January 20, 2017

Finding Hope When Suffering with Lyme Disease

5 Ways to Develop Positive Thoughts and Words for Physical Health and Emotional Well-being

by Rob Fischer

Imagine the frustration and hopelessness of the woman described in Dr. Saunders’ article. She had already visited 79 doctors and still had no diagnosis, much less relief from her pain and suffering!

Perhaps you (or a loved one) find yourself in a similar situation. In this article, we seek to give you hope.

People who suffer from a chronic illness like Lyme disease quickly discover that battling their illness is as much a battle of the mind as it is the immune system. The medical community has long since recognized the connection between our thoughts and the health of our bodies.[1]

hope for lyme diseaseWhen we’re sick, it’s very easy to fall into a pattern of negative thinking and negative self-talk. We find ourselves saying or thinking things like: “I’ll never get better!” Or, “Every day it’s the same old thing.” Or, “I feel terrible.” Or, “I can’t go on like this.” Or, “Nothing is working.”

There may be a legitimate thread of truth in some of those thoughts or words, but when we rehearse them over and over again, we unwittingly establish patterns that are hard to break. We become habitually negative and thereby resign ourselves to a life of misery by our thoughts and language even though we might be getting better. These patterns begin to control our lives and our destiny.

We’ve all heard the grumblings of an old grouch, “It may be sunny and warm today, but you just watch. Tomorrow will be cold and stormy!” Such an outlook becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We set ourselves up for a “bad day.” And when the bad day comes, we morosely “rejoice” knowing that we were right!

I’m not suggesting that we naively put on a Pollyanna-like attitude that everything is okay and ignore stark reality. What I am saying is that our thoughts and words are very powerful tools. We can either use our words and thoughts to help us cope with suffering and assist us on our way to recovery, or to make our lives and those around us more miserable.

A Prescription for Hope

Below are five suggestions for developing positive thoughts and words. You’ll be amazed at the powerful impact these can have on your physical health and emotional well-being.

1. Find something to look forward to.

Make plans. Those who believe they are about to die make no plans. So make plans. These plans don’t have to be anything grandiose. They may be as simple as planning to get your hair done today, or spending time with your grandchildren tomorrow, or calling a friend to go out for coffee. Simply make plans, look forward to them and carry them out.

2. Find something to laugh at.

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Rent a classic comedy like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or some other goofy movie. But be sure to watch it with someone else. The comedy quotient rises exponentially when we experience something funny with others. Don’t deny yourself this pleasure!

3. Find something to be grateful for.

Some old sage once wrote, “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” As bad as your situation may be, you’ll find others much worse off. What do you have that you can be thankful for? Who is in your life that you’re grateful for? Tell them how thankful you are for them. Express your gratitude to God for the things He has given you.

4. Find someone whose presence you can enjoy.

Typically, when we are feeling sorry for ourselves, we crawl off into a corner and mope like a dying animal. Don’t give in to that tendency. Spend time with those you love and who love you. You don’t even have to do anything profound together other than simply enjoy one another’s company. But beware of negative language! No one likes to hang around people who are negative all the time.

5. Find hope and joy in God.

Someone very close to me has suffered from an incurable chronic disease for nearly 20 years. His illness cost him a career he loved and indescribable physical, financial and emotional agony. But in spite of his pain and suffering, he has found peace, hope and joy in trusting God. This man is one of the most joyful, positive people I know—in spite of his illness.People constantly seek him out to discover his “secret.” But he’ll tell you that it is no secret, simply a daily reliance on God’s grace and love to keep him going.[2]

Find Hope and Joy in God

How do you find hope and joy in God? Begin by reading His Word, the Bible. The Psalms are powerful in this respect because so many of them are written out of the groanings of an individual experiencing suffering. Psalm 40 or 42 offer a great examples of what I’m talking about. As you read the Psalms, you’ll often find yourself thinking, “The writer is expressing the very things I’ve been feeling!”

Then, after reading from the Bible, spend time in prayer with God. Prayer is simply conversation with God. The “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13 offers us a great pattern to follow. In that prayer we take time to:

  • Acknowledge and declare who God is
  • Express our longing for Him and His rule in our lives and on earth
  • Request His provision in our lives, showing that we look to Him and rely on Him for everything
  • Confess our sins, assuring Him that as He forgives us, so we forgive others who have wronged us
  • Express our desire to live rightly and seek His protection from the evil one

A few years ago, I wrote a short, fictitious account of two men that graphically illustrates what we’re talking about here. I hope you enjoy it and take it to heart.

A Parable of Two Men

For 40 years God led Israel through the barren wilderness of the Middle East. In spite of their repeated grumblings and rebellion, God continued to love, lead and provide for His people. Even when they were unfaithful to Him, He remained faithful to them. In all those years, God sustained this massive company of people by miraculously providing them with manna. Manna was a food substance that God caused to appear on the ground each morning. The people of Israel gathered manna as their staple food through all those 40 years.

In year 39 of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness two men woke up one morning. One man got up, put on his outer garment and lifted the flap over the door of his tent to step out into the desert morning. As he ducked under the tent flap it dumped a load of sand down his neck. He cursed under his breath and angrily shook out his clothes muttering, “I am sick and tired of this infernal sand! I’ve got sand in my bed, sand in my hair, sand in my food! Everywhere there’s sand! I hate this life of constant moving and upheaval. And guess what’s for breakfast? Manna—again!” 

This man’s mood was no private matter, but spread unmercifully like cancer to his wife and children. With his incessant bitterness, anger and complaints he poisoned the minds and attitudes of his family and friends. His poison took its toll on his relationships replacing intimacy with isolation, trust with suspicion and love with self-centeredness. This man truly lived out the miserable life he envisioned for himself. By making much of himself and his circumstances, he lived as though God were puny and others insignificant.

Across the vast camp of the Israelites that same morning another man awoke. This man’s circumstances were in no wise different than the first man. But as this man stepped out of his tent that morning shaking the sand from his clothes, he stood up and filled his lungs with the fresh, cool desert air. He looked to the east watching the glory of the sun as it began to dispel the night. He thought to himself that the sunrise was but a tiny reflection of the magnificent glory of its Creator.

He expectantly looked out over the hillsides around their camp and saw the familiar blanket of manna in the receding shadows. Suddenly he was overwhelmed with a sense of God’s presence, faithfulness and love for him and his family. Without inhibition he raised his hands and looked up into the sky and worshipped out loud, “Thank you, my God, my King, my Shepherd! Thank you for another “manna-day”, a day in which you show yourself faithful and loving toward me and your people. Thank you for providing for us, O gracious Lord!”

This man’s mood was no private matter either, but spread to others like the warmth of the rising sun. His humble gratitude made him a delight to be around! His family and friends found his faith and joy contagious, so that they too gave God glory. By making much of God, he saw more of God and His greatness and love. And by experiencing God’s love, he could not help but love others around him on whom God had also poured out His love.

Which man are you?[3]

today i choose joyWhether you’re suffering from Lyme disease or some other chronic illness, you may not have a choice in the fact that you’re suffering, but you definitely have a choice in how you respond to your suffering. I encourage you to find hope in God and to establish patterns of positive thinking and speaking in your life.

Your thoughts and words are powerful weapons to assist you in your battle against your illness. Practice using these weapons and learn to wield them well!

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] Mayo Clinic, “Positive Thinking: Stop Negative Self-Talk to Reduce Stress,” March 4, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950.
[2] Mark Fischer, When Your Soul Enters the Iron: Finding God to Be Enough when the Pain Doesn’t Go Away (Spokane, WA: Mark Fischer, 2011).
[3] Rob Fischer, 28:19—The Skills for Disciple-Making (Spokane, WA: Fischer Publishing, 2015), pp. 37-39.

Progressive Healing of Lyme Disease

February.23.10

Three years ago, after Carolyn had her second child, every system in her body started collapsing and, within a year, she almost died. A half dozen doctors could not figure out what was wrong. She was losing four pounds a week and having severe neurological symptoms. She’d have seizures and couldn’t think straight (although she had been a psychologist prior to the onset of her illness). She was in so much pain. Her GI system collapsed and she couldn’t digest food. Doctors found out a year into the symptoms that she had chronic Lyme disease. After almost two years of “radical treatments” to address the Lyme, she recently has been awakened to the spiritual roots of her disease. Around the time that she was pregnant, she went into a dark season spiritually. She held resentment and unforgiveness toward many people and had a great deal of fear as well.

