4.16.2015

Reasons For Hope : Is SUICIDE an unforgivable sin?

A dear Sister-in-Christ Aubrey has started delivering devotionals via e-mail, and this one instantly touched my heart when I read it. As it hasn't escaped my mind since it was read earlier in March, I deemed it appropriate to share here. It is taken from Reasons For Hope.

Is SUICIDE an unforgivable sin? 

By Shari Abbott, Reasons for Hope

Recently I have received more questions than I wish to count about the eternal destiny of those who commit suicide.  Therefore, this question has been moved to the top of the Got Questions? queue and we’ll look at what the Bible says about suicide.  

In addition to asking if suicide is an unforgivable sin, the reader wrote, “I can’t find anything in the Bible about suicide.  I found Judas’ hanging himself..but nothing else. Am I overlooking it? I have heard two preachers preach very different messages about suicide.”  And another reader asked, “When a person commits suicide, do they go straight to hell like most churches teach?”

Let me begin by saying, I don’t believe that most churches teach a person goes straight to hell if they commit suicide (although there are somechurches that teach or imply that).  In fact, this is not something that is often addressed in most churches, and yet with the increasing rate of suicide it needs to be addressed.  Just last week, CBS News reported these findings:

 “ The suicide rate for girls and young women in the U.S. continues to rise at a pace far faster than for young males….The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 5,178 suicide deaths among young people aged 10 to 24 in the U.S. in 2012. Suicide was the second leading cause of deaths in that age group, after accidents.The suicide rate increased for young people of both genders since 2007. And it remains three times higher for young males than young females.But the female increase has been steadier.

“Suicide rates for younger people have varied over the years, with a recent upward trend starting around 2007. There were 4,320 suicide deaths in 2007; the toll was 5,264 in 2013. Suicide rates for older adults tend to be higher, in the range of 15 or 20 per 100,000. Since 2007, suicide rates have increased for older age groups, too.” [1]

Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin? What does the Bible say?

There are several accounts in the Bible of people who took their own lives.  Probably the two best known examples are Saul, who took his life to avoid the dishonor of being captured, abused and killed (1 Samuel 31:1-4), and Judas, who betrayed Jesus and then hung himself (Matthew 27:5).  Other people in the Old Testament who committed suicide are:

Abimelech (Judges 9:54) – to avoid the dishonor of being killed by a woman
Samson (Judges 16:28-31) – to defeat the Philistines who had imprisoned him
Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:5) – to follow his king, Saul, into death
Ahitophel (2 Samuel 17:23) – in defeat when he realized his counsel was not followed
Zimri (1 Kings 16:18) – in defeat to avoid capture

 Although the act of suicide is clearly condemned in the Bible, these men in the Old Testament were not condemned for what they did.
It should be understood that suicide is never to be a viable option for escape in times of difficulty and despair.  There is help…..family, friends, churches, online (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) and the best of all help, Jesus.   Scripture teaches us that Jesus’ grace is sufficient in all things (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) and that He is faithful to provide an escape from anything that threatens to overcome us (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Sadly, many Christians experience dark seasons of the soul and fail to find the comfort they need in Jesus.  And tragically, some have taken their own life.  This is why it is important to spend time in prayer and in reading the Bible, so, when a storm threatens to overtake us, we are prepared to find comfort and strength in Jesus and His Word.   The Bible will give us the answers we need to deal with all problems in life, and in prayer our faith will grow stronger and we can find peace and comfort.   These practices will build a foundation to stand upon in our darkest days.

With all that said, we must acknowledge that there have been prepared believers who have lost their “footings” and have fallen and have taken their own lives.  So is suicide a sin?  Yes, it is.  Suicide is the taking of human life.  However, in man’s vertical relationship with God, suicide is no different than any other sin.  And, while God can forgive any sin, He cannot overlook even one sin.  All sin must be paid for in order to receive God’s forgiveness.  

If a believer (one who has been redeemed and regenerated by Jesus) has committed suicide, it must be remembered that every one of the believer’s sins were paid for by Jesus on the cross.  The believer received God’s forgiveness for every sin (past, present and future sins), including the final sin of suicide, in their salvation.   Jesus has promised that He has prepared a place for those who are His and that He will come to receive them unto Himself (John 14:1-4).

