My full legal name is now Deryl Garrard Williams Duer. Some of you may have noticed my recent name change, or more appropriately the rearrangement of my name from Deryl Garrard Duer Williams to Deryl Garrard Williams Duer and are wondering what’s up. So, why the switch? In all honesty, this is something that I have wrestled with for 24 years, and yes, there is a story behind it. This past weekend, I was challenged by my friend, PJ McClure, to think about and write about what it means when God changes someone’s name. The implication is that my name change, like everything else, was God’s doing. PJ is right, of course.
God is in the business of changing names. There are several times in Scripture where God changes someone’s name. It is always the result of a direct encounter with God and it always signifies a change in status for the individual.
Take Abram. God changed his name from Abram, “high father” to Abraham, “father of many nations.”. He was the father of many nations- God’s chosen people. He accepted God’s call on a journey without knowing the destination. He trusted God completely and generations have studied how his life impacted the world. How about his wife Sarai? God changed her name to Sarah. The old name Sarai “princess” was a statement of fact—an honorific if not a literal princess—but the new name was a statement of promise: the matriarch would become the “mother of multitudes”—including kings and eventually the Messiah. whereby she would become a real royal mother.
Then there is Jacob. Jacob means “supplanter, deceiver” but God changed his name to Israel, literally, “He has striven with God,” or “He has been saved by God,” So Jacob, the supplanter, became Israel, a prince who prevailed with God,
What about the Apostle of Jesus, Simon, who walked with Christ day in and day out. Simon was a fisherman who had a very common Jewish name, but Jesus had an uncommon purpose for his life and changed his name to Peter, “the Rock.” Although Peter was a flawed and excitable human being just like you and me, Christ would strengthen him and build His church on the foundation of Peter’s ministry.
What about the great Apostle Paul? He was originally named Saul, which means “asked for; or demanded” Saul “was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison,” (Acts 8:3 ESV) and was “still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1 ESV) when he had a life-transforming encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. So Saul was changed from a man who was demanding that Christians either repent of what he considered to be heresy or die as heretics, to a man who realized that he had no right to demand anything and who wanted only to ask “Lord what would you have me to do?” In other words, he went from being great in his own eyes to being small in his own eyes. After he humbled himself, he was exalted by God. We know Paul because he is one of the bestselling authors of all time. His letters, mostly written in prison, make up most of the New Testament.
So what does any of this have to do with my name change? My story is one of reconciliation. I was actually born Deryl Garrard Duer II. My parents divorced when I was seven and shortly after my mom remarried, my father vanished from my life. It would be twelve years before we had any contact whatsoever. That is an overly simplified version of what happened. Of course, it was not nearly that simple. Yes, my dad made his share of mistakes, but I learned after I was reunited with him that he had actually been trying to find us for a few years and had been convinced to stay away by my grandmother. But, to a seven year old boy, the extenuating circumstances don’t matter – all you know is that your dad is gone. I was fortunate enough that the man my mom had married, Kevin Williams, was a good man. He raised my brother and I like we were his own and eventually adopted us and gave us his name.The thing I remember most about Kevin is how protective he was, particularly of those who could not defend themselves, and how chivalrous he was. Kevin truly demonstrated what it meant to have a servant’s heart, finally giving up his life in the line of duty as a police officer to save the life of another when I was fifteen years old. It might not surprise you to learn that Williams is an English surname, a patronymic of William from the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil “will, desire” and helm “helmet, protection.” The name Williams therefore means, “Resolute protector.”
Which takes us back to the meanings of names. Names were very important in Biblical times, so much so that God changed people’s names to match His calling on their life. Our names are at the core of our identity. I have been very deliberate in choosing the names of my children for that reason.
What does my name mean? According to meaning-of-names.com, Deryl is a variant of Darrell. In English, the name Darrell means- Darling, dearly loved, from the Old english deorling.
Garrard is English (chiefly Lancashire) and French (Gérard): from the personal name Gerard, Gérard, introduced to Britain from France by the Normans; it is composed of the Germanic elements gar, ger ‘spear’, ‘lance’ + hard ‘hardy’, ‘brave’, ‘strong’. In English, the name Garrard means- brave with a spear.
