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Archive for the tag “Healthy Body”

There’s a Difference

I have been told that I am different. My tastes are unique. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease eleven years ago, I eat differently than most people. The first Easter after my change to a healthier lifestyle was the first time I experienced the reality that I was totally different. My Mom was still alive and well at that point. The family was together as was the tradition for holidays. As usual, Mom fixed everyone’s favorite food, except I couldn’t eat any of it.

Mom forgot that I could no longer eat like the rest of the family. I had to have a different menu. Not because I wanted to be different, but because I had chosen to treat my disease with a food-based approach and not a medical prescription approach. My Mom didn’t get it. My family didn’t get it. And on that Easter Sunday, I had to come to terms with hard reality of being different.

I don’t think many people really like to be different, especially young people. We like our friends to be similar to us. Even our church life has the same mentality. We want to be like our neighbors – nice car, nice house, perfect lifestyle with perfect kids. And sometimes that comes with a hefty price tag. We go into debt to finance our desires. I heard Dave Ramsey say recently on a show that we need to be different. Normal is to be in debt. Different is to have a healthy bank account without the burden of debt. The Bible tells us debt is our master; we are a servant to it (Proverbs 22:7). Possessions possess us.

We all need a hard reality check. Jesus didn’t come to burden us but to free us from our burdens. No matter what we struggle with – health issues, debt, unhealthy habits, etc. – Jesus is the answer. How you say? If we are followers of Jesus, we should have a different mentality. We should have a different focus. Pastor Tony Evans has a teaching series on eternal focus. We should be living in the light of eternity. Possessions shouldn’t possess us – sell it. Move into something that is affordable. Free up the bank account so that it allows for Kingdom purpose – to help those in need at a moment’s notice.

Living a healthy lifestyle has changed me in more ways than just my eating habits. It has freed me from the burden of feeling sick and tired all the time. I have the freedom with a clear mind and satisfied heart. Living well is a choice. It may have a steep learning curve, but it’s worth it to be different. Finding the right people to encourage us along the way is important. We don’t all have to be alike. It’s healthy to have a diverse friendship base. They can teach us many things. However, there always has to be a true foundation of belief in Jesus so that no one can move us from Jesus’ rock of truth.

Jesus promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we receive His gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit is our guide to living a different life. The Spirit will give us a check in our spending habits, in our eating habits and in choosing a different path. However, we have to be sensitive to His promptings. If we continue to ignore the promptings, we will no longer feel His leading away from the things that will entangle us in an unhealthy life. There’s a difference in the way we live when the Spirit is in control. It’s not easy living differently, but it’s very rewarding when the Spirit gives us a nudge in the right direction. There’s always a blessing when we do the right thing.

As followers of Jesus, the world cannot give us what we desire. When we look to worldly things, we leave God out of the equation. When God is in the picture, everything is seen in a different light. I had a conversation last week with a fellow at the gym about marriage. He said marriage was overrated. I said, God has to be in the marriage too in order for it to be a good marriage. God has to be in the middle of our lives in order for it to be a good life. We have to live differently. It’s the only way to live a truly joyful, peaceful life. Jesus is the answer. Choose to be different!

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT)

Wiped Out

Every time I think I am moving in the right direction, I have a bit of a setback. I want to see great strides develop in my faith walk. How come increasing faith always comes with a storm? I had been doing really well physically over the last few years. I haven’t had any issues that threw me into a tizzy – until this past week. I had a perfect storm of physical stresses that sent me into a downward spiral. I have an autoimmune disease that causes some chemical sensitivity when I am not being diligent with my diet. Over the holidays, I overindulged; and it’s caused a tipping point into the danger zone.

This week has been one of those weeks where I just didn’t want to do anything. My quiet time has been anemic. My Bible reading has fallen off as well. All I have wanted to do is watch TV or read in bed. This should be the time I draw nearer to Jesus, but it seems all I want to do is curl up in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. I hate it when that happens!

