Monday, October 27, 2008

Real Treasure!

Proverbs 18:22 NLT The man who finds a wife finds a treasure...
Message Translation Find a good spouse, you find a good life...

Fellas, there is more truth to this scripture than you may think! Studies prove that married men are consistently healthier and actually live up to five years longer than single, divorced or widowed men. In fact, you blessed hubbies between the ages of 18 and 44 are noticeably healthier than men of the same ages. If you are single don't run out and marry the first girl you meet just to protect and prolong your life because there is a little more to it than that.

I've already mentioned in a previous post that stress from a half-hour argument can slow wound healing by at least a day. Long-term marital stress can set the stage for much more serious health problems. Anxiety and stress disrupt your immune system, and if that's a constant condition, it can open you up to stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Cardiologists actually report that a contentious, stressful marriage slows cardiac recovery time. Constant fighting, accusations and resentment seriously compromise the body's healing ability.

Perhaps this is why men are reminded that rice and beans eaten in a peaceful, loving atmosphere is better than surf and turf in a house full of anger and strife (Proverbs 17:1). In fact, there are several verses along these lines. Obviously the quality of the marriage is critical. While these scriptures seem to put all the responsibility on the wife, it "takes two to tango" as the saying goes!

Husbands, if you want to live a long, healthy, peaceful life, consider these suggestions:

Be concerned with how to please your wife daily (1 Corinthians 7:33);
Love her sacrificially and unconditionally (Ephesians 5:25); and
Praise her sincerely, liberally and often (Proverbs 31:28, 29).

That being said, one interesting study shows that in order to have a healthy, fulfilling marriage, partners must focus on each other's good qualities rather than on the irritating habits that may cause friction. Well, duh! Proverbs 10:12, 1 Corinthians 13:7 and Romans 12:18 clearly set forth three simple keys to harmonious living: allow your love to act as a covering for your spouse's shortcomings and flaws; think the best of them; and do whatever it takes to live in peace. Simple, and although it is not necessarily always easy, it is certainly worth the effort.

So, guys, if you have a wife, treat her like the gift from God that she is and enjoy a longer, healthier life!

Monday, October 20, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

The economy is on everyone's mind right now. The news is full of doom and gloom about the health of the stock market and banking industry. People are stressing about rising food prices, health care costs, home heating oil this winter, retirement funds, layoffs, college loans, buying a car, mortgages and the list goes on and on. Everyone I know is looking for ways to be a good steward, invest and spend wisely and save money wherever possible.

With that in mind, I read a very interesting email from Health Sciences Institute today. It told about a study performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for its research on the placebo effect. You may be familiar with the placebo effect. During World War II, Dr. Henry Beecher used saline injections on injured soldiers because morphine was in such short supply. The soldiers' pain was relieved simply because they believed the "medicine" they were given would do so. Dr. Beecher coined the expression "placebo effect." His continued research revealed that up to 35% of response to any medical treatment could be attributed to the patient's belief about it. This placebo effect has been proven to be an actual, measurable change in brain chemistry.

These researchers at MIT did a very interesting study. They took 80 subjects and gave them a mild electrical shock on their wrists. Each of those subjects were then given what they were told was a painkilling drug. With that drug (which was a placebo - it had absolutely no active ingredients of any kind) half were given a brochure describing the "drug" as newly approved by the FDA and costing $2.50 per dose. The other half were told their drug cost 10 cents per dose.

Each subject was then given the electrical shock again. Here's the really interesting part: of those subjects whose brochure described the "drug" as costing $2.50 per dose, 85% said their pain from the second electrical shock was reduced. Of the other half who were told their drug cost 10 cents a dose - only 60% said they experienced less pain.

The researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that these results explain why patients who switch from brand-name drugs to generic drugs with exactly the same active ingredients often report that the generic is less effective. The conclusion was that doctors should de-emphasize the fact that a generic drug is less expensive and plant the idea in the patient's mind that the drug is just as good as the brand-name!

In my opinion this is just one more indication of how status conscious our society has become. It has to be the biggest, best, most expensive, impressive brand name - whether we can afford it or not!! Maybe that's why many are finding themselves in a precarious financial situation right now? Who are we trying to impress? What ever happened to integrity, wisdom and common sense? Why do we care what anyone else thinks about the size of our home, our car or our clothes? They aren't making the payments on those things, we are! I think the problem is that we only equate value with price. Just because something is more expensive doesn't necessarily mean it is of a better quality.

