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Faith and Health

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                           God is a God of Relationships                                                                                                                         

 God is a God of relationships.  He is always inviting us to fellowship with Him, to tell Him our worries and concerns, to pour out ourselves to Him.  It is in this closeness with Him, in this relationship I feel whole and filled with peace.  Yet lately, I feel like I am in some sci-fi movie where time is standing still and relationships are severed.  Lies, deception, and half-truths are flying at my brain faster than I can sort or make sense of it.  I am swirling in knee-jerk reactions and opinion laden conversations that leave my heart hurting and feeling isolated.  As I try and catch my breath and sort through the truths that I know are real: the virus is real, the virus can kill people, people are hurting, people are angry, and people are wondering what is next.  Yet, even more real and constant: God is in control and God is sovereign.  He knows the beginning, the end, and everything in between.  I am eagerly waiting, watching, and anticipating Him as he draws us to himself.  He invites us in to fellowship with him, to tell him our worries and concerns, and to pour ourselves out to Him. 

The Bible speaks of the wilderness. If you have sat and listened to at least one of these messages you could most likely relate to the times of testing, trials, and even intense spiritual warfare. You have probably felt like you were plopped right down in the middle of the scripture stories. In the old testament the Israelites were taken into the wilderness at God’s direction. In the new testament Jesus was taken into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, and as Matthew 4:1 says, “to be tempted by the Devil”. What? Why God would draw them there for any reason? Why does he draw or lead us into the wilderness as well?

Hosea 2:14 says, “Therefore, I will allure her, I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” But why? Israel had fallen away from her first love. Gomer, Hosea’s wife, had fallen away from the man that loved her. She returned to what she came from, harlotry and sensuality. Israel did the same. They started to follow the ways of other cultures around them. Gomer, no doubt, carried ‘hurts’ from her childhood and then from her years as a harlot , into the marriage. For her, her old ways were a sense of identity, they were comfortable, and the fleshly pleasures felt good. Israel did the same, running after those sensual pleasures all the while doing the “right things” God had commanded but with wrong motives and empty hearts. They forgot their first love. They forgot their relationship with a God who loved them.

God wanted to be the one they loved, the one to protect them, the one to care for and provide for all their needs. Did they see His provisions? Did they ask Him for what they wanted? Hosea 2:14 says “I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and I will speak kindly to her there (to reconcile her to Me).” He drew them to this place out of love for them, and in loving them there, without the distractions, all the ‘stuff’ would fall away.

Hosea found his wife on the slave block. Naked, afraid and probably embarrassed when he showed up. Everything that she knew as comfortable and “normal” had been stripped away and she was left with nothing. God instructed Hosea to, “go buy her back and speak tenderly to her”, don’t yell but speak tenderly. I envision Hosea running to his wife and in horror at her sight, taking off his cloak and covering her nakedness, carrying her home, bandaging her wounds and nursing her back to health as He lovingly cared for her. I am sure it was something she had never experienced before. This was her protector, provider, her friend and the lover of her soul.

Our culture and our world are full of enticements for fleshly pleasures, pornography and pleasures outside of marriage, alcohol and drugs, eating in excess, buying “things” to have the biggest and latest of everything and the list goes on. This is not judgement on anyone, just and observation in my own life and of those I love. It is often a slow fade and suddenly we found ourselves in this wasteland having wandered so far and then shocked at how we got there. The things which once gave pleasure only led to a deeper wasteland. Hosea lived out God’s message to Israel in real life but what a message for us today. ‘Things’ can get in the way of our relationship with God. The flesh cries out and demands attention and we find ourselves giving our heart to them. The devil is warring for our souls; our mind, our wills, and our emotions. Don’t let him have it, set your mind to war for what is God’s: your relationship with him, your mind, your will, and your emotions, and fight for your family. Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to “be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand up against the schemes of the devil. For we war not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, the powers, the world forces of this present darkness and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Gird yourself…and pray.”

Wilderness journeys are not fun. They can be lonely and God seems silent most times. In this time allow Him to strip away the things from your life that need to go. Repent and ask for forgiveness if He brings things to mind. As these things fall away the voice of God will become more clear and sweeter to your ears.

If you do not know this loving Father God, the Bible tells us that if we “acknowledge and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. We do not need to carry this stuff anymore. He wants to free you of all the things that wear you down.

