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Bible and Exercise
By Patrick Oden
The world of health and physical fitness are almost foreign to the history of Christianity. It seems that somewhere along the road of spiritual devotion our church fathers lost a part of their humanity. The human is a unique creature, not wholly spirit, or wholly beast, but a combination of both. Made perfectly by the Almighty God, we originally possessed a perfection of mind and body.
Then came the fall. A corruption of our spiritual nature resulted, and because of the close ties, our physical nature was also defiled. Death and sickness, frailty and pain entered our lives. Because of human sin we no longer possess a spirit capable of oneness with God, nor do we possess a body capable of everlasting life. We were corrupted. As Christians, however, we are redeemed. Christ, through his shedding of his blood on the cross and resurrection from the dead, saved us from our just punishments. In return we have been called to be holy, to be set apart for him. We must constantly strive for wholeness in our lives, even though this runs contrary to our natural bent.
This struggle to reform our lives is not limited to our being spiritually minded. I believe that God wishes for us to develop all that he originally created. Including the body. There is no shame, there is no evil that our body necessarily contains. We were made in His image, and there can be nothing evil within that structure. I believe that God desires us to develop our physical side for three reasons. First, I believe that ignoring our physical side would be to ignore possible gifts that the Lord has given us. To develop our physical gifts, and using them for God's service, is an act of worship to Him.
Second, the discipline gained through conscientious patterns of living teaches us much about the way of God. We have been given charge of our own selves. How we think, how we act, what we do is dependent on our choices. When we choose to live out of hope in God, we will worship him with our whole selves.
Finally, we must always be prepared for the trials and tests that will come. We cannot truly be able to fully utilize our faculties unless we are fit and in good health. Choosing God is the way to salvation, and seeking to glorify Him through development of all of our capabilities is a truly noble goal indeed.
The army was camped in the Valley of Elah, when he came upon it to deliver food sent from home. He regrettably left his duties at home to do this task for his aged father. He thought his brothers were rather obnoxious at times, and he was slightly jealous at their being able to fight in the wars while he was left at home to take care of the family sheep.
Now, he realized the real responsibility that he bore, but he had a passion for warfare. His long hours in the fields had groomed him into one ready for anything. His senses were prime from countless hours of watching for dangers. His body was muscular and lean from the hardships which he had put upon it. His dexterity was excellent from countless battles with the lions and bears which sought to devour the family fortune. He was no stranger to battle either, leading a servant of the King to call him a "brave man and a warrior." His service to his father demanded the utmost of his fitness and health.
Not long after he arrived he heard the booming voice of a single adversary from the valley beneath them. Hearing the words that were spoken ignited a fury deep within this young man. Though not a member of the army he lambasted his countrymen for their cowardice in not facing the enemy's challenge. He, himself, accepted the challenge of the Philistine, much to the surprise, and jealousy, of his fellows.
Though not prepared for a sword fight he drew upon his abilities and slew the foe with a solid strike of a stone, launched from his sling. This was to be only the first of many famous encounters that this man was to face. He drew upon the gifts that God had given him, namely his strength and prowess in battle. He was training his body for physical fitness from the time he was a mere boy. God used these gifts and talents for his own glory. And through the might of his physical body, and the faith of his spiritual acuity, he brought worship and glory to God, which spread throughout the kingdom and beyond. He started with nothing but his faith in God and his physical prowess, but ended as the King, and ancestor of the Christ. Once derided as a mere boy he soon became used to the cries of "Hail, King David" that were to follow him everywhere.
To deny our physical nature is to possibly deny a gift that God has given us. Our gifts are given to us by God to work for the common good of the church and to be used in a way that is honoring and praising to him. David was given a physical gift, he used it to the glory of God. God has given us a physical nature for a reason. Though our gifts may lie in directions not directly focused on our fitness, all things that we do are influenced by it.
How can we pray for long periods of time if our minds are not fed by proper food, and our bodies are made weary from simple exertions? In order to fully accomplish the duties that the Lord has given us we must train our bodies to do that which is demanded of them. We cannot ignore our fitness or health, for to do so would be to offer up to God less than our fullest, and as Christians we must try not to do that. He calls us to be warriors of his army, to stand up for his causes.
