Finding Christ in Me

For my family and me, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are just around the corner, so I thought this would be a good time to share one of my Bible studies leading up to this spring Holy Day season.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.(1 Cor. 11:27-29)

We read this scripture many times leading up the Passover service, both in individual study and while listening to messages in our church congregations. I heard it again last weekend when listening to a Steve Buchanan message titled “The Focus of the Passover.” He pointed out that the phrase “discerning the Lord’s body” gives us a guide for how to examine ourselves. The more we learn about Jesus Christ, the better we will be able to examine our conduct in the light of His life.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (2 Cor. 13:5)

Since Jesus Christ is our example (1 Pet. 2:21) and we are “to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6), it is His conduct that we are measured by. Walking after His example and obeying his commandments, goes hand-in-hand with abiding in Him and being a fit dwelling place for His presence.

Need For Christ In Us

The mutual indwelling that must occur for us to grow as Christians is described in John 15.

"Finding Christ In Me" marissabaker.wordpress.comAbide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

Like a branch must rely on its vine and rootstock for everything that keeps it alive, so must we rely on Christ. If He is not in us, our spirits are dead.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  (Rom. 8:9-10)

Christ in us is our “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Without Him we can do nothing, but with Him we can do all things (Phil 4:13). When we examine ourselves, we should be looking for evidence of His presence in our lives.

Start In The Mind

Our becoming like Christ starts in our minds and hearts, then spills out into external action. We are told, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” and that we will be expected to “give account for “for every idle word” that we speak (Matt. 12:34, 36). Since the product of our hearts is so pivotal in how we measure up to God’s standard, it is imperative that our hearts and minds be reshaped to look like Jesus Christ.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:5-8)

"Finding Christ In Me" marissabaker.wordpress.comThe aspects of Christ’s personality emphasized here are His humility, his service-mindedness, and His obedience. We need to prayerfully examine ourselves in these areas. Am I becoming humble the way Jesus is humble? Do I follow His example of service to God and other people, both in and out of the church? How well am I keeping His commandments “in spirit and in truth” as well as in the letter of the law?

Another question we can ask is, “How much do I really want to be like Christ?” That’s an aspect of our minds as well. If we don’t have an attitude that sincerely wants to be like Christ and then acts on that desire, we are hobbling our spiritual growth. Christianity is not for people who are content to remain as they are.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:7-11)

Do we have this attitude about becoming like Christ? Our goal must be to get rid of anything in us that doesn’t lead us closer to Him. Our life, feelings, thoughts, and actions  must start to look more and more like His.

Remaking Us

Those of us who have been “baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” and “should walk in newness of life (Rom. 8:3-4). Our old self, the aspects of our character that are not Christ-like, need to be replaced. Our way of thinking, feeling, and living is meant to be radically impacted by the conviction that we are alive only through Jesus Christ our Lord. If we are in Christ, we are being remade in His image and should be able to see that when we examine ourselves honestly.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

Just before the “let this mind be in you” passage starting in Philippians 2:5, Paul writes to the brethren that they should be “like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil. 2:2). This mind, which causes peace in the church, is the mind of Christ, and this love is the kind of love which He connected with obedience to God’s commandments (John 14:15; 15:10). Paul further writes, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3). This attitude of humble service is yet another trait of Jesus Christ that we should be looking for when we examine ourselves to see how closely we resemble Him.

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookie recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com

My younger brother just tested up from his junior black belt to adult-level black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and these are the cookies he wanted to celebrate with. This recipe makes a huge batch of cookies — between 5 and 6 dozen — so there’s more than enough to enjoy here and to send with him to Tae Kwon Do class tomorrow.

Oatmeal Cookies

print this recipe

Oatmeal Cookie recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com

cookie dough

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

3 Tablespoons water

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups flour (half whole-wheat, half unbleached)

Oatmeal Cookie recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com

cookies, baked and unbaked

4 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats

Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Add water and vanilla, then stir to thoroughly combine.

