A Special Prayer Request

Dear friends,

 

In the two years I’ve had this blog, I have never done this before, but today I am asking for your prayer. With a subject like spiritual warfare being the topic of focus for me, it is no surprise that the year has been wrought with more obstacles than I care to recall. In spite of that, choosing God’s word—the truth—has allowed me to continue to experience a spiritual freedom amid the difficulties.

 

Over the past two months, though, my health has deteriorated significantly, to the point where even doing basic things like grocery shopping is an overwhelming task. It’s been frustrating, to say the least, because I pay careful attention to my diet and physical activity. In fact, despite feeling so ill, I have continued to work out nearly every day and stay disciplined with my diet.

 

I had not been to a doctor in over a year, but after the fatigue, sickness, and chest pains increased, I relented and made the trip to see my primary care physician. While I haven’t been given all the details yet (mainly the “why”), I found out that I have a major Vitamin D deficiency. I had no idea that something so “simple” could cause so many problems! But because I have a heart arrhythmia as well as arthritis, the lack of vitamin D was making those issues worse, causing the constant chest pain (and at the age of 30, feeling like you’re having a heart attack every day is pretty scary) and bone pain/muscle fatigue. Come to find out, a Vitamin D deficiency can exasperate pre-existing conditions, and even cause heart failure (eek!). Anyways, I am now on treatment for the next several months (massive doses of Vitamin D that has its own icky side effects) but the process is long. It could take two months to a year to get back to “normal”.

 

My request is simply this: please pray that God touch my mind with His healing hand, because throughout all of this my concentration and productivity have been completely sapped. As a freelance writer, I only make money when I am writing, and I haven’t been able to write anything for publication in over six weeks. I have barely managed to keep up with this blog, and the material that I need to prepare for my life groups. I know God’s approval of me doesn’t depend on my performance (thank GOD!) but it’s hard not to feel discouraged (I know, I’ve gone back to my Deadly D’s list many times over the past weeks!) because of the lack of progress I’ve made with the projects I’ve been working on. Normally, I don’t like to bring attention to my personal physical issues, but right now I need you and your prayers more than ever. I’ll be a guest on a radio show later this month, and I really need to be mentally alert and attentive to the questions, so I can wisely give an answer for the reason of the hope and new life I’ve been given through Christ.

 

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, and persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”~2 Corinthians 12:10

 

Thank you so much for your faithful support of this blog and for being committed to the truth of God’s word.

 

In Christ,

Rebecca Aarup

 

PS-

A special thanks to my friends Cheryl Lutz, Nancy Falcheck, and Melissa Fastrup, who have faithfully lifted me up in prayer and encouraged me through all of this. Your support and friendship is priceless and I am especially grateful that you never passed off my problems as “no big deal” but recognized the difficulty and acknowledged the struggle I’ve faced. Few things are more discouraging than, in the face of your pain, being told “it could always be worse!” None of you have ever treated me that way, and I thank you for that!

 

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Wanted: Serious Illness and Complicated Diagnosis

Prescription drugs and extravagant hard-to-pronounce scientific jargon—two things relentlessly sought by countless people in modern society. But why, you may ask, would someone want to have medical problems? Why would someone run to the doctor at the first sign of a cough, tickle, or stray hair? That’s a good question I do not have the answer to. I’ve simply observed in a great deal of personal relationships how quickly people assume a major problem exists when a simple explanation could be introduced. Often when two solutions are presented: complex medical diagnosis or behavioral issue, the former is readily accepted over the latter.

I’m no longer surprised by these occurrences. It’s merely a reflection of the society we live in. Our modern society wants answers given rather than conducting one’s own research. Our society has become too lazy to look into any issue with discernment. Our society accepts what it’s told as the gospel truth and follows willingly without further question. It’s just the way it is.

I refuse to get with the modern-day-program of society. I lived the majority of my life accepting whatever I was told as truth, believing every doctor and doctrine without question. I did little of my own research but readily accepted the opinions of those I viewed as better-educated. Who was I, anyways? I was nobody; I had no proper education. Clearly I couldn’t decipher or develop an opinion for myself. Besides, if I did, I was usually met with criticism and contempt. Better to accept what I’m being told without confrontation.

I took prescription medications for over a decade. In January, I was once again diagnosed with a new problem that would require yet another pill. Finally I did my own research into the various medical conditions I had. Through many hours of reading, studying, and praying, I decided to try something radical. I simply changed the way I ate. Risky! Insane! And even that choice was met with criticism!

But this article isn’t about doctors and prescriptions. This article wishes to address a deeper need within the Christian culture. That instant-gratification, give-me-answers now generation who refuses to be the Bereans they’ve been instructed to be (see Acts 17:17, 2 Timothy 2:15).

That brings me to the point. Do we believe every book, every manuscript, every article that we read because we place trust in the author? Do we believe their education provides them a reputation worthy of our acceptance? Atheists are educated. Evolutionary scientists are educated. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are educated. Would we believe everything they said because their education might be better than our own? If it seems absurd—it is! Each one of us, as children of God seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6), has been given a brain capable of understanding. However, becoming a Christian does not grant immediate wisdom in all things Biblical. Neither does our experience. I’m going to say that again. Our experience does not give us divine wisdom.