Duer, according to ancestry.com is German (Dür), and is either a variant of Dürr (see Durr) or a variant of Dühr or a short form of any of various compound names, such as Dürholdt or Dürkop, all formed with Old High German tiuri ‘dear’ or Middle Low German dür ‘dear’, ‘expensive’. I choose the latter variant as that is the one that has meaning for my story. The nagging thought that goes through the mind of everyone who has been abandoned is, “am I worthy?” We spend our whole lives either trying to prove that we are or sabotaging ourselves as proof that we are not. Duer means that I am “dear”, “expensive”, “valued”. I have a heavenly father who loved me so much that He gave the life of his only Son to purchase me and to make me His own. But He did more than that – God restored my father to me 24 years ago. No relationship is perfect, but we have a very good relationship. More importantly, I know that my father loves me and values me and he has become a good father to me and a grandfather to my children.
Mine is a story of reconciliation and of destiny. God tells me that I am His dearly loved masterpiece and that he has already pre-ordained me to greatness (Eph. 2:10). He has reconciled me and my father. My name is a reflection of who I am. It acknowledges the strength of my adopted name and honors the man who raised me as I was growing up. From him I learned to be a defender and protector and to serve others. It also honors my roots and my heritage. It honors my father, whose son I am. I have inherited from him his drive, his focus, his discipline, his intelligence, his strength and resilience. The etymology of my name tells me that I am first dearly loved, that I am strong in battle, that I am a resolute protector, and again that I am dearly loved and valued. I am Deryl Garrard Williams Duer.
Oriental food can be among the trickiest cuisines to navigate for those of us who are trying to avoid wheat and gluten. Wontons and dumplings are wrapped in lovely little wheat-flour dough pockets… Lo mein noodles are made from wheat… fried dishes are battered in flour-based coatings…and the savory sauces and condiments used to prepare most every dish almost always contain wheat or a derivative thereof. But as my grandfather used to always say, “where there is a will, there is a way.”
This is a recipe that has become a huge hit at our dinner table! It is a deliciously exotic dish that the entire family loves and it is packed full of nutritious veggies!
Cook pasta in a large pot of water according to package directions.
Drain and return to pot.
Add 2 TBSP sesame oil and toss to coat.
If you are adding the chicken, heat 2 additional TBSP coconut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until chicken is cooked through.
Heat 1 1/2 TBSP coconut oil and 1 TBSP sesame oil in large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
Add carrots; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes
Add broccoli, cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, snow peas, zucchini, and green onions.
Add garlic, ginger, honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and chili-garlic sauce and mix well. If you are adding chicken, mix in the cooked chicken.
Simmer sauce 2 minutes.
Pour sauce over pasta and toss well.
Transfer to platter and serve warm.
Garnish with additional green onions, chopped peanuts, or shredded coconut, if desired.
Yields 8 side dish servings or 4 main dish servings.
**Chili-Garlic sauce can be increased or decreased depending on how spicy you like your dish or mixed with .
As written, this recipe has some heat, but is still edible for our children who are 8, 6, 4 and 16 months.
If you have a farmer’s market nearby, produce is often better quality at a much lower price.
The absolute best price I have found for Coconut Oil is at Vitacost. It’s less than 1/2 the price I have found anywhere else and the quality is as good if not better. It also makes really good homemade popcorn!
If you are looking for really good gluten-free noodles, Tinkyada is the best we have found so far in both flavor and texture. We normally buy it from Amazon, but in a pinch, we will buy one or two packages from Whole foods.
How many times have you heard someone say, “everything in moderation” to justify whatever unhealthy food they just put in their mouth? Or maybe you have heard someone say it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you don’t go over your allotted calories or points. After all, a calorie is a calorie, right? Yes and no. As a unit of measure of the potential energy a food contains, then the answer is yes. It’s like asking which weighs more: a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks. You’re thinking about that aren’t you? Obviously, the answer is neither, they both weigh a ton. However, if I ask you which you would rather build your house with you understand that they are fundamentally very different.