In some instances, the higher priced product is superior. I will not deny that. For instance, in purchasing vitamins, where the ingredients come from and how they are processed matters greatly and many times the superior product is more expensive. However, when we compare labels and all the ingredients are exactly the same, but one is a "name brand" and the other is not, choosing the name brand simply because of the name is in itself worthy of the Ig Nobel Prize. By the way, that really is an award, the Ig stands for ignoble (which means of low character or aims) and is awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research.

To me it comes down to motive. If you truly feel it is a superior product and you have done research, used all the information at your disposal, and you can afford it, then go for it. If, however, as is the case much more often, you are either too lazy to do the research and just "trust" the name brand is better or having others see that you have the name brand just makes you feel better about yourself - I'd suggest you examine your motives. Are you looking for the best value or trying to make yourself feel better by impressing others?

Get to the Root!

Matthew 3:10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire.

When you have a headache, you may take an aspirin or Advil. You may have come to expect that drug to "cure" your headache. However, the truth is it only masks the pain in your head, which by the way, is simply a symptom. The definition of a symptom is something that indicates the presence of a bodily disorder. Hmm, maybe you've never thought about it much, but the headache isn't a "disease" it's only a symptom of something else going on in your body. Through that pain your body may be trying to tell you any number of things - eat something, you're hungry; get some sleep, you are tired; take a break from the computer, your eyes need a rest; relax, you are stressed. The one thing I can confidently tell you it is not saying is that you have an "Advil deficiency!"

In order to change or improve any health issue you must address the root cause, not just deal with the symptom you are experiencing. Jesus shows us this principle. In Mark 11:20-21 we read the passage where Jesus had seen a fig tree full of leaves which indicated that it should also have figs. When it did not, He cursed the tree and upon seeing the tree the next day, the disciples saw that it had "withered from the roots." Jesus didn't just deal with the leaves or the stem, He went directly to the source of the problem - the roots. Romans 11:16, 17 tells us the root supports the plant and if the root is holy the rest of the tree is holy. A plant is only as healthy as its root system.

The same is true for us. Unless the root cause of a disease is addressed and corrected, all the drugs in the world will only mask pain or discomfort and manage the disease. The pain may be gone temporarily, but the root cause, the disease, is still there. Drugs simply treat symptoms. As Dr. Darren R. Weissman explains so eloquently in his excellent book, The Power of Infinite Love and Gratitude, by masking symptoms with drugs we are silencing our bodies' only method of communication!

Our bodies are magnificent creations of Almighty God. Let's not just drug them, but listen to them. Don't just look for the quick fix. God built into our bodies His own infinite wisdom and healing power, if we just take the time to listen.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Genes or Habits?

Exodus 34:7 He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generations...

"Everyone in my family is overweight - it's just the way we are."
"High cholesterol/heart diseast/diabetes/cancer runs in my family."
"My mother didn't cook vegetables so I just never learned to like them."

If any of these statements sounds familiar, chances are you're playing the "genes" card! It's very easy to look at your family history and decide that whatever health issue you are dealing with, it is genetic and there's little you can do about it.

I am not denying that your family history may predispose you to certain diseases. All of my grandparents except for one, most of my aunts and uncles and my mother all died from cancer. Does it seem to run in my family? Gallop may be more like it. I acknowledge the history but I do not believe it destines me or my children to go down the same path.

Consider a different question - what really runs in your family, genes or habits? Research confirms that although heredity and familial disposition toward certain conditions have an effect on physical health, it only accounts for approximately 20% - lifestyle and nutrition account for close to 80%! This tells me that while we can acknowledge our family's health history and be aware of it, we need not repeat it. Rather than just continue to perpetuate the habits we may have grown up with, we have the power to choose to change them and improve the outcome.

While changing lifelong habits may not be easy, remember, your choices not only affect you, but future generations as well. We need not feel we're doomed to suffer from the same problems and diseases as our parents and grandparents. Deuteronomy 30:19 encourages us to choose life, for ourselves and for our children. We can choose to do things differently. Our parents did the best they knew to do. Since we know better, we must make the choice to do better.

We must also embrace the truth that as Christians we now have a different, better Bloodline, one in which there is no disease! By doing these things we can create a new "history" and pass down vibrant health, wholeness and faith for generations to come.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Your Life Depends on It

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of a creature is in the blood...

Our blood is a truly amazing substance. It is the fluid that transports nutrients and oxygen to every cell throughout your body; it carries carbon dioxide and other waste products from the cells; it regulates body temperature; it has white cells that fight infection and disease and it carries hormones and other chemical substances that regulate bodily functions. It is very clear that our very life depends on the health of our blood. The functions and properties of our physical blood are a beautiful picture of what Christ's Blood does for us as believers spiritually. Consider these similarities:

Our blood is comprised of three basic parts - red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. What our blood does for our physical bodies - nourish, heal, detoxify, cleanse and energize - Jesus' Blood does for our spirits, souls and bodies. It cleanses us of sin, protects us as we plead the Blood, nourishes and heals our relationship with the Father by allowing us to enter His Presence.