Keeping with the Plumb line. Stay in scripture daily. Read it, study it and talk about it with others. We learn as we go. Keep the relationship alive. It’s a good thing. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.” Jeremiah 33:3 AMP.

Jesus is returning. Will you be ready?

 Go sit in your comfy chair with the Father for a bit of worship. He is good.  

“Clean” Cleaning

                                                  Juanita Byler                                                                                                  

Well, the facts are out. This virus is acting like a virus.

It hates a healthy immune system, fresh outdoor air, sunlight and warmer, humid temperatures. It dies almost instantly with alcohol cleaners and within 10-15 seconds with Clorox cleaners.

Biggest complaint right now besides being quarantined? Chemical cleaner toxicity. So here are a few “cleaner” cleaners that are easy, cost effective and effective in killing the current and other common virus’.

Homemade Cleaner: kills virus’, mold and mildew. https://oneessentialcommunity.com/homemade-lysol-disinfectant-cleaning-spray-essential-oil/

Homemade hand sanitizer: https://naturesnurtureblog.com/homemade-natural-hand-sanitizer/

Using essential oils of clove, citrus, cinnamon, peppermint and/or lemon balm mixed with your hand sanitizer adds fragrance along with antiviral benefits. I personally like Thieves (Young living), Ancient Fortress (Dr Axe) or Immunity Boost from Revive. I recommend thoroughly mixing all the ingredients before putting it in your bottle.

Foaming Hand soap: I have found this recipe to be better than that from the store. Most all soaps that foam and lather have Sodium laurel Sulfate. I have noticed a real sensitivity to it along with several members of my family and many other people I talk to. It’s found in toothpastes, shampoo and many other things. Vague symptoms of rash, itchy skin, broken skin are just a few.  Try this and see what you think.

                  1. Foaming Hand Soap dispenser. I kept an old one.

                  2. ¼ cup unscented castile soap.

                  3. 1 tsp Vitamin E oil, Jojoba oil or good quality olive oil.

                  4. 15-20 drops of essential oil as mentioned above.

                  5. 6 oz of distilled water. Don’t use chlorinated city                                  water.

Disclaimer: I did not come up with this recipe, however, I have tweaked it to my liking. Sorry to the person that came up with it. I didn’t keep that info in my files.

Hope you find these recipes fun, and helpful.

Our Struggle with Identity

Juanita Byler

I struggle at times with identity. Do you? As Christians we know “we are children of God”. Yet still, I struggle with how I am wired.

 I have always known I was different. I struggled where others did not. My personality is a strong one. Others appear be calm and easy going.  Relationships seemed to be more natural for them. I am opinionated and when I feel passionately about something, I want to tell others.  Yet, when I tell others, I find that they do not always feel the same way I do.  I want facts to go with thoughts and feelings. I ask questions, lots of questions trying to look deeply into topics that catch my interest.  Just ask my mother, I drove her crazy at times. I still ask lots of questions. My mind likes to process things in black and white, where others often process them in grey. I am driven to pursue truth that often gets covered up or glossed over. I’m not content until I find it. Is this a strength or a weakness? Trusting in God’s unique design, and that he designed me that way (Psalms 139) I am going to trust that He has made me that way for His purpose. 

In my quest for Truth in my identity and the shaping of me (and you).

I came to Psalms 139. It’s one of my favorite passages. I encourage you to read the passage yourself and personalize it with your name. Here are a few things that stand out to me.

Verse 1. God already knows my heart. The good, bad and the ugly and He loves me with a fierce intensity. Always a work in progress.

Verse 4. He knows everything I am thinking and what I am going to say before I say it. LORD HAVE MERCY! And He loves me with a fierce intensity. THANK YOU JESUS!

Verse 2,3,5,7-12. Regardless of where I go and what I do, He goes before me and behind me, guides me and places His hand of blessing upon me. He sees ME!

Verse 11. And when I mess up and I want the darkness to hide me, He is still there as a perfect Father loving me, forgiving me and walking me back home.

