Timothy Jennings, MD

(NOTE:  The founder of this website is not SDA. See disclaimer below.)


Timothy R. Jennings,  M.D.  FAPA   

Board Certified Psychiatrist. Master of Psycho-Pharmacology, lecturer, international speaker and author. Voted one a America’s top psychiatrist by the Consumers Research Council of America in the years 2008,2010,2011 and 2012. Dr Jennings is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, president-elect of Tennessee’s Psychiatric Association and vice president of the Southern Psychiatric Association. He is the president and founder of the Come & Reason Ministries which is a not-for-profit Christian ministry. Dr Jennings’ lectures and written material can be found at www.comeandreason.com.

SCRIPTURE without science and experience leads to 34,000 christian groups *
SCIENCE without scripture and experience leads to godlessness
EXPERIENCE without scripture and science leads to mysticism and fanaticism
all three together lead to HARMONIZED TRUTH.”

1. God & Your Brain – The God Shaped Brain

Published on Nov 14, 2013
Our brains are in a constant state of flux. Moment by moment new connections are forming, idle tracks are being pruned back and brain circuits are changing. Discover how our beliefs change our brain wiring, our physical health, and even which genes are turned on or turned off. Do your beliefs matter — more than you ever knew!

Objectives: * Identify the relationship between belief and physical and mental health * Examine the scientific evidence documenting how a change in belief can alter brain function resulting in a change in health. * Formulate a methodology for separating healthy from unhealthy beliefs.

2. God & Your Brain – Designer or Dictator?

Published on Nov 14, 2013
How we view God changes us, physically and spiritually. How we conceive of God’s law and justice fires either love circuits or fear circuits and impacts our ability to love and trust. In this presentation Dr. Jennings explores the Biblical record of God’s law and how tradition slowly changed humanity’s conception of God and His law.

Objectives: * Differentiate between natural and imposed law. * Differentiate the justice of natural versus imposed law. * Explore the divergence of love versus fear based beliefs upon religious and social activities.

3. God & Your Brain – Buddha, Jesus, and the Brain

Published on Nov 14, 2013
Buddha and Jesus are the two individuals who have perhaps impacted more people with their ideas and examples than any others in history. This presentation will contrast the philosophical differences underpinning their teachings while examining what recent brain science reveals about Eastern vs Biblical meditation. 

​Objectives: * Contrast the differences in philosophical underpinnings between the teachings of Buddha and Jesus. * Examine the impact meditation has upon brain function and structure. * Identify the physical health outcomes of meditation.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the speakers and authors and do not necessarily reflect their position of the moderator, or other speakers or teachers on the blog. Each are autonomous in their views. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the speakers and author(s) – and, since we are critically-thinking human beings, these views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time. Please do not hold us to them in perpetuity. We see through a glass darkly.

Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of the listeners to be Berean, and check the content of the speakers and the writers who are teaching at their current level of understanding according to the Word of GOD. Therefore, you may disagree with us as is normal in biblical studies– but we reserve the right to be wrong and we reserve the right to change. If you email us please refrain from abusive, profane, rude statements etc. – so keep it polite and relevant. Please!

Guilt: How To Resolve It

Dr. Jennings:

A colleague confided to me about intense feelings of guilt regarding her younger sister who died ten years ago from a brain tumor.  During her sister’s illness and while she was undergoing therapy, my colleague was consistently mean, bullying and teasing her younger sister.  The taunting and meanness continued for years and only ended when the younger sister died.

After the death of her sister, my colleague was consumed with guilt and remorse at how she treated her sister.  She has been unable to forgive herself and is depressed and distraught because she will never be able to apologize to her sister and seek her forgiveness.  The remarkable thing is that her sister died ten years ago and my colleague is still struggling with feelings of guilt.

How would you suggest she resolve these feelings of guilt?