Carolyn's miraculous recovery story from lyme diseaseFive months ago, she began to be able to trust God again. For two years, she resisted seeking God for her healing. Consumed with the illness, she would spend hours a day researching Lyme and talking to others who had it. One day, she was going to her computer to do research about Lyme, and the Holy Spirit said to her, “You are worshiping Lyme.” She froze and was absolutely convicted by the truth she had just heard. She then sent a mass e-mail to people whom she corresponded with who had Lyme and said, “I care about you. I’m not abandoning you, but you probably won’t hear from me for a while because I am going to go to God.”

She got on her knees and prayed honestly for the first time since she was ill. She confessed to God that she was afraid He didn’t want good things for her and that if she put Him in charge of her healing, he would let her down. She repented and asked God to please heal her spiritually and take her on a journey of revealing himself to her. As she prayed frantically, she heard Him say, “Be quiet.” She started up again and then heard Him say, “Be still.” Then she quieted herself with awe. Then she heard him say, “You are healed.”

In that moment, though her symptoms were still present, she knew she was healed. She trusted the promise from God of healing as TRUTH and the symptoms she still had as a lie—the façade the enemy tries to use to get her to disbelieve truth. She became convicted that her healing would come as she came to know and walk with the Lord. She is walking this out by faith as He shows her who He is.

She’s made quantum leaps since that day. After God told her she was healed, she said to Him, “What should I do now?” He said to read the burning bush, Cain and Abel and Lazarus. She knew the stories but not enough to know how relevant they would be to her current situation. She knew Moses approached God in the burning bush but she didn’t know God had said, “I hear the cry of the Israelites and I will lead them out of their oppression into the promised land.” The story of Cain made her see that she had bitterness in her heart and a spirit of death and murder that can come from lack of forgiveness. The last was about resurrection and new life.

From that day on, encouraging people started coming into her life. A man her sister works with who is a strong man of God had been praying for her for two years. Right after she prayed, her sister called and said, “Would you be willing to talk to this man who has a lot of faith?” So she talked to him and he was compassionate like Jesus. He prayed for her and her kids. The next day he wrote an email about how he had taken a pre-view class of a two-year course from Bethel Church (the BSSM curriculum). She said, “I wish I could go to that.” She thought it was just for leaders. But he said, “You can.” So she enrolled in that.

She has come a long way. She’s had dramatic symptom reduction. She almost never has headaches though before she did daily. A lot of very strange neurological symptoms have disappeared or significantly diminished. Her fear is gone. Her bitterness is gone. All her broken relationships are restored.

She’s still walking this healing journey out and trusting that God will take her 100%.

a merry heart does good like medicineWhen she was at the Fire Storm led by Kevin Dedmon recently, God touched her. Nowadays, as God works in her, she can feel like something has happened to her immune system and then gradually symptoms will fade away. At that meeting, she knew that something good had happened to her immune system. She was released from neck pain but that comes and goes.

The biggest thing that happened that weekend was healing in her heart with a breakthough of joy. Also, she experienced more passion and excitement about God’s purpose for her. Finally, she received an impartation. Kevin released an impartation over the group for prophecy and then he asked them to give the person next to them a word. Instantaneously, Carolyn received a word for the people around her. A lady tapped her on the shoulder and prophesied over her, and she had a word for the lady.

One of the Bethel students staying with her later said, “I think the prophetic is going to be one of your giftings.” So the team had her do a prophetic painting and they said there is a powerful explosion of God going on inside her that will bring comfort and healing to her and to others. They used the word “counseling” without knowing that she used to be (and hopes to one day again be) a psychologist.

A student named Holly had so much joy about her and Carolyn watched her and thought, “I want what she has.” Carolyn has freedom from fear, peace, and hope but she doesn’t have joy yet. So they were doing holy laughter and that is new to her. She was watching that and she felt like the Holy Spirit told her to go to Holly and have Holly put her hand on her heart and release it on her heart. When Holly put her hand on her heart and started to laugh, Carolyn started to laugh, too. She felt like she got healed in her heart emotionally. The Scripture had been in her head for a long time about a merry heart doing good like a medicine. Holly told her to release it to another man who looked stern. Carolyn walked over, introduced herself, put her hand on his heart and she started to laugh.

It was fun talking to Carolyn and hearing about the incredible journey of healing and restoration she is on with the Lord. Others around her, seeing her freedom and the light of the Lord on her, are getting hungry for Jesus. And it’s only the beginning….

 

Reprinted with permission from:
http://www.ibethel.org/testimonies/2010/02/23/progressive-healing-of-lyme

 

 

Oils Well That Ends Well

The essential nature of oil

Oil is a topic of nearly universal application. Oil is used in transportation, marinating, lubrication, and elimination, etc., depending on the type and viscosity of the oil! Can you imagine your car, your skin, or even your salad without some form of oil?

I am reminded of a scene from the film, The Wizard of Oz. Exposure to the elements has left the Tin Woodsman unable to move, rusted and frozen in a forest. But Dorothy revives him with a few drops of oil.

rose oil emanates loveNo doubt, those of you living in an arid climate have a trusty oil can nearby to silence the squeaky hinges of your doors and cabinets.

We can surmise that all oil is essential! But in this article, we will focus on the therapeutic, or healing, nature of oils.

The Value of Oil

“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling place of the wise.” Proverbs 21:20

Since ancient times, the wise have known about the healing and therapeutic value of essential oils. Believe it or not, the Bible contains a wealth of information on our topic. It mentions no less than 33 essential oils and oil-producing plants within its pages.

When you visit the Holy Land (Israel) you can easily understand why oils are so important. Even with all of its beauty, Israel has an arid, desert climate, which causes your skin to lose moisture quickly. That’s why the Israeli diet contains a lot of olive oil. The nomadic shepherds of Israel, to this day, anoint or rub olive oil on the skin of their animals to keep their skin supple and safeguard them from insects, inflammation and infections.

Olive oil has a vast array of health benefits including:

Here is a list of just a few of the principle oils mentioned in the Bible:

Myrrh Frankincense Calamus Cedarwood Cinnamon
Cassia Galbanum Onycha Spikenard Hyssop
Sandalwood Myrtle Cypress Rose Of Sharon Spikenard

Each oil mentioned in the Bible possesses a special application and medicinal quality, as well as a spiritual metaphor. Click to Tweet.

Interestingly, oil is widely understood as a symbol of the Holy Spirit in The Bible. Here are a couple of examples: in Luke 4:8, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”

The Spirit of the Lord and the anointing oil are directly linked here. The oil of anointing appears as a physical representation of Jesus being given the Holy Spirit to perform these functions for God in His love for mankind.

Here is another aspect of this symbolism. In Acts 10: 38, we read,“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

This is another reference to anointing, an act typically done with oil. But here, the anointing is done by the Holy Spirit!

In one of King David’s psalms we see the anointing oil compared with God’s people living in harmony, “For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was pored over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.” Psalm 133:1-2

And when it came to offerings or sacrifices in the Old Testament, they often required oil as an integral part of the offering or sacrifice. “Now when anyone presents a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.” Leviticus 2:1

I am sharing these passages to emphasize the absolute importance, or essential nature, of oils throughout the Bible, as well as history.

  • The apostle Paul considered the triad of basic needs to be food, clothing, and oil!
  • Hosea described Israel’s basic needs in his day as, 1) bread and water, 2) wool and flax and 3) oil and drink.
  • Oil filled the menorah, giving light to the temple, offerings and sacrifices.
  • A cleansed leper would be anointed with oil before returning to family.
  • Scented or perfumed oils were prized as much as gold and silver.
  • Altars were anointed with oil.
  • Kings were anointed with oil.
  • Oil was sent as a symbol of treaty between warring nations.
  • The list goes on and on!

In fact, before our modern electric conveniences were invented, oil was the primary source of light. Essential oil to ancient man was a necessity!

Now here’s the fun part…What makes each plant (or essential) oil effective to a different part of the body?

It’s inherent frequency!

photosynthesis into energy into essential oilsThat’s right! If you have read my book, Wholetones: The Sound Of Healing you are already tracking with me.

You see, everything is frequency and everything possesses a resonant frequency. Our bodies are electrical. So is everything around us.

The Sun activates photosynthesis in plants, which converts sunlight into electrical, chemical energy available to us through essential oils. Click to Tweet.

When essential oils are extracted from plants, they possess unique chemical components, as well as their own specific frequencies. And each frequency will affect the body in a different way. One may resonate with the lungs, while another may rid the body of infection.

Essential oils have the capacity to change the electrical frequency of the body. The electrical frequency of essential oils ranges between 52 and 320 Hz. Because they are living substances, their frequency is harmonic with the human frequency. When essential oils come into contact with our bodies, the frequency of our bodies becomes raised to a degree so that we become inhospitable hosts to pathogenic organisms.

