November 29, 2014

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.

 

We All Suffer From This Disease

by Rob Fischer

As an American people, we are preoccupied with physical and emotional healing—and for good reason! It’s not just our perception that disease is on the rise. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer are growing at alarming rates.[1], [2], [3]

The privilege of living out our days free from catastrophic illness is becoming less and less of a reality.

Ironically, there’s a different type of disease among us that is even more prevalent and deadly than those listed above. No matter who we are; no matter what our ethnic background is; no matter what genes we inherited; no matter what life choices we’ve made, we all suffer from this disease.

Many of us may not know we have the disease. For many, this disease is even subtler than high blood pressure (the silent killer). Others of us may recognize that we have the disease, but we choose to live in denial or we shove it to the recesses of our minds for a variety of reasons.

Symptoms of Spiritual Disease

spiritual diseaseThis different kind of disease about which I’m speaking manifests itself openly. Its symptoms include:

  • Pride and arrogance
  • Strife
  • Self-centeredness and preoccupation with self
  • Anger and other toxic behaviors
  • Destructive addictions of all kinds
  • Lying and cheating
  • Hatred and refusal to forgive
  • Ungratefulness

“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.”[4]

Why We Need Healing

We all inherited this spiritual disease at birth and live with its chronic effects. This spiritual disease is also highly infectious and spreads to an ever-increasing degree if left untreated. This disease affects our entire life all the time. In fact, its impact is so profound and pervasive that its healing must take precedence over any physical ailment.

Requires A Different Kind of Healing

This different kind of disease also requires a different kind of treatment. We often mention the fact that pharmaceutical drugs only deal with the symptoms and not with the root cause of a physical illness.

In the same way, our “synthetic” human endeavors and religious activities, while often good, don’t address the core issue, but only its symptoms.

God's prescriptionIn order to remedy this spiritual disease, we need a thorough purging—a cleansing, combined with restorative power.

Our disease is nothing less than sin—going our own way—rebellion against God. We all claim to be “good” people, but by whose standards? We can’t just compare our health with the person next to us and declare ourselves well because we’re not as “sick” as they are.

With diabetes, we cannot say that we’re slightly diabetic. Either we are or we aren’t. The same is true with sin. Whether we’ve sinned a little or a lot, we’re hopelessly infected.

By now, I’m sure I’m losing some of my readers. It’s the same when the doctor tells us we have cancer, or type 2 diabetes. We immediately resort to denial. “Doc, you must be mistaken. I eat right. I take care of myself. I can’t have that disease!”
Denial is a normal initial coping response, but we eventually need to accept the truth and deal with our disease. The same is true with our sin disease. Owning up to our sin and our need for healing is often a first step.We desperately need an antidote. We need to cleanse the infection from our lives. We need God’s forgiveness and restorative power. This is not a disease we can beat with right living, we require God’s intervention.

Fortunately, God loves us so much that he did intervene. He initiated a remedy—the only remedy—for this disease:

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”[5]

What is God’s prescription? How do we apply this antidote? The Apostle Peter explained,

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”[6]

To “repent” means to do a 180—to turn from our sins and follow Christ instead. Baptism is a public declaration that we purpose to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins. He paid the penalty so that we might live. He forgives us and places us in righteous standing before God the Father. And as a seal of his repent and be baptizedwork in us he gives us his Holy Spirit who lives in us and teaches us to follow him and turn from sin.

You can be freed from this dread disease today simply by trusting Christ. I am a recovering sinner. I am trusting Christ to cleanse me and forgive me. I’ve followed him now for over 50 years and I wouldn’t live any other way!

Don’t live with this disease another day. Accept God’s remedy today.

 

Rob_backyardRob 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.

 

[1] American Diabetes Association, “Statistics about Diabetes,” 2014,http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/.
[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “High Blood Pressure Facts,” 2014,http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm.
[3] American Cancer Society, “Cancer Facts & Figures 2014,” 2014,http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsstatistics/cancerfactsfigures2014/.
[4] Isaiah 1:5, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2007.
[5] Romans 5:6-8, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2007.
[6] Acts 2:38, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2007.

