How Does Death Rule Over Us?

December 9, 2019 hepsibahgarden

Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Psalms‬ ‭119:77‬


He did not call us to death. Rather, God called us forth from death and brought us into Life so that we may live eternally. We need to always keep “sin” in a dead state, and to do this we need God’s mercy. What does keeping sin in a dead state mean? It means to forsake the works of death immediately in our lives.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans‬ ‭6:23‬

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians‬ ‭5:19-21‬

To be carnally/fleshly minded is death, therefore this also needs to be kept in a dead state. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6

If we hate our brethren, he is a murderer. The Scriptures says there is no eternal life for such a person. Where there is no Life, there death is present. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 1 John‬ ‭3:15‬.

For mercy to remain upon us, we must perfect our works before God. If not, we are good as dead to Him. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Revelation‬ ‭3:1-2‬

If we aren’t found in the first love, we are in a dead state. Falling away from First Love is referred to being asleepHence St.Paul writes, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians‬ ‭5:14‬.

If we are not in the Spirit, we are in God’s sight dead. This was why God asked prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind looking at the Valley of Bones. When the prophet did so, breath came into them and in no time the Valley of Dead Bones revived into an exceeding great army.

So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Ezekiel‬ ‭37:7-10‬. May God help us to preserve His mercies in our lives!

Be blessed 💕

Original here

VIDEO A Christmas Story

December 7, 2019   By Reverend Paul N. Papas II



The Christmas Story is story of a hero. The greatest evil the world has ever known made the greatest hero the world has ever known. Crucifixion was the cruelest form of torture and execution man devised or used.

Not every hero since has given up his life for another. Heroes generally take no concern for their own life while trying to save the lives of others.

The acknowledgement and veneration of heroes has existed for centuries. It was the ancient Greeks who are accredited with first coining the designation.

A very recent tragedy brought to light another hero.  A young graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, whose dream was to become a pilot, is a hero after he reportedly related crucial information about the identity of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola shooter to first responders, despite having been shot several times, a family member revealed.

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who were killed Friday morning when Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire on a flight training program for foreign military personnel, Adam Watson revealed in a Facebook post. (1)

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who was killed Friday morning.

“Today has been the worst day of my life. My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting. Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own. After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. When we were little I gave Kaleb the name little poot and it stuck. It eventually evolved into pootis and finally uncle poot. Just wish I could talk to him one more time or wrestle with him one more time even though he could probably take me now. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. “(2)

Simply put, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward.

Philip Zimbardo: What Makes a Hero?


Christians who helped Jews during the Holocaust were in the same situation as other civilians who helped imprison or kill Jews, or ignored their suffering. The situation provided the impetus to act heroically or malevolently. People choose one path or the other.

Some choose a path to meet the needs of others. For example there is New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson will use his custom-made “My Cause, My Cleats” cleats to bring attention to his One More Foundation. H e created the One More Thing Foundation to spread the love and hope of Christ to one more soul.

“And, we do that by following the three charges that are given in Micah 6:8 when it talks about doing justice, loving-kindness, and walking humbly with our God,” he explained.

Watson said that, for the last decade, the foundation has given him the opportunity to meet people with “real needs” and “to know the one who can meet their needs forever and ever.”

“Whether it’s promoting and giving food to those who are hungry, doing events around the holidays, promoting education, standing against injustice — whether that be sex trafficking, abortion, or racial injustice … and also, just bringing kindness to people,” he continued. (3)

Courtesy of Eric J. Adler and the New England Patriots

Heroes | Restoring Faith in Humanity | 2017


“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player.

There have been thousands of unnamed and unknown heroes over the centuries. Heroes include those who stood ready, who fought and who died for the cause of freedom, first responders, those who served others, and the many that have helped someone without regard to their personal safety,

The true Christmas Story is an everyday story.

The real reason for the season was born to die and save us all.






Below are a handful of links to heroes

VIDEO What Is Going On?





By Reverend Paul N. Papas II  September 7, 2019


I admit sometimes I forget, and sometimes I can’t remember, and I don’t remember which it is. I tell the kids don’t get old and that I don’t know how that can be done, just don’t get old. Yes, they just look at me.

Where does one call to find out the offense of day, moment is? Is there a central clearing house? It sure seems like you can turn TV stations to find the same words and the same outrage coming from different talking heads. I figure someone is passing out words to say. Would someone please give me the phone number of who has a list of the current offense words, hats or whatever? This growing list is giving me a headache.