What kind of warrior focuses only upon the mental aspects of warfare? A true warrior develops both his mind, to know what to do, and his body, to accomplish that which he knows must be done, in order to serve at his highest level. So must we also commit every aspect of our lives to our king's service, so that we may praise and glorify his name to the greatest possible amount. To do any less is to succumb to our fallen human nature. Just as David did, so to must we, strengthen our bodies, inside and out, for the glory of God.
Weary after the long trip, the young man slowly followed the rest of his compatriots into the mighty palace. The last few years had been the very worst in his life. He could distinctly remember the glory that his homeland once possessed. How so much destruction and deterioration could be caused so quickly was beyond even his learned understanding. He should have been ready for it, however, for did not the Prophet speak of the seventy years of desolation. It was almost too great a burden to bear. At least he was not alone in this trek to the foreign land. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azrariah, his friends since early childhood, had accompanied him.
They were a handsome bunch. Chosen on account of their physical perfection, their striking appearances, and more than capable mental capabilities, these young men were picked from among the finest men of their land to serve the conquering king. The chief of the court officials greeted them, as well as the men from the other tribes, and laid out what their duties and expectations would be for the next three year. They were given the opportunity to eat from the king's own table and drink the king's own wine.
As hungry and thirsty as this man was he knew that to do this would be wrong. He knew that to eat these foods would be to defile his body in a way which could not be done. He spoke to the chief about this dilemma. Though at first almost offended by this man's refusal the chief gave him, and his three friends, the chance to prove themselves, to eat what was right, to maintain their discipline.
After the ten day trial period this man, and his three friends, were found to far surpass the others in health and nourishment. God blessed them tremendously for the discipline that they possessed. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. This would not be the first time Daniel's discipline would be challenged, yet for standing strong he was truly blessed.
In the world of physical fitness and health discipline is a key. We must learn to overcome obstacles that would otherwise hinder growth in these areas. What a great way to learn how to discipline ourselves for God's service! The act of devotion to God is similar in the daily struggles that will assault us. We will initially have a passion for God. After a time this passion will fade as we start the grind of service. If we persevere, however, we will be restored to our passion and will be forever changed by the transformations within us.
Daniel was a disciplined man. He trained his body so that it worked at its optimum level. He did not give into the temptations of unhealthy foods, but instead sought only what would be beneficial. He stood strong, and so should we. Peter tells us in his first letter to be "clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." If we allow ourselves to become lazy and slothful in one area of life, especially an area as vital as our health, how can we expect to stay strong in other areas? God calls us to discipline ourselves, and this we must do in order to become fully devoted followers of Christ
As he bent over the length of wood one could see the sinewy strength of the muscles beneath the skin. The sweat beaded and dripped from his forehead yet he continued undaunted, delighting in the creation that was coming from his hands. His skin was bronzed from spending long hours finding the right trees with which to make his designs and his countenance shone with the effort he was exerting. As sawdust flew, landing all about him, and covering him head to toe, he began to think of the earlier creations he was a part of long ago.
Trained in carpentry since he was a boy, he was able to work long days, days full of labor and toil. He made sure he ate properly, understanding the nutritional needs of humanity better than most. He was in perfect health, able to endure the most strenuous hardships, which was good because one day in the future he knew he would have to. As he worked with the wood, sawing and hammering, he remembered the day he took over the carpentry business after his father died, actually not his real father but the time for his revealing this had not yet come. He paused, wiped his forehead with a dusty towel that was nearby, and noticed that he was hungry. At this moment his mother called, "Jesus, it's time for dinner, come on in out of that hot shop."
Though Jesus is often portrayed in film and art as an almost fragile human being I believe it to be just the opposite. He was strong, he was sturdy, he was exceedingly fit. He was healthy enough to endure forty days of fasting, he was sturdy enough to endure repeated floggings and beatings. For almost three years he traveled the land, teaching his message. He was a scholar of renown, a fact that is often shown. He was also strong in body, a fact which is seldom thought of. Not since Adam had a man existed who was perfect. Just as Adam possessed a body that was a archetypal model for humanity, so, I believe, did Jesus.
