A Finder’s Fee of Joy

New Testament 3 Production Still Photography Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!” (Luke 15:1)

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? ” (v. 4)

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one.” (v. 8)

“For this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” (v. 24)

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The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the ‘lost son’ tell us that this is a time for recovery. This is a unique period for the Church. It is a season of special grace that allows us to seek and find things that are valuable to us. It is a time of finding out things about ourselves as well.

What is precious to you? With the woman, it was a lost coin (probably a part of her dowry) and she made a substantial effort to get it back. With the shepherd, what was valuable was a lost sheep, and he would take a calculated risk to find it, and rejoin the flock. And the father lost his son, and he had to wait for him to return to his senses.

These three parables were directed to the different issues that effected the “notorious sinners.” But they also spoke to the pharisees who were present. Both groups understood and there were plenty of implications for everyone.

It’s a funny thing, Jesus never minced words. No one could be neutral around him. That is still the case today. I think God is seeking His lost children. This is what He is up to, this is His passion. Understanding this salient fact should enlighten us,

  1. to His will,
  2. to know His passion and love, (His pleasure in finding what was lost)
  3. and the true purpose of His Church.

As the Parable of the Prodigal Son develops, we see the pharisees equated to the ‘grouchy’ older brother. He begrudges his newly returned brother, and he really can’t see what is happening all around him. The idea of grace eludes him. Perhaps that is far more common than we think. Whenever ‘religion’ exerts control over a person or group, duty is almost always elevated over joy.

The Church is only as relevant as when it’s seeking out the lost.

The Church is meant to extend to the lost ‘sons’ of Adam, and the ‘daughters’ of Eve. This is God’s passion, and we must find out what He wants us to do to share His heart. It’s almost as if He wants to give us a chance to taste His joy.

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The Ransom Note

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“We collapse in the dust,
    lying face down in the dirt.
26 Rise up! Help us!
    Ransom us because of your unfailing love.”

Psalm 44:25-26, NLT

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

“God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.”

1 Peter 1:20

I think that God has more or less ransacked the human language in His effort to get through to us the critical nature of what exactly has been done just for us. When it comes to our salvation and what that means to the universe, the word, “ransom” is used.

The connection for us, as we consider the implications, has mainly a connection with the crime of “kidnapping.” This is when someone is captured by other men, and held in captivity until certain terms are met. When the kidnapper feels his needs are fully met, then the hostage is released.

In the Bible sense, we should work through several verses. There are at least three Hebrew words. In the N.T. Greek just a single word to explain “ransom” is seen. And yet we can say, each word is linked back to the idea of being “helpless.” And helpless is far more than a definition, rather it is a description of a “state of being.”

We come to understand that helplessness is the natural state of human beings. We each have been captured, taken away and are being held, until terms are met for our release. I suppose that some see this helplessness easier than others. (And I’m sure a few will never acknowledge it at all). But nevertheless, it is real and it describes every single person that has ever lived.

Being completely helpless is hardly a situation we would ever choose. Having ransom demands being made to set us free is mostly awkward. And it’s an affront. Perhaps, we feel we are worth more? But the issues here are eternal, and currency concepts are never the consideration.

But there is a present need, to purchase back those who are being held as captives. The absolute clear position is that the Lord Jesus Christ, died in our place. Choosing to die for us, he was essentially tortured before his cruel death. In this decision, he himself paid my ransom. In doing this, I was set free and fully able to return home.

There are many who have been free. But there is a thing called “the Stockholm Syndrome.” This refers to those in captivity who somehow “connect” with their kidnappers through a prolonged captivity. This is to the point where they begin to act less than the victims, and more like the captor. It is confusing. They seem to go out of their way to act “pro-kidnapper”. This can get very disturbing.

We must look to our children, and closest family and our friends. They are toiling for Satan, the captor of our souls (past-tense). Many different tactics are being used– depression, addictions, lust, greed, anger, gluttony, pride, guilt and many other deceitful things. They are being held, until faith (the key) “springs” them out of their prison.

Thank you Jesus, for coming to free us. Thank you for forgiving us. We have been released, and now walk away free. You died, so we might live. We desperately want to see the others we love set free.

