Life on the Spectrum

 

 

puzzle brain

Famous Ones Currently Living With It

There are many. Here are a few that appear on just about every list I found:

Dan Akroyd – Actor/Comedian

Susan Boyle — Award-winning singer

Daryl Hannah — Actress

People Who are Famous Because of It

Temple Grandin — Author

Historical Figures Believed to Have Had it

Abraham Lincoln — President, The Great Emancipator

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) Writer

Albert Einstein — Scientist

Famous Christians with It

Brent Hansen – Christian radio host

Perry Stone — Pastor/Evangelist

Fictional Characters appearing to Have It

We are talking about Asperger’s, or as it is now known high-functioning Autism.

For years I have suspected I am an Aspie. There are too many signs of it starting with fairly significant bullying when I was a child. I won’t go into detail on that here–maybe in a future blog. There were some hygiene issues which at the time were attributed to laziness but which recently (just this past week) I was surprised to discover are fairly common among Aspies. One of them I still struggle with to this day, but I’ve learned a workaround for it which sorta works.

As an older child and an adult, I experienced social difficulties that cannot really be explained by simple shyness. I have no trouble speaking in front of large groups of people, providing I am speaking something I have previously written and carefully edited to remove comments others would consider inappropriate. And I can do okay talking to one person at a time. groupBut bring in a third person, and I will shut down – even with my sisters whom I am closer to than probably anyone in my life. I remember one time as a young adult being in a car with both of them on the way to see a movie and them both jabbering away, and feeling a little lost because I didn’t know how to enter in.

Over the years I’ve gotten fairly good at “appearing to fit in.” I suspect the people who know and love me the best are so used to my quirks they no longer even notice them.

But. . . there are some problems with pretending to be normal. towel

“Normal” and “perfect” are 2 words which need to be taken out of all dictionaries!

Which brings up another trait of Asperger’s. We have to have alone time, much more than the average person. This is not selfishness. It is alone time.pngnot self-centeredness as many well-meaning people believe. It is an aspect of the way our brains are wired. When I was married to Rod, a wonderful man who didn’t have too many difficulties with my oddities, and no problems whatsoever socializing, he understood this about me. He didn’t believe I had Asperger’s, although his daughter did. He simply thought I’d had too many bad things happen to me and it had altered my personality. It that were true, his personality would have been way more shut down than mine. It was not. He was larger than life and loved by everyone who met him.

In the past couple years I’ve become involved with some Christian online support groups. Even with them the communication issues are readily apparent. A previous group leader admonished me more than once about my black and white thinking. I believe my current leader gets amused by my unusual way of sharing my thoughts. When it’s my turn to speak I try to get everything out in one rush of words so they can move on to someone else. After I finish speaking I will always mute myself so they can’t hear anything else that might slip out inadvertently. I don’t know how to insert myself into a conversation between the other people in the group. This group is actually very good. The women in it are super kind; they each struggle with their own things and aren’t bothered by mine.

This is not the case with other groups I’ve been in, as alluded to previously. Often when I try to communicate I usually start speaking at the exact moment as someone else, and I will let my voice fade away and not be heard. Clearly the other person’s opinion is more important.

How does being an Aspie fit into my true identity as a daughter of the King?

Not easily.

But it isn’t impossible.

Asperger’s is not a disability. Asperger’s is not a birth defect although one is born with it. It is simply a difference in the way the brain is wired. This can be a good thing.

First the bad:

It is difficult to mingle socially with other women, including, or maybe especially, Christian women. A group of women from my church is currently on a lady’s retreat. I look at the pictures they post on Facebook and think how much fun it looks like they’re having. Then I remember how hard it would be to have a conversation with any two or more of them, and I quickly remember why maybe it wouldn’t be so fun. But. . . I am no longer envious as I would have been not all that many years ago. I can enjoy the fact that they’re enjoying themselves, and I can sit out on the back deck and watch the month-old kittens playing with each other and truly enjoy that as much as what the women appear to be doing.

One big thing about Aspies is they usually have one thing they are intensely interested in, and it consumes a great deal of their time and energy. For a lot of my life, my interests were not at all productive. For another part of my life, my interests were my children and my husband. For part of my life it was learning how to get my life back after colon cancer.

The good?

Right now, with Rod gone nearly 3 years, my principal focus truly, and perhaps for the first time in my life, is on Jesus and my relationship with Him. 

