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Archive for April 8th, 2013

In light of the suicide of a well-known pastor, Justin Taylor has assembled some helpful resources on the issue of depression, suicide and the church. I am not familiar with all those he references but here are links to two posts on this issue.

David Murray, an unusually wise teacher and the author of Christians Get Depressed Too, addresses 7 Questions about Suicide and Christians. He writes, “As well-publicized suicides tend to increase the suicide rate quite dramatically, I thought it would be good to address seven of the questions that arise in our minds at times like this.” Here are the seven questions he answers:

  1. How common is suicide?
  2. How do I know if someone is thinking about suicide?
  3. What should I do if I’m worried someone I know is going to commit suicide?
  4. Do Christians who commit suicide go to hell?
  5. Who is to blame?
  6. What if I’m thinking of suicide myself?
  7. What can the church do to prevent suicide?

See also Ed Welch’s wise counsel on how to answer the question, “Do People Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?

Here are some resources on battling depression and ministering to those who do:

For those in ministry, the writings by and about Charles Spurgeon on depression may be particularly valuable:

 

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Please continue to pray for Derek, the son of a pastor who attended the same college and seminary I did.  Dave Doran, pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, MI, writes,

My youngest son, Derek, is an 18 year old high school senior who literally entered the school of hard knocks last week. On his way home from a friend’s house he pulled off the road to help another motorist whose front tire had come completely off so that the car was shooting sparks all over the freeway. Derek approached the car on the passenger side, but when he could not get the driver’s attention to see if she was okay he came around to the driver’s side. As he tried to talk to an unresponsive driver a semi-truck hit him. Incredibly, he survived the hit. I am typing this as I sit at the end of his hospital bed, where he lies sleeping and I am filled periodically with praise and thanks to God.

Derek was pretty badly banged up–9 broken ribs, punctured lung, fractured skull, broken clavicle and scapula, a laceration in his liver, a handful of fractures in his neck and spine, as well as a couple of cuts that needed stitches and loads of abrasions head to toe from being knocked an estimated 115 feet down the freeway by the impact. Even as I type this I can’t believe that is all that he suffered. He got hammered by a semi going 55 miles an hour. God showed him and our family incredible mercy and we are exceedingly thankful.

Read how God had prepared his family through the study and preaching of the Word for this event.

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1. Have Easter every week

2. Value the Lord’s Supper

3. Confess your sins

4. Study the Old Testament

5. Read books about the cross

6. Connect every doctrine to the blood

7. Sing songs about the blood

8. Embrace suffering as the best teacher

–David Murray explains each of these here!

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Tom Ascol reminds us that hell is an everlasting state, a state of separation from God, of association with the devil, and of real punishment.

He then concludes that thinking about hell can influence many actions and attitudes:

The dreadfulness of hell deepens our grateful praise for the salvation we have in Jesus Christ. Hell is what we deserve. And hell is what He experienced on the cross in our place.

Believing the truth about hell also motivates us to persuade people to be reconciled to God. By God’s grace those of us who are trusting Christ have been rescued from this horrible destiny. How can we love people and refuse to speak plainly to them about the realities of eternal damnation and God’s gracious provision of salvation?

Clearer visions of hell will give us greater love for both God and people.

Read “4 Truths about Hell.”

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What stronger consolation could believers desire than this? Whatever happens, they at least are never completely friendless and alone. Christ is ever with them. They may look into the grave, and say with David, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” They may look forward beyond the grave, and say with Paul, “we shall ever be with the Lord.” (Psalm 23:4. 1 Thes. 4:17.) He has said it, and He will stand to it, “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” “I will never leave you and never forsake you.” We could ask nothing more. Let us go on believing, and not be afraid. It is everything to be a real Christian. None have such a King, such a Priest, such a constant Companion, and such an unfailing Friend, as the true servants of Christ.

~ J.C. Ryle

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Pastors Kent Hughes, Dan Philips and Ray Ortlund talk about a sin that commonly runs through the church: gossip.

An excerpt from Ortlund:

Gossip is our dark moral fervor eagerly seeking gratification.

Gossip makes us feel important and needed as we declare our judgments.

It makes us feel included to know the inside scoop.

It makes us feel powerful to cut someone else down to size, especially someone we are jealous of.

It makes us feel righteous, even responsible, to pronounce someone else guilty.

Gossip can feel good in multiple ways. But it is of the flesh, not of the Spirit.

Gossip is a sin rarely disciplined but often more socially destructive than the sensational sins.

Connect to these three pastor’s posts on gossip here.

 

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