It is our responsibility to educate ourselves so that we know good from bad. Which is the point of this post. The single best thing you can do to ensure optimal health is to eat real, unprocessed whole foods and avoid these five worst “foods” like the plague. I say “foods” because these are not true food at all, but rather edible food-like substances. Even the most ancient wisdom warns us against eating “deceptive food.”
“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.” (Proverbs 23:1–3 ESV)
The following foods are so bad for your body that I cannot see any reason to eat them. Not only do they have absolutely no nutritional value, they contain high quantities of saturated fat, nitrates, sugar, salt and other toxins.
This shouldn’t really be a surprise. Doughnuts are fried, full of refined sugar and white flour and nearly all varieties contain trans fats. One normal-size doughnut has about 250-300 calories, mostly from sugar and are made up of 35-40% trans fat, with a minuscule amount of other nutrients.
Trans fats, found largely in commercially prepared baked and fried foods, have become notorious in recent years because they not only raise “bad” LDL cholesterol, but also lower levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol. High trans-fat intake has been linked to coronary heart disease, in which fatty plaques build up in the heart arteries, sometimes leading to a heart attack.
Furthermore, when foods are cooked at high temperatures, carcinogenic substances like acrylamide can form.
Doughnuts are tasty but they have no nutritional value whatsoever and are absolutely deadly. What is interesting about doughnuts is that they have high levels of carbohydrate which releases serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals associated with mood and pleasure. That’s why they are literally so addictive.
It’s too bad that Americans view doughnuts as a breakfast food as, nutritionally speaking, eating a doughnut is one of the worst ways to start off your day. It will throw off your blood sugar and doesn’t provide any real nutrients, which means you’ll soon be hungry again. Instead, try a plate of fresh seasonal fruit or even better, start your day off right with “the healthiest meal of the day” – Shakeology.
French fries are another extremely popular food that sadly some people try to classify as a “vegetable.” Seriously? White potatoes are bad enough when consumed in their raw state, as their simple sugars are rapidly converted to glucose which raises insulin levels and can be disastrous for your health. But when they are cooked in trans fat at high temperatures, all sorts of interesting and very unpleasant things occur.
Anything that is fried, even vegetables, has the issue of trans fat and the potent cancer-causing substance acrylamide. Animal studies have shown that exposure to acrylamide increases the risk of several types of cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers acrylamide a “probable human carcinogen.” It has also been linked to nerve damage and other neurotoxic effects, including neurological problems in workers handling the substance. While this chemical can be formed in many foods when they’re heated to a temperature above 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit), French fries and potato chips are the biggest offenders.
Foods that are fried in vegetable oils like canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and other seed and nut oils are particularly problematic. These polyunsaturated fats easily become rancid when exposed to oxygen and produce large amounts of damaging free radicals in the body. They are also very susceptible to heat-induced damage from cooking. What is not commonly known is that these oils can actually cause aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain. Furthermore, in the US, canola, soybean and corn oils are made primarily from genetically engineered crops, which comes with its own set of health risks.
Now, all of that being said, it is theoretically possible to create a more “healthy” French fry if you cook it in a healthy fat like virgin coconut oil. Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is extremely stable and is not damaged by the high temperatures of cooking. This is why coconut oil should be the only oil you use to cook with.
It has been argued that one French fry is worse for your health than one cigarette, so you may want to consider this the next time you decide to visit your favorite fast food restaurant.
Step away from the soft drink!! Twelve ounces of soda contains approximately 150 calories, 10 teaspoons of sugar, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup, anywhere from 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is loaded with artificial food colors and sulphites. Not to mention the fact that it is so acidic you can use it to clean off your car battery terminals. Imagine what that does to your gut! I can’t think of any good reason to ever drink it. The diet varieties are even worse, as they are filled with harmful artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose.
Studies have linked soda to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay and heart disease, yet the average American drinks an estimated 50 gallons of soft drinks each year. Plus, drinking all that sugar will likely suppress your appetite for healthy foods, which pave the way for nutrient deficiencies.
