Blog

The Eye and Ears are the Doors to the Mind

I will start this blog post with this will be my last entry for the time being. I started my blogging as a form of therapy. I was recovering from a years worth of very intensive therapy including 6 months of EMDR. My brain was all over the place. I was struggling in a number of ways health wise. I am happy to say that my health seems to have significantly improved over the past 4 months. I have always been very shy about sharing my thought with anyone outside of people close to me. Similarly I have little confidence. Thus this blog has been a bit of a dumping zone for me and a place I could share my thought thus overcome some of my fears. I have to say it has been a rewarding exercise. It has been helpful to me most of all but also nice to have the support of so many of my family and friends.

So as a end to this season and the hope of a new one to come, I will leave you these last thoughts.

I find the human brain fascinating. It is like a magnificent computer. God’s creation is just incredible. And just like a computer can get a virus so can our brains. I would like to think of the ears and the eyes as the doorways to our brains. It is through what we see and hear that our brains are exposed to viruses. The younger the brain the more vulnerable to infection. So much of our health is tied to the brain. For the whole bodies stress response is tied to the brain. Thus we need to be protecting our brains from viruses.

The entertainment we watch, the music we listen to, the people in our lives that tell us information. All this sensory input can either be medicine or a virus. God’s truth is medicine. It is the cure for our deprived thoughts and sick brains. On the other hand, things that are inducing false thinking, unholy things and leading to sinful thinking are like a virus.

Some of us are more sensitive to viruses than others. Some of our brains do not have defense mechanisms or have been weakened in some way. In these instances it is incredible important to expose the brain to God’s medicine rather than defiled things. I personally have multiple mental disabilities. My brain is extremely sensitive. It is highly vulnerable. Especially when I am during or recently recovering from an episode. But even when healthy I have to work to protect my brain. I do this by being carful with the things I watch and the things I listen to. Similar I have to be carful to guard my mind from listening to people who are not feeding me God’s words rather human rubbish.

We all struggle with these issues for our world is full of eye candy and ear deserts that look and sound tasty but will only induce a virus into your brain. So be careful to take that candy or desert because it may taste good but it will defile your temple. Ask God to give you wisdom and help you avoid things that are not healthy for you. Ask God to help you protect your brain. May God wrap his faithful hands around each of our brains bringing healing to our bodies and may his spirit protect our thoughts from all unrighteousness. Amen.

The End Times

There are many people who spend much time studying the end times. The last book in the Bible, Revelations is all about the end times. I personally find this book incredibly confusing. I personally have found very little benefit from thinking or pondering this subject. I figure I am more likely to die in a car crash then experience the rapture. Similarly I typically have enough in my life in the here and now immediate future to deal with to worry about the end of the world. I am not all that interested in this topic. I am more interested in what God is doing here, today and now. Similarly I would much rather focus on joining God in the work he is doing now then try to figure out the mysteries of the end of the world.

With all that said, it has made me wonder why God even gave this revelation to John and made this part of the Bible? For me I think revelation is similar to the revelations given to the prophets in the Old Testament. It is a reminder to us that God knows all of the future. It is a reminder that God already has things mapped out. It is a reminder of his sovereignty. But it is also a reassurance of what the end result will be. It is a promise of God’s work on earth coming to completion with the complete abolishment of Satan, sin and the formation of a new heaven and earth. It is a promise that should give us hope. It is the promise that Jesus is returning.

I do not focus on the end times and I tend to shy away from people who try to take current events as evidence that the end times are occurring. I figure my job is to abide in Jesus, rest in him and join him in his will for my life. But I also find hope in that God has everything mapped out. The entire world and future is in his hands. He knows the future and the knows the time. I will focus on today and let God handle the future.

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelations 22:12

Caring for God’s Temple

I think it interesting to think about the evolution of God’s temple. One reason I find it interesting is I feel like by telling the history of God’s temple someone is telling my life story. It’s kind of like watching my life flash before me. So let me tell you the story. For I love telling stories. God’s temple was built in Jerusalem. It was full of fine jewels and finery. It was clothed with beauty. But then God’s people misused, abused and neglected the temple. The temple fell to ruin. It was demolished. This was all due to God’s people’s sin. The people eventually repented, turned back to God and thus rebuilt God’s temple. It was re-established. But then Jesus came. God walked among his precious creation. He died, rose again and ascended to heaven. In return for his leaving he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit that dwells in those of us that accept Jesus as our savior. We have now become Gods temple for we House his spirit.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I view my body as God’s temple. Thus to take care of my body is to honor God. I believe God makes each of us his beautiful creation. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are made in his image. I was a beautiful creation but through the actions of others and my own sin my temple was misused, abused and neglected. It essentially was demolished. My multiple health problems are a reflection of this. But God is a God of healing and restoration. He has been working to rebuild and remake me.

