I admired John Tomlinson the first time I met him, which was when we recorded this gripping story. In this captivating time of brief radio, he tells it, and you can hear anytime, like … right now!
His life as a young adult indeed had near a tragic beginning. When at age 19, he was headed home where he knew where the gun was … the weapon with which he intended to kill himself. But soon thereafter, good news! Instead, at age 20, John received Jesus Christ into his life by repentance and faith! His life was forever changed to a great – but not always easy … lifestyle. Hear John tell about it … in his own words.
He now serves very well as the Executive Director of St. Charles County (Missouri) Ministry to Men (just west of St. Louis). See www.ministrytomen.net. Our radio recording together was at the time of their great 25th Annual Prayer Breakfast, attended by more than 800. The speaker — sharing his testimony of his relationship with the Lord – was the revered Missouri statesman and former United States Attorney General of the United, “General” John Ashcroft.
John reports more good news, that more than 30 “Bible discussion groups” sponsored by Ministry to Men meet to encourage each man attending throughout each week. They provide acceptance and positive relationships to men, making efforts at not using “churchy” language. Their website (www.ministrymen.net) informs where and when they meet weekly, welcoming any man to any one of them.
Back to John Tomlinson’s near suicide: when someone is considering suicide, we know from scripture that the devil is involved in pushing negative, destructive thoughts into our heads, such as: “You have no hope!” — “Your life is not worth living!” — “You are no good!” — “Suicide is the only way to end your pain and depression” “You and your family would be better off if I am dead!” — “Your hurting and your pain will stop when you kill yourself” … on and on.
Jesus Christ spoke of the one who encourages suicides. He said the devil “… was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
And, remember, you are worth enough for Jesus to have died for you! (Romans 5:8) The father in the story of the prodigal son, representing God, kept looking for his prodigal, sinful, son to come to him … no matter how many wrongs he had done … and rejoiced when he returned to the Father! (Luke 15: 11 – 24) Think of how disappointed the Father would have been if the son had not been alive to return to him … and had died in suicide!
More reasons for concerns from the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday, October 13, 2019 (who usually do a good job when they stick to the news):
*“Number of suicides in 2018 involving firearms in Missouri …726!” (two a day, nearly 14 a week!) and *“Amount of suicide rate increased among Missouri teens over past three years – 54%”
To Potential suicide victims. God may be wanting to use you as an example of His love and power to show how He can turn a life to make it joyful and useful … like He did with John Tomlinson!
Jesus is looking for you, wanting to “take you into His fold!” For Jesus said: What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one who is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15: 3 – 7)
Again, potential suicide victim, Jesus is looking for you! Will you let Him find you?!
For the one considering suicide, you haven’t committed the sin that God cannot forgive! Even murderers – locked in prison for the remainder of their lives for their crimes — are being “saved!” We all have sinned, and, again, Jesus Christ died and rose again so that we can be forgiven and have life, even a joyful life. For those of us who have come to faith in Jesus, you are in a condition of “justification,” defined in standing before God as “… just as if I had never sinned!”
More from the word of God – “… we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled (be made right) to God. For (God) made (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness (the condition of being made right) of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5: 20, 21)
A great illustration one can listen to anytime: “To hear … “Dr. Henry Blackaby (‘Experiencing God’); regarding his visits to joyful Angola Prisoners’ on death row!” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2013/09/26/dr-henry-blackaby-experiencing-god-re-his-visits-to-joyful-angola-prisoners-on-death-row/.
Those considering suicide should forever remember these teachings and examples of Jesus!
We are shocked by the reports that an average of 22 veterans a day commit suicide. The devil is certainly involved, lying to our dear veterans that life is not worth living and that they have no hope. God has been and is saving formerly wicked people who have committed horrendous crimes and, in some cases, calling them into ministry in prison. God never approves of sin, but, in His powerful work and love for us, He can forgive sins! Jesus died for just that purpose.
Remember, this wonderful truth from the word of God: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
And to anyone receiving Christ in repentance and faith, this wonderful promise: “… the blood of Jesus (God’s) son cleanses us from all sin! (I John 1:7)
And for the true believer in Jesus, when those suicidal thoughts occur, the reality is that … “… Greater is He that is in you (the Holy Spirit) than he who is in the world! (I John 4:4)
Many more interesting and inspirational points of discussion are made as one listens, anytime, to John Tomlinson’s story, available from this posting!
More encouraging “Links” …
To hear … “Many murderers, rapists, and the like in prison have received Christ; some are called to serve there as pastors. Dr. Anthony Allen, President, Hannibal-LaGrange U tells of university’s ministry degree to prepare them … click on … … https://haroldhendrick.com/2019/10/08/many-murderers-rapists-and-the-like-in-prison-have-received-christ-some-are-called-to-serve-there-as-pastors-dr-anthony-allen-president-hannibal-lagrange-u-tells-of-universitys-m/; and …
To hear … “Charlie Williams: a clear statement on the impacting men’s ministry he leads www.ministrytomen.net” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2011/12/31/charlie-williams-a-clear-statement-on-the-impacting-mens-ministry-he-leads-www-ministrytomen-net/;
To hear … “Ben Blanton, David Claybrook, Brian Bredensteiner, Charlie Williams, Randy Mayfield, Joan Hendrick” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2011/10/06/ben-blanton-david-claybrook-brian-bredensteiner-charlie-williams-randy-mayfield-joan-hendrick/
To hear … “Pastor Phil Brownlee in St. Louis County jail listened hours a day to Bible teaching on Bott Radio Network” (See www.bottradionetwork.com) … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2016/08/24/pastor-phil-brownlee-in-stl-county-jail-listened-hours-a-day-to-bible-teaching-on-bott-radio-network/