GREATER HEALTH - GOD'S WAY
(Written by: Stormie Omartian)
(Taken from Greater Health God's Way by Stormie Omartian. Copyright ã 1996 by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402. Internet Use Only - Not To Be Duplicated. Used by permission.)
How do you write a book about health so that it doesn't overemphasize the physical side of things and neglect the spiritual? How do you keep it from encouraging people to take themselves too seriously? How do you keep it from becoming just another collection of personal opinions?
The answer is that you begin by seeking the Lord with all your heart, and you pray continuously for guidance and wisdom and revelation. You pray for all the doors to shut on your ideas if they are not what the Lord intends. You pray for every person who hears or reads your words to be opened to what they need to know. You pray to bring life where there might be death.
My most important goal in writing this book is to convince you that God's ways are good. In fact, they are more than good. They are perfect. We experience needless pain and misery only because we do not follow His ways.
I sincerely hope that this book will whet your appetite for more knowledge and that you will want to study further on your own. At the end of this book you will find a list of books that I recommend for further reading. I have read hundreds of books on the subject of health over the last fifteen years. Many were good in some areas but poor in others, or their spiritual leanings were such that I could never recommend them. However, all the books I have recommended here are excellent and I encourage you to read as many of them as you can. They are consistent and solid in their overall perspective, but they do not always agree with each other on minor points. You may find that you don't agree with them on every point. That's fine - all of us may have our own opinions, each for very good reasons. Some things we can know for certain, but other things must be left to individual preference. You will need to judge each book for yourself.
Remember that this book is not a compendium of medical advice, but rather an aid to help you achieve and maintain good health. If you are sick, allow God and a doctor to help you get well. You can read this book while you are recovering and decide how you are going to change your ways.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SEVEN STEPS
(Content at Any Age)
When we say that everyone wants to be youthful we don't mean that if you are forty you want to look twenty, or if you are twenty you want to look ten. But if you are forty you don't want to look fifty. There is nothing wrong with being fifty when you are fifty. What is wrong, is being fifty and looking and feeling sixty-five. In other words, we don't want to be prematurely old. "Looking old" means looking older than you really are.
Every age is good. Every age has something wonderful and special about that no other age has. Don't ever dread getting older. At any birthday you can be healthy, youthful, attractive, and alive. It's premature aging that should be unacceptable to you because premature aging is a sign that something is out of balance in your life. You may suffer under too much stress; too little exercise; a poor diet; sleepless nights; insufficient water, fresh air, sunshine, or fasting. The result will be a buildup of toxic wastes in your body that accelerates the aging process.
Because every age has its advantages, we don't want to go into our later years too decayed, decrepit, and diseased to enjoy them. To have a long and fulfilling life requires good health and an abundance of love, peace, and joy. We want to finish our lives as strong, vital, ministering people who bring good news and blessings to others. We want to be constructive, productive, contributing people. We want to be healthy, youthful, attractive, and alive, not sickly, old, repulsive, and half-dead.
Ask anyone who is sick and dying a miserable slow death how they would rather have spent their final years. They will say, "I wish I had known years ago the right way to live." Or if they have heard of the right way to live, they will say, "I wish I had listened."
Sophia, the week before she died of the cancer that had ravaged her entire body, told me, "I regret that I did not learn to forgive and release all things to God." Years of unforgiveness took its toll on Sophia and she was dead at age fifty.
Mary, after being healed of cancer of the lungs, throat, and mouth, continued against her doctor's orders to smoke, drink, and eat the way she always had. She died a very painful and sad death. She refused to follow what she knew to be the right way to live.
Max, after years of living his own way - eating junk food and being overweight, undernourished, overworked, and underexercised - decided one day that the following week he would begin a healthful diet-and-exercise program. Unfortunately, the decision came too late. The next morning he was dead of a heart attack at age forty. He had waited too long.
Ricky, a young man who practically lived on candy bars, cakes, cookies, and sodas as a regular diet, contracted leukemia. Because of the way he had fed his body, he had no resistance to help the doctors in the fight to save his life. He was dead at age twenty-five.