The bible does not focus on this physical nature, tending to spend its words on the spiritual side, but it was there. He spent probably almost twenty years working in the carpentry business before his time had come to reveal himself. He developed strength, he developed endurance. We, as Christians, have been called to be Christ-like in all we do. This includes the developing of our body to the level of Christ. We do not know the hardships that we will endure, as Christ did, but we do know that they will come. Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, tells him that he should "endure hardships with us like a good soldier of Jesus Christ." We battle in a spiritual realm, but our bodies are vitally affected by our souls. We should strive for health and fitness, not just to develop our bodies for our own sakes, but so that we may fight the good fight and finish the race. God desires our best in all ways, and the only way this is truly possible is to develop our physical nature to its fullest, not separate, but in conjunction with our development of our mental and spiritual capabilities.
In ignoring our physical nature, Christians do not take to heart many of the examples that the Bible offers to us. We read of great feats, of mighty prowess, and of great service that was only possible through previous exercise and devotions to health. Jesus Christ shows us that even he spent time developing his physical side. He prepared himself to meet the challenges that he was to face in a way which maximized his abilities. He knew the capabilities of a human body, and what must be done to fulfill his calling. We must try to be Christ-like in all we do, training ourselves for the trials ahead.
Daniel stood out because of his discipline in mind and body, chosen for his talents and able to then speak the words of God into a godless society. His courage and his dedication were spurred on by his attention to his diet and his overall health. Because of his holistic faith that developed mind, soul, and body for God he became a unique tool of God who speaks to us even still.
David was given powerful gifts in his physical nature. He used these gifts to glorify God, and to spread knowledge of His power. He trained himself in a way which made total use of these gifts, not ignoring any part of his life, but seeking to develop his entire self.
We have also been given gifts, some of a physical nature. We must strive to be the best possible in all that we have been given in order to offer up praises to our creator. Daniel was disciplined in all he did. He realized that the physical affected the mental and spiritual sides of humanity. He sought to avoid indulgence in activities, or foods, that would be detrimental to who God wanted him to be. We must seek this discipline in our own lives. We must see that our physical sides are represented strongly, and to ignore it would be wrong. The Bible offers to us many examples of people who lead a truly Godly life. Truly, physical fitness and a pursuance of health are acts of devotion to God.
Patrick Oden lives and works in the mountains of Southern California. Education web design pays the bills. Writing and enjoying the beauty of God's Creation fills his soul.
Visit his website at http://www.dualravens.com
Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comOther Resources
Lemon into lemonade – Christian diabetic resource page
To better understand the disease of Diabetes see "Diabetic videos" below:
When you think of the word Phat you usually think of "someone tempting and hot", but in this case it is more of a describing of a nice, tantalizing, hot, double meat, mushroom and cheese burger with all the fixings and just the way you like it. It then gets courted with a one of a kind basket of french fries or the savory homemade fried onion rings that were basted in buttermilk batter.
Or, perhaps, your in the midst of cruising and perusing the buffet tables again, filling up your plate once, twice, three times, maybe even four, if your hungry. That's all before you even consider what you are going to do with dessert. Yet, it is an all you can eat place, is it not? You might think "For the money I have paid, should I not get my money's worth? So, I will eat, and I will eat good."
Now, not everyone necessarily goes to this extreme, but we see this behavior very prevalent in America. We see many zeroing in, at the buffet stations for their next round of filling, as they carefully navigate themselves around their fellow food festival comrades. It is done with extreme precision and with few accidental collisions.
For the sake of clever convenience, fast pace, and fast food, we will fill ourselves up again and again. Time is money and money is time and if I can avoid cooking tonight I would be just a little more efficient in my day. Low cost, no cleaning, and good tasting to boot. Or perhaps, we will just drop in the store for a quick soda, and for a candy bar or two. It will make a good hold me over snack, and settle my hunger cravings, at least for now.