The only thing to test our ideas, theologies, doctrines and spiritual diseases by is the word of God. Just like my experience changing my eating habits worked for me, doesn’t mean that’s the solution for everyone. My experience is not to dictate reality. God’s word is reality. God’s word is the only trusted source of advice for social economic issues, justice, politics, and healthcare. My experience needs to be weighed through the word of God, not the word of God weighed through my experience.

Do your own research before readily accepting what you’re told. Every doctrine, opinion, experience, and idea should be held to the scrutiny of the infallible standard breathed by God Himself. You have a brain, too. If you lack wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to all who ask in complete faith (James 1:5).

Society is rapidly spiraling out of control in every area of physical and spiritual nature. It’s getting increasingly difficult to discern truth from error. The only remedy is to know God’s word, front to back. Read it, believe it, and live it. Then, as we’re confronted with experiences, teachings, and sermons promoting certain agendas, we’ll know the truth and be able to discard the rest.

 

(Explore the Bible cover to cover in 30 days, CLICK HERE for a suggested reading plan)

Nourishing Pathways

**Published in The Christian Online Magazine August 2012 Issue**

Nourishing Pathways to Health (part 1)

13 years ago I met Rebecca. Besides sharing the same first two names (Rebecca Anne) we found we had a mutual love for Jesus. Rebecca has been a blessing in my life, though we walked different paths for many years, we have come together once again bonded not only by our love for Jesus, but our desire to glorify God with our bodies.

Rebecca is now married and has three beautiful kids. Her husband, Luke, is the music and youth pastor at Hillsdale Blvd Baptist church while Rebecca teaches Sunday school for the youth. Together they serve God passionately, seeking to honor Him with their bodies while teaching those habits to their children. I know you’ll be encouraged by her story.

Nourishing Pathways to Health

Chemical additives are common and convenience is praised in the modern diet, but Sacramento California resident Rebecca Gertner has chosen a different path for her family’s health, especially her husband who, at the age of 32, was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer.

“When God’s word says that our bodies are His temple, that means we should honor them. Just like we wouldn’t go spread trash all over our church sanctuary or purposely destroy the building, we should be mindful of how we are treating this flesh and blood sanctuary.”

Rebecca hasn’t always practiced a healthy lifestyle. As a member of the Finley Family, who travelled and performed as a way of life, she learned the art of eating on the go. Rebecca recalled her life on the bus:

“Growing up I ate a lot of fast food and drank a lot of soda pop. For years we didn’t have a refrigerator and just an ice chest. That left us consuming a lot of things that were either non-perishable or quick to purchase or eat.”

When the Finley Family wasn’t touring they worked together at home booking concerts, practicing music, and making bus repairs. Eventually a system was developed to trade off cooking responsibilities for the family so everyone would have a turn preparing food. Making meals for a large family with varying tastes often meant preparing fried foods, drinking sodas, and baking hefty desserts.

“I was unhealthy when I got married,” Rebecca admitted, “I had food allergies that caused me to have migraines regularly, but since my family wasn’t thinking much about the quality of our diet, it never occurred to me that the headaches were a result of what I was eating. Eventually I was able to maintain a headache free life just by the choices I made concerning food.”

Rebecca’s husband, Luke, had learned about nutrition when his brother became sick as a young boy. Unable to find healing through traditional means, his mother turned to nutrition. His family then adopted and maintained a healthy lifestyle.

“Getting married to Luke changed the way I saw food. Not only did I have the freedom to cook what I wanted, but I also had someone encouraging me to cook healthy foods,” Rebecca explained.

“The biggest factor in deciding to change the way we ate was when my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 non-smokers lung cancer. As you can imagine we were shocked, scared and motivated to do whatever it took to beat this cancer. Food seems to take a back-burner when you’re looking at the statistics of this kind of cancer. Life is more than food. Food is simply what makes life possible.”

Rebecca spent countless hours in research via the internet as well as seeking advice from medical professionals. After learning how excessive amounts of sugar and carbs can suppress the immune system, Rebecca and Luke decided to limit Luke’s carb intake and focus on whole foods instead of processed refined foods, limiting the amount of added sugar to his diet and giving him the best opportunity to heal through proper nutrition as well as traditional cancer treatments. She admits it’s often difficult to discern what advice to take and what to discard, considering there were hundreds of contradictory medical opinions. Ultimately it came down to seeking God’s will and wisdom in every health choice.

You can read the rest of Rebecca’s interview in September’s issue of The Christian Online Magazine! Stay tuned!

I Will Not Compromise With Sin

I Will Not Compromise With Sin

 “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” Psalm 119:9 (NLT)

 

When you feel yourself getting a cold you usually take precautions to fight off the infection. You may take extra vitamins, drink more fluids, or eat some chicken noodle soup. Psalm 119:9 tells us that we are born spiritually sickened and we need a remedy. (“How can a young person stay pure?”) How do we know what the symptoms of our spiritual disease are? Galatians 5:19-21 gives us a very precise picture:

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.”

If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we have all struggled with at least a few of these things that demonstrate our sin-illness. It’s very clear we need a cure. Our Great Physician prescribes us our medicine: Obey My Word. In taking His prescribed medicine we will manifest a healthy spirit exhibiting “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Make sure to take your daily dose of the King’s cure by obeying the Word of truth!