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An Integrative Perspective of Mental Health in Light of Eternity

February 8, 2013 1 comment
Redemption drawing nigh

Redemption

For those who have a relationship with Christ, we look forward to redemption, both in body and spirit. The introduction of sin into a perfect and spotless world tainted everything, from the land to the health and longevity of the human body. What was once a flawless frame, complete with perfected organs, sickness, disease, and death resulted from the Fall. Most amazingly, the Author of life didn’t give up. Though His plan was eternal, physical fellowship with man, man chose separation. God still had a purposeful contingency, a second chance found through Christ’s blood. We are told in the bible, that for those who accept Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, we have an abiding hope of return to the glorified, original state God intended from the beginning. As Scripture states,

We will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, NIV)

From the kidneys to the heart, our skin and eyes, every part of our being will be made new and perfected. This includes the brain.

Dr. Jenkins (2013) eloquently stated, “My brain is in need of redemption, just like the rest of my physical body. One day, my brain will be in its glorified state.” Time, toxic elements, chemicals, and stress all have tremendous impact in the decay of our fragile bodies. This includes the physical make up of the brain. Most often, when people think of physical health, the brain is not the first thought (No pun intended.). Negative factors, such as those listed above, greatly influence the health of brain material. Combined with genetic predispositions to disease, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, the state of the brain can be precarious, indeed. While evolutionists claim that homeostasis was a natural process that all life forms adapted to ensure the biological maintenance, creationists believe that an all-knowing God planned our bodies with purpose and design (Hart & Ksir, 2011).

Our environment and our personal choices all contribute to the state of our brain. While many issues arise that are not within our control, it is important to consider how we can better care for our health. Unfortunately, many of us do not realize or begin to get serious about these matters until damage is done or the unexpected news is delivered. With our physical mental abilities, come our volition and will.  These, too, will be redeemed and properly focused soley on the Lord.  The mind is an integration of a physical and spiritual state.  There is great hope in our redemption! One day our physical form, every part, will be perfected. We will be changed in an instant and will forever live in the presence of our loving Creator.

References

Hart, C. & Ksir, C. (2011). Drugs, society, and human behavior (14th ed.). Boston, MA:

McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 978-0-07-338090-2.

Jenkins, D. (2013). Models of addiction. Audio Visual Presentation: Liberty University

Getting Beyond the Blur

Courtesy: NASA.com

 From the comfort of my couch I am watching humans working in a hostile environment to repair a machine as big as my house.  The journey to get to their project is wrought with danger, yet they are only too willing to risk their lives to reach their target.  The cost is astronomical in monetary terms, too.  Tax dollars, international funding, and donations provide this billion dollar joy ride for a select few that could result in disaster at any moment.  One might ask oneself: What on earth is so valuable?  Possibly nothing. On Earth, anyway. Not in another country or on another continent, but beyond.  The Hubble telescope provides pictures that make the work of da Vinci look like finger paint.  Though tremendous in cost and size, the most vital part of such a complex piece of technology lies in a simple piece of glass: the mirror. By reflecting and refracting light we are given photographs of the most brilliant designs and colors, eye candy that delights the senses and boggles the mind.  In a single snapshot humanity ponders science, technology, origins, history, and theology.  

 The Hubble project was nearly scrapped when pictures ceased to produce with quality.  Many questioned the ability to repair the telescope and the vast amount of resources that would be necessary in the slight chance that Hubble would function again.  Finally, the day came when the fruits of so much labor produced beauty from deep space. 

 These days, the church is also in desperate need of repair.  People are forsaking their marriages.  Families are withering in the heat of our culture.  Pastors are burnt out.  Congregants are subjected and addicted to what the world has to offer. Yet the church, rather than being a haven, a hospital, and a home, functions more like a coffee-house, dinner date, or a social club.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see churches begin to have masquerade balls, so many are wearing a feathered, bejeweled mask. 

What’s to be done then?  When the machine is broken and light isn’t being reflected what on Earth can we do?  Well, we look beyond ourselves first.  Pray, fast, search scripture, but as a friend pointed out, often when we do these things God begins to answer by “cleaning house”.  He brings those things that have been secretly hidden in the dark to light. “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” ICorinthians 4:5 But right now, we are failing to recognize this as the work of God.  We pray for healing, yet we try to put a Barbie band-aid on a carcinoma. It continues to spread, quietly, yet steadily.  So, again, what do we do?  When we recognize that, “Houston, we have a problem!” what should the church do?  There is no doubt things will get ugly. Exposing what has been hidden often causes emotional hemorrhaging and the church MUST be prepared ahead of time.  Expect damage, prepare for the worst, and equip mature believers to hold strong in a hostile environment. Without these proactive measures, the machine will breakdown beyond repair.  Marriages will continue to fail.  Children will be cheated, and people will live defeated.  The benefits far outweigh the costs.  “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10 There must be an intentional, ongoing effort with action and resources to maintain the church. 