You, see He doesn’t care that my brain is wired weird. In fact, I think maybe He even likes it, especially jesus loves menow that I’m focused on Him. Black & white thinking, overthinking, talking to myself (or is it thinking out loud?. . . or . . . am I actually talking to Him when others think I’m talking to myself?) don’t bother Him at all. If the words I speak to Him don’t come out exactly the way I intended, do you think His feelings might get hurt? Of course not. For one thing, He is perfect and therefore, cannot get His feelings hurt. Then there’s that little thing about Him knowing what I’m thinking and feeling before I say it or even before I think it. No, my Aspie quirks doesn’t bother him a bit.

One more reason to love Him!  i love jesus

Another advantage: I have to pray really, really hard before I speak at such events as Walk to Emmaus, churches, and book signings; otherwise, who knows what might come out of this mouth? People are not as understanding as Jesus, and they have no way of knowing that what I’m saying is not always what I mean to say. Sometimes I’ve had the delightful experience, usually at Walk to Emmaus, of having God actually take over when I’m speaking. You can’t imagine what a blessing that is on so many levels.

Another one: Truly great friends. I didn’t have my first non-relative best friend until I was 48 years old! But she was wonderful! She had Alzheimer’s so she could not remember any of the crazy things I said. The other good friends I’ve had have also been exceptional people; they have to be! That includes my sisters. I know of many sets of sisters who aren’t friends at all—they’re more like enemies. My sisters and I have always loved and supported one another.

God puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). For His reasons, he decided to wire me up with Asperger’s, so he knew I’d need the exceptional sisters of Jessie Alice and Jamie Jean, born when I was 1 and 5 years old. I will always be grateful!

Diagnosed at last! One month ago, I received the diagnosis of Asperger’s (also known as high-functioning Austism) along with PTSD & BED from my counselor. By the way, both of those can result from Asperger’s and the social fall-out from weird wiring.

Look at this statement I just found on http://www.lifeonthespectrum.net/blog/?page_id=1001 and wow! this whole blog is FANTASTIC!

Some other great websites:

http://www.aspergerministry.org/

http://christianaspie.com/

“I am no longer a failed normal person. I am a successful aspie.” And I would add to this “loved by Jesus!”.

Neuroplasticity — The Brainy Word for Re-“new”-ing Your Mind

renew

So here it is, 3 o’clock in the morning, got up to use the restroom 30 minutes ago, looked at Facebook, where a mentor had posted an interview with Dr. Caroline Leaf. I got back in bed, finished listening, and was unable to go back to sleep. Then I realized; I can’t sleep, might as well get up and do something. This.

who switchedI first became acquainted with the work of Dr. Leaf at a Walk to Emmaus several years ago when a co-worker gave me a book of hers called “Who Switched Off My Brain?” Although I found the book fascinating, its subject matter was way beyond anything I was able to assimilate in that season of my life.

Tonight when I saw a post by Cyndi Benson of Grace & Strength where she mentioned Dr. Leaf, it was like God was whispering “Here are two women you greatly respect joining forces, so to speak (although I don’t think the two have actually met), Cyndi’s post was a You Tube video of Dr Leaf being interviewed by a popular pastor. I’m sharing it here. Give it a listen–you won’t regret it.

—————–

One of the most amazing attributes of God, at least to my way of thinking, is how He makes things line up in my life at exactly the right time. Of course, Psalm 139 explains this very well. 2018, and the latter half of 2017 have been my “season of enlightenment” for lack of a better way to put this. the forgotten

Perhaps the beginning was even earlier, say the end of 2016 when I start reading “The Forgotten Way” by Ted Dekker. He is a Christian writer principally of fantasy fiction and is really into neuroplasticity.

 

Let’s look at this relatively new (at least to me) word:neuro. Its definition is “the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.”

Then consider Romans 12:1-2 “1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

If this isn’t an excellent example of science catching up with God, I don’t know what is.

And God’s timing!

In 2011, the year I believe I received the book by Dr. Leaf, I was not at a place spiritually or emotionally to receive the information. God knew this (Psalm 139, verses 1, 2, 5, 6, 16, 23 and 24), and He knew I would be, at least partially, in 2016, 2017, ad 2018.

That put me on the path to obeying Romans 12:1 “presenting my body as a living sacrifice as a true act of worship” in taking these baby steps onto the path back to rediscovering the person God actually created me to be.