When I grew up our news came from newspapers where opinions were found in the Editorial section. News contained facts not propaganda.

Newspapers were printed once, maybe twice a day, or weekly.

There were no computers, cell phones, texting, emails, twitter, facebook or other such things that instantly post pictures and information to people worldwide.  When someone needed or wanted to pass along information or pictures if they didn’t meet in person they put them in the mail.

TV news was on early in the morning, at noon, 6 and 11pm in black and white. There were no twenty four hour TV stations. AM radio was mostly music, FM broadcasts were rare.

No one was shot up into space yet. President Eisenhower had not yet warned us of the dangers of the military industrial complex.

In others words people looked each other in the eye and spoke to each other.

Yes, in some ways you could say life was slower compared to today. In some ways life was more relaxed than today.

There actually is a way to support my statement that life was more relaxed then.  The amount of people suffering from anxiety, which is the activation of the Fight or Flight System, rose in response to increase to the strains of everyday life from the 1950s on.

“The common psychological features of these problems include a mélange of symptoms involving nervousness, sadness, and malaise. The typical physical symptoms consist of headaches, fatigue, back pain, gastrointestinal complaints, and sleep and appetite difficulties, often accompanying struggles with interpersonal, financial, occupational, and health concerns. These complaints account for a large proportion of cases found in outpatient psychiatric and, especially, in general medical treatment.” (1).

Am I suggesting we go back in time, not quite? There are very many good uses of modern technology. The biggest downside I see to modern instant communications is the lack of interpersonal communications.

Interpersonal communication is the process by which we exchange information, feelings, and meanings through verbal and non-verbal messages through face-to-face communication. It is not always what is said, but how it is said and the expressions used.  The absence of interpersonal communications can lead to a misinterpretation of what was said which today could lead to quite a flurry of tweets.

My suggestions include: count to ten before sending an instant message, perhaps you’ll change what you want to say;  text less; meet as many people as you can in person to talk face to face; and take walks.  You just might find your quality of life will improve as will those around, doing your part to make the world a better place.



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VA partners with Clubhouse International to help Veterans with recovery

Creating a community for those with mental illness

VA partners with Clubhouse International to help Veterans with recovery, creating a community for those with mental illness.

Getting back to life can be difficult for anyone diagnosed with serious mental illness, including Veterans. A new partnership between VA and Clubhouse International gives them another option for rehabilitation.

Circle City Clubhouse is like a second home for David Fearance. The 59-year-old Army Veteran has been coming to a converted office building on the Indianapolis west side for nearly three years.

Clubhouse member David Fearance and his caregiver Kat Blane at Circle City Clubhouse. Fearance, a 59-year-old Army veteran has been coming to Circle City Clubhouse, Indianapolis for nearly three years. Photo by Jill Sheridan/IPB News

Clubhouse member David Fearance and his caregiver Kat Blane at Circle City Clubhouse. Fearance, a 59-year-old Army veteran has been coming to Circle City Clubhouse, Indianapolis for nearly three years. Photo by Jill Sheridan/IPB News

What’s right with you?

“I work at Circle City Clubhouse house,” says Fearance. He was in the Army for 10 years. Fearance suffers from severe psychosis. Before he started coming to the Clubhouse he was mostly home bound. Now he answers the phone, helps in the kitchen and in other ways.

“I vacuum. What I should do is clean these windows,” says Fearance.

Clubhouse members help staff and other members run the daily Clubhouse program. It is open to anyone who has been seriously affected by mental illness.

There is a growing need for mental health services for Veterans. An estimated one-quarter of active military members showed signs of mental health conditions.

Jay Brubaker is executive director of Circle City Clubhouse.

“We start instead of saying, ‘what’s wrong with you?’ we say what’s right,” says Brubaker. “What are the things you’re good at? What are the things that you like to do? We try to get our members involved based on that.”

Clubhouse members may help cook meals or clean. They can get vocational training or help run the thrift shop inside the club.

“So that they can build an identity based on these are the things that you’re good at and use those then to kind of help get back into the community,” says Brubaker.

“It really drives home the need for community connection and Veterans to connect, not to keep them separated,” says Brubaker.

Jason Riddle, a social worker with the VA in Indianapolis, works with the Clubhouse organization to assist and refer Veterans with severe mental illness .

