Lord and Tailor

Spiritual Prescription horizontalIt’s a New Year and so now’s a good time to break some bad habits and embrace change. It’s also been more than a week since 2013 began and I’m still “tweaking” my resolution.  I might have a problem with procrastination.

I also think there is so much “noise” with the pace in which we live that there’s hardly any time to make a plan, much less actually finish it. The first rule of plan making is to know your current state. Not only am I a procrastinator, I’m really good at story telling – particularly about my current state. So I have a Truth teller in my life to give me perspective.  His name is Jesus.

LT page_5O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down, you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, to lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 139:1-5

LT page_3Today’s journal pages are hemmed as a physical reminder to me of the work God wants to finish in me. He knows every part of me and the boundaries that He has set behind me and before me are there to protect and to guide. When I attempt to travel this life according to my own rules, I wind up with a lot of frayed relationships turned inside out.

This Psalm contains 24 verses that describe an unmasking of self. Those parts of us that we keep hidden, even from ourselves, are brought to light. This process reveals habit patterns and raw edges — our uncut version, remnant material.  Then by the grace of God, LT page_4Christ stitches together something beautiful, altering the shape and purpose for my life, creating a custom fit with pressed edges and a clean finish.

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works, if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Romans 11:5-6

Life’s tempo may be so frenetic that you haven’t taken a moment in 2013 to reflect on all the ways about you that are precious and uniquely you. I’m still planning to make a few changes. I hope it involves a kinder spirit, a slower pace, mending some broken things, and spending more time with my Lord and Tailor as He fashions something new in me that looks a lot like Him.

 LT page

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Eat healthier in the New Year

An Apple A DayIs your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier? If so, avoid fad diets or strict rules because they won’t help you reach your long-term goals. Instead, try these sensible steps from Healthcastle.com to change your diet permanently.

Fill the plate with colorful vegetables. Bright-colored and dark green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. They are low in calories and high in fiber, which makes them very filling. You will be less likely to binge on high-fat or processed foods if you fill your stomach with veggies.
Snack on fruits. Grab fruit, fresh or dried, instead of junk food when you feel like snacking. Fruits also are high in antioxidants and fiber and low in calories.

Avoid processed meat. Choose high quality protein rather than sodium-loaded processed ham sandwiches. High quality protein sources include fish, chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, nuts and dairy.

Eat whole grains. It is recommended for adults to eat three servings of whole grains a day. A good way to do this is by replacing refined-grain products with whole grain. As an example, eat popcorn instead of potato chips, or use whole-grain bread instead of white bread for sandwiches.

Stay away from highly processed foods. Dietitian Gloria Tsang believes highly processed foods are the real cause of obesity. She said frozen fish sticks have 12 times more fat than a natural fish fillet and chicken nuggets have four times more fat than chicken tenders. Fill up on wholesome, natural foods instead.

Additional healthy food options and other tips to encourage your children to eat healthy are found at http://www.westernbaptist.com/childhoodobesity.com

Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them in an upcoming blog. Check here each month for more tips and answers to your questions.

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Treating asthma in children

24-7-Nurse-4Does your child suffer from asthma? He or she is not alone. Asthma is the most common ongoing illness in children, according to Two Peas in a Pod medical blog. Many children may have one episode as a baby or toddler, and then outgrow it by age 3. Other kids will have asthma for the rest of their lives.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease that causes swelling and narrowing of the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles around the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swell. Asthma and allergies often occur together.

Asthma symptoms can start in infancy or adulthood. Developing asthma is genetic, but environmental triggers for kids who carry the asthma gene include cigarette smoke, animals, pollen, air pollution and strong scents.

How do you know if your child has asthma?

No one test can identify asthma definitively, including chest X-rays. The most common symptom is a cough. Other symptoms include nighttime coughs, labored breathing, wheezing or coughing after physical activity.

How do you treat asthma?

Besides avoiding triggers, parents need to monitor symptoms and work with the child’s pediatrician or allergist on the proper medication.

There are two basic kinds of asthma medication: Long-term control drugs and quick relief drugs.

Long-term control drugs are taken every day, even when there are no symptoms. Quick relief or rescue asthma drugs work fast to control asthma symptoms. Some of the asthma medications can be taken using an inhaler.

Call your child’s pediatrician if you think your child has new symptoms of asthma. Seek medical attention immediately if your child is having trouble breathing or having an asthma attack.

Phone the Baptist Health Line 24/7 at (270) 575-2918 if you have health questions, even if you’ve never been a patient at Western Baptist. Our nurses also can answer your questions here.