Spiritual RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)

by Michael Tyrrell

The “New Year” is historically a time when people make resolutions that they rarely keep… This year, my “New Year Resolution” was not to make a resolution, but to instead start living a revolution because words are cheap and actions are priceless. I started 2014 not talking about losing weight, but actually shedding 14 pounds in 14 days! Later in this article, I will share with you how Michael got his groove back and became a lean clean fat loss machine. But, first, it’s time to unveil this month’s topic, “Vitamins and Supplements.”

If you are a subscriber to Home Cures That Work, then there is a good chance you are one of the millions of people who are health conscious and always on the lookout for natural alternatives to keep yourself and your family healthy year around. 

spiritual triangle

If you are currently taking multivitamins and/or supplements and have benefited from doing so, then you have probably noticed the recent “barrage” of tabloids purporting that vitamins and supplements are essentially useless and offer little if any health benefits, whatsoever! In fact, CBS, NBC and The Huffington Post have launched an all out smear campaign against natural supplements with inconclusive research based on little more than cherry picked demographics and hearsay.

Telling people who have revolutionized their health by using vitamins and supplements that they don’t work is akin to a person telling someone who is accomplishing a great feat that it can’t be done!

Here is the million-dollar question… Who can you think of that would be threatened by consumers use of vitamins and supplements and people taking responsibility for their own health?

Here is another question…

  • How many tabloids have been exposing the deaths, side-effects, secondary diseases, addictions and suicides related to prescribed pharmaceutical drugs?
  • Would any tabloid dare to report that pharmaceutical drugs are essentially useless and offer little if any health benefits whatsoever?
  • Were you, or anyone you know included in ANY trial or study that would discount the effect of natural vitamins and supplements?

I submit these questions not to get your answer but rather to stimulate you to ask yourself some questions of your own. Anyone who possesses even a layman’s understanding of the human body could easily deduce that something that is derived from nature would be far more tolerated by the body than something that was derived from a test tube! But, that deduction would take common sense, a nearly extinct virtue in today’s culture!

Here’s the bottom line…if something works for you…keep doing it regardless of what the naysayers are reporting

Remember, a man with an experience is NEVER at the mercy of a man with an argument! Click to tweet.

I am the poster child of vitamins and natural substance. My life, my wife’s life, as well as our families, friends and countless others have been transformed by a protocol of intelligent natural supplementation.

get your grove backIn fact, I only used two supplements to lose the aforementioned 14 pounds in 14 days…Garcinia Cambogia and Green Coffee (Svetol). Simply take 2 Garcinia Cambogia capsules and 1 Green Coffee capsule 30 minutes before each meal and make sure you include 30 minutes of cardio exercise 3 times a week (weight training also if you desire to build muscle). You also need to check your diet for hidden sugars and eliminate excess carbohydrates. If you follow this recipe to the letter, then you can easily lose a pound a day. I am living proof!

Since 1984, I have been both a student and an advocate of natural supplementation with a deep knowledge of vitamins, supplements, herbs and Chinese medicine, as well as Ayurvedic medicine. I can assure you that at 54 years of age I have never needed pharmaceutical drugs and have a body and energy level that would make a 30-year-old envious!

But even with all of that going for me, it only affects my physical wellbeing… and friends, we are far more than that! You see, God made us triune in nature; we are composed of body, soul and spirit, with each part requiring attention!

Jesus ALWAYS taught balance. For example, if you spent all of your time fixated on nurturing the body alone, then how would your Soul (thought, will and emotions) and your Spirit fare?

“And exercise yourself unto Godliness. For bodily exercise is profitable for a little: but Godliness is profitable for ALL things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.”  1 Timothy 4:8

A couple of years ago I attended a meeting and a man of great means approached me and said, “Son, I don’t even have a spiritual life.”  I replied, “You have made all of your money by utilizing only 2/3 of your capabilities and this has made you rich…Today, I would like to introduce you to the missing 1/3 that will make you eternally wealthy!”

Everyday consumers spend millions on a myriad of products that promise to enhance their appearance and curtail the ravages of time. Though there is certainly nothing wrong with that, the danger is the preoccupation with the exterior while at the same time neglecting the interior.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside of it may also become clean.” Matthew 23:25-26

We are made beautiful from the inside out, not the outside in! Click to tweet.