Jason Riddle, a social worker with the VA in Indianapolis, works with the Clubhouse organization to assist and refer Veterans with severe mental illness .

From depression to severe mental illness, Veterans practice recovery

Jason Riddle is a social worker with the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

The VA doesn’t have this type of psycho-social rehabilitation model and the MISSION Act makes it easier for VA providers to refer Veteran patients to resources like Clubhouse, and for organizations to get reimbursed.

Riddle says the move makes care more accessible. “Especially with a big focus on suicide prevention and then the things that go along with that and not having a good support network, the isolation and loneliness in general can just make for a hard, hard time,” Riddle says.

Clubhouse is now open to Veterans suffering from a range of issues. About half of Veterans with a mental health condition don’t seek treatment. Riddle says this model can be another option.

“It doesn’t have to be just for someone that … has a chronic mental health condition,” says Riddle, “It can be someone that’s just having some depression, they’re feeling depressed, they can’t get out of the house. This is something that you can actually get out as tangible and just practice your recovery.”

Riddle has reached out to other clubhouses in Indiana and beyond to increase referrals and make connections to assist other Veterans.

Vital support for caregivers and families

At Circle City Clubhouse in Indianapolis, David Fearance is with his caregiver Kat Blane. She’s his cousin and legal guardian. Her family took him years ago and when her parents passed, she became his sole caregiver.

“Had it not been for the Clubhouse, he probably would have been back in the nursing home,” says Blane. She says David has made great strides in his recovery after he started coming to clubhouse.

“He can be home by himself if I have to be gone,” says Blane, “I can say ‘David here is your food,’ and he knows how to get it. And all of that is from him being a part of the Circle City Clubhouse.”

She says as a caregiver that is invaluable. “That’s helpful for me because I wouldn’t be able to do all these things although I am retired and totally responsible. It always helps when you can get extra support,” says Blane.

For more on Clubhouse International visit:

Jill Sheridan is the Health and Science Reporter for Indiana Public Broadcasting, WFYI Public Radio

Original here



Infertility Prepared Me to Reach Other Childless Men

This overlooked group is more isolated than you realize.

Infertility Prepared Me to Reach Other Childless Men

“Hi, Sheridan. I hope you don’t mind me, a complete stranger, contacting you, but I can’t talk to my family or friends about this.”

“I am a church youth worker, and my wife just showed me your book. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but could we meet? I feel so lost.”

“I can’t think of anyone to turn to. I feel embarrassed and ashamed.”

Brad, Neil, and Simon (as I’ll call the men who reached out to me with these introductions) weren’t contacting me to confess some secret sin or addiction. The burden they carry is childlessness. For Brad and his wife, six years of trying to conceive had produced only heartache. For youth worker Neil, multiple failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) rounds left him questioning his faith. And Simon feels responsible for the agony his wife feels with every period and negative pregnancy test. With infertility rates rising, these men are not alone in their situation. But they are isolated.

recent study from Leeds Beckett University confirms that infertility can negatively impact a man’s mental health, self-esteem, relationships, career, and finances. With masculinity in our culture tied so closely to raising children and infertility often viewed as a “women’s issue,” men in this situation often face the crisis alone—even in their churches.

We can help them.

My Story

For 10 years, my wife, Merryn, and I tried to start a family. Our journey included special diets, healing prayer, rounds of IVF, and a year of assessment as potential adoptive parents followed by an agonizing two-year wait for our hoped-for adoptive child. We pursued our dream with all the energy we had, but it never materialized. Exhausted from a decade in the infertility wilderness, we brought our dream to an end on Christmas Day 2010 after doctors had told us, just days before, that our final IVF round had been successful. They’d been wrong.

I shudder when I recall the isolation of those years. I didn’t want to talk about our infertility—it was a large, dark topic I preferred to ignore rather than face, and I couldn’t think of anyone to open up to who would have any idea what I was experiencing. My feelings grew deep and complex.

Those feelings included guilt. As I watched my wife’s face contort in pain as the needle extracted the eggs for an IVF round, or as I held her as she sobbed when her hopes were dashed yet again, I felt guilt that I was the biological reason she couldn’t have what she desperately wanted. I felt sadness too, especially when I saw fathers playing with their giggling sons or watched proud dads walk their veiled daughters down the aisle. And there was jealousy and confusion. When news reports came of neglected children or another infertile couple announced their “miracle” pregnancy, I wondered why the abusive folks got the kid or why God answered others’ prayers but not mine.