Verse 13- 18.The best part, well it’s all the best, but this is the uniqueness of me and you. David says of the Lord, “For You formed my innermost parts; you knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul (my mind, will and emotions, the inner man) knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being formed in secret, and intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were appointed for me, when as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].How precious also are Your thoughts of me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.” Do you see it? Read it again, and again if you need to until you see it. I had to read it several times until it melted my heart. It is the uniqueness of you, intricately and skillfully formed. It is like an artist that works with such creativity and detail to get it right and then stands back and looks at the finished “you” and says “it is very good”.  Genesis 1:27 says,” We are created in His image”. “We are His masterpiece.” Ephesians 2:10.

Always a work in progress, Verse 23-24, “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way”. It is my heart cry to be made more like Jesus. I can honestly say that I want people to see Jesus when they see me, not me.

Folks, I will be the first to tell you, I get things wrong. More than I like to admit. But God knows my heart. I gave Him FULL access several years ago, the good, bad and the ugly. We work on things together. I have come to embrace my uniqueness, my spiritual gifts, my wiring and the “other stuff”. God knew what He was doing when He created me. He knew what He was doing when He created you. He makes NO mistakes. He loves us!

I challenge you to seek out your spiritual gift, and the uniqueness of you. We want you, God wants you, the good, bad and the beautiful. You know the scars that you so carefully try to hide or are ashamed that they might show, take them to Jesus.  He will show you His scars.  He too has them. His are beautiful and so are yours.  We all have a story to tell. His is a story of redemption.  So is yours.

If you struggle with identity talk with Pam, Ivan, Max or myself. Any one of us would love to help you.

The God who sees. Where does He find you today? The Christ/God of the Bible is the One who said, “before Abraham, I AM”. “Before the day was, I AM”. He is “I AM”. “The First and Last, Beginning and the End.” Before we were, He was. “I AM, the God of compassion, the God of mercy, the God of Love, I AM.

What we need today is a fresh vision of the Deity of Christ. He is God and man who came here to earth, died, and now sits beside the Father in heaven. He knows all things, looks into the heart and mind of man and lays all things bare, even our inner secrets, and still He loves me and believes “in me”, in His perfect plan for me.

Nicodemus, the woman at the well, Mary the prostitute, Simon the leper, the woman with bleeding isolated and alone, Ruth and Naomi, David the sinner, the Centurion, Peter the denier, Thomas the doubter, Saul the murder; He still is the God who sees.

He gives identity and worth to each of us despite where He may finds us.

He is what you need today. “I AM Mercy, compassion, tears, joy, love and forgiveness.  A husband? A friend? He is the God who meets us right where we are. Talk to Him today. Release the “stuff” that holds you, for He is the God who sees.

Inner healing starts at the cross and continues as we come to know this God of the Universe, the great I AM, the One who sees.

https://youtu.be/sz81dIfwf4Y.

Deceit, Common Sense and Father God

Juanita Byler

What on earth do we believe anymore?! If you choose, you can listen/watch several news broadcasts and get several different answers. Some may have some form of truth but not all, some are just blatant deceivers and others try their best to tell us what is really going on. How do we know what is really true?

I have never been so grateful for 2 parents that taught my siblings and I how to think for ourselves. Not to believe everything we hear but make sure that what we hear is true, if not, throw it out, and make sure we use our “common sense”. Honestly, I used to hate hearing those words after a while, “use your common sense”. Really what they were saying was, “Think through what you’re doing and truly think through what you are going to say before you say it.” (The last one…I’m still working on.)

What does it mean to “think critically” and to act with “common sense”? “Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves the evaluation of sources, such as data, facts, observable phenomena, and research findings.Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information, and discriminate between useful and less useful details to solve problems or make decisions. Someone with critical thinking skills can be trusted to make decisions independently, and will not need constant handholding. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/critical-thinking-definition-with-examples-2063745

Common sense is by definition- “sound practical judgement that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like”, sounds pretty close to the same thing. I have been ridiculed more times than I care to talk about for trying to use “common sense” when judging how to respond to something. All my college training just can’t out-do good ‘ole “common sense” at times.

We live in such a crazy time. So much information, how do we sift through it all and try to make sense of it? Or do we just do what they say because they said it and even possibly do it out of fear? Before you jump ship here, let me say, that I am in NO way saying not to follow what the “professionals” are telling us. But I am a firm believer that at times we must ask questions and act for ourselves. And I’m not just talking about societal issues, but also issues of faith and even your physical and emotional health.

