Monday, November 22, 2010

Lord, Help Me To Realize

A good Christian friend was recently asking me about his struggle to stop smoking. He had tried medications, gums, hypnosis with no luck. He wanted my advice about what he should try to help him quit this addiction.

I asked him to pray this prayer with me,

Lord, I am a sinner.
I am guilty of the sin of addiction.
Of reliance on something other than your Love to fulfill me.
I am guilty of the sin of self-destruction and of leading others to destruction.
I am guilty of the sin of destroying your Temple.
Lord, I do not pray for a miracle or for the power to overcome this sin.
What I pray for is that you to help me realize the miracle you have already performed in my life through Jesus Christ and the power you have given me through the Holy Spirit.
I commit my sin to your hands, Lord, and from this day forward I will not smoke again.

During this prayer I came to the understanding that we often pray for God to send us a miracle or power to help us overcome some self-destructive tendency in our lives. I can imagine God responding to this type of prayer by saying, “What more of a miracle can I give you than the gift my Son crucified on a cross for your sins” or saying, “What more power do you need than that found in my Spirit, the Holy Spirit I have sent you.”

What we as Christians really need to do is to realize - to fully believe, to commit to, to make active in our lives - the miracle of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. To me personally I think of these 2 things in terms of Baptism.

Through my physical baptism with water I have experienced a connection with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Through the love God showed by sending His Son to live a perfect life of obedience.
- Through His sacrifice on a cross for my sins.
- Through the defeat of death by His Resurrection.

Through my baptism a miracle has occurred. Ray Morrow, a hell deserving sinner, has been born anew, by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, to eternal life starting now and leading to heaven. I have simply accepted the miraculous salvation available to all of mankind.

Titus 3:5
He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.


Through my baptism with the Holy Spirit I have entered into the joy and power of living in the Spirit. I have been linked to a power far greater than my own and in that power I find peace and joy and purpose.

In William Barclay’s book The Promise of the Spirit he describes how dependent on the Spirit the followers of Jesus must be.

“The Greek word for baptize means to dip, such as dipping garments to dye them. There is a vivid picture here. The Christian is a man who is dyed through and through with the Spirit. He is a man whose whole life is soaked in the Spirit, a man the color of whose whole life is changed by the Spirit. The Christian is a Spirit-anointed, Spirit-dipped, Spirit-saturated, Spirit-dominated man. And the drabness of life, and the inadequacy of life, and the futility of life, and the earthboundness of life, which characterize so many of us, all come from the failure to submit to the baptism of the Spirit which Christ alone can give.”


I pray that we will all realize the miraculous power that God has given us and continues to pour out on our lives.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lies Of The World

They are everywhere, the lies of the world. They tell us it is OK to behave badly, OK to over indulge, OK to eat things that we know are bad for us.

Here are a few examples from fast food restaurant advertisements:

Wendy's - Do what tastes right.

McDonald's - I'm loving it.

Hardee's - Life is short, Eat thick.

Burger King - Give yourself the gift of beef. - Feed your inner Champion (You are a BK champion. The MVP of the hour. EVERY hour. Bacon and jalapenos make up your team, and the game can't start without you. Armchair. Lawn chair. It doesn't matter. You taste victory with every bite. You know the score. You eat like a champion.)

Are we truly foolish enough to believe that eating a BK burger with bacon equates to "eating like a champion"?


Does eating at McDonald's have anything to do with our idea of love?


Is it ok to do what tastes or feels right, even if it does harm to our body (God's Temple)?


Is life so short and meaningless that our health does not matter?

As Christians we must look at these statements in light of God's words. We are called to be an example of restraint in an out of control world. Look around you and find your own lies of the world. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Selling Health - Miracles in a Bottle

I love westerns...John Wayne has always been one of my favorite actors. In a western there’s always a hero, a villain, a doctor, and of course a mortician to do the real clean up after the obligatory gunfight. There is also another interesting character of the western that always shows up on the prairie...The Snake Oil Salesman. In the movie “Outlaw Josey Wales” the character is found selling his wares at local trading posts, on the trails, and outside the general store. He describes the tonic as an “elixir for all your ailments”, “a cure all for any problem” and “only a dollar per bottle”. Now the days of The Snake Oil Salesman have long since been past - or have they?