Stir in salt, baking powder, and soda. Mix in flour, then add oats. Dough can be refrigerated, or baked immediately. Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes.

 

Oatmeal Cookie recipe. marissabaker.wordpress.com

I usually add chocolate chips to the last one or two dozen

Fictional MBTI – Steve Rogers (ISFJ)

Fictional MBTI - Steve Rogers. Captain America is an ISFJ. marissabaker.wordpress.comThis was requested in the comments on Fictional MBTI – Loki, and since I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Friday it seemed a good time to write a post about Steve Rogers/Captain America. Incidentally, I will reference Winter Soldier in this post but will try to keep it spoiler-free. If you don’t want to know anything about the plot, though, go watch the film and then come back :)

In support of typing Steve as an ISFJ, I’ll be citing quotes from Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Gifts Differing by Isabel Myers, and Was That Really Me? by Naomi L. Quenk.

Introverted Sensing

Isabel Myers describes the Introverted Sensing (Si) types – both ISFJ and ISTJ — as “remarkably dependable … they base their ideas on a deep, solid accumulation of stored impressions, which gives them some almost unshakable ideas” (102). For Steve Rogers, this resulted in the attitude that earned him consideration in Dr. Abraham Erskine’s experiment — “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies; I don’t care where they’re from” (Captain America). The same deeply rooted ideas that form his character also gave Steve the conviction to stand-up to Nick Fury when asked to compromise his values to create a “safe” world — “This isn’t freedom; it’s fear” (Winter Soldier).

In the right person, the traits of Si are perfect for military command. Si types are extremely stable, not entering “into things impulsively” and, “once in, they are very hard to distract, discourage, or stop” (Myers 102). When convinced he is in the right, Captain America is an unstoppable force, whether he is performing a one-man rescue mission in WWII or leading a team against Hydra.

Since Si is an introverted function, there are aspects of their private reactions that ISFJs usually keep to themselves. Only when they feel “off duty” and are around people they trust will they share insights into their unique way of viewing the world. These impressions “may be absurd, irreverent, touching, or hilarious, but never predictable, because their way of sensing life is intensely individual” (Myers 103). Steve tends to joke before going on missions, such as his dialog with Peggy Carter before he parachutes behind enemy lines in Captain America, and that scene from the beginning of Winter Soldier (which is also in the trailer) when he says he doesn’t anything to do on Saturday night because his barbershop quartet is dead.

Extroverted Feeling

Fictional MBTI - Steve Rogers. Captain America is an ISFJ. marissabaker.wordpress.com

Though an auxilary function, Extroverted Feeling (Fe) is the most easily visible aspect of an ISFJ. Heavily informed by dominant Si, this manifests in ISFJs as an emphasis on “loyalty, consideration, and the common welfare” (Myers 104). Myers also says that a well-balanced ISFJ will be very hard working and more practical than a typical introvert. They also “carry responsibility well,” though they do not necessarily enjoy leadership (102).

Fe is a social function, to the point that some introverts who use Fe may be mistaken for extroverts (this explains why you’ll sometimes see Steve typed as an ESFJ). It adapts to situations and strives to act in a way that is acceptable to as many people as possible. An ISTJ probably wouldn’t have agreed to become the “star-spangled man with a plan,” but ISFJ Steve was convinced that was how he could best serve his country. He stuck with that role up until it conflicted with his deeply held Si convictions. In this aspect, ISFJs resemble INFJS, in that both will try to please others for as long as possible without compromising their ideas.

Thinking

Psychologists disagree about whether or not the tertiary function should be described as “introverted” or “extroverted” (so it’s opposite of the auxiliary function), or simply listed by itself. Whichever the case, Jung says that this third function is under conscious control to some degree as it supports the auxiliary function (Quenk 33, 51). For an ISFJ, tertiary thinking helps with clarity in crisis situations, strategy and logic, and suspending feeling to evaluate other people’s actions. We can see this any time Captain America is planning something strategic, as he sorts through sensing data and comes up with a plan.

