Saturday, July 29, 2017

Take Care of Your Body! Get Healthy! Help Others!

I just saw that Hacksaw Ridge hit HBO this week.
If you haven't seen the movie, it is epic.
When I saw this movie, and heard Isaiah 40:28-31 quoted in the opening scene, it impacted me greatly. This man stood on the strength of his convictions, with faith in God, and was a blessing to every man he saved that legendary day at Hacksaw Ridge. With every living soul he carried to safety, his concern was not for himself, and his prayer as he lowered each wounded soldier down the ridge and out of harms way, the only thing on his mind as he dashed back into the danger to find other wounded soldiers to try to save was this simple plea and prayer:
"Please Lord help me get one more."
Although I do not claim to be a hero in any sense, those words resonate deep in my soul. I believe passionately that my hubby and I have been tasked by God for the purpose of helping people change the trajectory of their lives, and the lives of their families and communities, by giving them the tools and the support for them to transform their health (one healthy habit at a time), and thereby their life, and to consider becoming a blessing to others as they "pay it forward" too.
Not everyone understands what we do or why we do it, and as a matter of fact I have had incredibly confusing conversations with a handful of fellow Christians who are convinced that maintaining their health and taking care of their bodies is in no way their responsibility, who view us as some type of "health, wealth and prosperity" peddlers who are attempting to circumvent God's will by giving people the hope that they can, in fact, extend both the years of their life AND the life in their years by changing their habits and making health a priority. This kind of reasoning (the reasoning that it is somehow against God's will to do what we can to live as long and fruitful a life on this earth as possible), if followed logically to its conclusion, would negate the need for surgeons, cancer treatment, organ donors, defibrillators, NICU's, emergency rooms, blood banks, firefighters, paramedics, guard rails, life-jackets, you get my drift, right?
So why draw the line at us taking personal responsibility for our health and say that somehow it's not "Godly" to seek to take care of ourselves and reverse or prevent chronic illness? The evidence is overwhelming that it can be done, the evidence is overwhelming that we can, by changing our habits from UNhealthy habits to HEALTHY habits, have the potential to extend our lifespan on this earth, beyond what it "would have been" had we continued in our unhealthy habits.
How is that an "un-Christian" attitude to take or desire to have? How can that possibly be defined or interpreted as attempting to somehow thwart God's sovereignty (which isn't even possible by any stretch of the imagination)? If, by adopting healthy habits I can increase my years beyond what they "would have been" had I stayed Class IV Super Obese, if I can seek to secure, by changing my habits and taking care of my body (which God tells us to do, by the way) more years on this earth to live out my purpose with passion, is that not something I should want? Is that not something I should seek? Is that not something I should share?
I'll bet the same people who have unfriended me on facebook (TRUTH!) over this brush their teeth every day! Why? What's the point of that (using the illogical reasoning)? Why are they seeking to extend the life of their teeth beyond what tooth decay due to negligence would allow for? Is THAT thwarting God's will for the life and usefulness and condition of their teeth? There are many analogies I could cite for this erroneous reasoning, but I think I've made my point.
It's safe to say I VEHEMENTLY disagree with that reasoning and rationale which claims it is "not our place" to seek to be good stewards of our lives and bodies, to seek to live out as many years as as we can on this earth, in these bodies. I believe God DOES want us to wake up out of our stupor and slumber, our desire for the "easy and comfortable" way. I also believe He would love for many of us in this country to stop committing slow suicide with our spoons and forks.
I believe I have an expiration date, yes (which my teeth will likely outlive LOL). And I believe only God knows what it is. But I won't hasten it with my negligence or my unwillingness to believe I have a responsibility to take care of this gift of a body the good Lord gave me to take care of. I am NOT at risk of overstaying my welcome here on earth, believe me. God is NOT up there saying "Well what are we going to do now, this one has gone and gotten healthy, we hadn't planned for that one, cue the lightning strike".
God was not witnessing the events playing out on Hacksaw Ridge and saying "No! Not that one! Put him back! Don't save HIM, Leave him there! It's actually his time to die!" God's will was accomplished that day, as it ALWAYS IS, and he USED this brave man to save many lives because He had the right man with the right heart in the right place at the right time. He had prepared that soldier HIS ENTIRE LIFE to do exactly what he did that day, and had given him the strength to do it. And that soldier's heart was to get out there and save as many lives as he was physically able to save. And his prayer was always "Please Lord help me get one more."
Here's the bottom line. I'm simply not concerned with what others may think of me. I'm on a mission to "get" as many people out of harms way as I can, because God IS concerned with every precious life, here, on this earth, and there is a lot more work to be done.
Therefore MY daily prayer is also "Please Lord help me get one more."
Here is a collection of some of the many verses in the Bible dealing with health, food, self-discipline and self-mastery, and I wanted to post them here.
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 1:2).
It is not "ungodly" to seek good health, and it fact it is desired! It is also a desire of God's that we ENJOY good health. This is not a substitute for soul-health, or wellness of soul, but goes hand in hand with it! Those who enjoy wellness of soul should seek to add good health and enjoy it!
“The LORD will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring” (Isaiah 58:11, NLT).
