Tag Archive | Christian health

Where’s Christmas?

This post was written years ago when we lived up north. Sadly, it seems to be as much or even more appropriate today.

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The beginning of December, I set out to find a small manger for a Christmas craft project. It could have been anything, on an ornament, a Christmas card, or even a figurine.

First, I went to the Dollar Store. I found nothing Christian but countless sets of Christmas cards with Santa and reindeer on them. Next, I went to Walmart (good luck there.) Nada. Then I walked through Home Depot – absolutely nothing Christian at all, but I could have purchased a red and green six-foot dragon . . . what that has to do with Christmas I’ve yet to figure out.

A few days later, still searching, I traveled to two shopping centers in another town. I checked out Michael’s craft store. The sweet girl acknowledged they used to carry them . . . but searching together, neither of us could find them anywhere. Neither did World Bazaar, J.C. Penny, or T.J. Maxx.

I thought Christian-run Hobby Lobby would undoubtedly carry a small manger scene, even if it was on a postcard! Yet once again, found nothing. I’m praying they were only sold out.

Finally, I found a Lifeway Christian bookstore. Aha! I thought, of course, I’ll find a manger scene here! And yes, I did! It was on a box of spiced apple cider. Desperate to find anything that might work, I purchased the over-priced drink mix, cut out the cardboard manger scene on the front, and pasted it on my craft project. (At least we’ll enjoy the beverage sometime during these cold winter months.)

Halfway through this hectic quest I felt like Charlie Brown, frustratingly asking where was Christmas??? I could find a plethora of Santa’s, sleighs, reindeer antlers, elf hats, chipmunks, cute bears and Grinch’s, but no Christ in Christmas!

Then I thought, at least I can find Christmas at church.  Absolutely! I’ll find Peace on Earth here during this Joyous Season. Instead, I found a church member fussing in public, running around fuming, complaining, blaming others because they felt overworked and unappreciated in their position. (Hey, if your position is primarily to please people and not our Lord, get your priorities straight!)

Then yesterday, as my husband and I were finalizing the Christmas gifts and food for four community families in need; getting ready to drop off our congregation’s many generous donations, I found it. Eureka!

THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT:  Christmas is about the Joy of Christ – blessing others, not ourselves. Bringing smiles and true Joy freely to others! A Free Gift.

As Jesus left his heavenly home to be born in Bethlehem, living as a man among us, he understood that completely. He beheld some petty frustrations of his friends and the slings and arrows of the Pharisees. He experienced the same feelings, joys, frustrations, challenges, and laughter that we do.  He gave of himself, unselfishly. He sacrificed EVERYTHING, his very life for our pettiness, grumpiness, busyness, and selfish human behavior. All we must do is accept it. That was the best GIFT he could ever give.

Parents -do your children know what is the real reason for Christmas?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   (John 3:16)

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Wanna Lose Weight Faster?

People ask me all the time, “How can I lose weight faster?”

“Besides hard work, determination, and remaining self-disciplined?” I ask. “Well, I can think of one way: consume fiber.”

Why do I believe that consuming fiber is one of the most important factors in losing weight? I’ll explain. The common denominator in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is FIBER. No matter how tough that steak was last night, there’s no fiber in protein or fat. (But I bet it slowed the “fork down, spoon down” process, right?)

Most nutrients are dispersed through the digestive tract. If you fail to dispatch the proper nutrients, let’s say magnesium, your hypothalamus (your brain’s metabolic traffic cop) will nag you until it directs you to that scrumptious-magnesium-containing-piece-of-chocolate! By absorbing proper nutrients, it won’t . . .  unless you’re eating due to emotional reasons.

When you slow down the chewing process, enzymes are broken down and nutrients are absorbed/dispersed mostly through your small intestine. Having a clean digestive system will jump-start your metabolism.

Consider this illustration; if you have a garbage disposal in your home and nonchalantly threw scraps of food particles into it but never turned it on, what would happen?  It would build up, attract bugs and start to smell, yuk!  And then when it was finally turned on, it would start grinding so slowly that it might even stop if it was too clogged.  Then you would have to snake the trapped particles or use something to unclog it.

This is a description of how our intestinal system works as well. When one consumes a diet of meat, fats, junk food, and low-fiber foods, the intestines get clogged.  It’s harder to move those foods through the colon because food just kinda sits there.

