Mediation Monday: Inflammation and Immune Dysfunction in Mood Disorders

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of the intricate communication between the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system. Studies are finding that inflammation and immune dysfunction is associated with many psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. There is also an increase prevalence of autoimmune diseases in patients with mental health issues. An autoimmune disease is condition where to person own immune system attacks tissues causing inflammation and tissue damage. Studies on depression and other mood disorders have found increase in inflammatory immune factors. The brain and immune system communicate back and forth through the neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system that activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). Studies have found impairment of the HPA axis in many mental health condition as well as autoimmune diseases. Stress activates the HPA axis releasing cortisol that dampens the immune response initially, but chronic stress and cortisol release actually suppresses the immune system contributing to low grade inflammation (Alessi and Bennett, 2020).

Stress and diet are the two most important factors that can lead to chronic illness. Stress (mentally and physically) and inflammation can cause epigenetic changes that can be passed on to our children. Scripture gives us direction to where our health comes from. Proverb 3:5-8 is our mediation for the week.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil.
It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts]
And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.

The way to being well in mind, body, and spirit is trusting in the Lord, acknowledging him is all our ways, and reverently honoring him. As we seek him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13), it will be health to all our inner parts. Go to Jesus, trusting him ,and he will direct your path. Meditate on his love for you. You are his beloved child.

Shalom (peaceharmonywholenesscompletenessprosperitywelfare and tranquility).

Alessi, M. G., & Bennett, J. M. (2020). Mental health is the health of the whole body: How psychoneuroimmunology & health psychology can inform & improve treatment. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice26(5), 1539–1547. https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13386

Medication Monday: Healing Light

Then Jesus said, “I am light to the world, and those who embrace me will experience life-giving light, and they will never ( never, no never) walk in darkness.” John 8:12

Light is electromagnetic radiation that is composed of electromagnetic fields moving through space carrying electromagnetic energy. This electromagnetic energy is composed of radiowaves, infrared light, microwaves, ultraviolet light, gamma rays, and x-rays. These electromagnetic waves are composed of different wave lengths and proton energy. Years ago in a dream, the Lord came to me. He picked me up in His arms holding me like a baby. I literally felt the electricity running through His arm. He gently placed me back in the chair and was gone.

Christ is the energy, the Light, that brings healing to our mind, body, and soul. In Colossian 1:17 , the Bible tells us that all thing were created through Christ, and he is what hold all things together. Ultraviolet and infrared light have known healing properties, but how much more the healing power of the Light, Christ. He carries the full spectrum of Light! Let’s look at Malachi 4:2:

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

This week think and ponder about His beams, His Light, that shines upon you to bring the healing to your body, soul, and mind. As you meditate, see the Son of Righteous shining His beams of healing Light over you. The world can offer some forms of healing but true complete healing is found in the Light of Jesus.

Meditation Monday: Radiant Health

Research is accumulating that emotional health is important to physical health. Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how the immune system, nervous system, and endocrine system work together to keep the body healthy. There is mounting evidence that inflammation in the body and a dysfunctional immune system is often associated with mental illness (Alessi and Bennett, 2020). Stress is a known cause of chronic inflammation. Alessi and Bennett (2020) stated in their research that chronic inflammation is a “biological scar” stemming from life stresses that may have happened in childhood or early adulthood. These life stresses impair the physiological stress response leading to mental and physical health problems (Alessi and Bennet, 2020). Evidence is mounting that people struggling with mental and physical health conditions can benefit from therapeutic approaches that reduce inflammation.

Alleviating stress and eating a low inflammatory diet is a good place to start in the fight against chronic inflammation. Getting counselling to work through emotional trauma is also key to being well mentally, physically, and spiritually. Focused-faith based mediation is a powerful tool the calm the mind, body, and spirit. Studies on meditation have proven that mediation improves the immune function and strengthens neural pathways. The bible, of course, has given us wisdom on this all along. Let’s look at Proverbs 4:21-22

Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap my words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being.

