Work Smarter Not Harder #exercise

Hey everyone!

So I have been doing exercises but lately I have decided to shift the focus and intention of my training.

Before it was all about sculpting to get the shape I wanted and I was trying hard to maintain it but I have come to the realisation!

Just eating right you will naturally get the shape you want and it’s true I have seen it with my own eyes on my own body, then all you have to do is keep your muscles strong and focus on stamina which keeps a decent level of athleticism, to make day-to-day tasks a breeze. Plus you’ll get all your vitamins and so on with a reasonable diet.

My goodness it all makes so much more sense now!

Changes to your lifestyle mean you don’t have to work out as hard because there is less naughtiness to burn off lol.

Just wanted to update you guys so you too can work smarter not harder!

xxx

FOOOOOOOD

Hi,

I am currently enjoying not eating too much, after a period of indulgence lol.

Food….. *drools*

Anyway, turns out we really don’t need to eat as much as we do and it’s not entirely healthy. We overeat especially in the West.

I took some natural anti-inflammatory tablets in the form of Tumeric, Garlic and Curcumin supplements. That helped deal with any inflammation that came from over indulgence and helped my digestion along.

I had this amazing handmade Turkish burger from a grill place local to me twice in less than 2 weeks…man alive it was delicious.

Anyway, this is my 30th year walking this earth lol (my birthday in a couple of months!) and I question how constructive it is to allow myself to get chubby (I’m not chubby I’m just saying). My BMI is now 20 it was 18 before, there nothing wrong with filling out your frame, just don’t out grow it.

Check your BMI here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/ and have a great healthy evening ! πŸ˜‹

With love x

Madness

Hey,

There’s a saying:

“…madness is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results…”

So what are you doing the same with the hope of different results? Maybe you should be attacking that problem differently?

Xxx

View this post on Instagram

Testing the camera on my new phone! Wo0p wo0p!

A post shared by C-C Hope-Rivers (@hopelikerivers) on

Our #Brain, our #Emotions and evidence for our #Spirit | #Jesus #spiritual #body #psychology #limbicsystem #science

Hello,

Did you know my father used to be a scientist? No? Well now you do…

Anyway lol, today’s chit chat will be about the brain, emotions and how in my mind they prove that there’s a God. FYI, the featured image above is an actual poster of the brain I have in my room. Let’s go!

Emotions like fear and love are carried out by the limbic system, which is located in the temporal lobe of your brain. The structures are highlighted in the image below:

The limbic system is made up of multiple parts but the centre of emotional processing is the Amygdala, this receives input from other brain functions, like memory and attention. Let’s break down the itty bit’s to understand what’s going on in our heads!

Amygdala – (highlighted in pink!)

Almond shaped and responsible for multiple emotional responses such as: love, fear, anger and sexual desire. In animal studies from Shippensburg University, found that stimulating or removing the Amygdala can alter emotions:

  • Electrical activation causes aggression
  • Surgical removal results in indifferent emotional reactions.

Therefore, damage to the Amygdala can result in abnormal emotional responses and over-stimulation causes excessive reactions.

Hippocampus – (highlighted in orange!)

This sends information to the Amygdala and is one of the memory processing centres of the brain. It interacts with the Amygdala when a person has memories with emotional ties. According to The Canadian Institutes of Health Research the connection between the Hippocampus and Amygdala β€œmay be the origin of strong emotions triggered by particular memories,” explaining emotional responses to traumatic memories.

Prefrontal Cortex (highlighted in gold!)

Located near the front of the head and is involved in decision making in response to emotions, basically, thinking about thinking! According to The Canadian Institutes of Health Research the Prefrontal Cortex regulates anxiety and controls what decision a person makes when faced with an emotional reaction. That is because one’s level of anxiety will affect the decisions one makes, you need a clear head to think!

Hypothalamus – (highlighted in gold!)

This feeds information into the Amygdala (soo tiny with such a big job!), like the Hippocampus . Shippensburg University states that the Hypothalamus acts as a regulator of emotion, controlling levels of sexual desire, pleasure, aggression and anger. Essentially the Hypothalamus is your appetite regulator!