These are all extreme examples that began simply as premature aging. I knew all of these people personally and I watched them die needless premature deaths because either they weren't sufficiently acquainted with God's ways or they were aware of His ways and refused to follow them.
People who live in tune with God's ways and see them as good become healthy, youthful, attractive, and alive. Those who view their body as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit of God, and, accordingly, treat it with respect and care, are best able to adapt to God's ways.
Don't be fooled by those people who always seem to do as they please with regard to their health, the ones who consume all the fast foods, junk foods, dead foods, coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes they want. They overwork and never get any exercise, fresh air, or sunshine, and they have never given a thought to fasting. Their healthy days are numbered. For people like that, retribution comes suddenly and sometimes severely. We can't disobey God's natural laws forever and get away with it. No one can. God is no respecter of persons. It doesn't matter if you have the number-one album on the Gospel record charts or have led the entire state of Maine to the Lord, if you disobey God's laws for your life and health you will have to pay the consequences.
If you have been born with a healthy, strong body, rejoice, thank God, and keep reading to find out how to keep it that way. Don't wait until something bad happens to start a diet-and-exercise program. Even if you feel good now, neglect of your health will catch up with you. Don't wait until then to find out what to do - follow the Seven Steps to Greater Health now and reap the wonderful benefits of being healthy, youthful, attractive, and alive.
An Honest Look At Yourself
Are you happy with what you see when you look in the mirror? How do your eyes look? Are they bloodshot? Dull? Tired? Swollen? Sad? Small? Tense? Lifeless? Do they bum or itch? Is your vision blurred?
What about your skin? Is it dry? Oily? Blemished? Colorless? Puffy? Grayish? Sagging? Drawn?
What about your body? Is it weak? Tired? Flabby? Overweight? Underweight? Sick? Stiff? Full of aches and pains? Do you sleep well? Do you have problems with digestion? Constipation? Frequent colds? Numerous and nameless allergies? Do you feel you're aging rapidly?
Consider your attitude. Are you depressed much of the time? Do you regret the past, curse the present, and dread the future? Do you live with feelings of bitterness, resentment, envy, rage, hopelessness, fear, or futility? Does your life seem dull? Are you lethargic or lazy? Do you have no energy?
If any of this describes you, you need to be aware that this is not the way God intended you to live and that He has
provided a way out.
You see, I once suffered from almost all the maladies listed here. But I don't live with any of those problems now. I've found a way that works. It's God's way. The Seven Steps to Greater Health in this book are the steps God taught me, and I'd like to share them with you. They've worked consistently in my life for years and I've seen them work in countless other lives.
Over the Hill and Back Again
I am now forty years old, but forty is not the oldest I have ever been. The oldest I have ever been in my life was twenty-eight. I'm going to tell you what the Lord taught me that caused me to go from an old, old twenty-eight to a younger-than-ever forty.
I've got more energy and stamina than I've ever had in my life. I have overcome bad skin, bleeding gums, poor eyesight, nervous exhaustion, overweight, underweight, falling hair, lack of strength, chronic fatigue, susceptibility to constant colds and infections, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, and severely debilitating depressions. If I can overcome this poor quality of life, so can you.
I was sickly from the time I was a baby and I lived under great stress for the first twenty-eight years of my life. I know what it is like never to feel good, to be in pain, to live on tranquilizers, to face each day with feelings of futility and hopelessness, to feel that death would be better than life, to have serious diseases and then be allergic to the medicines usually used to treat them, to be sick for every important occasion that occurred in my life, to live in confusion about what was good for me and what wasn't, and to be totally ignorant of God's wonderful ways.
Now, at forty, I know what it's like to feel great, to have energy and enthusiasm, to look forward to each day, not to be sick, to have thick hair, unblemished skin, clear eyes, and to maintain a good weight. I used to be too weak to exercise; now I teach exercise classes.