Since our bodies can’t absorb nutrients that are vital to life, no amount of “dieting” will produce health! Your hypothalamus nags us to eat more food in search of much-needed nutrients, thus you eat more calories but absorb fewer nutrients.

Strive to eat more fiber and keep your entire system working on less!  You’ll have more energy, clearer skin, and less disease.

So what’s fiber?

God told Adam in Genesis 1:29 “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.”     Wow! How smart is God?!!!

There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Sometimes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains include combinations of both.

Soluble fiber; think of it as Liquid Plumr. It turns into a gel that helps lower our treacherous LDL cholesterol.  Think apples,  oranges, pears, beans, and oats, which are excellent sources of soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber keeps our blood sugar levels steady so it’s easier to stand up to temptations.

Insoluble fiber stays intact, it doesn’t break up as it travels through your system.  Think corn which basically exits intact. Fruit skins are insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier and easier to pass. It’s like Roto-Rooter.

If you ever dropped pizza crust or a piece of whole grain bread into the sink and watched it swell as the water touched it, that’s what happens to fiber in your system. Fiber expands, creating a feeling of fullness.

There are seven forms of fiber: pectin, bran, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, guns, and mucilage. I won’t bore you with all the details. Rest assured though, if you eat 60% of your daily calorie intake containing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, obesity, hemorrhoids, and many other diseases. Remember, a man reaps what he sows, so strive to eat healthier!

Caution:

  1. Increase fiber gradually.  Excessive fiber intake may decrease the absorption of zinc, iron, and calcium as well as promote more gas.
  2. Build up to 25-35 grams of fiber each day.  4 grams = 1 teaspoon.
  3. I highly recommend getting fiber from Mother Nature, not fiber laxatives due to possible electrolyte imbalance or laxative dependency.
  4. Take vitamin and mineral supplements separately from the fiber.

 

Living with Fibromyalgia

In 1991 as I began my nutritional counseling career, fibromyalgia (FMS) was just emerging onto the medical scene. When the doctors I worked for couldn’t determine a specific cause, they inevitably sent the patient to me.

As I sat and listened to their symptoms and heard their plea for help, it was truly frustrating for us both. There were no guidelines at that time and many doctors believed it to be a “psychological inducement caused by stress.”  Translation: “It’s in your head.”

The more I listened, the more convinced I was that FMS was not a myth. There seemed to be a connection among most patients: 80% of them worked around chemicals. They were hairstylists, manicurists, lab and pest control technicians, house cleaners, etc. which I found to be curious. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that since the skin can breathe in toxins that remain in the muscles and joints, couldn’t fibromyalgia be a result of toxic build-up in the body?

Another possibility: FMS cases are increasing yearly. So are the chemical additives placed in foods found on grocery shelves! Is there a connection here? Just in case, I’d urge all to go back to the original “diet” plan God gave Adam. (Genesis 1:29) You’ll understand that God is smarter than we are.

As far as I know, to date, there is no cure for FMS but I pray there is hope, and here is what I humbly offer to fight it:

  1. Keep a food diary for at least a month. Track every food you place in your mouth. (Your health depends on it so don’t whine!) Circle any boxed, canned, or bagged food that contains dyes, chemical additives, or preservatives, and if your symptoms increase, don’t ever purchase these again.
  2. Increase your intake of purified, distilled water and lemon water. (Rid your diet of Splenda and chemically infused diet drinks. These are toxins.)
  3. Try juicing (but don’t forget fiber foods) and consume more alkaline foods. Use my search engine for posts on the pH scale.
  4. Wash all of your fruits and vegetables thoroughly! Even pre-washed packages contain some risk of pesticides. Increase organic foods if possible.
  5. Protect yourself with high antioxidant choices. Antioxidants protect the skin and will hopefully create a force field against outside pollutants.
  6. Increase fiber-rich choices. This will not only detoxify your body quickly by binding and removing toxins through the kidneys and liver but allow more protective nutrients to enter your bloodstream through the small intestine.
  7. Get out and walk! Fresh air releases endorphins and serotonin which improves the mood and reduces stress.