Cingulate Gyrus – (highlighted in red!)

This acts as a pathway between the Thalamus and the Hippocampus and plays a role in remembering emotionally charged events. Shippensburg University (again lol) notes that the Cingulate Gyrus focuses our attention on the event, alerting the rest of the brain that it is emotionally significant.

Ventral Tegmental Area (the little balls and arrows)

Just to clarify the picture, this is the dopamine pathways, it’s a circuit in your brain that deals with reward and punishment. The arrows and balls just show where things flows to and from where.

This area is also involved in emotions and love but particularly in how a person perceives pleasure. Dopamine pathways are located in the Ventral Tegmental Area. Let’s just discuss Dopamine a bit more. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in mood and increased levels elevate the person’s level of pleasure. It also helps you to move but what is important in this article is feelings. Dopamine also helps with reinforcement β€” motivating us to do something again and again. Dopamine is what prompts a lab animal to repeatedly press a lever to get tasty pellets of food. And it’s part of why humans seek out another slice of pizza! Reward and reinforcement help us learn where to find important things such as food or water, so that we can go back for more. Dopamine even affects moods. Things that are rewarding tend to make us feel pretty good. Lowering dopamine can make animals lose pleasure in activities like eating and drinking. This joyless state is called anhedonia (AN-heh-DOE-nee-uh). Dopamine also helps us focus on things. Anything that’s rewarding, after all, is usually well worth our attention. Dopamine has a more sinister side. Drugs such as cocaine, nicotine and heroin cause huge boosts in dopamine. The β€œhigh” people feel when they use drugs comes partly from that dopamine spike. This then prompts people to seek out those drugs again and again β€” even though they are harmful. Indeed, the brain β€œreward” associated with that high can lead to drug abuse and eventually to addiction.

Now this is all very interesting how chemicals and electricity regulate and control our emotions. However, what I would like to know is how things go from electricity and chemicals to a feeling? These things also don’t explain why people react differently to the same scenarios when we all have the same kit in our brains? These unanswerable questions are what I think gives evidence for not only more than 3 dimensions but also the human spirit. We are clearly more than atoms because we all have the same kit but respond differently to the same scenarios, you cannot say it’s always upbringing because some people are brought up very well and end up as serial killers and some people are abused as children but end up working for the UN or an NGO.

What are you saying Catherine?

Ultimately, what I am saying is that although the Limbic System is responsible for regulating emotions and helping us to feel these emotions and remember to associate them with various thing to help us to function effectively, it does not explain Personality. It only explains personality disorders which occur when things go wrong in the brain. Personality cannot be pinned down to any part of the brain, we can see evidence of it in the Limbic System but we cannot see it touching or interacting with the brain, personality is the essence of a human being and it’s ethereal (follow this link for definition), not corporeal (follow this link for definition) like our physical brains.

I grew up in the same house with my brother with the same parents and had the same punishments and rewards but we are two different people. He likes crowds, I like solitude, he likes noise, I like the quiet, he likes having lots of friends, I like a few close friends. Certain scenarios irritate him intensely, whereas the same scenarios don’t even register as a thing with me. On the flip side some things that agitate me intensely wash off his back like water off a ducks back lol. Why is that when we have lived similar lives?

The Limbic System and the other things in our brains also explain addiction, why we get sad and our fight and flight response but they do not explain the billions of variations and levels of addicts, sadness and flightiness. These things also do not explain why some people are in love with one person but not another even though they may look similar?

It is personality that makes me think that humans have spirits, I believe that what we call personality, is in fact Spirit.

