Tag Archives: health

Just Do It, Because No One Else Can Do It For Us

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Photo credit: Martin Louis

This past Tuesday, I officially became a member of our local volunteer fire department. Although I am just a corporate member for the time being, I plan on taking an EMT course and becoming a responder. In the meantime, I can participate in some of the training sessions, one of which is a fitness program led by one of the firefighters free of charge. It has been great!

You know how you know you should be doing something, but put it off either because you just can’t get motivated enough or you feel like you’re too busy? After experiencing some knee pain earlier in the week that had nothing to do with the fitness training, I went to see my chiropractor. (They do treat more than back pain and back injuries.) He examined my knee, and knowing I have also had a history of hip pain, he raised his brow and imploringly said, “René, you have got to stretch. Everyday.” I had heard those words from him before. Then he explained that my muscles were too tight and were pulling on my kneecap whenever I put weight on it while it was bent. Needless to say, I was so grateful that last night’s fitness training was a stretching workout. I have been doing stretches everyday this past week, and although I am still experiencing some occasional pain, I have noticed a big difference. I had not been as diligent to stretch when it was just my hip, but having shooting pain in my knee when going up or down stairs, or simply squatting to sit on the toilet was a great motivator to start stretching daily. It’s better than having surgery, and I don’t want anything to hinder my new venture with the department and plans on becoming an emergency responder. Pain and strong desire are often good motivators.

You know the saying, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play?” Working out and being self-motivated reminded me of something the Apostle Paul had said in his letter to the Philippians. People, who believe we have to earn brownie points with God by being good and religious in order to get to heaven, often use what he said to prove their point. In Philippians 2:12, 13 Paul wrote, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It’s kind of like that phrase about the cat and mice. Sometimes it’s easier to be motivated to do the right thing when we’re around people who can motivate us. Sometimes when a good leader or boss dies or is away for an extended period of time, things can start falling apart. Paul was saying that the Philippians had always been good at following God while he was with them, but he was encouraging them to continue following God even though he wasn’t there to hold their hand. They needed to work out or exercise their own salvation, to exercise their own faith, because no one could do it for them. At the same time, he reminded them that God was still with them and working in them, so they were not actually alone.

Just as we will never reach any goals by waiting for someone else to do it for us, we can never be reconciled to God and be with Him in heaven through someone else’s faith. Sure, Jesus paid the penalty for us, because we can never earn enough brownie points, but we still have to accept Him as Lord and Savior. No one else can do it for us.


If you liked this, you might also like… You Can Do It!

Wisdom Wednesday: Sing, Whistle or Blow Bubbles

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One of the easiest and fun things we can do to improve our mood and health is to breathe. Have you ever found yourself breathing so shallowly that you were almost unconsciously holding your breath, especially in moments of concentration or stress? Breath equals life.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” —Genesis 2:7

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and all good things will be yours.” —Swedish proverb

As you may have heard or read, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” and while doing deep breathing exercises can help us feel better, there are fun ways to get more oxygen into our bodies.



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“Singing lightens sorrows.” —Spanish proverb


Play a wind instrument or just whistle!

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“Breath is the music of life.” —Indian proverb


Blow bubbles!

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Bubbles are like wet kisses floating in the air, waiting to pop and tickle the one who touches them.

Although all these things may not equal deep breathing exercises, they do encourage a greater intake of oxygen and can create a positive mood and improved health.  Blowing bubbles is also whimsical, relaxing, and can produce fun and entertainment when children leap and run to pop them. So the next time you feel stressed, take a moment to breathe.

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If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: Laughter


A Living Sacrifice

Photo/image credit:  Yoshi Esmé

Photo/image credit: Yoshi Esmée

Wisdom Wednesday: Pruning

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“…every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it might bring forth more fruit…” —John 15:2

Have you ever felt weighed down or overwhelmed by life?  Who hasn’t, right?  Sometimes it seems like the older we get, the more junk we’ve accumulated and need to purge.  Have you ever dead-headed flowers or pruned grape vines or rose bushes?  Have you ever noticed when you harvest some types of fruits or veggies regularly, the plant is stimulated to produce more?  A couple of days ago I noticed one of my houseplants had a few yellow and brown leaves.  It looked so unhealthy.  But after removing the dying leaves, when I saw it the next day, it looked so lush and beautiful, and I thought, “Is that the same plant?”  When talking about what our Heavenly Father does in the lives of His children to help us grow and become more productive, Jesus touched on the subject of pruning to help a fruit-bearing vine bear even more fruit.  One of the secrets to a beautiful flower garden is dead-heading— cutting off withering, dying flowers to encourage new ones to grow.  And one of the secrets to having a productive garden is getting rid of suckers— shoots that divert the plants energy.

