The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain along with our nation’s high suicide rate which counts a few of my relatives too, are reminders of how precious hope is as a soul resource. For this reason, there should be no doubt why Satan works hard as a lion to capture and drag so many to his lair of darkness to deceitfully convince them there is no light; no hope such that death is appealingly the only false escape. Hopelessness, loneliness, emptiness and despair can be dark and dangerous places that not even money and fame can overcome--though popular culture continues to feverishly sell the lie that these accomplishments will solve everything.
While she did not commit sudden suicide, the 2011 tragic death of Amy Winehouse I briefly wrote about in this edited repost follows after and precedes too many others of the rich and famous who died from slow death lifestyle choices that included the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Among these were the stellar entertainers Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince all demonstrating again that not only money and fame, but superior talents and abilities are not sufficient to resist the destructive forces of this world system waging war against human souls (Ephesians 6:12). For the record, nominal Christianity or other religions which many have cannot deliver in the war for the soul ether!
Praise God for the light of “a living hope” those of us truly in and sold out to Jesus Christ by faith have and need to be more deliberate about witnessing to others that do not know Him regardless of their status in the world (1 Peter 1:3, NKJV). Not only does the Gospel--that Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day--save our souls through faith, but we begin what is intended to be an eternal relationship with Him! This relationship with the risen Christ supplies all that a human soul needs to overcome everything that the world system uses against us in the unavoidable war of this mortal age (Genesis 3:1-15; John 16:33; 1 John 5:4-5).
Sudden or slow lifestyle suicides then, are very tragic since they are preventable by the simple, child-like decision to repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all one’s heart! While God has allowed for each soul to make a personal decision in this matter, the Lord Jesus is clear that those that reject Him will die in their sins to face the fate worse than any problem or issue one thought so bad in this life: His judgment seat (John 3:16-21, 36, 8:21-24; Revelation 20:11-15). For this reason, the Lord’s love in me motivates me (and I pray you too, O, Christian) to zealously preach the Gospel to the lost whatever their life station so that they can at least hear of the life giving hope available in Him alone! For truly, this life gets no easier going forward (Luke 21:25-26).
Originally Posted July 31, 2011
I with so many others all over the world was deeply affected by the death of Amy Winehouse this past week. Though I had never bought one of her CD’s or even heard a full song of hers on the radio, her death was tragic to me on so many levels. Most moving for me is the pathos that the talents of this musical giant as sizable as they were, were not enough to stave off the inner torments of her soul including despair. We have encountered this so many times throughout history among the great and those whose names will never be known except by grieving and bewildered family and friends.
Many commentators brought up the age 27 as notable for such talents of recent memory to abruptly exit from the world stage. Among them are Jimmie Hendrix and Janis Joplin of my youth. While I had only begun in those days to really pursue an interest in music and barely knew their names, I remember the sadness in pondering why they had died since they were such excellent musicians. This all came rushing back to me with the death of Ms. Winehouse. I still do not have any answers as to why now, so young with so much life potentially yet to live--nor does any other mortal.
However, as a Christian, I do now understand that our abilities, no matter how great, are not enough to give light or minister healing to our souls. The soul belongs to God and only He has the spiritual remedies we need to cope and effectively navigate through a sin darkened world. That is the first lesson for the aspiring strong man of God I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.1 Unlike those outside of Christ, we draw our strength and every other spiritual resource from Him! As such, while it is true we will all depart this world through one cause or another, despair--an affliction of the soul--is not to be one of them for the aspiring strong man or great woman of God in the image of Christ.2
1 The book is available at all major internet books sellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
2 If you or someone you know are wrestling with thoughts of suicide or other self-destructive behaviors or want help with any number of the spiritual, mental or emotional
issues of our day, visit this resource for an important listing of hotlines some of which are Christian operated.
