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Iniquity Sin

Oh? It IS Worse Than You Think!

We are always running around trying to minimize the severity of problems, especially if it is my problem or my family’s problem.

Trying our Best

People like to say, “Well, my parents did the best they could.” That was the problem!

Anyone who does anything “the best that they can” will mess it up. The Bible is clear that, without God, I can do nothing, and doing anything without him is pointless. Psalms 127 says, “It is vain (pointless) to defend or build the city if God is not in it.” So, first of all, parents should recognize that in their best efforts, they cannot be good parents and that if God is not in their efforts it will not work.

I find it far better when parents admit that raising children is a task beyond themselves, saying, “Lord I can’t, but you can, now show me what to do.”

It is comforting to know that even when we are open to feedback from God’s word, the Holy Spirit and others, we will still mess up some, but the children will do well. As our children observe our humility and our struggle with some of the patterns from our past, they can become motivated to not get into the same struggles and instead to rise above. They will even find that having a good attitude towards parents who struggle humbly will prepare them for important roles in their own lives. Plus, as we grow and learn we will do better than if we “tried my best.”

At least I’m not…

Another sin pattern that keeps us from growing is comparing with others.

  • The people who go to Alcoholic Anonymous say, “I am glad I am not a pedophile.”
  • The pedophiles say, “I am glad I am not an angry rage filled person.”
  • Angry people say, “I am glad I am not a glutton.”
  • And the gluttons say, “I am glad I am not an alcoholic.”

And round it goes. The only ones to get any help from God are those who say,

It is me, it is me, it is me, oh God, standing in the need of prayer!

The apostle Paul said, “this is something that everyone should accept that Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the very worst.”

Anyone who thinks, “well, for sure, the apostle Paul was definitely the very worse and I think I am not as bad,” is like the Pharisee looking up to heaven and saying, “I thank God I am not like that publican!” Remember the Pharisee did not go home justified and the publican did.

I think we are all terrified that if we took a full look at the mess we really are/or how bad our childhood hurt was/ or what a mess the world is in/ that we would discover that it was all hopeless. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The only thing seeing the mess without minimizing or comparison can do is fill us a need for God and with awe when we find that God is bigger than the mess. His grace is bigger than all my sin. And that he gets the last word in the end, no matter what!

When I am working with people in counseling who discover that they are worse than they thought, I often see them scramble for ways to minimize it, excuse it, blame it, or compare it. I advise them to accept that they and their reality are all much worse than they think but God is much bigger than they think he is.

Do not forget, where sin abounds, grace even more abounds. When weakness abounds, and I feel like I am the least and the weakest, then I am much more important than those who think they have it all together.

Dear Lord, help me to go ahead and see the negative reality realistically but never to forget that you are bigger than that (Whatever “that” is). Help me to remember you can fix it, you can bring good out of it, and you have the last word. Praise your holy name.

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ACT IN WHAT I BELIEVE

We know that when we come to God we must believe that he exists and that it is worth our bother searching him out, for he will reward those that diligently search. We’re told in Proverbs to make it our primary goal to get to know him more and then he will direct our paths.
Sure I know that I should,But do I search him out?


We remember that one of his names is, “The God who always sees everything” El. Roi. We remember that one of the tests for accountability in a court is, “Would you have done it if a policeman were standing right there?” Well, God is standing right there at all times.


Sure I know this,But do I act in ways I never would, if I could see him?
I’m told that I will certainly appear before the judgment seat of God to receive the appropriate reward for what I did while being a human being. Yes I know I will have an advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous one. I remember that only what is done for Christ will last.
Sure I know that,But do I live in such a way that everything I do is, because he asked me to, done in his power and for his Kingdom and his glory?

I believe that all have sinned and must come to repentance or spend eternity separated from God. I believe that being a responsible adult is never enough to earn salvation. Sure I know this,But do I pray and witness to the perishing around me with the earnestness such knowledge should impart?