Our bodies, to me, are like the following metaphor: our bodies are just like space suits that an astronaut uses to walk in and interact with the vacuum of space and the person inside is their spirit. The space suit looks one way on the outside but the person on the inside can be looking and feeling something totally different. In a similar way, our bodies are like casings or suits that allow our intangible spirits to interact with the tangible physical realm of the universe that we live in. Sometimes people look one way on their physical face but inside, if we could see their spirits, their spirits are angry or lustful or sad. It is the fact that human responses are not uniform, like Vulcan’s lol, sometimes our responses are irrational! This is what suggests to me that there is something else interacting with our brains that has not been identifiable yet that causes this. I think this is Spirit. I think this along the same lines as to why scientists think that dark matter exists, they can see atoms responding to/interacting with something that they cannot identify or touch and that thing they cannot identify easily they have called dark matter. Likewise, I can see that our physical bodies are interacting with something that cannot be easily identified or measured but it is clearly there, I have as others before me, labelled this thing as Spirit and if that is true it proves that Jesus (who is God) is also true because God (who chooses to identify as God the Father “Yahweh”, God the Son who we know as Jesus and God the Holy Spirit) is Spirit who created us like himself as it says in Genesis:

“[26] Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” [27] So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27 NLT)

So if we do have Spirit, the part of us that is like God, then we indeed have a God too!

Catherine x

Bibliography

Brookshire, B. Explainer: What is dopamine? Science News For Students Web site, at: <https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/explainer-what-dopamine&gt; 1 November 2018

Stannard, L. What Parts of the Human Brain Correspond to Emotion or Love? Livestrong Web site, at: <https://www.livestrong.com/article/77419-parts-human-brain-correspond-emotion/&gt; 1 November 2018

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Think About When #Reading #Genesis #Chapter 2 – #Bible #Christianity #Jesus

Hello everybody this is Part 2 of the thing I’m doing on Genesis 1 & 2, If you missed Part 1 it’s worth a read 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Think About When #Reading#Genesis #Chapter 1 – #Bible #Christianity #Jesus #PhD (follow this link to read it here).

Secondly, I’ve been writing some more music not my usual stuff (follow this link to listen) or play in the embedded player below:

Now to the article!

1.) Recapitulation – The beginning of Genesis 2 summarises what happened in Genesis 1 adding how the 7th day is holy because God rested.

Genesis 2:1-3 [NLT] – “[1] So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. [2] On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. [3] And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.”

2.) Genesis 2 has a different account of creation, the order is different and some new pieces of information are added like the springs that aren’t mentioned in Genesis 1, when were they created?

Genesis 2:4-6 [NLT] – “[4] This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, [5] neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the LORD God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. [6] Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land.”

3.) Genesis 1 & 2 have differing/conflicting accounts of the creation order:
Gen 2 order: Heavens & Earth > Land & Sea (Separation of Dry Ground & Water) > Man > Garden > Vegetation > Animals that primarily live on land > Birds > Woman and no mention of Fish etc
Gen 1 order: Heavens & Earth > Light > Atmosphere > Land & Sea (Separation of Dry Ground & Water) > Vegetation > Stars > Sun & Moon (potentially) > Life in the sea then Birds > Animals that primarily live on land > Man & Woman

Genesis 2:7-9 NLT – “[7] Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. [8] Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. [9] The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground–trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

4.) More new information: we learn there were rivers and mineral deposits around the area that the Garden of Eden was, this has led to speculation that the Garden of Eden was in fact in Africa, potentially around Ethiopia. Read my previous blog for more on this (follow this link for more info).

Genesis 2:10-14 [NLT] – “[10] A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. [11] The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. [12] The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. [13] The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. [14] The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.”

5.) Humans were created to work! The first humans were Gardeners/Farmers. We also learn about a new special Tree that was in the Garden that humans were never supposed to eat from.

Genesis 2:15-17 [NLT] – “[15] The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. [16] But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden– [17] except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.””

6.) HERE’S WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING!!!! Humans were created single (in terms of relationship status) but not designed to be totally alone. I’m not saying we should all get married but I am suggesting that according to Genesis 2 Humans are inherently social and it’s not good for us to be all alone. HOWEVER, let it be noted that God created friends & assistance for Adam in the form of animals first before He brought a woman into Adam’s life. How interesting. Friends first, then relationship next. That’s Gods formula.

I can only imagine that this animal interaction pre woman had to do with socialising Adam so that he was in the right state of mind and maturity in order to appreciate the woman that was to come.

