Second Chances

Today’s verse:  Lamentations 3:21-23  “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Did you ever wish you could have a “do over”?   Would you live your life differently if you knew then what you know now?   Our health and well being are directly related to the decisions we make and can have an adverse affect on our future.

Many of us have made decisions in our past that we wish we could undo.  Many times we have said or done things that are harmful to ourselves and/or others.  If I hadn’t wanted to impress that one boy in high school, I never would have started smoking.  I wouldn’t have practiced smoking with my sister so that in the end, we were both hooked (and in the end the boy dumped me for someone with bigger boobs!)

Other things I’ve done I am sorry for, but I wouldn’t change them.   My first marriage turned out to be a mistake, but from it I got two wonderful boys (now men).  I got to live overseas and learn Spanish, which led to a great career for me after my divorce that allowed me to travel all over the world.  So in a backwards way, that marriage was a blessing.

There are so many things that I would have done differently.   If I knew the difficulties of raising a teenager, I never would have screamed at my parents and told them I hated them.  I never would have gone for years without speaking to them.   I thank God every day that I made amends with my dad before he passed away.

Decisions we make can affect our life forever.  Let’s be sure to make good ones.  Think about how they will affect you in the future.   One mantra I repeated constantly to my sons:  “You alone are responsible for your actions and the consequences.”

God is always standing by, ready to give us a second chance.  He never gives up on us.  In Vacation Bible School this week, we are teaching the kids about God giving us direction.  We only have to look to him and he will lead us on the right path, and hold us up along the way.  Our God is not a vengeful God, he is merciful and kind and will forgive us for all of our sins and wrongdoings, big or small.  He will give us as many do-overs or second chances as we need, as long as we believe in him.  Blessings to all on your path to the future. Continue reading “Second Chances”

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Denying Yourself of Life’s Crutches

Today’s Verse:   Mark : 8-34  “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” 

When we are addicted to eating, or drinking, or smoking, or drugs, it is hard to quit. We all know that.  These are our crutches, used to get us through the hard times and the daily stress of life.  So I always think of the phrase, “Deny yourself and take up the cross”.   What does this mean?

In an everyday sense, to deny ourselves means to say “No” to ourselves.  It is to deny what we want and sometimes what we need. This means denying things that are bad for us, even if they give us pleasure (unhealthy food, cigarettes, drugs, etc).  We cannot move on to the path of health and well-being in mind, body and spirit until we deny ourselves of those influences.

To take up the cross means to live without our selfish ways and ambitions.  It means bearing a burden.  It is a burden to live with the stress of life, with no outlet for our stress.  We rely on our unhealthy crutches. We need to find healthy outlets that are good for us, such as exercise or meditation instead of harmful, addictive ways.

To put this in perspective, think of the biblical sense of this phrase.  In order to follow a life of Christ, you have to deny your own ambitions and follow his will.  When Christ was headed towards his crucifixion, he had to carry his own cross.  It was a solid wooden cross, which is estimated to have weighed at least 300 lbs.  He bore it for us.

If you are aware of the extent of Christ’s suffering*, you will appreciate even more what it means to “deny yourself and take up the cross”.   You will see that compared to what He went through for us, our addictions are minor.  We can use His strength to fight our addicitons, and deny ourselves and take up the cross.  Blessings to all of you in your battle towards good health.

*Note:  If you want a detailed analysis of the crucifixion, read The Cross of Christ by Dr. Andreas Lambrianides.  Warning:  It is quite graphic, but it does give you an idea of what Jesus suffered for us.  If you want to see it in fairly accurate and realistic detail, see Mel Gibson’s interpretation in  “The Passion of the Christ” movie.  Warning:  Also quite graphic.

 

Continue reading “Denying Yourself of Life’s Crutches”

Today’s Child

Today’s verse:  Matthew 19:14  “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Today’s children are a different breed from when I grew up.  I know every generation thinks they were the best, and that life was better when they were young.  Many of us look back with fond memories of our childhood.

I remember from my childhood that we played outside continuously, never wanting to come in.  We did not sit in front of a screen for hours (Lol- I come from the age before computers, and only had one black and white 19″ TV). We spent hours in the sun, we ate whatever we wanted, we did not wear seat belts,etc. etc. I am sure you have seen those items on Facebook that talk about how it is possible that we all lived so long when we lived so dangerously.  But we were basically healthy, and we are living well into our 80s and 90s.

