Under My Skin

We’ve all had people who just irritate us and “get under our skin.”  When we let people get under our skin, it causes us to have toxic thoughts which can turn off certain genes in our DNA.

“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.” [1]

Jesus told us to pray for those that hurt us.  Why?  I believe it causes us to think right so we will not have toxic thinking happening in our brains.  It helps “US” to pray for the good of others.

Luke 6:28 (AMP) says, “Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you].”

-Pastor

[1]  Chapter 3 “Switch On the Brain” by Carolyn Leaf

 

Grace to Think Right

We can observe our thoughts and actions and make decisions about them. Biblical principles such as “bringing all thoughts into captivity,” “renewing your mind,” “casting all your cares,” and “being anxious for nothing” become less difficult when we realize God has given us the equipment to do these things.

God has given us grace to think correctly and when we do, we will have more victory in our lives.  If you are constantly negative, start asking God to help you in the area of your thinking.  Are you watching things on TV and listening to talk radio that is effecting you negatively and causing you to be upset all the time?  Start listening to podcasts and listening to sermons that will uplift you.

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According to Dr. Carolyn Leaf, wrong choices cause brain damage and right choices enhance brain function. [1]  Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT) says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

Read “Switch On the Brain” by Carolyn Leaf.

-Pastor

[1] “Switch on the Brain” by Carolyn Leaf. Chapter 2 pg. 45

Thinking…and It’s Connection to Sickness

How do you react when someone is rude to you?  Reaction is the key word here.  You cannot control the events or circumstances of your life, but you can control your reactions.  Controlling those reactions is the difference between healthy minds and bodies and sick minds and bodies.

Here are just a few statistics confirming that 75 to 98 percent of mental and physical illness comes from one’s thought life:

A study by the American Medical Association found that stress is a factor in 75 percent of all illnesses and diseases that people suffer from today.[1] The association between stress and disease is at an astounding, 85 percent.[2]

According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, a scientist who has made great strides in understanding the effect of our thinking on our brain, gene disorders affect less than 2 percent of the population. [3]

This means the vast majority of the world’s population comes into this world with genes that should enable them to live happy and healthy lives. Lipton says that 98 percent of diseases are related to lifestyle choices – in other words, our thinking. According to Dr. H. F. Nijhout, [4] genes control biology and not the other way around.

According to W. C. Willett, [5] only 5 percent of cancer and cardiovascular patients can attribute their disease to hereditary factors.

The American Institute of Health estimates that 75–90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems. [6] It is really eye-opening that some of the latest negative stress statistics causing sickness are a result of toxic thinking.

Read “Switch On the Brain” by Carolyn Leaf!

-Pastor

[1]  “Sheldon Cohen et al., “Psychological Stress and Disease,” JAMA 14 (2007): 1685, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120619-how-stress-could-cause-illness; http://www.stress.org/stress-and-heart-disease/.”

[2]  “Brian Luke Seaward, Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing (London: Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2006).”

[3] “Lipton, The Biology of Belief.”

[4]  “Nijhout, “Metaphors and the Role of Genes and Development.”

[5]  “Willett, “Balancing Lifestyle and Genomics Research for Disease Prevention.”

[6]  “Stress and Heart Disease,” http://www.stress.org/stress-and-heart-disease/.”

In His Image

This study, mentioned in last week’s blog, showed that thinking and feeling anger, fear, and frustration caused DNA to change shape according to thoughts and feelings. The DNA responded by tightening up and becoming shorter, switching off many DNA codes, which reduced quality expression.

Here’s the great part though: the negative shutdown or poor quality of the DNA codes was reversed by feelings of love, joy, appreciation, and gratitude!

So the takeaway here is that when we operate in our normal love design, which is being made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), we are able to change the shape of our DNA for the better.

Genesis 1:26 (NKJV) says, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”

This study proves that when we have a positive attitude, it rewires everything back to the original healthy and positive state. These scientists basically proved that we can renew our minds.

Romans 12:2 (NLT) says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Don’t forget to read “Switch On the Brain” by Carolyn Leaf.

-Pastor

 

Don’t Stress Out!

According to Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute, 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.

Taking this to a deeper level, research shows that DNA actually changes shape according to our thoughts. As you think those negative thoughts about the future – the week ahead, what a person might say or do – that toxic thinking will change your brain wiring in a negative direction and throw your mind and body into stress.

That’s something to think about!  Make it a point to read “Switch On the Brain” by Carolyn Leaf!

-Pastor

 

 

Never Out of Control

In Switch on the Brain, Carolyn Leaf says, “Our mind is designed to control the body, of which the brain is a part, not the other way around. Matter does not control us; we control matter through our thinking and choosing. We cannot control the events and circumstances of life but we can control our reactions. In fact, we can control our reactions to anything, and in doing so, we change our brains. It’s not easy; it is hard work, but it can be done through our thoughts and choices.”

As believers, we need to trust God for this not to become hard for us.  We have the Holy Ghost who is always helping us if we rely upon Him.

Gal. 5:22-23  (The Passion Translation) says, “But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its various expressions. This love is revealed through:
Joy that overflows,
Peace that subdues,
Patience that endures,
Kindness on display,
A life full of virtue,
Faith that prevails,
Gentleness of heart, and
Strength of spirit.”   (Or “Self-Control” in the KJV)

Carolyn also says, “For now, rest in the assurance that what God has empowered you to do with your mind is more powerful and effective than any medication, any threat, any sickness, or any neurological challenge. The Scripture is clear on this: You do not have a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).”