In general there are two types of guilt – legitimate and illegitimate guilt. Legitimate guilt occurs when we have actually done wrong, violated God’s law, exploited another, lived selfishly. And illegitimate guilt is experienced when no wrong has been done, and thus it is illegitimate, yet one still feels the emotion of guilt.

The purpose of guilt is, like pain, to warn and protect. If someone touches a hot stove and feels pain, the pain is not “bad” but alerts the person very quickly that something damaging is happening to the hand is instantly removed and the damage stopped. If one is sensitive enough one might even feel the heat of the stove before it is touched and avoid any damage at all. Likewise the conscience is sensitive to actions which violate God’s law of love and result in damage to our minds and characters. When we violate God’s law of love we experience legitimate guilt to alert us something is wrong and motivate us to turn away from the damaging activity. If our consciences are sensitive enough we might even be convicted of the wrong before we act and thus avoid any damage to mind or character.

How do we resolve guilt? Legitimate guilt is resolved by repentance and, as far as possible, restoration. Repentance is not mere confession but is an actual change of heart motive such that the selfishness in the heart which led to the sinful act is replaced with God’s love. This is a supernatural work experienced in union with God via the work of the Holy Spirit. When genuine repentance occurs then guilt resolves as the person experiences the reality that “it is no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me.”

Illegitimate guilt feels like legitimate guilt but is never resolved by repentance and restoration because there is nothing for which to repent and nothing to restore. However, because guilt feels like guilt most people make the mistake of trying to resolve illegitimate guilt by repentance and restoration, but this never works. Illegitimate guilt always occurs from, in some way, believing a lie. And the only way to resolve illegitimate guilt is by the application of truth.

The case you describe is interesting and one of two possibilities may be transpiring. One possibility is that the young woman has confessed, but not repented, meaning that she is sorrowful for the outcome of what transpired, but has not experienced a new heart such that she is a different person who loves others more than self. If she remains selfish in her heart, and continues to live toward others in a self-centered way then her conscience will continue to convict her of guilt for such selfish living. If, however, she doesn’t “care” as much about the people being treated as selfish her mind might, instead of clearly identifying the guilt with the recent selfish behavior, associate the guilt with her sister and thus she keeps feeling guilty about her sister. The real problem being no true change in heart motive has transpired.  

The other possibility is that she has experienced genuine repentance and does have a new heart which loves others more than self, but has also believed some lie which is generating illegitimate guilt. An example of some lies that could do this are: “If I would have been kinder to my sister she might not have died. My sister was good to me and to treat her like that I am beyond salvation. I am not worthy. I am no good. I am too offensive for God to love or heal or forgive” etc.

Such lies generate fear, insecurity and false guilt. The only solution to this false guilt is the truth. We are all sinners, born in sin conceived in iniquity (Ps 51:4) and it is only by God’s grace we can experience healing of mind and character. This means that before conversion it is inevitable that we will act selfishly, without God’s grace it is impossible not to. Thus we don’t need to feel guilt for being born sinners, but need to be asking the question, “Am I partaking of God’s remedy to sin.” We also must recognize our worth is determined in who we are, God’s creation, not in what we do.

Finally, one other possibility is that while this lady has asked God’s forgiveness and experienced a change in heart attitude, she has refused to forgive herself because she finds what she has done so reprehensible that she continues to punish herself in her own mind. This happens because of believing the lie that she was actually able to not be this way on her own without God’s grace in her life. It is when we recognize the truth that we are all born infected with selfishness and cannot cure ourselves that we can stop feeling guilty for the symptoms and instead come to Christ for healing. This lady had selfishness in her heart before these experiences with her sister, evidently this situation effectively diagnosed and exposed the truth that selfishness infects the heart, and now, with this awareness, she needs to come to Christ for healing. So I would recommend she reexamine the meaning of her history and recognize it is this history that helped bring to light the selfishness which was already in her heart prior to her sister’s illness and now that she is convicted of this condition is able to go to Christ for healing and restoration. Thus she can be thankful for the experience which helped awaken her to her true condition and then thank God that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!” In other words, that God already knew our terminal condition and the symptoms it brings, and through Christ has done all that is necessary to remedy and heal our self-centered hearts!

