Posted 12/18/14 at 1:33 PM | Dale Fletcher
When I visited the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte a few months ago, Laura Hillenbrand’s book - Unbroken, caught my attention as it was propped up on one of their bookshelves. It recounts the life of Louis Zamperini. I bought it and read it within a week.
As you might know, the movie by the same title releases in theaters on Christmas day.
Unbroken, the book, tells about Zamperini’s struggle to live. First, at sea – after his plane was downed during World War II – and then of his survival after being in several Japanese prison camps.
The book is a testament to the resilience of Zamperini’s mind, body and spirit. It’s also a book about the toll that severe chronic stress and a broken life can have on one’s behavior and overall health.
In the book, Hillenbrand describes, with painstaking detail, aspects of Zamperini’s lengthy time surviving at sea. As well, she writes about the extreme conditions and challenges that Zamperini dealt with in prison camps. The description of the brutality of some of the prison guards was painful to read.
From a mind, body, spirit perspective Hillenbrand writes about the postwar lives of the Pacific POWs. She captured the insidious nature of the emotional injuries that they received. She writes that, 40 years after the war, up to 85% of the POWs were experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Hillenbrand sites about how Zamperini personally coped with the stress of war. He turned to drinking alcohol. He became an alcoholic. His relationship with alcohol almost wrecked his marriage.
Zamperini once shared the following with an interviewer: "The postwar adjustment was really a challenge for me.... I began to take advantage of these parties and I began to overdrink.... pretty soon I found myself fading away, to the point where I realized that I was in serious need of help."
Posted 10/3/14 at 2:18 PM | Dale Fletcher
When a person begins an exercise program to improve their cardiovascular or aerobic fitness level, several things are going on physiologically in the body. The cardiovascular system – the oxygen transport system – has to get used to carrying oxygen in the blood through the blood vessels and deliver it as fuel for the muscles. Once the blood and oxygen arrives at the cellular level, the membranes of the cells must become ‘trained’ to allow the oxygen in so it can be used by the muscles. The more a person exercises, the more efficient this oxygen transport system becomes. As these pathways are used more and more, the person’s cardiovascular fitness will improve.
In a similar way, as we exercise aspects of our faith, we improve our level of spiritual fitness. I’ll give you one example.
Our beliefs shape our attitudes, which shape our thinking patterns, which shape our behaviors. As we read the Bible our beliefs begin to align with the truths we read. If we’re serious about growing in our faith, we’ll be intentional about meditating on these biblical truths. Our repeated thoughts will grow our neural pathways. These repeated thoughts become our attitudes which will permeate our mind and our emotions…. and end up shaping our will and its corresponding choices. This will determine our behaviors. FULL POST
Posted 9/9/14 at 12:03 PM | Dale Fletcher
Here’s a listing of some of the material things I own which most contribute to my spirit, mind, and body health.
1. My Bible. It helps me understand who God is and how he wants me to live. The spiritual health I achieve through my relationship with God is my foundation for my relational, emotional, mental and physical health.
2. My Bible Study Tools. The daily devotionals I read direct me to the Bible. My commentary helps me interpret what I read in the Bible. The concordance gives me an appreciation for the original Greek and Hebrew words that have been translated into today’s English language.
3. My Running Shoes. I’ve been running since I was in high school… almost 50 years. Running has been my primary method of staying in shape and helps me manage my weight and stress. My shoes are an essential part of this activity. Read more at this blog post – Running Shoes and The Bible – My Fitness Equipment) FULL POST
Posted 7/10/14 at 2:07 PM | Dale Fletcher
“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Romans 5:10
God sent his Son, Jesus, to die so that our sins could be forgiven and we could live life in heaven for all eternity. Because of Jesus’ death, we can also have a direct relationship with God, the Father. This reconciliation and relationship is only possible by the blood that Jesus shed on the Cross for you and for me.
Entering into a relationship with God and receiving eternal life is a one time occurrence – a point in time. Being rescued from sin and living an abundant life – John 10:10 – is an ongoing process.