There you go men, if you’re lonely, before going off and put a ring on the first thing that flutters it’s skanky little eyelids at you because you were thinking with your willy and not listening to God… get a dog. Then you will understand how to be friends with, appreciate and care for another sentient being other than your self. Also, a woman will be well impressed with how “responsible” you seem lol.

Women, if you want company or a baby so bad, don’t just sleep with the first mutant that is kind to you, shut you legs… and get a dog. You will see how much hard work it is to care for something that does not care about the fact that you want to sleep in, (I have two dogs), then after you have cleaned up it’s poo and wee for the umpteenth time, you will realise how stupid you were to try and run ahead and get pregnant with any old person, who might not be as dedicated to the idea as you are and you’ll wait a bit longer, (I literally had to stop writing this part way to deal with an, “accident”, *rolls eyes*). Eventually when you have waited for the right one who will marry you before he puts a baby in you, you will have some idea of the responsibility ahead πŸ™‚ . N.B. A dog will also love you unconditionally, humans won’t always do that.

Genesis 2:18-20 [NLT] – “[18] Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” [19] So the LORD God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. [20] He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.”

Another thing to note, Adam interacted with whatever God asked him to before the woman, seeing different things, getting a wider perspective on life. This helped him to get to know himself and to understand his personality, to the point where he fully understood not only what he wanted but what he needed see v 20. That’s how he knew that the animals were just not the right kind of company. I think that’s really important to stress. Adam was a whole person, knowing himself and the world around him before he committed to a woman who God brought to him. How many people have not gone through that process of seeing life and getting to knew themselves and what kind of person is appropriate for them and ended up rushing ahead and getting married to someone they later realised wasn’t quite right for them?

Also we learn from v 15 ADAM HAD A JOB!!! BEFORE GOD GAVE HIM THE WOMAN! I just felt it necessary to make that point. He was cultivating the Garden etc as God told him to so the woman was able to come to a “nest” not a wreck and a “responsible human being” not a boy. No woman wants to marry a boy it’s totally against our survival instinct. In fact, I would go so far as to say that from Genesis 2, we can understand that women are in fact not created to be in a romantic relationship with an immature man child. God brought Eve to Adam when he was mature. Later, Adam’s subsequent immaturity actually led to the fall of man see Genesis 3 and Romans 5:12-21.

7.) God brought the woman to the man when the man was least expecting it! Hehe. He literally fell asleep. Perhaps don’t freak out about wondering who, where and when you are going to meet the “one”?

Genesis 2:21-22 [NLT] – “[21] So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. [22] Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.”

8.) We don’t know how long Adam was asleep for or what Jesus said to Eve whilst Adam was asleep. This shows us that the “single time” for a man and a woman is important, it’s a time for learning, getting to know Jesus as well as yourself. I wrote about this in a previous blog post here (follow this link to find out more)

9.) The first marriage was monogamous. Adam and Eve, the relationship between the Song of Songs woman and her Lover, the relationship between Christ and the Church they all have one thing in common. THEY ARE MONOGAMOUS AND HETEROSEXUAL. Marriage as God instituted it and subsequently mirrored metaphorically later in the bible has and always was is between ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN. God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. God did not encourage or institute Bigamy, Polygamy, Concubines, prostitution, sexual slavery, homosexuality or inequality between the sexes MAN DID THAT NOT GOD. You read later on in Genesis that this person and the other person had concubines but God didn’t institute that, humans (more than likely men…) did that allllllll by themselves.

Genesis 2:23-24 [NLT] – “[23] “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'” [24] This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

In fact, God said that the Israelite Kings were to only have one wife and Paul said that about leaders in the new testament:

Deuteronomy 17:17 NLT – “[17] The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the LORD. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.”

1 Timothy 3:2 NLT – “[2] So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife [Bloggers note: other translations say the husband of one wife]. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.”

1 Corinthians 7:2 NLT – “[2] But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.”

10.) The first humans were NAKED!

Genesis 2:25 [NLT] – “[25] Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”

Well I hoped you learned something from those 10 things and if you missed the previous 10 things about Genesis 1 (follow this link to read them here!)

Have a great evening Gals & Guys!