Rose essential oil vibrates at a rate of 320MHz. The highest measured frequency of any essential oil, rose emanates love, purity, and wholeness, connecting mind, body, and spirit. It is not surprising then that there is no greater human emotion than love: the feeling of love is the highest frequency any person is able to emit. So remember, when you use essential oils, regardless of their vibrational frequencies use them with an open heart filled with love.

In God’s genius, He gave us every seed bearing plant and tree as both sustenance and a veritable medicine chest – for what ails us. Click to Tweet.

This is the essence of nature from its organic origin, and it all depends on the Sun to make it work!

Essential Joy

plants for medicineSo here is a question…What is more essentialoil from plants, or the Sun that makes plants grow?

And here is yet another question…What is more essential…mankind, or God who gave us life? Now, stay with me…

I have used the word “essential” throughout this article without giving you its definition, which I will do now.

Essential: Absolutely necessary, vital, critical, all-important, nonnegotiable, must-have.

In my time on this “big blue marble” there is only one thing I have discovered that by definition is essential for life. This passage will describe it in detail:

“Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of Your of Kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has set YOU above your companions by anointing You with the oil of joy.” Psalm 45:6-7

The true essential oil, the oil of joy, can only be obtained through a healing relationship with the Son of God, Jesus. There are many things in this life that are beneficial, but only one that is essential. I have received the oil of joy through the love of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that He alone will become the one essential, must-have in your life today.

 

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Michael TyrrellMichael Tyrrell, www.michaeltyrrell.com is the founder of the Network Center Inc., a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001 which works as an advisory agency to local churches, faith-based ministries, Para-church ministries, schools, home fellowships and music ministries in connection with their outreach ministries or missions based activities.  Michael has been committed to training their key leaders and members to deliver the message of their Christian faith in order to reach the lost, the disenfranchised, the sick and the hurting through the organic roots of the Christian faith and other areas as needs arise.  Michael has been in full-time ministry for the last 27 years and is a writer music producer and well-known musician.

 

 

More than Skin Deep

Skin is a remarkable organ! That’s right. Skin is the largest organ in the body and plays numerous significant roles:

  • Skin keeps our bodily fluids inside where they need to be.
  • Skin regulates our body temperature.
  • Skin protects the body from invasions of billions of microorganisms, chemicals and the like.
  • Skin color and tone reflect our unique DNA combinations.
  • Skin possesses mechanoreceptors that detect textures (of less than .002 inch), pressures, and vibrations.
  • Skin contains thermoreceptors so accurate, they allow us to detect just 1 degree of temperature change.
  • Skin has pain receptors that register mechanical, thermal, and chemical pain.
  • Skin displays a signature (fingerprints) unique to every individual who ever lived.

inner beautyBut we seldom think of skin in terms of its amazing status among our organs. It seems that our chief concern with our skin is the role it plays in our appearance and influence on others. Consider television and magazine ads. We sell everything from cars to soap with the allure of beautiful skin.

Our infatuation with beautiful skin is further reflected in the fact that many women in the US spend upwards of $15,000 per year on beauty products and salon services. Including products for men, that brings the total to nearly $40 billion per year spent on beauty aids. Yet, we aren’t any happier for it according to the Satisfaction with Life Index.

Cultivate Your Inner Beauty

Comedian Redd Foxx, known for his role in the television series Sanford and Son, once quipped, “Beauty may only be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone!”

Perhaps what Redd Foxx was getting at is that outward beauty, while eye-catching, can be a very deceptive gauge of a person’s true beauty. A person can be “beautiful” on the outside and “ugly” inside and that ugliness dominates our perception of that individual.

A person without inner beauty is like an exquisite porcelain vial containing a caustic toxin. Click to Tweet.

We may be attracted by the container until we find out what’s inside; then, we stay away.

A person may be born with outward beauty, but inward beauty must be cultivated. And while outward beauty is coveted, it is short-lived and really only skin deep. If the inner becomes beautiful — which is in your hands — the outer will have to mold itself according to the inner. The outer is not essential, it will have to reflect the inner in some way.

Feeling Comfortable in Your Skin

Similarly tragic is the fact that many physically beautiful people are uncomfortable in their own skin. We look at them and see a beautiful person. They look at themselves and wish they looked different. They may even go to extreme lengths and great expense to change their physical appearance.  They can have plastic surgery. They can have a beautiful face, beautiful eyes, a beautiful nose; they can change their skin; they can change their shape. That is not going to change your being.  Inside they still remain greedy, full of lust, violence, anger, rage, jealousy, with a tremendous will to power. All these things the plastic surgeon can do nothing about.

The truth is, at one time or another, probably all of us find ourselves in one or the other situations described above. Either we’ve failed to cultivate our inner beauty, or we aren’t satisfied with our outer appearance. Either way, we are unhappy people, uncomfortable in our skin.

These issues are not new, but have been around as long as people have been on earth. In fact, Jesus spoke about the need for inner beauty. At that time, there was a group of religious fanatics called Pharisees. They liked to do everything for show. Keeping up appearances meant everything to them, but they failed to cultivate an inner beauty.

They built their phony exterior with outward displays of piety:

  • Donating money with much publicity and fanfare
  • Praying loudly in public to be noticed by others
  • Disfiguring their faces when they fasted so as to attract the attention of others
  • Wearing special clothes and objects to flaunt their religiosity

But Jesus called them on their hypocrisy. He said to the Pharisees, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” Can you imagine being compared with a neatly manicured cemetery–beautiful and serene on the surface, but filled with death and decay below the facade?

If we are honest with ourselves, we all have some stuff in our lives that isn’t pretty. Yet there is one person we can go to without any pretense or fear of rejection. We can come to God just as we are.

Many mistakenly think that they have to “clean up their act” before coming to God, but that’s not possible. He knows us intimately already–the good and the bad–yet he loves us and seeks relationship with us.

That which is “ugly” in us, beneath our skin, God wants to renew and rebuild. He performs a makeover in us from the inside out, rejuvenating our inner beauty. Once God is there, it is almost like a light in a dark house. The windows will start showing the light; even the cracks in the wall or the roof or the doors will start showing the inner light.

And for those who are plagued with thoughts that they are too dirty, frumpy, or unlovable, God also restores their self-image by showing them his deep love and acceptance. “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” We are beautiful and precious to him not because of what we have or haven’t done, but because of who we are.

True beauty is not defined by anything in this world, but found in something that is beyond this world. It is God himself. God is beautiful, captivating, fascinating and drawing. He is brilliant, shining, color, light, and life.  GOD DESIRES OUR BEAUTY. WE ARE CALLED BEAUTIFUL BY HIM.  Our desire to be beautiful is not wrong. It is from God, he created beauty because he is beautiful. His desire is that we would see ourselves as he see’s us, that we would stop looking through the eyes of the world and start looking through his eyes of love and desire for us.

God created us uniquely and he loves us unconditionally. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God’s extravagant love for us gives us the freedom to love ourselves and others too. If you struggle with loving yourself, here’s some Rx:

  • Discover how much God loves you by reading the Gospel of John.
  • Accept and trust in God’s great love for you.
  • Declare the truth over your life that your are beautiful and reject the lies that tell you otherwise.
  • Cultivate a heart of gratefulness and thanksgiving to God.
  • Express God’s love for others through acts and words of kindness toward them.

By following those actions, we see how highly esteemed we and others are in God’s sight and we begin living out that truth making it our own. God will transform not only the inner, but give a new look to our outer being: an innocence, a serenity, a depth, a peace and a love. In this way, we become comfortable in our skin.

God is like a mirror for us. When you look into a mirror you may see a big smudge of dirt on your face that you didn’t know was there. The mirror can’t get rid of the dirt, but you’re really glad you looked at that mirror before you walked out the door. In the same way, God reveals our shortcomings, our scars, our sins, and we are thankful to see them, so that we can bring them to Him, and He can deal with them through His grace. He will make all things beautiful in his time.

The healthiest people can see their ugliness… and see their own beauty through the grace and the love of God. Click to Tweet.

Obviously, we need to care for our skin just like the rest of our body. But outward beauty is frail and temporary. However, inner beauty can last a lifetime, even leaving a legacy for others. True beauty really is more than skin deep. Let me encourage you to take care of your skin and to cultivate your inner beauty through a healthy relationship with God and others.

