Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Do We Have a Spirit That Can Exist Separate from Our Body?

This is a bit off topic from yesterday but my kiddos, or maybe it was just one of them, told me I should try making videos...or at least one video. Maybe they meant like a vlog or a Youtuber video. I don’t know, but I do know I am really not that great at it. Besides, I am a writer...not an artist, not an animator, not a cinematographer, etc. How would my videos go? I would not do an animated series nor would a video of just me talking be of any interest...boring! Not to mention… What in the world would I talk about? I’m just me. I have a blog which hardly anyone ever reads, I’m sure. I thoroughly enjoy writing however I do not have a book published or anything. I am not a professional athlete, nor an actor… Okay well, I am, or was, an athlete but not a professional one. I do enjoy doing theater work but I am not a celebrity or well known anything, really. I’m just me.

I blog about faith, God and Jesus, the bible, life, whatever I am studying at university at the time, parenting, travel, etc. And, people who do videos regularly have the proper equipment for it, like a professional microphone...though it is my understanding some Youtubers record the audio to their videos in a closet. Okay, maybe I’ll try that tip. I don’t even have a “hook”, something to get people interested in whatever it is I am going to say...which I still have not figured out.

Okay, back to yesterday’s topic.

When it comes to the “spirit” or “soul”, I use these terms interchangeably, I agree a person continues to exist after he or she dies. His or her spirit “departs” (Genesis 35:18) from his/her body. Scripture to support this is:

5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
(Psalm 31:5. ESV.)

43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."...

46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.
(Luke 23:43 & 46. ESV.)

59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7:59. ESV.)

23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. (Philippians 1:23-24. ESV.)

8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8. ESV.)

23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23. ESV.)

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne….

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
(Revelation 6:9, 20:4. ESV.)

Matthew 10:28 states,
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Romans 8:16 states,
16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

And, Acts 17:16 reads,
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

In his book Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem states, “Scripture is very clear that we do have a soul that is distinct from our physical bodies, which not only can function somewhat independently of our ordinary thought processes (1 Corinthians 14:14; Romans 8:16), but also, when we die, is able to go on consciously acting and relating to God apart from our physical bodies.” (Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI. 1994, 2000. P. 482.)
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. (1 Corinthians 14:14. ESV.)

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16. ESV.)

Grudem goes on to say, “...there will be a time between our death and the day Christ returns when our spirits will temporarily exist apart from our physical bodies.” (Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI. 1994, 2000. P. 483.)

Okay, so we have a spirit that can exist and relate to God apart from our physical body. My next research question is, what happens to the spirit after the body dies? Does it go straight to heaven? Does it sleep? Does it wander the earth? We shall see. To be continued...

(Photo Information.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Spirits Haunting Eight Mile Road, Stockton, CA

When I lived in Rio Vista, CA, from 2001 to 2012, we were just a short jaunt away from Stockton, CA and, the said to be haunted, Eight Mile Road. Infact, we often times traveled Eight Mile Road between 2001 and about 2003 or 2004. We generally stayed at the west end of the street and had no need to venture past the 99 freeway, heading east.

Recently, it has come to my attention there are stories circulating of three “spirits” causing havoc on Eight Mile Road east. According to some, there are two Native American “spirits”, one child and one woman, and one “lady in white” who seems to cause the most ruckus.

First, I want to be clear, I follow the bible’s view of “spiritual warfare”, “demons”, “angels”, etc. One article I read about Eight Mile Road showed illustrated pictures of each “spirit”. The Native American woman was represented as peaceful, maybe sad, and beautiful. The other two, the “lady in white” and the Native American child, were pictured with demonic faces. I do not know the background story of these two or why an artist would show them in such a way, other than the write up about how the “lady in white” startles drivers and could cause an accident. I believe it is fair to say other articles, shows, etc. might shed some more light on this.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12. ESV.)

As I was reading about David and King Saul in 1 Samuel, I came across a verse that mentions a woman calling on the spirit of Samuel and King Saul having a conversation with the spirit of Samuel. 1 Samuel 28:8-19 states,
8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you." 9 The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?" 10 But Saul swore to her by the Lord, "As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." 11 Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me." 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul." 13 The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." 14 He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do." 16 And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines."
Further digging into this scripture is needed for me to have a better understanding of it.