It is only when I get emotionally moved by something or even angry at somebody will I let go and just eat whatever I want, for I cannot change whatever that person did to me, or change the circumstance, but at least I can pamper myself a little bit, and comfort myself a little bit with a nice juicy chinese meal. After all my feelings got hurt and at least I can calm myself with a nice smorgasbord. I deserve it.! No one else will accept me, but I can accept myself by rewarding myself with this nice meal. It will at least tone down the internal pain a little. Yes, my meal "medication", will help with my vocational emotional "meditation".
While I realize the tone of the text is a little cynical, there are some deeper truths here that are revealed and ought to be explored. For, one, if we look at this from a business perspective, we quickly see that as the "wheels go round and round", there is a processing of people with food, like the processing of food. You see, the more business there is, the merrier, and while it looks like the customer is really getting over on the establishment, the establishment has pre-thought out everything already. The more food that moves through the wheel, the more plumper both the business and the customers become.
Yet, what people may not see is the invisible deeper underlying demonic objective. We easily see the destructive nature of drugs and alcohol and what tolls they can take on families. We see how pornography, sex, and violence can create even a most fatal effect. We are even aware of greed and how it can get a hold of someone if they do not watch themselves when they are dealing with money. But, how many believe that there is a conscious harmful intent with respect to food. How many believe that the devil is raising a caloric campaign against this country as we are fattened up for the kill. "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy." (John 10:10) Yet it does not seem that food has the capacity to cause this level of destruction, but yet, it does.
One of the greatest problems is that while people are becoming more health aware, and while we have some degree of nutritional training, and some degree of proper eating habits, there are many of us that are still overweight. Mild to moderate and to even severe obesity can lead to a myriad of related disease states, where cardiac problems and diabetes are given the easy rule. Why?
Yet, how does one even think to attempt to put their foot on the break pedal when the proper understanding of health issues can appear to be so complicated to the average individual. The first step to take would be a personal one of attitude. It would be a proactive step where one takes the individual responsibility to find out and perhaps educate themselves in this area of trouble. Yet, that Pecan pie, taste oh, so good, doesn't it. It is not an easy battle this battle, and the devil is fully aware of it. If he can get people overweight he can cause a loss of self confidence and self esteem and get people to give up on their hopes and dreams. He does all this while he will continue using those around you to belittle you down as well.
One of the first problems for one to recognize is that the food pyramid, that we are all familiar with, is not necessarily as healthy as it so promotes. As you can see the bottom of the pyramid is where the breads, cereals, pastas, rice, potatoes, and other related starches stay. It was first believed that the body broke down the sugars or these "complex carbohydrates", at a much slower pace in the body than the simple sugars and therefore allowed. At the top of the food pyramid you would find the bad sugars, etc., in which one was to stay away from.
Yet, what was found relatively recently was that these complex sugars can get in the body just as fast or even faster than some of the bad sugars and thus presents a problem. It presents a problem because America is feasting on these starches and complex sugars, relatively unawares. So not only do you have complex sugars coming into our body at a greater speed, you also have them coming in in greater amounts. Let's look into this one-two knockout Hawaiian punch of sweetness a little more closely.
First let's look at an example of the chemical structural differences between simple and complex sugar. Don't get nervous, because the only main thing I want you to pay attention to is that; the simple sugars have only one or two cyclic rings (meaning less individual physical sugar units present, called residues), while the starch or complex sugars can contain thousands to even millions of cyclic ring units, which (means a whole lot more individual physical sugar residues present).
Don't get hung up on the chemistry, just look at the difference between the amount of rings that are present. The two visual examples of amylopectin and glycogen, really show how loaded the complex sugars can be, as compared to simple sugars. This should give you a brand new perspective to the number of sugar units found in an apple, orange, or a cabbage as compared to the sugar unit content of a bagle, potato, or a pancake.
