Health Hopelight

Healing Body, Mind & Spirit

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Turning Around in Autumn

As those long awaited vacations become distant memories, vast multitudes of beach combers are abandoning those failed magical weight loss plans.  Their misguided goals often ironically culminated with indulgent party scenes – and thus a vicious cycle of much less than healthy lifestyles.  Though many of these naive souls are youthful – some of them have far exceeded their teen years – and could well benefit from extra lessons on adopting a more disciplined approach to ultimate fulfillment in this very fleeting existence.  Maybe we all could!

Despite the stereotype depicted above, do any one of us fully understand the impact our choices bring in a world meticulously designed according to the principles of cause and effect? Christians are usually familiar with the important concept of ‘sowing and reaping’. Quite frankly, abiding by the instructions provided for us  in the Bible – and in a generally well-governed society – will for the most part yield a successful life. This time-tested, trustworthy principle is especially applicable in how we nurture our physical, mental and spiritual health.

In all certainty, what we choose to put in our bodies determines not only our weight and appearance, but also our future health condition to a very significant extent. Becoming educated about wise diet options and avoidance of toxic substances can enable us to achieve all-around wellness. Eating good fats and complex carbohydrates – as well as eliminating exposure to hazardous chemicals and metals – will go a long way toward preserving the amazing bodies and minds the Creator intended us to have for over a century of service to Him in this world.

The most important health choice of all that we can endeavor – in this temporary life of ours – is a decidedly spiritual one.  It involves the consistent and intentional practice of heartfelt prayer. Throughout the old and new testament Scriptures, the Jewish people and followers of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, understood the power of seeking the eternal God’s intervention for provision and healing. Biblical examples are cited therein of how they praised the Lord’s goodness and sought His wise counsel for life decisions. How much more crucial must it be for us – in this increasingly complicated day and age – to consult His guidance for acquiring optimal health, for maximizing the potentials of ourselves and those around us?  What a great faith boost we experience, in marveling at testimonies of people on the brink of death, miraculously restored by the collective, fervent intercession of prayer warriors.

Unquestionably, there is no greater single act of our free will than connecting with the One who is not only sovereign over individual human concerns – but with mysteries lying far beyond all the intricacies of this diverse creation.  May we each fully determine to sing a healthy new tune – not only in the month of June- but far beyond.  Let it be a song that will joyfully harmonize with the melodies of the many souls in need of healing hope that we are bound to encounter along life’s narrow way into our eternal destiny.

 To Grow on:  Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”        ~ William Shakespeare

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Spring Cleaning – Inside and Out

Now that the winter frost has finally melted away, and the colors of a livened earth have now emerged, we may feel compelled to think more of our need for cleansing homes, yards, and particularly – our often neglected health.  While reorganizing our houses and weeding the gardens have significance – how much more value should be placed on improving our uniquely special bodies and minds? The recent celebration of Christ’s resurrection demonstrated the hope that many undesired aspects of life – including physical issues and negative habits – can be thoroughly washed away when we gain a ‘fresh as springtime’ perspective.

If you are feeling fatigued from cold weather weight gain or circumstantial depression, be encouraged that rejuvenation is truly possible.  First, recognize that the most basic remedy for replenishing our diminished physical energy is to improve our diet habits by choosing foods that are natural and nutritious. Many believe this means eating virtually all raw vegetables and low fats.  Truthfully some vegetables really should be cooked to enhance their digestion and health benefits.  Additionally, including good fat sources is actually more essential than whole grains in the diet.  (Find more details under “Body Balance”.) Purposing to eat better will assist you in getting rebalanced with your body – inevitably leading to more mental clarity as well.  This will ultimately foster a greater ability to focus on seeking God’s guidance and making wise decisions in daily routines and trials.  Then a renewed motivation becomes an impetus to accomplishing more than we ever did before.

There is certainly no benefit to allowing by-gone stresses to hinder our determination for success this year.  We must understand the importance of finding confidence in ourselves through trust in the Lord’s strength to help us overcome our burdens.  He created us to be healthy and productive souls in this world – free of gloom and illness.  May we exercise the free will our Creator granted us to eat well and live the abundant existence that He intended.  In so doing, we will be enabled to become less absorbed in our own concerns and more productive in addressing the needs of others – all for the glory of the One who makes it all possible!

