Sunday, February 17, 2013

Biblical Inspiration: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I first started this blog a few years ago, I was inspired to name my blog "Our Bodies, God's Temple" for a reason.  It came from scripture written in the new testament by the apostle Paul.
"16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. -  1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NIV)"
Just to think back, in the old testament, the temple was a building.  A place of worship.  A beautiful place in which God dwelled.  In the new testament, a new covenant was given to God's people.  The Holy Spirit was sent to dwell with in us.  Our own bodies.  This scripture has been commonly used to encourage people to "be healthy."  And yes, I am encouraging a lot of that in my blog, but that is not what this scripture is really talking about.

In the context, this scripture is about the new covenant that God made with us.  The temple was defiled and the church did not have a place of meeting other than homes of other Christian believers. When Jesus came, He gave us a new promise that He would be with us wherever we are.  Because of Christ, the Holy Spirit now dwells within us and is always with us.  He is no longer confined to a building.

In this passage, Paul is also warning us about false teachings.  Be careful what it is that you hear from your leaders.  Growing up, I have heard time and time again that it is ALWAYS good to question the message of your leaders of the church.  I don't mean that we need to be chastising them every time that they may preach something that may be contradicted by another passage of the bible that may have been overlooked.  Their jobs are really tough and they are, after all, human.  But because they are human, that means that sometimes they do make mistakes.  While we hope and pray that the messages they preach are inspired by God, it is always good to go back over the scriptures that they preached on and make sure that the message is consistent with what the rest of the bible teaches us.  However, there are people out there who intentionally use scripture for their own purposes, and Paul is saying that God will destroy anyone who brings down His temple.

Today, in our highly literate society, we can be thankful that we have the ability to study scriptures for ourselves.  In bible times, they did not all have that capability, or the resources, for that matter, to study scriptures for themselves.  As the new testament came about, people were becoming more educated.  Now, we have bibles written in hundreds of different languages allowing God's children to study the scriptures for themselves.  Many of us take that for granted.  With that being said, we are more at risk of hearing false teaching, but the advantage is that we can study the scriptures ourselves and not have to depend on someone else who has been educated to interpret it to us.

There are many scriptures that do speak about how we should take care of ourselves.  This is not really one of them.  However, if we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, we will see the results by our fruits, will we not?  God will be able to change our whole being, making us more fit to serve Him.  So much I want control over my body, but this body is not meant for me.  It is meant for Him.  If we allow Him to have that control, we will have the desire to want to be more healthy, less stressed, develop good relationships, and more knowledgeable of Godly things.  As I continue to write in this blog, my hope is that I can encourage you in these areas of your life.

If you would like to study this passage more for yourself, I found some sermon notes that I thought were very insightful and encouraging. Check out:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Relationships: Valentine's All Year Round!

I do love the concept of Valentine's Day.  A day meant for LOVE.  However, I think there are problems with simply having ONE day devoted to LOVE.

For one, the expectation is that our loved ones will go above and beyond, only to sometimes experience disappointment because they did not meet the expectation.

Two, why should we only celebrate love just one day a year?  Or two days, if you count sweetest day?  God commands us to love one another.  Not just one day a year, but all year round.

What is your LOVE life like?  I don't mean just with your significant other.  I mean also with your family and friends, even your enemies.  After all, didn't Jesus also say that we must LOVE our enemies?  Sometimes loving the people in our lives can be draining, but with God we have the capability to love so much more.  It just pours out of us. Are you showing the people in your life how much you love them everyday through your actions?

Over the past year, I have had the privilege of working with teenagers.  As much as I love it, I can also see how much hate and lack of love there is among them and how destructive it is.  If you are heading down a destructive path, you do have a choice to make a change.  God promises to be by our side all the time, if we let Him.  Even if you don't have a spouse, their are many others who you could love.  As mentioned before, God COMMANDS us to LOVE one another and Himself.  If you have no one to love, let God be your LOVE.

