Brain transplant? Seriously? Well, not quite yet. But a recent story about an amazing development through Johns Hopkins got me thinking about it. 26-year-old, Sgt. Brendan Marrocco, made history by having the first successful double arm transplant in history! Sgt. Marrocco’s arms and legs had been blown off in a roadside bomb in Iraq. Incredibly, he is now making history with real, human arms from an anonymous donor who had offered his body for use upon his death.
Attaching the donor’s arms to a new body was very complicated! The bones were attached, then the muscles, the tendons, the blood vessels, arteries and veins. But that isn’t enough. The body is smart – too smart. It recognizes that those arms don’t belong to it. In order to prevent the body from attacking the new appendages with anti-bodies, they introduced a sneaky solution. They took bone marrow cells from the donor’s spine and injected them into Marrocco, fooling his body into thinking the arms were his!
As difficult as that surgery is, God’s children face far more difficult transplants. First, God promises to give “a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26). Then comes a real challenge, a transplanted mind! It is for those who turn away from a life dedicated to sin, amputate the old mind, and adopt a new life dedicated to righteousness. Paul writes that “we have the mind of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:16).
Was Paul proposing something like a brain transplant? Is it possible to replace my thoughts with Christ’s so drastically that His mind is in my head? Something along these lines happens when a believer submits in baptism to His death, burial, and resurrection. The problem? From day one, the old, sinful self, starts rejecting the “Christ-mind.” The solution? Inject some of him daily: His words, His life, & His teaching. Grow in such a way that your body thinks His mind is yours. You will be even more thrilled with the result than Marrocco is with his new arms!
According to the Urban Dictionary definition, a “Catfish” is someone who pretends “to be someone they’re not using, Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.” Online dating has become such a big thing that the term, “Catfish,” has even led to an MTV show by that name. This show brings online relationships together to see if the people are what they actually claimed to be (spoiler: they usually aren’t).
Th term “Catfish,” has gone viral due to the Manti Te’o hoax. If you haven’t heard of the Te’o hoax, just do a simple Google search or tune in to a sports news channel. You will get inundated with stories about the Notre Dame player and Heisman trophy runner-up. Millions of people were inspired by the story of his girlfriend of several years who died of leukemia. The problem? She never existed. Te’o was apparently the victim of a “catfish” conspiracy. The players are unfolding like a Shakespearean drama. The cast includes: a girlfriend who never existed; a girl who was the voice of the fake girlfriend who now wants an actual relationship with Te’o; a 23 year old whose picture was taken without her knowledge to be the face of the fake girlfriend; a couple of men who texted Te’o from time to time acting as brothers or friends of his fake girlfriend; a 9 year old girl who texted Te’o as the girlfriend, and the man who allegedly masterminded the whole thing…a “Christian” singer and “The Voice” contestant.
As Sir Walter Scott wrote, “what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” Every one of us has a desire to be seen as something better than what we actually are. We don’t want our spots and blemishes presented to the world. Often times, this desire causes us to create different personas: the ‘me’ I am at work, home, church, online, and in my most private moments. But our Creator knows who we are all the time. He knows our heart, and we will be judged by who we truly are and what we have truly done – both in public and in private. The child of God must never go, “Catfish,” pretending to be someone we aren’t. We must always strive to be the same in public as in private. We must not present one face at church and then turn into someone else at work and home. The face we are presenting to the world is not our own; we were bought at a price.
Give that some thought next time you start to embellish who you are. God loves us despite knowing every fault and flaw. Psalm 136:23 honors God as “the One who remembered us in our low estate, [yet] His love endures forever.” Isn’t it easier to tell the truth and avoid getting tangled in a web of deceit? Even catfish get caught in the Master Fisherman’s web of judgment.
You probably knew that the Earth can be viewed as one giant magnet with two poles, North and South. But did you know that many animals have an amazing ability to use the magnetic fields of the Earth as a kind of GPS? Many species, including birds and salmon, are known to use the Earth’s magnetic fields in migration. A few studies have even shown that mammals, such as bats, are able to use magnetic fields to aid in their sense of direction.
New research proves that cows and deer are tuned in to the Earth’s magnetic poles too. After examining satellite images of over 8,500 cattle in 308 pasture plains and almost 3,000 wild deer in 277 locations across the globe, researchers have now documented the phenomenon of cows and deer facing North or South when they eat and rest. That gives “animal magnetism” new meaning! Is it possible that the Earth’s magnetic pull is so strong that it leads animals to face North and South as they eat and rest?
What if Christians had a magnetic sense? Where would it point us? Shouldn’t the pull of Christ be so strong that we would always point to Jesus? The shepherds were pulled to Jesus (Luke 2:7-12), the wise men were pulled to the newborn King (Matthew 2), and the multitudes followed Him everywhere (Matthew 4:20, 22, 25; 12:15). Jesus is pulling us to seek the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33; 7:7).
Perhaps the Earth does have a magnetic pull that only animals can sense. But there is a greater pull than that. Paul said that the whole of creation anxiously longs, waiting eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). All of God’s creatures and His creation have a pull to be reconciled with their creator. Each of us chooses to accept or reject that pull. What are you being pulled toward today? The things of this world or the heavenly things? Is your “Christian magnetism” pointing you and others to Christ?
Give it some thought…if I can help, let me know!
Have you ever picked up the phone when it rings and there is no one there but you can clearly hear talking? Ah, the dreaded “pocket dial.” We pick up the phone and say, “hello, hello” only to be met by a faint conversation in the background. What is the etiquette on that? Do you simply hang up? Do you scream, “HELLO,” hopeful they will hear you? Do you call to inform them they just pocket dialed?
Chances are, at some point, you’ve done it too. You may not even know you did it. Who knows how long someone was listening to your conversation? What if they overheard you saying something bad? Well that is exactly what happened to sisters, Ashlie Alewine and Nakilya Wright. You see, they had just robbed The InnPlace Hotel in Naples, FL, when…you guessed it…pocket dial. As it turns out, Ashlie was a former hotel employee who had been fired recently! So who did she pocket dial? You guessed it…the hotel, which happened to be on the phone with 911. To make matters worse, it wasn’t just the “usual,” chit-chat. Rather, 911 was able to hear and record a detailed discussion about how they planned and executed the robbery!
We should all choose our words carefully. Whether we realize it or not, the Lord knows every word we have ever spoken. I suppose one might say that we have a constant pocket dial in this life. In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus says that we will be called to account for every word we have spoken, and that by our own words we will be acquitted or condemned.
Does knowing that someone is listening change what you might say? James suggests that it should. In James 3:2, he says, that the perfect man will never be at fault in what he says, able to keep his tongue in check, and thereby control the whole body.
Want a great New Year’s resolution? Watch your words! That’s a resolution that just may just keep you out of trouble, and can definitely keep you out of condemnation.