Through the Grace and Strength program I became cyberfriends with founder Cyndi Benson and one of her coaches, April Lindsay. Next came Finding Balance and the work of Constance Rhoades (founder of Finding Balance), Dr Megan Osborn (co-creator of the Peace with Food app!), Jeannette, Bethany, Christine, and the girls in my Thursday afternoon group all of whom have imparted a wealth of knowledge into my life. All of this because God allowed me to experience some little bothersome something called binge eating disorder.

This led to my decision to seek out “good” counseling. Now, I have attempted counseling in the past, each time a traumatic event occurred; i.e., my divorce, my father’s death, etc. However, I came away from each of these with the impression the therapist was operating under her own agenda rather than a sincere desire to help others.

This time, my search led me to 2 individuals. The first I only saw one time and developed an immediate rapport with her. Unfortunately, circumstances with her health only allowed the one visit. But this encouraged me to not give up, and I found my current counselor, Jolie. She is trained in both DBT and EMDR, and is covered by Medicare! Hallelujah!

I had a visit with her just yesterday, and she has given me homework assignments each week that are simple and will put me on the path to re-”new”-ing my mind.

Then tonight I see this video. . . you see the connection? One other really cool thing about this video, it became readily apparent to me that Mr. Furtick is an overthinker, and neither he nor Dr Leaf seemed to think this was a bad thing; in fact, they spent some time in somewhat convoluted conversation concerning thinking (overthinking?).

Finally, bringing all of this into pop culture, at least relatively “pop” culture: The Band Sister Hazel released their album “Fortress” in 2000 which included the song “Change Your Mind”. This song was featured in the closing credits of the 2000 movie Bedazzled, a Brendan Fraser comedy. The lyrics “If you wanna be somebody else, if you’re tired of fighting battles with yourself, if you wanna be somebody else, change your mind” fascinated me. In 2000, I was newly separated, learning the ropes of single parenting, and wondered how do I “change my mind.” Now it’s happening, and I’m excited not just for the result but perhaps even more the process.

https://binged.it/2QqLYHc

Now to go do some re-”new”-ing. . .

The Woman at the Well

woman-of-samaria-at-jacobs-wellAlthough the Bible is called the Word of God because every word in it comes from God, in many Bibles every word that Jesus spoke is written in red ink. The 4 gospels are full of red-letter words, and they appear elsewhere in smaller quantity.

There are several instances where the red words of Jesus are interspersed with black words spoken by one or more people. Among all the one-on-one conversations Jesus had, one is longer than any other.

  1. This conversation was with a woman.
  2. The woman’s name might have been Mary (in fact, her name was not given, but it could have been Mary). Side note: Whenever I think of Mary’s in the Bible, I always think of that poor woman at Jesus’ tomb in Matthew 27:61 who is called simply “the other Mary”. Maybe the woman at the well was the other Mary.
  3. She is probably just about the last person anyone living in that time would have imagined Jesus speaking with.

Something else you might notice about the Bible and every other book. The writing does not go clear to the edge of the page. There are white, blank spaces at the sides, top, and bottom of each page. Sometimes there might be footnotes, but even then, there will still be a blank space before the very edge of the page. There are spaces like this at the edges of this blog. These are called margins. You probably don’t even pay any attention to them, do you?

Margins are defined as being the edge or border of something, or the area outside the space where the action occurs. So, when a person is described as a marginalized individual he or she is someone on the outside looking in. This person lives in a place of loneliness. It can be a place of despair. It may be that no one even really notices the person.

The woman at the well, although clearly of at least average intelligence for a woman judging by the conversation she had with Jesus, was a marginalized person.

Was she born that way, destined to travel the road of life emotionally and spiritually alone?

I can see 3 possible reasons for her to live in the margins of life.

First, she was “the woman at the well”. So, yes, to some degree for that time in history she was marginalized simply due to her gender.

Second, she was a Samaritan, marginalized by her ethnicity. Again, born that way.

Lastly, she was living an immoral lifestyle.

Jesus was known for doing the opposite of what the religious leaders expected of Him. The Apostle John illustrates this fact through this account perhaps more clearly than any other.

Why was Jesus in Samaria?

It was the shortest route to his destination, and the reason John even mentions this becomes clear as we read further in the account.

Why was this such an odd thing? The Bible tells us Jews, particularly the religious Pharisees, tended to avoid going through Samaria at all.