Timeless Truth:   “Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”  ~William Shakespeare

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Broken Hearts – Mending Hope

HEARTBREAKS are all too common in this earthly realm.  None of us will ever be immune from the potential for experiencing human betrayal or the physical loss of someone we adored. Only one LOVE bond truly lasts forever, from the author of the ultimate kind – our very own CREATOR!  His alone is always present, whether or not we feel or acknowledge it.  AGAPE (Greek) is the unconditional love that will not change even when we refuse to receive it – or think we don’t deserve it.  This affection is yours simply by being a person – made in the image of the everlasting GOD!  What a priceless BLESSING to savor, as such a burden lifts from us in realizing that even if loved ones in this world completely abandon us – intentionally or not – HE is actually INCAPABLE of doing so.  People everywhere need to know that they are cherished this way! Why not sincerely resolve to deliberately share such a golden truth throughout this year, taking time to smile and show concern for store clerks, passersby, as well as neighbors left and right?  We can especially reach out to those we know who are hurting from having lost someone close to them.  Regardless of our own tendency to doubt His faithfulness, we must seek courage from the LORD, maybe even send a message, card, or gift to an estranged family member or old acquaintance – indicating that we sincerely want to demonstrate the awesome LOVE of God to them.  There is no higher calling on earth – though simple as these small deeds may seem.  Such gestures can sow a great seed of PEACE and HOPE in the heart of someone who may need that very thing on a particularly stressful day.  You or I could be an instrument for mending deep emotional wounds in hurting souls. Their ANXIETIES, and amazingly ours, in the process – will dramatically fade.  Let us PRAY for the strength and self-healing we ourselves need – then proceed onward as the Almighty directs us to shine forth His magnificent light and eternal, unconditional LOVE!

‘LOVELY’ QUOTE:  “Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away, but love stays with us. Love is God.”― Lew WallaceBen-Hur

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2017 – Ensuring an Excellent Start

Remarkably, another busy year has hastily blown by us all!  What remains of it reflectively graces our memory banks and the family photo collection.  Without a doubt, certainly in the western world, the blessings from our Creator have far outnumbered the troubles. However many or few, deliberate or intentional – any mistakes we made can assuredly be forgiven and forgotten.  Best of all, they can be greatly minimized or prevented along the path of the new calendar that lies ahead.  If only we will purpose to acknowledge them – gaining significant insight from their valuable lessons.  Have we yet learned, for instance, that pardoning past wrongs, loving the unkind, selflessly serving others, replacing worry with prayerful action, and caring well for our bodies are all hallmarks of true happiness in this realm?

The Savior of our souls, whose advent was just celebrated by Christians worldwide, is more than able to transform the fumbling failures of yesteryear into golden opportunities that draw us closer to full dependence on Him.  God’s amazing grace and mercy underscore His desire for us to gain humility from our regrets in order to equip us for advising others for prevention of their anguish in making similar wrong choices.  Our part is simply to confess the mistakes and ask Him to turn it all around for His glory – something that has always been His specialty.  The sin-riddled life of King David in the Scriptures is a great example of such a redemption.  His secret was continual confession and restoration in his relationship with God.  Whatever the misdeed, we can never underestimate the patience of the King of Kings.

Truly, on many occasions, the shortfalls in life seem completely beyond our control,  Company shut-downs with subsequent lay-offs, grief over family and friends, and numerous other difficult circumstances can hinder our hopefulness.  Even so, the familiar Bible stories of Joseph, Job and most notably – Jesus Christ – can so appropriately remind us of how the Almighty rewards steadfast trust in His ability to see His people through seasons of horrific injustice and pain. Each of these severely tested souls refused to discount God’s sovereignty in their lives. Each of them is the epitome of an overcomer – most exemplified, of course in our death-conquering Savior Jesus.  The same loving Lord of all such historical figures is able to work any upcoming difficult circumstance together for our good and to help us demonstrate faithful perseverance through even the darkest of trials yet unseen in the future.

