Devotional for Men – Healthy Through and Through – Part 6 – The Spiritual Wheel of Health

General Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health
Here’s the sixth of an eight-part devotional for men based upon my chapter on health in Coach Joe Gibbs best-selling book, Gameplan for Life. The devotional was featured by the Men of Integrity ministry of Christianity Today. I hope you enjoy the series. Here’s Part 6 of 8 THE SERIES’ THEME: Healthy Through and Through. What does it mean to be a truly healthy man of God? THE SPIRITUAL WHEEL KEY BIBLE VERSE: "The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (John 10:10) Dig Deeper: Psalm 32 What does it mean to be in a state of maximum well-being as we relate to our Creator? Obviously, for us to be spiritually healthy, any break in our relationship…
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Yoga: Should Christians Be Concerned?

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health
Yoga is an alternative therapy that raises difficult questions for Christians. The physical and breathing exercises taught in yoga classes may improve general well-being. However, as a deeply religious practice with the goal of union with the divine, it is antitheti- cal to biblical Christianity. In spite of its reputation as a simple calisthen- ics program, reports of physical and spiritual harm continue to surface. A debate between Christian practitioners and opponents of yoga was triggered by Holly Robaina’s 2005 article in Today’s Christian Woman. The author interviewed a woman who was introduced to destructive beliefs through yoga. Ro- baina noted that terms commonly used in “secu- lar” yoga have religious meanings. The “salute to the sun” posture used to begin many classes pays homage to the Hindu sun god,…
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Taking a Spiritual Inventory of Your Healthcare Professional

Bioethics
Take a Spiritual Inventory Finding a doctor and other health care team members who share your spiritual foundation and practices may be crucial for you—and thankfully it’s fairly simple. You can use a spiritual inventory. Doctors are increasingly using spiritual inventories in their care of patients. In fact, when I make presentations at medical centers, medical schools, and professional meetings, the question I most often hear is, How can doctors take useful spiritual inventories of their patients? In the same way a doctor can inquire about a patient’s spiritual beliefs, a patient should feel free to ask about how a doctor’s spiritual beliefs and prac- tices relate to his or her medical care. A winning health care provider should be perfectly willing to let you know where he or she…
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Positive Brain Changes Seen After Meditation (What is Christian meditation?)

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health
A number of Christian scriptures recommend meditation as a spiritual discipline: Psalm 77:12: I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Psalm 119:15:  meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalm 119:27: Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. Psalm 19:14: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 104:34: May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. Now, comes a study showing that positive brain changes take hold after just 11 hours of practicing a form of meditation. Here are the details in a report from HealthDay News: The study included 45 University…
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Belief in God Relieves Depression

Bioethics, Mental Health
I wanted you to read an excerpted from, "Belief in God Relieves Depression," an interesting article in the The Washington Times by Jennifer Harper: The "Big Man Upstairs" is getting accolades from mental health specialists who say they are finding that a belief in God plays a positive role in the treatment of anxiety and depression. University of Toronto psychologists reported last year that "believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress," their research showcasing "distinct brain differences" between believers and nonbelievers. In patients diagnosed with clinical depression, "belief in a concerned God can improve response to medical treatment," said the new research, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The operative term here is "caring," the researchers said. "The study found that those with…
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Increased spiritual support may be linked to higher quality of life in cancer patients

Bioethics, Cancer
This headline is likely not news to most of the readers of this blog -- or likely to most people. We all seem to know intuitively that terminal diagnoses cause people to begin to think about spiritaul and eternal issues. HealthDay reports, "Addressing the spiritual needs of someone with advanced cancer could be just as important as taking care of their medical needs." This is based upon a study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study of 670 patients showed that 60 percent "said that their spiritual needs either hadn't been met or were minimally supported," even though patients ranked "pain control and being at peace with God" as the two most important factors "at the end of their lives." Patients who received "greater spiritual support from their…
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Dr. Walt’s Testimony Before Congress on Faith-based Perspectives on the Provision of Community Services

Bioethics, General Health, Medical Economics
Back in 2004, while serving as Vice President of Medical Outreach at Focus on the Family, I was asked to testify before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources on the topic of “Faith-based Perspectives on the Provision of Community Services.” Recently someone asked me to post my comments, so here they are. You can also read them in the Congressional Record here. Mr. Chairman, I am Walter L. Larimore. Prior to joining Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado in February 2001 to become Vice-President of Medical Outreach, I practiced family medicine for over 20 years in small rural towns in North Carolina and Florida. In both practices, I was actively involved in teaching medical students and residents. I was also involved in medical research and writing…
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“Christmas Firsts” – A Christmas story from “Bryson City Seasons”