Catherine x

#New Ways To #Pray #Christian #Jesus

Hello everybody,

A short one today I’m v. busy. Two days ago I was very tired after doing a lot and praying a lot. So when it came to bedtime prayers I was very tired. (Every morning I pray and read the Bible before getting out of bed and every night I pray and read the Bible before I go to sleep).

So I decided that that night I would try something different as I was exhausted physically and emotionally. I invited Jesus to come and sit on the bed with me and listen to Christian music with me. Music that I wrote actually and just meditated on the lyrics, what they mean, what I can do better, how can I use these, the themes, reflecting on my relationship with Jesus, where we have been and asking Jesus questions.

I found it refreshing just to meditate in Jesus’ presence. The stress just washed off me and I don’t remember when I fell asleep! 

Try it. Put on some Christian music, if you write Christian music and it’s recorded put it on! Invite God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit to come and sit with you, meditate on God, ask Jesus questions and bask in the Holy Spirit.

Much love,

Catherine

Suffering

Hello everyone,

I watched the film King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword and God used the story as a spring board to speak to me about suffering in general, as well as my own personal suffering. Arthur went through suffering which enabled him to defeat his enemy and save his people. I enjoyed the film. The soundtrack is really interesting! I’ve been through a lot in my 27 years, not as much as others but enough.

I struggle daily with my blood sugar, exhaustion caused by mental anguish due to my health, dyslexia, dyspraxia. Because of them I have to focus so hard when reading that reading a couple pages sends me to sleep and I’m doing a PhD lol.

There’s also the Aspergers which also makes me exhausted, being around people makes me feel exhausted. I pretend like it doesn’t but it does lol. Like many autistic people I struggle to sleep because my mind won’t slow down at night so I have a habit of waking up exhausted.

On the plus side, peoplee with the above issues tend to be very creative and Jesus had made me creative. I play the: Penny Whistle in D, Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Alto Saxophone, Lever Harp, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and I sing. I also own but do not play very often the: Soprano Recorder (the common one but that’s just it’s proper name), Ocarina and a Pan Flute! I also enjoy Sketching and Painting and composing music and photography! I’ve got many hobbies.

Now what I feel God is saying is that our characters and formed through suffering, low level suffering like a child wants a PS4 and the mother says wait to high level like you maybe develop a disease or something like that.

Reading Romans 9 it seems as though God actually chooses some people to cause trouble just to show His power and then He does away with them later?

Romans 9:11-23 NLT

[11] But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; [12] he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” [13] In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.” [14] Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! [15] For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” [16] So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. [17] For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” [18] So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. [19] Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” [20] No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” [21] When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? [22] In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. [23] He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.

How interesting! For scriptures relating to Pharaoh’s hard heartedness see Ex 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, 11,10, 14:8 read chapter 14 top the end to find out about what happened to Pharaoh. Also, looking at the story of Joseph, God also uses tragedy to help people as Joseph said:

Genesis 50:19-20 NLT

[19] But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? [20] You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

And through Jesus he did! Read on till Exodus 1:7.

God is given an opportunity to show off through adversity. He also teaches us humility in the face of his sovereignty. How can you have a Tesimony without the TEST? As Paul writes:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT

[7] even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. [8] Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. [9] Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. [10] That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Also, I think our “sinful natures” are tamed through adversity. Anyone recognise the following scenario?

Romans 7:14-24 NLT

[14] So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. [15] I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. [16] But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. [17] So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. [18] And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. [19] I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. [20] But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. [21] I have discovered this principle of life-that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. [22] I love God’s law with all my heart. [23] But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. [24] Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

But you see there is hope for us with dealing with our humanity as Paul writes further in Romans:

Romans 8:1-14 NLT

[1] So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. [2] And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. [3] The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. [4] He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. [5] Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. [6] So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. [7] For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. [8] That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. [9] But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) [10] And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. [11] The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. [12] Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. [13] For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. [14] For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Even though we try very hard to do good sometimes we just do the wrong thing. However, the difference between a child of God and someone from the world is that we will repent, recognise we are wrong accept God knows best and try our best to do what He wants us to do. Eventually we will become perfect!