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Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

 

 

Sources:
Richard A. Swenson, MD, More than Meets the Eye (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2000), pp. 79-82.
The Representation Project, Miss Representation, http://therepresentationproject.org/films/miss-representation/.
Dodai Stewart, “Americans Spend Billions on Beauty Products but Are Not Very Happy,” Jezebel, August 6, 2012, http://jezebel.com/5931654/americans-spend-billions-on-beauty-products-and-are-still-pretty-unhappy/.
Matthew 23:27, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
1 Samuel 16:7, Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Romans 5:6-8 NIV.

 

7 Ways Music Promotes Spiritual Health

As I sit down to write this article, I feel nearly overwhelmed by two challenges: first, I’m struck by the sheer breadth of musical expression.

As of this writing, experts recognize at least 283 known music genres.[1] Between 75,000 and 100,000 new songs are recorded and released every year in the US alone.[2] Added to that, when we consider the rich history of music that we continue to draw from, dating back centuries, the vast number and variety of songs boggle the mind.

Second, when we speak of spiritual health, all kinds of things—some weird, some noble—flood our minds. So, for purposes of this article, I will use a biblical understanding of spiritual health.

7 ways music promotes spiritual growthSpiritual health refers to an ever-deepening relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. This burgeoning relationship results in a life that increasingly reflects Christ’s character expressed towards others.

That fact that music promotes our spiritual health is indisputable. Consider the fact that the largest “book” in the Bible is the Psalms. The Psalms consist of 150 songs and poems composed specifically for worship and development of our relationship with God.

Psalm 33 begins, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”[3]

When King David commissioned the building of the temple in Jerusalem, he assigned 4,000 musicians to lead worshipers in song.[4]

And the Apostle Paul urges us, “Be filled with [God’s] Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[5] Clearly, music nurtures our spiritual health.

In What Ways does Music Promote our Spiritual Health?

1. Music engages us at the deepest level of our beings, both reaching into and exuding from our very soul.

If music is played, immediately the heart of the music enters the heart…or your heart enters into the music. There are many who have experienced this:

  • “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach.
  • King David wrote in Psalm 108, “My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.”[6]
  • Hans Christian Andersen expressed it this way, “Where words fail, music speaks.”

2. Music puts our hearts in tune with God.

Psalm 101 expresses this, “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise I will be careful to lead a blameless life.”[7] Music aids us in expressing our deepest desires and fellowship with God.

3. Music synchronizes us with other worshipers of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”[8]

When people sing together, their words and souls unite. Click to Tweet.

4. Music, as part of our worship, glorifies and pleases the Lord.

“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.”[9] The Lord delights in hearing our songs of praise and worship to him.

5. The lyrics in our worship music enable us to rehearse God’s goodness and love.

At the inauguration of the temple in Jerusalem, “the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’”[10] Many of the Psalms and modern worship songs express what God has done in our lives.

5. The lyrics in our songs of worship serve to deeply ingrain and remind us of truth.

Consider the powerful words of this modern hymn, In Christ Alone, and the truths they proclaim:

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
cross_2 by flickr spbpdaWhen fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.[11]

7. Music provides the worshiper of God a vehicle for poetic and heartfelt expression we would not otherwise possess.

Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

While the words of a song itself may be meaningful and powerful, it’s the music set to it that gives wings to our souls. Click to Tweet.

In all those ways and more, music assists us in promoting our spiritual health as we worship God and seek to please him.

Of course, not all music facilitates spiritual health. But a song need not be a hymn to move us in God’s direction. Just as there are so many genres of music, music fulfills numerous purposes. Some of the other objectives of music include: rallying troops for battle, love songs, ballads, songs that are simply fun to sing, marketing jingles, national anthems, etc.

In addition to the seven ways that music promotes our spiritual health, select music that speaks to you and that you enjoy. Don’t get sidetracked by music someone else loves. It’s okay if classic hymns “don’t do it for you.”

Hillsong, a large church in Sydney, Australia has a gift for writing meaningful worship songs and has produced more than 40 albums since 1992. Many of their songs are sung in a wide variety of churches the world over. Two of their most popular songs are Power of Your Love and Shout to the Lord.

Wholetones_albumAlso, I would be remiss not to mention Wholetones. We might call Wholetones a whole new genre of music. After 18 years of research, Michael Tyrrell has created the Wholetones: The Healing Frequency Project. This collection of newly-created musical arrangements is specifically designed to aid in healing and restoration of body, mind and spirit.

Wholetones consists of “Seven unique songs recorded in seven unique frequencies on seven CDs resulting in 2.5 hours of beautiful, transformational music.” These musical pieces are purely instrumental without voice accompaniment. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!

Bottom line, let music take you to new heights in promoting your spiritual health!

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] Music Genre List, “The Most Comprehensive List of Genres of Music Available on the Internet,” 2014, http://www.musicgenreslist.com/.
[2] Glenn Peoples, “Business Matters: 75,000 Albums Released in U.S. in 2010 – Down 22% from 2009,” Billboard Biz, February 18, 2011, http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1179201/business-matters-75000-albums-released-in-us-in-2010-down-22-from-2009.
[3] Psalm 33:1-3, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
[4] 1 Chronicles 23:5, NIV.
[5] Ephesians 5:18-20, NIV.
[6] Psalm 108:1, NIV.
[7] Psalm 101:1-2, NIV.
[8] Colossians 3:15-16, NIV.
[9] Psalm 92:1-2, NIV.
[10] 2 Chronicles 5:13, NIV.
[11] Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, “In Christ Alone,” Kingsway Thankyou Music, 2001.

 

All Things Health and Spirit

 

“Okay, really? If metabolic syndrome is a collection of physical symptoms like: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and a large waistline, what in the world does my spiritual health have to do with it? [1]

Besides, even if my spiritual health does impact metabolic syndrome, doesn’t that complicate things? I already feel overwhelmed with my physical ailments and now you’re telling me I need to tend to my spiritual health, as well?”

Your spiritual vitality truly can serve as a lever to help pry disease from your life.If you can identify with those thoughts and question above, you’re not alone. Metabolic syndrome is a complex collection of symptoms and it may seem far-fetched and even discouraging to think that our spiritual health also plays a role in it.

But don’t think for a minute that tending to your spiritual health will complicate matters. On the contrary, think of your spiritual healthy in terms of “leverage”. Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

Your spiritual vitality truly can serve as a lever to help pry metabolic syndrome (or any disease) from your life. Wise King Solomon put it like this:

My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4:20-23[2]

Your spiritual health is undeniably linked to your physical health. Click to Tweet.

The two are intertwined and inseparable. This intimate connection holds true for every area of your life: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. This is the way God made us—as fully integrated beings.

We know for instance that there’s a strong relationship between metabolic syndrome (the physical) and depression (the psychological or emotional).[3] In fact, the one feeds the other. If you have metabolic syndrome, you are likely to have been depressed over it at some time. And when you get depressed, you are more prone to let yourself go, which worsens metabolic syndrome.[4]

You’ve probably experienced the connection between your psychological and spiritual health. When you feel spiritual vitality you are less likely to become depressed.[5] Your spiritual health overflows into and impacts your physical health, as well.

4 Ways to Boost your Spiritual Health and Battle Metabolic Syndrome

Your spiritual vitality can greatly help you prevent or halt metabolic syndrome. Here are 4 ways to help improve your spiritual health:

1. Intentionally focus on cultivating a deeper relationship with God.

True spirituality is defined by a relationship with God that is vibrant and ever-growing. Get to know Him better by spending time reading His Word, the Bible. Spend time talking with Him daily in prayer. Learn how to “hear” and distinguish His voice. Be quick to put into practice what you read in the Bible and what God urges you to do.

View your spiritual life for what it is—a relationship with God—and not merely “doing spiritual things.” As you pursue your relationship with Him, He will comfort and encourage you. He will stand by you. He promises, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

love opportunity2. Spend time with others whom you can feed and who can feed you spiritually.

Attend a church regularly where you find loving, like-minded people. Look for ways to serve others and spend time in the company of other spiritually healthy people. Be a model to others and seek out others whose lives you can imitate.

We all desperately need the love of others and opportunities to love others that this fellowship will bring.

We can weather a lot and accomplish much more when others are standing with us! Click to Tweet.

3. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

Jesus put more emphasis on what comes out of our hearts than what goes into our mouths.[6] Feed your heart with that which will make it loving, kind and gracious. And weed out bitterness, strife, and anger.

We are all prone to go our own way and to put our own needs and desires before others. We are selfish by nature. Weeding self-centeredness out of our hearts does not come naturally or automatically. This is something we must deliberately do for the rest of our lives, but the rewards are great. “While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8[7]

4. Put first things first.

Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today,” Matthew 6:33-34. Stress, worry and anxiety worsen the effects of metabolic syndrome. Trust God with your whole life.

