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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings You Have As a Believer! (Blessing #19)

BLESSING #19: The Blessing of a Proper View of Health

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” (Albert Schweitzer)

In his book God Is the Gospel Pastor John Piper makes the basic point that “When you trusted Christ, you got God!” Absolutely. But what else did we “get” when we believed the gospel?

My friend Mike is as lost as lost can be (as I was before Jesus saved me). And he has got me to thinking about all that I have as a believer. So I’m making a list . . .
Our culture, it seems, is health-obsessed. Vitamins, exercise machines, weight loss programs, skinny photo-shopped models, plastic surgery, diets and diet pills, and multiple over-the-counter and prescription drugs all scream at us: “HEALTH! You must be healthy! Here’s a pill for this problem! Join this weight-loss plan right now! You don’t have to suffer with the heartbreak of psoriasis!”

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m grateful for advances in medicine, programs that help me live longer, and practical steps I can take to be healthier. I just wonder if we’re too addicted to better health than we ought to be. Has it become for some an idol? For that reason, I believe that we Christians —

19. WE HAVE A PROPER VIEW OF HEALTH!

THE BLESSING Of course we should make healthy choices in what we eat, how much we exercise, how we treat the one body God has given us for this life. But, for some, perfect health has become their god.
THE BIBLE What, then, would be a biblical view of health? Several principles occur to me: (1) We should acknowledge that our bodies are given to us by God (Gen. 2:7, 18-25); (2)  we should agree that our bodies are not our own (I Cor. 3 and 6); (3) we should take care of the physical part of who we are (Eph. 5:28-29); (4) we should honor God even in our “disabilities” (“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Ex. 4:11); (5) we should seek healing if such is God’s will (James 5:14); and (6) we should honor the Lord even in our infirmities (2 Cor. 12).

ACTION STEPS 1. We believers need to model a balanced view of health, avoiding either the extreme of neglect or the worship of our bodies. We believe that matter matters, that God made our bodies, and we should be good stewards of our physical beings. List one practical step that you can take each day this week to live a healthier life.
2. Read Romans 12:1-2 in a different version of the Bible each day this week and write out several implications for your health and fitness.
3. I have been greatly helped on this issue of matter mattering to God by reading Michael Witmer’s book Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life? Consider reading that book along with a friend and discussing it.
PRAYER 4. Sometimes unbelievers think we Christians care only about the spiritual. Share with your friend some of your concern about your physical health and how our bodies matter to the Lord. (554 words)

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2022 in blessings

 

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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 19)

If your lost friend were to ask you, “What’s the best part about being a follower of Jesus?”, what would you say? Of course, salvation would be the first answer most of us would give. But what might be the second or third matter you would state? What are some of the other blessings you enjoy which your unsaved friend doesn’t have? Yet.

We’ve already seen a number of benefits of being a Christian, but one that perhaps doesn’t occur to a lot of us is that of being able to take risks for the kingdom of God. For that reason, I don’t believe my unsaved friends —

19. THEY DON’T HAVE A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON RISK!

Life is risky, isn’t it? We’re not to live foolishly, but the very idea of living a totally risk-free life is impossible. At any moment in our lives we might become the victim of a crime, be overcome by an unexpected disease or disability, or be treated unkindly by our godless culture. These outside forces often pose great and unavoidable risks to us.

But can we put ourselves at risk? Should we? In his book Risk Is Right, Pastor John Piper makes the very critical point that it is better to lose your life than to waste it! What are the risks that a believer is free to make? Here are a few that occur to me: Sharing the gospel with the possibility of being rejected by one’s friends. Serving the Lord in far-flung places in the world where people eat what people were never intended to eat! Standing for truth when such a stance will lose one a promotion or even get one sued! Being faithful in one’s marriage even when one’s spouse has bailed out of their marriage vows. These are worthwhile risks that the unbeliever knows nothing about.