 

 

 

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Fingerprints

Spiritual Prescription horizontalThe fingerprint is such a wonderful mystery. Although man has used it for thousands of years as a unique identifier, how it actually forms is something that researchers haven’t quite put their finger on. Why do some people have arches, and others have loops, and still fingerprint image 1-1_3others whorls? Why is it that identical twins can have the same DNA, but do not share the same fingerprint?

The fingerprint is the single identifying feature we have that develops in the early weeks of pregnancy and remains unchanged throughout life (unless altered by scarring). A space that is scarcely 1 inch squared in a full grown adult, has enough information to uniquely identify every single person who has ever been born, or ever will be. This exceptional signature, formed in secret, distinguishes you as one of a kind. A sacred work.

fingerprint image 1-1_4There was a certain young girl 2000 years ago who had no idea that the very fingerprints of God would be formed in her womb, wrapping sacred in humanity.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

fingerprint image 1-1_2For an unwed mother and bewildered fiancé the circumstances couldn’t have been more inconvenient. This babe, born in a smelly stable, with no running water, and no crib for a bed, hardly looked like a newborn king. But, God. There is one thing I’m learning, when God decides to insert himself into a situation, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like on the outside. He is in the business of what’s going on, on the inside. And that’s a good place to start.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus the Messiah is the unique identifier of our Creator. In a way, He is God’s sacred fingerprint.  In turn, Jesus Christ has put his fingerprints on history, and the future, and the present, as believers across the world celebrate His birth. May you feel His touch this Christmas season.fingerprint image 1-1

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Will you gain dreaded holiday weight?

Can you have your diet and Christmas cookies, too? It is possible to have both without putting on extra pounds, but you may want to have a plan.

It can be challenging to eat healthy during the holidays. Americans gain an average of one to two pounds during the holiday season. Research shows that this weight sticks around for the rest of the year, but it can be avoided through moderation. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast, when preparing for a holiday meal. Instead, eat healthy meals and snacks during the day.
  • Include lots of fiber in your diet by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They are lower in calories, but satisfy hunger.
  • If you are going to a party, ask if you can bring a dish. Then, make it a healthy one everyone will enjoy.
  • If the party is at a restaurant, think ahead about what to order and select low-fat options.
  • Use a smaller plate for proper portion sizes.
  • Eat vegetables and salad before filling up on high-calorie entrees and desserts.
  • Eat slowly. Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds to see if you are really hungry.
  • After dinner, go for a walk or engage in any type of physical activity with the family.

With a little extra planning, you can enjoy the holidays without worrying about buying a bigger size!

Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them in an upcoming blog. Check here each month for more tips and answers to your questions.

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5 tips to staying well during flu season

If your children are in school, then you know they can bring home illnesses as often as they do homework. So, how can you help your child stay well during flu season?

Colds, gastroenteritis (stomach virus) and influenza are prevalent in the cold months. The best prevention for influenza for everyone is a flu shot, but you can teach your children how to avoid germs by using these five tips: 

 

  1. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or your shirt – not in your hand or not covering your mouth and nose at all.
  2. If you inadvertently do cough into your hand, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer before you touch anything, including yourself.
  3. Throw used tissues in the trash immediately. Don’t leave them lying around.
  4. Don’t eat or drink after others. (Wash dishes in the dishwasher when possible or in hot water in the sink.)
  5. Put hand sanitizer where kids can reach it and let them use it liberally. It’s inexpensive; they like to use it and it keeps their little hands clean.

Phone the Baptist Health Line 24/7 at (270) 575-2918 if you have questions about flu or any health condition, even if you’ve never been a patient at Western Baptist. Our nurses also can answer your questions here.

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Connect the dots

Jesus Christ came to build connection.  He came to restore the relationship between God and man. He came to bridge the gap between the past, present and future. Since he lived more than 2,000 years ago, what we know and understand about him comes from one of three sources:

  1. What others tell us about him.
  2. What we read about him in the scriptures.
  3. What is revealed to us supernaturally by the Holy Spirit.

Many believers reading this blog will mindlessly nod that the “hallmarks” of a Christian include talking about God, memorizing verses, and raising your hands in church (OK the hand raising might be pushing it for some, but you know what I mean).  But is it possible to have all three of these principles active in our lives and have no real connection to our Father? I believe it is. And I’ve come to realize that the most vulnerable connecting point for many Christians is that very few of us actually read the Bible.

