Wednesday, April 27, 2016

From Canada- Real heroes are the ones fighting for life.

Mark Henick of Toronto went on television and used social media to find the man who saved him from killing himself back in 2002, when he was a teenager living in Cape Breton.
Photo of Mark Henick  by Keith Beaty / Toronto Star 

Copy right-Posted on Toronto Star 
Elizabeth King is a freelance writer in Hamilton.

Mark Henick of Toronto went on television and used social media to find the man who saved him from killing himself in 2002,  Mark Henick, a teenager in Nova Scotia at the time, was at the edge of an overpass contemplating ending his life when he was met by a stranger, Mike Richey.  Richey approached him, made small talk, and when Henick attempted to jump, Richey grabbed him by the shirt and saved his life.

There are two heroes here: One was present and one emerged. Richey saved a man from killing himself. Henick went on to be a mental health advocate. himself back in 2002, when he was a teenager living in Cape Breton.

I fear now, with Canada’s physician-assisted suicide Bill C-14, that we’ve effectively minimized the horror of suicide and the benefit of perseverance. I’m certain that it’s only a matter of time before we allow people with treatable mental illnesses to cut their lives short.In fact, the parliamentary committee recommended that the mentally ill should have the right to die. When it wasn’t granted, the media erupted with people with depression demanding it be amended. However, with open-ended phrases like “intolerable suffering,” assisted suicide will surely be given to virtually anyone, but especially to the mentally ill who have a seamless case for intolerable suffering.

 However, with open-ended phrases like “intolerable suffering,” assisted suicide will surely be given to virtually anyone, but especially to the mentally ill who have a seamless case for intolerable suffering.
I know it firsthand. My depression began at 14 and went on for about ten years. I was able to function well at times, but it was always there, and sometimes I needed hospitalization. I was constantly in therapy and tried dozens of drugs. The suffering was mysterious in that I’d think I couldn’t tolerate the mental anguish a second longer, only to tolerate more pain, much longer. I know we have trouble thinking of things being infinite, but I swear depression feels timeless and bottomless, as if there’s no end to the rope. 

I was eventually given the antidepressant Zoloft and after a few weeks I realized my depression had ended. I innately knew I was feeling was what normal people feel like and what I had felt like before high school. My hope was restored, bubbling up during adversity, as it does with healthy people.
The experience of pain is self-centered, and I don’t mean this in an accusatory way, but this is why we need people around us, distracting us from ourselves.
So to summarize, I had a bad depression—a terrible illness—and I recovered and went on to live a (sometimes messy) but beautiful life. Depression has been the great contrast to all the good. More importantly, I witnessed true compassion and mercy from people when I was at my lowest, something healthy and happy people simply can’t know. 

I had no dramatic moments but I had many great heroes around me—my family, medical professionals, even strangers---but also my peers who were suffering from depression. We lifted each other up, even though we couldn’t do it for ourselves. We supported and encouraged each other to carry on and keep fighting. 

So when I hear people with depression suggesting assisted suicide, honestly, it makes me angry and brings out a mother-bear protectiveness in me. The mentally ill can be easily persuaded into doctor-assisted suicide.

There’s another element to the news story I told at the beginning, a villain. When Mark Henick was teetering on the brink of suicide, a man below called him a coward and told him to jump.
Anyone advocating for assisted suicide for the mentally ill, don’t kid yourself. You’re not the hero in the story; you’re suffering from misplaced mercy. No matter what happens to Bill C-14, the heroes are there beside you, making small talk, telling you to hang on, and yanking you back by your shirt when you need it the most.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Does the silence of God imply the impotence of God?

Apparently, God does not notice horrible persecution of His people.

Wave after wave of persecution and martyrdom have swept over God's people, apparently unnoticed by God.  Men have been at the stake, torn to pieces, beheaded at the block, torn by wild beasts, and killed by beastly men. God's people have been killed all the day long boiled in oil, fried on gridirons, sharp sticks and knives run under their finger nails, eyes gouged out with sharp sticks. They have been tortured  with red-hot pincers on the way to the headsman's block, and all of it apparently unnoticed by God. And we ask, "Why doesn't God speak?

Is the silence of God an indication of a lack of power?