When someone becomes anemic, they are weakened and easily fatigued. By keeping the blood healthy through proper nutrition, we experience energy and strength. Jesus' Blood also has energy. It gives us the boldness to enter His Presence and energizes us to continue walking by faith. His Blood actually acts in the spiritual realm as antibodies act in the physical realm. Once exposed to a particular germ, white blood cells create antibodies to kill that specific bacteria or virus and you develop immunity against it. Once you accept the shedding of His Blood on your behalf, and honor it, you begin building immunity to the sins that once so captivated you.

One of the most important functions of the blood is to regulate your temperature. If it deviates too far either way from the normal of 98.6 degrees, permanent brain and organ damage can occur. In a very real way, Christ's Blood regulates our spiritual temperature. Revelation 3:16 tells us that God will spit lukewarm Christians out of His mouth. Depending on the Blood daily not only to cleanse us from sin, but to reconcile us to the Father and sanctify us for His use corrects our "spiritual temperature."

Red blood cells carry oxygen to every cell of our bodies without which we would die. Jesus' Blood also floods every part of us with newness of life. Platelets cause the blood to clot when you cut or injure yourself, otherwise you would bleed to death. Likewise, His Blood is the assurance that we can never lose our salvation. His Blood contains our spiritual platelets!

Honor His Blood and nourish your physical blood - our life is in the blood.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A Donkey?

Jeremiah 14:6 ...their eyesight fails because there is no grass.

While this scripture actually refers to wild donkeys, the amazing truth relates to us as well. You may be wondering what grass has to do with healthy eyesight. Although the connection may seem a little obscure to us, as always, Father knows best!

You may have heard about "green drinks" and how nutritious they are for you. Or you may know a "health nut" like me who downs a big, green glass of goodness several times a day. Exactly what are green drinks? Essentially the main component of all the best green drinks you'll find at your health food store are cereal grasses: oat, wheat, alfalfa, barley, rye and kamut grasses. Many also have algaes as well such as chlorella and spirulina, but for our purposes in this post we will concentrate on the grasses here.

According to David Sandoval, a well-known expert on this subject, and author of The Green Foods Bible, these cereal grasses are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavonoids, carotenoids, enzymes, proteins and chlorophyll. They not only contain all the nutrients in whole food form that a body needs to be healthy and vibrant, they also alkalize our systems (making them resistant to illness) and aid in cleansing, detoxifying and neutralizing harmful substances as well.

Perhaps you have heard that organic, grass-fed beef is a healthy alternative as opposed to grain fed beef. Is it any wonder that cows allowed to feed on chlorophyll-rich grasses produce a superior meat? In fact, these animals God created sometimes seem to have more sense than we do - grazing animals never eat jointed grass if there is unjointed grass available. What does that mean? Well, most of the nutrients in the plant reach their peak concentrations just prior to the jointing stage of the plant. If grasses are cut just before jointing, nutritionally, they make a nearly perfect food. Animals instinctively know this.

Back to the eyesight - cereal grasses are a rich source of beta carotene, which your body converts to Vitamin A. This vitamin is not only critical for maintaining good vision, but also plays an important role in healthy skin, maintaining endothelial health (the health of the cells lining the interior surfaces of your body), regulating cell division and growth and stimulating the production and activity of white blood cells for a strong immune system.

So, once again, Father knew and knows best. Let's take a hint from the wild donkeys and make "grass" part of our daily nutrition!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Choose Life!

Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live...

One of the greatest gifts we have been given is the ability to choose. It not only separates us from all other living creatures, but is one way in which we are created in the image of our Heavenly Father (Genesis 1:27).

We can choose to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord or live life on our own terms. We can choose to follow God's nutritional principles or we can eat whatever junk strikes our fancy. We can make rest and exercise part of our daily routine or we can burn the candle at both ends and be world class couch potatoes! Regardless of our choices one thing is certain and unchanging one hundred percent of the time - we will most definitely reap whatever we sow.

That being said, how can we make life enhancing choices? In the area of nutrition, the efficiency and health of our digestive system is critical. It's so true that we only benefit from the food we actually digest and assimilate. You can eat pounds of organic fruits and vegetables and take handfuls of supplements, but if your body cannot use the nutrients they contain, it does you no good. One easy way to choose life is to supplement with probiotics. The word "probiotic" actually means in favor of (pro) life (bio)! A healthy digestive system should contain several pounds of these friendly, life-giving organisms. The most common, well-known probiotic is acidophilus, the live bacteria culture usually found in yogurt. Probiotics are also readily found in other fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and miso.