God invites you to take your every care to him. People who don’t understand God’s gracious and loving character protest that we are arrogant to think that he cares about our insignificant little issues. But nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible invites us to, “Humble ourselves before God…by casting all our cares on him, because he cares for us.”[8]

The point here is not simply to ask God to take away your metabolic syndrome so you can continue on in a lifestyle of inactivity and self-indulgence. Instead, ask him to help you make the changes necessary to halt your metabolic syndrome and watch him give you the strength and self-discipline to follow through. Doing so releases a supernatural peace and joy in our lives that can only come from God.

Your spiritual health and well-being are intimately linked to your physical health and emotional health. Don’t merely try to fight metabolic syndrome on a physical level. Apply the “lever” of your spiritual health to pry metabolic syndrome from your life.

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors

 

Sources:
[1] WebMD, “What Is Metabolic Syndrome?” December 21, 2013, http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it.
[2] Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
[3] James A. Dunbar, MD, et all, “Depression: An Important Comorbidity with Metabolic Syndrome in a General Population,” Diabetes Care, December 2008, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/31/12/2368.full.
[4] PubMed, “Bidirectional Association Between Depression and Metabolic Syndrome: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Epidemiological Studies,” May 2012, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517938.
[5] Emily Deans, MD, “Brains, Spirituality, and Depression,” Psychology Today, January 26, 2014, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201401/brains-spirituality-and-depression.
[6] Matthew 15:11
[7] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
[8] 1 Peter 5:6-7 paraphrase.

The ABCs of Reducing Stress

by Rob Fischer

Asthma is a respiratory condition usually triggered by a stimulus that inflames and narrows the airways, making it difficult to breathe. As a result, one may feel out of breath, tightness in the chest, or fall into bouts of coughing or wheezing. Asthma is a threat to our physical health and well-being.

When we think of triggers that induce an asthmatic reaction, we most readily think of things like:

  • Prolonged, heavy exercise.
  • Cool, dry air; air pollution or pollen.
  • But stress is also a common trigger for asthma.[1]

Unfortunately, when stress triggers an asthma attack, stress and anxiety multiply, because an asthmatic reaction brings on additional stress and even fear or panic. This stress works against us, intensifying the constriction of airways and making it more difficult to breathe.

Thank God that we have inhalers under such circumstances to help us get our breathing back to normal. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to avoid more of the stress and anxiety altogether and eliminate those stress-induced asthmatic episodes?

So much of what stresses us seems to be the little things that accumulate over time. Things like: financial pressures, the neighbor’s dog that barks incessantly, a lingering cold, a broken garage door opener, and rush-hour traffic all mount to generate stress, anxiety and frustration. Then often, all it takes to break the dam is something like a flat tire or a minor spat with a co-worker. Suddenly, we find ourselves under major stress triggering a nasty asthma attack.

So, how do we maintain more of an even keel and weather the storms and stresses of life?

We cannot live stress-free, but we can learn to control the effects of stress in our lives. Click to Tweet.

Our Creator has given us a very simple approach to reducing stress. In fact, it’s so simple that I call it the ABCs of stress reduction.

ABCs of Stress Reduction

1. Acknowledge that God loves you unconditionally and that He is in control.

In perhaps the most well-known verse of the Bible, John 3:16, we read, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”[2]

God loves you more than you can possibly imagine or fathom. That fact alone is extremely comforting, quieting, and de-stressing, but there’s more. Not only are you precious to Him, but He is in sovereign control of the universe.

If you have children, think back when your child was a helpless baby. You protected and provided for that child. In fact, you probably fashioned your life around that child for its safety, growth and well-being. Acknowledge that God is in control. Because He loves you, nothing can come into your life without His say-so. That’s comforting!

2. Believe that He cares for you and will meet your needs.

The Bible instructs us: “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”[3]

Jesus also encourages us with the words, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”[4]

Obviously, the Lord expects us to work hard and to seek to provide for our family.

But when we’ve done all we can, we need to believe that He will take care of us. Trust Him that He will provide. Click to Tweet.

Years ago, my wife and I experienced God’s provision in a remarkable way that has helped bolster our trust in Him. At the time, I was a full-time student and working two part-time jobs. We were married with two small children. In spite of my efforts to provide for my family, I came home from work one evening and my wife shared with me that we had nothing in the house for supper.

Payday wasn’t for another day, and we had no credit card. We were out of money and out of food. I went outside to pray, mindlessly walking around our garden as I did. I was really having a struggle with God about our situation. I was trying very hard to provide for our little family and we lived very frugally. It wouldn’t have hurt me to go without a meal, but I didn’t want to subject my wife and children to that.

It was still early spring and only a few radishes had come up. So as I continued my conversation with God, I pulled a small handful of radishes. In my prayer, I rehearsed the Scriptures I knew that talk about God’s provision for us and I was encouraged. I didn’t know how yet, but I was convinced that God would provide supper for us that evening.

Suddenly, I looked at the small bunch of radishes in my hand and asked out loud, “What can you do with radishes?” And immediately the thought entered my head, “Make cream of radish soup.” I knew that God had just answered our prayers for supper.

I excitedly ran inside and told my wife, “Honey, we’re going to have cream of radish soup for supper tonight.” She looked at me funny and said, “I’ve never heard of cream of radish soup.” To which I responded, “I haven’t either, but it might be good!”

I set about washing and slicing the radishes, making a broth from a couple of bouillon cubes and adding some dried parsley, milk and flour. I can honestly say that the soup was quite delicious and the whole family enjoyed it. Most of all, however, we were amazed and grateful for God’s gracious provision!

3. Cast all your cares on Him.

There’s a beautiful verse in 1 Peter 5:7:“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”[5] I once had a man tell me that it was arrogant to think that God would be concerned for the petty issues of our lives.

But he was wrong! The context of that verse is all about humbling ourselves before God and reminds us that He is opposed to the proud. Then God explains that one of the ways we demonstrate humility toward Him is by casting our cares on Him, because He cares for us! (See 1 Peter 5:5-7.)

Finally, let the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6-7 encourage you, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”[6]

Acknowledge that God loves you unconditionally and that He is in control.

Believe that He cares for you and will meet your needs.

And cast all your cares on Him.

Those are the simple ABCs of stress reduction and reducing your stress can improve your asthma!

From time to time, as a reminder of God’s goodness and provision, we still serve cream of radish soup. I’d like to share that recipe with you here (with a few minor modifications since that night long ago). I hope you enjoy it and I pray it serves as a reminder to you of God’s love and care for you just as it has for us.

cream of radish soupCream of Radish Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch (12) red radishes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups organic milk
  • 1/4 cup flour or 1/4 cup corn starch
  • Tablespoon butter
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper
  • dash dried basil

Directions

  • Clean and slice radishes into disks about 1/16” to 1/8” thick.
  • Bring chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan and add sliced radishes, salt, pepper and basil. Then simmer.
  • In a shaker, combine cold milk and flour and shake until well blended. Set milk and flour aside.
  • Test radishes for being done. They should be firmly soft, not mushy.
  • When radishes are done, pour milk and flour mix into the pan, and add butter, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down to prevent it from boiling. When the broth begins to thicken the soup is done.

Guten Appetit!

Need encouragement? Share YOUR story of God’s miraculous and detailed provision!

 If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] WebMD, “Stress and Asthma,” March 27, 2014, http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/stress-asthma.
[2] Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
[3] Matthew 7:11, Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
[4] Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV).
[5] NIV.
[6] NLT.

How to Have a Healthy Spiritual Immune System

by Rob Fischer

On July 2, 2014, Louis Zamperini, a great American hero, died at age 97 in Los Angeles. Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner for the US, but that’s not primarily what he’s known for. Instead, he is most remembered as a WWII veteran who survived–not only 47 days on a tiny rubber raft in the Pacific–but also his capture and endurance in a Japanese prisoner of war camp known as Execution Island.

In 2010, author, Laura Hillenbrand published the story of Louis Zamperini in the book, Unbroken. On Christmas day, 2014, the movie Unbroken will be released in theaters across the nation. View the Unbroken trailer here.

Louis Zamperini’s story is one of the most inspiring I’ve ever read. He’s the kind of person you want to be like. Yet, few of us will ever have to contend with the rigors of survival at sea or endure the horrors of a prisoner of war death camp. By contrast, we might even feel ashamed at the relatively puny things that we struggle with by comparison. Yet, these things are so common in life and they can destroy us if we’re not prepared for them.

honeycomb words heal the bonesOur culture today seems to be preoccupied with physical health and well-being. It is noble to desire and drive towards maintaining good health. But many of the struggles, trials, suffering, and even our own foibles can undermine our health regardless of how well we eat or how much we exercise.