I was recently viewing a prominent Southern Baptist website and clicked the "Drink Your Way to Better Health" link when I came across a remnant from the past. No it is not the dollar bottle of “elixir for all your ailments” for now the miracle cost $39.00 per bottle. Miracles for sale have always plagued the church. All we need do is follow the raised tents of the depression-era to the mega churches of the 21st century. People have always tried to feed off the desperation of a person looking for a healing. This miracle elixir I found promised to increase one’s energy, decrease stress, give better sleep, build the immune system, as well as decrease aches and pains all for the stated low price. WOW! All of this for less than $50.00! Why had I not been led to this site before?

The real question is why is this miracle tonic being sold on a notable Christian website?

Matthew 7:15 reads “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves”. False prophets always come looking for payment in some form or fashion. Whether it is worship or money from the people, there will always be a fleecing of the spirit. The church has made itself susceptible to victimization by groups looking to “Sell Good Health”. Because of our poor health, we are easily lured into buying cures that are disguised as “being from God’s Garden”. The church is a grifter’s dream because we are so willing to take a pill, drink a juice, eat a special diet and do all this on faith while our money is being lifted right from our wallets. Acts 20:30 reads “Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth”. Many of these products are marketed within the Church, often by well intentioned Christians who have been deceived by the outrageous claims made by the manufacturers of these products. They often promote the belief that God wants Christians to take and distribute these “natural” products in order to make Christians healthy.

Why do we believe untruths? I’ll tell you why - because Christians, like the world, love the easy way.

Many Christians pass over the proven basics of good health:
- not smoking
- not becoming obese
- regular exercise (150minutes/week)
- eating fruits and vegetables (5 servings/day)

for unproven, and often dangerous, quick fixes:
- vitamins
- supplements
- miracle juices.

These miracle cures claim to give us an easy way of staying healthy without any of the work. If I have Type II Diabetes, and my doctor says “Lose 30 pounds, exercise daily, quit smoking, and eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables everyday and you will no longer have Type II Diabetes or take pills, but you will eventually end up on insulin and die an earlier death” what choice do I make? The majority of people I have encountered said, “Give me the pills, the other way is too hard”. Christians are such prisoners of the socially acceptable sins of gluttony and sloth that we pass over the discernment of the Holy Spirit - the ability to look at a situation and know truth from lie - and we believe the lie.

Your health is a gift from God!
With a little maintenance, these miraculous bodies God has given us will take care of themselves. If on these Christian websites salvation was for sale, the site would be boycotted and closed down so fast it would make your head spin. Yet we continue to buy into the delusion of the quick and easy way out – a Pill, a Drink, a Lie. These are easier to swallow than the truth!

Remember,
Your health is a free gift from God!
And just like all gifts from God it can be accepted or rejected – BUT IT CAN NEVER BE BOUGHT – not even for the amazingly low price of $39.00 plus shipping and handling.

Ray Morrow
(Thanks to Pam for her help)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gluttony and Sloth ARE Sins.

Proverbs 19:15,24 ; 21:25 ; 23:21 ; Ecc 10:17-18 ; Philippians 3:19; Isaiah 22:13)

Proverbs 19:15
Laziness brings on deep sleep; an idle person will suffer hunger.

Proverbs 19:24
The lazy person buries a hand in the dish, and will not even bring it back to the mouth.

Proverbs 21:25
The craving of the lazy person is fatal, for lazy hands refuse to labor.

Proverbs 23:21
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them with rags.

Ecclesiastes 10:17-18
Happy are you, O land, when your king is a nobleman, and your princes feast at the proper time— for strength, and not for drunkenness! Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.

Philippians 3:19
Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.

Isaiah 22:13
but instead there was joy and festivity, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating meat and drinking wine. "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Gluttony is, simply put, eating and drinking more than you need.

Sloth is, simply put, laziness.