 People come to church to worship, but what we fail to realize is that we should be worshiping on a moment by moment basis.  A pastor I know refrains from calling the main room in his church, “sanctuary.”  His premise is that is an inappropriate term.  We are the sanctuary.  We don’t go to church to play church, we should go to lift each other up, reflect the light and allow the beauty of Christ to overwhelm us, give us hope, and inspire us to show others.  What we need is to take the Light.  Reflect it.  Refract it.  And repair and administer to the church as needed.  Not doing so will deny the beauty of what is beyond us.  Just because we can’t see it with our own eyes doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  That goes for the Spirit of Christ and the hidden wounds within the walls of the church….We don’t have to accept a blurry outlook.

A Carthartic Christmas

This entry will be a cathartic self-examination, but if that didn’t scare you away, feel free to listen in. 

We hear so often, “You learn to pick your battles.”  Well, I’ve found that I don’t like that statement.  This last week I have learned that every battle is worth fighting, but the tools we use and the degree of the battle varies.  Through a variety of circumstances I have realized some things about myself that have taken some searching and dependence upon a holy God.  First, I have an innate nature that spurs me to the defense of justice.  I have come to realize that this is both a blessing and a “curse.”  It is a God-given personality trait, but as with anything, we, as humans, screw up what God intends for good.  If there is some injustice in the world (that falls within my biblical worldview) I am passionate about standing for whats right and for anyone who is victimized.  If my rights are being violated or if loved ones are being mistreated, it isn’t a thought to come to defense of what I hold dear.  This in and of itself, is a good quality and am glad to be bold in my faith. 

“Where’s the ‘but?'”  But, I feel the need to take on each battle with similar arsenal.  What I found is that fighting a battle or defending my faith require different techniques than the average everyday conversation.  I get annoyed when people don’t give another opinion proper respect.  If I admit it, I get overly annoyed at this and have had the tendency to allow it to affect my attitude.  I just want to be sure that each perspective receives due opportunity and if I feel that someone is being accusatory or rude, I begin to fume.  Recently, after being involved in a debate about a trivial issue and feeling attacked, I later heard the Spirit say, “Have nothing to do with foolish arguments…”  The full verse from 2Timothy 2:23 reads,

23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

Ouch.  That hit home.  I don’t need to debate everything.  The compulsion I feel to come to the defense of every ideal is unnecessary.  Life is a battle, but the defense weapons I use vary from situation to situation.  I have often written about my lifelong struggle of knowing when to speak and when to be silent.  I realize that there are times that I fight my hardest when I shut my trap.  Timing and tact are keys to opening the battle arsenal.  All of my adult life, thus far, is spent in knowing appropriate timing and word delivery.  The third key that I really need the Lord’s help on, is that of defense.  Specifically, if someone doesn’t respond or even initiate a conversation respectfully, I shouldn’t feel the need to always feel the need to defend what I believe to be the appropriate response or cause. 

Further, I don’t need to assume that someone is always wanting to debate, even if it seems that way.  That is hard for me to know.  Some people really might want a good debate, but I shouldn’t always feel the need to get involved.  As I may have mentioned I am an analyzer.   It is a natural personality trait of mine to try to figure people out.  Most of the time I feel that I can read people pretty well.  Not that I am judging them, but, trying to get an idea of who they are and what experiences have impacted them.  I enjoy observation and listening.  But there have been times where I haven’t been able to get a “good read” and then I tend to jump to conclusions.  Not. a. good. idea.  I, then, overanalyze. Again, taking a gift that the Lord has given and interjecting my own sinful nature, not purposely, but still nonetheless. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything.  If it means everything, then I would assert that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.  A time for conversation and a time for silent reflection.  A time to stand and a time to fall to our knees.

So now that you know that I try to get into all of your heads, I have let you into mine.  A dangerous place, to be sure (wink) My life pursuit is to allow Jesus to conform me to His likeness. 

May God add His blessing to this testimony as only He can.

Jennifer

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