The Need To Detox In A Toxic World

Health

(FreeImages.com/MonicaMyers)

“Leaky gut” has become one of the latest buzz words in the health community.  The official term for “leaky gut” is intestinal permeability.  Thanks to recent studies from notable sources, such as WebMD and John Hopkins, more awareness has been raised as to the validity of this concept and its effects upon our lives.

I encouraged my fifth-grade son to write a research paper on “leaky gut.”  We have suspected for a little while that he has this issue.  I thought, rather than trying to tell him why he needs to adjust his dietary habits and creating frustration, that I should educate him as to what is happening in his body, why, and then to find the solutions.

During our research, the thought that was impressed upon my heart was that we live in a toxic world.  We feed toxic foods into our bodies.  We externally apply toxic chemicals to our bodies.  We are surrounded by toxic chemicals in our environments.  Living in this world makes it impossible to fully avoid the toxicity.

Our bodies though are amazing organisms that are able to handle a lot of the junk — particularly if good foods and nutrients are being fed back into the body and if regular detoxing is occurring.

Research has led me to conclude that detoxing is necessary to the body’s ability to heal and defend itself against the harmful effects of toxicity.

I couldn’t help but think how this applies to our lives spiritually as well.  We live in a world that is toxic.  Deception, imitation, hatred, pride, bitterness, greed, and every evil thing we can imagine does occur in this world.  We may try to avoid the toxicity as much as possible, but it is impossible to fully avoid exposure when we live in this world.

Just as physical toxicity strains our bodies’ ability to deal with the overload; so, our souls become “burdened” and depleted.

One great mineral that helps our bodies detox is magnesium.  The problem is that our bodies are not only on toxic overload and exposure, but our bodies are often correspondingly deficient of magnesium which helps to detox.

In the spiritual/soul realm of our bodies, we have a similar problem.  Not only are we often being “fed” a “spiritual” diet of toxicity in this world, but we are correspondingly often deficient in the truth and in the “fruits of the Spirit” (love, joy, peace, kindness, etc…).

Another great “tool” to help our bodies with toxic overload is to restore a healthy balance of good bacteria/enzymes to our digestive systems.  Probiotics is the “tool” that restores a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria in our bodies.  They help our bodies fight off the bad bacteria in our guts and enable our bodies to heal.

As I study probiotics, I am finding that there are lot of advertised products that are not what they claim to be.  They have inferior enzymes or are only 20% productive by the time they reach the digestive tract.  They are missing important ingredients that help to penetrate the tough exoskelotons of the Chitin, surrounding the Candida (bad yeast in the gut).

Spiritually, it works the same way.  There are plenty of “products” that are “advertised” to help us avoid “toxicity” and to find peace and happiness.  The problem is that a lot of these “advertisements” are false. They don’t have the ability to penetrate through the tough exteriors of hate, greed, bitterness, pride, fear, lust.  They may produce the Placebo affect of happiness for a time, but they are inefficient to deal with the “root issues.”

Temporary relief can feel good, and we are a culture that loves a quick fix.  We pop more pills to cover the symptoms.  We pay massive amounts of money to distract us.  The problem is the underlying “root issues” are still there and left unattended, create greater havoc.

Autoimmune diseases, depression, thyroid disease, IBS, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, allergies, asthma, skin issues…  All of these are indicators that our bodies are on toxic overload.

What do we in do in response?  We often look for the quick relief of the symptoms — rather than finding the underlying causes.

It takes fortitude to commit to finding the solution rather than covering the problem or distracting ourselves from it.  It takes a willingness to sometimes feel even greater discomfort while we allow our bodies to heal.

Sometimes, things get “worse” before they get better.

When your body is detoxing physically, the symptoms will often exacerbate.  This can be discouraging.  If you know though what is happening, it helps to deal with the temporary discomforts.  It helps you to commit to the cause of finding healing.