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ybic, Bryan

 

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The Numbers Don’t Lie: Mental Illness in America

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~Mental Illness in America, 2016

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1

When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.2 Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness.1

In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada.3 Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbidity.1

In the U.S., mental disorders are diagnosed based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-V).4

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.

  • Approximately 20.9 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a mood disorder.1,2
  • The median age of onset for mood disorders is 30 years.5
  • Depressive disorders often co-occur with anxiety disorders and substance abuse.5

Major Depressive Disorder

  • Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.3
  • Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1, 2
  • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5
  • Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.6

Dysthymic Disorder

  • Symptoms of dysthymic disorder (chronic, mild depression) must persist for at least two years in adults (one year in children) to meet criteria for the diagnosis. Dysthymic disorder affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1, This figure translates to about 3.3 million American adults.2
  • The median age of onset of dysthymic disorder is 31.1

Bipolar Disorder

  • Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1, 2
  • The median age of onset for bipolar disorders is 25 years.5

Suicide

  • In 2006, 33,300 (approximately 11 per 100,000) people died by suicide in the U.S.7
  • More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.8
  • The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in white men over age 85.9
  • Four times as many men as women die by suicide9; however, women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men.10

Schizophrenia

  • Approximately 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year,11, 2 have schizophrenia.
  • Schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency.12
  • Schizophrenia often first appears in men in their late teens or early twenties. In contrast, women are generally affected in their twenties or early thirties.12

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).

  • Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.1,2
  • Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance abuse.1
  • Most people with one anxiety disorder also have another anxiety disorder. Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.5 5

Panic Disorder

  • Approximately 6 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 2.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have panic disorder.1, 2
  • Panic disorder typically develops in early adulthood (median age of onset is 24), but the age of onset extends throughout adulthood.5
  • About one in three people with panic disorder develops agoraphobia, a condition in which the individual becomes afraid of being in any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of a panic attack.12

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Approximately 2.2 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 1.0 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have OCD.1, 2
  • The first symptoms of OCD often begin during childhood or adolescence, however, the median age of onset is 19.5

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD.1, 2
  • PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood, but research shows that the median age of onset is 23 years.5
  • About 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.13 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Approximately 6.8 million American adults, or about 3.1 percent of people age 18 and over, have GAD in a given year.1, 2
  • GAD can begin across the life cycle, though the median age of onset is 31 years old.5
To finish reading this article, you will need to go to its source at:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml  

 

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A Pastor’s Transformation

Pastor-homeless-peoplePastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured left) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service, only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food – NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.

As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. “We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek.” The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.

The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him. He walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment then he recited– Matthew 25:31-46.

 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame. He then said, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?”

He then dismissed service until next week.

Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.

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Bryan’s Note: Some have made this account to be nothing more than a “urban myth,” kind of a good piece of  Christian “schlock” that never happened. I personally can’t say for sure. I simply can’t vouch for its veracity. But all I really know is that it speaks to me in many ways about following Jesus. For that alone, I am thankful.

More of Jesus, less of Bryan.

ybic, Bryan

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24/7 Crisis Lines

List of Hotlines–1-800 Phone Numbers

In general, hotlines have three things in common:

1) they are available to call 24/7
2) they are 100% confidential
3) they are free

Here’s a list of hotlines that may help you in whatever situation you find yourself in:

Christian Counseling Services-General

New Life Clinics 1-800-NEW-LIFE
National Prayer Line 1-800-4-PRAYER
Bethany Lifeline Pregnancy Hotline 1-800-BETHANY
Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336
Grace Help Line 24 Hour Christian service 1-800-982-8032
The 700 Club Hotline 1-800-759-0700
Want to know Jesus? 1-800-NEED-HIM
Biblical help for youth in crisis 1-800-HIT-HOME
Rapha National Network 1-800-383-HOPE
Emerge Ministries 330-867-5603
Meier Clinics 1-888-7-CLINIC or 1-888-725-4642
Association of Christian Counselors 1-800-526-8673
Minirth Clinic 1-888-MINIRTH (646-4784)
National Christian Counselors Association 1-941-388-6868
Pine Rest 1-800-678-5500
Timberline Knolls 1-877-257-9611