The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost in Matthew 14:25-27 which states,
25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."
And again in Luke 24:36-39 which states,
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."

To continue on this topic, I will look to John Piper, maybe John MacArthur, and Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem to dig a little deeper and research a bit further. To be continued...

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Serving Others: The Social Experiment

Have you seen this? It is presented on Youtube as a social experiment. A boy, who says he was abandoned at seven years old, is placed in 5 degrees Fahrenheit conditions without shoes, a jacket, etc. The boy is left standing out in the cold and no one stops to talk to him or help him for two hours. In social psychology there is such a thing as the "bystander effect". This is "the effect in which an increased number of witnesses decreases the likelihood that someone will help another." (Bonds-Raacke, Jennifer. Thinking Critically About Social Psychology. 2016. Dubuque, IA. P. 126.) There is also "diffusion of responsibility", which is "the belief that other bystanders will/ should take responsibility for helping others in need" (Bonds-Raacke, Jennifer. Thinking Critically About Social Psychology. 2016. Dubuque, IA. P. 126.). These are only two of many possible reasons people might not have responded to the boy standing out in the cold.

After two hours, a man approaches the boy, starts talking to him, and offers him assistance. He takes off his own jacket and puts it around the boy. As the man continues talking, we find out he is homeless.

The homeless man knew what it felt like to be in the boy's situation. Even though he had next to nothing, he was willing to give to the boy whatever he could to keep him warm and fed.

Is it easier to help others with whom we can relate? If we have been in their shoes or a similar situation, does that make for kindred spirits? I am not entirely sure. I have actually seen things go both ways. On one hand, I have witnessed a relationship of two who understood each other. On the other, I have seen a relationship of one who perhaps feels he or she had to fight and make his or her own way and so should the other person. Does that make sense? Perhaps compassion or empathy plays a part in here, too, no matter what.

Or what if we concentrate on the part of the circumstance with which we can relate or feel compassion? I do not know what it feels like to be homeless, but I do know what it feels like to be cold. I do not know what it feels like to not be able to buy something to eat...I think the cheapest burger I ever found was under a dollar. But I do know what it feels like to be hungry.

How can we, as human beings, improve upon serving others?

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:35-40. ESV.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mental Illness Mentioned in God's Word

13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, "Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?" (1 Samuel 21:13-15. ESV.)

After coming across the verses above which clearly mention mental illness, I have been searching the scriptures further, looking for more. From what I have seen, though, most verses do not specifically acknowledge mental illness but rather address “those afflicted with various” things. Could those “afflictions” include mental illness?

24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. (Matthew 4:24. ESV.)

4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:4. ESV.)

2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2. ESV.)

1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. (Luke 9:1-2. ESV.)

39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:39-40. ESV.)

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:13-15. ESV.)

28 The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, 29 and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. (Deuteronomy 28:28-29. ESV.)

There are also verses that may allude to mental illness or that mention things such as anxiety like 1 Peter 5:7 which states,
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
But it is unclear if the verse is speaking of general anxiety or the type of anxiety that is sometimes included with a mental disorder. I, personally, feel 1 Peter 5:7 is addressing general anxiety that most of us experience. Then, there are verses that are vague and leave a person wondering what the author meant by it, entirely.

Further, in my search, I am not taking into consideration any “affliction” that sounds like a physical or medical disability or illness, spiritual warfare as found in Ephesians 6:12 which states,
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Or the casting out of demons such as found in Mark 9:14-29 (ESV) which reads,
14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?" 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able." 19 And he answered them, "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me."20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." 23 And Jesus said to him, "'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes." 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, "He is dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" 29 And he said to them,"This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer."

And, then, there is King Nebuchadnezzar and his loss of “reason” as described in Daniel 4:28-34 (ESV),
28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" 31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will." 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws.

34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,...
It looks to me, on this occasion, Nebuchadnezzar suffered some sort of mental illness.

