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STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #1

NUTRITION

How would you like to enjoy tasty satisfying meals, normalize your weight, and enhance your health all at the same time? It’s possible! There is a wide variety of delicious foods that are both healthful and appetizing.
Food is vital to our health. It provides the building blocks for growth and repair, and fuel for energy. It is a key element in the length and quality of like. Poor diet contributes to weight gain, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other diseases.

 

UNDERSTANDING FOOD

The food we eat is composed of a variety of nutrients. Its basic caloric components are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

CARBOHYDRATES

These are the primary source of energy for every action and process in the body.
Carbohydrates come in two forms: sugar and starch. Sugars are digested quickly and - unless fiber is present to slow things down - enter the blood stream as glucose within minutes. Starches provide energy for a longer period of time because they must be changed to sugar during the digestive process. They should constitute the largest percentage of the diet, but be careful of the source. When foods are refined the fiber is removed. This results in a denser concentration of calories, making it easier to eat more than you can use. These excess calories are converted to fat and stored.
Whole grains, potatoes, beans, vegetables, and fruits are all excellent sources of carbohydrates.

PROTEIN

Your body is built largely of protein. It is the most important component of muscles, blood, skin, bones, nails, hair, and the internal organs.
It is necessary for the growth, maintenance, and repair of the body. Protein takes longer to digest than starch. It is broken down in the digestive system into amino acids which the body then uses to build its own proteins. Ideally it should make up about 8 percent of the diet. Excess protein is changed to uric acid and eliminated, or converted to glucose and used for fuel.
Good sources or protein include seeds and nuts, whole grains, legumes (beans and peas), dark green leafy vegetables, and potatoes.

FAT

These fatty acids are necessary for the proper performance of the body. They help to absorb certain vitamins, make food taste good, and give a feeling of satisfaction after you have finished eating. They also regulate many body processes such as normal cell growth, nerve functions, and immune system response.
However, moderation is important. Fat is the most difficult nutrient for the digestive system to handle, and takes four to five hours to leave the stomach. It should comprise no more than 25 percent of the diet. Excess fat is simply stored to be used as a backup source of fuel.
High fat foods include meat and dairy products, nuts, and “free fats” - refined fats, such as oils and margarines. Low fat include beans, grains, vegetables, and fruit.

FIBER

While technically a carbohydrate, fiber contributes no nutrients. It fills you up, thus limiting calorie intake. It slows down the digestion of sugar, and speeds up the time it takes food to digest, which keeps it from decaying before it is eliminated. Fiber also binds with cholesterol and removes it from circulation. Unrefined plant foods contain enough fiber to properly regulate digestion.

MICRONUTRIENTS

Vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients are substances the body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy. It has been proven that a diet of pure carbohydrates, protein, and fat without the micronutrients will result in death. When foods are refined, the majority of both vitamins and minerals are removed. For instance, when wheat is refined to make white flour, twenty four vitamins and minerals are lost; when it is “enriched” five of the lost micronutrients are replaced.

PHYTOCHEMICALS

Literally “plant chemicals,” these are substances found in plants that, among other benefits, lower the risk of cancer. Most work by either blocking carcinogens from affecting the cells or by suppressing malignant cells. Phytochemicals are usually destroyed when foods are refined.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #2

A Diet of Excess

Most of the diseases that plague our society today, including heart disease, hypertension, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, are closely connected to our dietary habits. The typical American meal is high in fat, protein, and refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour, and low in unrefined carbohydrates, such as natural fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.

In the last hundred years the incidence of heart disease and stroke has risen from 15 percent to 45 percent of all causes of death. The occurrence of cancer has risen from 6 percent to 25 percent. This rise in disease is directly related to diet. In countries where people do not have access to a western diet there is a much lower incidence of these diseases.

Americans are dying from a diet of excess; too much fat, too much protein, too much cholesterol, too much sugar, and too much salt. We eat too many calories and we eat too often.

Fat

Most people don’t realize that they are consuming an average of 37 percent of their daily calories (food energy) as fat. This is much more than the body can properly handle. Excess fat has been identified as the most damaging element of the western diet and is a major contributor to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Protein

For many years there has been an emphasis in nutritional science on getting enough protein. However, research shows that this emphasis has been misplaced. Rather than most people getting too little protein. Westerners eat two to three times more than they need. The respected nutritional scientist Dr. Mark Messina, formerly of the National Cancer Institute’s Diet and Cancer branch, sums it up. He says, “When people eat several servings of grains, beans, and vegetables throughout the day and get enough calories, it is virtually impossible to be deficient in protein.”