If you will, think of yourself for a moment as a triangle with your spirit as the base or foundation and one side representing the body and the other, the soul. You are only as strong as the weakest link, so if your body or soul is compromised no matter how spiritual you are… It will be difficult to stand. Yet God expects us to stand strong…So, how do we do it?

I am glad you asked! Lets start by taking our daily multivitamin out of the cabinet and take a look at the label. Ahh…there it is, the three initials: RDA.

RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance or, in layman’s terms, what you need daily to remain healthy. When referring to your body, the RDA is the suggested intake of essential nutrients that your body needs… But, what would a spiritual RDA look like?

Lets look at the life of King David to get a better idea.

“I will praise you seven times a day because all of your regulations are just.” Psalm 119:164

This was King David’s spiritual RDA: he stopped everything seven times a day, everyday, to praise God with a grateful heart for His righteousness.

Maybe you are thinking, “I am far to busy to stop everything 7 times a day and praise God.” Well, here is another scripture for you.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wow, and you thought seven times a day was too much? Did that just say, “Pray without ceasing?” Yes, it did…but let me explain the word “religion” (the practice) never resonated with me because it can mean a devotion to God or…your toothbrush…

Here are some examples:

  • “People would say I am very religious because I attend church twice a week.”
  • “I religiously brush my teeth three times a day.”

To pray without ceasing is NOT a “religious” practice. It is a lifestyle that obviously DOES NOT mean you quit your job, ignore your friends, never sleep or eat because you are praying without ceasing…Can you pray without opening your mouth, without closing your eyes, while you are on your feet, or at the grocery, behind your desk? YES!

Here is another illustration. You must breathe without ceasing. After your first breath…NOBODY HAS TO TELL YOU HOW TO DO IT AGAIN!

Prayer is spiritual communication with God. You can pray from your spirit while your body is carrying out a myriad of activities! People get soooo hung up with “how to do it” that it becomes a form (schematic) or religious habit and it becomes powerless and passionless. Prayer becomes a chore.

spiritual RDASo, here are a few essential vitamins to help you reach your own recommended daily allowance of relationship with God:

  1. Vitamin A (AWARENESS)
  2. Vitamin B (BELIEF)
  3. Vitamin B1 (BE ONE!)
  4. Vitamin C (CHRIST – you cannot take too much of this one!)
  5. Vitamin D (DEVOTION)
  6. Vitamin E (ENDURANCE)

Just like your daily vitamin regimen is custom tailored to your specific nutritional needs your spiritual RDA works the same way. My “dosage” may not work for you. So maybe you are wondering, “Michael how will I know when it’s working for me?”

Dear friend, it will be obvious…righteousness, peace and joy are just a few of the initial benefits of a daily interaction with God! If you get daily exercise, then your body will show it and people will notice. In same way, if you have a consistent time set aside for God, then your spirit will soar and everybody around you will notice.

Remember…take the dosage (RDA) necessary for you to establish a healthy relationship with God and if you get stuck…consult your owners manual, the Bible, all of the answers to life’s questions live between the pages…

May 2014 be a year of great spiritual breakthrough for you and your loved ones!

PEACE,

Michael

 

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. 

Spirituality: The New-Old Superfood

By Michael Tyrrell

Irony: A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects.

This is the definition of my experience for the entire past month! Without being “Johnny Raincloud” or “Debbie Downer,” I can honestly say I was counting the days till a new month comes around! My wife Lillian and I enjoy vibrant health and rarely ever get sick, so two days after sharing this “health testimony” over dinner at a pastors home in New York, it was quite ironic that I was flat on my back, burning up with fever and indescribable pain in every inch of my body!

green pastureAt first, I was totally frustrated and confused wondering why I had become so ill. To add insult to injury, I had to cancel two weeks of speaking engagements. Then, I remembered Psalm 23:2-3:

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.”

I forgot for a moment that I was human! Sometimes, I push too hard and travel too much! Then, we have to “shut down” occasionally and get quiet so we can hear the Lord speak and be restored.

So dear friends, a new month is here, and with it:

  • A new man
  • A new perspective
  • And a joyful heart

Many thanks to those of you that prayed for me; I felt your prayers and I am grateful.

