Friday, April 21, 2017

God's Glory In The Storm

Hello! I'm sorry I'm a day late with this post. It's been a crazy week with challenges, attacks from the enemy, and God's faithfulness carrying me one moment at a time. I praise God that this week I received my professional coaching certification (for life and health coaching)! I've been working for this for over a year, so it's a huge answer to prayer to have it completed! What an encouragement to see God answer all those months of prayer, while I'm in the midst of other difficult circumstances.

Then today I reread this chapter from my book, "Seeing God Through The Storm," and God reminded me that our storms are not about Satan's attacks against us. Our storms are about God displaying His glory in and through our lives. I know many of you are still going through difficult storms. I hope the following thoughts encourage you and give you courage to keep trusting God day by day. I know He will be glorified in your life. 



Here we are at the end of the book of Job. Have you found comfort and encouragement from Job’s story? I have. I’d never wish such intense suffering on anyone, but I’m grateful God gave us this record of Job’s experience. Because of what he went through, we’ve learned many precious truths about how to see God in our storms.

We’ve discovered that the LORD is in control, He is good, and He has a purpose for us. We’ve found that we don’t have to be afraid, that God’s love surrounds us, and that His wisdom is perfect. We’ve come to know God as the Healer of our hearts, the Repairer of our broken pieces, and the Restorer of our souls. Above all, we’ve begun to understand that our holy God is gracious beyond measure.

In His grace, God didn’t just restore Job. God also gave Job a valuable legacy from his suffering. Not only was Job’s life changed, but his friends’ lives were changed. All who knew Job were surely impacted as well.  

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years. -Job 42:16-17

I imagine that Job never stopped telling his grandchildren and great-grandchildren the story of his encounter with God and how it radically altered his life. Now you and I have been affected by his story, too. Undoubtedly Job had no idea of the far-reaching impact his trial would have. But God knew. The Lord allowed Job’s storm both to transform Job’s life and to bless others.

It’s significant that nowhere in the final chapter of Job is Satan mentioned. Isn’t he the one who started all the trouble? Yet at the end of the story, he’s conspicuously absent. I believe that’s because this story is not about Satan at all. It’s about GOD. It’s about what God wanted to do in Job’s life. It’s about the millions of people God wanted to touch through Job’s suffering.

Yes, Satan is real, and he’s always trying to destroy God’s people. At times we may feel overwhelmed by his attacks, but we can have confidence that our trials are not really about Satan’s activity. Our storms are about what God wants to accomplish in us and through us for His glory.

What a beautiful gift it is to know that God has a legacy planned for our trials! A legacy is something that endures, something meaningful that is passed along to others, something precious that remains after the storm and even after we are gone. Can you imagine that God wants to use your suffering to bless other people?

Many times we may feel like we have nothing we can give, nothing we can use to bless others. But we always have grace. After Job’s encounter with God, he was a changed man—on the inside. Externally though, his hands were empty. When God told Job to pray for his friends, He didn’t ask Job to provide the animals for the sacrifices. Job didn’t have any. Job had only one thing to give, the most precious thing God had given him—grace.

Just as God continually floods us with His abundant grace, He will also empower us to give grace away to others.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. -2 Corinthians 9:8

Storms may take our resources, our health, even our relationships, but they cannot take from us the super-abundant grace of God! In light of eternity, the best gift we can give anyone is the gift of grace. We can give grace through forgiveness, prayer, encouraging words, acts of kindness, even a smile. When we extend grace to others, though it seems small, it will eventually have an impact far beyond what we can see now.

I could write a long list of the ways God has used my health trial for His glory. Through my storm, God has encouraged many of my friends. He has blessed people I’ve never met and led at least one person to saving faith in Jesus. Also, if I hadn’t experienced the suffering of the last eight and a half years, I never would have written this book.

God has used my storm not only to heal, transform, and restore me, but also to impact many other lives. And my trial isn’t over! I can’t wait to see what other wonderful blessings God will bring from it.