Peter says, “seeing all material things will be vaporized in a blast of unimaginable heat, what type of person should I then be?” Sure I believe that, But do I put too much focus on the things and the comfort this world affords today?

The Hindu religion suggests that the people, events, and things around us get in the way of seeing the higher truths and that peace is found by not wanting, not enjoying, not caring.// Christ always calls us to a more impossible path. I am to search for him while focusing intensely on the events and things around me. I am to be aware of and delight in the fact that he is always watching. I am to steward and enjoy the material things but see them as tools to minister to others and give me support for the journey. I am to care about relationships intensely and still keep walking when they let me down. I am to look forward with delight to the judgement seat. That will be where Jesus will delight in showing the world what he was able to do through my feeble efforts and get himself much glory. I am to rejoice in being a fellow burden bearer with Jesus, remembering that he has the other side of the yoke, so his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I am to enjoy and delight in the material things God has allowed me to have but carry them in an open palm so that if he takes them back that would be good also.

Lord teach me to grab the “impossible, crazy” higher path to higher ground which you lead me to walk, the path that forces me to stay yoked to you and remember that you are walking it with me and making the impossible happen and the crazy, sane.

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GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN

Okay gang, I want to announce a new opportunity.

In this hectic day when everyone is so busy, few people have time to pause and read a blog. So I want to thank you, who do read it, for your faithful support. And let you know that there are also podcasts for busy people. I finally figured out how to do them and have been doing them regularly. So people who are busy but drive around in their cars could listen to my podcasts.

I have only had 3 people actually listen to any of my podcast and of course I get rewarded by the Lord for doing the podcasts even if no one listens. By would greatly appreciated if you mention to a friend about my podcasts. They just have to go to VerleBell, MD.com and click on the podcast page.

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GOT A GUT FEELING?

BOWELS OF MERCY:

The Bible teaches that our “bowels” are directly connected to our passion and focus:

  Jeremiah 4: 19 My bowels, my bowels!  I have pain in my insides and they roar and are unquiet in me; They push me to speak up, and why? Because my soul heard the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

The Bible says that our bowels: make us long for relationship with others/ long for our children to be safe/ want to be with a lover/ are churned up when we hide our sin/ are stirred up when we see the danger that sinners are in or when we feel remorse for our own rebellion/ when we see destruction come to others. They are refreshed by fellowship. They lead us to have compassion on the needy and meet their needs. Our bowels fill us with love when we see fellow believers serving God and others and lead us to fellowship with and be of one mind with them.

God has rumbling bowels of mercy towards those he loves who are in trouble.

I am to, greatly long after fellowship ( in the bowels of Jesus).

I am to put on bowls of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering.

See: Genesis 43:30, 1Kings 3:26, Job 20:14, Song of songs 5:4, Isaiah 16:11, 63:15, Jeramiah 31:20, Lamentations 1:20, 2:11, 2 Corinthians 6:12, 7:15, Philippians1:8, 2:1, Philemon 7, 20, 1Joh 3:17, Colossians 3:12

Science finds out details of how the bowels do all this!

BRAIN TALKS TO GUT: through: a. chemicals in the blood, b. the spinal cord, c. hormones and d. the vagus nerve.

Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Do certain situations make you “feel nauseous, have butterflies in your stomach, feel sick to my stomach, feel scared ****less, feel gut heaviness etc?” All these and more are gut responses to the brain signaling that something important is happening and we need to pay attention and relate to the situation according to the type and intensity of challenge.

The bowel nervous system is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells. These are arranged in an intricate double layer of lacework neurons forming a sock around the intestines from esophagus to rectum. The Enteric (gut) Nervous System, ENS, produces more than 30 neurotransmitters that affect the gut walls and bacteria. Together, these are referred to as our “second brain”. When we perceive stress, these neurons are signaled to set the tone of our response.

The cells of the gut wall are instructed to put out cytokines to alert the immune system to fix any damage that might occur.

In the middle of the gut, the bacteria are signaled to put out needed neurotransmitters.