I wish I could find a way to search the scriptures in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) so as to be more thorough. But, for now, I am going to comb over the Psalms of David since 1 Samuel 21 is an accounting of a season of his life. To be continued...

(Photo information: Bing Images Public Domain.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Wise and Discerning Wife

Abigail listened closely as a young man spoke to her. Her beauty radiated and her mind was knowledgeable. She was both attractive and understanding. The young man spoke with earnest. Perhaps he knew he could trust her and that she would act wisely.

The young man described the king’s son in law, David, who sent messengers to meet with Abigail’s husband, Nabal, a very rich man who was not inclined to share his wealth. The young man explained how her husband treated the messengers unkindly though David’s men had protected him, the husband’s shepherds, and livestock. He explained,
The men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. (1 Samuel 25:15-16. ESV.)

Abigail took in all that he said then asked, “Did my husband not understand to whom he was speaking?”

“I am certain he did yet his response to them was harsh and criticizing. He told them,
‘Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?’ (1 Samuel 25:10-11. ESV.)
“I am afraid he has made a terrible mistake! He is such a worthless man, that not one can speak to him and now he has brought harm against himself and all his house.” (1 Samuel 25:17)

Abigail knew this to be true and believed her husband to be a harsh and badly behaved man. She also found the situation he had created to be very serious. She wasted no time and went quickly to prepare an offering of goods fit for a king.
She took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. (1 Samuel 25:18. ESV.)
She sent all of this with her young men and followed behind. She did not, however, speak a word of it to her husband.

When Abigail met up with David she immediately got down from her donkey, fell to the ground, and bowed before him. She knew he was upset. He had said,
Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. (1 Samuel 25:21. ESV.)

Abigail answered,
On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. (1 Samuel 25:24-25. ESV.)
She explained how she did not see the king’s servants when they came but brought a present for all of them, now. “Please, forgive the trespass of your servant (1 Samuel 25:28),” she said.

David was thankful. Abigail, and her discretion, had saved him from having to shed blood and destroy all that belonged to Nabal because of his foolishness, harshness, and bad behavior. He took, from her hand, what she had brought him and said,
Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition. (1 Samuel 25:35. ESV.)

Abigail left him and went to find her husband. When she arrived she saw he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king (1 Samuel 25:36). He looked to be having a marvelous time, was very merry, and quite drunk. She decided it would best to wait until the morning before she told him what she had done. She left and waited for the morning light.

The next day, when his drunkenness had worn off, Abigail went to her husband. She told him about David and taking the two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep already prepared, five seahs of parched grain, a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs to him as a gift. Her husband’s heart “died within him, and he became as a stone” (1 Samuel 25:37).

About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal , and he died (1 Samuel 25:38).

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said,
Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head. (1 Samuel 25:39. ESV.)

(Photo information: Bing Images Public Domain)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Theology and Psychology: Personality Disorders 101

Continuing a little bit with my post from yesterday, I am going to be discussing personality disorders. Well, actually, "Crash Course" is going to give a "crash course" on the subject:

Friday, November 11, 2016

God’s Word and Mental Illness

Being I focus on psychology, and law, quite a bit at school, they sometimes cross over into my study of God’s word. Is there mention of mental illness in the scriptures? Luke 8:2 mentions Mary Magdalene and seven demons that had “gone out” of her. Could that be a reference to mental illness? Or, is mental illness the answer we give now days in reference to individuals who are possessed by demons? Or, are the two completely unrelated?
2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, (Luke 8:2. ESV.)
1 Samuel 21:13-15 mentions David pretending to be “insane”. It says,
13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, "Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?"

When I looked up “mental illness” in Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, which I use as secondary authority to God’s word which is primary authority, I found the following explanation,
Yet we must remember that even fallen, sinful man has the status of being in God’s image. Every single human being, no matter how much the image of God is marred by sin, or illness, or weakness, or age, or any other disability, still has the status of being in God’s image and therefore must be treated with the dignity and respect that is due to God’s image-bearer. This has profound implications for our conduct toward others. It means that people of every race deserve equal dignity and rights. It means that elderly people, those seriously ill, the mentally retarded, and children yet unborn, deserve full protection and honor as human beings. If we ever deny our unique status in creation as God’s only image-bearers, we will soon begin to depreciate the value of human life, will tend to see humans as merely a higher form of animal, and will begin to treat others as such. We will also lose much of our sense of meaning in life. (1994. Grand Rapids, MI. p. 450.)

