Thursday, December 17, 2009

Selective Hearing

"I'm exhausted." "Where am I going to get the money for that?" "This will never work out." "Who does she think she is, talking to me that way!" "I can't believe how fat I am." "Things just never go right for me." "I can't take it any more!"

Thoughts are constantly floating through our minds, whether we are aware of them or not. We also may not realize the origin of many of those thoughts. Every critical, negative word ever spoken to you is filed away in your computer-like brain. The devil won't miss an opportunity to whisper destructive, negative, hurtful thoughts into your ear every minute of the day -IF you allow him to. After twenty-four solid hours of those destructive thoughts bombarding your mind and spirit, no wonder you're exhausted, discouraged and defeated. They chip away at your strength, self-esteem and hope, which is exactly what the devil intends. If we absorb enough of these trashy, miserable thoughts, they can erode our confidence to step out, paralyze us with fear of the unknown and utterly destroy our faith. If we allow him free access to our thoughts, he can eventually fulfill his mission according to John 10:10 which is to steal our joy, kill our vision and destroy our lives.

The good news is we have a choice. We can choose to sift the thoughts we constantly have offered to us. It is called selective hearing. That's an expression usually used to describe how a husband can hear every detail of a ball game, yet totally tune out his wife's request to take out the trash! It's quite an effective tool (as many a husband will testify), and it is at our disposal as believers to use against these rogue thoughts.

In order to do this, though, you have to begin with a simple, basic, elementary truth: God is good and the devil is bad. I realize that's 'Faith 101,' but if you measure each thought according to that yardstick of truth, you will be able to tell what the origin of the thought was and whether to receive it or reject it.

Next, you have to purposely become aware of the thoughts constantly fighting to gain entrance into your mind throughout the course of each day. When you decide to pay attention, consciously, to what percolates through your thoughts, new understanding will begin to flood your being. If you've been exhausted and dragging around in defeat lately, you may be surprised to realize how many fearful, discouraging lies you've been assimilating over each 24-hour period.

Once you gain this awareness, you can be selective about what you allow to saturate your thinking. For instance, you're driving to work and seemingly out of nowhere you think, "I hope I don't get laid off."

Sift it. What feeling floods you when you really acknowledge that thought? Fear? Uncertainty? Confusion? Despair? Definitely not good. That thought originates with the father of lies. Right then and there you have the choice as to whether to receive it as truth or reject it as a lie. Once you choose to reject that lie, you must replace it with the truth. For instance, something like, "God blessed me with this job and He can and will keep me here or find me a better one."

You may find yourself doing this exercise a hundred times a day at first. That's OK. Don't get discouraged. As you practice 'taking these thoughts captive' as we're instructed to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5, you will find it becoming less and less necessary. Why? The reason is simple. As you continually capture, sift and examine your thoughts, measuring them against the ruler of God's Word, basically what you are doing is submitting yourself to God and resisting the devil. James 4:7 says if you do that, the devil will have no choice but to flee from you! He'll get the message pretty quick that his lies are not having their desired effect and look for an easier target.

Just as you are caeful about what kind of food you put into your body, the thoughts you allow to gain entrance into your spirit through your mind can have a devastating effect on your life and physical health.

The choice is yours. Be selective and sift your thoughts.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing
Ephesians 5:19 Be filled with the Spirit speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord

Recent studies reveal that just ten minutes of singing - whether you are in the car, the shower or anywhere else - not only slows your breathing and heart rate, it also causes your blood pressure to drop by up to ten points!

The researchers explain that the vibrations singing produces in your throat then travel to the brain causing an increase in the release of endorphins, those brain chemicals that cause us to relax and feel good.

God encourages us to enter His presence with singing! You may think you cannot sing - that your voice is terrible. He commands us to come before Him with singing - so we are definitely able to do so. You may not have what is considered a beautiful singing voice - I don't. In fact, you may think your singing sounds more like noise than music! That's ok. Remember He also tells us in Psalm 66:1 to "make a joyful noise" unto Him!!

Even if your singing sounds more like noise to you, as long as it is joyful, it sounds like the sweetest music imaginable to Him. And you are improving your health at the same time. How like our God to multiply our every effort to please Him.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Second Chances

Jonah 3:1-3 NLT "Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: Get up and go to the great city of Ninevah, and deliver the message of judgment I have given you. This time Jonah obeyed the Lord's command..."

What an incredibly encouraging portion of scripture this is! Jonah ignored the Lord's command the first time. How many times do we hear deep within our spirits that we should (or shouldn't!) do a certain thing and just ignore or overlook it? Many times we find out later exactly why we got that warning and must pay the consequences for neglecting to pay attention.

