Sunday, 1 October 2017

Why Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a Lie

Part. 1

As part of my Occupational Therapy degree at university, we were taught Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This is a psychology theory that states that man's needs can be prioritised the following way.
Maslow reports studying only the healthiest 1% of people in developing his theory. He  believed 

"the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy."                                                                               Maslow, A (1954). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper.

For many years, I believed what I was taught at University. I mean, after all, this was university. It must be truth.

But now I want to publicly state that I believe this theory to be a lie. You see, I had all those things that Maslow said were important in my life, but all it yielded was a deep sense of emptiness and meaninglessness. I was completely and utterly dissatisfied.

Now, I would like to present a different Hierarchy of Needs - one that I have found to be truly and utterly satisfying beyond my wildest dreams. The author of this is Jesus Christ, God, the creator and sustainer of the world and it's creatures. This is no theory, like Maslow's. This is actual fact. I have proven it over and over again as have others in history. I dare you to try it - to see if it holds water. What have you got to loose?

God's Hierarchy of Needs:

1. Love
2. Faith
3. Hope
4. Contentment
5. Drink, food, clothing

Love First: 

The Bible teaches, that man's greatest need is love. Intrinsically, we all know that humans can thrive without some of their physical needs being met, if they feel love. Ask any orphan or widow. I have. They always choose love first. The difference between a home and an orphanage is love. 

The Bible wisely says this about love:
"If I speak in the tonguesa of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,b but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

The Bible says God is love (1 John 4). Therefore, mankind's greatest need is God. Jesus Christ is love. He loved me first. While I was still hating him, He loved me. When I was still rebelling against Him, He loved me. When I was unfaithful to Him, He was faithful to me. He forgave me, before I even asked for forgiveness.

Not all 'loves' are equal. Jesus thought I was worth dying for. He valued me. I was worth the shame of an unjustified, gruesome crucifixion. No human loves like that, unless they are filled with God's love.

Paul says in Philippians 3, he would rather have Jesus Christ than anything else.
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.
All through out history, for over 2000 years, thousands of men, women and children have died for their faith in Jesus Christ in preference to recanting their faith. They valued Jesus Christ more highly than food, clothing, shelter, safety, family, fame, sleep, fortune and success. They've been tortured, murdered, maimed, starved, bankrupted, hated and imprisoned. They still chose love. They chose Jesus Christ.

The real currency of this world we live in, is love.

Don't you want to know what you are missing out on?

Monday, 11 September 2017

Facing the Demons

Spiritual Warfare is part and parcel of the normal Christian life, so it is important we understand how it works, if we are to grow into mature, victorious Christians.  

Many times we are commanded in Ephesians 6 to take our stand.

 "take your stand against the devil's schemes." 

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

But what does it mean to “stand against the devil’s schemes’, or ‘stand our ground’ or “to stand’?

Proverbs sheds some light on this issue, in chapter 25.

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.”

The dictionary says to ‘stand one’s ground’ means to resolutely maintain one’s position, typically in the face of opposition and intimidation. 

As Christians we stake our claim of ground on the Word of God. If the Word of God says something is good, then we say it is good. If it says it is evil, then we say it’s evil. 

Who is the Christian's enemy?

Let's not be confused here. The enemy is not flesh and blood, It’s not actual people, it's demons or evil/ injurous spirits.

"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Eph 6:12)

What are the Devil's schemes?

Demons have strongholds. Strongholds are arguments and presumptions that oppose the Word of God and knowledge of God. Christian's have the power and authority to destroy them. This was given to us by Jesus Christ.

"For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every presumption that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor 10:3-5

For example, evolution is a stronghold or argument that is not supported by the Word of God. There are many, many more.

Let me give you a few in detail that I have personally come up against. The Bible often depicts Satan and demons metaphorically as animals and His people as sheep. I can only assume that this is to increase our understanding when we come up against them.  

The Spirit of Leviathan:- Also known as the ‘Beast of the Sea’, 'Sea Monster' or 'Dragon’, this spirit is roused when we curse the day we were born (Job 3:8) It’s the ‘I wish I’d never been born, my life is so awful... how dare God have created me... my life is no longer worth living because I have lost (fill in the blank)....” mindset. Found in the deepest of the deep, this is the deepest of wounds and the highest of pride. In Job 41, we read 

“Nothing on earth is his equal - a creature without fear. He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king of all that are proud.” 