However, today’s child has the advantage of knowing better.   We know what the sun can do to you and skin cancer is a very real danger (I have been treated twice for this). We know that sugar and fats are not good for you, and we know how to eat healthier. Kids today have better choices in school lunches and vending machines.

So why are today’s kids still unhealthy?   Is it the lack of exercise?  Is it bad parenting choices?   It really bothers me to see a child going down a path of bad eating habits and indoor-only living.   We need to take charge of this problem and promote healthy living, or our future generations will be in trouble.   We all know the right thing to do, so let’s get these kids on a healthy path through diet and exercise.

I am teaching Vacation Bible School this week at my church. I was looking at the faces of the kids last night in my class.  I pray that all of them will grow up healthy and happy.  In addition to learning good eating and exercise habits, I want them to know Jesus. They yell all the right words about Jesus and sing the right songs, but do they really get the message?  It is my hope and prayer that we get through to these innocents to lead them on a righteous path.   I will do whatever I can to teach these children about Jesus and pray that they will live healthy, happy days ahead in the path of the Lord.  Blessings to all of the children, our future!

Continue reading “Today’s Child”

It’s One of Those Days

Did you ever wake up and just feel like it was going to be “one of those days”?  I have a great job that I do for fun in my retirement – I don’t have to work but I do. I also volunteer some but mostly I do nothing – that’s what retirement is all about, right?

But I am drained today. Maybe it’s the heat.  Maybe it’s stress.   Maybe I’m just tired. But I have to go to work and I have no desire to do so.  I feel like staying inside and curling up with a good book, or maybe a movie.  I want to be by myself and not have to do anything at all.  Frankly, I feel depressed.

This is very unlike me.  I am an eternal optimist.  I live for good health.  So when I feel down, I’m not sure what to do.   I know what I should do.  I should get a good shot of caffeine, a great breakfast, and some exercise.  I should go for a walk outside and enjoy this beautiful day that God has made. Good days start with good mornings.  I must go and commune with God to help me get out of this funk that I am in.   I will be back in better spirits tomorrow.    Blessings to all of you today and may your morning be good! Continue reading “It’s One of Those Days”

Where Have All the Faithful Gone?

Today’s verse:  Proverbs 3: 6  In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”

I started this blog as a way to help my sister and my son, both of whom struggle with addictions and are unhealthy.  I thought a faith-based health blog would be good for them, and I hoped it could help others along the way.  I have written before about not caring how many followers I have, if I can help just one, then I know I have succeeded. However, let’s admit it, it is nice to see how many views and likes you get each day. And it’s a thrill to get new followers.   Unfortunately neither my sister nor my son read it.

I also write an exercise blog, just for fun.  I try to find a way to tie in the word of the day and do occasional posts if I am inspired by that word.  I don’t write every day on that blog, but I write a few times a week.

What has really been astounding to me is that my exercise blog, which is just fluff and written for fun, always gets triple the amounts of likes and views that my faith blog gets. I love the fact that it gets a lot of attention, and I appreciate my followers immensely, but I worry what that means.  Is it because there are more athletes than Christians?  Is it because I write better about fitness than faith?   Is there more interest in ourselves and our bodies than in Christ?

Sadly, I believe this is the state of the world today.  I’m not saying that readers of my exercise blog are not Christian, but it is sad to me that I can attract so many more readers to that blog than I can to this one. People just don’t care as much about their health and faith these days.   So disappointing……

Sometimes it is hard to be a Christian.  I strive to put God first in my life and to be the best that I can be, but I know that I fall short sometimes.  I know that God forgives me and loves me.  I will be obedient to God and will do my best to follow him and inspire others to turn their life to Christ.    Continue reading “Where Have All the Faithful Gone?”

3 Keys to A Long and Healthy Life

Today’s verse:  3 John 1:2  “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.”

I am committed to healthy living.  I try to eat right, exercise, not smoke, keep my drinking to a minimum, drink lots of water, take my vitamins, and get plenty of sleep.  I see my doctor regularly for my annual check up, and I attend church regularly and have a strong faith.  It is important to be disciplined in order to stay healthy.

Below are 3 very general categories that add up to a longer, healthier life:  Mind, Body,  and Spirit.