Haven't we all experienced that awful feeling that we've blown it big time. We were warned - we just didn't listen. It's too late now. But God.

Those are the two best words you can imagine. But God...always gives us second chances, and third and fourth and however many it takes to finally "get it." He is so generous and so gracious. That is not to say we may not have to pay the consequences for disobeying the first time. But He doesn't just give up on us as we so often do ourselves.

Jonah out and out disobeyed and ran in the opposite direction! (Sound familiar to anyone?) God did not just wash His hands of him and find someone else to do the job. No. He pursued him and gave him another chance to obey. To his credit Jonah did and fulfilled the call on his life.

Jonah wasn't the only one to experience God's grace in this way. Think about Peter who denied Christ three times. Couldn't God have just said - that's too much, he's gone too far? Sure He could have, but He didn't. He called all His disciples and gave a special, personal invitation to Peter to make sure He knew he was forgiven and He gave him a second chance.

What about Saul? He persecuted Christians. He went so far as to hold the cloaks of those who were stoning Stephen. Surely God couldn't use this man who was an accessory to murder? But He gave him another chance and Saul became Paul and wrote much of the New Testament!

Do you feel like you've blown it? Think it's hopeless? Feel like you've gone too far and God couldn't possibly forgive you or use you? Think again. God is the God of second chances...and third...and fourth! He doesn't give up on us.

If you're wondering what this has to do with health and how science and scripture agree - research shows the emotion most destructive to your health is hopelessness! People who ate properly, exercised and were not overweight developed diabetes solely when they felt hopelessness for an extended period of time. The same is true of some cancer patients. One of the most stress inducing emotions is a sense of helplessness. Believing you have messed up beyond repair and there's no turning back.

Don't fall for that lie! God is always present and His desire is always to redeem you, bring you back, renew your hope. Remember, scripture tells us 3 things will remain - faith, hope and love. While love is the greatest, it is intimately related to faith (faith works by love) and faith must have something to connect to and that is hope! Never, never lose hope! That's a command straight from the Father and He always knows best.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Didn't Even Think to Ask!

Ephesians 3:20 NIV Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Do you think God cares about the things that concern you? Do youreally and deeply believe He does? I definitely do and I want to share a story to illustrate why. Maybe it will encourage you.

I try to lift any and all needs in prayer. I’m great at praying for someone when they ask specifically or even if they just mention a problem or need – I’m on it! However, sometimes I don’t even think to bring an issue to God. Yes, I know we are to bring every need and concern to Him – large and small. Maybe you do what I sometimes do and did this past week. Let me share:

My brother got tickets to a Mets game for my children and me this Saturday. It is a night game. Not a problem, except I am a really early riser and my body is so used to being up very early, that by 8:30 or 9:00 pm my eyes are at half-mast most times. I mentioned to my husband and kids – half jokingly, but truly, only half - that I hoped I could stay awake. You see we will take a train from upstate NY into the city to meet my oldest son and go to Queens from there. If the game is over at 7 or 8 o’clock we most likely will not get back to the train station until at least 11 pm. Waaaay past my usual bedtime!

Anyway – I mentioned my concern several times and they all thought it was hilarious that mom would probably be the one struggling to keep her eyes open on the train (a slightly scary thought for me, actually).

We were watching another game on TV this past Saturday and at the very end they mentioned the “games of the week” to be televised next Saturday – the day we are going to Citi Field. They showed the Mets logo and my son saw they listed it as being televised at 4:00 pm. Really? He went on line and found that because they are televising it on that channel, the time was moved up to 4:00 pm instead of 7:00 as originally scheduled.

I don’t know about you – but I take things like this VERY personally! I was thrilled that the Lord would take into consideration my concern over such a minor and unimportant detail. And even though I didn't think to ask Him to rearrange the time, He still arranged for the game to take place earlier! You see, I have a very personal relationship with my Lord and I believe He pays attention to everything (and I do mean everything!) that concerns me! I couldn’t stop thanking Him for making this change for me. And I truly believe that is the case.

But it also brought the wonderful scripture in Ephesians 3:20 to mind. I especially love the Amplified version: "Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and} do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams}. Every version I looked at used words like “infinitely, immeasurably more than we can ask or request” and the Message Translation adds “in your wildest dreams.”

I know the Bible tells us we have not because we ask not and most times I do make it a point to ask. But how wonderful that even when I forget or just don’t even think to do it – He still knows and responds.

Father not only always knows best - He is the best!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eternal Words

Matthew 12:36
The Message: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation."
New Century Version
And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said.