Each of these complex sugars is broken down to simple sugars, primarily glucose. It is glucose which is the primary energy resource molecule of the cells. The body is very interested in this sugar and will not only just absorb it in the intestine, it will grab it and bring it in. (See:active absorption of glucose). The body carefully controls the blood glucose level and keeps it in a certain range as too much or too little of sugar present in the blood can affect the brain. It does this via the hormone called insulin. See the graphic display of the normal rise and fall of glucose in the blood. If you look carefully, you can also see the rise and fall of the insulin hormone on the same graph as well.
If we eat the types of sugars that are found in most fruits, and vegetables, we will find our selves eating good sugars that do not affect the rise and fall of the glucose and insulin curves so much, and therefore not be so intense. The intensity or speed of a sugar from a food that comes into the body is called the food's "glycemic index". The amount of actual sugar that is found in that same food has to do with the "glycemic load" These two factors when taken together contain the full picture of what happens to us as far as the sugar's impact to us in our bodies.
So as you can see, both the glycemic index and glycemic load are very important in determining how a individual food's impact is going to hit our blood and effect our levels of glucose. By our becoming aware of our food amounts and food types that we eat at a meal, we can actually help control the relative glucose and insulin impact on ourselves during that meal. This is great news for diabetics! This is also great news for the rest of us as well.
The reason why it is great news is that we have identified that sugar is the primary culprit for making us fat. The reason for sugar being the culprit is a relatively new idea in the medical community known as insulin resistance. (See a video on insulin resistance) As you can see explained clearly in the insulin resistance web-linked article, and the video, insulin resistance is the condition where the sugar can no longer get into the cells as it did normally before and the insulin then stores the sugar as fat. Insulin is referred to as the fat storage hormone.
Here are some links showing charts of foods with glycemic index(GI) values and also glycemic loads (GL).
1. Table One
2. Table Two
What generally happens is that as we are eating improperly, through a higher intake of highly glycemic index, and highly glycemic load foods, we, as a result, are driving our insulin production to the limit, and we eventually will develop a general resistance to insulin in our cells resulting in our sugar getting routed to fat. This is why America in the last 50 years is a fatter country as a whole, because of these changes in the types of foods we are eating, along with the fact that we are eating more food proportionally than just 50 years ago. Look at what a Doctor says about insulin resistance and how it is caused.
It is time to personally take stock of ourselves, (those who need to), and take up the personal battle. We once thought it was ok to smoke cigarettes until many many millions of people ended up with cancer and other related diseases from it. When will America wake up to the damage that the food industry has consciously or unconsciously brought upon us and to our children. The overall demand of food, the couch potato mentality, the tactic of business and sales have taken precedence over our health and safety. This is what is predominately producing this damage. Therefore, it is time to be proactive for ourselves, and to be accountable for our dietary behaviors. While no one can do it for us, it is good to form accountability and encouragement groups, as solving a tough problem is easier when approached like this than just by ourselves.
The general action plan therefore in the battle against obesity would be to do the following items listed below:
1. Reduce the overall caloric intake. Remember that less calories taken in as opposed to more calories going out will cause a loss of weight. Let our minds be in control rather than our taste buds.
2. Set up a regular plan of exercise (to increase metabolism of sugars).
3. Learn to identify foods of higher glycemic index and glycemic loads and avoid them, while predominantly eating foods of lower glycemic index and loads. Lower glycemic foods tend to be found amongst the fruits, nuts, vegetables, and meats(See video). But always check your carbohydrate levels on your nutritional demographics on the food item.
4. Remember that eating less, and increasing exercise is the key(video) as the body can convert all forms of food into fat and store them as fat, yet suger is still the primary culprit on the cause of obesity.
- Find some good nutritionals for supplementation.
Now let's watch a video on some food addicts that have each unfortunately gotten themselves into the hundreds of pounds. Hopefully this will grab ahold of some of us and get us serious enough to take some action against this subtle silent killer. (See video on some extremely overweight people)
Interesting enough, we find verses in the bible that talk about food. While we are able to eat all foods as we desire such as 1 Tim 4:4-5. However, there are some reasons why God gave some dietary laws to the Israelites as some were given to prevent disease from germs that they did not know about, but God did.