To understand this, you have to go back nearly 1000 years. Although the trouble betweenisrael the Israelite tribes started all the way back in the days of Jacob (Israel), it was after one of Solomon’s servants rebelled against David’s son that the northern kingdom broke away. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained, and if you read 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles, you will see that the southern kingdom was maybe slightly more faithful to God than the northern kingdom, and thus existed for a longer period of OT time. The capital of the southern kingdom was Jerusalem. The northern kingdom had 3 capitals, of which the last was Samaria, and its people came to be known as Samaritans.

The traditions and religious practices of both kingdoms were still in existence in Jesus’ earthly time.

Jesus was of the southern kingdom—the Samaritan woman (and other Samaritans mentioned in the NT) are from the northern.

If you think about it, analogies can be made between the interactions between the Jews & Samaritans and the racial tensions and religious wars taking place today.

Jesus and the woman at the well are 2 people who should be enemies but instead have a deep and lengthy conversation.

Why did Jesus stop at Jacob’s well, in particular?

He was tired.

Jesus was at this exact location at this exact time because it was a shortcut to his destination — and he was tired. Those are the logical explanations.

But faith and logic often are not the same thing. Sometimes . . . they are opposites.

What was the ultimate result of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman?

Verse 39 “Many of the Samaritans believed. . .”

The first of them was the woman at the well.

She had been married 5 times. Since women were not permitted to divorce, that means 5 different men had divorced her. The reason could have been as simple as the husband tired of her. That still happens today. Whatever the reason, she had been rejected 5 times. My guess is her self-esteem had to be about nil after all that. It’s little wonder she was not married to the man she was living with at the time!

She drew her water at noon, the hottest part of the day. Possibly she had once drawn her water at the same time as the other women, the more normal and comfortable hour. Maybe the other women had scorned her which led to her eventually going to the well at a time she would not be judged. Yet Jesus, a man, a Jew, and a completely sinless human being, deigned to speak to her without contempt.

They discussed the differences between the water in the well and the water Jesus had. Since the well was “Jacob’s Well”, and Jacob was considered the father of the northern kingdom, this was considered the best water available. Yet, Jesus said the living water he offered was superior. If she drank of it, she would never thirst again.

The woman wanted this living water. She didn’t want to keep going to Jacob’s well every day at the hottest hour of the day. Jesus told her to go and get her husband, even though he knew she didn’t have one.

The woman was honest, and Jesus spoke, knowing everything about her, stated the facts of her life he knew would capture her full ate attention; but. . . there is no indication he was condemning her for her lifestyle.

Then followed a discussion of the proper place to worship with Jesus stating there is no one place to worship, all that is required is the attitude with which it must be done, that being in Spirit and in Truth.

Lastly He revealed to the woman that He was the long-awaited Messiah.

All these things together kindled the fire of the woman’s faith in Jesus.

Then the disciples showed up. They were surprised not to see him talking to a Samaritan or one who practiced immoral behavior, but to see him talking with a woman.

This brings up something interesting I noted when researching this.

bible skinny

Nearly all the translations read that the disciples were surprised only because he was talking with a woman. However, The Message translation/paraphrase, a current favorite of many people, reads as follows: “27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it.”

Most of the other translations say nothing other than “a woman”, and none say anything about the disciples’ countenances.

The Passion Translation/Paraphrase (one of my favorites) reads: “27 At that moment the disciples returned and were stunned to see Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman. Yet none of them dared to ask him why or what they were discussing.”

Again, the translator was taking some liberties. The “Samaritan” in front of woman is not too much of a stretch because they were, after all, in Samaria. But “dared to ask him”? Were the disciples really that afraid of Jesus?

Here are a couple other translations:

KJV: 27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?”

Mounce Interlinear:

27 Just then his disciples came back. kai epi houtos autos mathētēs erchomai.

They were astonished that he was talking with a woman ; ho · kaithaumazō hoti laleō meta gynē;

however, no one said to her, mentoi, oudeis legō,

“What do you want?” “tis zēteō?”

or to him, “Why are you talking with her ē, “tis laleō meta autos

This is why we Bible readers must be careful when using a contemporary version of the Bible. Although the creators of The Message and The Passion Translation were more than likely correct in their speculations, they are speculations because they are not found in the Greek text.

Whatever the case, as soon as the disciples showed up, the woman left so quickly she forgot her water jar. Or. . . Maybe she thought she would no longer need it? She had, after all, just drunk of the Living Water.