Spiritually, when we are confronted with “ugliness” in our own souls, it can be very uncomfortable.  No one likes to realize that it is NOT truth, grace, love, true freedom, and forgiveness that is influencing their thoughts and actions.  No one wants to acknowledge that the framework of their very belief system, thought processes, or lifestyle is built upon reactions, deceptions, hurts, bitterness, pride, and fear.

How do we detox from all of the spiritual toxicity?

So often, we think if we can eliminate the bad, we can heal.

In our physical bodies, we cannot kill the Candida and other toxins on our own until we restore the balance by reintroducing good enzymes and minerals, such as magnesium, back into our bodies.

In the spiritual realm, it is similar.  Only the truth, true love, forgiveness, grace, and true peace can replace and rid our souls of toxicity.

I believe that these qualities are only found in a perfect, loving, forgiving, and truthful God — not the false representations of Him.  There are many inferior imitations of Him, but they are false!

Today, let’s not just work on avoiding and eliminating the “toxic,” but let’s replace the toxic with the authentic and potent.  It’s time we see some healing in our physical and spiritual lives!

Ephesians 2:4

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

1 John 4:10

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [forgiveness] for our sins.

1 John 4:21

21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

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Winning Over The “Claim Jumper”

Waldorf, Colorado 12

(FreeImages.com/Erik Marr)

The devil is a claim jumper, and he’ll try to steal what you have claimed.  But the Bible says that He who promised is faithful. (See Hebrews 10:23.)  …Put your trust in the all-sufficient One. – Marilyn Hickey in The Names of God

Do you have an area(s) in your life where you feel defeated, overwhelmed, or discouraged?

I do.

About two months ago, God spoke to me concerning this area.  He gave me a whole new “picture” concerning it — a picture of His purpose, calling, and perspective in the situation.  What healing God’s perspective brought to that situation in my life!  He completely changed my outlook, and it renewed my strength to claim His victory in that area.

Since then, from time to time, I am tempted to look at my present circumstances and to accept the old lies of defeat, hopelessness, helplessness, failure…

I love how God knows exactly what I (we) need!   He encouraged me again recently with many stories from the Old Testament — stories of how typical people learned to trust in their God and “staked” their lives in His unfailing promises and character.

God was reminding me again that the area I was fearing was actually an area that He had given to me.  Just like the Israelites, I was not to fear the “giants” or challenges ahead of me, but I was to look at the abundance of His provision.  I was to claim the “ground” that He had given to me, and I was to “stake” His name on that “soil.” 

If God gives you a specific calling, then believe that no matter how daunting the obstacles, His power and provision will always follow His will.

With God, there is no such thing as defeat.  Defeat comes from the enemy.

Don’t let the enemy distract you with his “smoke-screens.”  The only thing he can do is to distract and deceive.  He doesn’t have the ability to actually change the final outcome or to create reality.

Victory is the only possibility and result with God.

“Stake” His name over every area of your life, and claim and walk in His victory.

What Is Your Identity?

crocuses

What is identity, and why is it so important?

Your identity is what defines you.

Our identity does not just represent us, but it is the “substance” of who we are.

We will live out who we believe we are.

If you want to know where you find your identity, look no further than the things that give you purpose and where you find “fulfillment.”  That’s what you believe is your identity.  Note: this can be a false identity, but this is the identity you have taken as your own and are living as.

When asked about yourself, what is your regular explanation?  How do you introduce yourself?  What is the summary of your life?  How do you spend your time — the majority of it?  The answers to each of these questions will tell you a lot about the identity you are living as.

Examine that identity next to the identity that God gives to you.  Is your identity truthful?

 

A Letter To The New Mom…

Momma and baby 2

(This is a revision of a letter I recently wrote to a new mom.  I decided to post it as I am sure that there are many new moms that are feeling overwhelmed and may need this encouragement today.)

Dear New Mommy,

I remember those early days with three little boys, ages 3 and under. I tried so hard to put on a brave front, to be cheerful, patient with my boys, and hopeful, but I remember at times, I was screaming on the inside.

How could I meet all of their needs — when they needed me all at the same time?  They were too young to understand the need to be patient and to wait.