SuperFood vs. Super Competition

With that being said, lets dive into this month’s topic: “Superfoods!” Those of you who have been health conscious for a while are certainly aware that there is a “super cala fragilistic expialidocious” food, supplement or exercise program that becomes the new rave every month. With popular television programs like “The Dr. Oz Show,” new products are introduced daily.

While I am ecstatic over the fact that Americans are becoming health conscious and are taking personal responsibility over their own health and wellbeing, I also want to mention that we must also be cognisant of the fact that supplement companies pay celebrities to feature their products. They also employ sexy marketing — and even misleading statements — to sell new products.

For example, next time you visit your favorite health and nutrition shop, count how many different brands of omega-3 oils you find on the shelf. The “warehouse” sized depot that I frequent has over 20 brands of salmon oil alone!

The supplement “reps” do their best, even paying the proprietor for line of sight placement of their brands and dish out even more cash for “end cap” displays. All I am simply saying here is the health and nutrition industry is like any other industry; they exist to make money and the competition is fierce.

In the 60s and 70s, most consumers thought supplements were neigh unto “snake oil.” Water distillers, champion juicers, brewers yeast, lecithin, wheat germ, vitamin E, and multi-vitamins were the new wave of the nutritional world, while the packaging was unattractive almost medicinal in nature. Today, we have thousands of products on the shelves with eye-popping vibrant packaging. But, you really have to be educated about supplements to choose what is right for you.

Again, I want to be very careful not to discourage anyone from pursuing abundant health using supplements and eating the cleanest organic foods, vegetables and grains available. I just want you to be aware that terms like “cutting edge,” “breakthrough” or “super” need to be investigated and ultimately substantiated. And with this month’s topic being, “Superfoods,” we might just need a good definition of the term!

  • The definition of the word “super” means: Very large or powerful, excellent, far above.
  • The definition of the word “food” means: Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.

Now to be honest, I certainly consume my fair share of blueberries, Goji berries, seabuckthorn berries, acai berries, amaranth, quinoa, flaxseed, deep-sea plankton, nopal cactus, tart cherry and a plethora of other “Superfoods.”

Divine Nutrition….The Big Picture

I would like to share a quote from Marc David, founder of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Spirituality is the antidote to our sometimes religious obsession with food and weight. We can be so enamored with nutrition, longevity, and optimum eating that we forget to enjoy life, celebrate what we have, and love what is! We can get so caught up in cleansing, going 100% raw, perfectly vegan, or have fat free abs, that we lose sight of who we really are and what we are doing on planet earth in the first place. We need a bigger picture. What good is a healthy body if we suck at relationships, if we don’t contribute to humanity, if we avoid maturing emotionally, and if we forget to continuously update our spiritual software? Spirituality IS the new Superfood. You can quote me on that.” (1)

Obviously, I just did!

life more importantIt is so easy to get hypnotized when you major on the minor. Life is far more than food…isn’t it?

“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 IMPORTANT THAN FOOD, and the body more important than clothes?”  Matthew 6:25

We are triune beings comprised of body, soul and spirit. Think of yourself as a triangle with the spirit as your foundation with one side as your soul and the other as your body. If the only side you nurture is your body, then you will be quite one-dimensional or one sided. Jesus taught us to be balanced — or three-dimensional (3D) — giving attention to our soul and, most importantly, our spirit!

The soul is the thought, will and emotions of man. It is the epicenter of your personality and the umpire of your spiritual life.

Look at these words in 3rd John 1:2

“Beloved, I wish above ALL things that you may prosper and be in good health as your soul prospers.”

This is what Marc David’s quote highlighted when he mentions that we can get so caught up in taking care of the body that we lose sight of who we REALLY are and what we are doing on planet earth in the first place. WE NEED A BIGGER PICTURE.

If my earlier working definition of “Superfood” holds true, “Very large or powerful, excellent, far above nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth,” then I think you will agree that perhaps a blueberry pales in comparison to the One that created all things!

“For they did not believe in God or trust in His deliverance. Yet He gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens, He rained down manna for the people to eat, He gave them the grain of Heaven. Men ate the bread of angels He sent them all the food they could eat.”
Psalm 78:22-25

“Then he (Elijah) lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread (manna) baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’” 1 Kings 19:5-8

Elijah got up and ate and drank. Strengthened BY THAT FOOD, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. Superfood?

