Monday, October 31, 2011

Its Not About Feelings! - Guest Post by Ann Wilson

Scripture:  Psalm 5:11 "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them, Let those also who love your name Be joyful in You."
All of us Christians have at some time doubted our salvation.  This can be caused by unconfessed sin that has broken our fellowship with the Lord.  Or maybe we aren't  loving others as we should.  But most often we have doubts because of our feelings. We don't feel saved and we allow Satan to con us into believing that we have lost our salvation.

The other day I read a devotional that grabbed my attention concerning our salvation.  The writer says that he was sitting in a rowboat on a lake about midnight fishing for pike.  The air was calm and the surface of the lake  was like glass.  The moon was full and silvery and was reflected perfectly in the still water.  He marveled at the awesome sight.  Then he cast a lure into the reflection and it looked as if the moon had been shattered into a thousand pieces.  He said that he would have been foolish to think that the moon itself had suddenly exploded.  All he had to do was to look up into the sky to assure himself that the moon was still there ---shining brightly and unchanged.

Sometimes we as Christians can confuse a temporary loss of the joy of our salvation with salvation itself.  Because the feeling is gone we assume that salvation has left us too.  Its not about feelings!  Losing the feeling of being saved is a lot like shattering the reflection of the moon.   Just as the moon remains unchanged so does the salvation that our Lord has given us. 

Ann Wilson has served as secretary at Eureka Baptist Church in Anderson, SC, for more than 25 years. She writes a regular devotional called "Seed Thoughts For Today" which is sent out by email to anyone who asks to be on the list. You can request to be on the list by emailing Ann at

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Elephant in the Room: Discussing Suicide

When I first became a minister it seemed like I only had to officiate at a funeral for a suicide every two to three years. Now it seems that I do such funerals 2-3 times each year.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 34,598 deaths annually.1 They also report that there are an estimated 11 attempted suicides for every suicide death and that almost four times as many males as females die by suicide.1 Though I have not kept written records, in my recollection, I believe that every funeral I have done for suicide victims were for men.

Though we often think that high school students are most the likely to commit suicide, the college age population actually has nearly twice the rate of suicide as high school students. However, most of the funerals I have done for suicides have been adult men, most of who were married and had children.

Family members often ask me why their husband, father or son took such drastic action. To be honest, I seldom have an answer that I feel is adequate. I usually try to remind families that certain risk factors contribute to suicidal tendencies more than others. For example depression, mental illness, and substance-abuse account for more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide each year.2 Therefore, if those factors are present in the family dynamic, we should be more concerned. Though less common, sometimes people commit suicide because other members of their family took that path. That is one reason why families need to be open about discussing this issue so that we can find healthy ways to express our feelings on this issue. On rare occasions people commit suicide because they are unable to deal with the trauma of physical or sexual abuse. People who have had terrible things happen to them should seek help from a trusted friend, who should in turn help them find a professional who is skilled in helping people overcome such trauma.

Though we may never understand exactly what a person was thinking when they decided to take their own life, people who attempt suicide often say that they felt that their problems were too great to overcome. When people are that overwhelmed, they are often not thinking clearly. They are often facing real life issues that are quite significant and may require complex solutions. However, their problems could be overcome with the help of a strong support network and professional assistance. Unfortunately, they choose the path of suicide instead of reaching out for help. Suicide becomes a permanent answer to the temporary problems they were facing. Suicide does not solve any of the issues. Suicide actually increases stress on the families who are left behind and normally makes the issues that were being dealt with harder to address than before. Suicide is NEVER the right answer.

Medical professionals have a number of ways to treat people with suicidal tendencies. Since each person is unique and each situation is different, the methods used to help people overcome these feelings are individualized to that specific person. What works for one person might not work for another and vice versa. But EVERY person can be helped!

Honestly, I’m tired of burying my friends and their loves ones. It hurts so much. I think it is time that we overcome the uncomfortable feelings we have about discussing this issue and talk openly about suicide. Talking about suicide is not being insensitive to the feelings of others. On the contrary, discussing suicide expresses great love for others when we are willing to overcome our own uncomfortable feelings for the sake of someone’s well being.

The National Institute for Mental Health gives this advice:
“If you think someone is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. Eliminate access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including unsupervised access to medications.

If you are in a crisis and need help right away call this toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, every day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service available to anyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Did It All Begin?

A discussion about origins developed by Dr. Terry Dorsett.

Genesis 1:1-2 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
               According to this verse, who created the heavens and the earth?
               How does that differ than what we may have been taught in school?
               Creationism and Evolutionary theory are two opposing philosophies.

How do we know which philosophy to believe?
               It can be hard to know what to believe because philosophy is not always “black” and “white.”
               Though all Christians believe that God was involved in the creation of the world, they do not always agree on how God was involved.
               Genesis 1:3-31 describe the first week of the world’s existence and list the things that God made each day, finally ending in the creation of mankind.
               Some Christians think the days were literal 24 hours days.
               Other Christians think the days were “ages” of time in which those things happened.
               Other Christians view the first two chapters of Genesis as only a metaphor about God’s involvement in creation instead literal actions that God may have taken.
               Regardless of which viewpoint we may hold to, if we believe what the Bible says about creation, then we understand that humankind was the special creation of a mighty God, not just an accident of a muddy glob.
               Humankind is not just a higher form of animal species.
               We are created in the image of God. We have a spiritual dimension. We have an eternal soul.
               People who promote evolution frequently use “scientific facts” to prove that the Bible’s version of creation cannot possibly be true.
               However, many of the “facts” that are used to attack the Bible are nothing more than theories.
               Some of those “facts” are not even good theories because they contradict what we KNOW to be true through use of the scientific method.