It is also interesting to note that when God spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden He designated that the food from the plants and trees were to be for their food. It appears that He did not previously authorize the eating of meat until after Noah, his wife, and his sons got off the ark. Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. This means that originally all provision of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, carbohydrates, and even their fats, were to be found in the plants.
When Daniel resisted the King's meats that had been sacrificed to idols, he stated that he would end up better than the guards who had eaten the King's meats. It is interesting that Daniel knew that he would be just fine by eating vegetables. Daniel 1:12-1:15 Does this mean we all need to become vegetarians? No, I do not think so. What it does mean is that we can attempt to retrain our thinking in the way we eat and start moving and predominating our foods amongst the vegetables, the fruits, and the nuts while at the same time lowering our relative food portion sizes. We don't necessarily have to super-size. We don't necessarily have to grab all the gusto out of life from the food domain. Instead, we can choose to take better supplement nutrition, choose to exercise, and choose to proactively predominate the good carbs that are healthier carbs, and lower out the bad carbs.
Easier said than done in this fast food mentality society. But look at the results. Look at how our country is bigger than before. We as a country have moved away from vegetables and fruits as a whole, while the nutrition value of food is a lot less than before. We used to rest our lands agriculturally, and we now have more pesticides involved. Lev 25:1-5.
I remember watching in an all you can eat place and almost was horrified by what I was really seeing going on. For the sake of the good deal, and for the good taste of food, many of us have abused ourselves in this area. We have done it unknowingly and knowingly. We have been trained to eat by the media that we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Does it means its their fault, no. We have to take responsibility for our own health.
I will end with a listing of a few verses that may be of help to you. None of this is meant for condemnation at all but only for examination and perhaps effective proactive action. This article is for most of us, myself included. Its time to raise the priority on our health just a bit. Its time to focus and schedule time for this important activity.
3John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health; I know that it is well with your soul.
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
1Cr 6:19-20 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.
Proverbs 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
These verses below are a little tougher, but only for the sake of showing you some potential consequences and that we indeed can make food, our taste buds, our God. It does not mean because someone's overweight that they are making food their God, it just means that it is possible. It also doesn't mean we should go around making fun of overweight people. There are many reasons why people get overweight, some can be from a tragedy or personal trauma or deep hurt that will cause a person to compensate for this by turning to food as a type of comfort. Yet, it is Jesus who is ultimately meant to be our comfort, not food.
Philippians 3:18-20 "18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame-who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" Pro 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe [a man] with rags.
So it looks like it is a good idea to reexamine this food thing and what is going on in our country, and take note that obesity potentially can have detrimental effects on us, more than we may realize. It may be a very clever and subtle tactic that is being employed against us, and our lives. Food is a good thing, it was made by God for us to enjoy. Like the cocoa bean has been used to create those luscious chocolate desserts that we all love. Yet, food, which is meant to be a good thing and to be enjoyed, might begin to work against us, if we go about it unawares and do not handle it with care.
Hosea 4:6 "My people die for lack of knowledge...."
It is stated in scripture where Jesus said "My power is made perfect in your weakness"
2 Corinthians 12:9
Jesus knows of all of our weaknesses and how we can be overwhelmed by our weakness sometimes. This is why he says to Cast you burdens upon me for I care for you. As we lift our weakness to him and share it with him, He will help us in that weakness. He enjoys when we come to Him about our personal weakness. Jesus said to the elite Pharisees, that He had come as a Physician to heal the sick. Matt 9:12. Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely, He has carried our sorrows, and took up our infirmities. We have a merciful Father in Heaven that loves us so much that He gave up His Son to draw us to Himself and His kingdom. If is love is that great while we were or are in the world, how much more love for us does He have for us now, because we choose to follow Him. Would he not give us all things that pertain to life and godliness? 2 Peter 1:3
Many of us our crying out to Him to bring order to our lives and peace in this troubled time. Many of us are crying out for love. Father in the name of Jesus release your love to those thirsty hearts, those hurting hearts. Restore us Lord, Restore us. Thank you Lord. Touch us Lord, Touch us with your love and mercy. Thank you Lord, Thank you Lord.