Now, according to psychiatric medicine, there are all kinds of mental illness that range in behavior, treatment, etc. There are neurodevelopmental disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, bipolar and related disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, trauma - and stressor - related disorders, dissociative disorders, somatic symptom and related disorders, feeding and eating disorders, elimination disorders, sleep-wake disorders, sexual dysfunctions, gender dysphoria, disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders, substance-related and addictive disorders, neurocognitive disorders, personality disorders, paraphilic disorders, other mental disorders, medication-induced movement disorders and other adverse effects of medication, and other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention (American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. Arlington, VA. American Psychiatric Association. 2013.)

Some are not fans of psychiatric medicine, but I personally put some weight in it...or, at the very least, ask questions and search for answers. The body and brain are insanely complex and I believe we, as human beings, need answers to some pretty difficult questions that may be best explained by psychiatric medicine. I feel God, and His Son, gave us things to help us in our walk. He gave us His word, the Holy Spirit, authority, doctors, etc. He provided things to us so we can serve Him the best, possible. “Humans think in categories….Categories are essential for our daily functioning in the world.” (Bonds-Raacke, Jennifer. Thinking Critically About Social Psychology. Dubuque, IA. 2016. p.164.) Now, there are many reasons ranging from genetics, to diet, to environment, to upbringing/ childhood, to toxins, to brain damage, etc. to explain why someone might struggle with certain behaviors. Today, though, I am going to try and stay focused on mental illness and God’s word. As I research this, it looks as though there is quite a bit of debate about it.

The question that got me started with this research is, along the lines of, “Why are there many, if not most, behaviors that improve with implementing and following God’s word and instructions yet there are other behaviors that only get worse when God’s word is applied?” An example of this are certain personality disorders. When a follower of Christ interacts with and serves individuals afflicted with distinctive personality disorders, like sociopathy and psychopathy, the one struggling with the disorder becomes more aggressive and even violent which places the follower of Christ in danger. Side Note: First and foremost, I truly believe God can heal all things whether it is a physical illness or disability, like cancer, or a mental one.

An example in the bible that comes to mind when I think about the question above is when King Saul decided to kill David (1 Samuel 18-26).
10 The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. 11 And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, 'I will pin David to the wall.' But David evaded him twice…. (1 Samuel 18: 10-11. ESV.)

1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David. 2 And Jonathan told David, ‘Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself’…. (1 Samuel 19:1-2. ESV.)

6 And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, ‘As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.’ 7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before…. (1 Samuel 19:6-7. ESV.)

9 Then a harmful spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. 10 And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night…. (1 Samuel 19:9-10. ESV.)

15 David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. (1 Samuel 23:15. ESV.)

25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, ‘Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.’ 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape. 29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi…. (1 Samuel 23:25-29. ESV.)

2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats' Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, ‘Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, “Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.”’ Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's robe…. (1 Samuel 24:2-4. ESV.)

8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, ‘My lord the king!’ And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage…. (1 Samuel 24:8. ESV.)

10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, 'I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.' 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it…. (1 Samuel 24:10-11. ESV.)

2 So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph with three thousand chosen men of Israel to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped on the hill of Hachilah, which is beside the road on the east of Jeshimon. But David remained in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies and learned that Saul had indeed come…. (1 Samuel: 26:2-4. ESV.)

17 Saul recognized David's voice and said, ‘Is this your voice, my son David?’ And David said, ‘It is my voice, my lord, O king.’ 18 And he said, ‘Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? What evil is on my hands?’... (1 Samuel 26:17-18. ESV.)

21 Then Saul said, ‘I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake’…. (1 Samuel 26:21. ESV.)

25 Then Saul said to David, ‘Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.’ So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place. (1 Samuel 26:25. ESV.)