Holistic health–the health of the whole person: body, mind and spirit–involves far more than mere physical health. And failure to attend to our spiritual well-being can cause great harm to our physical and mental health.

There is a strong link between our spiritual health and our physical and mental health. Consider the following words of wisdom:

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” — Proverbs 14:30[1]

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” — Proverbs 16:24

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” — Proverbs 17:22

For the remainder of this article, I’d like to focus on our spiritual health.

Diseases of the spirit

The diseases of the spirit are different in kind than those of the mind or body. But the diseases of the spirit are no less destructive and even deadly. I see two general kinds of diseases of the spirit.

1. Internal diseases of the spirit

Internal diseases of the spirit are those spiritual diseases to which we are predisposed. We find ourselves falling victim to these diseases at times even when we sincerely desire to avoid them. Some of these diseases of the spirit include: anger, rage, envy, jealousy, bitterness, unforgiveness, hate, self-centeredness, and self-indulgence.

We can categorize those diseases as sin. We have all been infected with the sin disease. We inherited it from our parents and they from theirs and so on. No one had to teach us to do wrong. We are inclined to do so even though we might detest it and seek to remove it from our lives.

“Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?” — Proverbs 20:9

For instance, if we harbor bitterness toward someone who has harmed us–no matter how trivial or serious–and we withhold forgiveness from them, we are harming our own health. Someone has said, “Refusal to forgive others is like taking poison ourselves while hoping the offending person will die.”

In 1950, Louis Zamperini returned to Japan to seek out his tormentors from his POW camp days and forgive them. Louis later wrote, “I think the hardest thing in life is to forgive. Hate is self-destructive. If you hate somebody, then you’re not hurting the person you hate; you’re hurting yourself. It’s a healing, actually, it’s a real healing…forgiveness.”

But when we allow these diseases to take root in our lives and grow like cancer, we become “carriers” of these diseases infecting others around us.

2. External diseases of the spirit

External diseases of the spirit are attacks on our person that come from outside of us. These can include all kinds of hardships, sufferings, and circumstances beyond our control. Examples of an external attack on our spirit might be the diagnosis of a physical disease like cancer, experiencing a traumatic natural disaster, or a being hit by a drunk driver. Mere physical or mental health is insufficient to get us through some of these trials that come our way. We need to be armed with spiritual vitality as well.

Sometimes these external assaults on our spiritual health can result in a flare up of the internal diseases of the spirit. For instance, something as minor as a flat tire can set us off into a rage, making everyone around us “pay” for what happened to us.

The physical and emotional stress and discord that such a diseased response causes has far-reaching effects on our health and that of others. This is why it’s so important that we cultivate spiritual health.

It’s important for us to recognize that while we cannot necessarily control whether we had that flat tire, We are truly “diseased” when we think that the event itself is the cause of our response. It’s up to us to respond to those situations in a healthy manner.

Symptoms of spiritual illness

Symptoms of these spiritual sicknesses can include any or all of the following:

  • Apathy about life in general
  • An attitude that “It’s all about me!”
  • Idolatry–living for and ascribing ultimate worth to something or someone who is less than divine. For instance, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing a great career. But when we live solely for that career and allow it to define who we are, such action is debasing and demeaning of God and us. Think of how puny it would be to merely refer to Louis Zamperini as an Olympic runner. Instead, look at what God did in his life and through him for others! You are much, much more than that which your career defines you as.
  • Lack of a moral compass–our conscience can become twisted and perverted. We need a higher standard.
  • No lofty purpose for living. Viktor E. Frankl, Nazi concentration camp survivor wrote, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
  • Repeating sin patterns like anger, selfishness, lying, deceit, gossip, etc.

Removing the root cause of spiritual illness

640_spiritual by flickr maf04Before talking about building up our immune systems, we need to ensure that we are taking steps toward eliminating the root cause of spiritual disease instead of merely dealing with symptoms. Sin, or going our own way away from God, is the root cause of all spiritual disease.

All of us sin and have sinned–  But God, out of His great love for us, sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin on our behalf and reconcile us to Himself.

God asks us to believe Him and accept His gracious gift and free mercy. He extends us forgiveness through Christ. The question is whether we will humbly receive His free gift or spurn and reject Him.

Boosting our spiritual immune systems

Once we have dealt with the root cause of our spiritual sickness , we can begin to focus on boosting our spiritual immune system. Let me offer three ways to do this:

1. Develop a healthy spiritual mindset.

God made this very simple for us. Developing a healthy spiritual mindset begins and ends with trusting that God loves you unconditionally–period! With the knowledge that He loves you, love Him back and love others. This prescription is not necessarily easy, but it is simple. Following this prescription leads to a life filled with peace and joy. We also arrive at the end of life knowing that we’ve left a legacy for others. We’ve made a difference.

2. Deepen your relationship with God.

Get to know Him and His character and allow Him to transform you. We get to know Him better by engaging in practices like reading the Bible (His Word), praying (conversation with Him), spending time alone with Him in solitude, worshiping Him, etc. It is by spending time with Him that He changes us. For in His presence we cannot remain unchanged. As we spend time with Him, we take on God’s character. We become more loving, patient, gracious, merciful, kind, just, truthful, faithful, etc.

3. Spend time with spiritually healthy people.

This is important for several reasons. First, we become like those with whom we spend time. Second, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That is, we can accomplish more with others and often we cannot do what we need to do alone. Third, the nature of the changes that God wants to bring about in us are chiefly relational. We cannot grow relationally apart from the input and help of other people. We spur each other on toward love and good deeds.[2]

On the flip side, the Scripture warns, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”[3] We have to approach this strategy in all humility, however, knowing that we all sin. But there’s a difference between someone who is seeking to abandon their sin and another person who gives themselves to their sin with abandon.

Surround yourself with people who are pursuing relationship with God and actively cultivating their spiritual health. And reach out to those in love and care who do not yet seek or love God.

What are you doing to ensure your spiritual health? Vibrant health is so much more than a healthy mind and body. Take the steps today outlined in this article to boost your spiritual immune system!

 

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Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. All Scripture passages in this article are taken from the NIV.
[2] Hebrews 10:24.
[3] 1 Corinthians 15:33.

 

3 Ways That God Heals Us

By Scott Saunders, M.D.

Cecilia came limping into my office with left knee pain. I examined her knee and found nothing wrong with it, but ordered an x-ray anyway. The report came back showing a normal x-ray of the knee, but a bone lesion was seen just above the knee in the femur. Several tests later proved devastating. She had a bone cancer that was almost always fatal. The surgeon recommended they take her entire leg off at the hip joint – and then start whole-body radiation and chemotherapy. She declined and left the office.

Three months later I noticed she was on the schedule and I was expecting to find a woman with cancer, but I was very surprised when I opened the door. She had both of her legs. She was walking normally, not even a slight limp. I did an exam and found no mass in her leg. I inquired as to what she did.

“When I left your office, I went to Mexico to my family and we had a prayer circle. We fasted and prayed. As soon as it was done I knew I would get better. The next day the knee didn’t hurt me anymore, and I have had no pain since.” Of course, I was very curious to see what her bone looked like so I asked if we could just do an x-ray, but she declined. “I just wanted to let you know I was alright.” She left, and I haven’t seen her since.

This wasn’t my first exposure to a person being healed by the Lord, but it was the most dramatic. The Lord heals all illnesses and all wounds, but we need to have His vision. While we see the healing of the physical body, the Lord cares more about the heart. Each illness, and each healing are given to help us learn and grow, and, ultimately, to heal our hearts.

There are three ways in which God heals us:

  1. Instant healing of body and spirit.
  2. Using the knowledge of the world.
  3. We must wait.

Though all three are miracles, the only the first type, like Cecilia, are generally considered miraculous. Because we have to do something, we often consider the second to be our own efforts, even denying the hand of God. The third is the biggest challenge we have to overcome, but is likely the most important means of changing hearts. Each is a gift from God that requires faith.

The Faith to be Healed

Cecilia had faith to be healed. We have many examples of people healed of terrible illnesses through the power of prayer and faith. Peter would walk down the street and people would be healed by just his shadow falling on them. (Acts 5:15-16)

The Gospel of St. John tells of Jesus spitting on the ground to make mud, applying it to the eyes of a blind man who then washed it off and was healed. (John 9:6-7)

Do shadows heal? Was it the mud? Was it minerals in the dirt? Was it the saliva of the Lord? No, it’s none of these. Those Jesus healed were told, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” (KJV Luke 17:19) He gave the credit for the cure to those who were healed. It wasn’t just that He had the power to heal them, but also because they had faith in Him that they were healed. God works among His children according to their faith.

