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Bible Rewires Addicts' Brains

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Bible Rewires Addicts' Brains

4/17/2014 (Topic#: 1458)

When you’re walking with God, marvelous, unnatural things occur—things that run in direct opposition to things which are accepted as “normal” fare.  We know this phenomenon at GodSaidManSaid as the 180 Principle.  A circle is 360° and 180° from the starting point are opposites. 

The opposites begin day one of redemption.  Matthew 4:16-17:

16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

We were lost and now we are found.  God is hope for the hopeless and ever-present help in the time of trouble. 

I have good news and bad news.  First the good news:  We don’t have bad news—even our afflictions are converted to good news.  Consider these exciting verses:  Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75:

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

Even things that appear to be bad turn to our good.  Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Such magnificent promises!  How about Ecclesiastes 7:2:

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

It’s better to go to the funeral home than Comedy Central.  The redeemed participate in the glorious opposites. 

Have you been born again as Jesus declares in John 3:3?  Are you ready to have your record expunged of all sin and shame?  Are you ready to begin a brand new life full of love and grace?  Today is your day to participate in the 180.  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God.  NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

GOD SAID, Ephesians 4:22-24:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

GOD SAID, Colossians 3:9-10:

9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

MAN SAID:  The archaic writings of the Bible are simply the rantings of old men who, in today’s enlightened society, are irrelevant. 

Now THE RECORD.  Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature article 686 that will once again prove the full inerrancy of God’s Holy Bible.  All of these features are archived here in text and streaming audio for the edification of the saints and as bait for the fishers of men.  Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one. 

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Thank you for coming today.  May God’s face shine upon you and all that you put your hand to. 

The Word of God is denied and discredited by the blind leaders of the blind, but to the sighted, it is the glorious Truth of the living God who interacts in the affairs of His beloved on a very daily—even minute by minute—basis.  Snipe and gripe as they may, God’s Word remains the unscathed Truth. 

Thousands of years before man’s vaunted science begins to understand a principle, God, in His Word, has already staked out His position.  The new frontier of neuroscience demonstrates this miraculous phenomenon beautifully.  Many GodSaidManSaid features address neuroscience and the Bible, and several of these articles focus on the marvels of neuroplasticity.  Now neuroplasticity is back in the news.  Several foundational paragraphs from the GodSaidManSaid feature “Let''s Change Our Brains” follow:

Statistics have been cited on GodSaidManSaid that tell of the staggering number of global citizens who suffer from mental illnesses.  Thirty-eight percent of Europe has been diagnosed as mentally ill, and the U.S. can’t be far behind.  God has offered Word Therapy as the solution. 

Multiple features posted on this site address the reality that, as the Bible declares, all things are literally made out of words—from the electronic device by which you are accessing this information, to your eyes, ears, and brain that are comprehending these messages, and yes, even down to your DNA, the building instructions of life that delivers its message in a four-letter alphabet structured as words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and volumes.  Words—everything is made out of words.  Psalm 33:6:

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Hebrews 11:3:

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Harnessing the power of God’s creative Words heals the mind and the body, and empowers one to set a course for life—life more abundantly, even unto eternal life. 

Top neuroscientists were interviewed in the May 2005 issue of Discover magazine concerning what they considered to be the most critical development in neuroscience in the past 25 years.  A dominant theme, the concept of the plasticity of the brain, kept recurring.  The amazement in neuroscience is that the adult brain actually adds neurons and literally changes form.  Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, Chairman of the Department of Neurology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, had this to say:

The discovery that new neurons can appear in the adult brain may be the most surprising of the last quarter century of neuroscience.  The scale of the phenomenon and its significance remain to be established, but it appears that one of the oldest dogmas in the business is not true. 

Brain plasticity means that the shape, size, and the number of neurons and synaptic connections change with experience.  Elizabeth Gould, professor of psychology, Princeton University, weighed in with the following:

One of the most important advances in the field of neuroscience in the last 25 years was the recognition that the adult brain exhibits both functional and structural plasticity.  Indeed, an entire subfield of neuroscience has emerged that focuses on plasticity as a basis for understanding brain function under normal conditions as well as after brain damage.  Because of this large body of work, we now know that the shape, size, and number of neurons and synaptic connections change as a result of experience. 