I didn’t know motherhood could be so incredibly difficult! I didn’t know it would bring me to the “end of myself” and would make me wonder if I would ever find myself again — whoever that might be.

BUT GOD…

God was not immune to my struggles…

Later, I asked God about those dark days. I asked Him with trembling and tearful words, “God, where were you when I felt so alone?” God answered me with this picture of me sitting in the rocking chair, holding my two babies (a time I remember very well when I felt so alone and overwhelmed). I was not sitting there alone though because what I didn’t realize at the time was that He was there, right there with me, and holding me. My little boys and I were cradled in His arms.

I asked God about this picture He was giving me: “Lord, I have a great imagination. How can I be sure this is You and not me?” God then brought these words to my mind, “As a mother comforts her children so I will comfort you.” I looked it up, and sure enough, there is a verse in the Bible that mentions this.

Isaiah 66:13: “As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you…”

These days are overwhelming, but as a mother who has been through a lot of the same struggles, may I tell, “You can survive.”  

Why?  Because you have courage, a heart of love for your kids, and you have a God who does see, care, and hear. He doesn’t ask you to walk this alone. His grace truly is grace for the moment…

Someday, you will look back on these days, and you will remember the lisping voices of your toddler, the toothless baby grins that melt your heart, and the inquisitive questions of a child that believes you know all the answers to the universe.  Someday, you will truly know that it was all worth it.  Yes, even the most soul-wrenching and physically-draining day was worth those moments when you had the privilege of being someone’s mother… to hold the heart of a child within the embrace of your arms.

Hugs, dear one…

Sufficiency

nature 1

I awoke this morning and began my day my favorite way: a Bible in my lap, my journal, two devotional books, a pen, and a study book.

I kept it simple this morning: read from the two devotional books, glanced at the study book and closed it back up, read a chapter in II Corinthians, prayed, listened for what God wanted to teach me, and then journaled some thoughts.

These are the simple but profound truths, I believe, He wanted me to hear from Him today  (Journal Entry):

I prayed to surrender myself to God for the start of the day.  Felt the Lord challenging me, “Are you surrendering yourself to me?  Then why are you holding onto your cares?”  (I was stressing over some concerns for my day — wondering how I was going to accomplish everything I need to do today.)

The theme of my life in 2015 seemed to be surrender — learning the profound and beautiful truths of surrendering to God — what that looks like and how it happens.

I try to start my days with a simple prayer, telling God that I surrender myself to Him, to be used by Him, and to be empowered by His Presence as I go about my day.

God, though, this morning was challenging me that when I am worrying, stressing, fearing, I am not surrendered.

To surrender is to let go.

How do I let go of those things that worry me?  The question is, “Why do you feel you need to hold onto those things?”  If you are holding onto something, you are in essence believing that you have to protect that thing, that you can’t trust those things with anyone else — even more importantly, with God.

To surrender is to trust in the all-sufficiency of Christ.

A thought that stood out to me in my one devotional this morning was the idea of contentment and how that relates to trusting in Christ’s sufficiency.

Here’s what I journaled:

At the heart of a lack of contentment [and fear] is not understanding or believing in the sufficiency of God — His provision, protection, presence, power, and peace.

That’s it, isn’t it?!!

Contentment comes from a personal belief in the sufficiency of God — that He is the Great “I Am”!  He revealed Himself to the Israelites as the “I Am,” meaning, “Everything they needed, He is and will provide.”

God directed me to read from the following passage in Scripture:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I feel this was God’s personal encouragement to me, following a heart cry for Him to deliver us from some present trials.  I knew the lie was coming that God wasn’t powerful enough, didn’t care enough, or my faith wasn’t enough.

Instead, God led me to the truth in this Scripture.  God spoke the following thoughts to my heart:

As I was reading II Cor. 12:9-10, I felt God was showing me that in the areas He answered my requests with a “no” — in regards to my own weaknesses and some personal challenges we are facing — that He was telling me it’s so that in our weaknesses we come to rely on His sufficiency, and we experience the intimacy of the personal reality of it.