In the above descriptions of events from the bible, it is clear to see King Saul is struggling with something. It is described as “a harmful spirit from God” but what is it, exactly? Is it jealousy? Pride? Or is it much worse than that? Is it a mental illness like psychopathy? And though David has done nothing to provoke the king, Saul is out to murder him. I want to take a moment here and focus on David. Here is a guy who loves Saul, dearly. He serves him well, is best friends with his son, and marries his daughter. He is family and has nothing but the highest regard for Saul. Yet, Saul sins against David and chases him into hiding. So, I believe it is fair to say, if you or someone you know is being threatened or harmed by a loved one, it is best to do as David did and get as far away from that individual as possible. Saul, who called David son on a couple different occasions, was like a father to David...and in fact became David’s father-in-law. Of those who are attacked and/or have a crime committed against them, MOST of them know their attacker/ the perpetrator. Get far away from the person who threatens and/or harms you and hide, even if they come after you as Saul did to David. It is far better to be safe than sorry and hopefully you, or the one in danger, will have a good friend like Jonathan who loves you dearly and advises you to, “Stay in a secret place and hide yourself.”

(Photo information.)

You can also view this paper on Scribd:

Theology and Psychology: Mental Illness and Scripture by Brook Elaine on Scribd

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” All persons are presumed to be responsible for ascertaining the rightfulness of their actions in advance. Generally, this is not a problem, because in everyday life, right and wrong are quite apparent to persons who act in accordance with the established societal standards. (Walston-Dunham, Beth. Introduction to Law, 6th edition. 2012, 2009, 2005, 1997, 1993, 1990. Clifton Park, NY. P. 523.)

Can the same be said about God’s law… “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”? Does God hold us to His law even if we do not know it? Does He treat all of the human beings He created, equally, regardless if they obey His laws or not? I am not even sure where to begin to study this out.

2 Corinthians 5:10 states,
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; (Romans 14:10. ESV.)
42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10:42-43. ESV.)

And Romans 3:19 states,
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20. ESV.)
2 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. (Romans 2:1. ESV.)
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16. ESV.)
39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:39. ESV.)
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:7. ESV.)

Death in Adam, Life in Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 5:12-21. ESV.)


The Final Judgment

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45 Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
(Matthew 25:31-46. ESV.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Standing Still

There are times when I am afraid to move. These moments range in intensity. Have you ever failed to respond to something and then questions yourself, repeatedly, about it after the fact? Have you ever asked yourself, “Why didn’t I…?”

A couple days ago was one of those moments, for me. I was driving home on a busy four lane street when I noticed cars were stopping and/or slowing down. And, bounding through these cars was a young white boxer dog that just wanted to play. It ran and bounced and changed direction at a moment’s notice. The thought of opening my driver side door and seeing if he/she would jump into my car crossed my mind but the opportunity quickly passed when I did not respond when he/she was going right past my car. I saw the owner running down the sidewalk alongside the road, trying to catch up with his dog. Eventually, the white boxer ran and jumped back up onto the sidewalk but was still traveling at a quick pace a decent distance in front of his/her owner. A busy intersection was not too far ahead.

As I ran the situation through my mind over and again, I wondered what stopped me from opening my car door? Were there too many risks? What if a moving vehicle took off my door when I opened it? Or even worse, what if my attempt at getting the dog to jump into my car actually caused it to dart away and get hit by another car? But what if the effort had worked? The young white boxer would have been safe.

Two other situations quickly come to mind of times when I was still. Both involve my being a witness, within this last year, to assault and battery. The first, was when a healthy man threatened and hit a mentally and physically disabled man who was not able to defend himself. The situation was extremely upsetting and I wanted to make sure my children, who were also present, were safe. The disabled man ended up with a bloody nose and who knows what other injuries at the hands of his attacker, who was quite a bit bigger than him. After the fact, I played it over and again in my mind. What could I have done differently? Why didn’t I call 9-1-1? Why didn’t I record the attack so the authorities would have known exactly what happened? I did notify the disabled man’s family and made a statement to the authorities of what I witnessed. But, I cannot help feeling I should have done more.