For someone who does not belong to Jesus, someone who has not repented and trusted in Jesus’ finished work on the cross to pay for their sins, they have not received the forgiveness of their sins and God will judge them accordingly.  All sin must be paid for and if someone dies in their sin, they are already condemned. 

John 3:18  “He who believes in [Jesus] is not condemned [they have been forgiven and given the righteousness of Christ]; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (bracketed information added)

 This is a great reason for us to be diligent in sharing the gospel of saving grace with family and friends, and even strangers.  People leave this earth every minute of every day and without belonging to Jesus they will not enter Heaven.  We should always share the gospel, hoping that the Holy Spirit will work on the person’s heart.  Some will repent and turn to Jesus, but sadly some are very hard hearted and will stubbornly reject Jesus their entire life.  However, even for those there is always hope that before they take their last breath they will surrender to God and trust in Jesus.  The Lord’s mercy is available to all who will call upon Him and, if a person knows the gospel,  their heart can turn to Jesus even at the last moment of life.  An example of this is the thief on the cross.  He was saved in the last moments of his life when He trusted in Jesus as Lord (Luke 23:42) and given eternal life with Jesus (Luke 23:43).  So also can our friends and family do the same.  If they have a knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for them, they can turn to Jesus.  Therein lies our hope.  Continue to share the gospel of the saving grace found only in the Lord Jesus Christ with all who do not know Him.  

In conclusion:  Regarding Christians who commit suicide, we can rest assured that there is no sin which is unforgivable.  Because their sins were paid for on the cross by Jesus, and they have trusted in Him, they are forgiven sinners.  

Colossians 2:13-14  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Jesus has forgiven our sins and given us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He has regenerated us in newness of life (Romans 6:4) and made us worthy to be citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20).  Remember always that we can find peace and comfort in Him, and when any Christian dies (under whatever circumstances) they go home to Heaven and be with Jesus (John 14:1-4).

Titus 2:14  who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed [sin] and purify for Himself His own special people…
Philippians 3:20  For our [citizenship/home] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only wise God, be honour and glory 

for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)


3.30.2015

Kelly Carpo - God's Gardner (Author Interview)



Thank you Kelly so much for doing this interview with me (and it's your first, so exciting!). I was delighted to find out that you have published a book, God’s Gardener, which is available for free on Smashwords for e-readers and CreateSpace in paperback. The royalties of which will go towards donation copies of the book for hand out to those dealing with homelessness. As someone who has spent countless hours reading others works (for review on Tuannasgifts.weebly.com), how does it feel to be on the other side?
Very humbling. If someone had ask me if I would ever write a book, let alone about my feelings toward God, I would have laughed at them and said ‘I’m no writer’.

Starting out with the introduction, “God’s Gardener” has very strong language towards the principals of being a Christ-follower, as well as, the traits and truths of God. What would you say is the primary message of the book? What is one thing that you hope each reader comes away with?
I hope to inspire people to at least see what God has to say by reading his word. I know many people will say that the book was written by men, but like me, I believe they were inspired by God to write what he was telling them in their heart.
Also, I hope my life’s struggles will show people that no matter who you are or what you have done you can receive forgiveness. God’s promise is constant through out the Bible. Jesus said it many times in his ministries to people of his day. This can be found in the bible, written by eye witnesses.

I, for one, thank you for your bold honesty in reference to your past circumstances. Did you find it easy for you to pen down the words knowing they would be readily available for any and everyone to examine them?
I did have some concern, more for people who know me. Most family and friends don’t know some of the things that happened to me. I didn’t want to hurt any one, but I felt I could reach more people if I was honest about my own life, something they could relate to.

In God’s Gardener you are very open about your mental afflictions; some people say that the church says too little about this type of disease. What would you say to someone of faith who is struggling with depression, anxiety, bi-polar, etc?
I would tell them that pills are fine, but having God in my life has made me less worried about what other people think and more about what God thinks. He made me as I am for a reason.
I know from the Bible that Jesus will return after the gospel is preached to the whole world, maybe my book is helping to do just that. Maybe that’s why I am here the way I am. I have no regrets for the way I am, I feel it makes me more sensitive to how others must feel. 