Happy Father’s Day to all of our readers that are fathers! I originally wrote this edited Commentary before the similarly titled, “Weak Women Made Great” (posted this past Mother’s Day) in 2010 to challenge men about registering for and attending our first community offering of “The Strong Man Of God Course” (now “The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study”1). The cause to restore men through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and instruction in biblical manhood remains as urgent as ever on this Father’s Day. Purposeful instruction is essential because how else will men come to learn what a man is and does by God’s design without it?
Therefore, this post joins the many I have already made as the Lord has led stressing again the need and urgency of our Ministry cause to restore men. It is also another thunderous and clear call to pastors and churches to repent from whatever hindrances to fulfill your God ordained responsibility to reach and teach men as His chosen leaders beginning in the family (Matthew 4:19, 28:19-20)!
Originally Published April 2010
After conducting The Strong Man Of God Course over the last two years in some of Oregon's prisons, I have come to greatly admire many of the men that have taken it. Those that I admire come to the course with the brokenness and humility of knowing they are weak in their sins. They require no prolonged instruction to convince them that they are sinners and need everything God has to offer to help them become the men He originally designed them to be. The lack of an overwhelming sign up for the course from among so-called "free" men in the community is by contrast, a telling indicator that the many who have heard about it, still do not see their need.
Speaking in terms of weak or strong would not even be an issue if it were not for the fact that we are all sinners as direct descendants of Adam, the first man. This is the verdict of God our Creator and Judge in His Word (Romans 3:10-20, 23, 5:12-14) and the undeniable truth of our daily lives. God originally designed and created us to live before Him as men that are strong; creatures passionately devoted to pleasing Him and doing His will! But when sin came we were made weak in our ability to function as He designed. So, now, all men without God and many that profess to know Him are weak.
Yet, with a significant amount of help from the first fallen creature, the formerly "anointed cherub," Satan (Ezekiel 28:11-19; Revelation 12:9), men in sinful pride either outright deny their inner weakness or engage in mental games to evade owning up to it. In denying the truth about our weakness we become excessively hostile toward God and/or seek to excel at something that makes us great enough we think to escape condemnation. With mental games, we claim victimization or attempt to rationalize, justify, cover up by deceit, avoid or dismiss the truth about our sin driven weakness in the flesh. However, neither denial nor games provide any lasting deliverance from the truth.
Since there is no way around, over or under it, why not just confess the truth? I am weak. I am not only weak as a man before God, but as a husband, father, son of my parents and citizen of the community. Still not ready to admit it? Then be reminded you are weak if you cannot deliver yourself from your sin nature and the evil deeds that result even after adopting a religion. You are weak if you are a slave to your sinful lusts and practice sexual immorality in and outside of marriage. You are weak if you are driven by your impulses of every kind including anger and violence. You are weak if you are addicted to anything and after going into recovery, still struggle to remain free.
In The Strong Man Of God Course we introduce weak men to the Strong Man of God, Jesus Christ, who came to this earth as a second Adam for the express purpose of restoring willing men to God's original design (Matthew 18:11). We urge men to embrace not religion, but Christ in order to transition from weakness to strength as a lifelong journey. His is the strength of the Almighty God who created the heavens and the earth and gives strength to the weak that seek Him (Psalm 28:6-9)! For this very reason the apostle Paul rejoiced in his weaknesses as a man for then in the Lord, he was made strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Otherwise, know this: it is the men that humble themselves before God like many of those I have met in our prisons who find His grace, forgiveness and help, not the proud (Luke 18:9-14; 1 Peter 5:5-7). The end of weakness in pride is destruction here and now and forever (Proverbs 16:18)! Our Ministry cause to restore men is not some passing fad emphasis, but an intense, ongoing work of evangelism and biblical instruction with prophetic importance and urgency given the times and the Lord’s mandate (Malachi 4:5-6). Only restored men who properly understand their divine design, roles and responsibilities will be able to lead their families to faithfully navigate through these latter days to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!2
1 The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study is available in the Strong Man Store.
2 Men that are not Christians or that are, but there is no instruction in the church attended can be helped and taught by obtaining my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back
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