Friday, August 28, 2015

Lets talk.......

I have had this blog for about 7 years now, yet I have found myself wondering about my audience.  Nobody leaves any comments so I wonder "Who is reading it?".  I wonder what my audience needs in their lives right now.   I know there is a purpose why you are here on this blog.  I have even considered taking it down, because I have been doing it for so long, but I feel like I'm talking to myself most of the time.  That's kind of why I first started it, because I needed a place to talk to myself, but now I have grown to a desire to touch my audience.  Not just myself.

I'm actually praying God will show me what to do with this blog, because I don't know that it's growing.  And anything I pursue in life, after years, I really need to see the growth of it.  Is this blog living in a sense where God is breathing on it to be a blessing to many???  Definitely praying about expansion and next steps.

In the meantime, I have come to realize that you are reading this as more than just a body on a computer.  You are more then just your mind.  You are a soul.  In the culture we live in, we get treated like we are just our minds or we are just are bodies.  Maybe we are just our accomplishments.  This could not be further from the truth.  We have actually bought into it, in many subtle ways, myself included. We have felt we have to obsess about our bodies, or that we have to heap up accomplishment after accomplishment for our life to be worth anything. Or we have to appear to know all the answers  Or maybe you feel like you are just your paycheck and without that, you feel like you would be lost. Maybe you feel like you are the sum of what you can offer to others.  That's a big one that I'm guilty of.  But that is yet another lie.  I am so much more that what I can offer to you or to anybody.  I am a soul.  A living breathing soul and so are you.  Our souls are with us before we are born and they are eternal.  They never die.  How awesome is that.  Your soul is your forever companion and we ought to do right by it don't you think? 

When we find our value in the wrong things we tend to let the wrong things guide our lives, dictate our schedules, and determine our value to the world around us.  God says you are valuable just because you have a soul, that's why before you even come out of the womb and accomplish anything, you are already valuable to God.  Before you make any money, before you touch any lives, before you get married, before you have kids, before you step foot in a church, before you take your first steps, before you say your first words.  Before any of this you are already valuable to God, because of your soul.  It is your soul that is the upmost value to Him and should be the upmost value to you. 

Jeremiah 1:5 - Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;

Even with this said it is so hard to get away from the feeling of worthlessness or get away from attaching our worth to the wrong things.  But this gets tiring. And your soul grows weary because you are not nurturing your inward person (your soul).  Have you ever felt empty?  Have you ever felt like you have an insatiable appetite that never gets satisfied?  Have you ever felt like you constantly need to be busy, for your life to be worthwhile?  Have you ever felt like you are just waiting until the next thing to happen?  Do you find it hard to exist in the moment? Does quietness or stillness make you uncomfortable?  What do you do?  Who do you consult?  The Psalmist, David, consulted with his soul.

Psalm 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul
Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?

Our soul remembers things that our mind does not.  You must take counsel with your soul.  Many things that we think we are without are already within us.  Answers we seek, because our soul is our connection to God.  Our soul has had intimate fellowship with the Lord and our soul remembers God's plan for our lives.  Our soul remembers what God spoke to us before we were formed in the womb.  Your soul remembers, consult with your soul

As I pray about this blog, I hope that you will leave comments, let me know you're out there and I pray I can learn more about you and you don't remain anonymous.  You can even send email.

Ande Carr 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Study - Switch on Your Brain Ch3 Part 1

Excerpt from "Switch on your brain"

"Main Scripture: Do 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. Romans 12:2 NIV

Linked Science Concept: Through our thoughts we can be our own micro surgeons as we make choices that will change the circuits in our brains. We are designed to do our own brain surgery and rewire our brains by thinking and by choosing to renew our minds." 

I have meditated on the scripture above over the years but I always wondered what it really meant.  I think I have understood bits and pieces but when I read this book, it showed me that we are actually hardwired to fullfill this scripture in our lives.  God has given us the equipment to carry out His will. He has!!!!  This book shows you how to begin to use that equipment. 