Some have gone so far as to assume that the silence of God is an indication of His impotence. In their minds, God has been reduced to a being of divine sentimentality sitting out there on a cloud somewhere, looking down upon a world that has gone berserk with sin, wringing His hands in distress and despair, saying, "It is out of  my hands and my control. The Devil has won and I can't do anything about it."  So they have assumed that the silence of God is an indication of impotence.

God doesn't  get in a dither and run up and down Hallelujah Avenue.
Let me tell you something, dear friend. The silence of God is not the silence of impotence.  As Dr. H.O. Van Gilder, Sr. has pointed out, "the silence of God these two thousand years is the silence of omnipotence. God doesn't  have to get excited and in a dither and run up and down Hallelujah Avenue, wringing His hands and calling special cabinet meetings of the heavenly hosts because somebody has gone berserk down here on earth.  He does not have to do that. Nobody has to do that except  the person who knows that the situation is out of hand and there isn't anything that can be done about it." Wiersbe, Warren, Classic Sermons on Spiritual Warfare:Sermon - The Course and End of Satan's World System,Robert Ketcham- Kregel Publications:Grand Rapids (1992) pp 31,32

India Petition Image

India, April 20, 2014

 Hindu radicals have been on the rise in India and have only been emboldened by the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who himself has had a checkered past of tolerating violence toward religious minorities. Over 50 villages in the Bastar District of Chhattisgarh State, led by both local leaders and local ruling party officials, are persecuting religious minorities and defying India’s constitution, which guarantees religious freedom.
Since the passage of the village proclamation, Christians in Chhattisgarh have suffered brutal assaults and prosecution for crimes based on little to no evidence. In addition, Christians in this region have been victimized by social boycotts; the practice of denying food, clean water, and employment, but attacks and denial of basic necessities are but the physical acts of persecution against the Christian community. Forced conversion is on the rise as these same Hindu radicals are coercing Christians to return to Hinduism through unbinding documents, illegal fines, and a promise to end the social boycott.
Today, we are joining our voice with our Indian brothers and sisters in Christ to call on the Prime Minister of India to specifically address the banning of Christianity. We believe in a society which touts religious tolerance and freedom. No one should be banned from practicing their faith freely. Sign our petition and let Christians in India know they are not alone in this fight!

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Truth About Hell


I copied an article some years ago from our local newspaper written by an Associated Press writer. The title was “Hell’s Fires Growing Cold among Americans.” The writer states,
“The long running crusade by liberal Christians and those who believe that everyone will go to heaven,   seems to be getting somewhere.  Religious observers say preachers increasingly avoid mentioning hell.  And polls indicate increasing numbers of people don’t believe in such a place.” 
 Hell is not User Friendly
Why is this so?  It is because hell is not a user friendly term.  People are afraid of hell and they don’t want to hear about it. This phenomena is spoken of in 2 Timothy 4: 3-5,  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,  and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
No Hell preachers vs. Thomas Brooks
We may contrast today’s “no hell preachers” with the honesty of the great English puritan/ preacher, Thomas Brooks.  In his series of sermons “Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices,” he preaches about those who die without Jesus Christ;
“…But this is not all; thou shalt not be only shut out of heaven, but shut up in hell forever; not only shut out from the presence of God and angels but shut up with devils and damned spirits forever; not only shut out from those sweet, surpassing, inexpressible and everlasting pleasures that be at God’s right hand but shut up forever under those torments that are ceaseless, without remedy and endless.”  He then quotes the great preacher Chrysostom; preaching about hell saying, “Let us not seek where it is, but how we shall escape it.”
[1]Brooks, Mr. Thomas. The Works of Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” (1861). London: James Nicety and Company, p. 56
Make sure you have sincerely and surely trusted in Jesus Christ who bore the penalty for our sin to keep us from going to hell and to ensure everlasting life with pleasure and enjoyment.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Part 2, Asaph in God's school of suffering Psalm 73

Copy right, all rights reserved 2016

Psalm 73 Part 2 - Asaph - A new perspective toward 
God and God's word.

This is Part 2 of a two-part blog. If you wish to read Part 1 please go to

Asaph's backsliding
In the above mentioned blog, I  discussed the writer Asaph's erroneous thinking in regard to his personal relationship with God. He was a singer and teacher in Israel but he began to doubt the goodness of God.  He  had been feeling short-changed by the LORD, when in fact the LORD was chastening Asaph for hardening his heart toward Him.
 Asaph was miserable
Image result for old testament person looking sad
In a more general sense, He could not reconcile a Righteous God who failed blessing the righteous and allowed the wicked to be prosperous. Asaph had lost  his joy and life had become a monotonous grind.
In this blog, I am interested in the process that enabled him to get out of his present state of mind and to submit to His God. 

