Peace or Power? Which Do You Pursue?

Some who seek “peace” are actually Counterfeit Christians, striving for dominance over others. Some feel if we will simply fall in line behind them, the kingdom will have peace. This is a falsehood. True Peace, Joy, Love is only found in doing what God desires of us.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

In this life we can build up or tear down another’s hopes, dreams or self-esteem. One can profess half-truths to obtain attention or destroy another through biting words. We can be a help or we can hinder another’s godly works. We can talk ourselves into success or forge on alone, foregoing Godly Counsel.

The question is: which type of person are you? To answer that, we must go back to our roots.

If your childhood was one with a dictatorial parent, a spiteful sibling, later a dominating spouse, suffered painful abuse or loss, it’s usually masked by either a false bravado or intimidating control or it made you stronger, more compassionate and more discerning. You have a heart for others because you identify with another’s pain.

As a result, the first will either bully, tear down others through words, acting as a mean girl to overcome that sense of inferiority and insecurity of never being good enough.

The second will overcome tribulations, building godly self-esteem and through strength reach out, coming alongside others to encourage them.

In essence the first attitude is projecting “I am the master of my OWN fate! No one will ever control me again!”

The falsehood here is, we will always have someone else controlling our thoughts and actions – either God or Satan, good or evil – no other! By allowing the devil to enter our mindset and puppet us, it not only hurts us, it hurts everyone around us.

By letting go and allowing God to control our life, we become stronger, content in all things, at peace with God’s Laws, provisions, pathways.

Inferiority is like having the devil whisper, you aren’t good enough!

I have news for you: no one will EVER be good enough. In this large world someone will always be and do something better, be tougher, kinder, prettier, wealthier . . .  even cook or sing better.

That’s the purpose of explaining to my patients why mental, physiological and Spiritual health is like the Westminster Dog Show. How can one judge a Golden Retriever against a Cocker Spaniel, a Pug against a Poodle, a German Shepherd against any Terrier? You can’t. Therefore each has a different standard of individuality set down by the American Kennel Club Rule Book and are judged accordingly.

Similarly, we are all uniquely designed by God and must be judged individually accordingly to His Book: The Bible.  Are we our best according to God’s Standards? I know I’m not and yet I continually strive to be excellent in all I can to please and glorify my Lord who rules over me, whispering “You are my child. I love you. You are enough.”

As a work in progress, I recognized early in my Christian life that it’s no fun being outside of God’s Favor. In fact, it’s scary!

Personalities who don’t truly believe in themselves and feel inferior, seek to find validation by tearing others down in order to build themselves up. I suspect you know people like this. One can never build themselves up by tearing others down.

Do you search for strength, peace, wisdom, but it evades you? Stand firm for Truth! Ditch Satan’s strings – seek Godly values and discover Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

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Controlling Blood Sugar Sensibly and Effectively

Since I began working for physicians, where I specialized in the disease, diabetes has increased to epidemic proportions in this country. It’s also sad to report that more children than ever have this disease. Why?

For one thing, we have become even more of a Fast-Food-Nation with all its tempting, fat-laden, high caloric choices. Sadly, obesity has run rampant in our country.

Surprisingly, fat is more detrimental to the diabetic than sugar! Fat clogs the arteries which stresses the body, which raises insulin levels which creates hunger pangs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But avoid those artificial sugars, especially Splenda which produces dangerous side effect. Use Stevia, less regular sugar or honey instead.

A practical diabetic diet (due to everyone being physiologically different) should consist of 50 -60% complex carbohydrates, 20-25% lean protein and 2025% beneficial fats like olive or canola oil, avocados, fatty fish and nuts. Avoid chemically processed items and select whole foods. Make lean pork, sirloin, chicken, eggs, turkey and fish your preferred meat options.

There are basically only 3 food groups: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. All carbs produce a form of glucose (which is necessary for brain function!) but simple (sugary) carbohydrates should be consumed only in tiny amounts.

Most diabetics reach for sugar-free items which are high in fat. One patient wrote in her food diary that she consumed 6 cookies at one sitting. When asked why, she answered, “But Ellie they were sugar-free!”  Sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie free and these were loaded with fat.

The best habit diabetics can incorporate into their daily routine is consuming 35 – 45 grams of fiber to their daily diet. 4 grams = 1 teaspoon – or approximately  9 – 10 teaspoons of fiber per day, (now you know what it means to you in “dog years.”)

Adding fibrous foods helps one lose weight. Fiber allows insulin to be dispensed more slowly into the blood stream so you won’t feel jittery or hungry and reach for that Snickers bar. Fibrous foods mean fresh fruits with skins, vegetables, whole grains, cereals (with 5+ grams of fiber,) nuts, seeds and herbs. Eat sensibly, your health depends on it! Diabetics however should avoid fruit salads since it’s too much sugar at once.