Let me restate that…

In our weaknesses, we come to rely on His sufficiency, and we experience the intimacy of the personal reality of it.

Doesn’t that change the entire way we view our struggles, weaknesses, and trials?  It doesn’t minimize our challenges, sorrows, and suffering, but it does give us the hope — that as our bodies grow weaker, our spiritual lives can grow stronger; as our circumstances grow more challenging, our spiritual lives can find greater vitality and fullness; and as earthly sorrows threaten to crush us, the immeasurable glories of the reality of the eternal can produce within us the peace and joy that passes all understanding.

The immeasurable glories of the reality of the eternal God can produce within us the peace and joy that passes all understanding!

What Do You Do When You Are Offended…

prisoned leaf

Offenses… we are going to experience the pain of being offended at some point or another in our lives.  Some hurts are intentionally done to us, but other offenses are created unknowingly by the other party.

Once the offense occurs though, what do we do with them?  How do we handle offenses — especially when they are so painful that they “blindside” us and threaten to immobilize our emotions for a time?

Our natural inclination is often to allow the offenses/hurts to fester until they become an even heavier load to carry, turning into the crushing weight of bitterness.

Hurt that is allowed to fester turns into the crushing burden of bitterness.

Here are some thoughts I journaled recently on this subject:

“When I hold onto anger, hurts, and unforgiveness, I allow the offender to hold power over me and am giving the offender permission to continue to hurt me.”

Why would I say that holding onto forgiveness gives the offender power to continue to hurt me?

This is what my journal entry continued to say,

“Holding onto offenses keeps them ever present  in my thoughts and emotions.  It doesn’t allow me to be ‘released’ from the hold of the offenses.  It doesn’t allow me to walk in the peace, joy and grace that God willingly offers to each of us when we yield ourselves to Him.”

My journal then connects unforgiveness with a lack of trust in God.  Why would I connect these two seemingly unrelated issues?

This is what my journal said…

Holding onto offenses is really saying, “I’m not sure God will take care of this.  I trust only myself to take care of this situation (which often means we think we can punish the offender by withholding forgiveness, love, and grace).  The reality is we hurt ourselves the most when we hold onto unforgiveness.”

I have also heard it said that holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills someone else.

To forgive someone is to set yourself free so that the offense and the offender no longer has the power to keep you chained to past hurts.

Today, be set free!  Forgive, even as Christ has forgiven you.  Let Him be your Defender.

Who You Are…

Swallowtail Butterfly

(FreeImages.com/Daniel Eurenius)

On numerous occasions, I find myself either reminding another sweet “sister” or “brother” in Christ or myself the truth of who we are.  Why do we need to be so constantly reminded of this?

Most of us can recite to one another the truth of who we are (who we really are), but when it comes to believing it and thus living it, that’s an entirely different story.

Perhaps to understand why this is such a constant battle — knowing who we truly are — we need to understand why this is so important.

It’s simply this: what you believe about yourself will ultimately influence the person you will live out or be.  Let me say that again:

What you believe about yourself will ultimately determine the person you are living as and the person you will become.

If you are constantly feeding your mind with the lies — that you are worthless, ugly, stupid, fearful, rejected, unloved, unwanted, inferior, etc…, you will self-fulfill those very lies.  You will unknowingly self-initiate the very things you believe about yourself.

You may have experienced rejection in the past, but instead of healing and knowing that what you experienced is not the truth of who you are, you will continue to live rejection.  Instead of not allowing the opinions and lies of others to “roll off” you, you will “take them in.”  As a dear friend said, “You’ll make a pet of them.”

Perhaps, this is one of the biggest reasons why there is a constant attack on our “identity” — who we are.  It’s because we can waste a lot of our life living from the wrong identity instead of living in the freedom of who we were created to be.

Some of us live from a more subtle identity of lies.  We are living from the “good” identities.  We think our worth is based on how “godly,” spiritual, and kind we are.  We think our worth is performance-based.  We try to impress everyone around us with how wise, faith-filled, serving we are.  We can so easily fool ourselves into thinking the motives are all good because we are doing good things — Bible-approved things.  Plus, we receive affirmation and praise from others.  Oh how subtle the deception can be!

