Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lectio- Escribio

You may have heard of Lectio Divina--but chances are good that you haven't.  Essentially it is a method of reading Scripture, meeting God there and  having him apply it to your life. It is thousands of years old. I'm not going to explain how to do it but at the end of this post, I will post a link that will explain it to you very clearly.

Today while reading my daily passage of Scripture I felt a couple of verses leap out at me and demanding more of me than a mere "skim through."  I had been reading that link on Lectio Divina...and because I had practiced Lectio in the past, it was not a big leap for me to decide to pursue these couple of verses in that manner.

Here is the passage:: Daniel 2:21b-22
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
As I meditated, I was writing what God was showing me.  I am a writer. I do not understand something unless I have written it...so even though "escribio" is not part of Lectio for most people, for me it is.  Here is what God showed me in this passage:

In the depths of my depression:  God knew what was in my past darkness and the solution lay with Him—He was there had I had the humility to look and to call out to Him.

My future is darkness also.  There is nothing good about it.
But God knows, anticipates and has a plan for me in the midst of that darkness. 

Seek Him!  Call out to Him.!.Most importantly: make room for Him in my heart and soul and mind.


Love him wholeheartedly and He will provide light for me in that dark place.

God also is in the midst of my future blindness.(For those of you who don't know: I am losing my sight) He has a plan.  He holds my hand and directs me.  The Darkness is Light to Him.  "I will fear no evil for Thou art with me."
 

 In all these areas of darkness in my life....in my past (depression) in my future (disability, pain, and blindness) and in my present (pain as well as uncertainty about my future... God is in the midst of this darkness...He is intimately acquainted with it. And HE IS MY PATH THROUGH THAT DARKNESS.  He may take me out of the darkness...or he may just comfort me with his presence in the darkness.

To those of you who struggle with the darkness of depression: I have intimate understanding of what that is like.  It takes a lot of courage to reach out of your despair and grasp the hand that God is holding out to you.  I wasted many years in complete misery being depressed because of my mental illness (Schizophrenia) and my anger about that directed at God for letting it happen to me.  I will not engage in a theological discussion about God's Sovereignty and his Goodness ...there are many books that deal with that. (If you want info on that, email me; cynthialottvogel@gmail,com).  What I am trying to say to you is: God Knows, God Cares, And he is the Source of your Healing.

Somehow the thought that God was THERE in the middle of those years of mental anguish, hit me right in the gut.  I did so much to push God away and to deny that he exists...but none the less, he was THERE...seeing me through it....Obstructing my attempts at suicide.  Saving me. Keeping me. Because he had better things in mind for me.

Here is that link on Lectio Divina (there are also books on it...Search on Amazon)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Finished

Have you ever done anything that haunts you? Even years later, when you think of it you flush with shame and feel like vomiting?  I have.  Something that has weighed on me for years.  I have repented of it--with many tears....but still it torments me.  It comes to mind and I think , "confession was too easy....it cannot possibly be gone from my "account" now"  Today, again, it raised its ugly head and I prayed, "Lord, you know I have repented.  You know I have never again done anything like that.  You know that Jesus paid for this sin....can you please give me a complete rest from this guilt? Can you obliterate it from my account?  Can you make me feel the forgiveness I know I have?"

Shame.

Heb. 12:2  says:
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 
 The other day I was thinking of this verse.  I was thinking about how much Jesus hated being on the cross, naked, spit upon, disgraced.....he despised it.

But today the same verse means something a little different to me.   Jesus bore the weight of my sin on his ripped up shoulders.  He bore the shame for me.  And yes, he despised it.  He wore the contempt that I should have worn....all this self hatred I've been bearing, all the guilt, and contempt, he repudiated for me. This guilt is no longer mine.  Jesus took it from me and I am negating the power of the cross if I keep digging it up and gowning myself in it again.

Jesus despised my sin for me.  I do not have to despise myself any longer. I no longer have that sin tucked away in secrecy.  Jesus dragged it out of my closet and bore it in my stead.  And that means one thing:
 
IT IS FINISHED.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

R.D. Laing and the Divided Self!

The following is Part Two of the articles written by fellow sufferers of the disease, Schizophrenia.  The first one in the series was an autobiographical approach written by "Janis" (not her real name). (see: http://cynthialottvogel.blogspot.com/2015/03/guest-author-janis.html) Today I am presenting an informational article written by a different person....His article discusses the psychiatrist, Laing, and examines his contribution to schizophrenia and the treatment of it and how that has affected our understanding of the disease today.


R.D. Laing and the divided self!
The biological model of madness is becoming mainstream. New discoveries in the realm of neuroscience has improved our understanding of the brain. This has led to more complex theories on why some people become psychotic and others don't.

The most well known theory is the dopamine hypothesis, which suggest that schizophrenics and other psychotic people have excess of this neurotransmitter. The theory was developed after the drugs seemed to better the patients condition. These drugs, called anti-psychotics, lower dopamine levels in the brain. And that is how the dopamine hypothesis was born.

Some people might be interested in more psychological models of psychosis and schizophrenia. A mostly overlooked expert in this field is R.D. Laing. Some credit him for the invention of Anti Psychiatry, but he was not against treatment as some say. Neither did he think that psychosis was a positive experience. His book "The Divided Self", holds many interesting thoughts which we will look at. Schizophrenia actually means split mind or divided mind, thus the title of the book.