Change your diet. Search for the most powerful antioxidant foods available:

  1. Garlic, onions, and leeks all contain powerful chemicals which boost the immune system. I’ve written about this a lot. See any posts on healing foods.
  2. The friendly bacteria, acidophilus is found in natural, good quality yogurt. Mountain High, Stonyfield, Stony Farms, Yoplait Natural, and Fage, Greek (or any without additives) will fight the harmful bacteria in your system.
  3. Spicy foods release soothing neurotransmitters that calm pain. Try increasing hot spicy foods containing capsaicin, (cayenne pepper) or hot salsas, peppers, horseradish, and wasabi.
  4. Chlorophyll will boost immune-fighting properties. This includes alfalfa, kelp, spinach, kale, broccoli, or wheat grass. All green foods contain chlorophyll. (but NO! Not moldy cheese.)

Lastly, it is not only “in your head.” Sometimes it’s in your heart too, for it takes Herculean effort to remain upbeat when in pain.  I urge you to surround yourself with TRUE friends who will accept you as you are! God will never abandon you.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

What is Your Isaac?

What would you do if God asked you to offer a heart-wrenching sacrifice?

God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his most cherished possession, Isaac, on an altar to God. How Abraham must have been in torment those 3 days traveling to Mount Mariah. But he trusted God and knew he loved God even more than his beloved son.

Has God ever asked you to sacrifice?

If suddenly, God asked you to sell all your earthly goods and move to a foreign country and work as a missionary? Would you, do it?

That was us in 2005 when we felt called to the mission field. I had moved many times with my military linguist/golf pro/full-time Christian service husband. That included six wonderful years in Europe, so I loved adventure, meeting new people, and adapting to different cultures.

Giving up worldly goods was no problem. Twice we’ve sold everything we owned to travel the country in our RV. We thought we’d be perfect candidates to relocate overseas and serve the Lord.

There was only one deterrent. We discovered we’d have to give up our dogs. Would I be willing to do that??? After all, our pooches were family! Every time I gazed upon our sweet Cocker and ornery Lhasa, my eyes filled with tears. Oh, my dear God, please don’t ask that of me. Who would love them as much as we would – especially stubborn Jewel?

Each time, while walking our dogs, I prayed – my heart struggling over this sacrifice. During that time, however, we continued with the application.

Finally, I reconciled what I needed to do. Alright, LORD, I love you more than my precious pets. I’ll trust you’ll find a caring home with someone who will love them as much as we do.

Immediately, I felt at peace about my decision and eagerly anticipated the Mission Agency’s acceptance letter.

BOOM, the door closed!

“I’m sorry,” they replied, “but the Board feels you’re too old . . .”  Too OLD? How dare they?! We were in perfect health and only in our mid-50s! I’ll never be too OLD!!! Even at 100!!!

Then it dawned on me, this was my Isaac. God wanted to know where He stood in my life. My pets were my most cherished possessions. I was ready to sacrifice my Isaac to Him.

What is your Isaac? What is your most cherished possession? To some it’s their lifestyle, sports, business, money . . .  how about food? Ridiculous, you say? Not so fast.

Have you attended Sunday services simply for the coffee and donut social hour or after church luncheon? Have you looked at your watch and thought, wish he’d stop preaching before it’s too crowded at the restaurant!? Or: hope my pot roast hasn’t dried out by now.

“Their God was their belly. Their mind was set on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

So, think of it this way: are you willing to present your body as a living sacrifice in every aspect of your life – including what you eat?

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

God sacrificed His Son for you. Is it a sacrifice limiting sugary sweets, fattening processed foods, bacon cheeseburgers . . .? Isn’t honoring our earthly temple by sacrificing unhealthy food a small sacrifice compared to what God sacrificed for us?

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)

Do you love God more than your belly? Silly question.

Which Life Would You Choose?

Imagine a world where corruption runs rampant. Rightful living is ridiculed, wrong has been deemed right, dishonest rulers run the country, murders occur in the streets, parents kill their babies, sexual immorality is prevalent, stealing is ignored, and lying is accepted as truth. Would you choose to reside here?

This is the world in which Noah’s wife lived. (How many thought I was speaking of today’s world?)

Noah’s wife is not named in Scripture, but we can learn much from her example.

