Shelf-Help: Hooked

Hooked
by Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD and Freda McKissic Bush, MD

by Ducia Hamm LAS, Associate Director of Affiliate ServicesHooked

Who of us has not heard these comments when addressing the subject of delaying sex until marriage with teens and adults alike...“You just don’t want me to have any fun!” “Everyone is doing it!” “We love each other so what does it matter if we’re married?”

Hooked is a must read for pregnancy help ministry staff, parents, those mentoring teens or young adults – truly for anyone interested in how our bodies were created by God to biologically form lasting, meaningful connections with each other.

Packed full of eye-opening, useful information, Hooked lays out, in easy to understand language, the recent research in the field of neuroscience confirming the adage that our brains are the largest and most important sex/relationship organ humans have.

Because of new state-of-the-art technology, some startling discoveries have been made. We have known for a while the bonding effects that oxytocin has in a woman’s brain when it is released during sex but did you know that men release vasopressin which has a very similar bonding effect in a man’s brain?

Scientists are now able to measure when and how much of specific chemicals are released and the corresponding changes the human brain experiences when we engage in sexual activity.

One of the most important discoveries talked about in Hooked is crucial information needed for a culture so accepting of casual sex, “...there is evidence that when [the] sex/bonding/breaking-up cycle is repeated a few or many times – even when the bonding was short-lived – damage is done to the important, built-in ability to develop significant and meaningful connection to other human beings.” (Pg. 55)

As I read Hooked, Psalms 139:13-14 kept coming to mind – “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.”

We are indeed “remarkably and wonderfully made!” It is always exciting to see science corroborate what the Bible has always said – that sex is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest within the context of marriage between one man and one woman.

**One of the authors, Freda McKissic Bush, MD is a member of the Heartbeat International Medical Advisory Council, frequent presenter at the Heartbeat Annual Conference, Medical Director for Center for Pregnancy Choices in Mississippi and CEO of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health among many other activities and accomplishments.

Bless the Lord, O my soul

by Debra Neybert, Heartbeat International Training Specialist

from Take Heart | Volume 2, Issue 10

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,  Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies,  Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103: 1-5.

David begins this Psalm by extolling the Lord with His whole heart and proclaiming the amazing benefits we receive when we are in relationship with Him.  He forgives us, He heals us, He redeems us, He crowns us, He satisfies us and He renews us!

Verse 5 has some wonderful insights, “Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.”

God satisfies and fulfills our deepest longings with good things.  The word “satisfies” means to be fulfilled, have plenty and to enrich. The word mouth is also translated soul, so in essence the Lord satisfies the deepest place in us with His own goodness.

Psalm 105:40 says “They asked, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.”  We know that Jesus is the bread of heaven; and He alone can satisfy!

God also desires to renew our youth like the eagles! Eagles are known to fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet; they ride columns of rising air called thermals while migrating.  An eagle can circle effortlessly in a strong thermal to a high altitude, and then glide long distances.  We can catch those spiritual thermals and rise above to go the distance!

eagleThe Hebrew word for renew used in this verse is Kered and it means to rebuild and repair. Eagles also molt in patches, taking almost half a year to replace feathers, starting with the head and working downward. They go through this process more than once because not all the feathers are replaced in a given molt or they couldn’t continue to fly and hunt for food.

Jesus came to restore us to perfect wholeness, fulfillment, peace and joy. The journey to wholeness includes repairs and renewal along the way, perhaps you’re in that place right now, maybe you feel a bit isolated, maybe you’re even “replacing” some old thought patterns and ways and it hasn’t been an easy process.  Be encouraged and rest in the faithfulness of God to complete the work he started in you.

When you think about it, the eagle goes through a renewal process so it can continue to hunt and eat.  Eating is what gives us strength and satisfies us in the natural.  When we apply this spiritually, we understand that the bread of heaven, Jesus, the word made flesh, is our only source of satisfaction and renewal.  The word of the Lord is living and active today, may you partake and be refreshed!

 

Paths that Prosper the Soul

 

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 
Psalm 23:1-3

by Debra Neybert, Training Specialist

Jesus is our faithful Shepherd, and one of His promises is to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. This verse is very encouraging because it holds a key to help us cycle out of the old and into the new!

Some paths may not naturally appeal to us because they lead us into a place of discomfort, but because the good Shepherd is leading, we can trust His paths will guide us from glory to glory.

The word for paths is actually taken from the Hebrew root 'agol’, which means to be round or a cycle. David is saying the Lord leads us or guides us in the cycles of righteousness. When we remain on the paths of righteousness, we will see the fulfillment of God’s purposes and plans for our lives. We often think of life as a linear landscape, but the Lord takes us in paths that are cyclical.

The Lord’s intent is to give us opportunities to advance each year, breaking old cycles and coming full circle into His blessings.

These paths are intended to give us a clearer revelation of who God is as a covenant-keeping Shepherd. Jesus is our righteousness, and He is able to keep us moving in the right direction for His name’s sake—for His reputation, His fame, and His glory.

The Lord has already gone before us and cleared the paths of promise and fulfillment. He is the Door, and when we enter by Him we are led in and out (on paths!) into green pastures where there is rest, refreshment, and refuge (John 10:9).

Jesus is the Way where there seems to be no way, and He guides us in the right paths to fulfill the dreams He’s placed inside us from all eternity!