Excess protein in the body leaches calcium from the bones and is the major cause of osteoporosis. In one study men on low (48g), medium (95g), and high (142g) protein diets were given 1400 mg of calcium per day for four months. The low protein group gained 20 mg of calcium per day. The medium protein group lost 30 mg of calcium per day, and the high protein group lost 70 mg of calcium per day. Too much protein also causes deterioration of kidney function, and is linked to increased risk of cancer. Research and epidemiological studies correlate high protein intake with increased growth rates and decreased life span.

Salt

We eat 10-20 times more salt than is needed. Of contributes prominently to high blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney disease. The body needs only about one tenth of a teaspoon (½ gram) of salt a day. However, that drastic a change is unrealistic for most people. A more reasonable goal is to cut back from two to four teaspoons (10-20 grams) a day to one teaspoon (5 grams) per day.

Sugar

Devoid of fiber and nutrients, refined sugars are empty calories that account for up to 20 percent of many people’s daily caloric intake. They produce a quick rise in blood sugar and energy. This causes the body to overreact and flood the system with insulin, which drops the blood sugar too fast and too far, causing low blood sugar and an energy dip, often accompanied by a feeling of faintness and hunger. Jumping through the day from “sugar highs” to “sugar blues” is a way of life for many people.

Empty calorie foods

Many beverages such as soda pop, beer, sweetened coffee and tea, and other drinks are loaded with calories. These, along with high sugar high-fat snacks, not only add thousands of unnecessary calories, but take the place of nutritional food, leaving you overcaloried and undernourished.

The original diet intended for man consisted of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. (See Gen 1:29; 3:18). Prepared as simply as possible, they are the most healthful and nourishing foods available. They give longevity, strength, endurance, intellectual acuity, and freedom from disease.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #3

DESIGNING DELIGHTFUL NUTRITION

Here is a practical plan that provides a complete balance of essential nutrients for radiant good health.

  1. Eat a wide variety of fruits, grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts prepared in a simple tasty way. There are hundreds of varieties and colors, in every imaginable texture, shape, and flavor. Eating a varied selection of natural plant foods will furnish all the nutrients the body requires. For maximum health and energy, the human body needs a low fat, moderate protein, high carbohydrate diet with sufficient micronutrients and fiber.
  2. Avoid protein from animal sources. Animal products provide an excess of fat, cholesterol, and protein; they often carry harmful viruses and bacteria, as well as hormones, antibiotics, and other chemical concentrations.
  3. Limit fat, sugar, and salt. Select naturally sweet foods such as dried fruit rather than refined sugar, and choose olives, nuts, and avocados - all in moderation - rather than refined fats and oils.
  4. Eat a good breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a light supper - or skip the evening meal. A large breakfast containing a proper balance of nutrients will give you steady energy all morning. Eating breakfast has nearly as much of a positive impact on heath and longevity as abstinence from tobacco.
    Timing is an important factor in dietary health. Food eaten in the morning is used during the day. Taken in the evening, it is stored as fat. Studies have shown that people have lost as much as ten pounds a month merely by timing their meals correctly.
    A heavy supper in the evening also increases the number of fat particles in your blood, setting you up for a heart attack while you sleep.
  5. Allow at least five hours between meals, and eat meals at the same time each day. This gives your digestive system the opportunity to work efficiently and rest between cycles.
  6. Don’t eat between meals. This slows down digestion so that food in the stomach ferments and produces toxins. It normally takes four to five hours for food to leave the stomach after a meal. In one study a person was given snacks every hour-and half after breakfast. Thirteen hours later a large portion of the breakfast was still undigested.

Each time food is put into the stomach it stops the digestion process, mixes everything up, and forces the stomach to start over. Beverages with calories should not be consumed between meals for the same reason; those calories interrupt the digestion as well.

How do you implement this nutritional plan? When you shop, choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread and pasta, low sugar cereals, brown rice, raw nuts and seeds, dried fruit without sugar coating, etc. If you buy prepared foods, read the labels and avoid foods high in fat, sugar, salt, and spices. Even some “health” foods may be high in these things.

When you cook, avoid frying - boil, steam, or bake instead. Cook grains and beans well, fruits and vegetables lightly. While there are many good cookbooks available to help you with a plant based diet, it is best to just keep meals simple and uncomplicated. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to prepare appetizing meals.