She was a strong woman, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

After Adam’s fall, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics had kicked in. Everything began deteriorating, yet the human race still lived hundreds of years. Noah was 500 years old when God instructed him to build the Ark and I’m confident his wife wasn’t much younger. They most likely had many more children, yet only three sons and their wives entered the Ark.

It had never rained on the earth and a canopy enveloped the world. Sure, there were boats for transportation, and Noah’s family most likely lived along a river. But God had asked Noah to build a boat so large that nothing larger was constructed until the mid-1850s.

Imagine the abuse Noah’s wife endured as her husband was ridiculed for 120 years! “Where’s Noah gonna float that monstrosity, honey? The river ain’t that big!”  “Send him off to the funny farm and come live with me!”

Every woman wants her husband to be respected. To stand by and accept this abuse heaped upon Noah must have been embarrassing. In today’s world, most wives would have simply divorced and moved on to someone else. Why did she remain? Because she had faith! She knew God called her family to great responsibility. She preferred to be a supportive wife and trust God.

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.” (Psalm 118:8)

I’m sure she worked alongside Noah in some capacity, whether it was to feed her family or work at the construction site. We don’t know if she entirely understood what was to come. She probably knew it would not be easy, but I doubt she envisioned an entirely different world environment.

Did she endure sleepless nights or sleep peacefully knowing she was in the will of God?

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

How many sleepless nights have you have you endured when you weren’t following what the LORD has instructed you in Scripture? When we’re at peace, we have nothing to fear, and perfect love casts out fear.

Even if she had no other children, she had friends, acquaintances, aunts, uncles, perhaps even a mother and father who would be left behind. Did she warn them of what was to come? I’m quite sure she attempted to, but they failed to comprehend or accept the salvation the Ark represented. How heartbreaking!

In today’s world, how many accept that our nation is over the edge too and we need to turn to Christ, our Salvation?

Whether today’s population is rebellious, apathetic, or simply enjoying the world’s lifestyle, have we warned them of the destruction coming when we are out of the Will of God? Have you invited friends to church, only to hear: “Sorry, my kids have soccer practice Sunday mornings.” “No thanks, not my thing.” “Hahaha, God would turn over in his grave if I walked into a church.”

When God shut the door to the Ark, that was it. There were no second chances for anyone left on earth. Eternity is not the big sleep. You are eternally awake, rejoicing in Heaven or suffering a fiery, regretful existence in Hell forever!

Today choose who you will serve. Become a New Creation and chose to enter the Ark of Christ.

 

Getting Your Diet Mojo Back Permanently

It’s now the start of the “Diet-Season” when millions enthusiastically begin a diet on January 2nd and . . . usually fall off that bandwagon three weeks later. Why?

Failing on a diet plan is usually not because we don’t know what we should do. Most realize we:  1. eat less 2. exercise more 3. slow down and 4. drink water, etc., etc. . . . Yet we fail time and time again, even when we believe we are doing the right thing! That’s frustrating and self-defeating.

Weight loss is much more than mere willpower. There is no magic formula. Since we are each uniquely created, it’s primarily an individually mental, physiological, and spiritual challenge. It’s also a matter of understanding the scientific reasons behind the “why” we can self-destruct.

My book, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” will make the perfect motivational New Year’s gift this year. It’s available for only $4.99 on Amazon.com.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SKQ3HYV

It’s not simply another diet book. With over 241 pages of practical lifestyle applications, it encourages a brand new mental, physiological and spiritual approach to becoming a New Creation:

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” (Nutritional & Life Lessons God Teaches Us) addresses such topics as:

  1. Strive for excellence, not perfection
  2. Why losing weight isn’t simply a matter of willpower!
  3. Why sometimes a cookie isn’t “just a cookie”
  4. Why dieting is like the Westminster Dog Show
  5. Why you can’t outsmart a fat cell
  6. Why physiologically, fad diets never work
  7. The secrets to weight loss success and so much more!

Truth is, God never meant for us to live on complicated, fallacy-laden, restrictive diet plans which clearly reject our Maker’s fundamental psychological, physiological and spiritual wishes.

Healthy living is not adhering to a “penance principle” of restriction and suffering.  God set Adam in a Garden for a reason and provided the perfect Master Plan for health. Yet people needlessly consume “magic” formulas: “sticks and twigs,” processed packaged foods, drink tasteless protein shakes, or restrict their diet needlessly.