“To the inexperienced, pruning seems a cruel and senseless waste of parts of the branch that have great potential. Despite appearances, however, pruning increases fruitfulness.”  —Grantley D. Morris

The principle of purging and pruning can apply to many areas of our lives as well.

• Cutting our spending can help us save for something we want and would enjoy more.

• Severing unhealthy friendships can help relieve stress, encourage positive growth, and leave more time to nourish healthy relationships.

• Cutting excess calories can help us become healthier and look and feel better.

• Purging data from computers can help the system and processes run better and faster.

• “…prune we must, for… it’s the editing that makes fair writing good and good writing great.”  —David Sheets

When God prunes us or when we prune things out of our lives, it can cause temporary discomfort and even pain, but the benefits are worth it.

“If you plant olives but do not prune the tree, your oil will be good for only donkeys.”  —Libyan proverb

Time to Cuddle

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Have you ever wished you could crawl up into God’s lap and cuddle with Him?  While weeding my garden at twilight last night, I observed a curious sight.  Eleven bumblebees seemed to be sleeping under my oregano blossoms.  I’d never seen anything like it, so I grabbed my camera, took some photos, and googled “sleeping bumblebees”.  Apparently, bumblebees don’t have hives like honey bees, and since they are cold-blooded and need to be warm in order for their flight muscles to work, they can’t fly when temperatures fall, so they must find a place to rest.  Because flowers provide shelter and a certain level of heat, as well as breakfast when they awaken in the morning, they choose to sleep inside or under flowers.

IMG_8839 bee.bum_smwThis morning I went out and found a sleeping bumblebee with its ‘bum’ sticking out of a hosta flower.  The sun had not yet reached it, so while other bees were buzzing around hostas just a few yards away in the sunshine, this little bee remained safe and cozy.  It reminded me of a nursing baby cuddled by the one providing it with nourishment.

I couldn’t help but think of how we can learn from the bee.  It works hard during the day, gathering its food and benefiting others at the same time, and it takes the time to find shelter and rest.  We were created to work and provide for ourselves and to benefit others, as well as to rest 8-10 hours a day and one day a week.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”  —Exodus 20:8–11

Let us take the time to take shelter in the Lord, our Provider, and rest in Him.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.   —Psalm 4:8

(To see more photos, click here.)

Wisdom Wednesday: Laughter

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First aid kit image: Ics9 (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/878051)

Have you ever felt really low and then felt better after being around someone winsome and positive?  Or have you ever been brought down low by someone negative?  You’ve probably heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  It is synonymous with the first part of Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  An Irish proverb says, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”  Sandra Galati, a fellow blogger wrote, “A troubled mind begs the attention of a hopeful heart.”  We can be the medicine that someone else needs.  Heard any good jokes lately?

Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.”  I’m sure you’ve experienced working with people who were always too serious and rarely laughed, made working a drudgery and brought everyone down.  But people who are responsible and have fun and laugh together make work more enjoyable and successful.  So if you tend to be too serious, lighten up!

The Ubiquitous Pomegranate

ImageLet us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.”  –Song of Songs 7:12

Of all the symbolisms the pomegranate holds, the most common across religions and cultures is fertility.   And like most religions, the pomegranate, too, seems to have originated in the Middle East and reproduced across the world.  Buddhism has a legend in which a pomegranate cured a demoness of an evil habit, the prophet Mohammed is said to have encouraged its consumption to ward off envy and hatred, and Hindus offer it to appease the goddess of retribution and justice. 1  It is a symbol of righteousness and fruitfulness in Judaism, and  Christians and Egyptians view it as a symbol of rebirth. 2   I find it fascinating that scientific studies have found the pomegranate to affect hormones, which in turn can have an effect on fertility and mood.  Not only that but ancient cultures also used the pomegranate medicinally. 3  I guess they weren’t as unevolved and unscientific as we’ve been taught to believe, especially since we are beginning to realize the amazing benefits of pomegranates once again.

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