Extroverted Intuition

Fictional MBTI - Steve Rogers. Captain America is an ISFJ. marissabaker.wordpress.comAll dominant sensing type are uncomfortable with intuition, and highly skeptical of unverified facts. They can’t consciously access their inferior, or shadow, function of Extroverted Intuition (Ne) and are made uneasy by it. In every day life, this comes out as a general sense of worry and a skepticism about new ideas. This can be useful for detecting flaws in new proposals and warning about negative possibilities, which Steve does quite often in The Avengers. For ISFJs to become comfortable with something new and unexpected, they need time alone to process, such as Steve hiding from the world in The Avengers until he feel needed again and has had time to come to terms with his time displacement.

Anger is a typical response for ISFJs, particularly ISFJ men, when stressed. Stress can also cause ISFJs to become more outspoken, “irritable, and pessimistic” (Quenk 220). They are likely to feel a “loss of control over facts and data,” become more impulsive, and focus on worst-case scenarios (Quenk 221).

Stress triggers for inferior Ne include people whose types use intuition as a dominant function (such as Tony Stark/Iron Man), noisy and disorganized environments, unsubstantiated statements from authority figures, “not having sufficient information to do a good job,” and delays in goal achievement (Quenk 219). These last three triggers play a major role in the opening events of Winter Soldier, when Steve becomes angry that Nick Fury didn’t give him all the information about a rescue mission.

Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, Part 2

As you may know if you read my blog regularly, my Bible study for last week’s post was a bit too large to fit in one article. Hence, part 2 about the role of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Book of Acts. All the intro is in last week’s post, so without further ado …

Filled With The Spirit

Several times when the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the book of Acts, it talks about people being “filled with” the Spirit. Sometimes it is referring to an individual’s character and relationship with God, such as Stephen (Acts 6:3,5) and Barnabas (Acts 11:24), and sometimes this filling with the Holy Spirit occurs after a specific event. For example, here’s what happened after the disciples prayed in Acts 4:24-30 following Peter and John being arrested and forbidden to speak in Jesus’ name.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31)

It seems that God gave an extra dose of His Spirit when the disciples asked for strength to keep going through persecution. Notice also that the Spirit prompted them to speak, giving them the strength they needed to continue preaching in Jesus’ name (we’ll get back to that in a moment).

A similar thing seems to have happened in Acts 13:51-52, when Paul and Barnabus showed up in Iconium after being expelled from Antioch. The disciples here “were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit,” though I’m not clear on whether this was new disciples receiving the Holy Spirit because of Paul and Barnabus’ preaching or established followers of Christ being giving an extra measure of the Holy Spirit as a result of persecution (any thoughts?)

Speaking By The Spirit

In several cases, being filled with the Holy Spirit precedes speaking. Take, for example, Peter and John before the Jewish leaders in Acts 4:8, as they witness to the life and power of Jesus Christ. This puts me in mind of Luke 21.

But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. (Luke 21:12-15)

The Holy Spirit also inspires prophetic utterances, such as when Agabus predicted a famine (Acts 11:28) and when Isaiah spoke in the Old Testament (Acts 28:25). The thing I like to note here is that no one questioned that the Holy Spirit could and would do this sort of thing — the disciple’s response to Agabus was to organize relief efforts for the predicted famine (Acts 11:29).

Another important thing to note is what people say when speaking by the Holy Spirit. In Acts 4, Peter and John spoke God’s word boldly, bearing witness to Jesus Christ. In Acts 7:55-56, Stephen said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” In Acts 13:9-10, Paul spoke out against a sorcerer who was “perverting the straight ways of the Lord.”

The common thread here is presented in 1 Corinthians. In short, the test for answering the question, “Is someone speaking by the Holy Spirit?” is to look at how they talk about Jesus Christ.

