loyal first to a kingdom that cannot be perceived with human eyes, labor faithfully in prayer for our nation. We are still, in spite of all that is happening, “one nation under God.”
They take that phrase, not as a clever, emphatic ending to the pledge of allegiance, but as a statement of faith. And so, they pray. They pray for the leadership of our country, no matter their political affiliation because the Bible says to do so. (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
And they believe something else. They believe that God is not finished with our great land. While we may be living in cloudy times and the country is dividing along a number of different, battle lines, God can… God will… continue to use this country.
So there really is a third road that can be taken. Options one and two, according to the comedian, are not the only ones.
The third road is the road that leads us back to the God who founded our republic, and who wants to bless it again. And so, as one of those who follow the crucified One, and who prays for our nation and its leadership, I offer my prayer for America on this our 242 birthday as a country.
And as we return in repentance and faith, may God TRULY bless America!
“IF my people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
A cry for help? An expression of anger toward someone? A physiological illness? A symptom of depression? Suicide can be one or any combination of these and the statistics on the increase of suicide attempts, especially among the younger demographic, is alarming.
Last week in the morning message, I touched on the subject of suicide for a few moments. It was far too quick… and much too superficial a treatment of this important topic. Several responded to it afterward.
Many in our midst have been touched by the effects of suicide; a relative, a friend, a neighbor, or even at times… the thought may have occurred to us to take our own lives. It’s time that we stopped treating suicide as something that happens to people “out there;” who are not a part of our Christian communities.
It has come home to some of us. You, or perhaps your child or parent or sibling is showing signs of depression and despair that may be frightening to you.
Sadly, the church has sometimes made this a topic that is “anathema,” untouchable. But it’s not untouchable. It has touched some among us, and may be doing so even today.
“So Pastor,” you may ask. “You’re saying that CHRISTIANS could attempt suicide?” And my answer is this: If a Christian can get cancer, or diabetes, or need an appendectomy, then OF COURSE a Christian could have thoughts of taking their own life. The Psalmist said, “My heart and my flesh fail me.” It can happen to any of us.
In this brief article, I’m not going to pretend to cover all the bases on this tender subject or build my rationale for why I believe that this is an alarming and urgent matter for the church to deal with.
Today, the CDC released statistics showing the dramatic increase of attempted suicides… and successful attempts… among high school students. It is time for the people of God to step off the sidelines and into the firefight that is threatening the youngest among us.
What can we do about this? I’ll mention a few things.
1). Make it OK to talk about this in your home. Don’t lose control if your child raises the issue. They need to know it’s safe to talk about.
2). Share the hope of Jesus in every way you can. Live that hope in your conversations and in every way possible. Depression, simply put, is the loss of hope. We have what the world needs through the hope available in Jesus.
3). If you know someone who is considering harming themselves let someone know. After they attempt to hurt themselves is too late. It is not safe to assume that what you may hear is an idle threat is truly idle. It may be a very real cry for help.
4). And as you read this, if you are considering or have considered taking the recourse of self-destruction please… PLEASE… reach out for help. Call me. I’ll listen. I’ll pray. I care. Call your student pastor. Or call the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline that is available 24/7.
Don’t go through this alone! God hears our deepest cries and groans. He loves you. He will never forsake you.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 800-273-8255