The word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). God is love and His love has been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, that has been given to believers (Romans 5:5). Doctors and counsellors can be helpful on the road to healing but there is only One who can heal the broken heart and give us radiant health. The week ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to the life giving words that you need to fill your thoughts, leading you to radiant health.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Alessi, M. G., & Bennett, J. M. (2020). Mental health is the health of the whole body: How psychoneuroimmunology & health psychology can inform & improve treatment. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice26(5), 1539–1547. https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13386

Meditation Monday: Healing the Broken Heart

It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm]. Deuteronomy 31:8

Stress is a major contributor to chronic illness contributing to more than 87% of current chronic illnesses. Takotsubo Syndrome is a stress-induced cardiomyopathy than is also known as broken-heart syndrome. Broken-heart syndrome is more common in postmenopausal women and is triggered by extreme emotional or physical stress such as divorce, illness or natural disasters like the recent pandemic or earthquakes. The incidence of broken-heart syndrome is higher in people who have anxiety and depression. The exact cause of broken-heart syndrome is not known but the release of stress catecholamines is believed to be the primary cause.

What we think and meditate on is very important for as a we think in our heart, so are we (Proverb 23:7). The things of this world can not provide lasting security and people will fail us. There is only one who will never fail us when our hope is in Him. Jesus came to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1). He came so that we may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). His Kingdom is one of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, is the comforter and He will lead us into all truth if we will go to Him in prayer and worship. Setting our minds and hearts on Him and His life giving words will bring life and healing to our broken hearts.

This weeks mediation is so comforting to me. The Lord will not fail me but will march with me. When I think about marching, I think about soldiers marching into battle. I love this image of Jesus marching with me because life can be a battle at times. The bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12: For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. The devil wants you broken-hearted and dismayed, but Jesus wants you emotionally stable and physically well. Jesus battles with us as we trust Him. Worship, prayer, and His word are our battle weapons. Scripture states that Jesus is our strength and impenetrable shield (Psalm 28:7). Go to Him this week with all your brokenness and allow Him to heal your broken heart. He will not fail you!

Takotsubo syndrome: the broken-heart syndrome. (2021). British Journal of Cardiology. https://doi.org/10.5837/bjc.2021.011

Meditation Monday: Fountain of Hope

Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with super-abundance until you radiate with hope! Roman 15:13

When I think of a fountain, I think of the constant flow of water that springs forth or bubbles up. In scripture, water often represents the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Jesus. The sound of the trickling water has always been calming to my soul. The word fountain comes from the Latin word “fons” which means source or spring. A fountain can be defined as the source from which something comes forth or is supplied. Functional MRIs of the brain have determined that the amygdala is the origin of negative emotions such as anger and fear. Research has also revealed that focused mediation decreases activity in the amygdala.

Recently, I heard the Holy Spirit say “Hope springs eternal”. I had heard this phrase before but did not know where it came from. This phrase is from a poem by Alexander Pope:

“What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

Hope is a feeling of wonder and expectation of dreams and desires to be fulfilled. Hope can also be described as a feeling of trust. The word “springs” means to originate or arise from. Jesus described himself as the Fountain of Life.

But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life. John 4:14

Hope arises or springs forth when we take hold of the promise of eternal life through Jesus the source of hope. Jesus left us the powerful Holy Spirit which is available to us as the living water that is in constant supply for all those who will drink from the fountain of hope. This week, turn your heart and mind to the Fountain of Hope, Jesus, and let his life giving water bring life and healing to your mind, body, and soul.

Meditation Monday: Drenched in His Love

“I just want to be close to Your heart
This is where my healing finds its start
Here is where I find my peace
Where my soul is finally free”

Lost in Your Love: Brandon Lake

I awoke this morning singing this song. The love of God is not like human love. His love is perfect. It is in the presence of His Love that I find healing for my soul and strength to face another day. His love does not change. He doesn’t love me one day then hate me the next. He is not surprised or angered by my failings or my short comings, but says come close my daughter and let me love you and reveal to you how wonderfully I have made you. God wants to be close to my heart. If I will allow Him to show me His ways, as I trust Him, my life is filled with peace and joy. I love this line from Brandon Lake’s song Lost in Your love: “I’m not scared to get drenched in Your love.”

This weeks meditation is from Psalm 37:4-5 and I am I am going all in! What about you?

Find your delight and true pleasure in Yahweh, and he will give you what you desire the most. Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way, you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!