I have learned that asking questions really isn’t a bad thing. Getting more information and hopefully answers can alleviate a lot of fear and speculation. If your feeling unsettled, ask more questions.

As I wrote in the last article, fear can be a very damaging emotion. In the short term, it gets us out of a fearful situation- that is good. In the long term, our bodies will start to wear down. We start feeling physical symptoms of exhaustion and emotional breakdown, feelings of depression and anxiety creep in and a break-down of our intelligent immune system happens.

The Bible says, from James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” I love this promise. It goes to every aspect of our lives and to every decision that needs to be made. When our kids left home we gave them each a brand new study Bible with their name on it. I told them that everything that they believe will most likely be challenged. I call it, “finding your own feet”.  And when that happens, the Bible is the manual to go to with TRUTH that never changes it must be the manual for their life.

In closing, maybe this is a time to “find your feet” or as others have phrased it “find your faith”. We can’t get to heaven or find the grace of God in all that He is on someone else’s faith. Make it personal. Make it your own. Find out who He really is. If societal “norms” don’t “feel right”, by all means question them as well. Read what they Bible says about them, ask a trusted friend. Don’t just always do something because someone said so, at times that is ok, other times it can be dangerous. If you have questions, ask them. Read, study scripture, find a trusted Christian brother or sister who is willing to say the hard stuff and walk with you. Talk with a pastor of Christian counselor. No shame in that. I have talked with them many times and found them to be very helpful.

Our times may change but God’s Word will always remain steadfast and true. Are we digging deeper into the WORD of God so that when we immerge from this, that we are unshakeable and unmovable in an ever-changing world?

“Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

To press into Perfect Love, for Perfect Love casts out fear, is my prayer for each of you.

 

 

 

                Faith, Fear and Our Physical Body                                       

No Doubt we “are fearfully and wonderfully made” as it says in Psalms 139. This goes without saying, it is with every part of us, my physical body, as well as, my soul and spirit and how delicately inter-woven they are.

His natural design within the body for fighting disease is what we call the immune system. It’s a system of cells that fight and restore balance within the body in order to maintain health or absence of disease. When our body comes in contact with such things as parasites, bacteria’s, molds, virus’ to name a few, it starts a system of fighting. Every day it is fighting and you never know it. You may not have symptoms or you could have fever, headache, vertigo, nausea, vomiting or maybe even lethargy if it’s fighting hard enough. Fever is a natural and good body response to what God has designed to fight disease. Medicine now says that a mild fever does not need to be treated to allow its natural design for fighting. (Consult your Doctor for what he deems necessary for treating. Children are different than adults.) It’s a beautiful system when functioning properly.

Fear, terror, and panic can have a profound negative impact on our immune system and our body as a whole. God designed our bodies for the ability to fight short-term stress without ill effects. An example is of running from a wild animal. If you see or feel a threat, your body starts a whole body awareness of the need for adrenaline and energy-alertness of all systems. Your brain starts the process with the release of adrenaline, the rest of the body follows suit. You run from what is chasing you. Often, we hear the stories of crazy things people do during these stress events. Lifting cars, survival in crazy conditions, etc. That’s the amazing body at work.

When it becomes long-term stress, we start to see breakdown in the body; diarrhea, digestive tract  disturbances, skin eruptions, insomnia, lack of appetite, lack of energy, mood swings, backaches and headaches to name a few.  Our bodies can only take so much before it’s fatigued and tired. According to the American Institute of Stress a large percentage of doctor’s office visits are for stress related illnesses. That doesn’t mean stop going to your doctor, but to start listening to your body. It will tell you when you need a break.

“Stress is the body and mind’s reaction to any pressure that disrupts their normal balance. It occurs when our perceptions don’t meet our expectations and we don’t manage the reaction to the disappointment. Stress, that unmanaged reaction, expresses itself as resistance, tension, strain, or frustration, throwing off our physiological and psychological equilibrium and keeping us out of sync. If disturbed long enough the stress becomes disabling. We fade from overload, feel emotionally shut down, and eventually sick.” (Doc Childre and Howard Martin, stress researchers.). Listen to your body, unplug for a while, listen to some music, get your brain and body to slow down.

 

Faith- How does our faith overcome the fear?