Dr. Leaf states that "This scientific power of our mind to change the brain is called epigenetics and spiritually is is as a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7) The way the brain changes as a result of mental activity is scientifically called neuroplasticity. And spiritually, it is the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2)"

The scientific evidence for scripture is simply profound.  God's word is true and His intention has always been to carry it out through us.  If you are anything like me, you have wondered why it's so hard to change and break old habits.  Maybe you have wondered why you haven't seen any growth spiritually, even though you are trying to do all the right things to learn more about God.  This book is not the entire answer but it does shed some light on how we can begin to play a very active part, with God, in being transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can begin to carryout God's will in our lives.  Within scripture you hear constant references to the "heart" "mind" "spirit" "soul", none of which you can see.  The scripture below talks about the power of the things that you cannot see:

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible

When you consider the scriptural truth above; it is no different then how we produce output in our everyday lives?  For example, when it comes to the spirit, we cannot necessarily see the "spirit" but the spirit can be measured by it's fruit.  

Below is more excerpts from the book:
"The decisions you make today become part of the thought networks in your brain. The two copies of the chromosome that you carry in each of your cells contain the entire set of genetic material necessary to make you. An interesting point: A cell in your brain and a cell in your kidney contain the exact same DNA. And while in utero (in the womb), the nascent (emerging, developing) cells differentiate into either a brain cell or a kidney cell only when crucial epigenetic processes turn the right genes on or off. So God has designed perfectly timed epigenetic signals to switch on in the womb as the baby is developing. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:5). 

The epigenetic marks in our genes that may predispose us to smoke, eat too much of the wrong foods, be negative, or worry can change.  The way we react—our thinking and choosing—becomes the signal that activates or deactivates the generational issues in our lives. "

What Dr. Leaf says above further confirms Hebrew 11:3 when it says that the things which are seen were not made by things which are visible.  

Take away thought - In our culture today we give much time and fuss over the things which are visible, but the things which are not visible tend to suffer.  I think realizing that the way in which we think is the creative process that God has blessed us with, to be co-creators with Him, in the lives that we are called to live out on this earth.  You no longer have to passively, will yourself, to do something unsuccessfully; because you now know that you have the equipment to carry out your very thoughts.  Your brain carries out the intentions of your mind.  It is your brain that is central in producing the output for the rest of your body, but it is a passive instrument merely responding to our mind.  It is in our minds in which we think,  it is our brain that carries it out.    


Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Study -Switch on Your Brain Ch2

Main Scripture - Colossians 3:15 (AMP)
Let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in the peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]

Linked Scientific Concept
Choice is real, and free will exists.  You are able to stand outside of yourself, observe your own thinking, consult with God, and change the negative, toxic thought or grow the healthy positive thought.  When you do this, your brain responds with a positive neuro-chemical rush and structural changes that will improve your intellect, health, and peace.  You will experience soul harmony

If a doctor was to show you an image of the neurons, proteins and chemical responses in your brain you would see things that look like trees with branches.  Your thoughts actually form proteins and produce chemical responses that form branch like connections in your brain.    One thought, whether negative or positive, can form a web of connections in your brain that will produce negative or positive output through your actions and your health.  How you  handle and process your thoughts is a choice.  You can grow healthy thoughts by choosing not to worry or to be anxious, both are areas in which God advises us below:
 Matthew 6
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

How many times does Jesus say above do not worry? We are not called to a life of worry.  We are called to a life of peace.  We are not called to "worry".  We are called to "peace".  Lately when I'm tempted to worry or dwell on something that causes stress, I have heard something in my heart say "You are not called to this".  You are called to "prayer".  You are called to "casting your cares" upon God.  Look below:

1 Peter 5
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Phillippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  

As you can see, you  have not been called to worry and you cause literal "brain damage" in doing so.  You have been called to something so much better and God has given you the equipment to live in this truth.  This will literal produce trees of life in your brain.  These trees are made of proteins, neurons, and real chemical processes that will altar the facts or your life and change the output of your life.  Below is an excerpt from "Switch on Your Brain":