Asaph's reflection
The way back to the Lord became evident to him when he reflected on the reason why all these things had happened to him. The (Hebrew word that is used is Chashab which means to think upon, consider, be mindful of, to reckon). In fact he says in 73:21-22, When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You." Beasts do not have the ability to self reflect. Every thing they do is driven by instinct. It is easy in our "pace-addicted world" to rush through our days and not even think about what God may be doing in our lives. Asaph started pondering  and then after being troubled he went to the temple of God. It was there that the LORD revealed to him that the wicked would be judged under the wrath of God. 
Image result for old testament asaph

The turning point for Asaph
(Psalm  73:17 tells us: "Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end)." The temple  was where the priests read the word of God and taught it to the people of Israel. It was there where the Thrice Holy God dwelt above the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
Asaph further says about the wicked in 
Psalm 73:18-19; "Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction. How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!"

But that wasn't all; he had learned other things during this enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. 
The first lesson. He learned that no matter what the circumstances, God was holding on to his right hand.

Another lesson was that the Lord would  guide him daily by the word of God (his counsel).

A third lesson he learned  was,that at the end of his life the LORD would transfer him from earth to heaven.  There in Heaven, he would experience the outcome of His salvation, perfect joy and without sin.

A fourth lesson he learned was that no matter how great the perceived injustice and how deep the sorrow,the greatest thing on earth and in heaven was that he knew and loved God and needed no one else but Him.

A fifth lesson , he learned that even though his  flesh and his heart  failed,  God was the strength of his heart and his portion forever. SB

Image result for old testament man
Please see this exposition of John Gill
My flesh and my heart faileth

This may happen through strong desires of communion with God, not being realized.( see Psalm 84:2). It may also happen when we are being attacked by the devil and chastened continually Psalms 73:14 ). Again, the flesh and heart failing may come through times of heavy affliction which are brought on by the providence of God. It also can include inward trials, indwelling sin, temptations, and feelings that God has deserted you. It may be you are tried greatly being at the point of death; the heart being, as philosophers say, the first that lives, and the last that dies: (This paragraph was abridged by editor).

 Image result for bible picture of a character praying

But God is the strength of my heart, or "the rock of my heart." When overwhelmed with distress through outward trouble or in the lowest condition with respect to spiritual things; when grace is weak, corruptions strong, temptations prevail, and afflictions are many; then does the Lord support and sustain his people, and strengthens them with strength in their souls; and in the moment of death, by showing them that its sting is taken away, and its curse removed; that their souls are going to their Lord, and about to enter into his joy; and that their bodies will rise again glorious and incorruptible.

And my portion for ever; This is both in life and at death, and to all eternity; this is a very large portion indeed; such who have it inherit all things; yea, it is immense and inconceivable; it is a soul satisfying one, and is safe and secure; it can never be taken away, nor can it be spent; it will last always; see (Psalms 142:5 ) (Lamentations 3:24 ) . John Gill's Exposition of the Bible,(public domain), edited by Steve Bloem.

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Would you like us to come to your church or ministry and present our seminar, Whispers in the Foyer, An Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness

We would also come to your bible study class or any group and share our passion for those who struggle with depression, bipolar, panic disorder, OCD and other disturbances of the mind and mood. 

We are complicated beings and we don't believe that one size fits all. We hold that Christians can have depression, can take medications and can be well again. We do NOT blame the client/patient/sufferer. We have support groups operating in America and Canada and we can help you set up a group like that, too.We are passionate about being a voice and advocate for Christians who have suffered in the shadows of the church for too long! Reach out to us; let us know what you and your family are dealing with and let us come alongside and help. This is why we exist. Call and let's talk! We get it!

Do you need a support group? Our web site can tell you about it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Have Hou ever heard of William Cowper and John Newton? Let me tell you about them.