While Merryn and I didn’t get the happy ending we wanted, we have seen our wilderness transformed into something redemptive. Prompted by a friend, I wrote a book about our experience called Resurrection Year, then followed it up with The Making of Us, a book exploring who we can become when life doesn’t go as planned. I started speaking at conferences on redeeming broken dreams. The media—fascinated by a man talking about a “women’s” topic—started calling. As a result, men like Brad, Neil, and Simon started reaching out to me.

Four Things You Can Do

After speaking at a large church one Sunday on this theme, the pastor joined me on stage to close the service. “How many of you have been touched by infertility personally or through a family member?” he asked the congregation. In the anonymity of a large crowd, many hands went up, surprising the pastor at the extent of the need. Most of the hands were women’s.

But after the service, men approached me—in a quiet corner of the building, out in the car park, asking if they could have a word. I wondered what would happen if their isolation were broken, they came together, and the circle of their comradery grew to reach other childless men in their community. What a ministry to an unreached people group that could be!

Men like Brad, Neil, and Simon are sitting in your church. Hundreds more like them are in your community, lacking a space to talk, get support, or find God in their wilderness. Reaching them is a pastoral and missional opportunity. Here’s how you can connect.

1. Reject false assumptions about manhood.

While writing this article, a pastor’s words popped up in my Twitter feed: “Moving from son to husband and father is the essence of manhood. #manup.” I’m sure the pastor was trying to echo Genesis 1:28’s mandate to multiply while calling men to responsibility and self-sacrifice, but I wonder if he considered how his words would affect men like me. Plenty of married fathers shirk responsibility while plenty of single and childless men live self-sacrificial lives. On this definition, wifeless-and-childless Jesus lacked the “essence” of manhood, and Paul even taught against it (1 Cor. 7:32–35). I wonder if the pastor would tell Jesus and Paul to “#manup” too.

Sadly, some approaches to masculinity in the church subtly reinforce the idea that men aren’t truly men until they’ve married and had children. What assumptions about the essence of manhood do you hold? Scripture talks less about masculinity than it does maturity—becoming Christlike—a call applicable to father and non-father alike (Eph. 4:13, Gal. 5:22–23). This is a bigger vision of masculinity than “man-up manhood” and it is the best grounds on which to reach out to men like Brad, Neil, and Simon.

2. Prepare to meet him in the shadows.

“I feel embarrassed and ashamed,” Simon said. This is a common experience for men facing infertility, even when they are not the biological cause of the problem. Don’t expect Simon to publicly respond anytime soon to an altar call for prayer in a Sunday service. If you want to address the topic of childlessness from the pulpit (and please do), invite affected men to email you privately. Research shows they will respond to confidential opportunities like this as well as closed online forums. Simon won’t likely come to a small group for men struggling with infertility—not yet. This begins as one-to-one pastoral ministry. You will likely need to meet him in the shadows before he will come into the light.

3. Help him find answers.

“I have so many questions about why this isn’t happening for us,” Neil told me, “and what we should try next.” For Neil, these questions included the ethics of using donor eggs or donor sperm, whether an adopted child would ever feel like “his own,” plus age-old questions about God and suffering. This is hard terrain to navigate, one I have seen precipitate theological shifts into unorthodox territory when people lack pastoral guidance.

Yet this is a pivotal discipleship opportunity for Neil and men like him. You can help him find answers by making space for his questions, helping him locate resources and advice, linking him with other involuntarily childless men, and journeying alongside him as he, like Job, encounters a bigger revelation of God through his pain.

4. Show him a deeper identity.

“All my friends are fathers and grandfathers,” another man told me. “And me? I’m nothing.” When infertility robs you of being a father, what else can you become? This can be a key question for infertile men.

Our Western tendency to define ourselves by our jobs or parenting status ultimately truncates who we are. This man may not be a father, but he is a husband, son, uncle, citizen, and friend—identities that can be forgotten when focusing hard on becoming a parent. One of infertility’s gifts to me has been discovering a bigger sense of self—resting more deeply in my identity as God’s child, rediscovering the importance of being a friend, realizing my character is a more important facet of my identity than my career path, and more. In time you will have opportunities to help these men discover that it’s often when we lose an identity that we can discover who we most deeply are.

Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker, and broadcaster, regularly contributing to the BBC and other international networks. His latest book is The Making of Us: Who We Can Become When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned (Thomas Nelson, 2019).