Faith is not just belief; it starts with belief, but grows with evidence. Thus, faith is the beginning step to all truth. Click to Tweet.

Elijah had faith that the Lord would answer him when he proposed a contest with the priests of Baal. He taunted them as they begged their god to burn up their sacrifice. Then, he had his own inundated with water, lest anyone think there could be any trickery, and prayed while fire came down from Heaven. His faith was in the one true God, whereas their god wasn’t true. The priests of Baal had belief, but lacked evidence, whereas Elijah gave the Children of Israel evidence of the true God.

faith and chinese language learningThose who believe begin to gather evidence for God, and learn who He is. They learn to communicate through prayer and the Spirit. They recognize His voice, and can distinguish it from the voice of man or Satan.

It is a learning process like any other. If you want to talk to Chinese people you have to take the time to learn Chinese. It is a process that requires a great deal of effort, and will not happen just because you show up in China. Faith is like that, we need to learn the “language of the Spirit” over time in order to understand the will of God. Suddenly needing God does not suddenly give us faith, nor does just showing up in church.

Sometimes all it takes is faith to simply ask. Surprisingly, many don’t turn to the Lord and ask for healing.

When the Children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, poisonous snakes came and bit them, and many were dying. Moses went to the Lord and was told to make a brass serpent up on a pole. Any who were bitten needed only to look up at the brass serpent on the pole, which represented Christ, and they would be healed. However, many died because they didn’t believe – they just didn’t look! Thus, many are not healed today because they don’t even have the small amount of faith to ask.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not… all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:21-22

Faith in what God has Provided

Faith is more than believing God will give us what we want, it is the ability to know and do His will. Click to Tweet.

When we pray for healing, God often answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect. If we have faith, we will be able to recognize the voice of the Lord, and receive the gift we desire.

One patient, I don’t remember her name, was vehemently against having chemotherapy for cancer, “I’m never going to take those poisons!” she exclaimed. She was sure God would heal her. Well, events happened as she got worse and her family prevailed upon her to do the chemo – and she got better! We must be willing to use the tools God has prepared for us if we want to demonstrate our faith in Him.

The story is told of a man caught in a flood. As the flood waters rose, the man had to go up to his roof. The water was getting higher so he prayed to God for deliverance. A boat came by, but the man said he was sure God would save him so the boat went on to rescue others. The waters rose more and finally a helicopter came along, but the man waved it on because he was sure God would save him. The waters rose more, he was washed off the roof and drowned.

I had a very similar experience with a woman of faith who was sure God would heal her diabetes. We did some tests and found that with some changes in her eating and exercise, along with some herbs and nutrients she could gain control of her diabetes without insulin. She rejected the program I recommended and to this day is still using insulin.

If we were to catch pneumonia, treatments are readily available so it isn’t reasonable for us to forego such treatment and expect a miraculous recovery. God gives the knowledge we have, and if it is found on the Earth, then we may be expected to find what is already known.

Society grows with more knowledge and understanding over time. Part of this growth is information dispensed from God that helps us to live better.

Only a couple hundred years ago people were treated with all sorts of crazy concoctions, potions, and procedures. George Washington was arguably killed by his own physicians who drained his blood as he lay sick. Old-time treatments for scurvy, which is now easily cured by eating an orange, included mercury, alcohol, barley water, tar water, and burying up to the neck in hot sand (none of which improved the illness, and often made it worse).

Now, we have much more knowledge about the functions of the body, and how to treat and cure illness. Indeed, in spite of the retro patent medicine cartel, doctors can make the blind see, the lame walk, and the deaf hear.

Sometimes, the faith to be healed is found in trusting that God will guide us to a mere mortal who knows how to diagnose and treat our particular illness. Click to Tweet.

The Faith to NOT be Healed[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

Again, when we have faith, it is not in our own desires, but rather in the will of God. The purpose of prayer is not always to ask God to give us what we want, but often to ask to know His will for us in our lives. The Apostle Paul is a good example:

“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (KJV)

The answer came not as Paul desired, but as the Lord willed. Paul, then, submitted to the will of the Lord, kept his “thorn in the flesh” and gloried in it.

Why we are not always healed from all our infirmities.

Our purpose in life is to experience the highs and the lows as we learn and grow through experience. Our hearts are changed gradually as we face life. Paul was given a weakness to keep him humble. There are many other reasons for not being healed.

I acquired a medical practice of an alternative medical doctor who had pancreatic cancer. He did all the treatments he recommended to others, but gradually declined. One day, while I was at his house signing papers he said, “Cancer has been the greatest blessing to me!” Of course, I was curious – he had my full attention! He continued, “Over the last couple of years I have been able to say goodbye to my children, make amends, tie up loose ends, make sure my wife is taken care of, and now I have the peace of knowing my patients are in good hands – what a blessing! If I had died suddenly of a heart attack or something there would have been a lot of unfinished business left behind for others to worry about.” After battling cancer for over two years, he died less than a month later.

On Death and Dying

expiration dateEileen had lung cancer filling one lung and wrapped around the blood vessels of the heart. The surgeons couldn’t operate on it so they gave her three months to live. She came to see us for alternative treatments because, as she gruffly put it, “There ain’t no expiration date stamped on my [bottom], and they can’t put one there!” We started a treatment program and two years later she was still working in East LA as a juvenile parole officer. The tumor in her lung shrunk down, but several years later she got multiple tumors in her brain and died.

Because I have over sixty patients in a nursing home, I am often asked to give an expected date of demise. In order to begin a hospice program, for example, a patient has to have a certified life expectancy of less than six months. However, one of the most surprising things about taking care of sick people is the seeming randomness to healing. Some people we think should pull through from minor illnesses die, while others that aren’t expected to last a day continue on for years.

Death is not random or arbitrary, God has perfect timing. After many years of working with me, one of my office assistants said,

“I think lifestyle improvements don’t determine how long we live so much as how well we live.” Click to Tweet.

I agree; because of my experience with illness I am convinced that our days are numbered. No matter the age at death there are no mistakes. I have seen many people who are bitter and angry at God because of the death of a child, spouse, or loved one. Some said that they prayed with much faith for God to heal them, but He didn’t, and they completely lose their faith, while others come to know that it is the will of God and find acceptance and peace.

Healing the Heart

lifestyle improvementsThe purpose of prayer is to come to understand the will of God. When we fast and pray because we, or a loved one, or even a stranger is sick, we are seeking to know His will. If we come to understand that He desires the person to be healed, we can put our faith and trust that it will be so. If the Lord tells us that the person needs to seek knowledge He has already dispensed to man, we can exercise faith in learning these things. However, if we understand by the Spirit that healing is not to come, then we also show our faith by accepting His will, and, like Paul, having patience and trust in Him.

The big picture, whether or not we are healed, is to do the work of the Lord in the salvation of His children. When Jesus and His disciples came upon a man born blind, “His disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (KJV John 9:2-3) The man was healed and went on to be a powerful witness for the Lord.

The fact is, no matter what happens to us in this life, if we are faithful we are all ultimately healed. Our time on Earth is brief, whether we live for a day or a hundred years. Some must live with infirmities, others will be miraculously and suddenly healed, while still others will need to use the tools and knowledge God has given to man. No matter which, in the end it is all for our knowledge, understanding and growth that we experience these things.

God really is over all. There is a plan. He knows all things. He has all power.

All healing comes from God, and there is no healing that doesn’t come from Him. Click to Tweet.

While we look on the outward appearance of things, God looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) Ultimately, His purpose is to heal our hearts – which is the real miracle!

All who demonstrate their faith by seeking restoration, and are willing to put their trust in Him are healed – miraculously.

 

 

Dr. Scott SaundersDr. Scott D. Saunders, M.D. (Ask-an-MD) is a practicing physician, specializing in preventative health care, who utilizes eclectic health care for the whole family, including conventional, orthomolecular and natural medicine. He is also the medical director of The Integrative Medical Center of Santa Barbara in Lompoc, CA. He went to UCLA medical school and is board certified in family medicine. View natural remedies with Dr. Saunders at: http://drsaundersmd.com

 

 

 

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God’s Clean Eating Tips

by Amanda Box, N.D.

Perhaps you’ve never thought about it before, but its true. God cares about you. He cares if you are sick and He wants us to take care of our bodies. Yet what you eat is your choice. You have free will over what you put in your mouth. God cares what you eat, but He is not going dictate your every bite.

In the Old Testament, God gave the Israelites specific dietary guidelines. Those principles do not apply to us today.