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3)

Getting The Holy Spirit

We generally assume that, with the exception of the the remarkable Pentecost in Acts 2,  baptism of the Spirit accompanies baptism in water, as it did for Saul/Paul in Acts 9:17-18. Similarly, believers at Ephesus “were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:5-6).

"Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, Part 2" by marissabaker.wordpress.comThe situation is similar in Samaria, but with a greater time between the two baptisms. The new disciples here were “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” but did not receive the Holy Spirit until Peter and John came and “ laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14-17).  Not sure why this is — was it to help establish the apostles’ role in the early church? Set a precedent for laying on of hands?

Another thing we can learn from this story is how not to get the Holy Spirit. The sorcerer Simon tried to buy the power to give God’s Spirit with the laying on of hands and was told, “your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:18-21).

God can also give the Holy Spirit without laying on of hands or water baptism. This was done in Acts 10 to prove that “God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life” (Acts 11:18).

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)

God can give His Spirit to whomever He pleases, whenever it suits Him. It’s not something that follows a set formula or automatically comes with water baptism (see Simon’s story above). This gift is much more complicated and wonderful than something that just happens to accompany being dunked in water.

Roles and Actions of the Holy Spirit

Here’s where we get into what the Holy Spirit is credited with doing in the early church. I think the easiest way to organize this is just to go through them chronologically.

  • Acts 8:29the Spirit said to Philip” to speak to the Ethiopian eunuch
  • Acts 8:39the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more,” and Philip found himself at Azotus.
  • Acts 9:31 the Holy Spirit acts as a comforter, as was promised in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7.
  • Acts 10:19-20 the Spirit told Peter to go with Cornelius’ messengers and to doubt nothing.
  • Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” Since the Holly Spirit itself does not call people, I think it safe to assume God was peaking through the Spirit. Still, they were hearing the Holy Spirit clearly enough to record a line of dialogue.
  • Acts 15:28 the letter to Antioc read, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us” — collaborative letter writing with the Spirit?
  • Acts 16:7 “after they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.”
  • Acts 20:23the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations” await Paul. Two examples of this: Acts 21:4, 11.
  • Acts 20:28 speaking to the Ephesian elders, Paul said, “the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God”

This is not at all how we interact with the Spirit today. we don’t hear it talking to us (and would we listen if we did? or think we were going mad?). We don’t act like it’s real and tangible enough to physically move us from one location to another if God had good reason. We credit it with inspiring messages and study, but that’s about it. Why is that? Are we so frightened of the supernatural that we shoot ourselves in the foot when it come to using the Spirit God has given us?

Grieve Not The Spirit

"Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, Part 2" by marissabaker.wordpress.comThere is a very real danger in not giving God’s Spirit the respect it deserves as a gift from Him and an aspect of His power. Ananias and Sapphira dropped down dead when the lied to and tempted the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-9). Stephen told his murderers, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51). Resistance to the Holy Spirit was their legacy — we do not want it to be ours.

We are told, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30), “do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thes. 5:19), and “do not neglect the gift that is in you” (1 Tim. 4:14), which could refer to the Spirit itself or to one of the Spiritual gifts (2 Tim. 1:6; 1Cor. 12:1-11). We have been given something incredible, and should not undervalue it.

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry marissabaker.wordpress.com

I found this easy, attractive chicken stir fry recipe on Pinterest. The original recipe, from Edible Mosaic, was for a Cabbage, Carrot, and Chicken Stir-fry that served two. I trippled the recipe for our family of 5, thinking my teenage brother would eat enough for two people. Turns out I was wrong — we had enough to feed 6 or 7 people. The left-overs were a great breakfast, though!

Cabbage, Carrot, & Chicken Stir-Fry

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry marissabaker.wordpress.com

marinade

Marinade

3 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

3 large clove garlic, minced

1 to 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Chicken

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry marissabaker.wordpress.com

chicken fried in sesame oil tastes so good. I could eat it like candy

1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced cross-wise into thin strips

1/3 cup tapioca starch

2 tablespoons sesame oil

3/4 cup water

1 lb green cabbage, sliced into thin shreds

6 medium carrots, thinly sliced on a diagonal

2 green onions, thinly sliced

extra sesame seeds for garnish

slivered almonds (optional)

Whisk together marinade ingredients. Stir in the chicken and let it marinade for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and reserve the remaining marinade for later use. Toss chicken with the tapioca starch.