A couple chapters earlier, in John 2:23, we learn of the first Jewish believers who had been at the Passover. The woman at the well became then in chapter 4 the first non-Jewish evangelist of the Good News when she asked “Could this be the Messiah?” Could this have been aa rhetorical question, asked to whet the appetites of those already thirsty for the Living Water?

Meanwhile, back at the well the disciples were trying to get Jesus to eat something. He told them he had food to eat of which they knew nothing. The disciples, humans, were thinking with their human minds that someone had brought him something to eat. But Jesus responded His food was to do the will of His Father which was to harvest the crop for eternal life. This harvest started with the Samaritan woman and the scythe extended to everyone she came in contact with.

She was such an unlikely first evangelist!

Or was she?

1 Corinthians 1:27 tells us “But God chose those the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise; and God chose the puny and powerless to shame the high and mighty.” So, although it may have seemed like Jesus was at the well to take a shortcut and because He was tired, He was actually on a divine mission. It doesn’t sound like He ever even got a drink of the water from Jacob’s Well.

In fact, His true reason for being at the well is found in v.34 “to do the will of God”. Since Jesus is God, He’d already known since “the beginning” about the woman at the well and what her purpose was to be.

This gives me hope. I have no letters after my name; I have and am nothing to make me of high societal standing. The woman at the well was clearly a marginalized person of her time due to her gender, her race, and her lifestyle. I have often felt marginalized, and I suspect some of you have as well at one time or another. How wonderful to know that we are the people God can most easily use for His glory and to know we have each been given a place in His grand plan from “the beginning” (see Psalm 139:16).

I’ll end with this “This is the transcript of an ACTUAL radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95. (This is an apocryphyal story, but still useful for illustration.)

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.

Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THAT’S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.

Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.”

The Samaritan woman tried to argue with Jesus. When she realized that He was her lighthouse, she changed her course.

Ask yourself: Am I arguing with Jesus about the any of the circumstances of my life? When we drink His Living Water, and as long as we stay within His light, we can be sure that we are not off course.

prayFather, I pray for the weak and powerless ones, the marginalized, remembering that these are the ones it is easiest for you to use for your glory. Help them to learn of, accept, and internalize the true value You place upon them. The details of Your plans for our lives have been known by You since long before we ever drew a breath. Quench our thirst with your Living Water. And help us to look to our Compass, our Lighthouse for our direction when it’s too dark to see our feet in front of us. Be the lamp to our feet and the light to our path. Amen.

Chesed/Hesed

chesed

I am fascinated by this word!

Jonah 2:8 in the Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) reads “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own chesed.”

Definition of chesed/hesed—There were actually several different definitions for this Hebrew word, the most common of which was loving-kindness.

This explanation, a bit more than a definition was found at https://discovertheword.org/2010/09/08/the-old-testament-word-hesed-and-the-profound-meaning-it-has-for-us-today/

Hesed is difficult to translate because it stands for a cluster of ideas—love, mercy, grace, kindness. It wraps up in itself all the positive attributes of God.  Hesed is one of the Lord’s most treasured characteristics.

Hesed is a quality that moves someone to act for the benefit of someone else without considering “what’s in it for me?”

It may be translated as “loyal love.” Sometimes the emphasis is on “loyal” and other times the emphasis is on “love.”

Look at some other translations of Jonah 2:8

21st Century King James Version (KJ21) “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy,”

American Standard Version (ASV) “They that regard lying vanities
Forsake their own mercy.”

The only difference between these two translations is observe versus regard.

What does vanity mean in this context? vanityThis is the image that first comes to my mind when I hear the word vanity.  Insert picture.

 

 

Next is the quality of being vain or taking too much pride in oneself.

Then I was surprised that it can mean what at first glance appears almost the opposite—the quality of being worthless or futile.

All 3 of these, on overthinking, can mean the same thing. Look at that huge mirror on the vanity I chose for this blog. And are not the drawers used to store makeup and jewelry, things designed to make one take more price in her appearance? And is it not true that often the outer appearance does not reflect the true nature of one’s heart/soul?

Setting aside the above overthinking paragraph, it seems like the 3rd definition is the one which most accurately reflects what is being described in Jonah 2:8.  Not just a worthlessly futile thing but a lying worthlessly futile thing.

Going on to a couple other translations:

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) “Those who cherish worthless idols abandon their faithful love,”

Amplified (AMP) “Those who regard and follow worthless idols turn away from their [living source of] mercy and lovingkindness.”