Friends, would we consider what is available today as “Superfood” when one manna cake baked by an angel could empower a man for 40 days and 40 nights??? BTW, that may be where “Angel Food cake” got its name! LOL!

Seriously, the Creator should never be defined by his creation… God is preeminent…He is before ALL THINGS. After He sent manna from Heaven to feed His people in the Old Testament, He sent the Bread of Heaven to earth to — not only feed mankind but to — save them! Who is this Bread from Heaven?

“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from Heaven. For the bread of God IS HE who comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world.’ ‘Sir’ they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I AM the bread of life. He who comes to me will NEVER go hungry, and he who believes in Me will NEVER be thirsty.’” John 6:32-35

Dear reader, I have eaten in some of the finest restaurants in the world, gorged myself with the latest and greatest “Superfoods” available, yet nothing of this world possessed the nutritional value to transform my life and make me the man I am today… That SUPERNATURAL feat could only be accomplished by the true and living Superfood, the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ!

bread of lifeJesus, the consummate host, has set a banquet table before us that is unrivaled in splendor or sacrifice:

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat, this IS my body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28

The table I speak of is the table of communion or “common union” where all may come and dine.

Is it truly “Superfood” you seek today friend?

Remember the words of Isaiah,

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me that your soul may live.”  Isaiah 55:2-4

There is ALWAYS an empty chair at the Lord’s table and it is my prayer that you will take this invitation to sit with Him today.

As always, it is an honor (and a great responsibility) to share my heart with you.

Until next month,

Michael

Have you tried cleansing, fasting or dieting, etc? Did this way of “purifying yourself” bring peace or are you looking for another spiritual experience? 

 

More Articles You Might Enjoy:

 

 

Michael Tyrrell

Michael 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. http://michaeltyrrell.com
(1) http://psychologyofeating.com/unexpected-super-foods/

Detox: Quieting the Cluttered Life

Silent Fast

As I write this article, the youth and young adults in our church are doing a media fast. Some of their leaders noticed how distracted teenagers are today and so they felt led to call a seven-day fast from all forms of electronic and social media. Having teenagers myself I have overheard comments that fasting from food would be easier than fasting from Facebook.

If you are still wondering, a media fast is a period of voluntary abstinence from media for the purpose of hearing God’s voice more clearly by silencing all the others. Media includes television, radio, cell phones (except emergency calls or calls from parents), texting, movies, video and computer games (Angry Birds, too!!), internet and all music except worship music.

When I was in seminary we would spend time exercising the “Spiritual Discipline of Silence.” This was back in the days of typewriters, long before texting. But even back then, at first, silence can be deafening. We are so used to so much commotion that when it is silenced, it is a bit disconcerting. However, getting quiet is a pre-requisite to getting to God know more personally and intimately.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It takes a few days in quietness for my mind and heart to settle down. Few realize just how much goes on in our mind and spirit and, as a result, what that commotion and noise does to us physically and emotionally. Unprecedented numbers of people are popping pills to quell the panic and anxiety. Many more crank down the caffeine to better cope and keep up.

Ironically, all of the above merely add when what is needed is subtraction.

Quiet is the key to recharging the batteries that run and power things like our creativity and ingenuity.

Toxic Fast

One of the hats I wear, besides being a pastor, is that I’m a state legislator. Many have written me to decry the distracted driving so prevalent today as youth and young adults text while driving. When you get behind the wheel of a car your focus should be on one thing: the road before you. What is true with regard to driving is true for any who seek to navigate life successfully. The less distraction the better.

This issue of Home Cures That Work is focused on detox has other contributors addressing natural ways and the health benefits to detoxifying our bodies. Somewhere in all this, is my hope that you will come away with the understanding that so much is toxic to our bodies. Even more, so much is toxic to us physically and emotionally. Toxic means poisonous. Graphically, it is symbolized by the skull and crossbones.

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“Pornography is inherently violent, inherently unloving. It is a perversion of sexuality, not a true form of it, and one that teaches violence and degradation at the expense of mutual pleasure and intimacy. It is about conquests, about conquering. It is the very opposite of God’s intention for sex. It tears love from sex, leaving sex as the immediate gratification of one’s most base desires. It lives beyond rules and ethics and morality. It exists far beyond love.” ~ Tim Challies


Seeing the skull and crossbones on things like rat poison and drain cleaner is common and necessary. What if we put the skull and crossbones on things like pornography or internet chat rooms? No study is needed to know that far more lives have been devastated by pornography than by people eating rat poison.