In the verse above, saved is from the Greek word sozo. Paul writes ‘how much more will we be saved.’ This implies a measure of ‘salvation’, degrees of ‘salvation’. We know by scripture that once we accept Jesus into our heart that we are assured of eternal life. John 3:16 That is one aspect of salvation. The word sozo also means to heal, make well, restore to health. FULL POST
Posted 4/23/14 at 10:26 AM | Dale Fletcher
Our health-related behaviors can easily become influenced by the ways of the world – the ways of the unbeliever. We can also be influenced, in a negative way, by other Christians.
Social norms and the practices of those around us can be so influential that our ways and habits can end up being indistinguishable from those who are not followers of Jesus.
But, as Christians, we are called to be holy – set apart from the unbeliever, in all our ways. “For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”" 1 Peter 1:16
This applies to what we eat and how we care – or don’t care – for our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Living God. I confess that this applies to my life too.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and 2 Corinthians 7:1
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: FULL POST
Posted 2/14/14 at 1:39 PM | Dale Fletcher
I’m going to stick with the sin and snow theme for another post.
Yesterday I wrote that here in Charlotte we received about 8 inches of snow and one inch of ice. Well, the wet snow combined with the ice was pretty darn heavy. Mid-morning I glanced out the kitchen window to see that our 10′ x 10′ gazebo, or canopy, had become crushed under the weight of the snow and ice that had accumulated on it over the previous 12 hours. I imagine that the age of the gazebo and its steel frame – 7 years – contributed to the gazebo buckling under the heavy weight of the snow and ice.
The guilt and shame of our sinful behaviors can do the same to us. It can crush us… if we allow it.
After Adam and Eve sinned, by eating from the tree in the center of the Garden of Eden, they both hid from God and covered themselves because of the shame and guilt they felt. Genesis 3 tells us this story. FULL POST
Posted 2/13/14 at 10:04 AM | Dale Fletcher
We don’t often get snow in Charlotte, N.C.. When we do, it’s typically just a dusting that disappears the next day. That’s not the case with the weather system that is coming thorough the Carolinas with the current storm.
As I write this post, we’ve had about six inches and it’s still coming down. This is more than a dusting. Most everything is covered in white. As I was eating my breakfast this morning and watching the snow gently fall, I was reminded of the lyrics of the song based on the scripture that tells us that our sin has been washed away by the blood of Jesus.
As the song – Nothing But the Blood – goes, ‘Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. What can wash away our sins?… nothing but the blood of Jesus.’
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 FULL POST
Posted 2/11/14 at 5:27 PM | Dale Fletcher
The latest Stress in America report has been recently published by the America Psychological Association. There are some interesting facts included in the report:
Posted 2/10/14 at 12:18 PM | Dale Fletcher
About five years ago I wrote a blog post on our ministry website on wholeness, as well as an article – God Wants You Whole. Since that time my appreciation for this term has evolved and I believe that I have a more theologically correct understanding of the word.
I want to share it with you here as it's a very important concept in the life of a Christian.
Definitions of Wholeness
Definition of ‘Wholeness’ According to the Miriam Webster Dictionary - The condition of being sound in body. The quality or state of being without restriction, exception, or qualification. (A noun) Antonyms: imperfection, unsoundness FULL POST
Posted 2/3/14 at 5:20 PM | Dale Fletcher
Recent research highlights the need for heavier adults who drink diet beverages to closely monitor their solid food intake.
Overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages consume significantly more solid-food calories - particularly from snacks - than those who drink sugary beverages. The findings highlight the challenges in using diet beverages to help control weight.
“The results of our study suggest that overweight and obese adults looking to lose or maintain their weight—who have already made the switch from sugary to diet beverages—may need to look carefully at other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification,” Dr. Sara Bleich, the lead researcher says.
The abstract of the study is available online at the American Journal of Public Health on January 16, 2014. FULL POST