So this worthlessly futile thing is an idol!

We follow the vanities/idols of our unfaithful hearts, be they any of the mind-numbing activities we use to . . . wow! . . . numb our minds! These could be addictive behaviors, unrighteous anger, self, maybe even things that aren’t necessarily bad but become bad when used the wrong way.  In so doing we are actually repenting—or turning away from—the chesed/hesed (It wraps up in itself all the positive attributes of God.  Hesed is one of the Lord’s most treasured characteristics) Abba so freely gives.

Please join me as, with the help of my Father, I learn to repent of the lying vanities and embrace the chesed.

praying

My Father in Heaven, I come before you having followed the lying vanities a large part of this day.

Tomorrow is a new day, and according to Lamentations 3:22-23 because of your great love (hesed/chesed) your compassions and mercies are new every day. I receive your perfect compassions and mercies working in my soul tomorrow, knowing that your love is making me complete.

Now, because of you, Lord, I will like down in peace and sleep comes at once, for no matter what happens, I will live unafraid!

Verily, Verily

verily

Definition of verily:
1 : in truth : certainly

We trust Merriam-Webster to give us true definitions of unfamiliar words.  Here is some background info on Mr’s Merriam and Mr Webster.

Merriam–Webster, Incorporated, is an American company that publishes reference books, especially known for its dictionaries. In 1828, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as G & C Merriam Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1843, after Noah Webster died, the company bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Webster’s estate. All Merriam–Webster dictionaries trace their lineage to this source.

What else do we know about both the Mr Merriams and Mr Webster without further research on any of them?  They were born and died, had a beginning and an end.  Since they were human, they were imperfect.

God has neither beginning nor end. He is the alpha and omega. He is completely perfect and perfectly complete. We can be certain (verily, verily?) that, unlike every book ever written by man—which, of course, would be every book—that written by God, the Bible, is truth. So, for the Great Author of Life to precede a statement, already the utmost truth, with even one “verily” must mean we should pay extra attention to what follows. But what about when He precedes it with two?

Since I generally stick with the NIV, NLT, or CSB, I don’t encounter “verily, verily” often when studying. The verse in the picture above in CSB reads “43 And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be thiefoncrosswith me in paradise.” Another translation I discovered recently on my phone, The Passion Translation, says “Jesus responded, “I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.”  Jesus didn’t just tell the thief this—that would have been enough—this time he promised.

 

rhema_sm

So when God speaks the same thing to me through more than one source, I tend to treat that as a verily, verily. Or, as was the case with the thief on the cross, a Rhema word from God.

 

All that to preface this occurrence which happened a few days ago

Verify #1:  I’d completed the online homework assignment for my Bible study and gone on to Bible reading.  Today, I read out of the NLT, and I was in Matthew.

My homework assignment was to journal about how comparing myself to others hindered my relationship with God and His purpose for my life.  Although this Bible study focuses on weight and body image issues, I was easily able to come up with several other areas where this could apply and jotted them down as well.  These included:

  1. Method and character of prayer.
  2. Method and character of worship.
  3. Career.
  4. Shyness (method and character of fellowship).
  5. Lack of pride in appearance.
  6. Ability or even desire to have an immaculate house.
  7. Poverty mentality (compared to peers).

Some of these are absolutely unbelievable, right? Take a look at the first two!

Yet I have allowed the enemy, oftentimes through well-meaning Christians, yes, even leaders in the church, to put these on me. The fact that I even put my mind to any of these indicates a lack of understanding of the truth of God’s love and my willingness to embrace the lies of the enemy.

What about you? Have you believed and internalized into your very being words that do not line up with The Word and, as a result, done yourself harm? Take a look at this:

Verily #2:  Matthew chapter 15, verses 8-11 (underlining done by me):

“8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”

10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.””

 

These verses offer a succinct contrast of lips/mouth and heart. Unless we have some kind of gastric illness, what comes out of our mouths does not come from our stomachs; it comes from our hearts.heart

What goes into our stomachs–“bad” and “good” foods by man’s definitions–does not make us “bad” or “good” in God’s eyes. In fact, we are neither “bad” nor “good” in His eyes. It is impossible to be “good enough”. 

We are either covered by the blood or Jesus or we are not.

Thank you, Abba, for your verily, verily unto me.