People in the Bible were constantly at risk. The Psalmist David frequently cries out to the Lord to save him from those who want him dead. The early Christians laid down their lives for the gospel — and thought such was a privilege! In Scripture we read of “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”(Acts15:26). The Apostle Paul refers to Priscilla and Aquila, “my co-workers in Christ Jesus [who] risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” (Rom. 16:3-4). In Philippians 2 Paul speaks about his fellow laborer Epaphroditus who “longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill . . . and almost died. But God had mercy on him . . . 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.”

We may pray like the Psalmist in Psalm 16, “Keep me safe, my God,
 for in you I take refuge” (v. 1). It’s not wrong to ask God to keep us safe, but not risk-free! We believers are blessed with knowing that this life is not the only one that is, that we might well lose our lives for the gospel, and that such a sacrifice will be well worth it. The unbeliever does not have this “blessing.”

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? Well, where might you or I be a bit risky in our witness for Christ? I need to show by my choices that my highest priority in life is not the preservation of my physical existence, but the honoring and serving of my Savior. So praying for oneself for courage might be a good start. (to be continued)

 

 

 
 

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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 18)

In his book God Is the Gospel Pastor John Piper makes the basic point that “When you trusted Christ, you got God!” Absolutely. But what else did we “get” when we believed the gospel?

My friend Mike is as lost as lost can be (as I was before Jesus saved me). And he has got me to thinking about all that I have as a believer. So I’m making a list . . .

Our culture, it seems, is health-obsessed. Vitamins, exercise machines, weight loss programs, skinny photo-shopped models, plastic surgery, diets and diet pills, and multiple over-the-counter and prescription drugs all scream at us: “HEALTH! You must be healthy! Here’s a pill for this problem! Join this weight-loss plan right now! You don’t have to suffer with the heartbreak of psoriasis!”

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m grateful for advances in medicine, programs that help me live longer, and practical steps I can take to be healthier. I just wonder if we’re too addicted to better health than we right now experience. For that reason, I think my lost friends —

18. THEY DON’T HAVE A PROPER VIEW OF HEALTH!

Of course we should make healthy choices in what we eat, how much we exercise, how we treat the one body God has given us for this life. But, for some, perfect health has become their god.

What, then, would be a biblical view of health? Several principles occur to me: (1) We should acknowledge our bodies as given to us by God (Gen. 3); (2)  we should agree that our bodies are not our own (I Cor. 3 and 6); (3) we should take care of the physical part of who we are (Eph. 5:28-29); (4) we should honor God even in our “disabilities” (“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Ex. 4:11); (5) we should seek healing if such is God’s will (James 5:14); (6) we should honor the Lord even in our infirmities (2 Cor. 12).

For my unsaved friends, we need to praise God before them whether we are healthy or sick, acknowledging our total dependence on Him for “life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25).

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I show by my response to both good health and sickness that the Lord is in charge of my life. And I pray for my friend that he would trust Christ with his body and soul. (to be continued)

 

 

 
 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Spiritual Health)

Okay. I get it. Calvin’s got his work cut out for him — finding that balance between vague and worrisome symptoms. Spiritually, do we take our own temperature? What are our symptoms of where we are in our spiritual health? What signs do you look for to judge your present condition?

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Church as a Rusted-Out Bus? A Metaphor . . .


We are not picking on the church, but when I took this picture of this old bus, I thought that some aspects of this picture suggest areas of the church that can improve.  I’ll re-post this picture in a couple of days with my thoughts.  (You might consider printing out this picture and having your Bible study or small group think about the needs and challenges of the local church).

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in the church

 

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“You Owe Me Nothing, Lord!”

So I have this condition, uh, gynecomastia, which I blogged about on February 17.  My family doctor wanted to make sure the condition is not caused by a tumor on my pituitary gland.  He ordered an MRI on my brain!

I went in for that MRI the other day.  I did not remember from high school Screenshot 2016-03-17 06.05.07biology where one’s pituitary gland even was, but I learned very quickly that it is in the middle of one’s brain!  (that little orange dot in the picture to the right).  An MRI is an amazing medical device that is a kind of cave you are slid into and for an hour you hear someone banging on pipes while the medical attendant is outside the room talking to you over an intercom.