GUT TALKS TO THE BRAIN: Gut bacteria “talk” to the gut-brain and also to the head-brain via: Neurotransmitters, hormones, fatty acids, metabolites and cytokines.

I need to listen to my gut. It (generates a sense of caution even when a situation or opportunity may seem positive to our frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is too “logical” to pick up on concerns that are not really clear, but the gut responds to the “hard to put my finger on” ruminations of the emotional back parts of our brain.


For decades, researchers and doctors knew that anxiety and depression contributed to gut problems. Now we realize that it is also the other way around. Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system sends signals up to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes. The vagus nerve sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent (upgoing) fibers. Then the Vagus nerve sends messages back to the gut that calm down cytokine production in the lining of the gut. The gut says “watch out!” and the brain answers back, “calm down”. (Cytokines stir up the immune system and, if run too long, cause inflammation.)

The gut sends messages up the Vagus nerve that increase serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine systems in the brain stem. Short term these help us calm down, analyze and take action. Long term this constant release causes depletion of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, and this contributes to mood and anxiety disorders.

“Friendly” gut bacteria (which thrive on fiber diet) have a beneficial effect on mood and anxiety, partly by affecting the activity of the vagus nerve.

“Unfriendly bacteria (which thrive on sugar) will attack the lining of the gut and trigger the immune system and chronic inflammation. The gut lymphoid tissue is the largest immune organ in the body and when stirred up can cause almost every illness known: cancer, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, irritable bowel, asthma etc.

Hormones and peptides that the gut nervous system releases into the blood circulation cross the blood–brain barrier (e.g., ghrelin) and can act synergistically (along) with the vagus nerve to regulate food intake and appetite.

Bacteria in the gut put out chemicals that trigger hunger in the brain for the food that the bacteria like. When these chemicals reach the brain they generate an urge to eat chocolate. Your chocolate bacteria are screaming, “feed me, feed me).

SO WHAT TO DO? Type, “healthy gut” into the search on my b. The good news is if I eat fiber, the fiber-loving bacteria put out chemicals that urge more fiber consumption and the chocolate bugs die or are eliminated. I can

It can seem complicated but it is simple: care about the current moment, seek grace to obey , let it go and cast any leftover care on Jesus because he cares for me. OR ( Stress = put out cortisol = causes holes to appear in the gut lining = trigger an immune response = put out IL6 in blood which calms down cortisol receptors = causes the brain to be even more sensitized to stress = put out more cortisol and round and round.)

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LIES ALL LIES

Here are some more “Practice lie/truth” samples. Remember it is our job to not be ignorant of the Devil’s devices. So try and read the lie and then think of what you would quote at the devil from the Bible.

Then you may look at what I came up with. Don’t feel bad if you like mine better or don’t be judgmental if yours are better. The Word of God is infinite and there are lots of truths to counter the lies so here goes:

LIE: God asks you to do too much. You just can’t do that and he is being unfair in asking.

TRUTH; Without him I can do nothing. There are not little things that I can handle and big things that I can’t. No there is nothing small enough that I can handle it without Christ and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Obedience is my part, whether it works is his business. John 15:5 Philippians 4″13

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LIE: You are a strong person and, if you ask for help, others will think less of you or take advantage.

TRUTH:I need to ask other believers for help. If someone attacks me, two shall withstand him and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 I am told to confess my faults to fellow believers and pray for each other. James 5:16 All commands in the New testament are given in the plural, “y’all” not the singular “you”.

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LIE: There are only two possible gods. The one who cares but is too impotent to help or the strong one who could help but doesn’t! So he either doesn’t care or is basically evil.

TRUTH: God is both strong and caring. When he does not come through on my timetable or in my way, he has a better plan than mine. If he jumped in and stopped all the evil being done, that would destroy free will which would render everything pointless. What if he stopped just the “big” bad things? Am I sure that I know the difference? But he always seeks that “where sin abounds, grace might even more abound.” Romans 5:20 He will not let me be tested to where I have to sin but gives me grace and himself that I might bear the trial and grow.