Gluttony and sloth are harmful to the body – God’s Temple. The Bible clearly instructs us to stay away from sin, of which gluttony and sloth are two. Sin is the outcome of a relationship set up between you and the devil whereby you declare yourself boss over your eating and your actions. Thus, you choose to have an active, exciting life or you choose to “go with the crowd” and drift along, lazy-like, eating and drinking more than you need, calling your own shots, as boring as that is.

So, your sin is not the wrong of your eating atrociously or your lazy way of drifting along, it’s your allowing yourself to be the person to whom that is happening, letting your heart give you bad directions, and killing your dreams. As Christians, if we truly believe that the body is God’s Temple and that with our bodies we are here on Earth to do the work of Jesus, then we must do everything in our power to avoid sins that are harmful to our physical self. Therefore, we must acknowledge that gluttony and sloth are sins where by we destroy the image of God (our bodies) and make us less able to carry out our work as Christians.

But, the good news about the sins of gluttony and sloth are that you can be delivered from them. So, you have a choice. Either you believe God can deliver you or you believe He can’t. Or, you want to be delivered. Or, you don’t. But, the moment you say you want to be delivered, the power of God becomes yours. Thus begins your growth in grace as the life of the Holy Spirit exerts itself against your tendency to continue living as you wish. When you are born from above you will realize that the life of God has entered into you as eternal life and as light. When you walk in light as God is in the light, the sins of gluttony and sloth will no longer be.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Preach With Your Mouth Full

What do we do when we find sin in our church?

We confront it, call it what it is, and get rid of it!

But almost every week in churches all over America we find the sin of gluttony running rampant. We find it at our hot dog suppers, our sausage biscuits before Sunday school, and our Homecoming socials. The sin of gluttony has caused the spiritual weakening of our churches. No longer can we come together for worship and praise of our God without the accompanying meal. No longer can any one give a dollar to a local cause without getting a chili dog in return. The churches have turned a blind eye to the ravenous eating habits of their own members. I have worked for over 10 years in clinics and found professed Christians, who say that the same Holy Spirit who saved their soul from Hell, who has the power to raise the dead, this same powerful Holy Spirit cannot control their desires when confronted with a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Boy that’s what I call a "Hot ‘n Now" moment. When we say that we are Christians, we are saying we have been made new, we don’t have a new starting point, but the Bible says that we have been actually transformed into a new creature. One that is now to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. I have seen people delivered from drugs, sex, gambling, and an array of sins but very rarely do I see people delivered from "fatness". I hear the excuse that this is only a shell that it really doesn’t matter what I do with this body because, of course, since I’m saved I’ll get a new body. What a crock! If we were not supposed to do "something" after being saved, do you think God would leave us here after the point of salvation? Now, we know that scripture commands us to go out and witness to the ends of the earth, but how can we do this if we are so big we can’t even walk ten feet across the floor. How can we witness if we can’t walk?! I’m tired of Christians complaining that sin has "just taken over everything", and the sin of gluttony goes unchecked every week. We see our pastors standing in our pulpits preaching to us on the dangers of homosexuality, of fornication, of not tithing, while they stand with their 50 inch waists lapping over their trousers, sweat dripping down their faces, defiling the very temple that God has told us to keep Holy. If someone tried to tear our church building down, we would fight them to the death but these same people are the very culprits who tear down the temple that contains the Holy of Holies...the Holy Spirit. Why do we keep silent? We scream from our sanctuaries that abortion is wrong, I agree it is totally against the Will of God, yet we drive our children to every available McDonald’s drive thru every chance we get. Abortion is wrong, the killing of the unborn, but so is childhood obesity, the killing of the born.

The church needs to wake up to one of the most corrupting sins...Gluttony. For this stems from our inability of self-control. If this is not addressed by the church, I wonder, when Christ returns and says to his bride "Come Up Here!" will He hear "Just one more bite before we go".

Pam H.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is Your Body God's Temple?