When I was in my early twenties I moved to Hollywood to begin my television career as a singer, and I started taking dance lessons three times a week. I soon found I was working constantly; it was a struggle because I was often sick and always tired. The exercise I was getting in the dance classes was doing great things for my appearance, but I still suffered from physical ailments. I ate poorly, and my sleeping patterns were a joke. I would stay up all night partying, drinking, and smoking, and during the day I either slept or worked in the television studios from dawn until late at night. I never saw the sun, and I never gave a thought to fresh air or nutrition. I had a self-destructive craving for chocolate and I made sure my habit was well fed. It's amazing how we can live so far away from God and His ways and not even see for a moment how we are destroying ourselves - we go our own way and then curse God because we feel terrible all the time. What ignorance we live in!
Finally I hit one of my all-time physical lows. I was working on the "Glen Campbell Show" from Monday through Thursday, and on a local television show from Friday through Sunday. That meant a seven-day workweek. I was too insecure to turn down work, so I accepted every job I could possibly fit into my schedule. I was not obeying any of the Seven Steps to Greater Health-not one! I was headed for a collapse.
One of the other singers on the "Glen Campbell Show" was a handsome young man with clear skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, and a smiling, optimistic face who had a body that was strong, energetic, and never sick. He noticed my condition and began talking to me about such things as acidophilus, wheat germ, lecithin, apple-cider vinegar, desiccated liver, and brewer's yeast. I looked at him incredulously. He might as well have been talking Chinese; it all sounded so foreign. Remember, that was fifteen years ago and few people had heard about such foods at that time. Yet as I listened to this young man with the clear skin and healthy hair, two facts were obvious: he was healthy; I was sick. He obviously had something I needed.
He laid a plan out before me and asked, "What have you got to lose?" I thought it over for a few seconds while glancing in the mirror at my thinning hair, blemishes, darkly circled eyes, and colorless skin and said "How do I begin?"
He proceeded to acquaint me one step at a time with all of those wonder foods. The first item he prescribed was something I was able to pick up at a nearby health food store. I had been suffering from a sore throat for weeks. That night I did what he told me to, and by the next morning my sore throat was gone. In twenty-four hours I had become a believer. From then on I read every book available on health foods. I bought every gadget, from a slant board to a juicer to a sprouter to a yogurt maker. I was into it, I was sold, I was devoted, and I was fanatical! To my way of thinking, if a little was good, more would be better, and too much would be perfect. I knew no balance.
My hair started to grow back, I began to feel better, I was sick less often, and I saw my strength increase day by day. However, all that regular exercise and my extremely healthful way of eating (with emphasis on extreme) could not support me against the stress that flooded every area of my being. And my trust in occult practices such as numerology, astrology, hypnosis, and "positive thinking" were likewise crumbled under this stress.
Some time later, at twenty-eight, I hit another all-time low and became the oldest I have ever been in my life. There were very few parts of my body that were not affected. Physically, mentally, and emotionally I fell apart. Everything was gray -my skin, my eyes, my hair, my body, my mind, and my life. The only thing that didn't look gray to me was my future-it looked black.
Fortunately there was another singer with whom I had worked from time to time. She, like the young man on the "Glen Campbell Show," had a bright, clear, energetic, healthy attractiveness. But more than that she had an indefinable quality about her that was very appealing. She said, "I can see that you are not happy, so why don't you come with me and talk to my pastor? What have you got to lose?"
Where had I heard that before? Here I was again, so far down that I really didn't have anything to lose. So I did go with her to talk with the pastor. He sent me home with three books and said, "Read these books and come back in a week and tell me what you think of them." I devoured the books, one of which was the Gospel of John, from the Bible. I had never read anything like these books, and somehow I knew that what I was reading was the truth.