Yes, each and every one of us can experience the wondrous presence of God, an absolutely ‘divine’ encounter, in this new year that is nearly underway. The key to a supernatural relationship with Him is in determining to prayerfully seek His guidance each day – as well as to continuously give thanks for our lessons learned and for His many life provisions. Understanding this magnificent truth will bring the ultimate peace and endurance we need to face any trial that could possibly arise in the months ahead.  The self-confidence He bestows will enable every availing individual to make wise choices for this fleeting physical, mental, and spiritual existence.  The deep love of God will further equip us to improve the lives of those throughout the earth who are hurting and feeling forgotten.  May the ‘Keeper of all Time’ be our compass as we navigate this life journey through the hills and valleys of 2017, allowing His joy and unshakable strength to empower us in each daily endeavor!

Conquering Quote:  “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  – Helen Keller

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Tis the season to be jolly – but with all the hustle and bustle – it too often seems anything but pleasant. Are we celebrating the birthday of Jesus Christ or all the retail extravaganza that our culture advances along with it?  Many of us note that the latter seems more so with each season that comes around. How much more wondrous it would become if everyone would sincerely focus on the spectacular meaning of this holiday – as well as how, in the midst of it all, to improve life for people less prosperous. Ultimately, we can choose to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by providing tangibles that help others become physically and spiritually healthier.

The possibilities are vast! There are a number of newly published books, for instance, which reveal natural prevention and remedies of illness – rather than mere prescription drug treatments of symptoms. We can assemble gift baskets of mini devotionals, whole food vitamins, probiotics, protein bars, essential oils, and flavorful green or herbal teas. Ever thought of giving homemade healthy goodies – attaching recipes with options for nutritious variations?  Time constraints can be easily overcome with the quick purchase of a luscious fruit and nut basket – or a gift card to a health product store. Including with these a printed item of Christian encouragement and guidance is certainly most essential. Our Creator is so blessed when we promote wise life habits with our family and friends because we assist them in becoming more productive and fulfilled in their lives.

Even more pleasing to the Lord is the superior notion of sending generous Christmas offerings to feed, clothe, and house those worldwide who are living in conditions far less healthful than ours. Even a small financial gift will do much more than you could ever imagine in an impoverished nation. Of course, placing orders of Bibles and tracts in the native languages of the many precious souls awaiting a word of hope is the most special idea of all. There are wonderful organizations such as Operation Blessing, Orphan’s Promise, Gospel for Asia, and many others which maximize and wisely distribute the funds entrusted to them.

So as we all dodge or navigate the predictable shopping splurges during the holidays, let us be very certain that each present we give this year – whether local or foreign – includes an opportunity for the recipient to improve the body, mind and relationship with God Almighty. In doing so, we are assured that these healing gifts from the heart will hold not only temporal, but an eternal value that is a matchless treasure!

Christmas Quote: “Do not let God’s presence be over shadowed by Christmas presents. God wants to give you a gift of peace, but unwrapping the gift means letting Him take control.” (God is in the Small Stuff at Christmas)

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Despite Chaos – Blessings Abound

When our personal lives seem to be spinning out of control – never mind the state of our nation – it can be a difficult task to simply ‘stop and smell the roses’.  Certainly, from day to day, it is easy to think positively and remain content when all is going our way.   Yet, on the contrary, it requires a deep inner strength granted only by our Creator to feel joyful and confident when we face multiple trials and legitimate concerns about the future.  The devastating loss of a loved one, a friend, a cherished treasure – or even an election – can really topple our world if we are not inwardly equipped for such disappointments. How then do we gain perseverance that makes it possible to weather the inevitable pitfalls throughout this lifetime while maintaining a hopeful outlook?  