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LIE: You don’t have to let God push you around. You can be your own boss! The captain of your own ship. The master of your own fate.

TRUTH: I will be a slave! Either to God or the devil. Trying to walk the fence is to walk in the devil’s territory. Don’t I realize that the path I walk programs my responses and I become controlled by my programming? If I endulge in lust, greed, bitterness etc I will be rewarded with more of the same, getting worse and worse. If I obey God , yielding my body parts to righteousness, it will lead to more yielding to God. Romans 6:16

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LIE: Scientists just observe and describe what they see. They are totally unbiased so they can be trusted in their conclusions.

TRUTH: True science just observes and accepts that it “sees” what it is programmed to see and twists observations to fit it’s biases. Therefore it limits itself to observations, not conclusions. I need to avoid the empty profane babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith. They are scoffers walking after their own desire to (look wise and to win debates and to be admired) say, “Where is this god? for all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” They choose to ignore the obvious truth that God spoke all things into existence2 peter 3:3-5/ 1 Timothy 6:20.

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LIE: You should never confess your faults to other Christians. They will just judge and shun you and take advantage of your weakness. Besides, your struggles and personal between you and the Lord.

TRUTH: Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that ye may be healed. James 5:16 We need to pick up on when other brethren are overtaken in a fault so that we can examine ourselves and help restore them. God is faithful and just to forgive my sins if I confess them. In the Bible, all confession is truth telling, with my mouth, to those around me. God already knows my sin, but others need to if I am going to find the accountability and support to change. 1 John 1:9 Galatians 6:1

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EXERCISE

I know, I Timothy 4:8 Says that bodily exercise profits little. Most translations say that it is profitable but godliness even more.

I think this passage is using exercise as an analogy to help me to understand and to motivate me to do what it takes to be godly. Think of the amount of work that we are willing to put into feeling and functioning better physically; (running, doing pushups, eating right, sleeping right, and developing disciplined habits). We push ourselves, living out the saying, “No pain–No gain!” And, after all that work, the gain, though real, is limited.

But when asked to fast, memorize scripture, pray without ceasing, talk about the Lord with others etc., we seem to feel that these disciplines are asking too much. Too much effort for too little gain. (Of course in Sunday school we would not say so, but in the time we invest it is clear that we think so.)

So what are the benefits of exercise? Paul says that he kept his body under and brought it into subjection, to avoid spiritual danger. I Corinthians 9:27 We can use exercise as a picture of the spiritual life and apply what we learn keeping fit to what we need to do to allow God to strengthen and grow our spiritual muscle. Remember that Jesus pointed out that, “these things come out only by fasting and prayer, fast and pray that ye enter not into temptation”

1. Exercise functions similarly to fasting, that the deliberate self denial involved does help put things into right priority.

  1. It adds to our IQ about 5 points. Well, that may not seem like much to you, but I need every scrap I can muster! For this benefit I must do 10 minutes of cardio daily.

3.It maintains my ability to serve God and others. Muscle maintenance and ligament stretching allow me to help with projects and take care of my loved ones.

4.It gives me dedicated time to focus on the Lord without distractions.

I see so many people try to pull their life together and start with losing weight and exercise but stop there. No, it may be a good start but they need to transfer the dedication and labor and good feeling that come into also working on more strength to interpret the word and pray and sing.

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I DON’T FEEL GOD SO WHAT’S WRONG?