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry marissabaker.wordpress.com

putting it all together

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to a wok or large skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, turn heat down to medium-high. Cook chicken in small batches in a single layer until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Add more oil about halfway through cooking the chicken.

Once all the chicken is cooked, add the cabbage, carrot, reserved marinade, and 3/4 cup water to the wok or skillet. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet and toss vegetables with a wooden spoon. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the veggies are crisp-tender, stirring frequently.

Turn off heat and add the chicken. Garnish with the green onion, more sesame seeds, and slivered almonds if desired. Serve over steamed rice.

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry marissabaker.wordpress.com

 

 

INFJ Dark Side

Descriptions of the INFJ personality type often emphasize our peaceful natures, and point out that we have a hard time dealing with conflict. For example, one of the reasons a commenter on my INFJ Loki post argued my typing is inaccurate was because he couldn’t imaging INFJs “carrying on a constant fight with everyone around you for the majority of your existence.” INFJs are also described as disconnected from the world, and unlikely to feel involved in the reality of what’s going on around us. Though both of these can be true, we’re not completely harmless. Just ask my siblings. Every personality type has a dark side, and INFJs can be just as scary as everyone else.

INFJ Shadow

Let’s dive into the sciencey-part of Myers-Briggs theory for a moment. An INFJ’s dominant function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), which means the shadow function which emerges in times of stress it Extroverted Sensing (Se). Naomi L. Quenk’s book Was That Really Me? is an excellent resource for how each type reacts to stress with their shadow (a.k.a. inferior) function. All quotes are from the 11th chapter of her book.

INFJ Dark Side marissabaker.wordpress.com

No idea who made this — I just keep seeing it on Pinterest

Types with dominant Se use it effectively, but shadow functions are underdeveloped and so INFJs are not comfortable when forced to use sensing. On a small level, making a “sensing mistake” that involves facts or details can make us “annoyed or defensive.” On a larger level, times of stress trigger what Quenk calls a “grip experience,” where the inferior function takes over.

For INFJs (and INTJs, who share Se as a shadow function), stress causes an “obsessive focus on external data,” an “overindulgence in sensual pleasure,” and an “adversarial attitude toward the outer world.”  The first one can make us irritable and obsessive. The second often takes the form of overeating, shopping for things we don’t need, and generally becoming self-centered. The third is a defensive response to feeling like the entire world is spinning out of control.

Their hypersensitivity to potentially dangerous surroundings can promote uneasiness about people as well. … An INFJ said she “becomes suspicious. Usually I’m tolerant, curious, and compassionate, so ‘out of character’ for me means I’m unaccepting and frustrated with the world.” …

The altered state of any inferior function is typically accompanied by a lessening of social controls and therefore more frequent expressions of anger. However, the character of that anger may be different for different types. For INTJs and INFJs, the “cause” of distress is often one or more “objects” in the environment. The anger directed at either things or people may therefore be more focused, intense, and extreme than with other inferior functions.

INFJ Anger

Stress isn’t the only thing that can bring out an INFJ’s angry side. Jenn Granneman, the INFJ blogger of “Introvert, Dear” wrote an excellent article that addresses this issue: “How INFJs Deal with Conflict: 10 Confessions.” Here’s a quote:

Don’t underestimate my gentle nature. I’m not all warm fuzzies and smiles. If you cross one of my deeply held inner values, I become extremely outspoken and crusading. If I see someone else being hurt, I’ll have a strong urge to be their protector and defend them. An angry INFJ can deliver a wrath and intensity you’ve probably never experienced before. Think Jesus in the temple with whips, turning over the money changers’ tables.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