A 20-ounce glass of cola, which contains the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This is nearly three times the maximum daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association. HFCS typically contains a mixture of 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose (although recent investigations have found that many brand-name sodas actually contain 65 percent fructose!). Once ingested, your pancreas rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. The rise in blood sugar is quite rapid.
Here’s a play-by-play of what happens in your body upon drinking a can of soda:
Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream at an alarming rate.
Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.
After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a blood sugar crash, and you may be tempted to reach for another sweet snack or beverage.
Chronically elevated insulin levels (which you would definitely have if you regularly drink soda) and the subsequent insulin resistance is a foundational factor of most chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.
Lately, the media has finally begun reporting on the science of fructose, which clearly shows it is far worse than other sugars. Fructose is processed in your liver, and unlike other sugars, most of it gets shuttled into fat storage. This is why fructose is a primary culprit behind obesity—far more so than other sugars. If you routinely drink soda–regular or diet—eliminating it from your diet is one of the simplest and most profound health improvements you can make!
Potato and other chips
Chips are high in fat, high in sodium and good for nothing except weight gain, raising your blood pressure and increasing your waste line! One 225 gram bag has 1,200 calories (more than half the number needed per day) and 85 grams of fat (130% of recommended fat per day). To make matters worse, most commercially made chips, including corn chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, etc., are high in trans fat. Fortunately, some companies have caught on to the recent media blitz about the dangers of trans fat and have started to produce chips without trans fat. However, the high temperatures used to cook them can still cause the formation of carcinogenic substances like acrylamide, and this risk remains even if the trans fat is removed. “I estimate that acrylamide causes several thousand cancers per year in Americans,” Clark University research professor Dale Hattis is quoted as saying at sixwise.com.
Many also contain genetically engineered ingredients. Recently “natural” chips have become increasingly popular, but it’s important to realize that this means very little in terms of its health impact. A fried, genetically engineered corn chip is still going to wreak havoc in your body—even if it’s low in trans fat.
Hot Dogs and other processed meats
According to Webmd.com, the American Institute for Cancer Research says meats preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, or that contain chemical preservatives, are linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. These products also tend to have lots of salt, fat, and cholesterol, and very few nutrients, like fiber.
So there they are, the 5 worst “foods” you can put in your body. Avoid these and you will be well on your way to a healthier, happier, leaner you!
The United States is facing an obesity epidemic. That’s a fact. In the past 20 years, obesity rates have more than doubled in the U.S. and they are on track to double again in the next 20. Experts predict that by 2030 more than half of Americans will be obese with 13 states having obesity rates above 60%. This will result in millions of new cases of diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke and other chronic illnesses.
Sadly, those numbers are even higher in our nation’s churches. A 2006 study conducted by Purdue University Professor Ken Ferraro examined the relationship between religion and obesity. The study found that church members are more likely to be overweight or obese than the general public, and are by far the heaviest of all religious groups, led by Baptists at a 30% obesity rate, compared with Jews at 1%, Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7%. These findings prompted Ferraro, a professor of sociology who has studied religion and body weight since the early 1990s, to comment, “America is becoming known as a nation of gluttony and obesity, and churches are a feeding ground for this problem.”
Ferraro is not alone in his findings. Other studies confirm this phenomenon: A 2011 study conducted by Northwestern University tracked 3,433 men and women for 18 years and found that young adults who attend church or a bible study once a week are 50% more likely to be obese. Likewise, the Pawtucket Heart Health Program found that people who attended church were more likely than non-church members to be 20 percent overweight and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure. A 2001 Pulpit and Pew study of 2,500 clergy found that 76% were overweight or obese compare to 61% of the general population at the time of the study.
There is no doubt that excess weight poses a very serious threat to our physical health, but it goes beyond even that – we are greatly limiting our usefulness in kingdom work.
In a 2012 op-ed for FoxNews, Scott Stoll, M.D., observed, “The obesity epidemic in the church appears to be undermining the primary purpose of the church and its missions work by straining church budgets, decidedly absorbing money that would be spent on missions abroad, and consuming the time and energy of pastors and church members.”