I am just feeling wiped out – physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is not how I envisioned my first month of the New Year starting. I like to start the New Year off with a certain food fast. I usually take out one category like grains or sugar or chocolate and let my body reset from that particular food. This year it was going to be grains. The fast I got was not what I had in mind! After my sickness came on, I had to have some toast to settle my stomach. Nothing went like I was expecting.

Isn’t that the way things happen though? We have a plan. It looks good in theory. But God may have a different agenda. So what’s the lesson in this particular storm? If my focus is on faith, what is faith all about? In “Pursuit of God,” AW Tozer wrote “faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” He used the illustration of the bronze snake Moses made in the desert. While the people were wandering in the desert, they rebelled against God (over and over again). God used snake bites to get their attention. After the people cried out to God, Moses was instructed to make a bronze snake and attach it to a pole. For those who were bitten by a snake, they could look up to the bronze snake and be healed.

God used this illustration in the Old Testament as a testimony of what Jesus would later do when He died on a cross for our sins. Just as the bronze snake was lifted up, Jesus, the Son of God was lifted up on the cross for us. We can lift our eyes to Him when we have been bitten by that deceitful snake called sin. The people looked upon the bronze snake with external eyes, but we are given spiritual eyes to look upon Jesus to heal our wounds. Scripture tells us “by His wounds, we are healed.”

During this last week, I realized I have not had my soul gaze upon my Savior. Sickness is a tool our enemy uses to keep us out of the game. It keeps our eyes focused on ourselves. It makes us ineffective as followers of Jesus. Sickness leaves us on the sidelines curled up in a fetal position. Paul warned us, as followers, to keep the body healthy. The body is the living temple of God, and we are to keep it holy and well-tended. We have an obligation as the people of God to be available for His use. If we’re not in the game, we are useless to Him. The deceitful snake does his best to keep us distracted and off the playing field. (I guess football is on my mind while I write this!)

I brought my sickness on myself because I was not diligent in keeping within my dietary guidelines. I thought I could get away with it. But like sin, it always finds the light! Maybe this is the lesson I need to learn to help me with my faith. I no longer want to be wiped out by things I could have avoided if I had stayed the course. My gaze has to be focused upon my Savior – high and lifted up. No matter what, He’s worth the price I have to pay in order to be healthy and whole (as far as it depends on me). Besides, I hear there is going to be a wedding feast to end all wedding feasts one day! And every morsel we’ll consume then will be heavenly!

Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.

You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 (MSG)

Abundance

I love food. I have always had an interest in eating. In the early years, it was the unhealthy variety. Since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I have learned to eat better. The diagnosis also caused me to be restricted on several of my favorite items – like flour and sugar. Since I have been restricted I have noticed I focus more on food than ever before. I am considering what I can eat for my next meal; searching for a “treat” for my snack; checking the list of what I need to buy in order to eat for the next few days. It just seems to circulate in my brain so much more now than ever before. In my quiet time in the last few weeks, I noticed a tendency to think more about my morning meal (smoothie and small coconut mini muffin) than concentrating on my praying partner Jesus.

This really disturbs me when I recognize I am doing it again. And I am sure it isn’t something Jesus wants me to focus on either during my quiet time. I know I am not going to starve, but yet I feel this mentality happening. I live in a land of plenty. There is an abundance of food. There is so much food that we tend to throw away much more than we should. We find a bad spot on an apple and toss away the whole apple. I was helping out with a dinner fund-raiser not too long ago where we threw out buckets of potatoes and green beans because there wasn’t a place to take it for the homeless or the ones who had nothing to eat. It really bothered me to throw the food away. I see the likes of other places around the world where people do not have enough to eat and wonder how we can distribute food better.