Once you speak a word, it exists forever. The laws of physics tell us that energy in the universe is never lost. It is transformed from one state to another. Sound waves never disappear. Sound is an energetic disturbance that causes a movement of particles. Because space is a vacuum with no matter, sound is unable to “travel.”

Think about the implications – if we had the right equipment voices from the beginning of time could be retrieved. We could actually hear the voices of Adam and Eve themselves speaking to God or Abraham Lincoln’s voice as he spoke the Gettysburg address or Jesus’ own voice speaking the Beatitudes! What an awesome thought!

Words may be spoken to a specific person at a specific time, but they exist in the atmosphere forever. Scripture tells us God’s Word stands forever; and the prayers of the saints are ever before Him. Your prayers exist forever and are before the Father continuously.

But consider the flip side. Every careless, nasty, hurtful, doubt-filled, angry word you’ve ever spoken is still floating around, and not only that. You will be required to answer to God for them. Now if that doesn’t make you stop and think long and hard the next time you are about to criticize someone or spew a word of fear or doubt, I don’t know what will! Our words are eternal in the most basic sense.

We are encouraged and commanded in many places in the Bible to carefully watch what we say. Ephesians 4:29 NIV says: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I love the way The Message translates this verse: Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. That says it all.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Are You Paying Attention - or on Autopilot?

Matthew 6:34 NIV Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Message Translation Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

How often do you get "worked up" over what might happen? If you're like me and most people and you are honest, the answer is probably every day! What a total waste of time. We spend more time worrying about the future or regretting and rehashing the past than we do living in the present moment. We tend to fly through the days on autopilot. Doing things automatically and not really being present and aware. We don't pay attention! The crazy thing is the only thing we really have is this present moment and we waste more of them than we appreciate and live to the fullest.

We tend to do things "mindlessly" rather than "mindfully." You know what I mean. You can sit down with a bag of cookies and before you even realize what has happened, you've inhaled half the bag and barely even tasted one of them. The most precious resource God has gifted us with is time and we value other things so much more highly and waste this most valuable commodity. We only have a limited amount of time and number of days and living each to the fullest is a way of thanking God and appreciating His grace and generosity.

So how to do this? We can obey Jesus' words in the scripture quoted above and learn to practice mindfulness. That's simply the practice of learning to pay attention to what is happening in your life from moment to moment. Studies have shown that mindfulness can provide the following benefits:
Reduce anxiety;
Decrease stress hormones;
Boost the immune system;
Help you change negative habits;
Combat pain;
Deal with depression; and
Increase the benefits of exercise.

One great way to practice mindfulness is to replace dissatisfied thoughts about what you could or should have done or what things you wish you had with thoughts of gratitude. Focus on how much you do have and not what you don't have. Another strategy is to focus on your breathing - the rhythm of it, the way your lungs fill and empty. Pay attention to what is going on around you. How does the sun feel on your back? Look - really look - at a flower. Take time to really enjoy your food - the way it looks, how it smells, and really taste and savor it - slowly. Enjoy the feeling of you muscles moving and stretching as you walk or exercise.

These are all gifts we are blessed to get every day of our lives! Learn to pay attention and live in the moment. It is called "the present" and it really is!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let's Be Real

Genesis 1:29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed: to you it shall be for food.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things; hold fast to what is good.

I did an email to subscribers of my website last week about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame and sucralose (Nutrasweet and Splenda). One reader raised a question. I mentioned that aspartame breaks down in the body into methanol (wood alcohol), formaldehyde (embalming fluid) and Phenylalanine. This reader noticed that this same substance (phenylalanine) is also listed as an ingredient in his whey protein and was concerned that this could create problems. I appreciate questions like this!

Phenylalanine is an amino acid - a building block of protein. That is why it is an ingredient in whey protein, as well as chicken, eggs or other sources of protein. However, in these real foods it is found in combination and proper ratio with the other amino acids. In diet soda, this synthetic chemical breaks down and there is a large amount of just this amino acid. The warning on the label is for people who lack the necessary enzyme to process and digest it. Since people drink large amounts of diet soda, this can pose a health risk (aside from just consuming diet soda itself!) Most people do not consume liters of whey protein daily. And if you lack this enzyme, you would have to monitor all your protein consumption as well - not just what is found in diet soda.

This illustrates the principle I advocate - eat your food in a form as close to how God created it as possible and you can't go wrong! There have been other, similar instances where people are misled. For example, years ago a study, commissioned by the cereal industry, said eggs raise cholesterol and should be limited. Those results have been disproved. That study used powdered (synthetic, artificial) eggs, not real, fresh, whole eggs which are a nearly perfect food! More recent studies have refuted those findings and show real eggs do not raise cholesterol.