John was exiled on the island of Patmos but then in his exclusion that’s where he received the revelation from Jesus that we today call the book of Revelation:

Revelation 1:9-11 NLT

[9] I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. [10] It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. [11] It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

So isolation is a tool of suffering that God used in order to speak to us and other people as well.

Another thing God broght to my attention is that He uses adversity to separate his people from the world. This is a special kind of suffering the bible teaches that will happen at the end time, this suffering is eternal. Jesus talks about it in the Parable Of The Wheat And Weeds:

Matthew 13:24-30 NLT

[24] Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. [25] But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. [26] When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. [27] “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ [28] “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. [29] “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. [30] Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'”

[JESUS THEN EXPLAINS THE PARABLE LATER]

Matthew 13:36-43 NLT

[36] Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” [37] Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. [38] The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. [39] The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. [40] “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. [41] The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. [42] And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

I feel like all I can say is to “fight the good fight”:

1 Timothy 6:11-14 NLT

[11] But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. [12] Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. [13] And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, [14] that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

When bad things come your way, the devil thinks he is doing it to break you but God is using bad things to show His power, to save other people, to humble us and help us recognise God’s sovereignty, to help us to recognise and deal with our “sinful natures”, to give us revelation/speak to us and to separate us as His own in end times.
I wrote a song about holding on in times of adversity and performed it at church, it’s called ‘We’re Holding On’ πŸ™‚

https://soundcloud.com/hopelikerivers/were-holding-on-live-at-church

Lots of love Catherine x

What is your problem?

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

So today is going to be a bit of an odd post but I hope it helps someone.

What in your life has become a “problem”? And by problem you know what I mean, I mean this thing has become a major distraction, you genuinely can’t carry on like this, it’s totally un-liveable, unworkable, unmanageable, it’s beginning to effect your quality of life, relationships and just needs to stop?

I’ll share with you my thing. Well, can you believe it but I really feel like God has been talking to me about me over watching cute animal videos on YouTube lol. It wasn’t until God pointed it out to me that I realised that it was a problem… I once spent an hour on YouTube watching cute videos of puppies and kittens and laughing (I’m not joking lol).

Now there isn’t anything wrong with cute animal video’s on YouTube but it was the amount of time I was wasting which was unhelpful and unhealthy lol. I just like small furry things… Anyway so I went cold turkey from cute videos and decided if I’m going on YouTube its going to be for something else, just you know, for variety? I found some other channels I like to watch, some comedy ones just to broaden my horizons! Also, I’ve started to watch things I need to watch for my job as Pastor/Director of Music at my churh my PhD like this video from Don Moen (then follow this link or play it in the embedded player below):

Why am I telling you this? I thought it might help someone identify things in their life that have become a problem and need to stop and to let you realise it doesn’t have to be something like porn to trap you it could be something small like cute furry animal videos lol. Go through your life and think, “what am I honestly spending too much time doing?”, be honest and change. When we waste our time we are wasting God’s time. That’s all.

Here’s some calming music:

Love Catherine x

#singleness #Jesus #marriage #Adam #Eve #exercise #Christian

Hello,

This week I went for a run in the park and I enjoyed myself quite a lot, you know with all the endorphins that exercise releases.

Well it got me thinking, I enjoy exercising (unless I’m on my period, no exercise gets done then, I do eat lots of cake though lol) and I said to Jesus, “You know what would be really great? If my future husband would be the type that would exercise with me”. 

Now, it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve been into exercise and before I wasn’t that keen. I thought to myself, you know I’ve really changed over the past couple of years and I’m not even the same person that I was at the beginning of the week because previously I couldn’t care less if the guy didn’t exercise with me.

This got me thinking further. Now this is the big moral to this story. You ready?… Had I gotten married when I was younger, back when most of my friends got married I would not have had the emotional and physical space that singleness provides in order to develop my personality. Being single has let me explore my own needs and wants, I’ve developed a character that defines me as opposed to having my character defined or shaped by my spouse. 

The chilling thing is that the changes that have happened to me would have happened anyway because they are related to my raw, base nature that I was born with. Consequently, had I got married earlier, I would have married a guy whose personality fit young inexperienced Catherine. I would then have changed and we would have no longer been compatible.