General Health
My most popular books, at least based upon sales and letters, are the Bryson City series, made up of: Bryson City Tales: Stories of a Doctor's First Year of Practice in the Smoky Mountains (read a chapter here) Bryson City Seasons: More Tales of a Doctors Practice in the Smoky Mountains (read a chapter here) Bryson City Secrets: Even More Tales of a Small-Town Doctor in the Smoky Mountains (read a chapter here) In the second book in this series, Bryson City Seasons, I published an account of caring for my first patient with HIV/AIDS (even before that horrible disease was named). It was in December 1982 and occurred in Bryson City, North Carolina. I've excerpted the story for you and hope it will be a Christmas blessing for you and…
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How to Keep Normal Labor Normal – Part 12 – Prayer

Woman's Health
This blog series is designed to help women who are developing a birth plan join together with like-minded birthing professionals so as to have a shorter and safer labor and birth. Although written primarily for professional birth attendants, I hope information will be helpful to lay women planning their birth. Today we’ll look at the tenth “P” of my 10 “P’s” of keeping labor shorter and birth safer — prayer. Although labor and delivery has been considered a “spiritual event” by midwives at least since the publication of Spiritual Midwifery(82) in the 1960’s, there is some recent literature that looks at the influence of spiritual beliefs on labor and delivery outcomes. One study which examined whether family physicians were aware or not of their patient’s spiritual belief systems stated, “these results…
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 5 – What Causes Sickness?

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
Theologians tell us that, in one sense, from a Biblical perspective, all sickness has its ultimate origin in sin because human suffering stems from the fall and the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:15 – 17; Romans 1:28 – 32). But that’s not the way many people think of sin causing sickness. It’s very common for me to see patients who believe that their sickness or disease is caused by a specific sin or wrong decision. There are others who believe that all illness is due to specific sin. Is this true or false? More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 12 – Biblical Principles on Which to Base Medical Decisions and The Power of Faith

Alternative Medicine
This is the last entry in this series -- which has been one of the most popular I've written. I hope it’s been helpful for you and hope you recommend this blog series to your friends as the Bible gives clear principles on which we can rely when making decisions about alternative therapies with spiritual roots. Some have noted that most of the passages condemning occult practices come from the Old Testament. Most theologians teach that Christians are not bound by many of the Old Testament laws, such as those related to worshiping in God’s temple. Does that mean that prohibitions of divination and magic no longer apply to Christians? More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 11 – Look to the Bible, Not Inner Voices, for Guidance

Alternative Medicine
When investigating an alternative therapy, be concerned about those that involve listening to other spirits. But what about listening to an inner guiding voice? Guidance by intuition and inner voices has become more in vogue today than guidance through reason and objective evidence. Postmodernism has contributed to this acceptance with its notion that we all create our own reality, that whatever we believe is OK. But, is it? More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 10 – Biblical Characters Condemned for Pursuing Certain Forms of Healing

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics
The Bible recognizes the great temptation inherent in healing by evil spirits and illicit healers. The Old Testament describes an intense conflict between legitimate and illegitimate approaches to healing and spirituality. An incident involving King Ahaziah, the eighth king of Israel, clearly demonstrates this: More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 9 – Life Energy and Medical Magic

Alternative Medicine, Cancer, Men's Health, Woman's Health
Alternative therapies based on “life energy” use principles just like those generally attributed to magic. Although “magic” is difficult to define concisely, magical practices do have common features. Magic involves specific techniques or rituals by which people attempt to manipulate supernatural powers to meet their immediate needs. How should Christians respond? More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 8 – Illegitimate Spiritual Practices.

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
Alternative medicine as a whole is not rooted in any particular religious tradition, but some therapies are. A number of healing rituals and traditions are part of the Wiccan religion (also called “white witchcraft”). Eastern religions often view healing as dependent on the movement of “life energy” through nonphysical channels that coincide with the physical body. Native-American religion uses herbs as part of its healing rituals. In a number of nature religions, shamans contact spirit beings or guides to get advice on how to treat and heal those under their care. Should Christians be concerned about these practices? More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 7 – Not All Healing is From God

Alternative Medicine, Cancer, Children's Health, General Health, Heart Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
How we pursue health and healing is very important. Our concern, as Christians, is that there are wrong ways (even evil ways) people can pursue and receive healing. We wish to make the case that healing achieved by inappropriate means is healing that is not good and, in our view, is healing that is not from God. More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 6 – Why God’s Response to Prayer Isn’t Always to Heal

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Heart Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
Despite what many television preachers tell us, the Bible does not teach that God’s response to a prayer to cure illness is an immediate physical healing. The overall teaching of the Bible is that sickness can have different origins. Therefore, claims that all illnesses can always be cured by “believing prayer” or “casting out demons” are simply not biblical. Let me explain why. More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 4 – Can Faith be Unhealthy?

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
While faith can have positive effects on health, it can also have negative effects. Although religious beliefs are a source of comfort and support for many people, for others they are a source of stress and emotional turmoil. More Information: (more…)
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