I would like to mention that there are also health benefits to LOVE.
  1. Helps Improve Immune System - Engaging in positive conflict resolution actually improves your immune system.  However, if you tend to stonewall or retreat from conflict without resolving it, you could actually be damaging your immune system.  I think of the verse Ephesians 4:26 where it says, "In your anger, do not sing.  Do not let the sun go down on your anger."  
  2. You may become more physically fit - Couples who workout together tend to workout harder and they tend to stick with it.  Walking is a fantastic way to spend time together and get fit and be able to stick with it.  
  3. You may live longer - studies have shown that married couples have more longevity.  They experience less stress when they are in a committed  healthy relationship.  Ephesians 5 shows us how to be in a healthy relationship.
  4. Clearer skin - Believe it!  If you are in a happy relationship, you have less cortisol which means less acne and clearer skin.  That's something new to me.
  5. Improves Heart Health - When you are less stressed, your heart is much healthier.  When you are in an unstable relationship or are even widowed, there is a higher risk for heart disease.
  6. Reduce feelings of pain - Both physically and mentally.
  7. It Heals Wounds - There was actually a study done on patients that had blisters.  Those who had a good loving relationship in their life actually healed 2 days faster than those who did not.  So when you are ill, you want your loved ones nearby to help with your healing. "In sickness and in health. . ."  Turning away from them for selfish reasons such as your desire to protect others may actually hurt you as well as your loved ones.  Let them be there to comfort and love you in any way they can.
  8. Better Brain Health - All kinds of relationships can help in this area.
  9. There is actually a Cuddle Hormone - It's called oxytocin and it helps lower blood pressure.
Ok, so there is not direct linkage to weight loss, but my experience has been that when you have less stress in your life, it won't be long before you see those pounds start to melt away.  This year, challenge yourself to find ways to love someone in your life every single day.  Not just on Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rest: Don't Worry!

Worry is defined as a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.  While in many cases, we may have some control over the outcome of situations, that is not the case in everything. 

One morning, you may get up and realize that snow was just dumped on by snow while you were asleep in your cozy bed.  You do your best to rush through your morning routine so that you can attend to your driveway just enough so that you can get in your car early enough to get on the road and head to work.  You have a meeting first thing when you get there and no matter what the circumstances are, this meeting just cannot be cancelled according to your boss.  While on your way, you usually make a stop at the local coffee shop to buy a little pick me up latte.  Today in your rush, as the server hands you your drink you manage to fumble and drop it right on your lap.  Of course, you do have a set of clothes that you do keep with you in case something like this happens, but there is just no time to change.  You do your best to wipe yourself off with the napkins and hope that the neutral tones of your clothing will hide the spill enough for people to not notice.  You get back on the road and half way there, you come to a train crossing and the arm is down.  But there is no train.  You sit for a few minutes and still, no train.  It turns out that the arm is stuck and you have to wait for repair men to come and fix it and there is no way to turn around.  . . .   The story goes on.

Now your days may not always look like this but, stuff like this happens.  You may be able to avoid the coffee spilling in your lap if you didn't worry so much about arriving to work on time, but the snow dumping on your house or the train crossing arm, you have no control over that.   Yet often times we experience that word worry.  While it can be beneficial in some cases causing our adrenaline to kick in and put us in to action, like when your child falls out of a tree and breaks there arm, or a giant bear is coming after you, in our everyday lives, it can cause serious damage to our bodies.  If you cannot learn to control your worrying, you could experience many mental and physical symptoms such as:

  1. Anxiety Disorder
  2. Panic Disorder
  3. Social Anxiety
  4. Distress
  5. Disability
  6. Difficulty Swallowing
  7. Dizziness
  8. Dry Mouth
  9. Fast Hearbeat
  10. Fatigue
  11. Headaches
  12. Inability to Concentrate
  13. Irritability
  14. Muscle Aches
  15. Muscle Tension
  16. Nausea
  17. Nervous Energy
  18. Rapid Breathing
  19. Shortness of Breath
  20. Sweating
  21. Trembling
  22. Twitching
Some severe consequences could be:
  1. suppression of the immune system
  2. digestive disorders
  3. muscle tension
  4. short-term memory loss
  5. premature coronary artery disease
  6. heart attack
Of course, these are all things that we want to avoid when at all possible.  I bring up this topic today because I know for me that it is a huge struggle each day.  It is easy for me to want to have control over each thing that happens in my life, but sometimes, there is just nothing I can do.  The only one who can help me in those moments is God because He IS in control.  I often have to remind myself of His control through scripture.  A few verses that come to mind are:

". . . Be still and know that I am God. . ." Psalms 46:10

"Cast all your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalms 55:22

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"Come to meall you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

God is in control and He can give you rest.  Rest is a very important part of taking care of your body, and if you cannot give your worries to God, you will certainly have a hard time being able to rest.  You are also causing your body stress on top of it.  Releasing hormones such as cortisol causing your waistline to increase in size therefore making you more susceptible to a number of other symptoms and diseases.  Take care of what God has given you and let Him do the worrying when you cannot control something.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Exercise: ZUMBA!!

