Week 14

Faith: Obeying God

Almost every day, I’m blown away by God’s love for me.  He loves me even though I chose to ignore Him for my first 40 years of life. He loves me even though He knows all the things I’ve done.  He loves me so much that He reaches down from His throne to let me know He’s with me. When I think about His love for me, when I think about all that He’s done for me, I want to do something to show Him how much I love and appreciate all He’s done. 

How can we show God how much we love Him? 

Of course we can tell Him how much He means to us but what else can we do? 

"If you love me, obey my commandments” John 14:15

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-24

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” 1 John 5:3

From these verses in John and 1 John there is no question that we show God love by obeying Him.

You cannot follow His commands and be obedient if you do not know what His word says. It is so important that you read your Bible. We learn about who God is and how he wants us to live by reading His letter to us. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to grow closer to God read your Bible on a regular basis. If you really struggle with reading there are great online resources and CDs that will read the Bible to you.

When you read the Bible you will see more clearly the path God wants you to walk down.  God knew we wouldn’t walk perfectly on His path, obeying all His commands and that’s why He sent Jesus. 

When we realize we are not being obedient it is so important that we repent. Repent means to change the way we think and turn away from what we’re doing. We must pray and ask God to change the way we think so we can become obedient to Him in this area of our life. 

Are you doing something you know goes against God’s commandments? Are you caring for your body the way you know God wants you to? What can you do to ensure the changes you want to make in your life become permanent habits?

Food: Antioxidants

You’ve probably all heard the word “antioxidants” and know they are beneficial in some way but are a bit uncertain as to how they affect your health. Here’s what Mayo Clinic has to say about the best source for antioxidants: “Research indicates that simply taking antioxidant supplements is not the best way to go about getting what your body needs. In fact, it's possible that some of these supplements could be harmful. Fortunately, research is also increasingly showing that you can reap the potential health benefits of antioxidant intake by eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods.”

So often we want to take a shortcut to better health but once again research shows you need to take the time to carefully plan your menu to include foods high in antioxidants. Popping a pill is not going to do it.  

Here’s how antioxidants play a role in overall health. Many chronic diseases are associated with oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that occurs naturally throughout your body and in the oxygen-filled outside world (it’s what turns metal rusty and a slice of apple brown). Through oxidation, an oxidizing agent removes electrons from another substance, which can produce molecules called free radicals. In the body, free radicals are created when we’re exposed to hazards like too much sunlight, cigarette smoke and psychological stress and they can damage cells through a process called oxidative stress. In a healthy body, free radicals are kept in check by molecules called antioxidants. If there aren’t enough antioxidants around, the cells can suffer. 

Many herbs are powerful antioxidants, meaning they can hold back the damaging and disease-producing effects of oxidative stress. In fact, research has shown people who consume lots of antioxidant-rich plants have lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants interfere with the free radicals’ ability to attach themselves to cells, working as sort of an internal, cellular suit of armor.

Perhaps the best-known antioxidants are the vitamins A, C and E, plus the mineral selenium. You’ll find vitamin A in carrots, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes and spinach; C in citrus fruits, cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) and walnuts; E in sunflower and flax seeds (and oils); and selenium in nuts and grains.

Antioxidants show up in plants that you’d eat as whole foods, plus a few are in beverages and seasonings. For example, flavonoids are found in citrus fruits, chocolate (from cocoa beans), and tea; carrots and spinach are rich in carotenoids; and resveratrol. Another, polyphenol, occurs in blueberries, grapes, and peanuts.

Here are some of the top antioxidants from the Mayo Clinic Website:

  • Berries — Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries are among the top sources of antioxidants.
  • Beans — Small red beans and kidney, pinto and black beans are all choices rich in antioxidants.
  • Fruits — Many apple varieties (with peel) are high in antioxidants, as are avocados, cherries, green and red pears, fresh or dried plums, pineapple, kiwi and others.
  • Vegetables — Those with the highest antioxidant content include artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, red and white potatoes (with peel), sweet potatoes and broccoli. Although the effect of cooking on antioxidant levels varies by cooking method and vegetable, one study showed that cooking generally increased levels among select vegetables.
  • Beverages — Green tea may come to mind as a good source of antioxidants, but other beverages have high levels, too, including coffee, red wine and many fruit juices such as pomegranate.
  • Nuts — Walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds are some of the top nuts for antioxidant content.
  • Herbs — These may be unexpected suppliers of antioxidants, but ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, dried oregano leaf, cumin and turmeric powder are all good sources.
  • Grains — In general, oat-based products are higher in antioxidants than are those derived from other grain sources.
  • And for dessert — Don’t forget that a piece of dark chocolate ranks as high or higher than most fruits and vegetables in terms of antioxidant content. A small piece of dark chocolate, with a high percentage of cocoa can actually be good for you (I did say small piece!!)

Weekly Goals

Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals.  Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results.