The following week, my friend and I went back to the pastor's office and there I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I was, in every sense, "born again." The Holy Spirit of God came into my heart because I invited Him there, and he began to work life in me from the inside out. The tremendous, powerful, ever-reaching light of God began to flood into all my black and gray places, and I stepped out of the darkness in which I had dwelled my entire life. I asked God for His cleansing power to work in me, and clean He did. He shook my life in such a way that all the bad things fell out and all the good things remained. I began to learn of God's ways and to see that His ways are good. They were not only good, they were so far above man's ways they were not even to be compared. God's ways were perfect!
And so, in every area of my life, He began to show me what was right and what was wrong, what would bring good and what would bring bad, what would bring sickness and disease and what would bring health. He showed me, among all the many things I had learned about health, which things were really part of His intended ways for us and which were not. I began to learn balance.
I had known for years that physical exercise on a regular basis was a must for total health. I replaced the dance classes with exercise classes at a local gym with a good instructor. Soon I began teaching classes myself. However, I was well aware that exercise alone could never be the total answer to health problems. I had also learned what wonderful things could happen just by putting high-quality foods into your body. But here, too, I learned that diet wasn't the only key to good health.
I began to see there were many different things that must be put together in proper balance to achieve consistently good health. All of these added up to seven steps-seven different elements that work together to bring about and preserve health and well being.
God's Ways Are Good
The Bible says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." 1 How true! Sickness and premature death are commonplace, all because we have no knowledge of the Lord's ways. We live so very far from the way God intended us to live. That's why there is so much pain and sickness, so many headaches, heart attacks, bad tempers, mental illness, and just plain lack of joy. We suffer a great deal just because of our own ignorance about God's ways.
In his book Back to Eden Jethro Kloss says, "Man does not go astray from nature because he lacks intelligence or instinct, but because he wishes to gratify his own desires." I have no doubt that this is the reason man got away from God's ways in the first place -he wanted to gratify his own desires. That is why you or I get into health trouble today. We want to gratify our flesh more than we want to serve our God. Kloss goes on to say, "God has provided a remedy for every disease that might afflict us." It's possible that almost every disease is caused by some kind of violation of the natural laws of God. We don't obey them because we don't understand them.
There are people who do live God's way-in simple lifestyles, close to nature, loving the fresh, clean beauty of the outdoors. If you live on a farm and enjoy vegetables and fruits from the garden, water from your uncontaminated well, poultry and beef from the animals you raise, fish from your unpolluted lake, work from dawn to dusk in good physical labor, rest well at night, love the Lord, and fast and pray regularly to His glory -then you don't need this book. Just wrap it up and give it to one of your city friends because you are already living the way you were meant to live. I'm not saying everyone should be working on a farm, but we could all live a lot closer to the way God intends us to live.
We have become jaded. Some of us have never been taught God's ways and we certainly don't see them in the world around us. Every year we get farther and farther away from how God intended us to live. We have become so perverted that we now call evil good and good evil. And we can't blame it on others -we all do it. Maybe we are not nearly as bad as some who are extremely perverse and evil, but we do it in little things and that's where it all starts, isn't it? I once heard a lady say vehemently to her child, "No! You cannot have any more carrots until you finish your hot dog and chips!" I marveled at how her thinking could have gotten so turned around. I knew the lady well and she was doing what she thought was right, to the best of her ability. But she was ignorant of the right way. We live in a society that wants to push its children to be superhuman instead of teaching them God's ways and how to live in true freedom and simplicity, at peace with God and with their fellowmen.
However, some of us have been taught the right way to do things, but we choose not to follow. We have an inner knowledge or voice that shows us the way but we would rather ignore it. "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it."'2
Learn To Love Your Body
It is not good to be preoccupied with your body, but it is wise to value the temple God has given you. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in and works through that wonderful body of yours. But how do you treat it? Do you feed it poorly, never allow it to have any exercise, keep it shut away from fresh air and sunshine, fill it with the poisons of unforgiveness and bitterness, never allow it any rest, and then criticize it because it doesn't look good and never does what you want? If that's the case I want to give you your first assignment in this book: STOP THAT!