For him a schizophrenic person is unable to relate to the real world. A person rarely becomes schizophrenic from one day to the next. Laing describes the term schizoid, which is a person who has deviant beliefs, but still relates and functions in the world. He gives many examples in his book, like the one about a certain young man. This man feels that he only way he can ever express his real self is by talking only to strangers. This means that he frequently visits other towns for haircuts or similar activities, that would lead to familiarity. He is able to function in the world, but eventually he develops full blown schizophrenia.

This seems like a dark future for the diagnosed but Laing offers a little promise. He says that schizophrenic people might let light into their lives that some normal people might not. In other words you can enjoy life just as much as a schizophrenic as a more normal person. It should not make you any less of a good person.

Laing finishes the book by stating that a person is longer mad when he meets someone that shares his world and understands his thoughts. R.D. Laing is a good read for everyone who wants to understand how they have become severly mentally ill and I highly frecommend it.
By Mottec

Friday, April 3, 2015

Despising, Enduring and Overcoming

Heb 2:12
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (italics mine)
There is a verse in my head today.  And it is appropriate for today is the day we remember Jesus' death. It talks about--appropriately, this Good Friday,-- Jesus' approach to the cross.  The cross was something to be endured. And the shame was something to be despised.  I had always thought that the phrase,"despising its shame" was a way of saying that Jesus, diminished the shame, he overcame it and defeated it...The way you despise an enemy who is smaller than you.  But today as I read the verse it seemed that the shame was bigger that day than Jesus in his weakness and pain.  He truly despised it...just as he endured the cross.  That sad day, it seemed like the cross was the victor.
 
 Jesus hung there, naked, beaten, spit up on --he had always been looked up to.  
 He had always been called "Rabbi," "Rabboni," "Master," "Teacher,", these were titles of honor from those who looked up to him.  He had been looked up on as  a teacher---and now he was literally looked up on as he hung there....but no more was their respect.  He was "A worm and not a man"(Ps 22:6).  And he despised it.  He hated it.  And yet, for the joy to come, he endured it.  It took every fiber of his being to endure it---when he could have turned the tables at any time.  All the angels in heaven watched their Master dying and they were ready: "Just say the word, Lord, and we will be there to beat the snot out of your enemies."  But he didn't summon them, instead he hung there ashamed and in agony.  It was demoralizing. It was humiliating.  It was shameful.
 
And in his mind I'm sure--the day when he would be dressed in blinding white, riding a white horse when he comes to earth to judge the living and the dead--was in his thoughts. On that day, these enemies of his will grovel at his feet begging for mercy....and there will be no mercy. Best of all those he loves will share his glory.  And they will be freed from the eternal death--the death without respite, without a period at the end of their sentence.--and will reign with him in  his kingdom.  And because of that....because of the love  that drove him into the hands of his enemies...he endured. And he despised.  He died with a cry that chased away sunlight and rocked the mountains, splitting open graves and freeing the dead.  It was finished.  It IS finished.

But today....we must fix our eyes on the cross...remembering his death, until he comes again.  The more we bathe ourselves in the blood of Calvary, the greater the joy with which we will greet Resurrection Day.  We will not think of it as a celebration of Spring.  We will not think of it as a day in which to  stuff our faces with candy...or go to egg hunts...or to wear pretty new clothes.  No, we will recognize our freedom, bought with such a terrible price.  It should be called "Gratitude Day" and it is through the eyes of gratefulness that we will remember the cross and with heart racing joy we see the empty tomb.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lost and Found


I lost my glasses last night. Brand new, two-day-old glasses.
God usually opens my eyes and speaks to my heart where my lost items are. But this time He is silent….which makes me understand that this is no ordinary loss.  I think maybe it’s a test.  Ecc. 3:6 says “a time to search and a time to give up as lost.”  I have searched my entire house. Top to bottom.  And now I’ve “given it up as lost”….I do not believe they will be lost forever.  Once God is done with what he is doing here, I will find them again.  Of this I am certain.  Once I lost a pair of glasses in my recliner and they were gone for 6 months…and when I found them they were so bent out of shape they were unusable.
I did not take these glasses for granted.  They were a gift from God’s hand and I recognized that. I rejoiced on Facebook at the miracle through which they were provided.  I celebrated God’s gift and I thanked him profusely.  “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away….blessed be the name of the Lord”….so I know that they have not been removed due to a lack of gratitude.  No, God is doing something else here.  He is showing me how to wait on him and to not give up hope in Him. 
Ps 42:11
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Luke 8…the woman who had lost a coin, “lighted a lamp and carefully swept her house.  She didn’t stop searching until she found it…” Then she rejoiced with her neighbors.
I have prayed for God to return my glasses to me.  It was so wonderful to see. And I liked the way they looked.  But God wanted to be my sight. “Be Thou my Vision o Lord of my Heart.  Naught be all else to me save that Thou Art.”  I should not rely on glasses for sight…but on the Lord.  If He is willing he can heal my eyes…or he can return my glasses, or he can protect me from accidents due to not being able to see.
I pray that he returns my glasses.  I trust him that he will do that.  I have ceased to fret—it only leads to evil—and instead am resting in and trusting in my God’s kind and good heart. I know that “he is for me” and not against me. 
Maybe this is just another case of God removing my love for my possessions.  It is my Isaac.  “Take your son, your only son, whom you love….”
I really do want my glasses back…but I am asking God for the grace and the surrendering heart not to hold tightly to anything but his hand….and I am convinced that once I have surrendered, he will return the glasses to me.  Maybe. Or maybe he will keep them hidden so that every time I struggle to see, I will turn to him. I don’t know.  But in any case, I am okay with what he decides.