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.