Meditation Monday: God’s Love

“Mediating on any form of love, including God’s love, strengthens the same neurological circuits that allow us to feel compassion for others.” How God Changes Your Brain-Andrew Newberg, M.D.

The Passion Translation states three times in 1 John chapter 4, that God is love. Those who love are fathered by God, and have intimate knowledge of him. Love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13 as long suffering, patient, kind, not arrogant or boastful, bearing up in all things, and never failing. How often do we meditate on all the evil things of the world such as the news or on who has hurts us? What would happen if we chose to meditate on love? How would that change us or the environment around us? God’s love is perfect, and He revealed His love by sending His Son into the world so that we might live through Him. It was God’s love for us, not our love for Him, that drove Him to send His Son as an offering for our trespasses. Mediating on God’s love will be transforming to us and those around us. This weeks mediation is from 1 John 4:18:

Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.

Meditation Monday: Trauma and Epigenetic Changes

Epigenetics is the study of phenotypic cellular changes that occur in response to environmental experiences. These external, environmental factors either “turn on” or “turn off” gene expression causing phenotypic changes. Studies are revealing that these phenotypic changes can be passed on to a persons’ offspring. A study on pregnant women, who lived through the Dutch famine of 1944-1945, revealed a higher incidence of schizophrenia and breast cancer in their children. Furthermore, if the pregnant woman was in her second trimester during the famine, her child had a higher incidence of lung and kidney issues. Researchers have described epigenetics as a form of cellular memory. Most of our memory involves brain cells (Krippner and Barrett, 2019).

Maybe this is why the Bible tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). Galatians 3:13 tells us that Jesus took all the curses on the tree. Christ purchased our freedom from the curse of the law. Epigenetics is an exciting new field of study and we will dig deeper into this study in the weeks to come. This weeks meditation is Galatians 3:13.

Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified).

Krippner, Staley and Deirdre Barrett (2019) Transgenerational Trauma: The Role of Epigenetics. The Journal

of Mind and Behavior. Winter 2019. Volume 40, Number 1, pp. 53-62.

Meditation Monday: Vitamin D and Brain Health

Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope! Romans 15:13

This weeks meditation is from the book of Romans. This verse is a prayer that Paul prayed over his brothers and sisters in Christ living in Rome. May you be filled with uncontainable joy and peace as you trust Him. Joy and peace are emotions that have been linked to physical and emotional health.

Interestingly, Vitamin D has also been linked to physical and emotional health. Vitamin D is a steroid-like fat soluble vitamin that is synthesize in the skin by exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in fatty fish and other fortified foods. The brain uses a lot of vitamin D and studies are revealing it’s neuroprotective effects. Low vitamin D has been linked to disease like dementia, autism, cardiovascular disease, and depression (Anjum et al, 2018). I suggest that taking 2000-5000 iu daily.

As you trust Him this week, take time to meditate on the joy and peace that is promised to you. Jesus said “I am Light of the world”. Let His Light shine on you. Peace be with you all.

————————————————————————————————————-Anjum, I., Jaffery, S. S., Fayyaz, M., Samoo, Z., & Anjum, S. (2018). The Role of Vitamin D in Brain Health: A

Mini Literature Review. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.2960

Meditation Monday

Jesus replied, “If you only knew who I am and the gift that God wants to give you, you’d ask me for a drink, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10

Water is essential to life. The human body is composed of mostly water, but most people do not drink enough. Water helps maintain our body temperature, lubricate our joints, and helps our cells perform their vital function. Many common aliments like heartburn, muscle aches, and head aches might be alleviated by just drinking enough water. One simple way to find how much water you need per day is to take your body weight and divide it in half and that is how much water you need per day. For example, a 120 pound woman needs 60 oz. of water per day.

Our mediation this week is from the Book of John. The word that stood out to me in this scripture is the word “gift”. How many of us are going around thirsty, because we have not recognized the gift of living water given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Water in the bible often symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us that whoever believes in Him will have living water flowing from their innermost being (John 7:38). Jesus also said that he would give us another, a Comforter, that would remain with us forever (John 14:16). The living water is the Spirit of Jesus. It is His Life giving Spirit that is as vital to the body and the Spirit as the physical drinking of water. Have you ask Him for a drink? Are you thirsty today? Are you hurting physically and spiritually? Come and drink the life giving water! You will never be thirsty!