Stoll went on to say, “The contemporary church culture has unwittingly contributed to the rise in overweight and obese parishioners. Today it is rare to hear a sermon preached on the stewardship of the physical body and even more rare on the vice of gluttony; it has become a secret and acceptable vice in the modern church.”
An “Acceptable” Vice
The truth is that what we wink at, God calls sin. Although some excessive weight problems may be related to medical issues, more often than not it indicates a spiritual problem. Food is not the issue here. God created us with both a need for food and the capacity to derive pleasure from food. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If we can honor God in our food, we can also dishonor him with food. The problem comes when we allow our desire for food to control us or to harm us.
Scripture condemns overindulgence in many things, including food. Proverbs 23:20-21 says, “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” Proverbs 23:1-3 advises, “When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.”
The point? Keep your appetite in check. Even if you have to put a knife to your throat. A reminder perhaps that if you indulge yourself you are slitting your own throat.
The Apostle Paul laments, “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Phil 3:18–19 ESV). We make our belly our god whenever our appetite dictates what we eat and drink regardless of the consequences to our health and the damage it does to our body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul also says that these people glory in their shame. In other words they boast about the wrong that they are doing. When we boast about our large size, or how we have built God a bigger temple, or that we will just get to Heaven sooner, we are glorying in our shame. We wink at our sin and cheapen the grace of God poured out at Calvary. When we do these things we are enemies of the cross of Christ and our end is destruction.
We easily recognize the health risks of smoking, alcohol abuse, and sex outside of marriage. We understand that it is sinful to engage in these habits and encourage their avoidance. But don’t you dare talk about our food.
You would be shocked to walk into your church on Sunday morning and find a full liquor bar or a table full of cigarettes, but would be greatly annoyed to not find your weekly fill of donuts, bagels and cream cheese, and coffee with cream and sugar.
For some reason we recognize that it is wrong to tempt a recovering alcoholic with his favorite vice while tables at potlucks strain under the weight of fried chicken, creamy casseroles, pizza, pound cakes and cheesecake. And let’s not forget the sweet tea you can stand a spoon up in. No fellowship is considered complete without these rich, decadent – and yes addictive foods. We are very literally “killing each other with kindness.”
Think I’m being over-dramatic? Think again. A recent RAND report concluded, “obesity is linked to very high rates of chronic illnesses — higher than living in poverty, and much higher than smoking or drinking.”
I am not judging here – I was as guilty as anyone of this offense. In fact, I was the one driving out of my way to bring fresh, hot Krispy Kreme donuts to our Sunday School class. I was also 274 pounds and had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes. Now when I bring food to a church function, it is both healthy and delicious. As Paul said, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Cor 13:11 ESV). We have to “grow up” and put away the immature habits that are destroying the body.
Desecrating the Temple
Scripture is absolutely clear on what God expects of us and the importance of taking care of our physical bodies.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” (1 Cor 6:19 ESV)
As obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., and in our churches, so do rates of diseases associated with obesity. In a research article published published in the October 27, 1999, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Center for Disease Control (CDC) director Jeffrey P. Koplan stated, “Obesity and overweight are linked to the nation’s number one killer–heart disease– as well as diabetes and other chronic conditions.”
Overweight and obese people are at increased risk for developing conditions like coronary heart disease (CHD), type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol/trigclycerides, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and other respiratory problems, several types of cancers, liver and gallbladder disease, infertility and even death. Not to mention low energy, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
We would be deeply offended if someone vandalized our church, yet many Christians are destroying the temple of God with high calorie-low nutrient food, overindulgence, insufficient sleep, and physical inactivity.
“I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. . . What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple ” ~ Oswald Chambers
Not only is our body a temple of the Holy Spirit, it isn’t even ours. We were bought and paid for with the blood of Christ.
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:20 ESV)
We are also told that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom 12:1 ESV)
Christ willingly sacrificed His body on our behalf, therefore, we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to him. John Piper commented on this verse:
“The point here is not to present to God your bodies and not your mind or heart or spirit. . . The point is to stress that your body counts. You belong to God soul and body, or you don’t belong to him at all. Your body matters.” ~ John Piper
In an article for the Journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wendy Ashley stated, “As Christians, we must take care of our bodies in such a way that we are physically prepared to do whatever God asks of us, whenever He asks it. Honoring the body means making a commitment to live a healthier lifestyle by carefully considering the foods you put into your body, making exercise a regular part of your life, and getting enough sleep.”