I have a bad habit of neglecting myself and not practicing good self care. This has improved now that I am older and more knowledgeable about how to take care of my body and mind. My medical training helps immensely with this issue. Before being discharged from my second hospitalization in a mental institution I bought a ring and wrote vows to God. It was a vow to prioritize taking care of God’s temple for this was my greatest struggle. The ring was to be a reminder of my vow. For this is the task God has given me. Take care of his temple for I am his beautiful creation. God does not find joy in his temple being abused, neglected or mistreated. Similarly if anyone is not facilitating taking care of God’s temple or harming my temple this is not from God. For God never abuses and those sent from God will not abuse either.

Normalization

I think it incredibly interesting to discuss the topic of normal. As someone who has suffered from mental health issues since I can remember I often wonder what a normal person feels like. For I am obviously not entirely normal although to me my experience are very normal. Normal is always relative. We as humans creat a image of what we deem normal. Society as a whole creates a framework of what is considered normal. Anything outside the normal bubble is considered abnormal. Similarly the framework of how we view something as normal or abnormal is highly influence by others, culture, society, environment and education. Who is to say if something is normal or not? This is especially true when it comes to behaviors. What is considered normal behavior is different in different homes, different cultures. One way we can try to change people’s perception of certain things, reduce stigma and reduce discrimination is through normalizing something. As something because less unusual it become more normal. With normalization comes acceptance.

But this can also work in the opposite direction. Normalization can help reduce fear, stigma, discrimination and foul treatment of marginalized individuals but when sin is normalized we are in big trouble. When I view society in regards to certain sinful behavior normalization is one of the biggest underlying issues. Once a sinful behavior becomes normalized it becomes acceptable and thus people no longer recognize it as sinful.

We do not want to shame people, have a lack of love, grace or mercy but when we normalize sin we basically are giving people a green light to say something is ok. I think this dangerous. Similarly one way the body of Christ can fight sin is fight the normalization of sin. For part of being transformed by the renewing of our minds is to set our minds on heavenly things. By renewing our minds with God’s words we can fight the normalization of sin. Every single believer has this responsibility. For if every believe takes responsibility for not allowing sin to be normalized we are fighting a monster. We don’t fight sin with shame or guilt. We fight sin by starting with ourselves. Many God make us holy as he is holy. Amen.

Tempting Others

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.” Matthew 18:6-9

In the beginning of time a snake confronted Eve and tempted her to take the fruit God said to not eat. She took the fruit then tempted her husband to eat the fruit with her. Both Adam and Eve fell into sin by disobeying God. Our world is full of snakes, Adams, Eves and forbidden fruit. We encounter temptations everywhere. I wish I could say the church was free of temptations but the truth is temptations are found even within the body of Christ. Temptations are found even within our marriages. For where there are people, there is sin and thus there are temptations. We cannot escape it.

My encounters with the body of Christ have been full of temptations. It makes it challenging to rest because the body of Christ feels more like a battle field where I am trying to avoid temptations then a peaceful, restful, quiet place. This has made me contemplate how I as an individual can work to NOT be a temptation to others. How can I not be like Eve. For I want to avoid falling into temptations but I also want to avoid tempting others. I want to make the body of Christ and my home a safe place to rest and one way I do that is by being carful to not induce temptations in others. Sometimes we tempt others without even realizing it. Sometimes we are oblivious to how our actions are affecting others. But one way we can be a good spouse, sister and brother in Christ is by working to not be a temptation to others.

For us women this means being carful about our interpersonal relationships with men. It means being carful about how we dress and behave. It means making sure there is accountability when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. But it also means working on our own selves so that we are a good example to other women. We want to be a model for other women to follow. For if we are conducting ourselves in a sinful way we are tempting other women to do the same. You would be surprised by how much of our behaviors and thinking are influenced by those around us.

Sin is very much like the coronavirus. It proliferates. It is contagious. The best way to fight sin is through herd immunity. If the body of Christ as a whole is immune to sin then it will have no place in the body of Christ. We need to all vaccinate ourselves to sin so that we protect others within the body of Christ that are weaker and more vulnerable. We protect others by making sure we are not inducing temptations in others.