Why? There is no need to deny oneself chocolate, cheese, eggs, potatoes, bananas, shrimp, or any other food while consuming only rice cakes and celery. Avoidance and flagellation will not get one closer to God unless he enjoys living as a monk!

God gave us the perfect dietary plan in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3. He also instilled us with common sense. I address the fact that we’ve each been formed uniquely with a different chemical make-up. There is no one-size-fits-all diet plan but there are physiological truths we should live by!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Discover true vitality through a sensible everyday eating plan, honoring God in the process!

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” is filled with realistic illustrations and practical, common-sense applications. If you concentrate on nutrients, you will naturally be healthier because your body will crave healthier choices while resisting uncontrollable cravings. But how does one do that??? I explain how and it’s not by suffering.

I urge you to read this book to discover how you can become stronger, develop strategies, and routinely overcome temptation, becoming confident as a New Creation!

The Color of Love

I had no intention of falling in love. But there he was.

At a huge outdoor market one spring day, I nonchalantly walked by the large open pen where most of his brothers and sisters lay sleeping. At first I simply checked them all out as they played and slept.  Aah, who doesn’t love puppies? I thought. Yeah, so cute but so much work. Feeding, walking, grooming, vet bills . . . It’s a long term commitment!

Don’t get attached, just walk away, Ellie, walk away. I failed to heed my own advice. 

There were some very pretty puppies of many different colors, but one in particular, happened to catch my eye. He was white with large black eyes, a black nose and one floppy brown ear. Eight weeks old. Oh, but he’s so precious!!!

At first, he just observed me with those curious black eyes. It looked like he had just woken up. Then, as he watched me, his tiny tongue began flicking in and out. Then his little tail slowly began wagging back and forth. Suddenly he pounced upward, happily bouncing against the side of the pen on two legs, smiling, begging for attention – all while his little tongue was moving a mile a minute, longing for kisses and attention.

Aren’t we all searching for attention and love?

Nope, I had no intention of falling in love. But there he was . . . and yes, I did. Do you think I cared whether he was white, tan, brown, red or black? Would you?

I fell in love with a happy-go-lucky, friendly, intelligent, kind and sweet little dog. His character was more important to me than his fur color or his pedigree. Four and a half years later, he still instills joy into our lives.

When I meet someone new, I look at their smile, kindness, integrity and enthusiasm for life – which is all part of their character. I admit, I have little patience with those those who stir up dissension and I despise injustice, negativity and stupidity.

Which brings me to the spiritual aspect of New Creations Ministries. How are we to treat others?

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

When God looks down on us, do you think He cares what color we are? How prestigious our heritage? Our job title? I doubt it very much. When God looks at us, He sees our heart and cares about our character, not our skin color. Jesus himself was not a blue-eyed Caucasian and he didn’t look like George Clooney.

“For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11)

God doesn’t play favorites and neither should we. We are all His children and created in His image. Bring religious education and at least the Bible back into schools again and we might save the next generation. Our US Constitution does not proclaim Freedom FROM Religion, only Freedom OF Religion. Disagree? Search out Truth.

God cares about our character so much He sent His only Son to die on the cross for ALL mankind! That’s LOVE and it has no color. How many young people today realize that? Oh, you say, “I wouldn’t want to force religion on my children. I let them choose.”  Well okay. how is THAT working out for us???

Real love is a demonstration of it!

A “Modified” Keto Diet?

Last week, did you happen to catch an MSN’s Health section headline with the proclamation, “How I lost weight with a modified Keto Diet!”

News Flash: If a diet is modified, it is NOT the same diet plan. If I modify my Mediterranean Diet plan, it becomes a DASH or Volumetrics Diet. All excellent by the way. But modifying the dangerous Keto diet is putting lipstick on a pig and dancing in toxic waste.

I glanced over her “modifications” and discovered she continued to consume bacon, salami and other dyed, chemically-based, highly-saturated, fattening foods containing very few nutrients and fiber. Where’s the nutrients???

Listen, your body is comprised of chemicals while food is a bunch of chemicals. I’m sure you’ve seen what happens in a lab when too many chemicals are mixed together – Kaboom!!! Do you want your body to become toxic chemicals?