Then I hear from a news report that one of the most fertile valleys in this land has a water shortage problem due to a three-year drought. I wonder when the abundance will come to an end. In the Bible, prophecies about the end times concerns famine and water shortages. I believe water will be the new “oil” wars. Drinkable water is rare around the globe. One day we will look back at this time and marvel at our abundance. I am sure we will also wonder how we could have been so wasteful. I believe one day too that we will be accountable to God for our excess, wasteful and hoarding tendencies. I don’t know what I am to do about the distribution problem. But I need to start thinking about my own tendencies concerning food. I need to put it in proper perspective. Am I more concerned about my stomach or another person’s? Do I have the things in mind that God does? Am I meeting needs around me?

God has given abundance, but it’s not to build bigger barns to store it for a rainy day. Good quality food will one day be a rarity if we are not careful with the resources God has given us. Next week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in this country. It’s the occasion of excess food. We will pile our plates high of favorite foods and sit down with family and friends. It’s a special time for sure. I enjoy my family time. But I also need to consider how I can feed someone else on this special day. I am grateful for God’s abundance. I shouldn’t ever take it for granted. But the focus should always be on Jesus and what He calls us to do with the abundance. We are to love one another and sometimes that means feeding others instead of ourselves. Jesus and I will be working on this stomach issue in the future (both mine and others)! Love of food is not wrong, until I start to focus on it rather than Jesus.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40

Blinded

I am a health advocate. My passion is learning about health and helping others to learn as well. Health involves food. I was listening to a conference recently where a speaker was talking about our food industry in the US. The speaker made me very disappointed in our food system. The food industry is sabotaging our health. God provided the foods to eat and gave them to us in abundance. Food can be our medicine or it can be our poison. The trouble is though, it is becoming more difficult to distinguish between what is healthy and what is not. The topic of the message in this particular session was on genetically modified foods (GMOs). Many countries have banned GMOs yet, we can readily find them in our grocery stores.

The talk led me to think about other areas in which we can turn a blind eye to. God has provided a healthy ecosystem for our health and well-being. Trees bring us the oxygen we need to breathe. The earth provides our needs through the plants that are produced. The sun gives the life force that gives our bodies energy by the foods we eat and for our emotional well-being. The systems are in place by God’s hands. He designed this perfect system and we are connected to it in order to live on this planet. We are still discovering what God has given us. Everything God has done for us for our benefit we take for granted, thinking that it will last forever. Most human beings don’t see the damage we’re causing by our destructive ways.

For the last few years, I have had a greater sense of urgency in getting the message across that we need to be awakened from our slumber. We as the Body of Christ have a responsibility to be alert and watchful. God is at work, and we need to be aware of what He’s doing. He wants to use us in His process of completing His plan of redeeming the people on this planet. But if we’re not paying attention, then we will lose the opportunity He presents to us. We need healthy minds and bodies so that we can be alert and ready to respond in obedience to what we are called to do.

What’s this got to do with GMOs? Is this really about food? Or is this about opening our eyes to what’s going on in the world? We need eyes to see. God says that we can ask Him and He will give us wisdom in the circumstances. We need God’s perspective. I know God cares for our planet, but He is more concerned with the people on the planet. We need wisdom to discern the truth of what we see and hear. Nothing is by accident. Everything is allowed for a reason, even GMO’s. God is at work, and we need to open our spiritual eyes. We can no longer walk around in spiritual blindness; there’s too much at stake. There is a desperate world that needs God’s healing hand. Ask and God says He will provide the Holy Spirit to guide us to the Truth. And if we seek Him and call out to Him in repentance then He will heal our land.

Please give us eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart submitted to obedience in accordance to Your will. Amen.

Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:50-52

Why?

I got a call from a friend having a crisis of belief. I understood where she was coming from since I have had the same kind of questioning not too long ago. She was questioning why she is trying to help someone when they didn’t seem to care about changing. Some people want to be helped and some don’t. Some have gotten to the point in their lives that they need to change their habits in order to feel better. Others will just pop a pill and deal with the consequences later. It’s hard to know when to give helpful advice and when to keep the mouth shut. The words will just fall on deaf ears if they are not ready to hear. My friend was very frustrated. I understood that frustration and hopefully I was able to give her the encouragement she needed to keep the faith!