Natural health experts have made great strides in recent years bringing forth data showing how the build up of a variety of toxins in food preparation and pharmaceuticals results in a slow poisoning. Those of us who deal daily with people’s emotional and spiritual lives can make a case that there is a slow poisoning of sorts that happens when people are living lives inundated by internet and media, advertisements, endless activities and entertainment addictions. We weren’t made for any of that, we were made to interact with God.

If entertainment is a diversion of the mind, then what are you being diverted from? Or rather, what are you being diverted toward? The problem with being entertained by too many things of earthly origin is

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Accepting the Transitions of Life

Is Menopause a Joke?

The moment notice came that this month’s issue of Home Cures That Work would focus on menopause I knew the angle I would take in my monthly column on the Spiritual Dimension of Wellness. However, I also knew I would be unable to restrain myself from my favorite little joke on the matter of menopause.

Where is menopause mentioned in the Bible? Answer: “…and Mary rode Joseph’s a** all the way to Egypt.” My wife said, “Don’t you dare drop that in your column.”

Hopefully, I have not alienated half my audience. If so, my apologies and I should have heeded my wife’s warning. All kidding aside, the Bible does speak to every area of life and we don’t have to twist texts like that to get them to apply.

Of course, PMS and menopause are not the same thing. Menopause is part of life. It is a transition every bit as much as birth, puberty and death are transitions.

Though we think of it as primarily a female transition, the male body has its own version sometimes called male menopause, man-opause or andropause. Changing hormonal levels are normal as the human body ages and men and women transition out of a childbearing phase or season of life.

Seasonal Changes

The season of menopause is not a disease and therefore there is no cure. Granted, there are hormone therapies that mask it, but menopause is part of our design. They only way to fully avoid it would be to die early. For sure that is no solution and we are left to seek out healthy and positive strategies to navigate this normal transition.

Dealing with change is something that differs slightly from person to person. Some people are seemingly un-phased by even major changes. Others find their world turned upside down by even the slighted change. Since humans are holistic beings, when change begins to manifest in one area (physically for example), other areas (emotionally and spiritually for example) adjust themselves to the new norm.

My wife and I are a couple years away from our last teenager leaving the house. Teenagers vividly illustrate what I am describing.

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Envy Rots the Bones

Grandma Was Shrinking From Osteoporosis

Growing up, a holiday ritual in our home was to line all the children up against the doorframe of the dining room and mark how much taller they were since that same time the year before. My grandmother was always impressed by how tall we were getting and I can remember how proud I was the day my mark was higher on the doorframe than her mark.

The next year we noticed her mark was even lower than it was the year before and we all giggled because grandma was shrinking. We laughed, but it was not funny to her. The next year she refused to stand in the doorframe to be marked and instead she made the comment that the reason her mark was lower was because our old house was settling.

What actually was happening is she was suffering from osteoporosis. For her funeral service years later, we put together a picture loop of her life and it was stunning to see how tall she was in her earlier years. Gravity takes its toll on us as we get older and normal aging includes some bone and stature loss.

Good Bone Health is Matter of Life Or Death

It says in Ecclesiastes 12:1-7, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them…’ …when the keepers of the house tremble and the strong men stoop…” This passage is an elaborate metaphor describing the aging process and in this verse, in particular, it describes how those who once stood strong and tall, now stoop.

To oversimplify, we leave this world as we come into the world – fragile. Our bones provide the framework for the body as wood gives structure to a house. Over the years, wood naturally breaks down and begins to sag and settle. However, there are things that can speed up this breakdown, things like termites, dry rot, and exposure to water and weather. In similar fashion, this thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density that we call osteoporosis is a disease that speeds up the break down of our bones. This issue of Home Cures That Work is full of natural health remedies that will help slow down and stop osteoporosis, as well as strengthen your bones. My concern is always that we only treat symptoms and never address root causes, many of which are spiritual in nature.