Sometimes, I think that we expect good to compete with worldly entertainment.
I think that Covid was good for us by forcing us to back off of so many avenues of entertainment and stay home and be quiet.
However we made an end run around what God was trying to do by filling our lives up with electronic entertainment: Videogames, sports games, movies, canned music etc.
Even when we go to church we are often looking for the service to be entertaining. We want our involvement with God to keep us from being bored, to excite us, help us forget our problems, give us the feeling that we are doing our part, when we have done nothing but sit there. Even in church we do not join in the songs. If we do sing the song we do not think about the words. We might find the pastors stories and sermons intellectually stimulating or interesting, however we do not go out and find ourselves convicted and applying the truth in our everyday life.
I find it is the world that gives us artificial “highs”. God, however, does not show up in the earthquake or the fire but in the still small voice. He shows up in the boring repetitions of doing the dishes and going to work at a job that cranks out the same widgets over and over again. In quietness and confidence we find strength. He tells us to “be still in know that I am God.”
I believe, especially in this day, that choosing obedience and focus on God, when we have no emotional response, actually brings him glory.


I remember the story of a missionary who was incarcerated by the communists. He insisted on preaching to everyone so they put him in solitary. He was sleeping on the stone floor, using a bucket for bathroom and eating rotten meals. But the thing that bothered him most was having no sense of God’s presence. He cried out to God to give him a sense of his presence. Finally he said, “you have done so much for me already, you are so great and wonderful, that you are worth worshiping even if I never have any feeling response again, ever.” This was a great act of worship that brought God much glory. Shortly after, God’s presence flooded the room and shortly after that he was released to serve God and the larger world.

We might see other people waxing all euphoric in church and beat ourselves up for not having more “spirituality”. We might not only lack emotional enthusiasm, we may be down right turned off by the idea of doing things God’s way. Still doing things because they are right and God asks us to, is called obedience. You remember the story of the bad attitude boy who worked hard in the Vineyard all day when his dad asked him to. He was the one who obeyed, while the good attitude brother, who never showed up, was disobedient.

So, what is the bottom line? When God says “who will go for us whom shall we send?”, do we say, “here am I, send me”? Do we show up, do we yield our members instruments to obey? Then God is well pleased with this and we should be too.

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HEALTHY BONES

THE BIBLE TEACHES TRUE SCIENCE:

Unhealthy bones:

Job 20:11 The sins of my youth “fill up my bones” and plague me till I die.

Job 30:17 Days of affliction lead to “bones pierced at night”

Psalms 6:2-6 My depression leads me to cry all night and my bones are “vexed” ie agitated, anxious, dismayed

Psalms 31:10 Because of my grief and sighing and exhaustion of my iniquity—my bones are “consumed” ie shrink, weaken, become moth-eaten.

Psalms 38:3 My sin keeps my bones from “resting” ie completeness, soundness, health, quiet

Psalms 102:3-5 My bones are burned as a hearth, (hearths are cracked, weakened and crumbled by the fires on them) I forget to eat till my bones stick through my skin.

Proverbs 12:4 A wife who brings shame causes her husbands bones to be “rotten” ie decay, worm eaten. (And, I assume, vice-versa)

Proverbs 14:30 Envy,( this is not jealousy, which is fighting for the health of a relationship against anything that try to interfere. This is a virtue and God is jealous for us./ envy is coveting what others have.) causes my bones to “rot” ie decay, worm eaten.

Proverbs 17:22 A broken spirit causes my bones to “dry” ie wither away.

Jeremiah 20:9 If my spirit is not calloused, then trying not to witness for God will cause my bones “to burn like fire” and I will be driven to obey ie supernatural fire, altar fire


Proverbs 17:22 A broken spirit causes my bones to “dry” ie wither away.

Jeremiah 20:9 If my spirit is not calloused, then trying not to witness for God will cause my bones “to burn like fire” and I will be driven to obey ie supernatural fire, altar fire

Jeremiah 23:9 When I see God’s holiness and the sin of my people then my bone “shake” (ie flutter, grow soft) and I must preach and warn.

Lamentations 1:13 When I sin, a loving angered God sends fire into my bones and prevails against them (ie scrapes them out), in an effort to wake me up to my peril.

Habakkuk 3:16 My terror causes rottenness to enter my bones

Heathy bones:

Ezekiel 37:1-7 Can These Bones Live?/ Bones, hear the word of the Lord./ God will enter into you and you shall live and be part of a great army. (It is God’s job to revive, not mine. I need to admit that I have brought bone damage upon myself and cry out for health restoration.)