Bear in mind that our sense of taste is very over stimulated with the high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, processed foods many of us are used to. It takes a little while to adjust to simply prepared meals, and it is important to persevere. It may take several months to retrain the taste-buds. However, forcing yourself to eat things you really don’t like is counterproductive.

Utilize those natural foods which you enjoy, but periodically go back and try some of the foods you’ve rejected - you may find that they become much more edible as your appreciation for different flavors increases.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #4

EXERCISE

We are created for action, and it is impossible to be truly well without it! The adage “Use it or lose it” applies to every part of the body. Exercise provides greater vitality, extra energy, and longer life. Yet, for many, the greatest exertion of the day is getting out of bed or walking from the kitchen to the garage. As a result of our more sedentary habits, we must deliberately incorporate physical activity into our lives.

Exercise is critically important to a total lifestyle approach to health. Here are some of the benefits of exercise:

Exercise helps us feel good. It is so effective that it is a valuable tool for fighting depression and relieving anxiety and stress.

Exercise increases energy levels, making us more efficient and productive in all that we do.

Exercise helps one to reach and maintain proper weight. It burns calories, builds muscle, and increases the metabolism.

Exercise stimulates the immune system. This decreases not only cold and flu infections, but also significantly reduces cancer mortality rates.

Exercise enhances circulation, which in turn improves memory and mental ability, and promotes better sleep and faster healing. It decreases the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis by delivering blood to the joints, and can relieve headaches.

Exercise strengthens the bones, helping them retain calcium and other minerals, thus aiding in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Exercise helps protect from heart disease by strengthening the heart, decreasing blood pressure and heart rate, and lowering LDD (bad) cholesterol while raising
HDL (good) cholesterol.

Exercise aids digestion and promotes intestinal activity, reducing gas and constipation.

BENEFITS OF WALKING

Walking, although one of the simplest exercises; has several surprising advantages;

* Walking uses almost all of the body’s 206 bones and 640 muscles.
* It is something that almost everyone can do without learning new skills.
* It does not require the purchase of expensive equipment.
* It is easy on your joints.
* The pace is simple to adjust.
* It can be done anywhere from shopping malls to the great outdoors.
* You can get your fresh air and sunshine at the same time if you are walking outside.
* Walking lends itself to socializing; make exercise fun by including family, friends, and your dog.
* Invest in a good pair of walking shoes and dress appropriately for the weather.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #5

WATER

What can be sweeter than a freshly bathed baby; or more refreshing than a cool glass of water on a scorching hot day? Water is an all purpose cleanser both inside and out. It is an abundant and effective agent for washing away dirt, germs, and bacteria.

The skin is one of the organs the body uses to eliminate waste products. If these impurities are allowed to remain on the skin they can cause illness. A clean body and surroundings are indispensable for physical and mental health.

A glass of water acts as a bath for the digestive system, cleansing and refreshing it. Other beverages are unable to purify like water. Soda and coffee can no more clean the inside of your body than they can the outside.

As oil is to a car engine so water is to the body, the universal lubricant that makes everything else work. All the functions of the body depend on water.

A lack of water dehydrates the fluids, tissues, and cells of the body. It causes the blood to thicken, increasing the risks of stroke and heart disease. Insufficient water can mimic hypoglycemia, causing headaches, tiredness, and fainting spell.

The body loses ten to twelve cups of water every day. The food we eat provides two to four cups of water, so we need to drink six to eight glasses each day to replace the difference.

Pure plain water is the best way to replace the fluid you need. Many sugar laden beverages actually result in a loss of water from the system; it requires more water to metabolize the sugar in a drink than it can provide. Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics which cause the body to lose water. You need an extra glass of water for every high-sugar, affricated, or alcoholic beverage you drink.

Drinking water with meals dilutes the gastric juices and slows the digestive process. The best time to drink water is between meals, beginning an hour after eating, until fifteen minutes before the next meal. Water is a remarkable aid in the treatment of disease. When you are ill drink plenty of water. This replaces any fluid lost during a fever and insures that every part of your body will function well. Frequent showers will prove to be helpful as well.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #6

SUNLIGHT

Sunshine has gotten some bad publicity recently; the impression has been given that even small amounts of sun are harmful. While it is true that excessive sunlight can increase the risk of skin cancer and cataracts, sunshine in moderate amounts has many benefits.