We live in a very interesting time to say the least. It has been said “that we are at war”. No doubt! I was reminded of several Bible verses recently as I was thinking and praying, Psalms 91. I encourage you to read the whole chapter but I will talk about a few here. V4-6: “He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions,and under His wings you will find refuge;His faithfulness is a shield and a wall.You will not be afraid of the terror of night,Nor of the arrow that flies by day,Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon.”

 

How do we get there? Not fearing? God told Moses and the children of Israel that if they kept God at the forefront of their lives, staying committed to Him, that this was the promise. (read Exodus 15:26). Friends, He is our shield! We need not fear!   2 Timothy 1:7 says, (AMP) ”For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].”

Settle in to Perfect Love, “for Perfect Love casts out fear”. (1 John 4:18)

We do what we can, using what we have and let the rest to Him. What an awesome promise!

Keep your eyes and mind on Him, eat well, get fresh air, run around with your kids, take walks, love one another and pray for those in authority over us.

We ALL will get through this. Rise up church! We have been called for “such a time as this”.

 

 

     Simple Ways to Boost Your Immune System                          

God in His infinite wisdom knew what our bodies would need to help us fight off virus and bacteria. Our bodies fight things every single day that we know nothing about. Science has identified millions of bacteria in our guts that are healthy and help with the immune system, digestion and brain health. They also fight off bad things that get into our guts keeping us from disease. They have discovered that there is a very delicate balance that must remain in the gut for good overall health. An imbalanced lifestyle, diet and over use of antibiotics, and we will start to witness a breakdown in the body. Ways to keep our immune systems functioning at full speed are simple.

Foods

  1.      Eat fresh fruits and veggies every day and at every meal.

  2.      Eat meats and proteins with every meal.

  3.      Eat complex carbs instead of simple carbs. Like sweet           potatoes, and whole grains. Brown rice instead of white       rice. If your jaw isn’t tired with a piece of bread, it                     doesn’t have enough whole grains.

  4.      Restrict sugar and simple carbs like candy, cake,                     cookies and sugary drinks.

  5.      Limit refined foods, eating more fresh foods.

  6.      Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water a day.                * This is very important

  7.      Limit caffeine- it can dehydrate the body.

Activities

  1.      Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

  2.      Get your body moving during the day. At least 30 mins         a day for those that have sedentary jobs and school.

  3.      Get outside in the fresh air and sunlight. Show some             skin, (without sunscreen BUT do not burn the skin) for           at least 15 mins a day. The sun gives our body the things       it needs for cell function and Vitamin D synthesis that           helps with immune health as well as brain health.

  4.      Spend time “unplugging” from the world and its chaos. 

  5.      Spend time with family.

  6.      Spend time with God each day. Science has shown that       those that spend time in quiet Bible reading and prayer       are more at peace and contented.

  7.      Be an optimist. If the cup looks 1/2 empty to you,                     challenge yourself to see it as 1/2 full. Re-train your brain.       It is possible. Optimist are more contented and at                   peace, happier and generally healthier people.

Supplements

  1.      Take a good clean multivitamin

  2.      Take vitamin C 500 mg daily during the winter seasons.

(As always, before taking any vitamin or supplement, talk with your doctor.)

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Info

WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR:

  1. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 AND DEVELOP ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS, CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. SYMPTOMS MAY APPEAR 2-14 DAYS AFTER INITIAL EXPOSURE
  •       - Fever
  •       - Cough
  •       - Shortness of breath
  1. IF YOU ARE HAVING ANY OF THESE EMERGENCY WARNING SIGNS OF COVID-19 CALL 911

                  - Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

                  - Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

                  - New confusion or inability to awake

                  - Bluish lips or face

                  - THIS LIST IS NOT INCLUSIVE

If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

COVID-19 AND CHILDREN

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.

How to protect yourself and others:

  1. Cover your mouth and nose with coughing and sneezing.
  2. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
  3. Avoid touching face
  4. Keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others
  5. If you are sick, please stay at home. Self-isolate and use a separate bathroom is possible. Wear a mask if you are out with others.

CLEANING

Clean with a simple solution of bleach and water.

To make a bleach solution, mix:

  5 T bleach/ gallon water

OR

4 tsp bleach/ quart of water

______________________

 

Here is the CDC FACT page that has more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/share-facts.html

 

If you are sick, check out this site for information and instructions:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html