My mother died of multiple myeloma. Six years after a lung transplant and taking maximum doses of anti-rejection medicines, her kidneys ceased to function properly and her bones stopped producing blood. It was remarkable to me at that time realizing how important the bones are to life. The heart may seem most important but, in fact, the bones manufacture the blood, which is the life of the body. The Bible says, “The life of every creature is its blood.” (Leviticus 17:14) When we understand the spiritual reality of the life being in the blood and the fact that bones make blood, good bone health becomes a matter of life or death.

Disdain for Others Attacks YOUR Bones

Envy by Flickr Emily the Elephant

Proverbs 14:30 tells us, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Each month the aim of this column is to uncover some of the root causes of physical ailments. There is no doubt we are spiritual beings as well as physical beings and it is almost universally known that the physical and spiritual are very interrelated and interdependent. Things that eat away at us spiritually and emotionally eventually eat away at us physically. With that as a basis,

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Alzheimer’s, Forgetting the Elderly

In the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, there is an ancient allegory about aging:

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’ – before the sun and the light and the moon the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking though the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades when men rise at the sound of birds, but all their songs go faint… then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about in the streets.  Remember him – before the silver cord is severed… and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”  Ecclesiastes 12:1-7

It takes a couple of times reading through this for the allegory of aging to really come alive. Notice the picturesque descriptions of:

  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of vision
  • Fewer teeth
  • Physical weakness
  • Not being as mobile as in earlier years

The allegory describes an aging body and the painful process when the mind and senses fade.

Time is a key theme in Ecclesiastes and the one thing medicine cannot cure. Science cannot tame or stop the biological clock. For centuries, people have sought the fountain of youth, but it most certainly does not exist.

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A “sound mind” is clear of fear. There is no benefit in fearing whatever we dread. Face it. Surrender. Trust God for help to overcome.  Peace of mind is worth it.

Yet, God is the beginning and the end and is present at both times and each moment in between. Typically, the mind is the last to go, but Alzheimer’s is increasingly rearing its ugly head.  2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that “a sound mind” is a gift from God. Yet, there is more at work here —far more. Every dimension of human life is inter-related: physical and emotional, emotional and mental, mental and spiritual. With regard to mental and spiritual dimensions, it is impossible to precisely discern where the one stops and the other starts.

Since ancient days, those who bear the image of God (human beings) have been the targets of the enemies of God. The first thing we learn about the devil in the Bible is not that he’s powerful; it’s that he’s crafty: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made…” He threw up a cloud of confusion at Adam and Eve spiritually: “Did God really say…?”  (Genesis 3:1) He’s been doing it ever since.  It’s not true that all mental problems are demonic in nature. However, some mental problems are demonic in nature, springing up from spiritual and emotional root causes.

In the case of Alzheimer’s, Dr. Henry Wright in his book “A More Excellent Way,” writes about Alzheimer’s as a result of white corpuscles congregating at critical nerve junctions of the brain:

“Whenever I find white corpuscles attacking the body and not doing what God created them to do, I have, without exception, found various degrees of self-hatred and guilt.”

Because root causes are emotional and spiritual in nature, cures for this and other ailments are not to be found in a bottle. Science and profitable pharmaceutical companies are quick to look for and generate miracle drugs, placing false hope in things like gene therapy. We live in a culture that lies to people about who they are; youth are celebrated, the elderly are stripped of their value and purpose in society.  More and more people are aging here in a society that says they have no value any more. When people reach a stage of being unproductive and a greater cost to society, the result is a loss of self-worth, self-hatred and guilt from being a burden.

The fact that there is a greater incidence of Alzheimer’s today reveals there are causes today that were not experienced in earlier generations. We could quickly make a case for eating healthy brain foods like fish, because they are high in selenium. People with selenium deficiencies tend to suffer greater mental problems and be more susceptible to depression and dementia. We know there are other foods and vitamins that improve memory function:

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God’s Prescription for a Healthy Heart

Precision Blood Pressure Design

Like the concert virtuoso who sets the tension on a violin string with precision, the Grand Maestro of the Universe determined a specific blood pressure, which would be essential to healthy human life. In the Garden of Eden, God looked at the living bodies he meticulously fashioned and said, “It is good.” In other words: even down to the diminutive details we all take for granted or never slow down to notice, all things both micro and macro, internal and external, are now perfectly set for healthy life to flourish and thrive.