* Sunlight converts cholesterol into vitamin D, lowering the blood cholesterol. Vitamin D provides a host of advantages to the body, including prevention of many types of cancer and better calcium absorption, which in turn helps prevent osteoporosis and tooth decay, makes stronger denser bones, and speeds bone repair.

* Sunlight kills many germs and enhances the immune system by increasing gamma globulin, and raising the number and effectiveness of the white blood cells which destroy germs. Lightly tanned skin kills germs and resists infection much better than untanned skin. Many skin diseases respond well to controlled doses of sunlight.

* Sunlight soothes the nervous system and is important in treating depression. It gives a sense of well-being by increasing endorphin production in the brain.

* Sunlight strengthens the cardiovascular system. It improves the circulation, lowers the heart rate, and normalizes the blood pressure and blood sugar, bringing highs down and lows up.

* Sunlight aids in weight loss, increasing the metabolism by stimulating thyroid production.

* Sunlight improves sleep. Natural light exposure in daytime increases melatonin output at night.

* Sunlight enhances waste elimination by improving liver function; it is an effective treatment for jaundice. It relieves the kidneys of some of their burden by eliminating wastes through the skin when you sweat.

Moderate work or exercise outdoors every day will secure these benefits and more. We receive the sun’s rays even on cloudy days; however ordinary window glass filters out 95 percent of the useful ultraviolet light..

What About Skin Cancer?

Sun should be taken in moderation. Over-exposure to sunlight is a major risk factor for skin cancer. Melanoma, a quickly spreading skin cancer that is fatal in 20 percent of cases, is associated with lack of regular sun exposure and repeated burning of the skin. Avoid sunburn like the plague. Get your sunshine in small doses and take great care between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M., particularly in summer when the sun is strongest.

Excessive sunshine, especially sunburn, increases your risk of skin cancer. However, sunlight provides so may benefit’s the avoiding it is not a healthy choice.

At least twenty minutes of sunlight per day is necessary to maintain good health. Any exposure of more than this should be based on your individual skin tone.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #7

TEMPERANCE

The word temperance, when used in the context of health, has three very distinct meanings: moderation in the use of that which is good, total abstinence from that which is harmful, and self-restraint.

More is not always better. Work, exercise, rest, eating, and sunshine are all beneficial and necessary; but any of them taken to extremes becomes harmful. Overeating, even of the most healthy foods is detrimental. Exercise is indispensable to living healthfully, but over exertion can cause injury.

Anything that harms the body is counterproductive to good health. Do not use tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or caffeinated drinks. Avoid things that are harmful to you personally; foods to which you are sensitive, or which contribute to a disease you are fighting; risky behaviors or activities; as well as certain people and thought patterns. This rule simply stated is, “First, do no harm.”

Self-restraint is easily said, but is an elusive goal for most of us. It is sobering and alarming to realize that often we really are not in control of ourselves, that we are slaves to some appetite or habit. When you find that what you will to do you don’t have the power to accomplish, there is hope.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #8

AIR

Ripples on the lake, butterflies, and bird songs remind us of the bounties of fresh air. Air is the most vital element for man and animals. One may live for weeks without food, or days without water, but deprived of air he will perish within minutes.

The human body must have oxygen; each of its 100 trillion cells must receive steady, fresh supplies to survive. Every day you take more than 17,000 breaths to keep your body fueled. The heart sends blood to the lungs where it drops off carbon dioxide for elimination and picks up fresh oxygen for delivery to every cell in the body.

Fresh air has many health benefits. It improves the brain’s ability to function; gives clarity to the mind, improves concentration, and boosts learning abilities. It gives a sense of happiness and well-being by altering brain levels of serotonin. It promotes quality sleep, and kills bacteria and viruses in the air. Pollution causes air to lose these capabilities.

In closed areas the same air can be breathed and rebreathed, over and over. The oxygen content decreases, and the carbon dioxide and other wastes increase. When we breathe this stale air, the supply of oxygen is insufficient to keep the cells fueled. Devitalized air increases tension, anxiety, irritability, and headaches. It promotes depression and chronic feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.

Endeavor to get as much fresh air as you can every day. Here are some suggestions that may be helpful

* Ventilation

Open the windows or set heating and air conditioning units to bring in fresh air. Air out your house everyday. Keep proper ventilation in mind wherever you are. Avoid car exhaust, tobacco smoke, and stuffy ill-ventilated rooms.