By Anita Gordon, Alberta, Canada
 Complete and unabridged
Copy right 2016 A. Gordon, all rights reserved
John Newton was the captain of a slave trader ship in the 1700's. Lashing the Africans and putting them in thumbscrews to subdue them was 'all in a day's work.' In God's good providence, Newton was forced to retire from the slaving ships after a bout of severe illness. At this time Christ became much enlarged in this man's life and he turned to the pastorate in the Anglican church. Here he met William Cowper.

William Cowper was a timid and sensitive young man. Losing his mother at a very young age, he grew up with increased anxiety and great fits of despondency, even attempting to take his own life several times. After time in a private asylum, he recovered his reason and moved to the country town of Olney, where John Newton, the ex-slaver, was pastor. Soon they were close friends, taking walks together and engaging in theological discussion.

Seeing Cowper's gift in writing poetry, Newton pressed him to service writing hymns for the church. These were called the Olney hymns and many are still sung today such as There is a Fountain Filled with Blood and God Moves in A Mysterious Way.

The project was interrupted, however, when Cowper sank into another debilitating depression in 1773. Wracked by terrifying nightmares which prompted more suicide attempts (overdosing on laudanum and 3 attempts at hanging himself), he moved into the manse under the vigilant care of Newton who sacrificed at least one vacation so as not to leave Cowper alone.

After 14 months, Cowper recovered somewhat and returned to live with a kindly older couple, but depression plagued him for the rest of his life, and he never again attended public worship.

Newton continued to uphold his friend, Cowper. After accepting a call to a church in London, Newton refused to abandon his sorely depressed friend and their friendship continued by way of a constant trail of letters.

Newton writes:

I can only advise you to resist to the utmost every dark and discouraging suggestion. The Lord has done great things for you, and wonderfully appeared in your behalf already. Take encouragement hence to hope, that he will not forsake the work of his own hands;

Writing to Newton, in the winter of 1784, Cowper insists that:

The weather is an exact emblem of my mind in its present state. A thick fog invelops every thing, and at the same time it freezes intensely. You will tell me that this cold gloom will be succeeded by a cheerful spring, and endeavor to encourage me to hope for a spiritual change resembling it. But it will be lost labor: Nature revives again, but a soul once slain, lives no more. The hedge that has been apparently dead, is not so, it will burst into leaf and blossom at the appointed time; but no such time is appointed for the stake that stands in it. It is as dead as it seems, and will prove itself no dissembler.

Cowper bared his soul to Newton as to no other, and Newton in turn counseled, shepherded, encouraged and upheld this oppressed saint.

It would have been easy for Newton to graciously step away from the pastoral responsibility he owed to Cowper as one of his troubled sheep when he moved to London. Nobody would have faulted Newton for this. But despite the physical distance between them and the obvious time restraints that no doubt came with the pastorate, Newton never abandoned his friend. He held him close in heart and prayer, and his pen was ever ready to offer counsel and encouragement:

The connection which the Lord himself formed between us, was undoubtedly formed for eternity; but I trust we shall have more of the pleasure and comfort of it in time, and that I shall yet hear you say, "Come, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together; for He has turned my mourning into joy, and He has taken off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness."

In 1795 Cowper writing to Newton stated, "There is no day in which you are excluded from my thoughts."

Cowper's depression intensified as he aged. Even on his deathbed Cowper was plagued by torment, certain that God had turned His face from him. However, a glimmer of hope emerged soon before he breathed his last when he exclaimed, "I am not shut out of heaven after all!"

When Cowper died, Newton conducted the funeral service and began with these words:

Exodus Chapter 3 verses 2,3:
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

The Lord has given me many friends but with none have I had so great an intimacy, as with my friend Mr. Cowper. But he is gone. I was glad when I heard it. I know of no text in the whole book of God’s word more suited to the case of my dear friend than that I have read. He was indeed a bush in flames for 27 years but he was not consumed. And why? Because the Lord was there.

Cowper is one of God's gracious gifts to those suffering from debilitating depression. He suffered the agonies of the deepest hell that could be suffered on earth. He endured despite everything inside of him telling him to lay down all hope. But when His precious Lord took him home, his endurance was rewarded. Never would there ever be even a wisp of a cloud to hide his Maker from his view.

Newton is a precious example to all those who support loved ones who are crippled by depression. His steadfastness, his love, his commitment and perseverance to Cowper mirrors Christ's enduring love for His broken people. Oh, to have more Newtons in this world!.