So why was God so specific about what the Israelites ate? I believe He cared about them and wanted them to be healthy! Think about it. There were millions of people living in the desert, wandering around with no running water or bathrooms. The conditions weren’t exactly sanitary. What if sickness broke out? It would have spread like wildfire! So God set up guidelines to help the Israelites avoid unwanted bacteria and keep their immune systems strong.

Most people have never taken the time to study and understand why God forbade specific foods and practices during that time. They are just happy to know they are no longer bound to these customs! They are free to eat their Cheetos and bacon without consequence.

Biblical Guidelines for Eating

America is definitely not the Garden of Eden. Much of what we eat in the West is a far cry from “farm to table” food. This is a far cry from what God designed for us to eat. Instead, we favor of genetically altered, enhanced, preserved, and processed foods.

There are several verses in the Bible that provide guidelines for eating. The most popular seems to be Deuteronomy 14.  God never forbid any plants for consumption. However, it is this chapter that considers which specific animals are clean to eat or not. The Israelites were forbidden to consume the following animals:f

  • Animals that “chew the cud,” but don’t have a divided hoof. This meant avoiding eating pigs, camels, and rabbits.
  • Creatures in the water that do not have both scales and fins. This eliminated eating fish without scales, such as catfish. It also excluded eating sea creatures without fins, such shrimp, crab, mussels and lobster.
  • Most birds were considered clean except the raven, vulture, eagle, falcon, owl, stork, heron, or bat.
  • Flying insects were considered unclean.

There is a lot of debate today around whether or not we should avoid these animals. Many animals are now “farmed” and are not caught in the wild anymore. Though some farming practices have improved our food, some have made things far worse. A lot has changed in 4000 years!

Many claim that God forbade eating these particular animals because they were scavengers. Scavengers eat garbage, which lends them to higher toxicity levels and overgrowths of bacteria. Shrimp, lobster, and crab are often called the insects of the sea. They feed on the bottom of the ocean and eat the flesh of dead fish and whatever else hits the ocean floor. Catfish and other fish without scales bottom feed, as well. They eat almost anything including other fish’s excrement.

The birds to avoid feed on dead animals, as well. So, of course, these birds are more likely to carry disease and parasites.

But, why avoid pork? Why should we give up our delicious bacon? Many argue it is because pigs can pass trichinosis to us through their meat. This parasitic infection can become a serious, and even life threatening problem for humans. It is also difficult to eliminate trichinosis from our bodies.

But, what if we raise pigs in a clean environment, virtually eliminating the chance of trichinosis? What if we fed them organic grains and other natural foods, instead of letting them feed on waste? Were pigs forbidden just because they are pigs, or because of the potential harm from contamination.

This is where I have to separate my opinion from those who strictly adhere to diets such as The Makers Diet, What Would Jesus Eat, and The Biblical Diet. I don’t agree that avoiding all the foods in Deuteronomy 14 is still necessary. This is because I believe it is “WHY” God forbade something that is important, not solely the WHAT.

Did God forbid high fructose corn syrup?  What about genetically modified organisms? Or better yet, cloned animals? Of course not. These things were not around thousands of years ago! But does that mean they are acceptable and considered healthy for us to eat? One could argue that because they are not mentioned, they are acceptable. But honestly, this is really missing the point.

The big picture here is that God set up guidelines for health. Although we are now not bound to those Old Testament principles anymore, we should take to heart why God was so specific. Under all those rules written in black and white, I believe lies a principle that rings true, even today: Eat clean foods.

Modern Day Clean Eating

Clean can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Telling your children to clean their room has an entirely different meaning than cleaning a surgical room in a hospital. Eating clean foods meant something entirely different to the ancient Israelites than what clean food means to us today.

In the Old Testament, God gave specific rules for cleanliness, both for the sake of ritual and health. Now, thanks to Jesus, we are no longer bound to these rituals. Eating God’s list of approved foods is now optional. Just read Acts 10:9-15:

It was about noon the next day. The men were on their journey and were approaching the city. Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry. He wanted something to eat. While the meal was being prepared, Peter had a vision. 11 He saw heaven open up. There he saw something that looked like a large sheet. It was being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It had all kinds of four-footed animals in it. It also had reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “No, Lord! I will not!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything that is not pure and ‘clean.’”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time. “Do not say anything is not pure that God has made ‘clean,’” it said.

Let me be clear in stating that I don’t believe adhering to Deuteronomy 14 diets are wrong. I believe they are very healthy and have brought many people both wellness and healing. However, I believe that God has made the “unclean” foods acceptable, as it states above.

modern day clean eating principlesSome may take advantage of this verse and say that all things are now considered clean. I have to disagree. This is where common sense and practical wisdom come into play. Personally, I understand the “why” behind the “what” in the list God gave the Israelites.

If the “why” is that those foods contained something that could make them sick, then we should take this principle and apply it to ALL foods. Even foods not listed and foods that have recently joined us in the last 50 years need to be measured against that guideline.

I avoid genetically modified foods, preservatives and artificial ingredients. I don’t consider them clean. They may not be tainted with bacteria, but I know they can make me very sick.

I believe a modern day Clean Diet adheres to these principles:

1. Eat foods in the form God designed them.

This means foods free of pesticides and genetic modifications. This also eliminates artificial ingredients and processed foods. Instead, shop at your local farmers market and health food stores. Or better yet, grow your own in a garden!

2. Eat only animals that are raised humanely in clean environments, free of chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics.

This not only applies to meat, but to eggs and dairy, as well! Look for words like free-range, pastured, grass fed, rBgh free, and organic on labels. These are always much healthier choices.

3. Avoid any food that incites an unnatural response in your body.

Sugar spikes your blood sugar, artificial ingredients can modify cell responses, and excess salt can raise your blood pressure. Even certain “healthyfoods can initiate a response based on your body’s allergies or intolerances. The right foods will make you feel great. They will never make you feel tired, bloated, or sick in any way.

4. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

I can confidently say that nearly everything that God designed for you to eat, you also know how to pronounce. Those big words that sound like chemicals are usually just that! Read labels on everything from your bread to salad dressings. Chemical ingredients hide out everywhere!

5. Don’t overindulge. Moderation is always best!

Even clean and healthy foods can be overdone. For example, eating too much fruit can contribute to insulin resistance. Also, overindulging even with healthy foods can cause weight gain.

Adhering to these principles will not only keep your body clean and free from toxins, but also enhance your ability to fight off disease.

Clean Food Recipes

I don’t know about you, but my garden is currently overflowing with zucchini! This put me on the hunt for clean and healthy recipes to use up this versatile vegetable. I stumbled across this zucchini fritter recipe, and I’m happy I did. These fritters taste delicious and are packed full of healthy ingredients. This recipe is not set in stone. Feel free to experiment by adding other vegetables like shredded carrot, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes. I enjoy topping my fritters with a dollop of sour cream and a touch of hot sauce.

grain free zucchini frittersGrain Free Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini grated
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup almond flour or coconut flour
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying (I used 2 tablespoons coconut oil)

Instructions:

  1. Grate zucchini with a medium sized grater.
  2. Add salt and place shredded zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze to get as much liquid out of it as possible.
  3. Once squeezed place back in bowl and add beaten eggs, thinly sliced green onions, almond flour, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.
  5. Once oil is shimmering, add spoonfuls of mixture in hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Place on platter lined with paper towels to soak up any grease that sticks to the fritter and serve with sour cream or other condiment.

If you have ever eaten heirloom tomatoes, then you’ve noticed not only their beautiful array shapes and colors, but also their amazing flavor!  God sure got creative when he designed tomatoes! Heirloom tomatoes differ in that they come from seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some seeds have a history of 100-300 years! You can find heirloom tomatoes at your local farmers market.

This recipe utilizes these beautiful and tasty tomatoes in a delicious salad. If you can’t find heirlooms, any fresh tomatoes will do.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Lay sliced tomatoes onto a large, serving platter.
  2. Remove kernels from ear of corn, and spread evenly over tomatoes.
  3. Now sprinkle the plate of tomatoes evenly with the red onion, bacon, basil and blue cheese.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad, and top with a bit more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Though God has given us free will to eat as we please, we won’t be exempt from the consequences of bad food choices. God designed our bodies and he also designed natural foods specifically for those bodies. When we eat what God designed, foods that are natural and free from chemicals and toxins, we reap the benefit of health. When we eat what scientists and chemists designed as food, we reap weight gain and disease.  The choice is yours. Personally, I trust God’s food and I hope you will as well.

 

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.
Grain Free Zucchini Fritters Recipe Adapted from slimpalate.com
Heirloom Tomato Salad Adapted from: laaloosh.com

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