Optimal Health

Monday, September 30, 2013

What does the Bible say about taking care of our bodies?

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 1:2 ESV

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV

Considering that our bodies are God’s temple, honoring our bodies is actually a spiritual practice. How are you caring for your temple? Are you practicing good health habits? Even better, are you practicing optimal health habits?
What is good health?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as – “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 
What is optimal health?
Optimal health refers to being in peak physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual form, which is fostered through the regular practice of life-enhancing habits, including regular exercise, eating nutritious foods, avoiding tobacco and excess alcohol, managing stress, enhancing social networks, pursuing of a spiritual path, and achieving a sense of fulfillment in intellectual and occupational vocations.
Experiencing a balanced life with optimal health involves five key areas. Let’s do a self-check to see where we are in each of the areas.
Five Areas of Health:
Physical health relates to your body, and includes eating habits, exercise, medical self-care and treatment of health problems. Smoking, drugs, and alcohol use have potential negative effects on your health.
Poor Health…………………………………………………………..………………..Optimal Health
Emotional health refers to your state of mind. It is how you react to day-to-day stresses, your sense of worth, and your ability to relax and enjoy leisure.
Poor Health…………………………………………………………..………………..Optimal Health
Social health is the ability to keep healthy interactions with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers.
Poor Health…………………………………………………………..………………..Optimal Health
Spiritual health includes continually drawing closer to Christ, having a sense of purpose in life, the ability to give and receive love and the ability to feel goodwill toward others.
Poor Health…………………………………………………………..………………..Optimal Health
Intellectual health results from the mental stimulation and development we get through our work, school, church, community service, hobbies or cultural pursuits.
Poor Health…………………………………………………………..……………

…..Optimal Heal

Moving forward in our faith means we take steps that draw us closer to Christ. What steps toward optimal health do you need to take?
Select one area where you know you need to make a change in order to achieve optimal health. Focus on one and then add another.

What is your action plan for optimal health?

God's Diet Plan

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Have you searched many times for the perfect diet and failed over and over? God has created the best diet plan of all! Enjoy reading it and try applying it to your life!

 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.  Genesis 1:29

• And God populated the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach and green and yellow vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
• And Satan created hamburger restaurants. And hamburger restaurants brought forth the 99-cent double-cheeseburger. And Satan said to Man, "You want fries with that?"
• And Man said, "Super size them." And Man gained pounds.
• And God created the healthful yogurt, that woman might keep her figure that man found so fair.
• And Satan froze the yogurt, and he brought forth chocolate, nuts and brightly colored sprinkle candy to put on the yogurt. And woman gained pounds.
• And God said, "Try my crispy fresh salad."
• And Satan brought forth creamy dressings, bacon bits, and shredded cheese.
• And there was ice cream for dessert. And woman gained pounds.
• And God said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil with which to cook them."
• And Satan brought forth chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter, and Man gained pounds, and his bad cholesterol went through the roof.
• And God brought forth running shoes, and Man resolved to lose those extra pounds.
• And Satan brought forth cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil to change channels between ESPN and ESPN2. And Man gained pounds.
• And God said, "You’re running up the score, Devil." And God brought forth the potato, a vegetable naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition.
• And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fat fried them. And he created sour cream dip also. And Man clutched his remote control and ate the potato chips swaddled in cholesterol.
• And Satan saw and said, "It is good!" And Man went into cardiac arrest.
• And God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. And Satan created HMOs....
(Author Unknown)

God's plan is the best plan!

Intentional Bible Reading

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Suggestions for an Intentional Bible Reading Plan

Pray – The Bible is different from any other book. We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance in order to find the relevance in Scripture for our lives. Pray for God to open your heart and give you understanding as you read.

Version – Select a version that is easy for you to understand. I like the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) because they are easy to read and they are literal translations. I often use The Message Version for a paraphrase in today’s language. When I was a child, I learned to memorize Scripture from the King James Version and love the familiar sound of it.

Determine Your Approach – Determine your reading plan by asking yourself some questions. Do you want to read the Bible through in a year? Do you want to meditate on a few verses a day? Do you want to use the suggested Scripture in devotional books? Do you want to use the lectio divina method? Do you want to read entire books of the Bible? If you’ve never read the Bible, consider reading these books first.
·         Luke – This is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus and tells what Jesus did.  Luke paid great attention to detail, including dates and events that happened throughout the life of Christ. 
·         John – This book is simple, identifies who Jesus is, and contains the Gospel message. John emphasizes the love of God found in Jesus Christ.
·         Acts – Known as “The Acts of the Apostles,” Acts gives the account of the development of the Early Church.
·         Letters of the New Testament – Consider reading some of the Epistles in the New Testament such as, Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, or James. They teach us how to live well for God.
·         Genesis – This is the creation of the world and the early relationship with God. Genesis reveals God’s dealings with the nation of Israel and shows the origins of the people of God and deals with the fall of mankind and the consequences of disobedience. 
·         Ruth and Esther – These books offer inspiration for our spiritual journey. In the book of Ruth we see how God can take the messes of our live and turn them into something beautiful. Through Esther we learn how to face life with the courage that God gives.