Let's look at synthetic vitamin C as opposed to natural sources of vitamin c - the synthetic form has been shown to suppress immune function whereas natural sources do just the opposite.

Studies using synthetic vitamin E were shown to be harmful to heart health whereas natural sources of vitamin E are extremely heart protective and should not be avoided.

So, whenever you question some nutritional information you read - be sure to dig a bit deeper - and find the real truth. You can't go wrong when you keep it real - the Father says so!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let There Be Light!

Genesis 1:3, 4 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good...

That phrase really jumped out at me and I realized that we can so easily skim over it as we've heard it so many times. We can miss how really profound it is. God did not create anything simply for the sake of doing "something." Everything He does has a purpose and function and light is no exception.

Light is critical to every aspect of a truly vibrant, healthy life of wholeness. Light as it relates to your soul (your mind, will and emotions) can mean revealing, bringing to light thoughts, attitudes, beliefs or feelings we may need to change. When people are deprived of light, depression sets in. So many people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the darker winter months.

Spiritually, light means revelation, an opening of the understanding or "spiritual eyes" to truth. To be able to see things with more than simply your physical eyes since this material, physical life is but a very small part of our total life as God created it.

Without light physically we cannot live. God chose this planet earth because it is exactly the right distance from the sun. Without sunlight we simply could not exist. Sunlight produces chlorophyll in plant life, which absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere - without which we die!

Sunlight produces Vitamin D in our skin, which is being furiously researched right now. All these years of sunscreen use has caused severe Vitamin D deficiencies in most of us which is believed to be a link to the increased incidence of major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Light is energy. We know some homes are actually heated and run on solar power. We can also experience physical healing when exposed to different types of light - for instance infrared, UV and red light. Different colors in the light spectrum have healing effects. You usually only get to see the full color spectrum in light when you experience a rainbow - another of God's amazing gifts to us.

For now, take time to really appreciate this gift of light and consider all its benefits. You can't help but praise God. A simple thing like having light each day is so easy to take for granted. But let's not.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Are You Growing?

John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

While this scripture is referring to the spiritual aspect of sowing seed, I find it relates very clearly to our physical health as well. Seeds are dormant until they are planted and given the proper environment in which to grow and flourish. You can keep an envelope of seeds for years and they'll never change into anything else.

Once you take those seeds and plant them into nutrient rich soil, water them regularly and let them get daily sunlight, the potential that was always resident within that seed is released and enabled to grow and flourish.

It works in much the same way in our bodies. Everyone has cancer cells in their bodies. They are dormant. As long as you provide a health-producing environment by feeding your body with nutrient-dense, whole foods, drinking clean water, getting fresh air, sleep and exercise, then those cells remain dormant.

However, the potential for disease exists within you. You are exposed to germs and viruses on a constant, daily basis. If your inner ecology is weakened - from lack of sleep, or synthetic, toxic food additives and environmental chemicals, or malnourished with fake, packaged junk "food" that doesn't provide any nutritional value - then any number of these rogue cells has found the environment it needs to take hold and grow.

Every day you have the opportunity to create an environment of health within yourself. When you do, the seeds you consciously sow - sleep, real food, water - are enabled to grow and you become strong and healthy. However, if you neglect your inner ecology and let it get overrun with garbage in the form of junk food, sodas and drugs, then those dormant disease seeds are sparked into life. It won't take much for them to take hold. Now, it may not happen quickly. In fact, it almost never does. Researchers tell us it takes many, many years for a cancer to grow to the point when it is diagnosed.

The diagnosis may come about quickly - but the disease was in the making for years. Don't think just because you look good and feel pretty well, that you can just continue smoking or eating fast food every day or never exercising and you will stay healthy. Just as a dormant volcano can erupt at any time, those dormant disease seeds can be activated if you provide the proper environment.

Begin today to clean up your inner environment and prevent those bad seeds from taking root!

It is so much easier to prevent disease than it is to cure it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Are You Taking Your Medicine?

Proverbs 17:22 NLT: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength.

Much has been said about the power of laughter to heal. I want to share some research that links breast cancer and attitude. Recent research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel provides this interesting finding: happiness and optimistic attitudes may reduce one's risk of contracting the disease. In this study 622 women between the ages of 25 and 45 shared information about their life experiences.

The researchers assessed their optimism, happiness, anxiety and depression levels before diagnosis. They used this information to find the connection between life events, psychological distress and the occurrence of breast cancer. Of these 622 participants, 255 were breast cancer patients, while the other 367 had never had cancer.