The last couple of days, I have been plagued with the crisis of belief as well. I have been in a discipleship class for the last seven months. I have been wondering “why am I doing this?” The group was told Monday night that we need to have a heart for those who are lost and without hope. We are not to judge those around us, but to love those around us. There is only one judge, and we were not appointed to that role. God loved us so much even when we were in the midst of our sins, He sent Jesus to us. Jesus came to give us life. Sin leads to death, but Jesus changes death to life if we believe in Him. I am learning how to share, but I have yet to put it into practice on a daily basis. God wants to use us where we are, but we have to be ready to share what we know with those who are ready to hear.

I need to be ready to help those who are ready to be helped. The crisis of belief doesn’t end the journey; sometimes it just realigns the belief to the truth of the mission. Scripture tells me not everyone will be saved. For the ones that the Holy Spirit is working in, we are to speak to those people. We can’t save the masses, but we can speak to the ones ready to be saved. As the little boy who picks up one starfish at a time and tosses it back into the ocean, he couldn’t save every one of the starfish on the beach, but he could help one. This is the mission that we are called to; one at a time. Why? There are people who are seeking; we have to be ready to go.

I cleaned up my diet and my health. I didn’t understand why I was doing it at the time, except I felt bad and wanted to feel good again. God has shown me recently that I am only able to do the things I do today because He helped me to be well for His purpose. He has a plan for the world to hear, but He needs people who are fit and ready to go. Satan wants us to stay sick and tired. Satan wants to destroy us so that we will not be effective witnesses. Jesus said He came to give us life. That’s why I do the things I do – because of Jesus; He is the right way to life. The crisis of belief shifts the direction of my mind; from my perspective to God’s. When I have the right perspective, everything changes.

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. Romans 15:1-3 (The Message)

Crazy One

The ladies from my small group were sitting around having a conversation after enjoying a meal together. Normally, I wouldn’t write about a conversation from my small group but this was a bit different. Somehow we got on the conversation about families. One of the ladies said we all have someone in our families who is crazy. I had to think a minute, “Do we have a crazy one?” I mentioned that we don’t we have one. The lady had a witty comeback. She said if I didn’t know of a crazy one, then I’m it! We all got a good chuckle out of that one. We went on to discuss a couple of other things before we wrapped up our time together. But I have been considering the idea of the crazy one since.

I have been called different. Maybe I am according to the majority of the population. I eat differently than most. I choose whole foods and cook my meals. I drink green smoothies every morning to start my day. I am energized and ready to accomplish all that God has given me for the day. I live simply with less junk cluttering my house – my body as well as my house. I exercise regularly. I wasn’t always this good about what I eat (and still fall to temptation on occasion) or the exercise. But since I have been seeking God and His ways, I found keeping my body fit and in the best shape possible is the way to honor God.

Many in my family follow Jesus’ ways so maybe we’re all a bit crazy. We all struggle though in different areas of our lives to live as we are called to do. It’s difficult in this day and time to live closely to Jesus’ ways. There are great distractions out there. It’s enticing. Satan knows what hooks us. He has studied us all our lives. He sets a trap for us like cheese is set for mice. The one thing that attracts me will be different than for someone else. It’s the cheese I like. And if I’m not careful, I will fall into the trap. I noticed the trap is always present. Satan tries to divert my attention from Jesus – daily, hourly.

The other day, I was feeling a bit weary. I don’t know why I am doing the things I am doing, and I got a little down about it. After my eyes turned inward, I started seeking food to comfort me. When I had a meal, which was a pretty normal meal. It didn’t satisfy that thing I was looking for, so the next agenda was my shopping fix. I went looking for something I wanted. I ended up just looking and nothing satisfied that longing in me. I came home, got my eyes fixed on Jesus again. He satisfied my longing with His presence. Why didn’t I start out that way instead of looking elsewhere? The longings in our hearts pull us in another direction if our eyes are not focused correctly!