Psalms 35:10 I need to praise the Lord, saying, “Who is like you?” My bones will join in the praising. (Sing to the Lord a new song and let your bones be healed.)

Proverbs 3:8 Trust in the Lord with all my heart and quit trusting my own understanding, in all I do seek to know him more and let him direct my paths. Quit thinking that I’m all that smart, fear the Lord, depart from evil—result? Healthy bones.

Proverbs 15:3 Seek out good news, see positives  “What can I do by God’s strength? ( Do it with all my might) What has he given me? (savor it) Who is in my life? (Love on them, live joyfully with them give to them from my strengths and receive from them in my areas of weakness) Who am I? (Rejoice in seeing the details of how I am fearfully and wonderfully made) This will be fatness to my bones.

Proverbs16:24 Find power from the Holy Spirit to control your tongue. May the words of your mouth be gentle, kind, peaceful, loving, joyful, patient and encouraging. This will bring health to your bones and won’t hurt the other persons bones either.

Isaiah 58:11 Let God minister to the needy through you and he will reward your obedience with fat bones. (Trust the word, fat bones, with rich marrow are good to have)

Isaiah 66:14 Let the God of all comfort, the only true comforter, comfort you in all your trials so that you might point others to the same source of comfort that you have found. When you focus on the good that God is doing all around you: they your bones will flourish like green grass that feeds others and stays green and keeps growing.

My prayer for us, is that we might live in such a way that God can give us healthy flourishing fat bones and not have to fill them with decay and fire in order to motivate. The choice is yours.

SCIENCE CATHES UP: HEALTHY BONES

Brethren, don’t think that it is strange to go through trials. Besides, trials are not stress but opportunities to grow, be refined, bring God glory, minister to others etc. Even the fight or flight response is good if we need to fight or flight is good. So where is the problem:. It is continuing to hang on to and circle on the details of the issue that causes the problems. It is not casting my cares on him because I doubt that he cares for me or is capable of handling it.

 Whether it’s work related, family related, environmental, physical or emotional; stress causes our bodies to fall out of balance and can actually cause the leaching of calcium from our bones!

When we are stressed, our bodies release a “stress hormone” called cortisol, which, if continued for hours, causes havoc on our system. Cortisol causes our blood to be more acidic. To help bring our bodies ph back in balance, our system releases calcium from our bones and teeth – similar to how antacids neutralize stomach acid. The calcium helps neutralize the ph balance of the cortisol, helping restore our bodies to neutral. Each time we do this we deplete calcium stores from our bones. The simple answer would seem to be to eat more dairy and we should be fine, but it’s not that straightforward.

When stress becomes chronic, our diets cannot replace the calcium depletion fast enough, so our bones are constantly being leached of calcium, leading to potentially more porous bones, brittle bones and osteoporosis.

Chronically stressing ourselves,  may also cause us to eat more, smoke more, drink more alcohol, eat the wrong types of foods, skip a work out, or interrupt sleep patterns – all of which impact our system, including our ability to maintain bone strength. If our food is low in calcium or our bones are not being compressed with exercise, or we don’t sleep well, our bones become weak.

Chronic focus on negatives triggers the release of cortisol which triggers the release of NF-kB a transcription factor which acts directly on the bone cells to increase osteoclast activity, (breaks down bones) and signals osteoblasts to kill themselves,(apoptosis) decreasing bone rebuilding.

Our ongoing stress focus also decreases neurotransmitters, increases the formation of reactive oxygen species ROS which help stimulate more osteoclasts and induce osteoblast’s killing themselves, decreases insulin-like growth factors IGF,s which keep the osteoclasts from differentiating, thus decreasing bone rebuilding, and affects the estrogen balance. Lower serotonin in the brain means lower effect on the sympathetic nervous system which is important to maintaining or increasing bone mass. All these weaken the bones while accentuating our sense of being stressed, forming a viscous cycle.