The big news in the field of neuroscience is that the brain is plastic—it changes form over time, and words and experiences are central to this process.  Thousands of years before neuroscience was even conceived, God declares this principle over and over again in His Word.  Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The Godly renewing of the mind—making new the mind—actually transforms your entire being:  mind, heart, body, soul, and spirit.  This process, through a very dramatic, life-changing experience, is what Jesus Christ calls “born-again.” 

The Words of God renew the mind and we are transformed.  Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines transform: “To change the form of; to metamorphose.”  Metamorphose is defined: “To change into a different form.”  Again Webster defines it in theology as follows:  “Change the natural disposition and temper of a man from a state of enmity (war) to God and His law, into the image of God, or into a disposition and temper conformed to the will of God.”  [End of quote]   The call to put on the mind of Christ is the call to be transformed into the likeness of God. God changes our entire being with words—His! 

So, neuroscience now understands that the brain can be transformed.  The Word of God, the foundation of all that is true, proclaimed this revelation thousands of years ago.  [End of quotes]

The headline in the March 28, 2014 issue of The Wall Street Journal reads, “Can Faith Rewire an Addict’s Brain?”  Several paragraphs from that feature follow.  The feature was written by Baylor University professor Bryon Johnson and Case Western Reserve University professor of psychiatry Maria Pagano:

Young people who regularly attend religious services and describe themselves as religious are less likely to experiment with alcohol and drugs, a growing body of research shows.  Why?  It could be religious instruction, support from congregations, or conviction that using alcohol and drugs violates one’s religious beliefs. 

Moreover, frequent involvement in spiritual activities seems to help in the treatment of those who do abuse alcohol and drugs.  That’s the conclusion of many reports, including our longitudinal study of 195 juvenile offenders that will be released in May in Alcohol Treatment Quarterly

How do we help them?  As one troubled young woman in our study, whom we will call Katie to protect her identity, said:  “I started to get better when I started to help out in Alcoholics Anonymous.  When we help others, we get connected to a power greater than ourselves that can do for us what alcohol and drugs used to do.” 

Katie’s idea, to connect those who are struggling to a “higher power,” may seem too simple.  Clinicians remain divided about whether AA’s goal of helping alcoholics find a higher power to solve their problems is appropriate in treatment planning.  But new research, including our own study, is beginning to lend support to Katie’s conclusion. 

There are two key elements of the 12-step program AA uses: helping others and God-consciousness.  Those who help people during their treatment—taking time to talk to another addict who is struggling, volunteering, cleaning up, setting up for meetings, or other service projects—are, according to our research, more likely to stay sober and out of jail in the six months after discharge, a high-risk period in which 70% relapse. 

Increasing God-consciousness also appears to produce results.  Our study showed daily spiritual experiences increased social behavior and reduced narcissistic behavior. 

Nearly half of youth who self-identified as agnostic, atheist, or nonreligious at treatment admission claimed a spiritual affiliation two months later.  This change correlated with a decreased likelihood of testing positive for alcohol and drugs during treatment. 

Neuroscientists, including Andrew Newberg in his 2010 book How God Changes Your Brain, are beginning to uncover what happens to the mind when the unconscious neurological foundations of addiction are short-circuited by spiritual awakening and a new focus on helping others.  Neuronal pathways in the brain appear to be instantaneously realigned. 

Research suggests that addicts may be prisoners of the left hemisphere of their brain, which tends to ruminate on problems such as social anxiety.  But when their right brains are triggered by an intense emotional experience, unexpected solutions appear.  Spiritual experience can be an important catalyst to this kind of brain rewiring. 

As a teen we will call Ben told us, “I am aware today in sobriety that my thinking has drastically changed.  You take a telescope and move it a centimeter, and your whole world changes.  Now I ask myself:  What can I bring to the table?  How can I help?”