Establish a routine. A diabetic needs to live a disciplined life. Eat systematically to keep blood sugar levels stable, meaning same time each day, example: 8am, 10am snack, noon, 2pm snack, 6pm and always incorporate a small protein-rich snack before bedtime.

Moderate exercise is also essential on a routine basis to avoid nerve damage and create ways to release life’s stresses which raises insulin levels. The hormone adrenaline, designed for the human “fight or flight” reaction, increases fatty acid production while shutting off insulin while under stress. Constant stress upsets pancreatic balance which solicits diabetes.

Certain nutrients/foods regulate insulin:

Chromium. Chromium is like the doorknob which allows insulin to flow slowly into your system. Some foods containing chromium include mushrooms, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beets, turkey, shellfish, garlic, apples and basil. Add garlic to as many foods as you can; pasta sauces, pork loin, chicken, breads . . .

The antioxidant lipoic acid, contained in spinach, potatoes, broccoli, liver and red meat, fights premature aging of the arteries (aging arteries makes the heart pump harder, increasing insulin stress.)

Cinnamon allows your fat cells to recognize and respond to insulin more efficiently. Shake it on cereals, over whole grain toast and fruit. Along with a half teaspoon of cinnamon, I place a few dashes of turmeric in my morning coffee as well. Makes the smoothest cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted!

“Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,” (Exodus 23: 25)

Labels- Do’s and Don’ts

What a fabulous and powerfully written post by Eat, Move, Improve by Anthony DiMarino! How often do we believe the labels placed upon us? How foolish to believe the lies and whispers of the devil telling us we are junk. God made us and God never makes junk!

Enjoy reading this motivating post and take it to heart:

EAT, MOVE, IMPROVE

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Labels- we seen them everywhere.  We label people.  We label products.  We label foods.  Depending on the label we give something, it will change the meaning and the perspective we take.

For example, we label people.  We generalize.  We label rich people as “greedy,” “grimy,” or “despicable”.  We label overweight individuals as “lazy”, “losers”, or “undisciplined”.  These labels we use create how we interact within the world.  If you see the people I outlined above in this way, would you interact with them?  Probably not.

What if we turned this concept inward to ourselves.  If we see ourselves as “lazy”, “uncommitted”, “no good”, or “weak”, how do you think we would act?  Like losers, I’m sure.  So, why give yourself labels like that?  Consider changing the way you see things. Change the way you see others and yourself.  Choose constructive thoughts, words, and actions when viewing other people, yourself, and products.  Choose products and people that will benefit you in your mental, physical, emotional, behavioral, and…

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Standing Firm Against Dietary Temptations!

“When tempted, no one is to say, “God is tempting me” For God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”  (James 1:13)

Let’s face it, Satan does NOT want us to succeed. If he sees a Christian or church growing closer to the Lord, he will influence them by throwing roadblocks, half-truths or unholy actions into their midst to disrupt their progress.

In the same way the devil will do anything in his power to steer the health- conscious away from reaching positive goals. He doesn’t want us to honor our earthly temples of the Holy Spirit!

And don’t be fooled, Satan isn’t the ugly red monster with horns and a pitchfork we see in cartoons. Satan is a beautiful, enticing creature – the George Clooney of the angels. He is attractive and very tempting, literally.

Satan discerns a dieter’s weaknesses; so whether it is fried chicken, chocolate cake, being a people pleaser or tendency toward laziness, those temptations will “suddenly” appear when we are at our most vulnerable. Then, if we fall to temptation, we feel like a failure, giving up, discouraged, worthless and discouraged.

How do we learn not give in to temptation? First study Scripture! Believe, as a Christian, you inherit your own power to overcome temptation! God wants you to succeed!

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)

Don’t stand around debating “Gee – should I or not?” or justifying your behavior: “Well, I’ve been so good, maybe God wants me to have this Snickers and Ellie did say anything was fine in moderation.” Sure, but not if it’s trashing your temple of the Holy Spirit; your health depends on it and there are some perfectly good grapes in the fridge! God does not want you to have a heart attack!

You know what to do! Flee youthful lusts! Memorize 2 Timothy 2:22 and 1 Cor. 10:13.

Talk yourself into success but heaven forbid, if you give in, forgive yourself and go on. It’s not the end of the world, it’s a learning experience. Visualize Satan laughing, taunting you and keeping score if you fail. But he hasn’t won yet! It’s not how many times you fail, but how you react to failures that builds character and success.