I attended a training session from a sports psychologist, he informed us that your brain can still be adolescent well up to 25-30 years old, depending on how mature you are. That totally fits with my own psychological development. I’m over 25 but not 30 yet, I’m very close to 30 but honestly I’ve only felt like an adult in the last couple of years.

Now, if we look in the Bible we see what life was like for early single man:

Genesis 2:15-20 NLT

[15] The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. [16] But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden- [17] except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” [18] Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” [19] So the LORD God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. [20] He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

Look at that! Adam was single with Jesus for an unspecified amount of time. During that time he was given instruction by God [v 16-17] (he went to school), he was given the purpose of tending the garden [v 15] (he had a job), he learnt about himself and the world around him and he was with Jesus [v 19-20] (he had a close, talking relationship with Jesus). God did all of that for a reason. God had Adam trying new things and meeting new challenges to develop his character, till he could get to the place where he understood that he needed more and why he needed more and what the more was for! It was always God’s intention to make woman but he needed man to be in a fit state to interact with woman appropriately.

The Bible also shows us early single woman:

Genesis 2:21-22 NLT

[21] So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. [22] Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

We don’t know how long Adam was out for, it could have been anything from 60 minutes to 60 years for all we know. Eve spent time on her own just her and Jesus. We know this because Jesus brought Eve to Adam as opposed to him finding her himself. We don’t know what Jesus told Eve before He introduced her to Adam but I imagine one of the things was about sex. 

Now, the man and women both had special “single time” with Jesus before He introduced them to each other. This got me thinking. Don’t feel awful about the length of your “single Adam time” or your “single Eve time”. This is when you are to learn and grow as a person. Guys, maybe it’s a time that you might want to get a job in a field (excuse the pun) that you feel that God wants you to do like Adam? Ladies, spend time with Jesus, try new things, grow, change, get a career you want and become the best and most effective you that you can be! I’ve personally improved when it comes to physical fitness, isn’t it so much better to go into a relationship healthier, physically, spiritually and emotionally?

I was thinking to myself, you never know, at one point guys, you might go to sleep, like Adam [v 21], metaphorically, as in you just stop looking for a lady and then boom! She’s there! Heh. Likewise, ladies, you might just be enjoying spending time with Jesus without a man and then Jesus says “it’s time” and then somewhere on your walk with Jesus, whilst you are continuing your relationship with Jesus, Jesus takes you to the one [v 22].

Note, when they were both in the right place physically and emotionally they were naked (honest and safe with each other) and not be ashamed [v 25].

Genesis 2:23-25 NLT

[23] “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'” [24] This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. [25] Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

Everyone tells me I’ll know when I meet the one, like the man in verse 23. 

Interestingly, according to the Bible, verse 24, men tend to leave their parents to go and be with their wives (maybe move out of your parents place? Not a rule but you probably should get your own place once you’re married…).

These things are important, consider the changes in my interests a cautionary tale! It’s ok to be single. Single time is for getting to know Jesus, yourself, the world and how it works. Marriage is not easy and I have dodged many many many bullets, it means that I’m single still but I’m not in a loveless marriage with a tool, which makes me 100% better off than an unhappily married woman and I regret nothing. I’m not saying I wont still change, in fact, I’m looking forward to changing for the better with a spouse but you need to grow enough to where you can get to the point where you can be malleable enough to be affected in a good way by your spouse and be able to accept, recognise and metabolize good change and stamp out and deal with bad change. That takes maturity and the ability to know who and what you are in Christ. Also, during my single time I’ve been learning about myself, improving my physical fitness through exercising more and making healthy adjustments to my diet (the healthier you are the more energy and emotional resources you will have for things like sex and babies/children and your in-laws lol) and critiquing how I want to live and the types of individuals that I want around me. Moreover, I feel like I’ve learned so much of the Bible, there’s still more to learn and most importantly I feel like my relationship with Jesus is growing and transforming because I have so much time to myself to work on it! I see its importance and I can take a new found strength of character into a relationship and say to whoever “Jesus is more important than you!”
Love your singleness!

Catherine x