In Chapter 6, the importance of gifts from God is delved into by showing examples of your own. What would be one of your favorite “gifts” that you have been blessed with? What would you say to people who say they are talent-less? How would recommend them to search out/find their God given gifts/talents?
I think my favorite gift is the ability to make something from what ever I have. My motto is ‘do the best you can with what you have’.
NO one is without talent. Whether it be singing, writing, playing chess, cards, making people laugh, helping other with their homework, cleaning motel rooms, or skate boarding. We all have something we are good at. That is a talent. My husband can’t change the oil but he can really bring model ships to life, detail a car to make it look like new, and he takes great photo’s.
To know what your talent is just look around you. Do you love to decorate your home, sew, doodle, garden, make flower arrangements, help your neighbors, donate your time to charity? All of these things are gifts from God. Talent isn’t limited to painting or sculpting. It’s anything your good at, that you like to do, and not what other people think, but what you think about it that counts.

Scriptures are used through-out your publication as a tool to meaning, and you explore their importance to your happiness in low times and as a guided example of who you are to become.  In other parts of the world right now, people are at risk to be killed just for having the Bible in their space – to where as some of our fellow believers write scripture down on tiny fragments of paper and consume them due to fear of persecution. What would you say to people who may look at the Bible as something outdated and no longer needed? How do you think your life would have been different if you didn’t have the scriptures to turn to?
For those who think the Bible doesn’t pertain to our day then I would say they have never read it. There are so many things in there that pertain to any situation you can imagine. God tells us exactly what we should do when we don’t know what to do.  As to those in fear for their lives, remember God is in your heart, mind and soul. If God is for you then who can be against you. People may kill the body but they can’t kill your faith and belief in God. If you love God more then your own life then you have nothing to worry about.

Even without the scriptures to read I still have God’s wonders around me. NO one can do what God has done. No scientist can recreate what God has made. Oh, they can clone things but they can’t make something out of thin air, they can’t speak anything in existence. Just the other day I discovered some itty bitty white flowers growing all over this field. The flowers were so tiny I couldn’t see them without getting up real close. I could just see white. Up close they are so delicate and perfect. What beauty. The birds wake me up in the morning with their singing and I love to watch the crocus come up knowing spring isn’t far behind. I could write my own words about such things knowing they had to come from someone who is mighty and very loving to give us such wonders, so I don’t have to have the bible to know what God has to say or done for all of us.

Lastly, admittedly I am a fan of end-times study myself, as you declare for us in your book, you are an amateur eschatologist. There is without a doubt prophecy being fulfilled in the world around us today, and people may be blind to it. What word of advice would you give believers and non-believers alike regarding to the ‘end of this age’?
I know it’s scary to think that things will change and there is nothing you can do about it, but there is a better place for all of us. Right now people are suffering, hurting, scared, alone and afraid for their lives, but just imagine what it will be like when Jesus comes down to be King of Kings. There will be no more anger, tears, hurting, suffering, loneliness, pain. No more worrying about where your next meal is coming from, how will you keep warm, what you will wear. No more fear. You will be loved beyond belief, happy like never before, young again, all your sinful past will have been wiped away. You just have to ask Jesus to come into your heart and make you a new person. Like Jesus told Mary Magdalena, “Go, and sin now more”. It will surprise you as to how much happier you will be. You’ll feel free for your burdens will be lifted, all you have to do is ask and have faith and belief that God will be there for you. Because HE IS.

Do you have anything else you would like to share?
As I said in my book, I don’t want to see God loose even one soul to Satan. God is love. Satan is not. He will make you think that God wants you to be happy getting high, having all the sex you want with whom ever you want, but in the long run you will only be letting Satan tell you what to do. Is that what you really want? Wouldn’t you rather have true love, caring, being blessed by the Lord with all kinds of wonderful gifts, both physical and mental? Remember, Satan is jealous of God’s power and he will do anything to make you hate him. Don’t let him. God is beauty and love, Satan is desolation and despair.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. It was a true delight reading your book, and seeing the scriptures through your point-of-view via your story, past – present and future. I hope that your book and its truths reaches people far and wide, and that more and more are added into the court of believers with each person who reads it. 
Thank you for such wonderful questions. I was very pleased to answer them. Also, I thank you for reading the book.  I was happy to be God’s pupil and thankful for His inspiration. I couldn’t have written it without Him.
Many Blessings to all,
Kelly Carpo


3.11.2015

Some Things Need Repeating

"So do not worry about these things, saying 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father know all your needs. Seek the Kingdom above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need."
Matthew 6:31-33 NLT

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For gentiles seek after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Matthew 6:31-33 ESV

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' for pagens run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:31-33

This verse is featured in March's  Loved + Blessed subscription box; and for me it hits the spot. Currently my noggin is see-sawing with the notion of 'Where shall I live' as my lease is about to expire, and with it my living situation is about to change. Also, it amuses me as I asked a someone only yesterday (as they seem to know me better than I know myself at times) what helpful advice they would give me and they say I (still) worry too much, and worry doesn't give you anything. In which I retorted, adult acne.