But wait – as a further complication for humanity, in this age of health epidemics, feeling chronically ill is a special challenge for so many. Over the millennia, we have physically acquired an avalanche of inherited mutations – caused by the escalating cascade of environmentally induced pathogens and toxic chemicals or metals. The lucrative processed food industry – as well as our medical establishment’s overzealous use of vaccines, antibiotics, and other pharmaceuticals – have greatly contributed to this disturbing issue, destroying the delicate balance the Creator designed within our human bodies.  As a result, an increasing number of us have chronic health conditions and wonder how we can possibly be grateful for our plights.  We wonder, like the biblical figure, Job – how can we deal with such suffering as we continue to love and serve God?

The ultimate answer to these tough inquiries may actually be found in the words of a simple old Christian hymn:  “When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost – count your many blessings, name them one by one – and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”  As these wise lyrics advise, taking stock of all that we have – rather than dwelling on the shortfalls – can continually enable us to praise God for our basic essentials, current freedoms, and physical capabilities that we tend to take for granted.  Thoughtfully consider that analysts have observed in studies how the wealthiest and healthiest are not necessarily the happiest of people. Very often in fact, it is the truly desperate among us who most readily receive the knowledge of God.  Most assuredly, numerous scripture references instruct us on finding contentment in our poorest and sickest conditions – even viewing these trials as opportunities to grow in character and to magnify the greater strength of the Almighty.  Ideally, securing a solid relationship with Him, the most proficient of all problem-solvers, will enable us to experience the greatest comfort – and often total solutions – for whatever ails our bodies, minds and circumstances.  His Spirit can envelop our souls with thankful hearts that will sustain us through any tribulation we encounter and provide us with genuine hope of true peace for all eternity!

Contented Quote:  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  – Philippians 4:8

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Lighting up a Season of Darkness

That sweet and sour time of year has come around again – as children delight in the sugary treats – but tremble at the spooky scenes throughout the town.   It is the particular season when God’s beautifully painted landscapes are marred by streaks of cultural darkness.  The concept of autumn is by design – the beginning of death, or dormancy, for much of the world’s plant and animal life. This is the probable explanation of why the defeated Devil so brazenly celebrates at this gloomy time (though his very existence is widely denied).   Christ-followers will not despair, however, knowing that the LORD’s light will ultimately overcome the increasing prevalence of evil.  Furthermore, only our amazing Creator would originate the idea of splashing foliage with glorious color in the midst of the dying process.   Nature provides us continuous evidence of God’s presence and faithfulness in its seasonal miracles – continually reproducing marvelous creations repeatedly through the years.

So what then of this particular month on the calendar – with its obsession – and even celebration of death, fright, and things of the night?   Should responsible parents condone its underlying intent of promoting ‘fear’ in their children – leading to nightmares and unnecessary anxieties?  The answer should be obvious to people of ‘faith’, given that these two terms are entirely opposite concepts.  Sadly though, feeling scared – even seeking opportunities to become so – is a flawed human tendency, and frequently experienced temptation.   Trusting in God’s protection and preferring what is “pure and lovely” over all that is “crude and creepy” does not come naturally to us – but must instead be cultivated through prayer and scripture meditation.  Building this strength within ourselves, ideally from a very young age, is absolutely essential for us to prevent later pitfalls that weak character inevitably produces.

Better sooner than later for us to realize that overcoming senseless fears – along with maintaining clean and positive thoughts – is actually critical to our mental well being.  Chronic anxiety and even depression can result when we constantly focus on what is destructive or that which worries us about the past, present or future.   In the area of physical health, some of us obsessively fear developing cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.  We could channel our thoughts more wisely in taking steps toward body detox and immune enhancement to greatly reduce the risks of these and other tragic illnesses.  There is also a frequent tendency to forget that our Creator is indeed the ultimate Healer (Rapha) – particularly for those who replace fear with faith in Him to do so.

Through seeking His higher ways, adults and children alike can determine to fully adjust their focus on what is uplifting, biblical, and conducive to a solidly healthier lifestyle.  Connecting to the Creator is the key!  So during these days ahead when many seem to celebrate what is dark and dreary, may we uniquely shine forth a faith-filled light that encourages others to seek its loving source, the God of all creation, throughout this season of fall – and infinitely beyond !

Faith Fact:  “The presence of hope in the invincible sovereignty of God drives out fear.” – John Piper

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