What is the scientific method?
               The scientific method begins with research that identifies a problem, gathers relevant data, and creates a hypothesis from that data.
               A hypothesis is basically an educated guess.
               For an idea to move from being only a hypothesis to being accepted as FACT, the hypothesis must be provable or verifiable by repeated experiments.
               Since the creation of the world only happened once, it is not possible to “prove” how it happened.
               Neither the Bible’s viewpoint nor the evolutionist’s viewpoint of creation can be proved by scientific method.
               But the evolutionist likes to pretend that science is on his side.
               Does science really prove the world is really, really old?

How old is the earth according to scientific FACT?
               Evolutionists have generally accepted the age of the Earth, and the rest of the solar system, as approximately 4.55 billion years.
               Bible scholars theorize that the earth is between 6,000 and 15,000 years old.
               Evolutionists always challenge Christians to PROVE the Bible’s version of the origin of the universe.
               But if we turn the tables and ask the evolutionists to PROVE their version of origins, they will have to deal with some difficult facts about the age of the universe.

Here are some REAL FACTS about the age of the earth.
(Much of the following info is adapted from the article “Evidence for a Young World” by Dr. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D., ICR Associate Professor of Physics, which was written June 1, 2005.)

1.     Supernova Remnants
               According to astronomical observations, galaxies like our own experience about one supernova (a violently-exploding star) every 25 years.
               The gas and dust remnants from such explosions expand outward rapidly and should remain visible for over a million years.
               Yet the nearby parts of our galaxy in which we could observe such gas and dust shells contain only about 200 supernova remnants.
               That number is consistent with only about 7,000 years worth of supernovas.

2.     Disintegration of Comets
               Each time a comet orbits close to the sun, it loses a lot of its material.
               Scientists use telescopes and advanced mathematical calculations to keep track of how much material has been lost.
               Based on these observations, comets have typical ages of less than 10,000 years.
               Disintegration of Comets
               Evolutionists explain this discrepancy by assuming that comets come from an unobserved spherical “Oort cloud” well beyond the orbit of Pluto. But this assumption has never been substantiated either by observations or realistic calculations.

3.     Mud on the Sea Floor
               Each year, water and winds erode about 20 billion tons of dirt and rock from the continents and deposit it in the ocean.
               This material accumulates as loose sediment on the hard rock of the ocean floor.
               The average depth of all the sediment in the whole ocean is less than 400 meters.
               The main way to remove the sediment from the ocean floor is that the sea floor slides slowly (a few cm/year) beneath the continents, taking some sediment with it.
               According to secular scientific literature, that process presently removes only 1 billion tons per year. The other 19 billion tons per year simply accumulates.
               The mud currently on the ocean floor would have taken less than 12 million years to accumulate …….
               ……unless a huge flood happened that washed a lot of sediment in at one time. Then it could have happened in as little as 5,000 years.
               Hmmmm…..I seem to remember a story about a flood in the Bible. Read Genesis 6-7.

4.     Earth’s Magnetic Field
               The total energy stored in the earth’s magnetic field is decreasing with a half-life of 1,465 (± 165) years.
               At that rate, the earth’s magnetic field could not be more than 20,000 years old.15
               Evolutionists have played mental gymnastics trying to explain this one but all their theories inadequate.
               A shorter time frame for the earth’s existence is the only theory that matches paleomagnetic, historic, and present data.

5.     Biological Material
               DNA and other biological materials decay rapidly.
               DNA experts insist that DNA cannot exist in natural environments longer than 10,000 years.
               Yet intact strands of DNA have been recovered from fossils that evolutionist claim are 250 million years old.
               Biological Material
               Soft tissue and blood cells from a dinosaur fossil has astonished experts.
               These discoveries have forced researchers to revise the age of “mitochondrial Eve” from a theorized 200,000 years down to possibly as low as 6,000 years.

6.     Helium
               As uranium and thorium decay, they generate helium.
               A study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research revealed that newly-measured rates of helium loss show that helium has been leaking out of the earth’s uranium and thorium deposits for only 6,000 (± 2000) years.

7.     Carbon 14
               With their short 5,700-year half-life, no carbon 14 atoms should exist in any carbon older than 250,000 years.
               Yet there is a lot of carbon in the Pleistocene (Ice Age) strata even though it is supposed to be billions of years old.
               Conventional carbon 14 laboratories have been aware of this anomaly since the early 1980s and are unable to account for its existence.

If all this evidence exists for a young earth, why do evolutionists keep insisting the earth is old?
               Evolutionists want the earth to be old so that the Bible is wrong.
               They want the Bible to be wrong so that they can ignore what it says.
               They want to ignore what it says because it tells each of us that we are sinners in need of a Savior.
               Realistically, we all know we are sinners already without even having to prove evolutionists wrong.

But the message of the Bible is not so much about sin as it is about the Savior!
               Luke 19:10 - For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.
               Acts 16:31 - So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."
               Romans 10:9-10 - if we confess with our mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.

We can trust Christ as Savior by sincerely praying a prayer like this:
               Dear Lord, I want to stop acting like You are not real. I know I often do things that I should not do. I want to turn away from those things and start following You. I believe that You died on the cross and rose again from the dead to make my salvation possible. Please forgive me of my sin, guide me in my life and help me be a real Christian. In Jesus Name, Amen.