Their findings revealed a clear link between outlook and risk of breast cancer. Optimistic women were 25 % less likely to have developed this disease. There have been other studies linking positive mental and emotional states and better health. Some studies have shown that positive emotions cause the body to produce more immune cells, while negative ones tend to suppress one's immune system. The specifics of how attitudes contribute to health, are still not fully understood. What is known is that the body's immune system is influenced by brain chemistry, which is in turn affected by emotional experiences.

Emotions such as happiness, stress, anger, anxiety and fear affect us at a biochemical level because every emotion has a frequency. Every emotion produces a specific and distinct biochemical reaction that affects the entire body. This particular study concluded that experiencing more than one severe and/or mild to moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women, and feeling happy and optimistic can be protective.

Many degenerative diseases, and most certainly cancer, have multiple causes. That being so, many factors contribute to one's risk profile, and a multi-faceted approach in preventing and dealing with disease is always most effective. We cannot ignore the spiritual and emotional connections. We overlook their importance to our own detriment.

Consider another finding. Pro-zeranine is a powerful chemical substance that is actually able to reverse addictions naturally since they are due to a lack of this substance. It has been found that laughter actually produces pro-zeranine in the body!

While we cannot control circumstances and situations we may be faced with, we can control how we respond to them and we certainly can take control of our attitudes. Cultivating a cheerful heart is one of the most pleasant medicines I can imagine taking! As always, Father really does know best.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Say It and Create It

Numbers 14:28 NKJV 'As I live,' says the Lord, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you...'
Mark 11:23 NKVJ For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Words form thoughts. Thoughts become actions. We know that. Words are things. The Hebrew word "devar" actually means both word and thing or substance. When God tells us in His Word that we will have whatever we say and whatever He hears us speak, He will do, we must take that very seriously. I believe we allow too many careless words out of our mouths and allow our too many undisciplined thoughts to inhabit our minds and then wonder why we find ourselves in the mess we are in. According to an article I read by Dr. Caroline Leaf, our thoughts possess an actual physical structure which cause chemical reactions in our bodies.

You know it is true. If you continually think about a frightening occurrence, you will begin to feel all the physical manifestations of that experience. That thought, according to Dr. Leaf, produces biochemicals which carry the emotion and a "photocopy of the thought" throughout your entire body! Those thoughts begin with words, which are things or substance. They can actually change our physical system and cause specific chemicals to flow through our bodies. We have the ability and privilege of choosing which words and thoughts we allow. We literally control the production and creation of those things/substances. We can create health and wholeness or disease and brokenness.

Hebrews 11:3 clearly tells us that the things which are here on the earth and we are able to actually see were created of "things" (devar!) which do not appear. The words became actual things and substance we can see. That hasn't changed.

There are only two types of words and thoughts, so it's relatively simple (although not necessarily easy!). We either focus on faith-filled, positive words and thoughts or fear-filled, negative words and thoughts. Renewing your mind with the Word of God (Ephesians 4:23) and only speaking the desired result are critical if we are to create the life we truly desire. We are to get in agreement with God and speak His Word after Him.

Dr. Leaf says if your thought life is not dealt with and brought in line with God's Word, it can result in disruption of proper flow and balance of the chemicals in your body and brain which will, with certainty, affect your emotional, spiritual and physical health.

Fear, depression and anxiety are destructive to your mental and physical well-being. Panic, fear and anxiety are running rampant in these times of economic crisis and uncertainty. More and more people are turning to anti-depressants and drugs for relief. They are not the answer. The battle begins in your mind and since we are told in Scripture that we have the mind of Christ, we have the ability to take negative thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is not a one-time thing. We must decide to control the words that come out of our mouths and the thoughts we allow to take residence in our minds. The power to do so is ours. We must choose to do it - daily, consistently, over and over, until. Until when? Until those words and thoughts agree with God's and we create what we desire.

Father really does know best - when we do it His way, there are no dangerous, alarming side-effects - only peace, blessing and success. Isn't that what we all want anyway?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Do You Have a Happy Heart?

Proverbs 17:22 NIV: A cheerful heart is good medicine
The Message Translation: A cheerful disposition is good for your health

I know we don't usually take verses like this literally, however, I believe God included them in the Bible because that is exactly what we need to do. I have talked in a previous post about scientific research and studies that have proven that positive, happy thoughts activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which rebuilds, heals and nourishes our bodies. (You can read my post dated November 10, 2008 - "An Attitude of Gratitude")

Suffice it to say that your parasympathetic nervous system stimulates your immune and digestive systems. It's pretty easy to believe that is true. Just recall a time when you were upset and worried about something. Chances are very great that you either experienced indigestion, lost your appetite or had a stomach ache! Our body systems are created to work together harmoniously and when one is affected, so are all the rest.