The second circumstance, occurred while I was sitting in traffic. My children and parents were in my vehicle. We were on our way to dinner when we noticed a black SUV chasing a white pickup truck. The white truck pulled into a parking lot and the driver opened his door as if to get out. Before he was able to set foot on the ground, the driver of the black SUV had also pulled into the parking lot and was out of his vehicle, around the white truck, and was punching the driver of the white truck. This all happened very quickly. I fumbled clumsily with my mobile phone as I tried to stop my hands from shaking to call for assistance. I watched as the driver of the SUV continuously hit and attacked the driver of the white truck, who was thankfully a little bigger and stood strong against the blows. Before I could get my mind focused to call for help for the man, the wife/ girlfriend/ significant other of the driver of the SUV got out of the car and managed to stop the attack without getting into the middle of it. There were many witnesses, so I am hopeful at least one was able to contact the authorities and give an account of what happened. What could I have done differently? I was stuck at a stop light with plenty of time to call 9-1-1 or video record the attack so the authorities would have been able to see what happened. It is much easier to look back and say, “I should have…” but more difficult to respond in the moment, under pressure. Assessing the situation quickly and knowing the best way to handle it can be quite the challenge when stress is incapacitating.

Thankfully, I can rest in the knowledge God is in control...not me! I can “be still” and know He is God (Psalm 46:10) whether it is in the moments of my life (micro) or on a grander scale (macro) affecting a larger population.
God Is Our Fortress

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
(Psalm 46. ESV.)

(Photo information.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Desiring God: How to Recognize a Foolish Leader

With today being election day in the United States, I struggled with what to place on my little space, today. This tiny portion of the internet is my own, small corner of the vast world. My words are a speck of a pebble in an enormous pond. Yet, I pick my words carefully and, hopefully, wisely. I watch, and hope, as the ripples from my "pebble" start out concentrated then slowly grow as they make their way from the focal point of the splash, out to the far rim of the water's edge. Some days, my own words do not feel like enough...they are grossly inadequate. So, I look to those who are wiser than myself. I share their words with you.

How to Recognize a Foolish Leader

No matter who is elected President of the United States in November, he or she will be a sinner. He or she will be fallible and will, like all presidents, make some serious mistakes. We will not elect a messiah-in-chief.

But nonetheless, the right kind of leader, under the wise governing checks and balances constructed in the American constitution, will help guide our nation through the very precarious days that lie ahead of us.
(Please click here to continue reading this article, by Jon Bloom, over at the Desiring God website.)

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Monday, November 07, 2016

Ghost Boy: Martin Pistorius

For the past month and a half I have been reading, between school reading and projects, a great book by Martin Pistorius called Ghost Boy. Martin’s story is truly unbelievable and inspiring. The human body and mind are so complex, this book will leave you questioning what you believe to be the average occurrence with individuals who are unable to get their physical body to do as they want. Is the body limited to what the mind instructs it to do or is the mind imprisoned by the body? I read somewhere our earthly body cannot keep up with our eternal soul…

Through this book, Martin shows us his life before an illness, that left him trapped in his own body, and after. He bravely tells of abuse that sometimes happens when those who are unable to protect themselves are left in the care of untrustworthy individuals. It also is a love story about overcoming the limitations placed on a relationship by others, outside of it. And, most importantly, it is about faith...

The one person I talked to was God, but He wasn’t part of my fantasy world. He was real to me, a presence inside and around that calmed and reassured me. Just as North American Indians might commune with their spirit guides or pagans look to the seasons and the sun, I spoke to God as I tried to make sense of what had happened to me and asked Him to protect me from harm. God and I didn’t talk about the big things in life—we didn’t engage in philosophical debates or argue about religion—but I talked to Him endlessly because I knew we shared something important. I didn’t have proof that He existed, but I believed in Him anyway because I knew He was real. God did the same for me. Unlike people, He didn’t need proof that I existed—He knew I did. (Pistorius, Martin and Davies, Megan Lloyd. Ghost Boy. 2013. Nashville, TN. Pg. 174.)


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