OK, so a failure to, “cast all my cares on God because I don’t really think that he cares for me” is bad for my bones.

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FIGHT OR FLIGHT? God’s design

God loves passion!

Little babies are born with tons of passion!

But our passion must be controlled and directed and then dropped; or it will burn the place down. However, if we try to not be passionate in order to prevent the fire from getting out of control, we will go nowhere and do nothing for God and his kingdom. It is very like an old-fashioned steam engine train. It needs fire in its belly but the fire must be contained.

When I “see” a current event, data flows through my ears and eyes into my thalamus which reroutes it to the nor-epinephrine cortex. This then compares it with maps from my past and says, “This is what’s up.”

This “interpretation of reality” comes back to the thalamus which shoots it to the Amygdala which, then, has a giant emotional explosion that hopefully fits the circumstances. (Anger at sin, sad for loss, anxious at danger, excited about opportunity etc. )

Now the Amygdala sends messages into the hippocampus to maintain the passion and form short term memory; messages down into the body to release the fight or flight response; messages to the mid-brain, Striatum, to “Do something drastic already!” and messages to the vagus nerve to tell the gut to set and maintain a passion “tone”. (The large intestine is part of the brain and when the Bible talks about “bowels” of mercy it does mean the bowels.)

The fight or flight response puts out Adrenaline for energy, Cortisol for stamina, thyroid hormone to burn more fuel. It also triggers cytokines in the gut to alert the immune system. Now our body is ready for the challenge.

The mid-brain uses self-talk to determine just how much passion makes sense and sends a command back to the Limbic system/Amygdala, mediated by Serotonin (Chill), that tells the Amygdala and the whole Limbic system to back off a bit.

The midbrain then alerts the higher cortex to check it all out by dumping out Glutamate. Now the norepinephrine (Think) cortex kicks back in and lists tools, supports, steps etc.

This plan goes to the dopamine cortex to “Do something already”. Dopamine (Do) makes us want to do; love doing; feel good because we did; and long to do it again.

Now we ask THE QUESTION: “Does God want me to do anything else about the situation at hand right now?” If so: do it/ if not then: Stop putting out Glutamate and put out GABA .

Put out more Serotonin (Chill) and drop it. This should happen regularly throughout the day, take a moment to cast all my cares on him for he cares for me and take time to renew myself.

Now grab the next moment with God.

The two dominant neurotransmitters are Glutamate and GABA; so God wants us to dance between grabbing the moment with passion/ and dropping it—all day and every day.

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So what goes wrong? Well let us look at what happens when we do not cast our cares on him and continue in the fight or flight mode.

The immune system starts not defending against enemies and starts attacking us. Imagine a lot of soldiers forced to not sleep and to be on red alert for a week. They would do a bad job of protecting and might shoot the wrong people.

The body starts to ignore the adrenaline and cortisol and thyroid and we would feel burned out and unable to handle stress as it comes.

The higher cortex learns to ignore the Glutamate and quit responding to the world around us and go inwards, with endless circling on the hurts and failures of ourselves and others, on details of the problems we can do nothing about ie. the past future elsewhere and others attitudes. (Depression is largely the result of retreating inwards)

The agitated, hyper immune system causes: High blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, diabetes II, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune diseases, migraines, poor nutrition, vulnerability to infections, cancer popping up and not being eliminated etc. etc. You get the picture.

So what can we train ourselves to do to avoid these things?