"Just the mind activity from your reading of the next few lines generates electromagnetic, electrochemical, and quantum action in your neurons. It causes
magnetic fields that can be measured;
electrical impulses that can be tracked;
chemical effects that can be seen and measured;
photons to be activated that can be captured on computer screens;
 energy activity that can be explained using quantum physics; and
vibrations in the membranes of the neurons that can be picked up by instrumentation.
This combined activity sets up an intricate and organized sequence of actions of neurotransmitters, proteins, and energy that forms a signal. Your thinking has just created a powerful signal that is going to change the landscape of your brain.
 This signal you have just created passes through the membrane of the cell, travels to the cell’s nucleus, and enters the chromosome, activating a strand of DNA. The DNA is zipped up, almost as though it is in a cocoon, until activated or unzipped by the signal. When the DNA is zipped up, it is in a dormant or inert state. This cocoon also protects the DNA from the rest of the intracellular environment while in this inert state.
So, the zipped up DNA has to be opened so that the appropriate genetic code needed to build…
Genes may create an environment within us in which a problem may grow, a predisposition, but they do not produce the problem; we produce it through our choices."
My Final Thought - Our reaction and interaction with life constructs a life within us that creates the output that produces our external life.  Deep reflective thinking builds healthy brain cells, not short rapid fire thoughts, produced by rushing through life.  As you go through your day, pause frequently and think through your reactions to things and your interaction with your life.   


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Study -Switch on Your Brain Ch1

The main scripture for Chapter 1 is
2 Timothy 1:7
"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind"
 The Scientific Concept:
Science shows we are wired for love with a natural optimism bias.  This means what the scripture above says.

I am reading this book for the 2nd time and have learned that we are capable of doing our own brain surgery and changing the way our brain is wired.  This can work for the negative or the positive.  God has already wired us towards certain things when He created us.  Good things.  That's why He says in Phillippians 4:8 to meditate on the following:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

I'm leaning that God does not just say these things because He wants us to exercise some type of willpower to do it.  He says it because it's what He has actually hard wired us to do it.  When we focus our mind on toxic thoughts it actually does "damage" to our brain because it changes the hard wiring of our brain.  Our thinking actually produces proteins and chemical reactions that produce genetic expression.  Remember that the brain controls the rest of our body, but the "mind" controls that brain.  Some quotes from chapter 1 below:

"Scientists are proving that the relationship between what you think and how you understand yourself--your beliefs, dreams, hopes, and thoughts-has a huge impact on how your brain works"

"Research shows that 75 to 98 percent of mental, physical, and behavioral illness comes from one's thought life.  This staggering and eye-opening statistic means only 2 to 25 percent of mental and physical illnesses come from the environment and genes.

Take away thought - Guard your thought life above everything. Guard against toxic thoughts that don't line up with God's word.  Doing this can change how your brain is wired for the better and change your life for the better.  

Proverbs 23:7 - For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Seasonal Activities

I began a new season in my life about 5 months ago and I went from being a stay-at-home mom who worked occasionally throughout the week, to being a work-at-home mom.  Meaning I started working daily with my kids at home with me.  It was a hard transition and still continues to be something that I'm still getting use to.  I have had to let alot of things slide around my home and with my children in order to work from home on a regular basis.  Honestly, I never thought I would make business I priority over my more domestic duties.  But here I am.  I have struggled with guilt, but I have come to realize a couple things.

1.  I know for a fact if God wasn't the One propelling me, I would not have been able to commit to working from home.

2.  Even if I was to try to stay on top of the things that I was letting slide, I would get nowhere because it is not the season for me to be focused on those things

3.  You have to allow God to develop the "whole person" not just certain aspects of you.  We are all multi-faceted human beings.  God does not just desire to develop one area of your life and leave the rest alone.  He wants you to be fully developed and "whole".  Who doesn't want you living in a way where you are not complete

Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NIV
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

"A season for every activity under heaven".  At any given time in life, we can be flooded with a flurry of activity.  However. our question for God should be which activities are for this season that I'm in?  Then focus on those.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pain and Stuggles That We all Have