* Deep breathing

Take several deep breaths to clear the mind and increase the energy level.

1. Find the freshest air available. Go outdoors if possible.
2. Stand erect.
3. Draw as much air into your lungs as they will hold imagine it going right down into your belly. Feel your stomach expand.
4. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
5. Empty your lungs as completely as possible; use your stomach muscles to gently push out the last bit of air.
6. Repeat the process five or six times.
7. Take a fresh air break several times daily.

Most people use less than half of their lung capacity. They are not getting all the potential benefits from the air they breathe. Consciously use your stomach muscles to fill and empty your lungs several times a day, and deep breathing will soon become a habit.

* Exercise

A good workout forces you to breathe deeply and speeds up the circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body; this saturates each cell with oxygen. Whenever possible, exercise outside in the morning when the air is cleanest.

* Posture

The way we stand and sit affects the amount of air the lungs can hold. When we sit up straight and “walk tall” we allow them to enlarge and work at full capacity. When we habitually stoop or slouch it is impossible to breath deeply. Superficial breathing soon becomes a habit and the lungs loose their power to expand and receive a sufficient supply of oxygen.

* Clothing

What we wear affects the amount of oxygen available for our use. Loose comfortable clothing allows the lungs freedom to inflate; tight, constrictive clothing around the abdomen tends to restrict breathing.

* Plants
From the rainforest, to the city park, to the home, plants serve the very important function of recycling the atmosphere. The absorb carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen for us to breathe. Some provide the added advantage of removing toxic pollutants from the air.

* A rural environment
Fresh air has a different chemical makeup from the indoor air most of us breathe; it is ionized or electrically charged, which is the primary reason for its multitude of health advantages. This air is produced in natural settings, around trees and moving water, in sunlight, and after thunderstorms.
Fresh country air soothes the nerves, stimulates the appetite, and induces sound refreshing sleep.
If you are fighting sickness, fresh air, in combination with the other principles of health, is a powerful remedy.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #9

REST

A vital part of a healthful lifestyle is getting the right quantity and quality of sleep. This is when the body grows, repairs damage, and restores energy, preparing itself for another day of activity.

When the body is deprived of sleep, it is unable to rebuild and recharge itself adequately. There is an increased in irritability, while creativity, concentration and efficiency suffer. Sleep deprivation impairs judgment, causing values and priorities to change.

Continued loss of sleep can result in exhaustion, depression, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. Losing as little as three hours of sleep in a single night can cut the effectiveness of your immune system in half.

Slowed reaction time and decreased concentration lead to an increase in accidents, both fatal and nonfatal. Estimates suggest that as many as 30 percent of fatal automobile accidents are caused by a driver falling asleep at the wheel. In a classic health study it was found that people who regularly slept seven to eight hours each night had a lower death rate than those who slept less than that.

In the U.S. fatigue is one of the most common reasons for visiting a physician. Many people have been sleepy for so long that they don’t know what it’s like to feel wide awake. Do you nod off whenever you’re not active, longer on your days off? If so, you are probably not getting enough sleep.

Here are some ways to improve the quality of your sleep:

1. Follow a regular exercise program, preferably in the fresh air and sunshine. The body will rest better if it has been active.

2. Don’t eat a heavy evening meal. When the body has to finish the digestion process after you go to bed, you won’t get the proper quality of rest.

3. Have a regular sleeping schedule. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time, including weekends. Studies show that the most efficient sleep occurs between 9:00 PM and 12:00 midnight.

4. Before bedtime relax your body and mind. Take a warm bath; drink a cup of herbal tea, such as catnip or hops; enjoy some quiet reading or soft music; do something pleasant and soothing.

5. Avoid stimulants like radio, television, tobacco, and caffeine.

6. Avoid upsetting arguments, conversations, and confrontations in the evening. Before bedtime set your worries and anxieties aside. Ask forgiveness and make restitution to those you may have hurt - obtain a clear conscience.

7. Refrain from alcohol; it interferes with the body’s ability to rebuild itself while you are sleeping. Check your medications for side effects that interfere with sleep.

8. A cool, dark, comfortable, tidy, and quiet sleeping area with an abundant supply of fresh air will soothe the body and encourage rest..