Just imagine if you and your family were driving to the Grand Canyon on vacation. You mistakenly take a wrong exit. Now what? Do you turn to the back seat and state, “Sorry kids, Dad made a mistake, guess we have to give up, vacation’s over.” Of course not! You’d turn around, get back on the right road and continue toward your destination.

You’re not a failure if you make a mistake. You’ve only discovered the correct road to get to your destination. That’s a learning experience and progress.

Suppose you did give up? Can you imagine the howls of protest you’d hear? How could you consider giving up and disappointing your family? In the same way, your health dedication should inspire your entire family.

  1. You’re providing life lessons on self-denial, personal strength, fortitude and character.
  2. You’re demonstrating examples of overcoming challenges to reach a goal.
  3. You are a living example, showing them how to never give up on their dreams.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (Corinthians 6:19)

I urge you to honor your personal temple of the Holy Spirit, continuing to strive for excellence!

 

Calling All Biblical Teachers and Homeschooling Families

Remember when Andrew first met the Messiah? What was his first reaction? He ran to tell his brother Peter the Good News! Well, that’s how I felt when given a wonderful children’s book entitled, “Where Are The Other Nine?”  (The Story of the Leper that Came Back to say Thank You) by Max Reid. I found an excellent Biblical resource and wanted others to know!

Max Reid has written and published 14 children’s Kindle Bible Stories (2 of which are compilations of 5 stories each)  and 1 Picture Book for toddlers. All of these are affordable, available in both e-book or paperback form, starting at $.99 on https://www.amazon.com/Max-Reid/e/B071P2ZSJW/https:/

Today, I am reviewing “Where Are the Other Nine?” Written from the point of view of a Samaritan family; it places us in the shoes of the one afflicted. I found it relatable and intriguing, inviting much discussion of faith, trust and how we treat others.

At first glance, gazing at the cute cover, I mistakenly believed this book to be for those of a younger age. (It’s a sweet cover, as are all of Max’s books.) But what I discovered was so much more. These books are targeted perhaps toward the 4-10 year age group but easily could be used as practical Biblical instruction in Sunday School, homeschooling, children’s church or during family devotions.

As parents, we are commanded to teach Biblical values daily to our children: “Teach them repeatedly to your children. Talk about them while sitting in your house or walking on the road, and as you lie down or get up.”  (Deuteronomy 6:7) 

This thought-provoking book is based on the miraculous healing of the ten lepers by Jesus found in Luke 17: 11-19. This event opens up a myriad of questions which transcends into our modern age, bringing to light many “what if’s” to a young person’s mind.

How do we treat others who are not like us? How often do we walk right by someone who isn’t: the poor, homeless, disabled, disfigured . . . and ignore them or believe they are “below” us? (Does God look at our outside appearance or our heart?)

Levi’s father, through no fault of his own, became one of the lepers and an outcast. He couldn’t work any more. Therefore he had no money and had to beg for food, clothing, warm blankets. Money meant nothing since he couldn’t enter a store to shop and had to rely on the kindness of others for his very existence.

What if your entire comfortable lifestyle was taken away? What if we lost everything, how would we react? (How do we thank Jesus for his many blessings, even amidst trials?)

And what if that leper was you? How would you like to be treated? With compassion, help or disgust? What if that outcast was your own parent? You’d never feel their arms around you, kiss your cheek or tuck you in at night.

Life certainly would take on a different perspective, wouldn’t it? Would you be kinder? What did Jesus do and what does that teach us?

What becomes most important in your life? How would you feel if you were suddenly isolated from your loved ones because of illness? What would be your first reaction? Would you shake your fist at God and blame Him? Would you pray, trust in God or turn from Him?  

The author, Max Reid is a talented writer who has taught children’s Bible Studies in his church for 18 years and it shows. Beautifully written, this book draws the reader in by presenting the gospel adapted for today’s generation. I urge you to purchase and use his books in your church or family’s devotional time!

 

Observations of a Dog’s Vacation

Nothing brings a pet owner closer to a furry friend than having a 25 pound, fuzzy-haired dog sitting on one’s lap for 1253 miles in an RV!

I must admit though, it brought out several philosophical reflections while on vacation last week.

Like how trusting our pets are.

That little guy entrusted his safety to us, oblivious to traveling along winding, mountainous highways with steep cliffs as crazy drivers sped by.

I observed how secure he seemed, even when he discovered “monsters under the bus,” which turned out to be only rumble strips.

Letting go allows us to live in a state of peace, as we turn our concerns over to the LORD. God’s shoulders are strong enough to handle it all. Turning our concerns over to our Almighty Father first – not after we’ve tried all other options, results in peace.