Does anybody have pain in their lives right now?  Does anyone have sin that they struggle with?  My hand is definitely raised up high in the air.  What are the answers to the pains of the world?  What is the answer to your pain and my pain?  What is the answer to your sin and my sin?  What about that word sin, what does it mean?  Sin means that "we miss the mark".  That simple.  "Missing the mark" expresses itself in different ways in a person's life, depending on that individual.  What is the answer?  Well, Jesus is the answer.  Why is Jesus the answer?  The question at the core of every human being who struggles with sin is "Does God still accept me like this?".  This is the million dollar question.  Drug addicts, prostitutes, gay, lesbian, transgender, child molesters, rapist, exotic dancer, murderers, alcoholics, etc.  At their core they are wondering "Does God accept me like this?"
Many have told them that God will not accept them.  Many have told them that God rejects them.  May have gone so far as to tell people that they couldn't possibly be Christian if they are struggling with any of the above things mentioned.  This opinion of God is simply not based on the bible.  I didn't want to blog tonite so I'll keep it short.  None of us really know or completely understand the struggles of another, but as a human being, I understand that the struggle is real.  I understand that the pain is real.  You can't talk it away or pray it away.  I have gone through many struggles with identity in my lifetime. When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, I experienced the joy of forgiveness and knowing that I could have a relationship with God and that He accepted me.  However, about 2 years after that I feel into depression, anxiety, etc. God eventually brought me out of that but it was only through much prayer, for a couple years, and God let me know I needed to change my diet and start going back to the gym.  That worked!!  But then I got married and had kids,  I went through probably the first 3 to 4 years of motherhood struggling, trying to figure myself out as a wife and mom.  It was hard, because for about 3 years I didn't even feel like my relationship with God was really that vibrant anymore. I stopped praying because I was tired of hearing "quiet" on the other end.  That's where God had me for about 4 years.  In a "quiet" place.  He would show me certain things I needed to do in my life and then it would be just my practicing what he had shown me for years on end.   There are certain areas of my life that He wanted me to become real sensitive to,
in terms of the way I functioned and how it affected me. But I didn't feel like I was really growing for years.  But I was.  See sometimes it doesn't feel like we are growing or changing, but we really are.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like God is delivering us from our current struggle, but He is.  I've waited many years to see the growth and changes that were taking place in me when I didn't even know it.  I have learned that you should wait to see your change, don't feel like you just have to accept something, if you know it's not God's will.  But know that God accepts you just the way you are but He also wants to renew your mind.  Even when you are not accepting something in your life, that doesn't mean that you're done with it.  Even when you don't accept a lie, you can still be in the midst of living the lie out in your life.  That's because change doesn't happen overnight.  It happens over years of an intimate loving relationship between you and your heavenly Father.  Don't try to change yourself, you cannot change yourself. True change is the work of the Holy Spirit and you will eventually become the change that the Holy Spirit is working in you if you cooperate with Him.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

When "thoughts" make you sick

"Is that thought worth making you sick?"  Last night before I went to bed I started to think about everything I wasn't doing and hadn't done with my 3 yr old to prepare him for preschool.  As I thought about it, these feelings of dread began to try to take up residence in my gut.  For the first time I can recall, I stepped out of myself and asked myself, "What is this thought doing for me?"  That particular thread of thought had no potential to produce anything good in my life.  I knew that, because I witnessed the negative impact of it physically, almost immediately.  Of coarse, it's not a "bad" thing to want your child prepared for school.  But our thought patterns can take something that is positive and turn it into something "toxic" in your body.  What do you do when you believe you should be considering and thinking about something, but when you think about it;  it causes dread to rise up in your body. 

The first things to do, is observe any symptoms in your body that occur as you think about "certain" things.  Symptoms could be a tightening in the stomach, head, or chest.  There are other symptoms that could accompany certain things you think about.  I have even had diarrhea based on something I was thinking about that was overwhelming to me.  When I observe these symptoms occurring, it tells me that whatever I'm thinking about is producing a negative affect on me and I need to not think about it at this time.  It has nothing to do with whether or not the subject of my thoughts is "good" or "bad".  At that time the subject matter is having a negative effect on me, and that is my body trying to tell me that it's not a healthy choice for me to think about at that time.

What do we do, if there is something that stresses us out, but is also an important and pressing need?  How can we not think about it?  That's where you start learning to cast your cares on the Lord, because He cares for you. 

1Peter 5
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”[b]
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

If there is something in your life that is pressing, yet overwhelming for you to think about, you have to choose to make it a matter of prayer, instead of it being a matter of thought.  It's too big for you, so give it to God.  There are things that should only be matters of prayer and other things that are matters of thought.  What does God say about "matters of thought"?

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].  
There are specific types of things that your mind should be consumed with, then there are specific things that should ONLY be matters of prayer.  Learning the difference is key to living a healthy, faith-filled life.  

The first step is becoming keenly aware of the affects, of your thoughts, on your body and making informed decisions on the paths you are going to travel when it comes to your thoughts.

Deuteronomy 30
19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 

There are paths we can travel that will produce faith.
There are paths we can travel that will produce fear.  

Learning to discern and make the choice is something God can help you with.   

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