Research actually shows that probiotics - the good bacteria that populate your digestive tract - and enzymes - the chemicals your pancreas produces in order to digest your foods - are not produced and actually die in the body of a person who is constantly sad and worrying! That's amazing when you really think about it. You can take probiotic and enzyme supplements by the handful, but if you are constantly worrying (which at it's most basic level is simply trusting more in evil's ability to harm you than in God's ability to protect you) and sad (focusing on what you lack rather than all you have), your body is unable to produce these powerful substances that are critical to health.

We are told repeatedly in scripture, "do not worry" - about what to eat, what we'll wear, about tomorrow, about what to say in your own defense. Why? Because worrying accomplishes nothing positive, and only diverts our focus from God, Who is the solution. Now we know, it even causes our bodies to malfunction at their most basic level!

Everyone of us feels sad at times. Our emotions are affected by circumstances and that's just a part of life. However, if we are constantly sad - then we are actually in disobedience. Look at John 16:33 in the Amplified Bible. Jesus, Himself, tells us: In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer {take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted}! For I have overcome the world. {I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.} Joyce Meyer always says it this way: Calm down and cheer up!!

If the joy of the Lord is our strength, as Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, then sadness weakens us and research is proving that to be true! These are certainly difficult times we live in. There are many reasons to slip into worry, despair and sadness. While we are only human and those emotions may get the best of us at times, we can make a different choice.

The Father encourages us to be of good cheer and cultivate a merry heart. We would be wise to do just that.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Slave to Your Whims?

1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV: Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
NLT: You may say I am allowed to do anything. But I reply, "Not everything is good for you." And even though I am allowed to do anything, I must not become a slave to anything.

This is such a powerful verse when you relate it to our cravings and appetites. There is a huge difference between physical hunger where we need to refuel our bodies and our appetite, which is our cravings and desires rearing their ugly heads!

According to this, we have no limitations to what we can eat. We won't go to hell because we eat a pork chop or lobster tails! But, they aren't the best choices nutritionally no matter how much your tastebuds are calling out for them. Same with sugar. The only way to break a sugar addiction is to stop cold turkey. You either control your body with it's appetite and cravings, or it controls you. And if you allow your appetite to have the upper hand too often, a habit is formed and you become a slave to that desire. Until you just cut it off totally.

There's an Indian saying that you have to "starve the right wolf." That fits perfectly here. If you get in the habit of eating a chocolate candy bar every day, your body comes to expect that and when you don't have it, you experience full-blown cravings! Well, the only way to get free from that enslavement, is to "starve" it - show your body and desires who is boss!!

This is part of the reason I try to do a three-day juice fast every month. It's good for you to give your digestive system a break every now and then and fasting periodically has been proven to extend your life; I like to use the time to pray or worship and commune with God as well. But a large part of my reason for doing this regularly is to keep firmly in control of my body. It's so easy to slip into bad habits. I always feel a great sense of peace, strength and accomplishment every time I've finished the three days.

So, pay attention to what the Father tells us and don't allow your appetite to overtake you and become a slave to your whims, as the Message Bible translates this verse.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Faith at the Quantum Level

Hebrews 11:1 Amplified: Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality (faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.)

As Christians we know that right at this very moment our faith is the substance of things we hope for (Hebrews 11:1). So, faith is a thing – a substance. It’s not a substance like a chair or a car. It is not a visible, solid, or at least what appears to us as a solid, substance. But it is a substance none-the-less. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus Himself tells us we need only faith the size of a mustard seed. The principle of sowing seed is basic in scripture. Our faith (what we believe) is a seed we sow in order to reap a harvest on that seed. The harvest, of course, is whatever we believe for. Our words are also seeds we can sow to produce either faith or unbelief.

To return to the mustard seed, Jesus used that by way of description because the people of His time would recognize it as the smallest seed they knew. They could not imagine anything smaller. When we relate this to quantum physics I believe it will help us see faith more clearly. Much of the time, people will not accept a biblical principle unless it is proven scientifically. Personally I think that’s backwards. Science doesn’t prove biblical principle since it existed first. The Bible is the source and it proves what science eventually realizes.

Quantum physics is the study of the basic components of the universe. It breaks everything down to its smallest, most elementary, basic part. We think of our bodies as composed of cells, but those cells are not the smallest part. So, then we think of molecules and then atoms and to break those down even further, we go to electrons. Quantum physics has discovered even smaller sub-atomic particles, such as quarks, that make up every thing on this earth. Everything. All things are made up of different groupings of these particles depending on what they appear to be – a human body, a table, a car, the sun, a thought, a spoken word. Keep in mind, however, that even though an object appears to be solid, like a chair, no object is truly solid. Everything is made up of constantly moving particles.