As we travel along our personal pathways of life, highways aren’t always smooth either.  We do come across ups, downs and detours which divert us to unexpected places, (like moving from Arizona to NE Ohio.) Sometimes during diversions we acquaint ourselves with fabulous loyal friends, discover magnificent landscapes, beautiful gardens and peaceful settings as we embrace unfamiliar territory. How much we would have missed!

Sure, there are occasionally potholes and rumble strips, but those are learning experiences. Why stress out over every little challenge we face daily, when we can place our hope and confidence in Him? God longs to provide safety and blessings as we journey through unique adventures, striving to do His Will.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths”   (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Our destination was a gorgeous RV resort attached to a SC beach. Of course along the way, Mr. “What-at- you-up-to-now?” occasionally got curious.

As we were setting up, we noticed several swans gracefully gliding down onto the lake. Having never seen creatures of this kind before, I felt “Mr. No No’s” muscles tense as he began emitting a low growl. I gently reprimanded him: settle down or risk observing the landscape from inside.

Then, as the swans swam by, he straightened, looked back at me, quizzically, as if I’d answer the question of, “What in heck kind of dogs were those???!!!”

Oh, the wonder of innocence! So many visions in life we haven’t yet seen either! Makes me wonder how we will approach Heaven when the time comes. Will we stand in awe and wonder of the perfection God creates, asking questions?

“But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

After setting up, we immediately took a stroll along the ocean. Our Mr. “OhNoYouDon’t!” boldly approached the awesome, seemingly never-ending water for the first time, but quickly withdrew as the waves crashed against the shore.

Curious now, he wandered closer as the tide receded, then dashed back as the waves appeared to chase him.

Pretty soon, he grew accustomed to the rhythmic cadence of the wave’s ebbs and flows, bravely walking alongside us, carelessly enjoying the wind in his fur while getting his feet wet and nose covered with sand.

Standing and observing a huge ocean with its constant, rhythmic, systematic timing, always makes any problem seem small. Life continues. Troubles too will pass when wrapped in God’s Love and Favor.

Relax, God whispered, you’re on vacation! I’ve got this.

Blessings abound when we place our Trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

Are You Running Away Like Jonah?

There are so many life lessons we can learn from the Biblical Jonah. As you recall, Jonah was commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh but he ran away rather than face his responsibilities.

Have you ever thought, well how foolish! I wouldn’t ever run away from God when He commands me to do something!  He’s everywhere!

But we do actually act like Jonah at times! We are commanded by God to go on a journey. It is a life journey.

And as a Father, when His children rebel, God will get our attention in any way He can. Even by allowing storms (illness) to invade our body naturally when we consume too many unhealthy, chemically-laden foods.  Remember that was our choice, not His.

We live under Grace but are responsible for everything we do. Moderation is fine, but who forced us daily consume an entire bag of chips, overeat at the buffet or super-size that fast-food meal?

Like Jonah, God asks us to follow specific orders.  One of those is to keep our bodies holy and take care of this earthly temple He gave us.

1 Peter 1:16 states,  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

But we run away from this responsiblity, don’t we?  Sometimes it seems like a monumental task trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Momentary pleasure overrides common sense.

Think of it this way: If we entered the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, we wouldn’t throw trash on that sacred floor, would we? No, but it’s exactly what we’re doing when we continually throw unhealthy food into our bodily temple.

God does not ignore disobedience, as Jonah discovered, no matter how much we feel we “got away with it.”

Look at Jonah again. When God asked him to go to Nineveh, he foolishly ran from God, trying to sail away from his obligations. But the Lord sent a storm which affected not only Jonah, but the entire crew of the ship.  That got his attention.

Truth #2: there are no victimless crimes! What we do affects others.  You might think, leave me alone! It’s my body! I’ll do what I please!

Okay, Grace again.  But when we eat unhealthily, we will eventually become ill. Heart disease, diabetes, digestive problems, strokes, cancer all trace back to what we eat.

When  we suffer, those around us suffer too! Just ask those who sit by our bedside while we’re in pain!

As parents, God asks us to exemplify higher standards to our families and yet we continue to provide an abundance of fast food, causing our family members to become ill too. Don’t you think God notices?

To correct our resistant, foolish direction, He might allow the consequences of that behavior to catch up with us. (As Jonah found out.) In our case, we might develop a simple belly ache or something worse like diabetes.

Now the question is, since He now has our attention, do we turn from our naiveté and start living and eating right, or do we shake our fist at God, defiantly demanding, Why did You allow this to happen; growing even more defiant, turning away and running away from God?

When faced with seemingly insurmountable goals, we get scared! It’s not easy but stop running! Immediately take baby steps to begin rectifying the situation. Start by consuming whole, nutritious foods. Stop trashing our earthly temple!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)