How have you been a temptation to others in the past? How can you change to prevent tempting others? How can you conduct yourself differently to model good behaviors for others?

The Sin of Overindulgence

“Come, all you beasts of the field, come and devour, all you beasts of the forest! Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain. “Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine! Let us drink our fill of beer! And tomorrow will be like today, or even far better.” Isaiah 56:9-12

My 2 dogs are opposite extremes when it comes to indulging themselves. My little Itsy is all bones. She hardly eats anything. If I do not keep an eye on her eating she probably would starve to death. It is impossible to get her to gain weight. She is the opposite of overindulgence. Rather she should probably indulge a little more. Now Coco I have to keep an eye on him because he will eat and eat and eat until he makes himself sick. Similarly he hordes all the bones. He likes to indulge himself. We humans are often like my dog Coco and not just when it comes to food. We indulge in many things, food is just one item. We indulge in entertainment, excess spending, excess cloths, excess shoes, excess housing, we often live in luxury. Especially us Americans. Believe me I am not immune. My closet is full of cloths. We like the fancy house, boat, car, etc. We are often people of extravagance and over indulgence. Yet we neglect the finer things in our life which are of higher value, worth and eternal significance. In terms of how we indulge ourselves and use our finances we often have our priorities all out of sorts.

As someone in healthcare profession who tends to care mostly about people and relationships I give little attention and thought to how to prioritize my financial decisions and allocation of resources. For this is not my training, expertise or passion. I hate dealing with money and financial decisions. Similarly I tend to be like my dog Itsy. Without someone reminding me to eat, cloth myself and practice good self care I will can easy starve myself while focusing on everyone else. But at the same time I have learned that like we have to know how God wants us to prioritize our relationships he also wants us to know how to prioritize our financial decisions and allocation of resources.

God and the body of Christ should be our first priority. Much like our relationship with God is first and most important. Allocating our resources to God should be of first priority. By making God first we are acting in faith that he will provide the means for ourselves and family. The biggest part of allocating our resources is tithing a minimum of 10% of our income. But we often have more to give than just our money. Similarly 10% is a minimum number.

Next would be providing for the basic needs of ourselves, spouse and children. Then providing for the basic needs of elderly parents in need of care/assistance. I think I will save the topic of what constitutes as basic needs for another day.

This structure is still very foreign to me for in the home I was raised I was taught to be frugal and save money. I was taught how to not over spend. I was taught to save for retirement and have savings for emergencies. I know how to NOT spend and save but no one ever taught me how to spend in a way that was glorifying to God. Similarly the people in my family prioritize spending wealth on more luxury housing, entertainment and food then on God’s kingdom. This has made it challenging for me to understand what I am supposed to do with money.

This is far from my expertise for I have never been a financial person. But one thing is certain, prioritize God first in your financial decisions for he is your king. Secondly, we are to take care of our household before others. Thirdly, be carful to not over indulge at the expense of helping others in need for God wants us all to be good stewards of the gifts he gives us, even our finances. Amen.

Why We Work

If I had to pick the number one lesson I learned from my human father it would be the value of a good days hard work. My father is a hard worker. He is far from a lazy man. There is something to be said about this for in America we have many people who are not the hardest of workers. Hard work was drilled into me from a young age. Plus I was always a very driven young girl. It did not take someone pushing me because I did a fine job of pushing myself. My gymnastics coach never had to push me rather she was in charge of pulling me back, saying enough is an enough and telling me to stop. For I would work myself into the ground.

Hard work is important. We should be hard workers. It is not good for anyone to be idle. When I was a child I worked hard out of fear. I did not want to get in trouble by my parents. Or I worked hard because I was driven and wanted to be successful. Or a work hard because I was competitive and did not want to loss to someone else. There were many reasons for me working hard. As I have aged I have come to realize my reasons for working hard were not the best, rather were a reflection of sins I harbored in my heart. For the reason I should be working hard is out of worship, praise and reverence to my Lord and King. I do not work for the money. I do not work for my competitive nature. I do not work for success. I do not work for fear. No I work for my Jesus.

When our motivation for working hard is not out of praise, worship and obedience to Jesus we may be building something but that something is being build on foundation of sand rather than a solid rock. When the tide comes in the sand will be washed away and so will all our hard work. But when we make our reason for working hard Jesus we build on a rock. The tide may come in but the house will not be washed away.

Hard work is important but more important is your reason for why you are working hard. Why do you work hard?

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13