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.”