9. As you go to sleep, take time to be thankful for the blessings in your life.

Our bodies require more than just a daily period of sleep. At creation, God provided for a weekly rest, the Sabbath. This gives us a whole day without work, when the week’s cares are set aside for quality time with God and our families. This is indispensable for total health - it’s like an oasis in the midst of our busy lives. If we work continuously, we impose a strain upon our health and set ourselves up for disease.
A longer period of recreation and relaxation is also important from time to time to refresh and renew us.

 

STEPS TO HEALTHY LIVING - #10

TRUST IN GOD

What do faith, religion, and trust in God have to do with health? The list of benefits is extensive. Research has shown that spirituality helps to control stress, strengthen the immune system, and protect against heart disease and cancer. Beyond these scientifically verifiable benefits, God promises eternal life to those who trust Him - a life of perfect health and freedom from pain, fear, and death.

But can I trust Him? Does He even exist, and if so, does He care about me personally! Before you can trust anyone - God or man - you have to get to know him, observe his personality and character, communicate and interact with him and consider how he treats others and whether he keeps his promises. Before you can trust God, you need to become acquainted; talk, listen, and work with Him; investigate how He deals with His children. He longs to develop a close personal relationship with you. He invites you to come to Him on a daily basis and learn of Him.

Listening to God

Ask Him to give you spiritual insight so that you may hear and understand what He is saying to you. Here are some of the more common ways God speaks to us:

* Through the Bible. This book is God’s disclosure of His own character and His love for mankind. He reveals the true story of the conflict between Himself and Satan and how it has played out through history. It is also the original true source for knowing Christ.

* Through the life of Christ. God sent His Son into the world so we might have a clearer picture of His personality and character. Christ’s life of compassion, courtesy, and service to others here on this earth culminated in His death on the cross, the most vivid portrayal of God’s love every seen.

* Through nature. God created the wonderful and beautiful things of nature for the happiness and well-being of all His creatures. His love and wisdom can be seen in His created works. Though the earth bears evidence of the curse of sin and only dimly reflects the Creator’s glory. His object lessons are not obliterated. Nature still speaks of her Creator, imperfect and blighted though she may be, His craftsmanship may still be recognized.

* Through others. Like the moon reflecting the light of the sun, genuine Christians can give you a small glimpse of what He is like. However, the likeness of Christ in them may be partial, incomplete, or even distorted. It is better to look to the Source.

* Through providence - God’s personal care, protection, and guidance. God intervenes in our lives; He leads, cares for, and protects us. If you look back over your life you may be able to recognize some of the times when He has worked to get your attention and tell you He loves you.

What about the trials of life; where is God when my world is falling apart?

Always look at trials through the lens of Calvary. God’s love for you was proven at the cross: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). He can never act toward you in a way other than love. This divine love combined with His perfect wisdom and unlimited power insures that His decisions are always right. God invariably leads His children as they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning.

If God is so loving and wise, why do bad things happen to good and innocent people?

There are many reasons why bad things happen to good people. Here are a few of the factors that many be at work.

1. Because of our own choices. God does not force the will of any one. He respects each person’s right to choose whether or not they will obey Him and follow His will by doing as He directs. He lets us experience the results of own choices.

2. Because of the choices of others. We all have an influence on each other’s lives. The poor choices of Adam and Eve, civil leaders, drunk drivers, and our parents, all affect our lives adversely. The innocent suffer from other people’s faulty decisions.

3. Because of the violation of natural law. Objects fall; ice is slippery, machinery fails. When the physical laws that govern our world are broken, accidents happen and people get hurt.

4. Because of the adversary. Satan is allowed to test the loyalty and commitment of those who claim to be Christians. (See Job 1:1-12). Satan maintains that God’s people do not serve Him from love but because He protects and profits them, that if pain, loss, or temptation come they will reject God and choose Satan as their ruler. When we come under trial, yet stay true to God, He is vindicated and our faith is proven to be genuine. When we stop trusting God because of our trials, Satan tells God, “See, they only served You for personal gain.”

When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God they released Satan to constantly tempt and torment the human race, and gained for themselves and their children a “knowledge of evil.” Those who have experienced pain, disease, and death know first hand what this planet would be like if Satan were allowed full control. Satan hates God, and delights in hurting those He loves.

Because of the great controversy between God and Satan the choices and circumstances that affect our lives may not be the best, but when we stay surrendered to His loving care He takes those less than perfect circumstances and works them out for our ultimate benefit. He will always give us either strength to bear our trials or provide a way of escape; He promises, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20). When we place ourselves in His hands He will make all things work together for good. (See Romans 8:28)

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