Job 41 says that even the mightiest of men are terrified by this spirit and any hope of subduing him is false hope...though many have tried various weapons.

BUT the LORD is greater than the spirit of Leviathan.

In Psalm 74 we are told that God crushes the head of Leviathan and feeds it to his tribes in the wilderness.

In Psalm 104:26 we are told the LORD created Leviathan. He is simply a creature not the Creator.

In Isaiah 27 we are told,

 “In that day the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent he will slay the monster of the sea.”

Our life is worth living because the true purpose of our life is to worship God and serve him forever. God chose to create us. God chose a purpose for each and every one of us. As Habbakuk 3 says, though absolutely everything goes wrong in my life  .... 

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

The Spirit of the Bear/Lion:- In the Bible, wicked rulers who oppress the poor and helpless and defy the armies of the living God, are likened to roaring lions and charging bears. They ferociously attempt to attack the sheep, God’s people.

Like a roaring lion and a charging bear, Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.” Prov 28:15

A perfect example of this is seen in the well known account of David the young shepherd boy defeating the giant Goliath. David says,

“But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Sam 17:34-37
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David repeatedly took his stand in the name of Yahweh, and declared his victory. He refused to give way to this wicked man.

‘Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.”

David makes 5 declarations to this spirit.
  1. I attack you in the name of the LORD of Hosts.
  2. The LORD will deliver you into my hands.
  3. All the earth will know that there is a God in Israel.
  4. The LORD does not deliver by sword or spear.
  5. The LORD delivers you into our hands.

The Spirit of the Wolf:- The Bible depicts false prophets as a wolf spirit. (Matt 12:33-37, Luke 6:43-45). Jesus tells us to recognize wolves in sheep’s clothing by the fruit that they produce - disobedience. They advertise themselves as ‘christians’ who are able to prophesy, drive out demons and perform miracles yet the reality is that they are workers of lawlessness. They reject God’s law and so He rejects them (Hosea 4:6) The wolf spirit arrogantly denies as holy what Jesus has appointed as holy. At it’s root, this spirit rejects the authority of Scripture and obedience to God’s expressed will, as written in the Holy Bible.

In John 10, we read that the wolf attacks the flock (God’s people) and scatters them.

I should add, that the Scriptures say there is nothing wrong with Christians prophesying, casting out demons and performing miracles in the name of Jesus. Jesus did them all and so did his disciples and others in the early church. That is well documented in the New Testament. The real issue here is that these wolves deny God’s law - His ultimate authority and lordship over what is right and wrong. Hence they promote what is wrong and deny what is right. Ultimately they are fighting for the wrong side and so they have a disobedient spirit and ultimately promote sin itself. (Jude 1-25).

BUT Jesus is greater than the wolf spirit.

His word says...

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16,17).

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12,13).

“Everyone who practices sin practices lawlessness as well. Indeed, sin is lawlessness. But you know that Christ appeared to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who remains in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has seen Him or known Him.” (1 John 3:4-6).

But Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who cares for his sheep.

In John 10 we read, 
  • God’s people (the sheep), know Jesus’ voice and follow Him.
  • Jesus lays down his life for the sheep.
  • Jesus owns the sheep.
  • Jesus protects the sheep from the wolves, bears, lions and thieves.
  • Jesus provides salvation for His sheep.
  • Jesus gives His sheep safe pasture and life to the full.

What are the Christian’s weapons?

Truth or the Spirit of Truth: - Jesus said, he is truth. Without truth, we have only lies and the Bible calls Satan, the father of lies. The role of the Holy Spirit is to equip us to discern truth from lies. Without Him, we might find ourselves inadvertently fighting on the opposite side of truth. The Spirit of Truth brings glory to God.

"But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you." John 16:13,14

"Stand firm then with the belt of truth bucked around your waist." Eph 6:14

Righteousness:- the Bible speaks of a righteousness that comes from God. This is far higher than moral righteousness or any good deeds we might do in and of ourselves. It's Jesus Christ, God in the flesh’s perfect righteousness imparted to us. We receive God's righteousness by confessing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believing in our heart that God raised him from the dead. (Romans 10). God's kingdom and throne is founded on righteousness and justice. (Ps 89:14) 

The Gospel :- The gospel brings peace. Peace with God and peace with each other as we all unite with God’s ways and deny ourselves of our own ways and plans.

"Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." 

"That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins." 1 Cor 15

Faith:- Faith is believing God exists, that His Word is truth and living out that belief.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:6

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Heb 11:6

Salvation:- We are saved by the grace and mercy of God, not by our own goodness. As soon as we start trusting in our own good deeds, we have walked away from God’s truth about his plan for salvation.

"He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we would become heirs with the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)

Word of God:- When faced with arguments or presumptions that oppose the Word of God, we stand firm on His word as truth and refute the strongholds by declaring.."The Word of God says this...". Jesus set a wonderful example of this for us, when he was tempted for 40 days in the wilderness. (Matthew 4)

"The sword of the Holy Spirit is the Word of God." Eph 6:17

Prayer:- Prayer is where we communicate to God, give Him honor and praise and make our needs known.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." Eph 6:18

"The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail." (James 5:16)

All these 7 weapons must be operating habitually, each day, for us to live the victorious Christian life.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Can Essential Oils Balance Hormones & Mood and Reduce Stress?

Essential Oils are able to balance the body’s hormones naturally.  By bringing balance to the body’s hormones they lower it’s stress levels. It is well documented that oxidative stress is the root of all disease. Synthetically made hormones in pharmaceuticals simply can’t compete.

This was shown in a study published in May 2013 where natural bergamot essential oil and a synthesized chemical essential oil were trialled on the work related stress of teachers with various workloads. It says - 

“We analyzed the performance of the aromatherapy treatment on the teachers who had various workloads. We measured the teacher’s heart rate variability to evaluate their autonomic nervous system activity. The results show that only the natural bergamot essential oil had an effect and that the aromatherapy treatment relieved work-related stress of teachers with various workloads.”

A 2014 article published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research, found that simple inhalation of clary sage improved the body’s cortisol levels (stress hormone) and thyroid hormones by 36%! That was just an inhalation. They also found that clary sage lifted the mood of these women and had anti-depressant properties. According to Dr Joshua Axe, there are consistent studies that demonstrate clary sage’s essential oil’s ability to balance women’s estrogen levels in addition to other hormone imbalances.

Other essential oils are also very successful at lowering the body's stress levels, blood pressure and hypertension. In 2006, a study using lavender, ylang ylang and bergamot concluded 
"The results suggest that the inhalation method using essential oils can be considered an effective nursing intervention that reduces psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension."

Thyme essential oil balances progesterone in men and women according to the Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine. Low progesterone is linked with infertility, poly cystic ovaries and depression.

Sandalwood essential oil balances testosterone levels in men and women, stimulates the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and reduces anxiety. 

Cedarwood essential oil stimulates the pineal gland which releases melatonin, an anti-oxidant hormone associated with deep, restful, peaceful sleep.

Myrtle essential oil balances hormonal imbalances of the thyroid and ovaries. It was myrtle that brought enormous healing to my body when I had Hashimoto’s disease, an auto-immune disease of the thyroid. My Hashimoto’s Disease has been gone for several years now.

Rose essential oil balances the body’s serotonin levels.

According to Dr J Axe,

 “In general, one of the best essential oils for thyroid function and autoimmune issues is frankincense oil, which reduces inflammation, also helping to lower those cortisol levels.”

Lavender and chamomile also naturally lower cortisol levels. A study published in March this year in the Iranian Journal of Midwifery found that

“inhaling the scent of lavender for 4 weeks can prevent stress, anxiety and depression after childbirth.” 

Another study reported similar findings

 “Efficacy studies of lavender or orange and peppermint essential oils, to treat anxiety and nausea, respectively, have shown positive results.”
In 2015, the effects of aromatherapy in reliving symptoms related to job stress among nurses was published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice. Inhaling lavender essential oil 
"was shown to be effective in the reduction of the number of stress symptoms for 3 or 4 days. The stress symptoms of the experimental group decreased....whereas the stress symptoms in the controlled group increased."

Essential Oils are able to balance our moods. A systematic review of 16 randomized controlled trials on the anti-anxiety effects of essential oils in people with anxiety symptoms in 2011, found that

 “most of the studies indicated positive effects to quell anxiety. No adverse events were reported.”

In 2012, a pilot study was published on the effects of essential oils on women with post-natal depression and anxiety. 