1 Cor 6:12-20, Romans 12:1-2

Christ – the resurrected Lord – lives on within the heart and life of the true believer. We have a strong stewardship responsibility to take care of our body – God’s Temple. As Christians we must realize that if anything is to be done on Earth for Jesus it must be done by us. We think in Spiritual terms, but while on Earth we act through our physical bodies. Whether we are spreading the Good News, ministering to the poor and sick, or helping our fellow Christians, we need our physical bodies. So if we are to be effective Christians we must do everything in our power and control to care for our bodies. Medically we know that 75% of all chronic health problems are due to poor choices we make about how to care for our bodies. We also know that people who maintain good health habits - eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise daily, do not smoke or do drugs – have less health problems (less heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, etc.), take fewer medications, and spend less time at the doctor’s office and hospital. Therefore, they are better able to do the work of God on Earth. We are not made into “better” Christians by being healthy, but, the healthy Christian can do the work of God better. So realizing that your “body is God’s Temple” is a key step to acknowledging why as a Christian you MUST take your health seriously and do everything in your power to care for your body.

In 1st Corinthians 6:12-20 Paul makes very clear to the Christians in Corinth that the body does matter. The Corinthians believed that since they were Christians all that mattered was their spiritual state. As long as they believed in Jesus their sins of the flesh did not matter. They believed that when they died their bodies would be destroyed and the Spirit would be raised. Therefore, anything done with their bodies did not matter spiritually. The sin the Corinthians were actually committing was sleeping with prostitutes, but, this is just one example how their belief in the body/spirit separation leads to sinning. In verses 12-20 Paul makes the argument that how Christians treat their body does matter to God. In verse 13 Paul says “The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.” In 12:15 he states that “Your bodies are members of Christ.” Here Paul uses the word “Christ” to refer to the Christian community. He is making the point that each Christian, in his or her daily life, makes up the various body parts of the Christian community and through them Christ’s work on Earth is performed and the personality of Christ is expressed. Anything that is to be done on Earth for Christ must be done by individual Christians, using our God given flesh and blood bodies. With these bodies the lost are witnessed to, the sick are comforted and the poor are uplifted.

In order for us to effectively do the work of Christ on Earth we must keep ourselves as healthy as possible. Satan will attack us both spiritually AND physically, knowing that if a Christian can be made ineffective in the world through physical illness, less good will be accomplished in the name of Jesus. Knowing this, we must make sure that we do not do anything to our bodies that will increase the chances of illness and lead to physical destruction such as eating too much (gluttony), drinking too much, taking harmful chemicals into our body by smoking or doing drugs, and not keeping ourselves physically fit (slothfulness). Paul concludes this section in verses 18-20 by saying “the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

So ask yourself - do you glorify God in your body?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Walking Into The Light - The work of the Holy Spirit in Health

At its most basic level the Holy Spirit develops within us the right questions, to get at the difference between reality and illusion - a necessary move to bring out our true self and give it new life. At a deeper level, the Holy Spirit helps us develop a concern for other selves and thereby improves the art of living. It's all about knowing and knowing that we know. An integral step onto the path out of darkness into light, so simple that even the most distracted of us can see the way is, again, words.


Words have the power to move us out of darkness into the light when we simply receive them. Consider the vocabulary of the disposition of God in relation to us: Father, hallowed, heaven, kingdom, will.


Or, take the words: bread, forgiveness, debts, temptations, deliverance. Here the primary emotional states of our personal lives are spelled out for the Father.
Or, lastly, look at the words: power, glory, forever, amen and catch the transcendent sound of triumphant truth that all is well, that God reigns, and rules, and rejoices. And, His joy is our strength.


"Come unto me . . ."

God intends that we love food and that we live a balanced life that leads to good health for carrying out His work. When food and eating are disturbing your friendship with Him, they must be straightened out and the only way to do this is by coming to Jesus and surrendering to Him the habit patterns that are disintegrating the three boundaries that are crucial for an abundant life:

1. the God and you boundary.

2. the self-concept boundary.

3. and the body boundary.


Ignoring the problem, refusing to subject it to true inquiry, only divides your life, saps your strength, creates mental confusion, and slows your spiritual growth. Be aware that, as we have seen from the scripture of Romans 14:20, food has the power to split your oneness with Jesus, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. No food is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one - "Come unto me . .."