Choosing life doesn't have to be complicated. We can begin with our nutrition and digestion by doing the following:
Using a good probiotic supplement to replenish our reserves;
Avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics (which actually means "against life"!) and
other over-the-counter and prescription drugs;
Using digestive enzymes to help our bodies more fully utilize the nutrients in
in our foods; and
Avoiding or severely limiting sugar and empty processed foods.

When we eat whole foods - nutrient dense, natural foods the way God created them, we are choosing life! And that choice doesn't only impact us and our health, the consequences extend to our children as well. They develop the eating habits that we teach them. They also tend to repeat what we do. It is our responsibility as parents to model the right habits. By choosing life for ourselves with these simple choices, it may just be the difference between life and death for our children as well.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So What Do You Think??

Proverbs 23:7 As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

What we think in our hearts is our perception, our belief. We have been touching on this over the last few posts. Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD has pioneered a field called, epigenetics, the "new biology." (To learn more visit Very simply stated, he says your thoughts, perceptions and beliefs can either heal you or allow sickness to flourish in your body. He says our perception controls our biology (and he is not the only one who does). The ability of our minds is limitless. We do, after all, have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)!

Consider a woman who lives in fear of developing breast cancer because her mother or sister had it. If she believes it long enough, Dr. Lipton says it will influence the expression of her genes and she will have what she believes. Now recall the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20, 21). She believed Jesus could heal her and kept saying if she just touched his cloak she would be healed - and she was.

I don't want to make this sound too simplistic. There should be no condemnation (Romans 8:1) if you find yourself dealing with illness. There are so many variables involved. Dr. Lipton explains that our beliefs are energy fields that we control. However, so many things play a role - including childhood traumas (and who hasn't had at least one), overall outlook on life, fear, anxiety, guilt and any number of other things including your environment. Unbelief around you can impact your ability to believe! In Mark 6:5 we see Jesus could do no great works or miracles and only healed a few sick people because of the lack of faith in his hometown. That environment of unbelief effectively shut down the miracle-working power available through Him. This is why we are commanded in Romans 12:2 not to be conformed to this (negative, unbelieving) world and its customs but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

This field is exciting and the concept is simple - believe! (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?) However, simple is not the same thing as easy. There is effort involved. We must consciously renew our minds on a daily, sometimes moment-by-moment basis and stand against doubt, negativity and unbelief. But just as the Father told us - when we think health, wholeness and vitality, we enable our bodies to create it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Half Full or Half Empty?

Philippians 4:13 Amplified: I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me (I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in His sufficiency.)

This scripture is more than a positive confession that makes us feel better emotionally. We should consider Philippians 4:13 to be a powerful immune boosting substance! Several different studies conducted show that optimists have stronger immune systems and get sick less often than pessimists.

First, what exactly is an optimist? By definition it is someone who is inclined to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or who anticipates the best possible outcome. So, then, how we perceive an action or event and then explain it to ourselves is of the utmost importance. Scientists have developed two systems for measuring what they term "dispositional optimism," which is a person's expectations for the future and "explanatory style," which is how a person explains what happens to them. How can we be anything but optimists when God has told us in Jeremiah 29:11 that His plans for us are only for good - to prosper us, give us hope and a future?

Various studies find that optimists actually have a 55% lower risk of death from all causes and pessimists tend to suffer from twice as many infectious diseases. In fact a Johns Hopkins University study revealed people who saw themselves as having poor health (whether they actually did or not), doubled their risk of death within five years.

This scripture in Phillippians is the picture of a resilient, optimistic person. Studies reveal that people who believe they have a measure of control over seemingly unmanageable events, release certain brain chemicals which actually increase their resilience, reduce anxiety and cause that stressful memory to be a less vivid one.

Joel 3:10 tells us we are to "let the weak say I am strong." That is much more than just a catchy song lyric or wishful thinking. Studies find that pessimists tend to assume blame for bad news, feeling it was somehow their fault, believe their negative circumstance will last forever and impact everything they do! Perhaps that is why scripture tells us to speak the desired result, not what we now have (Romans 4:17) and meditate on the Word of God.

You may think you were born a pessimist and there's nothing you can do to change that - but you are wrong! In Psalms 42:5 David asks himself, "Why are you downcast, O my soul?" Do as David did and ask yourself why you look at a situation as you do. Your perception may be completely wrong! That alone could be the difference between being optimistic and pessimistic. As Christians, we know God is in control, He desires only our best and all things ultimately work together for our good and His glory. So, consciously choose to look on the bright side, search for the silver lining and you just may reap better health as a bonus!