The legacy God wants to give you from your storm may not be at all what you expect. It may be huge, beyond anything you could imagine (Eph. 3:20). Or it may seem so small that you don’t immediately recognize it. In His perfect way and time, the LORD will reveal His legacy for you.

Job’s marathon trial was finally over. He had experienced horrible suffering, but in the end he saw God in his storm. And his story continues to bless people thousands of years later. Though our trials may not seem as huge or as significant as Job’s, we know God has a purpose for every storm we go through, large or small.

Like Job, we too can leave a legacy for others. Each storm is an opportunity for us to get to know God better—to “see” Him instead of only “hearing” of Him. As our understanding of God’s character and grace expands, our intimacy with Him will deepen. And He will work through us to share His truth and show His grace to others.

As we continue on life’s journey, I pray we’ll learn to see our gracious God in each storm and trust Him to bring about the beautiful legacy He has planned for us.

…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him— -1 Corinthians 2:9

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Importance Of Probiotics

Spring is in the air! Which means a lot of people are dealing with seasonal allergies, sinus infections, etc. So I thought it was a good time to repost something from a few years ago about probiotics. We all need plenty of good bacteria to keep our immune systems healthy. I hope this information is helpful. =)

Support Bacteria

Recently I read this funny quote: "Support bacteria. It's the only culture some people have." =)

Even though it's meant as a joke, there's a lot of truth in it. We do need to support bacteria.

Right now it seems like most people, doctors, and companies are trying to rid the earth of all bacteria! Practically every product from hand soap to trash bags is now labeled "anti-bacterial."

Newsflash: God created bacteria. It serves a vital role in the earth's natural processes. It isn't going away anytime soon.

I think all this emphasis on "anti-bacterial" is actually very damaging. The bad bacteria are just getting stronger and more resistant to the chemicals and drugs used to kill them. And the good bacteria are being killed off more and more.

Yes, I said GOOD bacteria. Believe it or not, we need bacteria.

Did you know that approximately 80% of your immune system is in your gut (intestines)?

Whenever I used to hear that statistic, I assumed that was the doctor's way of trying to get me to eat healthier. =) But it's much more than just eating a healthy diet.

Can you guess the reason why 80% of the immune system is in the gut?

Because that's where the GOOD bacteria live!

Think of the good bacteria as the cowboys in the white hats, and the bad bacteria as the rustlers in the black hats. Good guys verses bad guys. When the bad bacteria enters our bodies, it's the good bacteria that's able to fight it off. The good bacteria also fights viruses, candida, and other invaders.

If there's not enough of the good guys in our bodies, then we're in trouble.

Because the good bacteria is such a huge part of the immune system, not having enough can cause all kinds of health problems. This includes everything from digestive problems to many things you wouldn't expect, such as: arthritis, chronic fatigue, skin problems, allergies, etc.

Certain foods are rich in good bacteria - saurkraut, yogurt, and other fermented foods. However, it's hard to eat enough of these foods to get all the good bacteria you need. (Not to mention that most brands of yogurt contain more sugar than ice cream! Eating yogurt in order to get good bacteria isn't worth the trade off of the sugar damage, unless it's plain and unsweetened yogurt.)

So it's important to supplement with good bacteria.
There are various factors to consider when purchasing a "probiotic" (good bacteria) supplement.

Some things to look for -
*at least 5 different strains of bacteria (not just "acidophilus").
*a total culture count of at least 15 billion
*delayed release so it will reach your intestines before being broken down
*full potency until date of expiration
*no extra ingredients or additives (such as no corn, soy, yeast, etc.)

A lot of probiotic supplements do not meet these standards, so always read labels to find a good one. Also, what your body needs will change over time, so it's good to switch the kind of probiotic you take after a while.

Having plenty of good bacteria in your body is essential to the function of your immune system and thus, your overall health. It's an easy step to take that could possibly yield amazing results in how you feel.

Remember it takes time for your body to repair and heal itself. When starting a new supplement or program keep this in mind. With some supplements/programs you'll see results faster, but for major improvements in your health, three months is a general rule of thumb.

So go find some good bacteria and give it your support. You'll be amazed how much it supports you and your health in return! =)