  1.  Care for your body

This one includes all the things you always hear about and already know, but it’s worth repeating.  Caring your your body by doing the following can add 12 years or more to your life.  Eat right, and include lots of fruits and vegetables.  Do not overeat – stop when you are about 80% full.  Don’t smoke.  Drink in moderation. Stay out of the sun. Exercise.  Have lots of sex (it lowers blood pressure, boosts your immunity, and helps you sleep 🙂 )

        2.  Care for your mind

It is essential for a long and healthy life that you care for your mental and emotional health. This can boost memory and slash the risk of dementia in half.   Turn off the TV and talk to others. Increase your brain power – learn something new, exercise your brain muscle.  Read a book.  Do a puzzle.  Use your non-dominant hand for tasks such as brushing your teeth.

       3. Care for your spirit

Whether or not religion is for you, you still need to care for your spirit.  Going to church regularly has been related to longevity.  It has been proven that helping others extends your lifespan. Interpersonal relationships are a must for a healthy life.  Happiness comes from giving and forgiving. Volunteer and help others.  Be compassionate.  Make time for yourself for meditation.  Express gratitude.  Trust God.  Pray.

God needs us to be healthy so that we can continue to do his work.  If we do not take care our ourselves in mind, body, and spirit, God cannot use us in the way he intended.  I pray for healthy lives for all of you. Blessings to you as you work towards good health!

Continue reading “3 Keys to A Long and Healthy Life”

Do Addicts Want Help?

Today’s verse:  Hebrews 12:11  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. “

It is hard to admit when you have an addiction.  I don’t care what kind of addiction it is, but it is hard.  It could be drugs, smoking, over-eating, gambling, anything. Anything that is harmful to you and you cannot stop doing is an addiction.   So how do we help those that we love to end their addiction?   Sometimes we just can’t. They have to want to do it.  Interventions don’t work unless the person will be open and accepting of change.

I recently visited with my baby sister.   She is much younger than I am, and we have never had a particularly close relationship.   Maybe we are too much alike, maybe we are so, so different, but in any case, we have never clicked.   She does not smoke, nor does she drink.  But she eats.  A lot!   She has a serious problem with over-eating.   Life has not been easy for her, so she eats.

I have tried to be supportive. Many years ago, she won a scholarship to an ROTC program and was enrolled in pre-med. (She is a brainiac.)  One of the requirements for keeping the scholarship was physical fitness.  I remember that she had to run a mile in a certain amount of time.   She hated running.  I tried to get her out on the track and run with her, but she would not or could not do it.  She just gave up and eventually lost her scholarship.  Her weight continued to blossom. I gave up on her because she wouldn’t help herself.    It is hard to constantly have offers of help rebuked, so I quit trying.  I really can’t stand to see her destroying herself.

My disappointment has grown over the years, as I have tried to counsel her on her addiction to food.  She is extremely defensive, insists she is happy with herself, and continues to eat.  She has had two knee surgeries, hip replacements, and I now discover she has diabetes.  All of this can be corrected by losing weight, but she doesn’t care.  She ate tons of desserts while I was with her.   I asked if this was allowed, given her diabetes, and her response was “The doctor never said I couldn’t”.   Excuse me, but doesn’t everyone know that excess sugar is not helpful to diabetes?   Especially to someone who went to school in pre-med???

I have to remind myself that this is an addiction. It is not easy to just stop.  It is the classic addiction cycle: feeling pain, eating to get through the pain, shame about eating so much, and eating to ease the shame. Until the cycle is broken, she won’t be motivated to lose weight.  So I try to imagine what is the root cause of her eating disorder. What is causing the stress and unhappiness in her life that makes her not care about herself so much?   Is she trying to slowly kill herself?    I wish I knew how to help.  I wish I could erase all the hurt and self-doubt so she would love herself. She was such a beautiful child and I know she can be again. She has so much going for her:  her own business, she is raising three adopted special needs children,  she has many successful blogs. I am so proud of her in so many ways, but I hate to see her lack of self-love.   But she has to reach out – she has to want the help being offered to her.  She doesn’t have to do it alone.

It is mainly for her that I started this blog.  I had hoped to give her encouragement, to have her take one day at a time, to have faith that God would help her.  But she doesn’t read it.  She doesn’t want help.  I am at wits end and can only pray that one day God will reach her and help her through her trials; that one day she will wake up and realize that her children need her; that one day she will love herself enough to take care of herself. Until that day, I will continue to pray for her and for her health.  I will continue to write and hopefully one day a bulb will go off in her brain that will make her wake up and want to lose weight.  Then I hope that I can be there for her, with love and encouragement, comfort and nurture.  God bless everyone who struggles with any addiction.   I pray that you will all reach out and grab a helping hand.  I pray that God will give you strength to end your addiction.  Blessings to all on this painful journey!

Continue reading “Do Addicts Want Help?”