Simple Solutions For Smoking Cessation

If you or someone you know is struggling to stop smoking, here are some simple steps that can help you break free from nicotine’s grasp. 

  1. Stop Caffeine – In the brain, caffeine causes a neurobiological increased craving for nicotine. Therefore, drinking caffeinated beverages increases the cravings for cigarettes and makes it more difficult to quit smoking. If you have been drinking more than 6 caffeinated beverages per day, taper down by two drinks per day until off the caffeine. This taper will minimize caffeine-withdrawal headaches and fatigue. Plan to stop smoking after the caffeine has been eliminated. (Once you are cigarette free for a month, you can cautiously reintroduce 1-2 caffeinated beverages per day if you desire. However, be prepared to experience sudden nicotine cravings).
  2. Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol causes a neurobiological increased craving for nicotine, just as caffeine does, but alcohol also interferes with the functioning of the pre-frontal cortex. This means it undermines judgment, resolve and will power and the combined affects of increased cravings and diminished will power lead to relapse of smoking.  (If you are a social drinker you can reintroduce an occasional alcoholic beverage once you are tobacco free for one month, but be prepared for the potential onset of nicotine cravings).
  3. Set a Date – Set a date for your last cigarette and stick to it. When the date comes, get rid of all your cigarettes, ash trays, and smoking paraphernalia.
  4. Trigger Identification and Replacement – Smoking is not only a physical addiction; it is also a psychological one, a conditioned response. Smokers have certain habits or behavior in which they routinely smoke. These habits will trigger a craving for a cigarette. For instance, a smoker who has the habit of smoking when he gets into the car will experience a desire to smoke when he gets into the car. If the habit is smoking after a meal then anticipate a craving for a cigarette after each meal, or after a shower, etc. Sometimes triggers can be emotional, such as smoking when angry or frustrated. Take an inventory of your habit patterns, recognize your triggers and either avoid the trigger (if possible) or plan on a replacement, such as popping a Tic Tac or chewing gum instead of a cigarette.
  5. Join Forces – If your spouse smokes and is willing to stop then team up together and implement a smoking cessation plan jointly. Encourage each other during this process. If your partner doesn’t smoke, solicit their involvement as your coach and partner to encourage, praise and support during this time.
  6. Exercise – Exercise not only improves cardiovascular health, resulting in improved lung function, but also results in the production of brain chemicals (endorphins and enkephalins) which reduce cravings. If you haven’t been exercising, start with easier exercises and go slowly to avoid over-use injuries. Also check with your primary care physician if you have any health problems which could impair exercise.
  7. Right Use of Imagination
    1. Within a few hours of the last cigarette, a smoker will typically experience cravings. This is often the turning point in the battle to be free of smoking. If you are not prepared when the cravings hit, the desire will grab hold of your imagination and you may begin to imagine things, like the familiar sound of opening a pack, the feel of the flick of the lighter, the smell of the smoke and the taste of the tobacco. Such imaginary events fuel greater cravings, undermine resolve and typically result in a relapse into smoking. One way to avoid this is to be prepared to take purposeful charge of the imagination. When the cravings come, imagine pulling a flip top box of cigarettes out, opening the top and cock roaches come crawling out on your hand or imagine it is filled with maggots wiggling around.  Use whatever imagery will cause an emotion of revulsion and disgust.
    2. Genuine victory over an addiction is not achieved by gaining more facts about the harm of the habit. Smokers don’t need more education on cancer risks or heart disease risks. In order to be genuinely free, a smoker (or any addict) must experience a change in the way they feel about their addiction. When a smoker thinks of smoking, they usually experience some positive emotion, “yeah,” “that’s nice,” or “oh that’s good,” what I call a “warm fuzzy” emotion. Warm fuzzies need to be replaced with emotions of revulsion. What emotion would you experience if someone offered you a fresh bowl of dog feces with a spoon? As the smell wafted up toward you, would you experience revulsion? If you had the same emotional response toward smoking, what would be the chances you would put one in your mouth? You have the power to imagine cigarettes in some way which engenders revulsion rather than a warm fuzzy. Do it!