One of the odd things that results from INFJs generally peaceful nature evaporating once a deeply held value is crossed is that some people might be clueless about how we really feel about them. An INFJ won’t share their real self and inner thoughts with a casual acquaintance, and will go along with most conversations and suggestions just to avoid conflict. That can continue until the other person says or does something that crosses a line the INFJ has drawn in their minds, e.g. an INFJ woman being friendly to a guy she doesn’t really like up until the point where he actually asks her out. I imagine it’s pretty puzzling for people who think they’re getting along just fine when suddenly an INFJ blurts out “I don’t agree. And by the way, here’s everything else you’ve done over the entire course of our relationship that irritates me.”

Dealing With Emotions

One of the great things about knowing your Myers-Briggs type is that knowledge about your type can help you with working on your weaknesses. I can use my Se as an excuse for angry outbursts, or I can recognize what’s going on and learn to deal with it more effectively. You can find articles about INFJ Strategies for Dealing with Emotions and guides like Manage Those Pesky Emotions.

Naomi Quenk says INFJs and INTJs need “space and a low-pressure environment” to deescalate from a grip experience. It’s more helpful to take some alone time when feeling angry than to try and talk through it in the moment, partly to avoid sensory overload and partly to keep from snapping at people trying to give “helpful” advice. also, a “chance of scenery or activity can help break the negative, obsessive focus.” Try doing some yoga, going for a walk, or watching a film can help.  Ni types can also exercise their Se through a hobby like “photography, woodworking, furniture refinishing, or cooking.”

 

 

Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, Part 1

I did not mean for this to be a multi-part blog post, but I didn’t get all the way through studying the book of Acts this week so I’ll have to split the post in half. When I was in Cincinnati last weekend for Sabbath services and square dancing, there was one particular part of the sermon message that caught my attention. The speaker said “We can’t use the Holy Spirit if we don’t understand what it is” and that we don’t talk about the Holy Spirit today the way it was viewed by the early church in the Book of Acts.

That got me thinking, just how did the early church talk about the Holy Spirit? We usually look at the first two chapters, which chronicle the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and then go no further in Acts when we talk about the Holy Spirit. That’s where I’ll start as well, and then next week I’ll plan to write a post about what my study turns up in the remainder of Acts.

Enter The Holy Spirit

There were people who had the Holy Spirit before this notable Pentecost, but not many. So few, in fact, that it says in John’s gospel that “the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). Before Jesus ascended to heaven in the first chapter of Acts, He promised the disciples, “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” and “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:5, 8). That promise was fulfilled in the next chapter.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2-4)

Not only was the Holy Spirit given to the disciples, but a miracle was performed at the same time which left no doubt of the effectiveness of the power God was giving. Men “from every nation under heaven … heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:5, 8). As we’ll discuss more in next week’s post, this is not the only time this particular miracle accompanied the giving of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-48).

Receiving the Spirit

When some doubted what was going on, Peter said this:

Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:16-18)

He also revealed a recipe for receiving the Holy Spirit which is repeated several times in later chapters.

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. (Acts 2:38-39)

I am finding it interesting, and inspiring, to read through the book of Acts taking note of every time the Holy Spirit is mentioned and seeing how the promises and prophesies mentioned in chapter 2 enfold in the early Church. I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts on this with you next week, and hope you’ll weigh-in as well — it seems like a topic that could lend itself well to discussion.

Fruit and Seed Granola Bars

Fruit and Seed Granola Bars marissabaker.wordpress.com

My brother has been begging me to come up with some kind of healthy, filling snack that he can munch on when he feels hungry (which seems to be all the time). Enter the Healthy Homemade Granola Bars from Beth at redandhoney.com. They are amazing, though you do have to keep them chilled to prevent melting, which makes them a bad choice to stuffing in a backpack or purse … not that we would know this from experience.