“The pilot study indicates positive findings with minimal risk for the use of aromatherapy as a complementary approach in both anxiety and depression scales with the postpartum woman.” “There were no adverse effects reported”.

In 2002, Melissa Essential Oil was shown to safely and effectively manage agitation in people with severe dementia. This double blind, placebo-controlled trial also demonstrated that the participants improved in other key quality of life parameters.

Now, it is important to know that not everything that is marketed as ‘natural’ is good for us. According to Havard Medical School,

 “any product whose principle ingredient has an animal, plant or mineral source is technically natural. it doesn’t matter whether the substance is ground, put into capsules and sold over the counter - or extracted in a laboratory, manufactured by a pharmaceutical company and made only available by prescription.” 

But the Bible teaches us otherwise. It tells us that God didn’t give us everything as food and medicine. Somethings He told us not to touch or eat. I think a perfect example of this can be seen in the drug Premarin where the estrogen for the drug comes from pregnant mare’s urine. It doesn’t surprise me then that when this drug was tested in the Women’s Health Initiative, concerns were raised because users had a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots. The Bible tells us that we were not given pregnant mare’s urine as medicine. We weren’t even given their milk to drink! A wonderful book on that particular topic is “What Does the Bible say about Healthy Living?” by Dr Rex Russell. Beware of ‘natural’ marketing. Know first what we are allowed to have as food and medicine then you will find it much easier to navigate your way through the maze of worldly opinion on health.

Medicines manufactured by man cannot compare with the healing capabilities of essential oils, made by an all-knowing God. Man-made pharmaceuticals lack the same life giving healing found in essential oils. They are synthetic imitations of the healing nutrients and properties that God created in essential oils. Essential oils on the other hand, are affordable for all, non-addictive and a very little goes a long way. There’s no need for ongoing scripts or increased doses.

Synthetic prescriptions all have undesirable side-effects even when taken according to the doctor’s advice. Some effects can even be deadly. No drug is capable of true healing. Furthermore when more than 1 drug is taken at a time, they can work in disharmony and there are often drug reactions between the drugs. 

If all this inspires you to learn more about God's wonderful world of essential oils, then let me encourage you to read and discover more. There are library books,, free youtube videos, naturopaths and aromatherapists who can guide you. Many medical doctors are now using essential oils in preference to pharmaceuticals to help heal their patients. Do your homework and find the resources you need to support your desire for a more natural, wholesome approach that is in line with Scripture.
"Oil and perfume bring joy to the heart, 
so a man's counsel is sweet to his friend" Prov 27:9
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Saturday, 26 November 2016

How Do Essential Oils Heal the Body?

Essential oils are composed of tiny nutrient dense molecules that can penetrate every cell of our body, to bring healing at the most basic of levels. Different essential oils are higher in different nutrients, the same as we find in foods. 

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For example, oranges are high in vitamin C and so orange essential oil is high in vitamin c. Some foods are high in magnesium, so some oils are high in magnesium. It is the same system. Essential Oils are just a very highly concentrated form of the nutrients. When an essential oil is distilled from a plant it would normally concentrate the oils from their original state by 50 to 100 times. This is why a little can go a long way!

Essential oils differ from the fatty oils we use for cooking. Fatty oils like canola or sunflower oils are composed of molecules that are much larger and are unable to penetrate the body’s cells and bring healing at a cellular level. Essential oils do the opposite. Their molecules are very small, and this enables them to cross into the blood, across the blood-brain barrier and into the cells of the body within about 3 seconds. It is in the cells of the body that they are able to bring about therapeutic healing, restoration and repair.

Thus, like the plants and food, essential oils can support and balance our endocrine, circulatory, digestive, nervous and reproductive systems. They can clear our sinuses and lungs and help us breathe better. They can help us metabolize our nutrients, minerals and vitamins. 

They can also boost the natural defenses of our immune system so we can fight off disease by our own abilities. Essential oils are hostile to bacteria, viruses, parasites, microbes and fungi, and friendly to our bodies. Many oils, applied to the skin, are also effective insect repellants and natural anti-septics for cuts and wounds. 

According to a study done by scientists at Tufts University in Boston, they are the world’s most powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants destroy free radicals in our bodies and therefore inhibit and slow down the aging and disease process in our bodies.

In 1992, the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) was developed to measure the antioxidant capacity of many foods, juices and oils. This scale was adopted by the US Department of Agriculture and scientists at Tufts University in Boston, to investigate which foods and essential oils have the highest ORAC score. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the anti-oxidant capacity of the food or essential oil.