Wow! We have much more power than we thought!

Don’t forget…read Switch On the Brain by Carolyn Leaf!

-Pastor

 

You Are Designed for Peak Happiness

An excerpt from Switch On the Brain, by Carolyn Leaf, says, “You don’t have to keep digging into the past to get free from it. You can be happy and filled with peace regardless of your circumstances.”

You are truly designed for peak happiness, thinking, and health. Science shows we are wired for love with a natural optimism bias.

The brain is what the mind does.  The first argument proposes that thoughts come from your brain as though your brain is generating all aspects of your mental experience. People who hold this view are called the materialists. They believe that it is the chemicals and neurons that create the mind and that the relationships between your thoughts and what you do can just be ignored. So essentially, their perspective is that the brain creates what you are doing and what you are thinking. The mind is what the brain does, they believe, and the ramifications are significant. Take, for example, the treatment of depression. In this reductionist view depression is a chemical imbalance problem of a machinelike brain; therefore, the treatment is to add in the missing chemicals. This view is biblically and scientifically incorrect. The brain does the bidding of the mind.

The brain is what the mind does. You are a thinking being. You think all day long, and at night as you sleep, you sort out your thinking. As you think, you choose, and as you choose, you cause genetic expression to happen in your brain. This means you make proteins, and these proteins form your thoughts.

Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate. Eric R. Kandel, a Nobel Prize–winning neuropsychiatrist for his work on memory, shows how our thoughts, even our imaginations, get “under the skin” of our DNA and can turn certain genes on and certain genes off, changing the structure of the neurons in the brain.

So as we think and imagine, we change the structure and function of our brains. Even Freud speculated back in the 1800s that thought leads to changes in the brain.

You really need to read Switch On the Brain by Carolyn Leaf!

-Pastor

The Prize is Inside

Years ago, Cracker Jacks was a popular snack.  One of the main reasons was because it had a prize inside.  As a believer, we have the ultimate prize inside – God.

You have been designed for deep, intellectual thought (Ps. 139:14). You are wired for love, not fear, which is learned and not a natural response (2 Tim. 1:7). You have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). You are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27).

All of this knowledge will help you realize these truths: Happiness comes from within and success follows, not the other way around. You can learn how to study and increase your intellect. You can overcome those learning issues. You can get the chaos in your mind under control.

In Carolyn Leaf’s book, Switch On the Brain, she says, “You don’t have to walk around in guilt and condemnation. If you wired those toxic thoughts in, you can wire them out. You don’t have to get stuck in bad habits; you can change them. You can overcome feelings of rejection and hurt. Forgiveness is not the battle you think it is. You don’t have to worry about things that are out of your control. You are not a victim of the things you shouldn’t be doing. You don’t have to fear that if a condition runs in your family that you are going to get it (for example, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or depression). You can balance your over-thinking and over-analyzing mind.”

Don’t forget to read Switch On the Brain by Carolyn Leaf!

-Pastor

How Will You Choose?

In the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there is a segment where Indiana’s enemy grabs what he thinks is the Holy Grail, and drinks out of it.  It causes him to die a horrible death and the knight that is guarding the Holy Grail says, “He chose poorly.”

Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”  This is such a reality in the world we live in today, as we begin to see the effects in our brain and body from the choices we make.

Neuroplasticity means “the brain is malleable and adaptable, changing moment by moment of every day.” Scientists are finally beginning to see the brain as having renewable characteristics (as in Rom. 12:2); it is no longer viewed as a machine that is hardwired early in life, unable to adapt, and wearing out with age.

When you think, you build thoughts, and these become physical substances in your brain. “As he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). Good thinking = good choices = healthy thoughts; toxic thinking = toxic choices = toxic thoughts (Deut. 30:19). You are designed to stand outside yourself and observe your own thinking and change it (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 10:5; Phil. 3:13–14). You are designed to recognize and choose the right things to think about (Josh. 24:15; Eccles. 7:29; Isa. 30:2). Each morning when you wake up, you have new baby nerve cells born inside your brain to use wisely as you remove bad thoughts and wire in new thoughts (Lam. 3:23). This is called neurogenesis.

We have the grace of God upon our lives to choose to think correctly.

You need to read Switch On the Brain by Carolyn Leaf! This book has great information about the brain and the way your thought life affects your brain and its functions.

-Pastor

New Every Morning

Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read, besides the Bible.  She has studied the brain and has made new discoveries of how it functions.

She says, “What would you do if you found a switch that could turn on your brain and enable you to be happier, healthier in your mind and body, more prosperous, and more intelligent?”

Our attitude, not our DNA, is what determines much of the quality of our life.  In this book, she teaches that our brain is neuroplastic, meaning it can change and regrow. In addition, God has built in the operating principle of neurogenesis – new nerve cells are birthed daily for our mental benefit.  So, every morning when you wake up, new baby nerve cells are at your disposal to be used in tearing down toxic thoughts and rebuilding healthy thoughts. This is a good reminder that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning.

Lamentations 3:22–23 (NLT) says, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

We have new opportunities every morning to start thinking correctly.  As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts. New thought networks grow. We increase our intelligence and bring healing to our brains, minds, and physical bodies.

This month we will talk about the book Switch On The Brain by Carolyn Leaf.

If you prefer, you can get the audiobook:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_rsis_1_8?url=search-alias%3Daudible&field-keywords=switch+on+your+brain&sprefix=Swishers%2Caudible%2C189

-Pastor