These sub-atomic particles are amazing things. At their most basic level they are energy. Everything in the universe is created and made up of energy. The energetic makeup of the human body is different from the energetic make up of your car, but they are both concentrated forms of energy. Now bear with me if you are a Christian and are thinking this is sounding New Age or crazy. It is backed up, not only by science, but more importantly, by scripture.

Scientists have proven time and time again that these sub-atomic particles of energy actually respond to whoever is observing them. Scientists have discovered and proven that their expectations influence the results of any experiment. It’s impossible for an observer involved in an experiment to have no influence on the results. The particles behave differently for each observer, according to what that observer believes! For some it appears as a wave and for some it looks like a particle. So the things we interact with daily and those things we desire are all influenced and created of those very same atoms and sub-atomic energy particles which respond to our thoughts, beliefs and words. Just as a scientist, by observing it, changed the form of a particle by what he believed and expected, we also can change things with our beliefs and expectations. The Bible clearly tells us in Matthew 8:13 and in many other places that as we believe, it will be for us. The reason is because beliefs, thoughts and words are vibrations of energy. In Hebrews 11:3 we are told that everything we can see in this world was made by God’s Word so that the things we can see were created of things that do not appear. God’s Word is creative energy and since we are created in His image, our words are also vehicles of creative energy.

Understanding these principles underscores the importance of our beliefs, expectations and the words we speak. Remember, we are surrounded by an infinite supply of energy – substance – that we are simply to believe and speak into the particular substance we can see and touch in the physical realm. Everything begins in the spiritual realm. Remember, God first said “Let there be light” and then light was. The energy for light already existed, it just wasn’t visible yet. God’s faith-filled words caused light energy to become visible.

We have the same power in our lives. Whether we know it or not and whether we believe it or not, everything in our lives is responding to our thoughts, beliefs, expectations and words every single day. What better reason to become more aware of what we are thinking and saying! Since we are creating the substance of our lives, let’s create good things, things we desire and do it purposefully. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith, be it unto you.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stoke Your Fire

2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you...
James 3:5 ...Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

While these scriptures don't specifically refer to metabolism, the principle is the same. In reading and meditating on them, I was reminded how important it is to use the correct fuel and to be vigilant to keep the fire burning steadily.

Think about the similarities - you can't start a fire with wet wood. The wood has to be nice and dry. In the very same way, you can't ignite your body's metabolism with cookies, cake and processed, synthetic junk foods. It won't work. They are not fuel. They're wet wood. They will not burn. They'll simply gum up the works.

In the first scripture, Paul urges Timothy to "fan into flame" the gift. We also must fan the flame. The very best way is with exercise. We can run, walk, jog, bounce on a rebounder, lift weights, use a medicine ball, ride a bicycle, use a treadmill, play tennis, dance - all great ways to get our hearts pumping which turns up the flame. There's a second component to exercise that's critical and that is increasing oxygen.

A fire deprived of an oxygen source will not burn. In the very same way, the more oxygen we process by exercising and breathing deeply, the more fat we burn. You kind of kill two birds with one stone with this one!

Finally, weight training builds muscle which also burns fat. The more muscle we build, the more fat we burn. As we build muscle, we enable our "furnace" to burn continuously, just as fanning a flame encourages it to burn more brightly.

The objective is to do those things that create a consistent, continuously burning flame. Both in our faith and in our metabolism. Father really does know best!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It'll Do You Good!

1 Samuel 16:23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better and the evil spirit would leave him.

If you skim through your concordance you'll find quite a few references in the Bible to music, musical, musician, etc. The Lord created music. So many of the references tell us to sing to the Lord, sing praises to His Name, sing for joy to the Lord. In fact, we are commanded in both Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 to "sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God" - to sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord constantly.

Did you ever wonder why music is so important to God? Sure it gives us pleasure. Everyone has their own personal taste in music. The Lord's creativity is obvious in all the different styles and genres of music.

However, what I would like to draw your attention to is that science has been researching music's health benefits. Here are some fascinating facts borne out by scientific studies:

Listening to "joyful" music improved blood vessel function! Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Maryland studied heart health and documented the positive effects of laughter. He then used the same research method to study the effects of music on cardiovascular health.

In his study he asked ten subjects to bring music they enjoyed most. The music in that group ranged from country to rap to jazz and classical rock music. He emphasized that everyone responds to music differently and what is joyful to one may not be to another.