Abortion
Post Abortion Counseling 1-800-228-0332
Post Abortion Project Rachel 1-800-5WE-CARE
National Abortion Federation Hotline 1-800-772-9100
National Office of Post Abortion Trauma 1-800-593-2273

Abuse

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Stop it Now! 1-888-PREVENT
United States Elder Abuse Hotline 1-866-363-4276
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453)
Child Abuse Hotline / Dept of Social Services 1-800-342-3720
Child Abuse National Hotline 1-800-25ABUSE
Children in immediate danger 1-800-THE-LOST
Exploitation of Children 1-800-843-5678
Missing Children Help Center 1-800-872-5437

Addiction

Marijuana Anonymous 1-800-766-6779
Alcohol Treatment Referral Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-252-6465
Families Anonymous 1-800-736-9805
Cocaine Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-262-2463
Drug Abuse National Helpline 1-800-662-4357
National Association for Children of Alcoholics 1-888-554-2627
Ecstasy Addiction 1-800-468-6933
Alcoholics for Christ 1-800-441-7877

Cancer

American Cancer Society 1-800-227-2345
National Cancer institute 1-800-422-6237

Caregivers
Elder Care Locator 1-800-677-1116
Well Spouse Foundation 1-800-838-0879

Chronic Illness/Chronic Pain

Rest Ministries 1-888-751-REST (7378)

Crisis Numbers for Teens (Under 18)
Girls and Boys town 1-800-448-3000
Hearing Impaired 1-800-448-1833
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663
Teen Hope Line 1-800-394-HOPE
Covenant House Nineline 1-800-999-9999

Crisis Numbers for Help (Any age)

United Way Crisis Helpline 1-800-233-HELP
Christian Oriented Hotline 1-877-949-HELP
Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213

Crisis Pregnancy Helpline
Crisis Pregnancy Hotline Number 1-800-67-BABY-6
Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336

Cult Information
Cult Hotline (Mercy House) 606-748-9961

Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
National Domestic Violence Hotline Spanish 1-800-942-6908
Battered Women and their Children 1-800=603-HELP
Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-8966
RAINN 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention 1-800-931-2237
Eating Disorders Center 1-888-236-1188
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 1-847-831-3438
Overcomers Outreach, Inc. 1-800-310-3001
Remuda Ranch 1-800-445-1900

Family Violence
Family Violence Prevention Center 1-800-313-1310

Gambling
Compulsive Gambling Hotline 410-332-0402

Grief/Loss
GriefShare 1-800-395-5755

Homeless/Shelters
Homeless 1-800-231-6946
American Family Housing 1-888-600-4357

Homosexual/Lesbian
Recovery: Exodus International 1-888-264-0877
Helpline: 1-800-398-GAYS
Gay and Lesbian National Hotline 1-888-843-4564
Trevor Hotline (Suicide) 1-866-4-U-TREVOR

Parents
Hotline for parents considering abducting their children 1-800-A-WAY-OUT
United States Missing Children Hotline 1-800-235-3535

Poison
Poison Control 1-800-942-5969

Runaways
Boystown National Hotline 1-800-448-3000
Covenant House Nineline 1-800-999-9999
Laurel House 1-714-832-0207
National Runaway Switchboard 1-800-621-4000
Teenline 1-888-747-TEEN
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663

Salvation
Grace Help Line 24 Hour Christian Service 1-800-982-8032
Want to know Jesus? 1-888-NEED-HIM

Self-Injury, “Cutting”
S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends) 1-800-DONT-CUT

Sexual Addiction
Focus on the Family 1-800-A-FAMILY

Suicide
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-827-7571
Deaf Hotline 1-800-799-4TTY
NineLine 1-800-999-9999
Holy Spirit Teenline  1-800-722-5385
Crisis Intervention 1- 888- 596-4447
Crisis Intervention 1-800-673-2496


Mostly, these are Christian ministries that are there when life gets challenging.  Use these phone numbers wisely, and I would encourage you to pray for the counseling you.  Also, I am not able to check each number.  These numbers are to be used with some precaution as a result.

This list isn’t complete yet.  If you have a contact that isn’t here, please email me that information.  I’m Bryan Lowe at flash99603@hotmail.com.