Wow! The Lord is interested in our health! He is interested in keeping us healthy! But He will not do this if we are not doing it. There is a "His part" and an "Our part". We can be assured of this! If we are not seeking to take care of ourselves, what is there for the Lord to add? He will not do it FOR us, but He will be the wind at our sails when we point our ship in the direction of health. That is OUR part.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
Um, ouch? When was the last time you heard a sermon from the pulpit about THIS verse? Did you READ that? If anyone destroys God's temple (if anyone seeks to harm their own body) God will DESTROY him too? WE are that temple? God views our body as SACRED and I don't think a lot of people these days understand that. Do WE view our bodies as sacred? Or just as a vehicle to carry around our souls? Just as the sacred TEMPLE of God in the Old Testament housed God's presence, so our body houses God's presence, along with ours! Yes, if you are a child of God, he lives IN you. Read up on the care and handling God instructed for the his temple! It was a chore! He even dedicated an entire TRIBE, the Leviticans, JUST for the purpose of keeping his Temple in pristine order. An entire TRIBE out of the TWELVE TRIBES! We have 24 hours in a day, is it too much to ask to take 2 hours out of our day in care and maintenance of the physical modern-day temple that is our bodies?
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Read above! Again, God wants us to honor HIM with our bodies. How are we doing that?
“Food does not bring us near to God” (1 Corinthians 8:8a).
And, yet, we turn TO food many times to provide comfort, security, carbohydrate "highs", companionship, how many things are we utilizing food for which it was NOT meant for? How might we turn our urges for unhealthy food in to promptings to draw near to God Himself? Makes you think!
“When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners: Don’t gobble your food, don’t talk with your mouth full. And don’t stuff yourself; bridle your appetite” (Proverbs 23:1-3, MSG).
Wow, bridle your appetite. I have to bite my tongue when people tell me that "deprivation is bad, deprivation causes binging". No, your attitude towards "bridling your appetite" and denial of these urges is focused in the wrong direction. 
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Don't be anxious, even about FOOD!
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life” (Matthew 6:25-27).
I can't tell you how many times I have spoken to someone who says they want to get healthy, and the process which they will necessarily need to go through to attain health, and you can see the panic behind their eyes that their food choices while they are getting healthy may be limited. Such unnecessary worry! God tells us NOT to worry about it! EVER!
“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way… ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (Daniel 1:8, 12,13,15).
Veggies and water! Who knew? 
“Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NLT).
Self-control is something to be learned, and mastered. We are to discipline our BODIES like an athlete, training it to do what it should! And, what a curious verse, is this verse actually saying that those who exhibit poor self-control and self-discipline are not fit to preach? Can of worms, folks, can of worms! Can you imagine walking up to your pastor at the end of a sermon and giving him this truth in love? Do you think he would listen? Are you qualified to point it out to him? Great questions!
“Exercise daily in God – no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever” (1 Timothy 4:7b-8, MSG).
Physical exercise is good for us! We are also to practice spiritual exercise! A disciplined life, in God makes us fit both TODAY AND FOREVER! 
“‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but I will not be mastered by anything… Therefore, Honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:12, 20b).
Avoid compulsions (including with food) of all kinds to honor God
“The road to life is a disciplined life; ignore correction and you’re lost for good” (Proverbs 10:17, MSG).
The road to life is a DISCIPLINED LIFE.
“He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment” (Proverbs 12:11).
Chasing dreams is of little value, absent WORK. A fantasy is something that will never come to pass, a dream written down is a goal, which, listed stepwise becomes a plan, which, taken action on becomes a reality. Work your land. Cultivate your harvest. Sow your seed for your next harvest. It is a continuous cycle with one thing in common: Work.
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).
Are we just talking or are we working hard?
“Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk; don’t eat too much food and get fat. Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row, in a stupor and dressed in rags” (Proverbs 23:20-21, MSG).
Don't eat too much food and get fat. This is pretty clear and doesn't need an explanation.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Surround yourself with people who will encourage you, and who you can encourage. "But I don't know anyone like that!" Tell me, are YOU someone like that? Or are we just interested in what we can GET from OTHERS, without GIVING support and encouragement ourselves? 
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NIV).
If we confess our struggles to each other and pray together we’ll heal and grow
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Philippians 4:8, MSG).
Turn off the doom-and-gloomers, wherever they are found. They are of no value.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat” Matthew 5:6, MSG).
We need to feed our souls with God’s Word
“People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God” (Matthew 4:4b, NLT).
We all need patience. We may also need warning, encouragement, or tender care.
“Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NLT).
“Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else” (Galatians 6:4).
Positive change occurs best with slow, steady progress
“A bonanza at the beginning is no guarantee of blessing at the end” (Proverbs 20:21, MSG).

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