Over the summer, I had an opportunity to try a variety of different exercise programs.  One of my favorites is Zumba.  If you have not tried it, for those of you that love to dance, it is a MUST! Zumba is a high intensity workout containing mostly Latin style dancing, but they throw in a few other styles to add a little fun.  If there is any exercise that will burn the fat off of you in just a matter of time it is Zumba.  My first few sessions, I burned about 800 calories each time.  They were about 50 minutes to an hour long sessions.  My body was cooking.  What was great about it is that I didn't even realize that I was burning that much.  If you are looking for a fun cardio workout, check this one out.

Huffington Post lists 12 Benefits of Zumba that I would like to share:

1.   Huge Calorie Burn I mentioned that I burned 800 calories, on HP, one participant mentioned burning more than 1,000 calories
2.   Total Body Toning  You certainly move parts of your body that you forgot even existed. Good way to give it a workout.
3.   It Keeps You Coming Back  For someone who certainly enjoys dancing, this is most certainly true.  It is well worth it each time you go.
4.   Amazing Results  One participant claims to have lost 75 lbs just doing Zumba.  That's just one!  
5.   It Works For All Ages  Ok . . . maybe you wouldn't want to take your toddler with, but your school age kids are most certainly welcome.  They can just skip the weights. :)
6.  Get Stress Relief  With all the fun you will have and the release of endorphin, how could you feel stressed?
7.   Can Be Adapted For Any Fitness Level  . . . Or ability level.  Ha ha ha.  I don't know about you, but sometimes my body is just not as coordinated as dancers who have been professionally trained.  You can take it slow, start with your feet and once you get that down you can add in the arms, increasing your intensity as you go.  The bigger the movements, the more the intensity.  Just be careful not to do the movements out of form and hurt yourself. :)
8.   If Goes By Fast  When your having fun, time always flies!
9.   It's Social  You can meet your friends there or bring your family for a bonding experience.
10. Gives You More Awareness of Your Body  As mentioned, you'll move parts of your body that you forgot even existed and you will feel it later.
11. You Can Always Find A Class  They are everywhere.  An old friend of mine is a Zumba instructor near my home.  To find out where there is a class near you, check out
12. It Makes People Happy  There are those endorphins again.  Gotta love 'em!

If you would like to check out more about this article, you can look it up at

Leaving your home not desirable to you?  There are also DVDs and games that you can play.  I've tried the Kinect version and enjoyed it.  I hope that you have a chance to try it if you haven't.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Food: Oat Bran with Berries & Yogurt for Breakfast

When you are thinking about your meals, you want to make sure that they are well balanced.  A good combination of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.  You also want to make sure when you start your day that you have a good source of fiber.  The protein helps you to feel satisfied for a longer period of time because of how slow your body processes it.  Fiber helps your body to move things along, if you know what I mean. The Oat Bran that I use is Bob's Red Mill Organic High Fiber Oat Bran Hot Cereal.  It contains 7g of dietary fiber as well as 7g of protein.

For the berries, I typically use blueberries and strawberries.  Both are loaded with antioxidants, which are great for building up your immune system.  Not to mention many other vitamins.  I have also heard that strawberries burn as many calories as are consumed.  Great benefit!  I typically will buy these berries frozen, especially during their off season.  The beauty of buying frozen fruit is that it contains more nutrients then fruits found in the produce aisle or in a can.

The last ingredient is vanilla yogurt.  I'd love to be able to avoid sugar and sweets, but growing up I could not handle eating oatmeal without having a gag reflex.  It is something that I have had to learn to eat.  I know the health benefits and that has helped.  I add vanilla yogurt, not just for the sweetness of it, but also for the probiotics.  The probiotics in yogurt help the digestive system to work better.  You are welcome to try this recipe with plain yogurt.  The less sugar content, the better it will be for you.  One of my favorite brands of yogurt is Stoneyfield organic.  Be careful, there are many brands of yogurt out there that contain the words "light."  They are promoted by some shows that promote health, but don't be fooled.  There are healthier options out there for your body.  Many of the big or popular names contain chemicals, HFCS, or sweetners which are proving to not be as healthy as companies are claiming them to be.  Some of our food companies are starting to realize that their consumers are smart and are trying to make changes.  The point is to read the labels.  Know what you are putting in your body.

So, after all of that, here's the recipe:

1 cup of water
1/3 cup of oat bran
5-6 strawberries
1/4 cup of blueberries
6 ounces of vanilla or plain yogurt

In a medium pot, add water and berries.  Bring to a boil.  Add oat bran and reduce heat.  Continue to stir as it cooks until it reaches the consistency that you like.  Put in a serving bowl.  Add the yogurt and stir.  Bon appetit!

To some of you, this may look gross at first, but it is worth a try.  Hope you enjoy it!  If it doesn't suite your taste, you could always add honey or try a different fruit with it.  Let me know what you think. :)