Set a Time and Set a Tone-  You don’t need hours each day. Just 15-30 minutes a day is just fine. Decide on a regular time for reading in order to make it a habit. Realize the importance of listening to God as you read.

Note and Highlight ­ -Either make notes and highlights in your Bible or use a Bible notebook. Write questions or comments. Use the "who", "what", "when", "where", "why", and "how" formula for your studies. For instance, "Who was there?", "What was happening?", "Where is this happening?", "How did it turn out?". This simple formula will help your understanding of the narratives. Use your Bible as you listen to sermons or are in Bible study classes. Note in the margin the date and name of the minister or Bible study leader. As you come across the passage again, you are more likely to recall the message.

Helps – Use dictionaries and commentaries in either print form or online to help clarify passages.

Focus on the Fellowship -  Keep in mind the purpose of reading Scripture is to learn more about God and to deepen our relationship with him. View the time as fellowship time with your Creator.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17

Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. I Timothy 4:15

Broom Tree

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Do you encounter God in the noise or in the silence? Elijah experienced both in powerful ways. God led Elijah through two great victories: God led Elijah to defeat the prophets of Baal and God answered his prayer for rain to end the drought. He must have been worn out after the period of wars and prayers and rain but he must also have been on an emotional and spiritual high. What sometimes happens after really BIG highs? We feel really BIG lows. We are exhausted and emotionally drained. Elijah must have felt that. He probably wanted to get some real R and R by the Mediterranean Sea. And then Ahab tattled on him to Jezebel saying that Elijah had killed the prophets of Baal. Jezebel was not too happy, so she threatened to kill Elijah. I’m sure all Elijah wanted at that time was to sit on the hammock, eat some figs, and rest in his victory but then a death threat reigns down on his head. So… Elijah fled for some alone time in the wilderness. He found a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. In his solitude Elijah must have examined the ugly in his life.
He cried out to God, “I’ve had enough, Lord. Take my life.”
God allowed Elijah to rest. Elijah lay down and slept under the broom tree,  a type of desert shrub, sometimes large enough to offer shade for those in need.

Isn’t that what we all need? We need a broom tree to find peace and quiet, solitude.
God spoke and told Elijah to eat. There beside his head Elijah discovered some baked bread and a jar of water.  In the solitude, God was providing for Elijah. Then God allowed Elijah to rest some more. God’s angel told Elijah to eat again because there was a long journey ahead of him.
Elijah obeyed and gained enough strength to travel forty days to Mount Sinai. Elijah needed a little more solitude so he found a cave and slept the night away and then the Lord spoke.
“What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God knew what Elijah was doing but God wants us to respond to him. God wanted Elijah to explain himself. When we must explain ourselves to God, we give voice to our brokenness. This can be an emotional period for us when we cry out God. Sometimes it’s an emotional breakthrough. It’s an emotional release. I know that when I can just talk out loud about what’s been bothering me, I feel better.
Elijah broke down. “I have served you Lord but the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you and they have killed all of your prophets. I am all that is left and now they want to kill me.”
In his time of solitude Elijah contemplated what was not going well.
God called Elijah to action in the midst of his solitude. “Go stand on the mountain.” As Elijah stood, the Lord passed by and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. The rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind, Then there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

I imagine the whisper got Elijah’s attention. The sound of silence is deafening, isn’t it! Elijah was realizing that God doesn’t always reveal himself in powerful and big ways like he had experienced before. God was powerful and big and very obvious when he helped Elijah kill the prophets of Baal and when he caused the rains to pour down after the drought. But now God was found in a whisper. Elijah humbly wrapped his face in his cloak and went out to face the Lord.

Has God ever gotten your attention in a way that caused you to humble yourself and face him-- the Truth? That kind of experience has the potential to be life transforming. It is most likely to happen when we leave the noise and live in the solitude for awhile.

Once again the Lord asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah once again explained himself. In summary, Elijah said, “I worked for you; they didn’t, and now they want to kill me.”
And then the Lord gave his detailed plans. He told Elijah to return the way he came and anoint three different people. God told Elijah the three men who would ultimately destroy Baal worship.  God revealed his plan to bring about his judgment against the house of Ahab. God had a plan; Elijah just needed to listen to God. Elijah surrendered to God under the broom tree and moved forward in faith. Victory was his for the taking. Elijah experienced a personal victory of faith and carried out God’s divine will.

It is under our own broom tree where we may learn the most important lessons of life. The broom tree is where we can encounter God. It’s the place where we are vulnerable. It is the place where we can surrender our will to God. It’s the place where he wants to find us so that we can explain ourselves and so that he can reveal himself. Our broom tree is where we go for solitude so that we can really experience our own personal victory of faith.

Do you need to step away from the noise in order to hear God?
Where is your “broom tree?” God wants to meet you there.

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