  1. Three times a day, take time to realize, to “see” what God has done: a. What he has given me–enjoy it, b. Who is in my life-love on them and give and receive from them. c. What I can do–do with all my might. d. Where I am–be there. e. When I am–take no thought for tomorrow and do not wallow in the past/ live in the now. f. Who I am–thank God for my weaknesses and strengths and give and receive from others. Ecclesiastes 9 7-9 (my paraphrase) As I go through life, I need to slow down and enjoy the food God has given me, sip and savor the delicious things I have to drink, remind myself that God is positive about my feeble efforts and accepts them as the acts of worship that they are; wear nice clean clothes and comb my hair, and mostly enjoy the people God has given me to enjoy.
  2. Be more in tune with my feelings and see if I hate what God hates and love what he loves? Pause and get in tune with my emotions, thank God for passion but ask if my Feelings Fit the Facts. Blessed is anyone who hungers and thists for righteousness and pants after God like a thirsty deer.
  3. Go to the Bible for tools and to my brethren for support and look to Jesus and ask, “Is Jesus depressed or anxious about my situation or my future. If not, why am I?” Ask, not only what would Jesus do? but What does Jesus feel about this situation? Does he hate the sin and love the sinners?.Hebrews 12:2 I need to keep my on on Jesus, remembering that he is the author and finisher of my faith, (not I) He was so filled with joy at the prospect of redeeming me and being in relationship with me that all the problems seemed like nothing. I too should hope, be filled with joy at the guaranteed relationship with him that all the problems seem like nothing.
  4. Start each day praising God for the day and it’s challenges and end the day thanking God for what he has done. Psalms 5:3 Lord you will hear my voice in the morning. I will look up and raise my prayer to you.
  5. Tell God, “I thank you for this problem and the outcome is yours, just help me do my part.” Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. Don’t yell at myself when I am, once again, worrying about things that I can not change, but remind myself that worrying is useless and that it is OK to let it go. Then push out the negative with engaging the next piece of life to live in front of me. Luke 12:22-32
  7. Assure my brain that “fussing” will not protect me or others, or find solutions, or make sense out of senseless events. That casting my cares on the one who cares for me allows him to speak into my mind with creative solutions and with his peace. 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.
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TURN A BLIND EYE

“There are none so blind as those who will not see!”

I know that pharaoh’s heart was hardened by God, but only after he had hardened his own heart. (See Exodus 8:15, 32, 9:34) In fact, God bends over backwards to figure out what stubborn skeptics will use in order to justify their blindness. He then counters their argument so that they are without excuse.

In Romans 1, it points out that God has placed obvious evidence of his own existence and character in nature, “So they are without excuse”. When he does miracles, he is careful to include details that prove that it was not just an accident or observer mistake. For example, when the Israelis walked through the Red sea on dry land, skeptics say it was the Reed sea and actually shallow. Then drowning Pharaoh’s capable military in it was an even bigger miracle!

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went into the furnace, skeptics say that it was not really that hot. Then killing the powerful military men who threw them in was an even bigger miracle.

When they say that Jesus was not really dead, I would like to see them survive being speared in the heart by a capable roman soldier trying to make sure they were dead.

When Lazarus died, no one wanted to open the tomb knowing that, by now, he stank. When they took Jesus down and buried him the skeptics say that his disciple stole him away. It would take a bigger miracle for these same disciples to turn the world upside down and be willing to die gruesome deaths for someone they personally knew to be a fake.

The water into wine adds the detail that usually they bring out the bad wine when everyone is tipsy, yet, even tipsy, the guest could tell that this was not water and not just wine but top quality wine. This counters the skeptic’s explanation that it was still water.

No, the skeptic has to either accept the Bible or accept a preposterous alternative story. They are willfully blind and are without excuse. Thus God is justified when he judges them Because They Know God to be God but do not want to give him glory or control. 2 Peter 3:5

How often do I, who claim to love the Lord, fail to give him the glory for his work in my life by chalking it up to “luck” or my own efforts?

In the journey group I attend at my church, we practice the presence, the activity, the reality of God’s acting in and through us. We especially look for “serendipities” where he uses precise timing, just in the nick of time to teach us, guide us, provide for us or give us ministry opportunities.

“Lord, open my eyes that I might see. Thank you for daily counting the hairs on my head and being intimately involved in the little things of my life. Help me to hear your still small voice, to see the plain reality of your reality and activity in my life and the world around me.” I Kings 19:12