Fruit and Seed Granola Bars marissabaker.wordpress.com

Granola bar add-ins

There are many variations on these bars depending on the nut butter and add-ins you choose, but the version I’m posting today is my favorite. I’ve decided dried cherries are an essential ingredient. So are pumpkin seeds — I like the flavor and the green color looks great with the red dried fruit.

As an added bonus, these granola bars are unleavened, so they will still be perfect for snacking once the Days of Unleavened Bread start next month.

Fruit and Seed Granola Bars

print this recipe

2/3 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup honey
2 cups oats
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries and/or cherries)
1 cup seeds and nuts (peanuts, pumpkin, flax, chia and/or sunflower seeds)Fruit and Seed Granola Bars marissabaker.wordpress.com

Mix first three ingredients together, microwaving in 15 to 20 second bursts and stirring until the coconut oil is melted.

Stir-in the oats, dried fruit, seeds and nuts. Press the granola bar mixture into an ungreased 13×9-inch baking pan. Place granola bars in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Once granola mixture is cooled and set, cut into bars. Wrap individually or package in snack bags. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Variations
You can replace the peanut butter with almond butter if you prefer the taste or have an allergy.

The two cups of dried fruit, seeds, and nuts can be substituted for a wide variety of add-ins, including chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and almonds. My sister prefers her add-ins to be 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup coconut flakes, and 1/2 cup peanuts. Just keep experimenting until you find a few mixtures that you love.

Fruit and Seed Granola Bars marissabaker.wordpress.com

Songs by Mood

marissabaker.wordpress.comLast week, I learned that Neurowear launched a set of headphone about a year ago that scans your brainwaves and matches music on your iPod to your mood. As border-line creepy as that sounds to me, it’s just the next step from websites like Moodstream and Musicovery that play music based on whether you’re feeling happy, sad, calm, dark, lively, inspired, positive, creative, or pretty much any other mood you like.

I have genres or playlists that I’ll turn to for different moods, but I also have specific songs that I like to play for specific feelings. Is this just me? Or do you have a song you play every time you’re sad? A favorite song to match a happy mood? What about songs that help you deal with anger?

Angry

You know that feeling when you’re angry and you know you shouldn’t be, but you still need to do something with those feelings? That’s when I sing these songs. I feel much better afterwards and it means I’m not taking out my anger on anyone else, so they’re happy (although I have been told it’s creepy to witness).

No Good Deed — from Wicked (Idina Menzel)

Mordred’s Lullaby — Heather Dale

Blown Away — Carrie Underwood

Sad

These songs are like a pat on the back or a hug when I need reassurance. I listen to them when I’m feeling down and want to move out of that mood.

Everything is Fine — Josh Turner

Little Miss — Sugarland

You Are Loved — Josh Groban

Sub-category for when I’m discouraged about being single:

As Fast As I Could — Josh Turner

Melancholy

These songs are for sadness that I want to enjoy. It’s the “sad is happy for deep people” feeling rather than being sad for a reason that makes you not want to be sad any more.

Wine After Whiskey — Carrie Underwood

September — Daughtry

Katie — Celtic Thunder /Colm Keegan (which I’m afraid there’s no video for, but you can hear a clip)

Inspired

These are the songs I play when I want to feel like I’m fearless and I can do anything.

Defying Gravity — from Wicked (Idina Menzel)

Wide Open — Jason Aldean

I Stand — Idina Menzel

Happy

I was trying to think up songs for this category, and my sister said, “Don’t you sing One Direction when you’re happy?” As embarrassing as that may be,  yes I do. I’ve whittled it down to just one song from them, though.

What Makes You Beautiful — One Direction

Nil Se’n La — Celtic Woman

Hopeful

Since “Waiting For Superman” didn’t quite fit in with the happy or the melancholy songs, I’ve added this category.

Waiting For Superman — Daughtry

Wedding Day — Casting Crowns

This Is The Moment — from Jekyll and Hyde (Robert Cuccioli)

Peaceful

I play these songs when I want to relax and I’m trying to encourage a peaceful feeling. They’re usually the first songs I play, then I move on to a playlist of related songs and artists. Or I listen to instrumental music with dolphins.