Stating the obvious, without blood pressure, life is over. However, too much, or high blood pressure results in the delicate and intricate harmony of every bodily system breaking down. Vascular health determines the well-being and longevity of every cell and organ in the body.

Next time you find yourself sitting with someone both to your left and to your right, one of the three of you is likely suffering from high blood pressure. Researchers report that in 90-95% cases of hypertension (aka, high blood pressure) no known cause can be found. Of course Newton’s Law remains true that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. That being said, something is boiling the blood of millions of people even if the majority of causes are not directly identifiable as medical in nature.

Merry Medicine for the Heart

The Bible says a lot about the heart, and even about the importance of having a healthy heart. Something as simple as joy directly affects blood flow. “A merry heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) Aside from the astonishing fact that this verse was written a couple millennia before modern medicine discovered the role of the bones in making blood for the heart, there is this now documentable reality that these seemingly non-biological factors directly affect us physically. This monthly column on the Spiritual Dimensions of Wellness is devoted to what was obvious even to healing practitioners in the ancient world – that a wide range of intangible dynamics, especially emotional factors and spiritual forces, directly impact our bodies for good and for bad.

At funerals I often quote the verse which states how, “None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself,” which in context, refers to how dependant we are on God, each other and our environment. If things are not right in any of those three areas there is a direct correlation to our bodies breaking down. Before God ever created human life, he worked for a number of days on the ideal environmental conditions.

Secondary Blood Pressure Contributors

Those who research the mysteries of hypertension often mention in their medical journal articles how, in Eden-like settings like the tropical rain forests, no one has high blood pressure. Granted, these remote tribal peoples often have high mortality rates, but the point is these unknown factors contributing to hypertension are apparently not present.

Chocolate lovers will no doubt delight to know of the 2003 Harvard Study that uncovered the relationship between the Kuna Tribe in Panama having perfect blood pressure and the fact that tribal members drink five cups of cocoa each day. Chocolate has a relaxing effect on blood vessels due to the presence of flavonoids (a type of antioxidants). Flavonoids stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which acts as a blood thinner and increases blood flow.

Dr. Don Colbert in his book The Seven Pillars of Health asserts that something as simple as water will do wonders for our blood pressure as most of us are at least mildly dehydrated each day. Aging and family history of hypertension are considered related but secondary contributors.

Even more significant, medical research has confirmed the direct link to our sedentary lifestyles here in the West as contributing factors to hypertension and a host of other related ailments. For the better part of this past year the issue of health care reform has been debated and continues to make headlines. As contentious as this topic is, we all agree costs are out of control.

What’s shocking is that two thirds of medical costs in America are incurred treating chronic disease. Chronic disease is disease caused by things like poor diets and gluttony, alcohol and smoking, and promiscuity.  One researcher made a convincing case that best way to cut healthcare costs is for people to start living as the Bible tells us to live. Hardly a politically correct plan to promote, even so, it’s not hard to establish the relevancy of the Word of God to healthy daily living.

One True Remedy for Blood Pressure

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God, I Love Pizza!

But, God, I Love You More!

Nearly every religion in the world encourages fasting. This is because it works. Fasting is nothing more than consuming less so there is more room for God and more room for the supernatural in your life. When we fast, we create within ourselves a physical void that God fills spiritually. Most people cram their lives so full of everything else there is no room for God and spiritual lethargy is the result. However, spiritual lethargy is not a problem where people lack food.

There is nothing that increases spiritual vitality like hunger. Hunger pangs are the body’s way of crying out. When we fast, we channel our hunger to that which is truly satisfying. In this way, fasting becomes a powerful statement to God. It says, “God, I want you more than I want French fries. God I want you to show up in my life far more than I want pizza. God, I love pizza! God, I love French fries. But God, I love you more!”

People who pray this way discover an abundant life that no amount of consumption can match. Tommy Tenney, the author of God Chasers, frequently says when he speaks that “God fills where he first finds emptiness.” Fasting puts our emptiness on display before God. Fasting reminds us who ultimately sustains us.

Jesus assumed that fasting would be an integral part of the spiritual fitness program for his followers. In Matthew 5:16, he says, “And when you fast…” He did not say,

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