Perfect Isn’t a Thing

In my quest to memorize the chapter of Romans 8, I last memorized verse 5:  For those who are dominated by their sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

romansTime for verse 6:  So letting your sinful nature control your thoughts leads to death, but letting the Spirit control your thoughts leads to life and peace.

The meaning behind this verse permeates the online Bible study I’m currently doing.  Every participant in the study is trying to reach the place where the Spirit is in control (perfection).
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Today in the online webinar I learned perfect isn’t possible.  It isn’t even a thing.  Uggh!  Even for this overthinker, because my overthinking is overlaid with a tendancy to put everything in black and white, this is very hard to procsess, but . . . I will attempt to do so.

I would assume the teaching refers to our bodies (sinful natures) and souls; i.e., our humanness.  Because our spirit, the main part of us, was already complete (perfect) when it came to life at our salvation.  If our spirits were in control, we would not have to achieve perfection; it would already be present.

Unfortunately most of us live with our humanness in control, rather than our spirit.  We are not predominately led by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, it’s not possible to be perfect in this life, it is not possible to be 100% Spirit led 100% of the time.  The goal is to each day give up a larger percentage of our self (body & soul) to the control of the spirit alive within us who are born again.

There is a song currently popular in CCM called “Hard Love” by the group Need to Breathe.  One of the lines goes like this:  “It’s not enough to just feel the flame.  You’ve gotta burn your old self away”.  This is so radical.  I don’t even like feeling the flame!  Burning my old self away?  But consider:  When we let God “burn away” our old self (humanness/sinful nature) we will be free to experience life, real life, and peace of the supernatural variety rather than sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24 & 25), the only human being who ever was or will be perfect.

Note to me:  Quit trying to be perfect, let the Perfect One lead you.

Devotionals

 

What do you think about them? Love them? Disdainful of them? Letting them collect dust on a shelf? Don’t throw them out yet. God speaks in a variety of ways, and today He spoke to me through one of them.

I have at least half a dozen—probably closer to a dozen—different devotionals in my library. Jesus is Calling, Pearls of Great Price, Starting Your Day Right, among others, and I have read daily devotions from each of them on various occasions, sometimes even from more than one at one sitting. I also have a couple I receive as emails.

Earlier today I read a blog by someone who had issues with devotionals in part because they sometimes take Bible verses out of context. I respect this particular blogger; she is spiritually wise, and she makes me think.

A minute ago as I sat down to write, I saw My Utmost for His Highest on top of a stack of books next to my computer and picked it up. The focus verse for today is Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

This goes along well with an online Bible study I just became involved in which advises against following our own plans to solve our problems. Rather, we lean into God or turn to him.

In previous years, I have been taught that repentance requires tears and brokenness. Undoubtedly, turning from our own will and intellect and looking to God does require brokenness, even ultimately coming to the end of one’s self, but I don’t believe God always requires the production of tears before He will consider a heart repentant. In the right situation that even seems like it would be kinda’ fake. Don’t get me wrong—there are those who cry easily, and tears in those individuals could show true repentance. Even one who doesn’t cry easily may sometimes be overwhelmed by the magnitude of God’s love for her in spite of a willful and sinful heart.

So I did some research and found that the Old Testament word for repent is “sub” which in today’s jargon is a shortened form of the word substitute. Think of when a benched athlete is replaced with a sub. Perhaps the player being benched is wiped out, perhaps he has committed too many offenses to participate in the game well. It doesn’t mean he is no longer in the game. It only means he needs a sub.

I need a sub. I need to turn. To God.

God is talking to me, telling me to forget my own plans for salvation from bad habits. These plans have never worked and have little likelihood of working in the future. This was taught in the online session last Tuesday of my Bible study. “Forget your plan.” “Lean into God.” I didn’t understand it. How can this bad habit be eradicated without a plan?

My overthinking brain tries to plan everything! How can God expect me to give up this plan? Surely I will fall into total abandon to the sin.

God is stronger than my plans. God is stronger than my sin (bad habit). God is wiser than my intellect can begin to comprehend. So today, this minute, 10:54 am on January 22, 2018, instead of thinking about my plan, I turn to Him, sub my plan with my Abba Father, and I will be saved.

Father, I pray that everyone who reads these words, including me, would remember that this turning is not a one-time thing; it must be done daily, hourly, minute by minute, and even moment by moment. I pray we take captive every thought produced by our mind, examine it, store it or cast it away, relinquish our plans, and turn to you.