Hero — Il Divo

So She Dances — Josh Groban

Worshipful

These are my favorite stand-in-awe of God songs.

Blessed Be Your Name — Robin Mark

Who Am I — Casting Crowns

In Christ Alone — Keith and Kristyn Getty

Works That Make Faith Live

"Works That Make Faith Live." marissabaker.wordpress.comI’ve been thinking about our role as the body of Christ, particularly in how we relate to other people. In the past two weeks here, I’ve written about and studied the fact that we need to be acting as Christ’s hands and feet in reaching out with compassion, healing, and love. I also wrote about Jesus wanting us to love indiscriminately.

In settling on a new topic for this past week of study, I turned to the last place I’d left my ribbon bookmark. It was James 2, for the verse I quoted last week about respect of persons based on their wealth being a sin. Right after that is the famous “faith without works” passage. That started me wondering, What specific kinds of works are we supposed to be doing as members of the body of Christ?

Faith Without Works

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)

We know from Romans 3:20 that “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified,” but these verses in James also show that we cannot claim to have true faith unless it is accompanied by some kind of works. It kind of reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13, where even the best gifts are useless without love.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. … Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:18, 21-26)

As shown by these examples, the actions we take demonstrate to God whether or not our faith is genuine. Both Abraham and Rahab showed by their works that they believed in God enough to actually follow His orders.

Care For Others

Abraham and Rahab are positive examples of faith supported by works. The discussion opens, however, with a negative example of someone who sees “a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food” but does “not give them the things which are needed for the body.” Apparently, it is a sin to not help someone when it is in our power to do so.

It’s a simple idea. If you have two coats, give one to someone without a coat. If you have food, share it with someone who is going hungry (Luke 3:11). The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that “love your neighbor” includes anyone in our sphere of awareness who needs aid. Simple, but so easy to ignore. Someone else will do it … How do I know they’re really homeless? it could be a scam … That’s what welfare’s for — I pay my taxes.

I’m as guilty of using these excuses as the next person, and they might even be true in some cases. But I suspect God would rather have us error on the side of giving too freely than withholding help from someone who actually needs it.

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.” – C.S. Lewis

True Religion

"Works That Make Faith Live." marissabaker.wordpress.comIn the first chapter of James, we are given the following definition of religion that pleases God:

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

Did you know there are 100,000 legal orphans in the United States and 300,000 Christian churches? That’s 3 churches that profess to follow Christ per child who is waiting for adoption (from iCareAboutOrphans.org). I started crying the first time I read this statistic.

God is in the business of setting “the solitary in families” (Ps. 68:6). Jesus promised, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). If He’s doing that on a spiritual level, doesn’t it make sense that He would approve of efforts to do something similar on a physical level? Not everyone is in a position where they can adopt — I’m not right now — but we can help by sharing awareness of this need, doing what we can to help families who are able to give children homes, and supporting ministries like Focus on the Family’s Orphan Care Initiative.

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Is. 1:16-17)

Learning to do good involves speaking out on behalf of people — both old and young — and defending those who don’t have families to protect and care for them. Even if we feel like we can’t “do” anything, we should be praying and speaking up when necessary.

Bear Fruit

The really cool thing is, when we stop focusing on ourselves and focus on helping other people, it benefits us as well.

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’  “If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. (Is. 58: 6-10)

God is glorified, and pleased, when we “bear much fruit” by abiding in Jesus Christ and keeping His commandments (John 15:4, 8, 10). The commands involve an active interest in helping other people with the same attitude we would have if serving Jesus Christ directly.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ … ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matt. 25:34-36, 40)

The reverse of this is also true — if we ignore people in need, we are ignoring Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:41-46). Godly love, agape, is not passive. It acts for the good of others, even as Christ did when He died for our sins.

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. 5:13-14)