". . . And I Will Give You Rest" (Matthew 11:28)

You may have an action pattern of coming home stressed out and hungry and you know that half a gallon of ice cream and a spoon will restore your sanity. That's a natural reaction and in fact the carbohydrate in the ice cream will increase the level of certain neurotransmitters in your brain and make you feel better -temporarily. In fact, however, the internal organs of the body operate within a narrow range of response in order to preserve life and in this instance the carbohydrate will also cause your blood sugar to rise and your body to increase its production of insulin and if you're used to couch sitting to finish off the ice cream, your hips are storing the excess calories as fat. That's the way it works. That's the reality.


It's not to say you have to give up ice cream entirely. That's not even the right question. Ask yourself: Is my habit of eating half a gallon of ice cream causing disintegration of my life with Jesus Christ? And of the handiwork of God? Am I replacing my trust in God with the instant satisfaction of food?


True inquiry is the work of the Holy Spirit and if you answer the questions honestly and in depth, you can think of every detail of your life with food as having the potential for disintegration. And, if you find positive evidence, you must be willing to ask the Lord to give you Christ-awareness in your eating patterns and He will calm your stress until your friendship with Him is reestablished. This is His promise. This is the beginning of restoring the boundaries.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sweet Dreams

One of my patients, a pastor, was approaching the 300 pound mark. Type 2 Diabetes lay straight ahead. Nothing I said converted him. He was like a block of salt.

One day he preached me this little sermonette, in mock seriousness.

"I preached on sin", he said, "and eight members gave up smoking. Encouraged, I preached on sin again. Six members gave up drinking. This is great, I thought. So I preached on sin again. Four members gave up sex. Inspired, I preached on the sin of eating too much rich food. Five members began circulating a petition to have me removed. I dream of food all the time", he said."

I see your point, " I said.

The pastor's wife came in for a visit. I gave her the idea for a plan. Bedding down one evening, she casually opened a cookbook to a recipe for "Brined Chicken."

"What'cha got?" he asked.

She placed the cookbook under her pillow. "Dreaming about food", she said.

He perked up. About a week later he brought to her a recipe with pictures, torn from Family Circle--Pork Loin Stir-fry. "Would this made a good supper?" he asked.

"Looks great", she said, "Why don't you sleep on it?" She placed the recipe under his pillow.

Soon they were into Viva Mexico, Savory Zucchini Pie from Australia, and Tabbouleh from Lebanon. Now, the parson is down to 225 and sweet dreams are on the menu every night.

Thanks,
Ted

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

DINNER ON THE GROUNDS: How America Ate Itself To Greatness

Before 1800 most Southern men were cool toward church and preaching.Sermons had no wisdom about getting out of hard scrimping for a living.
That was- before Baptist women got the spirit and pushed their men up every dusty road in the South in search of a tiny plot of land on which to build a church. Suddenly churches were everywhere. The womenpondered: " How can we shake up the spirit in apathetic men?" The answer-" Food, of course!" Thus, DINNER ON THE GROUNDS was invented.
Then, when the preacher belted out the last "Amen",church was over.Time for that unsurpassed builder of love, harmony, and unity-DINNER ONTHE GROUNDS.
The crowd surged to the tables groaning under the trees. Boys and girlsof all ages circulated among the tables, appetites ready, smelling the richbeef and pork roasts, the yeast breads, and vegetables of all sorts, searchingfor a chance to snitch some small morsel, to ward off starvation while the preacher asked the Lord's blessing.
After good food aplenty,the crowd eyed the dessert table, marveling at the six-layered stack cakes, each layer riding on a bed of moist red sauce, the natural color cooked from the Hoover apple, or chocolate or coconut, each creation an architectural wonder with no leaning to either side.
In 1834 de Tocqueville wrote that the genius and the power of Americacame from America's, goodness and that America's goodness came from her churches.
Later, it is rumored that de Tocqueville became a Baptist, because of the food the women served at DINNER ON THE GROUNDS.
And that's how America became great.
Thanks,
Ted