Now a common sense approach here is required. Just because clove essential oil has a very high ORAC score doesn't mean it is wise to consume large amounts of clove oil. That would not be wise.

Rather, the purpose of this chart is to show that essential oils are highly concentrated sources of antioxidants -  which is why they have the ability to bring healing to the body, as part of a healthy lifestyle. Don't think you can eat whatever you like and smoke whatever you want and somehow or other, an essential oil is going to 'fix it' or 'offset' your poor lifestyle choices. It simply won't work. But, if you are looking for a natural alternative to build your immune system and fight illnesses, then essential oils are definitely for you.

Now these tiny antioxidant powerhouse molecules can be divided into three groups by which natural compounds they are high in. There are 3 natural compounds found in essential oils that gives them the ability to repair the body's cells.

1.    Phenols and Phenylpropanoids: Essential Oils such as clove, basil and oregano are very high in phenols and phenylopranoinds. This natural compound cleans the body's cell receptor sites - aiding communication between cells which inhibits sickness, because illness causing viruses and bacteria etc struggle to thrive.

2.    Sesquiterpenes:  Essential Oils which are high in sesquiterpenes include cedarwood, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, ginger and myrrh. Sesquiterpenes deliver oxygen to the body's cells as well as erase or deprogram miswritten information in cellular memory. This is important for fighting illnesses, especially cancer.  

 "The root problem with a cancer cell is that it contains misinformation, and sesquiterpenes can delete that garbled information. At the same time the oxygen carried by sesquiterpenes molecules creates an environment where cancer cells can't reproduce. Hence, sesquiterpenes deliver cancer cells a double punch - one that disables their coded misbehaviour and a second that stops their growth."  Stewart, D. Ph.D. "Healing Oils of the Bible" 2015, CARE Publications.

Monoterpenes: Essential Oils high in monoterpenes, like grapefruit, frankincense, cypress and galbanum, play a role in reprogramming and repairing you body's DNA. In 2010, Immunologist Mahmoud Suhail, from the University of Oklahoma said this about how frankincense essential oil can repair the body's DNA and help fight cancer.  

“Cancer starts when the DNA code within a cell’s nucleus becomes corrupted. It seems frankincense has a re-set function. It can tell the cell what the right DNA code should be. Frankincense separates the ‘brain’ of the cancerous cell- the nucleus-from the body- the cytoplasm, and closes down the nucleus to stop it reproducing corrupted DNA codes.” 

It is thought that when choosing essential oils, it is best to first cleanse the cell’s receptor site, then deprogram the misinformation, before re-programing the correct information.

Monday, 13 June 2016

When the Waters Roar and Foam

Are the waters ahead roaring and foaming?
Is every fibre of your being screaming danger?
Are fear and anxiety trying to gain a foothold?

Do you know the LORD God as your refuge?
Have you fed on his wisdom for dangerous waters?

Look for the Warning Lighthouse.

God warns the righteous of upcoming trouble so that they can take refuge and remain safe. There are some waters, that the LORD God does not intend for us to go through. They are simply not safe. He always sends a warning. He always provides a lighthouse.  Keep watch for the warning lighthouse.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared. Prov 3:25, 26.
Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence. Prov 3:31,32.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Ps 112:4
Examples in Scripture:

  • Joseph was warned in dreams to flee from approaching danger. "When they had gone, an angel of the LORD appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up', he said, 'take the child [Jesus] and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.' So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. "Matt 2:13-15. "Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee." Matt 2:22
  • The Magi were warned in a dream of Herod's evil intention. "And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." Matt 2:12
  • Pilate's wife was warned to have nothing to do with Jesus' crucifixion. "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." Matt 27:19

Take Refuge. Avoid Dangerous Waters.
When you see the warning lighthouse, take refuge. Don't be a fool and keep sailing into dangerous territory.
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Prov 27:12
A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Prov 22:3
When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding. Prov 28:12
When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive. Prov 28:28
Examples in Scripture:

  • In 1 Kings 18:13 we read of Obadiah hiding the LORD's prophets from the wicked King Ahab who was actively seeking to kill them. According to the NIV text notes on this passage - "Communities of prophets had sprung up in Israel during a time of apostasy."  The text note later says that these "companies of prophets were apparently religious communities that sprang up in the face of general indifference and apostasy for the purpose of mutual edification and the cultivation of the experience of God."
  • In Exodus 1 and 2, we read of the midwives helping the Israelite women to hide and protect their children from the wicked rulers. "The midwives however feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live." Ex 1:17  The Bible records that the LORD God blessed the midwives for their actions of valour and righteousness.
  • Joash, a child who was heir to the throne, was hidden for 6 years from a wicked queen who  was intent on murdering all in the royal line (2 Chron 22:11).
  • "By faith, Moses parents hid him for 3 months after he was born because they saw he was no ordinary child and they were not afraid of the King's edict." Heb 11:23
Enjoy Safe Haven
The LORD rewards the righteous who heed his wisdom to take refuge with a safe haven. In safety he enables them to flourish and thrive.
My son, preserve sound judgement, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you lie down, your sleep shall be sweet. Prov 3:21-24
But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. Prov 1:33
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Isaiah 33:17,18
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land, the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house and his righteousness endures forever.....He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure, he will have no fear, in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. Psalm 112. 
Have you found your safe haven? Have you let the LORD gently lead you to safety?
Take my advice, do not let fear paralyse you and keep you from taking refuge when dangerous waters approach. Learn that the LORD God, the lover of your soul, wants his children to be safe. Keep watch for the warnings and trust your Heavenly Father to keep you safe.


Monday, 6 June 2016

Are you in the right boat?

Is your life full of stormy weather?
Maybe it's because you're in the wrong boat.

You see, there are two types of boats in life. 

Boats that are heading in the right direction 
Boats that are heading in the wrong direction.

Both boats can experience calm sailing. 
Both boats can encounter stormy seas.

Both boats come in all shapes and sizes.

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It's the direction of the voyage that makes all the difference. 

Is it right or is it wrong?

But how do you discern which boat you are in?
How do you know when to abandon ship?
How do you know when to change boats?
And WHO is choosing which boat we are in anyway?

It seems to me, the answer to these questions could be vitally important if we are to navigate successfully through life and journey to the right destination. No one wants to get to the end of their life to discover they had fought hard to overcome the worst of life's hurricanes, only to end up at the wrong destination. Nothing could be more demoralising.

Maybe the first question should really be, what is the right destination? For if we don't know that...well everything else is really quite pointless.

3 Clues You're in the Wrong Boat.

1. Are you running away from God's expressed wish to you? Three times we are told that Jonah "ran away from God", after God revealed his will to him. God had commanded Jonah to go and boldly call the people of Nineveh to repent. Jonah deliberately disobeyed and jumped on a boat headed in the opposite direction. It was a deliberate choice of disobedience.  He didn't like what God had to offer. He didn't call it good. He didn't call it pure.

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2. Is your storm a result of God disciplining you? You may already know the answer to that. If not, just genuinely ask Him. In my experience, if every time I open the Word of God, the LORD God is telling me he is disciplining me, then that is a clear sign, I am doing something wrong. In Jonah's case, he knew without asking the LORD. A storm of discipline only comes when we are in the wrong boat.
"I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." Jonah 1:12

3. You need to abandon ship if you are to obey God. Sometimes the only solution in an enormous storm is to abandon ship and throw yourself on the mercy of God. When faced with a sinking ship in a storm of discipline, Jonah threw himself on the mercy of God and asked to be thrown into the stormy sea.
"Pick me up and throw me into the sea" He replied, "and it will become calm."Jonah 1:12
His intention? Jonah believed it would be better to lose his life, than to try going on living in a boat sailing further into disobedience. In Jonah chapter 2 we read of Jonah's prayer of repentance to the LORD as he sunk deeper and deeper into the ocean. His longing for God and obedience to God was greater than his longing for life itself.

Is this how you feel towards God?
Would your life be worthless if it was not lived in obedience to the LORD?
"When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple." "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs" Jonah 2:7,8
Are you clinging to a worthless idol?
That is what disobedience is. An idol in your life.
Oh that you would abandon yourself onto the mercy of God and value your life as worth nothing without God.
Jesus said "If anyone would come after  me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Of what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matt 16:24-26
Paul put it this way. "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." Phil 3:7-9 

My Story of the Deep.