Not only is obesity poor stewardship of the body, it is also poor stewardship of our financial resources. In her book, The Real Cost of Living, personal finance expert Carmen Wong Ulrich estimated that the price tag for obesity is $6,454 a year. “Add together the higher annual costs of health care and medication ($1,429), wage discrimination ($2,500), travel costs (a conservative $25), and other lifestyle costs such as mobility and clothing ($2,500), and the cost of being overweight is around $6,454 a year, or $538 a month. Over a lifetime (40 adult years), that’s more than $258,000. And had you instead put that $538 a month in your retirement account, earning a moderate average of 6 percent interest, you’d have $1,082,675. But that’s without diabetes or complications. Consider those pricey add-ons, and you’re looking at $19,454 a year in total costs — that’s $778,160 over a lifetime and over $3 million if that money had been invested.”
Perhaps the thought has crossed your mind that we are only supposed to talk about “spiritual” things in church and that being overly concerned with the “flesh” is worldly or evil. This common misconception is rooted in an ancient heresy called Gnosticism or Platonic dualism, the belief that the spirit is sacred and the physical body is corrupt and inconsequential. This bad theology serves to perpetuate the problem and assists many in justifying unhealthy nutritional habits and lack of exercise. Scripture exposes this fallacy.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Th 5:23 ESV)
God wants to sanctify us entirely: spirit and soul and body. These three are equal and interconnected. To neglect any one of them is to be incomplete. It would be like neglecting one leg of a 3-legged table. Without all three legs in balance, the table will not stand, or at least it cannot be used to the full potential it was made for. Likewise, we cannot pick and choose areas of our life to give to God, it is all His.
Repentance and Healing
“Churches across America stand at a critical crossroad urgently in need of a decision to be a cause or a cure to the growing epidemic of disease and obesity. But in the midst of every crisis is an opportunity.” ~ Scott Stoll
In many other health contexts, churches can have a very positive influence. Ferraro noted that prayer, meditation and the social interaction found in churches can be good for people’s health. Likewise studies have shown that people who read the Bible more often have lower blood pressure. People who are involved in church are also less likely to be depressed. Most churches are also very good at encouraging restraint or abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and sex outside of marriage. If we can be a positive influence in these areas, we can certainly do the same when it comes to physical health. There is hope. We can do this!
In as much as we have contributed to the obesity epidemic, we can be an even bigger part of the solution. Stoll concluded his article by saying that the solution for obesity in the church is the Church itself. “Couple this with solid faith based teachings on health, stewardship, and a return to foods provided by their Creator and the church could quickly reverse the obesity trend and serve as a positive influence and resource to surrounding communities.” Similarly, Ashley concluded her article by reminding us, “the Bible addresses eating, indulgence, self control, self discipline, gluttony, and other related sins, we need to be able to address this topic in our churches without fear of offense. Congregations are blessed when their pastor encourages them to make changes in their lifestyles that will ultimately bring glory to God.”
Changing our eating and exercise habits isn’t easy, but with the help of God, it can be done. First John 5:14-15 says: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14–15 ESV)
We are also promised that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phil 4:13). I am living proof of that. God has given me a ministry to reach out to those who are caught in the same trap I was. Our churches and communities are filled with people who are suffering the consequences of neglecting and abusing their bodies, many unknowingly.
God wants to use us to bring healing to a sick and dying world (Matthew 10:8). As followers of Christ, we are uniquely equipped to battle this epidemic. We have community, proper motivation, and most importantly, we have the Power of God.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chr 7:14 ESV)
This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to choose what you will do with what you have just heard: 1) You can choose to simply ignore me and go back to whatever you were doing; 2) You can dismiss me as a fanatic; 3) You can take these words to heart and join us in the fight to save lives – and the first life you save may be your own. The ball is in your court. It’s your choice.
“Choose this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh 24:15 ESV)
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