How does a person rewire their own brain?   There are many paths, but some adolescents agree with “Allen,” who told us, “I need a power greater than myself to enter my life.”  [End of quotes]

Again from the GodSaidManSaid feature “Let''s Change Our Brains:”

Putting on the mind of Christ literally changes the formation of the brain.  Let’s read Romans 12:2 again:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Neuroscientists know this as neuroplasticity.  Transformed simply means to change form.  God’s renewing of the mind process will change all aspects of a person’s life and it begins as a result of direct intervention of God’s Spirit in the believer’s mind.  This process of Godly mind transformation begins with a miracle and proceeds through a continued series of miracles:

    • Miracle #1:  Born-again
    • Miracle #2:  The chain-breaking power of the open confession of Jesus Christ with the mouth.
    • Miracle #3:  A public water baptism by immersion.
    • Miracle #4:  The supernatural baptism of the Holy Ghost as received on the day of Pentecost.
    • Miracle #5:  The daily study of the Word of God which continues the process of mind renewal. 

The born-again experience is not "turning over a new leaf."  It’s a new—all new—life.  II Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Neuroscience begins to understand neuroplasticity, but God is already there.

For those of you who have not been filled with the Holy Ghost as they were on the day of Pentecost, click onto The Holy Ghost Series

Let’s change our brains.  Below, you will find the GodSaidManSaid brain-changing Power Speaking Page that you can print out and carry with you.  There is a process for obtaining dominant victory.  Following this verbal procedure yields results that are consistent, steadfast, and sure.  If you are listening to this feature, I will speak the promise and you should repeat out loud after me.  If you are reading this feature, speak the promises out loud with emphasis.  Are you ready?  Here we go!

POWER SPEAKING PAGE

SPEAK OUT LOUD:

  • I have repented of my sins and surrendered my life to my Lord Jesus Christ (I John 1:9).
  • I am born-again (John 3:3, I Peter 1:22-23, I John 1:7).
  • I am a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17).
  • I am a child of God (I John 5:1).
  • I am baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38-39).
  • My steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalms 37:23).
  • I can speak with new tongues (Mark 16:17).
  • The angel of the Lord encamps about me to protect me (Psalms 34:7).
  • I can cast out devils (Mark 16:17).
  • I am a king and a priest in Christ Jesus (Revelation 1:6).
  • I can lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:18).
  • I am a saint (I Corinthians 1:2, Romans 8:27, etc.).
  • All things work together for my good (Romans 8:28).
  • No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
  • In everything give thanks (I Thessalonians 5:18).
  • I am able to go up and take the country (Numbers 13:30).
  • I can bind and loose on earth and it shall be bound and loosed in Heaven (Matthew 16:19).
  • I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me (Romans 8:37).
  • God always causes me to triumph in Christ (II Corinthians 2:14).
  • Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all (Psalms 34:19).
  • By the stripes of Jesus I am healed (I Peter 2:24).
  • I have power with God (John 14:13-14).
  • I love everybody (Matthew 5:44).
  • Today is the best day of my life (Romans 8:28, Proverbs 4:18).
  • Tomorrow will be better (Romans 8:28, Proverbs 4:18).
  • Nothing shall by any means hurt me (Luke 10:19).
  • Everything I put my hand to shall prosper (Psalms 1:3).
  • This is the day the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24).
  • Hallelujah!

Supernatural Word Therapy is just what the Creator ordered and today’s neuroscience shouts YES! 

GOD SAID, Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

GOD SAID, Ephesians 4:22-24:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

GOD SAID, Colossians 3:9-10:

9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

MAN SAID:  The archaic writings of the Bible are simply the rantings of old men who, in today’s enlightened society, are irrelevant. 

Now you have THE RECORD.

References:

Authorized King James Version

GodSaidManSaid, “Let''s Change Our Brains

Johnson, B. and Pagano, M., “Can Faith Rewire an Addict’s Brain?” The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2014

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