When the LORD God asked me to wean myself off using pharmaceuticals to manage my allergies and Hashimoto's Disease, I thought I would die. I didn't know then that they were hurting me, with all their side effects. I didn't know then that there would be a better alternative for my body, using natural medicines. All I could see at the time was my own wall of fear. My own idol of terror.

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At that time, I knew that to obey God, I too would have to overcome the same storm that Jonah did. If I was to obey, I would need to decide that living in obedience to what Christ was calling me to do, was worth far more to me, than continuing my journey deeper into disobedience.  I literally felt that I was like Jonah; utterly dependent on my God for mercy.

And he gave me mercy. For many years now, I have not used any pharmaceuticals and have relied on natural medicine. Slowly but surely my allergies dissipated. Slowly but surely my Hashimoto's Disease healed, as I walked in obedience to his word. The LORD had had a better plan for my body.  I needed to overcome my own fear and terror and trust him. I needed to change boats. I needed to call His boat - good.

I do not know what the LORD God will ask you to do. But let me say one thing. Pray and seek Him earnestly. Soak yourself day and night in his Word, the Bible. Beg Him to teach you and equip you to obey; and He will.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Anger Management in the Home

If you are a normal household, which I am assuming we all are, there will, at times, be periods where there is anger in the home.

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But what wisdom does the Bible and Christianity have to offer about anger?  
Is it wrong to become angry? 
Is it ever okay?
What is God's anger like? 
How do we manage anger within the home? 

These are the questions I would like to answer, because I believe that if we can get our anger management right, then we can, often times, avoid a full blown civil war within our homes and restore a well-balanced peace.

What is God's anger like?

The LORD God, Yahweh has a very, very, very long fuse. He is slow to become angry. He is long-suffering and patient.

"You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love." Neh 9:17 (see also Ex 34:6; Ps 103:8; Na 1:3; Ps 86:15; Jonah 4:2)
His anger lasts only a moment. It is short lived. It doesn't rage on and on, seething in vileness.
"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime." Ps 30:5

It is controlled.
 "Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath." Ps 78:38

It is pure and just and undefiled.
We are told to be like Him.

How do I manage my own anger?

We are not to curse, swear  or use bad language when we are angry.
"But you must rid yourself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips." Col 3:8 (see also Eph 5:4,5; Eph 4:29)
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We are not to sin in our anger e.g. murder, steal, slander, destroy, commit adultery.
"In your anger do not sin." Eph 4:26
We are not to let our anger last a long time.
"Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold." Eph 4:27
We are not to be easily angered.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, is is not easily angered..." 1 Cor 13:4,5 
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19
"A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated." Prov 14:17 
(See also Prov 14:29; Prov 15:18; Prov 16:32; Prov 19:11; Prov 25;15; Ecc 7:9)
We are not to give full vent to our anger or lose control.
"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." Prov 29:11 
"A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless." Prov 14:16 

How do I manager other people's anger?

Stay away from angry people. Don't be friends or associates with easily angered people or their bad habits will rub off onto you. You become like those you hang around with.
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"Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared." Prov 22:24
Respond to their hot-tempered, angry behaviour with patience, calmness and gentleness.
"Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone." Prov 25:15
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Prov 15:1 
"A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel." Prov 15:18 
"If a ruler's anger rises up against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest." Ecc 10:4 

Other Practical Suggestions:

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Solitude - Tired, angry and cranky children or parents need space, rest and sleep. Ensure that each person of the household routinely has time alone to themselves to chill out and restore their soul. When our children were younger we gave them a daily 'time out' after lunch for quiet play, alone in their room. This also works for older children and mums and dads. As a homeschool mum, I like to take about 30 minutes after lunch to myself, alone in my bedroom. I have learned I need that time, to restore myself, before the afternoon rush.

Illness/Diet - Habitual anger can be the result of illness or an unbalanced diet. Angry mood swings can be linked to blood sugar levels, thyroid problems, liver problems, spleen problems, worms/ parasites or simply not enough vegetables.  It is worth chatting to your preferred medical practitioner.
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Essential Oils - We have successfully used 100% organic essential oils and perfumes to bring calmness and patience to members of our household time and time again.  Essential oils like chamomile, bergamot, frankincense, lavender, myrtle, petitgrain and ylang ylang have all historically been used to minimise anger. Of course, which oil you use and the degree to which you find relief, will be completely dependant on each individual person's needs and the situation at the time.