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. . .

Lying Vanities

Lying Vanity

I love it.

I was lying in bed wanting to go back to sleep—didn’t have to set the alarm today!—but I couldn’t. I had to get up and write the thoughts racing around in my head, tempered by wisdom Holy Spirit was interspersing amongst them.

Today I have my second appointment with my wonderful Christian counselor. She gave me 2 homework assignments the first time we met 2 weeks ago. The first was a letter to my Dad, the second a list of positive things about myself. I procrastinated long enough that I found myself writing both just last night.

I may address the first in a later post, but it was so hard to write I’m not ready to go there yet.

The 2nd was difficult for a different reason. I did manage to come up with a list of 21 positive things, although many of them were qualified.

One curious fact: none of the 21 things had anything to do with my appearance. I remembered this fact when I woke this morning. Then I remembered “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own chesed.” (OJB)

The online Bible study I participate in teaches us to appreciate our bodies based upon Psalm 139:14, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us our bodies are the temple of Holy Spirit and should be treated with respect. But our appearance on the whole is not who we are. Nor does a number on a scale indicate our true worth.

I am not one who takes great pains with her appearance. Being a perfectionist, and never able to achieve that with regard to appearance, I don’t really even try anymore except on special occasions, or to appease my mother, with whom I live and who, being a true Southern Belle, doesn’t understand this part of me at all.

But. . . because my body is the temple of Holy Spirit, I recognize I have not cared for it the way I should have. I would like to say every extra pound I carry on it is one instance of a time I have not run to my Savior for comfort instead of food. However, if that were a fact I’d probably weigh 5000 pounds, or more likely no longer be alive. I think a better analogy would probably be every extra ounce represents a time I did not run to my Savior for what I needed.

However, my vanity mirror, which is about 3-1/2 feet in front of me even as I type this, and only shows me from the neck up, actually is a lying vanity as to the me described in Psalm 139:14. It does not necessarily look the way I wish it would (perfectionist, remember?), but if it could see inside me, see the steps I’m taking to forsake the lies and embrace my chesed, its value would be so much greater.

The online Bible study also has participants on the other end of the spectrum, who restrict their food &/or exercise to excess to control their appearance. All participants in the study are dealing with lying vanities (false gods).

I hope if you recognize yourself in anything I’ve written you will consider praying this prayer and seeing what God will do.

pray

Father, I thank You that Your might knows no bounds. You can take this stubborn heart and transform it into something truly beautiful. This is not just Your promise to me; it is Your promise to all Your children.

I know the work will not be completed this side of Heaven, but I’m learning to see it as an adventure instead of a curse. That also is evidence of your reshaping of my heart.

I pray that You would reveal Your truth (the only Truth) to me as I seek your face and ultimately am able to embrace the person you created me to be long before I ever drew a breath, that I can see a glimpse of the me that You see.

With utmost gratitude to the Lover of my soul.

Amen.

bible skinny

Jonah 2:8
Psalm 139:13-15
1 Corinthians 6:19-29
Ezekiel 11:19 & 36:26
Galatians 2:20
Ephesians 2:4-9

https://binged.it/2vorF4g

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!

Last Pew in the Sanctuary

pewAn interesting revelation occurred yesterday.

The pastor was going to mention my late husband in an honorable way during his message. I was working in the nursery and was called out when it was time for that portion of the message. Normally I sit near the back, but there were no places to sit at the back this time; so I was led to a chair in the second row middle section.

It sounds weird, but there actually is a different atmosphere toward the front than at the back. I don’t know if it’s because there are fewer distractions or the Presence really is more powerful near the altar, but whatever the case this is something I’ve noticed at every church I’ve attended. Yesterday every word the Pastor spoke seemed to sear itself onto my brain and is hopefully making its way into my soul even now.

At the Methodist church I attend, the congregation is very small, average of 9 on a Sunday morning; and the pastor is ESL. Of those 9 people in the congregation, at 56 I am the youngest. The pastor is 61. Everyone else is at least 70 and many are over 80; so we all sit toward the front to be able to better hear and understand the Word that is being taught. It’s been many years since I’ve sat in the back of that church. So, we are all fully entered into the Presence.

I believe we should all make more of an effort to sit closer to the front, even at the crowded OACF. Because, whatever the case, it feels like the Presence of God is stronger there. Since, as a human being, I do still tend to follow my feelings (and my Abba knows this), it just makes sense.

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.

Book Review – The Pirate Bride

the pirate bridethe pirate bridethe pirate bride

It’s been many years (decades) since I’ve read a pirate book, and in those days it would not have been faith based.

the pirate bride

I wondered as I started reading this how the world of piracy could jive with a Christian worldview.  Ms Y’Barbo did so by explaining the world of privateers and how they differed from pirates.  The hero, Jean-Luc, is a privateer.

Maribel is the last in a long matriarchal line of Mary’s.  We first encounter her as an 11-year-old girl who, along with her father, is a passenger on a “pirate” vessel in April of 1724.  She is a free spirit and loves the experience so much that the captain, Jean-Luc, grants her an honorary position on the ship as the lookout.  This requires her to climb the ship’s mast where she can spend her days lost in her favorite past-time, reading anything she can get her hands on, particularly books about pirates.

She is only on the ship a short time before it encounters enemies and is destroyed.  Everyone except Maribel and a couple of the ship’s hands are assumed lost as sea.  Maribel is deposited on an island in Caribbean inhabited by nuns and orphans.  She is raised by the nuns and upon reaching adulthood becomes a fellow teacher to the orphans.  She spends her spare time high up in trees enjoying her favorite past-time while trying to evade the all-seeing eye of the Mother Superior.

Eventually it comes to light that she is not at all an orphan as her mother and paternal grandfather, who have been searching for her for years, find her.  To be nearer the search, they had moved from Spain to New Orleans where Maribel is eventually reunited with them.  She is also reunited with Jean-Luc who is now a respectable man of 35.

Maribel’s mother and grandfather are having financial difficulties, and Jean-Luc’s family is able to help them.  In this process, more individuals from Maribel’s past step forward.

All loose ends, including the love affair between Jean-Luc and Maribel come to a satisfying conclusion by the end of the book.

This was a quick read, and I would have liked to see more historical detail and more interaction between the hero and heroine, but overall the story was entertaining enough that I will look for other books by this author and other books of this subgenre.