You must make up your mind to have respect, love, and appreciation for the body God gave you, no matter what shape it is in at this moment. Begin to say to God, as David did, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." 3 Give your body to the Lord as "a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God." 4
Your body is a tool of ministry. Do you think you can serve the Lord better in sickness than you can in health? Do you want to serve Him for a couple of decent years, or would you rather have ten, twenty, or thirty more great ones? Our physical condition can influence our spiritual lives far more than we often realize. If we are disciplined in the care of our physical bodies, we are far more likely to be disciplined in our spiritual lives, too.
I don't care how much money Aunt Mildred left you or how good your health insurance is; you cannot afford to be sick. No one can. Sickness detracts from our relationships and service far more than we imagine. God designed the body to be self-repairing and self-healing if we treat it properly. For those of you, like me, who were not healthy to begin with and did not have the advantage of good nutrition and knowledge of God's ways, there is wonderful news. The wonderful news is that the body can be rebuilt in a matter of months. The Seven Steps to Greater Health are a guide to show you how to do it.
Seven Steps To Greater Health
The Seven Steps to Greater Health are based on this Scripture: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood.5 Now this has a deep spiritual meaning, referring ultimately to the atoning blood of Jesus. But as all Scripture has practical as well as spiritual application, for the purposes of this book we will consider the physical meaning. Remember that God did not just leave us down here to fend for ourselves. He made provisions for the spirit and for the flesh.
If the key to life is in the blood, it stands to reason that keeping our bloodstream pure, clean, and healthy is of utmost importance. It doesn't matter how many germs surround you, if the bloodstream is clean, disease cannot breed there. Each of the seven steps contributes to a clean, healthy bloodstream and a system that functions perfectly in all areas. The Seven Steps to Greater Health are: (1) peaceful living, (2) pure food, (3) proper exercise, (4) plenty of water, (5) prayer and fasting, (6) periods of fresh air and sunshine, and (7) perfect rest.
Does this sound simple? Well, you're right, the steps are simple. God's ways are always beautifully simple. It is we who make everything complex. God's ways are perfectly balanced. Man, left to himself, knows no balance. So, although the Seven Steps to Greater Health sound simple, by doing a couple of them to the extreme or by ignoring even one of them, you can make problems for yourself. The key is balance. "The man who fears the Lord will avoid all extremes."
The steps are interrelated and interdependent. You can't properly follow one without observing all the others. They are in order from one to seven for good reason. Peaceful living, the first step, is the fountainhead from which all health flows. Perfect rest, the last step, occurs naturally after all the others are in place. Between steps one and seven there is a natural progression with each step preparing the way for the other. Remember: EACH STEP IS DEPENDENT ON THE OTHER SIX-you don't wait until you've mastered step one to move on to step two. You must take a step at a time in each of the seven categories, always checking to see that you're maintaining a balance.
The Seven Steps to Greater Health are a consistent, reliable, preventative way of living that promotes good health. They are intended to add quality and years to your life. We cannot escape death, but we don't have to live in misery all the days of our lives here. All of the seven steps are requirements, not options. They are the minimum requirements for good health.
1Hosea 4:6 (NKJ); 21saiah 30:21 (NIV); 3Psalm 139:14 (NIV); 4Romans 12:1 (NIV); 5Leviticus 17:11 (NKJ); 6Ecclesiastes 7:18 (NIV)
(Editor's Note: This book can revolutionize your life if you are serious about changing your diet and nutrition habits. I can speak from personal experience in that this very book has helped me to see that God's ways are perfect and if we really want to do things His way, our lives will be much simpler and happier. If you are struggling in your health and know that there is a better way to go, we encourage you to invest in a copy of this book to help guide you and get you on the right track for health and wholeness God's way. This book can be obtained in any Christian bookstore nationwide and again, the title is Greater Health God's Way by Stormie Omartian.
For a personal profile and more information about Stormie Omartian and other books she has written, please visit her own personal web site. Or if you would like to contact her, she can be reached at this email address: email@example.com. God bless you now as you continue on your journey to total natural and spiritual wholeness!)
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