So, am I the crazy one? Probably. I hope I am good crazy – crazy for the right things – like keeping my eyes on Jesus and His ways. I maybe different because of it, but that’s okay. I would rather be crazy or different instead of normal and falling into those dangerous traps that will keep me from Jesus! We need to be set apart. We need to be different. The world is watching us to see if we are different because of Jesus. We are to be like Him. We are to love like Him. It’s not easy, but He is always with us to help us live out this life for Him. Be different! Be the crazy one in your family!

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

What’s My Role?

I picked up a book several months ago by Suzanne Somers called “Knockout.” The more I read the angrier I get. It’s not the topic that has me angry but the deception behind the topic that has me angry. The book is about the cancer industry and the alternatives to the standard care protocol. The book is very informative.

October is the anniversary of my Mom’s death. She died from pancreatic cancer. She lasted eight weeks from diagnosis to death. One of the blessings of her diagnosis was the decision of chemotherapy was taken out of our hands. She was too far gone in order for it to do any good (in theory). Instead she was taken to surgery to find out how invasive the cancer was. She came back with tubes and bags hanging from strategic locations around her digestive tract. It was horrendous. I am assuming the bags did allow her a few more weeks of life together. In the end, she died from infection and starvation (my opinion). The cancer did not kill her but the treatment did.

So why am I angry? I am angry that the billions of dollars spent on research ends up in the hands of corporations, stockholders and lastly doctors. No one is going to prevent cancer; the industry is too big. No one is going to fight to change people’s thoughts about having a healthy lifestyle. It’s too difficult to change. Yet, when the diagnosis comes, and it will at some point, we are left feeling angry and sad that nothing has changed in the last thirty years to prevent this dreaded disease. And the thousands of dollars we have to spend to do treatment will bankrupt the family and cause everyone to suffer through the agony of this disease.

One of the things that I have been considering of late is what’s my role in this life? One of the things I have pondered is what makes me sad, glad or angry. I think I found my sore spot. But what would God have me do about it? Yes, I’m angry, so where do I begin to fight the fight? Where do I sign up to join the rank and file to teach others how to care for the body God gave them?

A tumor will start with just a few cells. By the time it is detected, the tumor has been alive and well for years. It takes education to help those that are in the early stages – whether they are aware of it or not – to make changes now to kill the cells or at least slow the growth. I don’t have the big name as Suzanne Somers or the credentials of a doctor to get the word out. But I do have a voice. I have the limited ability to write. Maybe this is my small part to change the world – one person at a time.

And the Lord answered me:“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:2-3 (ESV)

Fitness Level

As I was working out over the weekend, I realized what a great work God has done in my life. I see the results of my physical fitness through a more energetic body. I have so much more energy today than I did twenty years ago. I started this path about seven years ago (time flies). But also in that time, God was working on my financial well-being as well. I am blessed with a financial head. I know all about budgeting for my wants and needs. I know how to save and invest properly.

I have been fortunate to have good jobs throughout my career, but I didn’t really put into good practice what I did for other companies. I went through a Dave Ramsey course at my church back in 2007. I knew better than to spend more than I make, but being the single that I am, I had no one to account for my every penny. When I started the Ramsey program of budgeting every penny, I realized I was wasting too much money on junk. God placed the desire to go to a holistic school in New York around this same time. I do not do debt. And I quickly realized I needed to adjust a few things in order to afford this school. I did cut back, cut out and sold a few things in order to pay all the expenses.

Since that time, I had set money aside for my emergency fund, a car fund and certain expenses I knew that would come (like Christmas!). God was making a way for me in 2007 to become financial fit for such a time as this. As I was learning discipline in my physical being and my financial being, He was also working on my spiritual being. Discipline by nature is hard. But the rewards are awesome when put in the right perspective. I am better able today to do the things I love to do, because I have more energy, no stress, and a determined God to get me to the place I need to be.

How’s your fitness level?

Keep yourself growing in God-like living. Growing strong in body is all right but growing in God-like living is more important. It will not only help you in this life now but in the next life also. These words are true and they can be trusted. 1 Timothy 4:7b-9

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