After an hour in which I probably fell asleep 30 times, the medical attendant paroled me and sent me on my way.  The next 24 hours were really hard on my wife and myself.  Waiting for the MRI expert (who was probably the one banging on the pipes) to “read” the results and communicate them to my family doctor.

The next day I waited in Examination Room #8 for my family doctor to tell me the results.  He walked in and said “. . . no tumor.”  I was thankful he wasted no time in asking me about my morning, or my grandkids, or my tennis.  He cut right to the chase and said those beautiful words, “. . . no tumor.”

I thanked him and then immediately called my wife Linda.  I asked her about her morning, about her plans for that day —  NOT!  I didn’t even say “hello” — I simply said, “NO TUMOR!”  We rejoiced together and she reminded me of the various medical issues I’ve put her through in our almost 45 years of marital bliss.

I then sat in my car and said over and over again to the Lord,Screenshot 2016-03-17 06.31.54 “Lord, you owe me nothing!”  He does not owe His children good health or prosperity or freedom from worry.  “Lord, you owe me nothing!”

We pick on the younger generation for their “entitlement mentality,” and we are probably right to do so.  But us older ones — Do we believe that because we are followers of Jesus, He somehow owes anything?!  I’m reminded of a great quote by J.B. Philips (who did the Philips translation of the New Testament):

“Frankly, I do not know who started the idea that if men serve God and live their lives to please him then he will protect them by special intervention from pain, suffering, misfortune, and the persecution of evil men. We need look no further than the recorded life of Jesus Christ himself to see that even the most perfect human life does not secure such divine protection. It seems to me that a great deal of misunderstanding and mental suffering could be avoided if this erroneous idea were exposed and abandoned. . . . The idea that if a man pleases God then God will especially shield him, belongs to the dim twilight of religion and not to Christianity at all.” (J.B. Phillips, God Our Contemporary)

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in christian life

 

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My First Mammogram

Here I was. Surrounded by pink. Pink posters. Pink furnishings. Pink signs. The Women’s Imaging Center in the Lexington Medical Center. I’ve never seen so much pink.  I mean, I’ve always wanted to get in touch with my feminine side, but . . .

About a month ago I began to experience a tenderness in my right, uh, breast, which my family doctor described as a “mass.” I only use the word mass when I’m describing the Roman Catholic practice of communion. “We’ll schedule you for a mammogram,” he said.

Screenshot 2016-02-12 07.04.02I learned very quickly — thank you, Goggle! — that “the American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the United States for 2016 are:

About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed
About 440 men will die from breast cancer

Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been fairly stable over the last 30 years.”

Before I went for my test, I asked my friend to pray for me. Instead of just saying, “Of course, I’ll pray for you,” he said, “What should I pray for?” My obvious answer was that the diagnosis would be positive. Nothing to worry about. Just an anomaly. He said, “I’ll pray that God will show you what His purpose is now that He’s got your attention.” Great. Thanks.

“Got my attention?” I teach theology in an Evangelical seminary, for goodness’ sakes! But the next couple of days brought about a kind of self-examination that was healthy and vital. How can I best honor Him if the diagnosis is not positive?

The mammogram was taken (I’m much more sympathetic to what Screenshot 2016-02-12 07.02.03you ladies go through after my experience) and the doctor read it right away. As he came into the examining room, his first words were, “It’s not cancer.” That’s all I needed to hear. He said the technical name for it is gynecomastia, the development of breast tissue in men. It can be painful and some men get it so bad that they can no longer wear a seatbelt when they are driving.

I immediately called my wife — who has gone through a number of medical anxieties with me — and we both thanked the Lord for His mercy. As I got in my car, gratefully putting on my seatbelt, I said outloud, “Lord, you don’t owe me anything.  Thank You for Your kindness and mercy in my life.”

I recently read an article by the theologian Wayne Grudem entitled “I Have Parkinson’s Disease and I Am At Peace” (found here).  I deeply appreciate his godly attitude.

If you are in good health, thank the Lord for His mercies.  If you are struggling with some issue, remember that He wants to use you and me, especially in our brokenness.  Ask yourself some tough questions about His purposes for you.  Praise Him for His sustaining grace.  And, perhaps, even wear something pink today.

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in breast cancer

 

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