When one consumes Keto’s fat-based diet, theoretically a body burns fat for energy. Well how does that work? Let me explain:

We’ve all seen how a rocket blasts into space, right? That plume of smoke emitted from the back of the rocket as it launches off its pad is similar to what the body does when it produces energy to move as well. But our energy fumes are primarily converted inside and those toxins need to exit our body through urine and sweat.

Dangerous conditions result when one fails to drink pure clean water (most dieters drink Diet Coke with even more chemicals like Splenda or aspartame.) If you don’t drink enough water, those toxic chemicals remain in your system, festering in your cells, compounding unhealthy, acidic conditions. If your body is acidic, it becomes a  test tube for cancers, high cholesterol, heart disease, liver and kidney conditions among many others.

I’m not a gambler and don’t want to wager on a diet prone to precarious life-threatening illnesses. I also haven’t met anyone who has KEPT their weight off by staying on this diet forever. As we all know, the only real and reasonable diet is one that you can maintain for a lifetime.

I am not saying that one can never have bacon again. I eat bacon, cheese and cold cuts occasionally. However if I have a ham sandwich for lunch, then I’ll have lean meat: chicken, pork loin, sirloin, salmon, fish and fibrous veggies for dinner.

1 Corinthians 10:23 states that anything is fine in moderation but not everything is beneficial. I created and follow the Biblical Diet Plan found in Genesis 1:29 where God told Adam to eat plant based foods and then Genesis 9:3 in which He told Noah after the Flood with its newly created environmental climate that it’s now fine to consume meat.

Don’t struggle with crazy restrictive diet plans believing you are pleasing God. I actually call this “The Penance Principal.” Several of my patients believed they had to suffer; consuming bland foods, “sticks and twigs” in order to please God. On the contrary, it’s a slap in the Face of God when you say, “Oh dear, why did You create eggs and bananas? This human scientist says they are bad for me. After all scientists know more than you, don’t they?” Wrong, and besides science is always changing, God does not!

“So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.” (1 Corinthians 1:20) NLT

As for me and my house, I will trust the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)

Eat nutritiously and prosper.

Attempting Perfection? Ain’t Gonna Happen!

As one begins a quest for health, either through fitness or weight loss, many strive for perfection. Did you as well? How did that go? When you failed to achieve it, did you became discouraged, falter and give up?

Unfortunately, perfection is unattainable at any age. Therefore, strive for excellence, not perfection.

But why did we expect perfection from ourselves in the first place? Did we think perfection would make others like and appreciate us more? It won’t. In fact, Romans 3:10 informs us that there was only one perfect person ever born, our Lord. If you recall, most people didn’t like him much while He lived on earth and even today Jesus continues to have countless enemies.

Humans cannot be perfect no matter how hard they try. No one else is Christ. If God doesn’t expect perfection from us; only obedience, how could we possibly think we could ever become godly enough to achieve perfection?

May I remind you that God used normal, everyday imperfect human beings for his work? We tend to believe that the personalities of the Bible were superheroes, larger than life, but look again:

Abraham was old and Jeremiah was a child, Moses was timid and not a great speaker while Peter was proud and had a temper. Elijah got discouraged and Jeremiah was frequently depressed. Paul was egotistical and boastful while Jonah was a coward, David was an adulterer as well as a murderer and Solomon seemed to love women more than his LORD.

And don’t think women were any better: Sarah was a doubter, Rebekah was a schemer, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was controlling and Rahab was a prostitute!

Just as parents love their children no matter what, God loves us and desires what’s best for us. We are not perfect, but that shouldn’t give us license to be disobedient either.

Isn’t it a relief that God does not expect perfection from us to be useful to Him?! Knowing that, what does our testimony say about us? I’m quite certain you have never killed anyone but have you ever gossiped or let gluttony overcome you at a church social? Remember sin is sin in God’s eyes and His Son died for all sins; even gluttony, laziness and gossip.

Striving for excellence pleases God. How we live represents our Christian testimony. Concentrate on that aspect rather than expecting personal perfection which only frustrates and discourages. We must begin to create a strong godly example here on earth so we will hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

People are watching us as an example of Christianity. Do we represent someone a non-Christian would strive to be? What strengths will we eventually bring to place at His Holy Pierced Feet?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)        

 

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.