For some people the ability to blanketly accept all things, and not mull over a thought, action or what-have-you comes easy. Others of us, may have to actively seek to train our brain to not think or more so refocus on something productive.

In 31 Rays of Hope I actually wrote a devotional on this topic (day seventeen), here are some snippets from that entry that has served as a helpful reminder to me and in-turn I hope you as well.

It’s just simply this: has God ever failed you? No. Then
why do you worry? It is trick of Satan to get our minds
off God, from trusting that He is ultimately in control.
When we worry about a particular subject, we are more
apt to make our own moves instead of waiting on God to
move things for us. With the increase of technology in
our everyday lives (which has been proven to increase our
stress levels), we sometimes even put our faith in electronic
devices rather than the Creator of all things.

Yet, worry does cross our minds, but instead of dwelling
on that which troubles us we are commanded to simply
not partake in that way of thinking. Instead we are to go
to God with our fears, hand them over and cease fretting
(Philippians 4:6).

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace. May
You fill our hearts with the fullness of Your love. May we
feel Your Spirit inside of us, ever reminding us that You
are in control. You are the One with the master plan, Who
knew us before we were born. May we grow closer to You,
putting our trust in You more and more each day. May
we submit our lives to You daily, knowing that You would
never bring harm to our lives, that there is nothing You
would put us through that we cannot handle because You
are our ultimate strength. In the name of Your Son, Jesus
Christ we pray, Amen.

2.16.2015

Naked Truth Tidbit



The truth of forgiveness is something, at times, I have a hard time wrapping my noggin around. While I am without a doubt grateful for the forgiveness which is offered freely through Jesus Christ; I am amazed at how simplistic it is. While as though we are told in Romans 6:1, grace does not abound so sin can, but alas we must remember how God knows us when we do commit transgressions. Regret and remorse (un-forgiveness of self) can seriously hinder a person's walk with the Creator as well as their walk in life. I recently came to admit something that I have seemingly struggled with in variety of ways for the majority of my life. Upon this my heart aches and I am inclined to make myself suffer. Questioning as if "it is too soon to be forgiven", and "how can God forgive me of this"?  Of course I am failing to realize and appreciate that He has been with me all along, and continue(d/s) to uphold me regardless of past, present, and future mistakes. Sometimes our wake-up calls can come in loud crashes that shake our very core, but the goal of them is to same ... to have us align our wills to that of God's, and to be every more open to His instruction in life.    

There is a battle that rages within us all, but the war has already been won (Jesus' death and resurrection). Take heed to the promoting of the Holy Spirit, trust in God and seek His word, will, and way for your life. Know that your worth comes from the Perfect one, and He loves you with an everlasting love. Know that you are a WORK-IN-PROGRESS and you will stumble, but trust that there is a ALMIGHTY GOD who has claimed you as His own, and will see you through. 


Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31


Also, if you are interested in a little further study, check out this Paul Ellis writing on Conviction vs. Correction.  


1.29.2015

Social Media

Well isn't this icing on my cupcake, it seems that our Little 5 Points group now has a Facebook page. Check 'em out right meow, and THANK YOU Craig for being admin!

https://www.facebook.com/L5Pchurch


1.04.2015

Verse-A-Palooza [2nd Edition]


~ Happy New Year to you all ~ 
May 2015 be your *BEST YEAR YET*! 


If you have ever checked out my Pinterest page, you know I am all about scripture art. These particular verses are all taken from 31 Rays of Hope: A Month of Daily Devotionals.

The original Verse-A-Palooza was posted in August 2013. 




































12.21.2014

♥ ♥ ♥

Hoping everyone a very Merry Christmas from the Little 5 Points crew!