  8. Drink Plenty of Water and Fresh Juices – For the first week (at least), be sure to flush your system with plenty of water and fresh fruit juice, as this will help remove toxins, free radicals and other damaging products, caused by smoking.
  9. Buddy Up – Solicit a close friend to be your buddy during the first week of the cessation process. If, during this time, a craving comes that seems more than you can handle, call your buddy to talk you through it. Tell your buddy why you need them, what his/her role is and get his/her permission to call anytime day or night for that week. Cravings come in waves – if you resist, the craving will pass. The craving will return later, but if resisted will pass again and, over the course of the first week, cravings will get weaker and weaker until they remit for good. The physical withdrawal from nicotine lasts only a week, so if you can make it past seven days, the physical portion will be over.  It will then be a matter of changing habit patterns, thought processes, and feelings about the addiction.
  10. Pray – Don’t forget the power of prayer. Ask God into your heart and mind and obtain His strength each day. Be thoughtful toward Him and call on Him anytime throughout the day or night. Ask God to change your desires, strengthen your will power, diminish the cravings and enhance your mind’s ability to think clearly. Ask friends and family to lift you up in prayer, especially during the first week, soliciting special intervention to help during this time. But remember God will not send an angel from heaven to snatch the cigarette from your mouth. You must willfully choose to say no in order to receive God’s power to succeed.
  11. Clean Everything – Clean car, rugs, clothes, curtains, windows – get the smell of tobacco out of your life and bring in a clean freshness to start your new healthy living.
  12. Avoid Mental Games – Don’t tell yourself, “I am going to quit – – unless I have a really bad day.” “This is my last cigarette – – unless I feel overwhelmed.” Such thinking leaves an “escape clause” from total cessation and most people will unconsciously “create” the necessary circumstances in which to exercise their secret escape clause. Be real with yourself. Tell yourself, when you decide to quit, that it doesn’t matter how bad it gets, you are not smoking again. No escape clauses!
  13. Remind Yourself the Reasons for Quitting – Make a list of all the benefits for quitting. This would include health, monetary savings, no more hassles finding a place to smoke. But even more important, remind yourself of all the loved ones that you will be benefiting. You will increase the likelihood of being there when your daughter graduates, your son gets married, your first grandchild is born. Remind yourself of all the additional joy you will have in life. Write this list down, put it in your wallet and when discouraged pull it out and look at it. Maybe put it near a picture of your spouse or child. They will be proud of you!
  14. Consider Nicotine Gum or Patch – Nicotine gums or patches should not be used if still smoking, as both together could cause lethal doses of nicotine. Nicotine gums or patches continue to supply the brain with nicotine so the physical addiction is not resolved until all sources of nicotine are removed. However, for some individuals, the nicotine gum/patch allows them to break the psychological triggers and smoking habit pattern, clean their house, and then taper off the gum/patch finally quitting all of it. This is not necessary for everyone but does help many.
  15. Consider Medications – There are a variety of prescription medications available to assist with smoking cessation. Consult with your doctor to see if any of these might be helpful during this time. However, medications are not a substitute for all the steps above and medications do not magically remove a smoking addiction. Medications can, for some persons, reduce the intensity of the physical cravings – that is all. They do not break habits, they do not change the imagination, they do not remove toxins from the body, and they do not instill a “revulsion” for tobacco. If medicine is used as an additional aide to stop smoking, the smoker will still be required to actively choose to put the cigarettes down, change habits and implement all the steps above. 

Creative Team

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Ethan Rothell

Ethan Rothell


Jennifer Chapman

Jennifer Chapman

Director of Operations

Josh Lundstrom

Josh Lundstrom

Design Director

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