Godliness though is not something we do for God.  It’s something we do from God.  Godliness is us submitting ourselves to the sovereignty of God’s grace and power at work in our lives.  It is His initiation and our surrendered response.

Galatians 5:4

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Some of us are deriving our sense of worth from our beauty, our independence, our accomplishments, our intelligence, our possessions, and our education.

The truth is: your worth has never been about what you do — how “profitable” you are to the world or even more to God. 

Your worth is about Whose you are!

It’s not about your earthly parents — what they are or aren’t.  It’s not about how horrible or not so horrible they were.

Some of you are hurting right now because of the painful things people — even people you respect or love — have said about you or to you.  Perhaps, they were speaking from their own fears, their own experiences, and their own deception.  Whatever the case, these wounds are real.  (In my next blog post, “Offenses,” I plan to write more about what to do with those wounds.)

The first thing you need to understand is that God alone creates reality.  He is truth.  The opinions of others don’t create reality.  There may be truth they have gained from God’s world, laws, and Word, but this doesn’t mean everything they say or think is truth.

So often we base our own sense of worth and identity upon the opinions of others.  The truth is they have no power over you — unless you give it to them by believing what they say or think about you.

Remember who you are!

Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you.

You were created for a purpose by a loving and good God.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Perhaps, you have never accepted God’s gift of salvation for you.  Here is a fairly familiar verse:

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

He loved you that much!  He desires your presence, your fellowship, and a relationship with you because He loves YOU!

Remember…

You were created for a purpose with inherent worth because you are infinitely loved by an all-loving, all-powerful, and all-wise God!

My Recent Travels … Europe!

For those of you who follow my blog posts, you probably noticed I was “silent” for awhile recently.  Part of the reason for the “silence” was a recent trip I took to some beautiful sights in Europe.

Due to an invitation to join a family member, unbeatable rates, and my husband’s encouragement, I decided to go.

My first stop was a flight into Warsaw, Poland.  We were there for several hours before departing for Budapest, Hungary.  In Budapest, we toured many beautiful sights.  I will include pictures and let them speak for themselves:

Budapest is know as the “Spa Capital of the World.”  I will post a picture that shows the beautiful ornate yellow building that is the location for their mineral baths.

We saw their opera, an art museum, Hero Square, the palace, and so much more!  We were able to enjoy an authentic meal with Gypsy music and dance.  So much fun!

And we visited the Grand Budapest Motel, which was featured in a movie.  We felt like celebrities in such opulence.

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There were sad moments as well.  One of the most emotional times was seeing a memorial set up in honor of Holocaust victims.  Seeing the actual shoes of babies/toddlers who lost their lives in such a horrific way…  Seeing the personal items, names, and actual faces of innocent victims was tearfully sobering…

We departed Budapest by bus and drove through Slovakia on our way to Prague, Czech Republic.  Shortly after departure, we experienced a flat tire and had to wait a good hour before help arrived.  We were then able to resume our journey.  The tire blew immediately before a large pull-off.  We passed a previous vehicle that was not so fortunate.  The vehicle had lost control due to the flat tire and manged to land upside down on its roof.

Prague was just as “magical” as we had heard!  Amazing architecture wherever you turned!

Here are some pictures to show just a few of its amazing sights.   You’ll see its Parliament building, the Prague Palace, famous bridges (Charles Bridge), cathedrals, the Astronomical Clock Tower, Wenceslas Square, the Jewish Quarter, The National Theater, and much more…

And more…

We ended our trip with a flight back to Warsaw and then home again!  What an unforgettable adventure!

The Church

Church on a hill

(FreeImages.com/Aleš Čerin)

God is the Architect, Jesus is the Builder, and the Holy Spirit is He who breathes the life of God into the structure.  — Marilyn Hickey

To the above quote, I would add, “And the Body of Christ is the Building.”

What a lovely way of describing the Source, Foundation, Life, and Structure of the Church!