Why is that?  If I have the conviction that the Bible is the inspired word of God speaking into the hearts of every generation, what keeps me from devoting a few minutes every day to actually sit down and read it? It can’t really be time related because I make time for the things that are important to me.

Honestly, it can be confusing, and we struggle to find a way to connect our #justtryingtosurvive life with biblical concepts. We’ll substitute with books about scripture, worship CDs, and podcasts of famous preachers – all great supplements, but they can’t replace actually opening the Bible, reading it, and then acting on it.

Until about 15 years ago – I was not a big fan of the Old Testament. I couldn’t make a whole lot of sense of it all, but then I heard a narration of how Jesus Christ is revealed in every book of the Bible. It awakened a desire in me to know this Jesus of the Old Testament. For the very first time I realized that even in obscure books such as Nahum and Zephaniah, the central message is about Christ. Until that moment, I had never connected the dots. And then it hit me – it’s all about relationship. If you think about it, a “connector” takes two things that are separated and it creates a relationship where there wasn’t one before. The Old Testament and New Testament are connected.

The watered down version of religion wants to sanitize scripture and conveniently leave out the message of Christ. So it won’t be, you know, offensive. But without Him – there is no connection. No relationship. The Bible suddenly becomes a collection of stories – some quite bizarre – with no real meaning or purpose.

I kept a copy all these years to remind me of the connectedness of the scriptures. The next time you flip open the book of Joel, or Obadiah, look for the relationship, and as you connect the dots, the image of our Savior will emerge in you. The closer you get to Him the closer you get to God.

Name Above All Names – From the album God With Us

God promised that he will never leave us or forsake us, and He demonstrated his faithfulness to us in Christ from the beginning of time…

in GENESIS, Jesus is the Ram at Abraham’s altar

in EXODUS, He is the Passover Lamb

in LEVITICUS, He is the High Priest

in NUMBERS, He is the Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night

in DEUTERONOMY, He is the City of Our Refuge

in JOSHUA, He is the Scarlet Thread out Rahab’s window

in JUDGES, He is our Judge

in RUTH, He is our Kinsman Redeemer

in 1 & 2 SAMUEL, He is our Trusted Prophet

and in KINGS and CHRONICLES, He is our Reining King

in EZRA, He is our Faithful Scribe

in NEHEMIAH, He is the Rebuilder of everything that is broken

in ESTHER, He is the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate

and in JOB, He is our Redeemer that ever liveth

in PSALMS, He is my shepherd and I shall not want

in PROVERBS and ECCLESIASTES, He is our Wisdom

and in the SONG OF SOLOMON, He is the beautiful bridegroom

in ISAIAH, He is the Suffering Servant

in JEREMIAH and LAMENTATIONS, It is Jesus that is the Weeping Prophet

in EZEKIEL, He is the wonderful Four Faced Man

and in DANIEL, He is the Fourth Man in the midst of a fiery furnace

in HOSEA, He is my Love that is forever faithful

in JOEL, He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit

in AMOS, He is our Burden Bearer

in OBADIAH, He is our Savior

and in JONAH, He is the great Foreign Missionary that takes the word of God to all the world

in MICAH, He is the messenger with beautiful feet

in NAHUM, He is the Avenger

in HABAKKUK, He is the Watchman ever praying for revival

in ZEPHANIAH, He is the Lord mighty to save

in HAGGAI, He is the Restorer of our lost heritage

in ZECHARIAH, He is our Fountain

and in MALACHI, He is the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings

in MATTHEW, Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God

in MARK, He is the Miracle Worker

in LUKE, He is the Son of Man

and in JOHN, He is the door by which every one of us must enter

in ACTS, He is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus

in ROMANS, He is our Justifier

in 1 CORINTHIANS, He is our Redeemer

in 2 CORINTHIANS, He is our Sin Bearer

in GALATIANS, He Redeems us from the law

in EPHESIANS, He is our Unsearchable Riches

in PHILIPPIANS, He Supplies our every need

and in COLOSSIANS, He is the Fullness of the Godhead bodily

in 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS, He is our soon coming King

in 1 & 2 TIMOTHY, He is the Mediator between God and man

in TITUS, He is our Blessed Hope

and in PHILEMON, He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother

in HEBREWS, He is the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant

in JAMES, it is the Lord that heals the sick

in 1 & 2 PETER, He is the Chief Shepherd

in 1, 2 & 3 JOHN, it is Jesus who has the tenderness of love

in JUDE, He is the Lord coming with ten thousand saints

and in REVELATION, lift up your eyes church, for your redemption draweth neigh. He is King of kings and Lord of lords!

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