He hooked each person up to a blood pressure monitor and played their favorite music. Then he measured their blood pressure. Nine out of the ten had very positive results. The findings were very consistent. His conclusion was that the effects of listening to music you really enjoy are comparable to taking some types of heart medications or even of doing exercise. Of course, it doesn't replace the need to watch your diet. His research found that it improves blood vessel function, and can become a pleasurable addition to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

His suggestion for getting the best response is not listening to the same song day after day. If , for example, you listen to one favorite on Monday, don't listen again for a week or two. For example if you listen to a Barry Manilow CD Monday, put it away until at least next Monday. Tuesday you may choose Il Divo, Wednesday Celine Dion, Thursday Frank Sinatra and Friday Usher. Perhaps Faith Hill or Tim McGraw float your boat. Fine. Just listen to a different favorite daily and recycle them every week or two. The reason is that if you listen to the same song over and over, you become desensitized to the emotional effect. I think we can see that from the scripture that opened this post. At first, each time King Saul became agitated, David would play the harp and he would calm down. When you read further in 1 Samuel (18:10 and 19:9, 10) you see that even though David was playing the soothing music as before, Saul was not calmed and in fact tried to kill David.

Another fascinating fact is that research shows music actually by-passes the conscious mind, directly stimulating the portion of the brain that controls emotions. The right music can actually be more effective than a tranquilizer!

So, put that CD or tape in, charge up your ipod and make joyful music that you really love part of a healthy lifestyle. That's a command straight from the Father and you know He always really does know best!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Clean it Up!

Matthew 23:26 Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish and then the outside also will be clean.

I realize that in this verse, Jesus is referring to greed and hypocrisy, spiritual and soul issues. However, I believe it is relevant to another issue, one that relates to our physical health.

So many of us are focused on the goal of "looking" younger. In our society, younger is better. We exercise, starve ourselves, take all sorts of diet pills and other drugs that promise noticeable results. We submit to botox, cosmetic surgery and liposuction. We are missing the most important factor in real health and wholeness. And an unexpected bonus will be that we actually look and feel better, with more energy - which equals youthfulness to me.

What am I talking about? Detox. Not, not drug detox which is what most people may think of. I mean purposely, systematically, periodically cleansing our spirits, souls and bodies of the toxins that assault us on a daily basis. Real healing and health begin from the inside out, at the cellular level. If you have poisons flooding your cells, eventually your body will begin to break down.

These toxins and poisons are all around us - in the air we breathe, in our water and food, in our emotions, relationships and thoughts. Unless we are consciously aware of them and take the necessary steps to flush them from our lives, they build up and overtake us.

We must take Jesus' command to the Pharisees to heart and look inward in all three areas of our lives. We can take that day of rest God instituted for our good and use it to pray, worship God and release any toxic attitudes we are harboring in our spirits: unforgiveness, offense, resentment, fear, worry, envy. Acknowledge them to yourself and then confess them to God. He already knows about them, but the very act of admitting you are fearful or resentful is cathartic for you. Spend time in praise and worship; meditate on the Word of God and realign your spirit.

Are you walking around with a toxic soul - mind, will or emotions? Fasting is one of the most effective ways to detox. Fasting is simply giving up food for a set period of time. Why not try a "soul" fast - give up criticizing, judging, complaining, worrying, gossiping, procrastinating? Stop speaking negative words for one day. It isn't easy - you have to be aware and willing to stop yourself, but you can do it. Then go two days; how about three? Are you always putting yourself down? Listen to your self talk and make a concerted effort to stop those negative, defeating thoughts in their tracks and replace them with positive, encouraging thoughts. Change those "I can't" thoughts to "I can" and "I will." Not only will you feel a difference, you will see your entire countenance change!

What about your body? There are many different ways to detoxify. You can try a raw food diet, juice fast, use one of the many cleanses available at your health food store, try a plan like Isagenix, eat more organic vegetables and fruits and increase water and fiber. I, personally, do a 3-day juice fast every month. I look at it holistically - I tithe a tenth of my month to cleansing my spirit, soul and body. The act of denying myself cleanses and strengthens my spirit and soul (particularly my will!) and the juices and green foods cleanse my body and give my digestion a rest. That's only one way to do it.

Recently I was given a book to read called, "Give Your Body a Break" by Celeste Davis. She is a Whole-Food Lifestyle and Detox Coach. She details in her book a 28-day plan using mostly raw, whole foods to cleanse the body, as well as practicing forgiveness and living life intentionally. It's an excellent option for someone with health issues who wouldn't otherwise know where to begin. She details the plan day by day and walks you through it. I highly recommend it and you can get more information at

Father always knows best. In order for the outside of our temple to look its best, we must begin by cleansing the inside.