Health & Healing

April, May, June 2010

Want to learn more about Health & Healing? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow! (Psalms 103, 2 Timothy 1:9, Exodus 15, Romans 12)
How important is your health? Would you like to wake up every morning feeling great? If money is any gauge, I have read that in the United States alone over two trillion dollars (trillion, not billion) is spent each year on our health. Does God care about our health? Is there a connection between righteousness and health? Do we have an obligation to God to do our best to stay healthy? Let's dive into our new series of studies to see what the Bible has to say about health!

Lesson 2: The Power of Choice (Genesis 2-4, Deuteronomy 30, Hebrews 11)
Too many choices! Have you ever heard someone say that? Wegman's is a new grocery store in my area. I've never seen anything like it. The different kinds and amounts of food to choose from seem almost sinful. Some people in the world do not have enough to eat, and this store seems to have not only every kind of food, but an astonishing variety of each food. Milton Freedman is an economist who wrote a book entitled "Free to Choose." He argued that a free people in a free economy will prosper. Thus, Wegman's, with its overwhelming number of choices, is the direct result of a free economy. Wegman's felt sinful. Is this idea of a free people making free choices sinful? Or, is free choice at the heart of God's Kingdom? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and find out!

Lesson 3: Celebrating Spiritual and Physical Fitness (Isaiah 40, Matthew 15, 1 Corinthians 3, John 5)
Is there a difference between good ideas and Godly ideas? Is everything that makes common sense required by God? For example, is it a sin to drive without wearing a seat belt? If you say, "yes," is it a sin to buy an old car when new cars have numerous safety systems? If you say, "yes," is it a sin to buy a small car because large cars are demonstrably safer in an accident? If you say, "yes," then is it a sin to buy any car other than a Mercedes Benz S-Class - which is probably the safest large car in the world? What about our decisions on activities that do not cost us Mercedes money? These behaviors have an impact on death: 1)tobacco; diet/exercise; alcohol; microbial agents; toxic agents; firearms; sexual behavior; motor vehicles; illicit use of drugs. Are decisions in each of these areas a matter of righteousness and sin? Let's plunge into the Bible and see what God suggests!

Lesson 4: The Water of Life (John 2-4, Romans 6)
Read the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and ask yourself "Why did John start out his account of Jesus this way?" My reaction is that John is concerned that people do not understand who Jesus is. John essentially says, "Pay attention and I'll teach you what you should know about Jesus." Then John tells us a number of stories to teach us about Jesus. Three of John's first four stories explaining who Jesus is have something to do with water. The wedding at Cana story (John 2) converts water to wine. The Nicodemus interview (John 3) focuses on water baptism. The Samaritan woman story (John 4) explains about living water. Let's dive into our study and learn more about "the Water of Life!"

Lesson 5: The Environment (Genesis 1-3, Leviticus 18, Psalms 24, Revelation 16)
The Bible in Romans 1:25 warns us against worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. Such worship, the Bible tells us, trades truth for a lie. On the other hand, the Bible tells us in Psalms 19:1 that the heavens declare the glory of God. How, then, should we react to our environment? Should we treat it as a trust from God? Should we consider it an idol? Should we say "It is all going to burn," and look forward to a new heaven and a new earth? Let's jump into our study of what the Bible says about the environment and find out more!

Lesson 6: Faith and Healing (Proverbs 17 & 18, Romans 5, Mark 8 & 9)
The Bible recounts many, in both the Old and New Testaments, who were miraculously healed. What the Bible does not explain is the mechanism by which this happened. Sometimes Jesus used mud, other times spit, sometimes Jesus healed from a distance. What should we conclude from that? The logical conclusion is that mud and spit had nothing to do with it. So why would Jesus use them?

Consider something else. Physicians do not really heal sickness, they merely improve the conditions for the body to heal itself. What should we conclude from that? The logical conclusion is that God created our bodies to heal themselves. Thus, the question about faith healing is this: what part of the healing process is connected with the mind? I recently read a book about the operation of the brain and it cited several scientific studies which showed that placebos (sugar pills) were effective in healing because people believed the pills were medicine, not sugar. Did God wire our brains to boost healing when we believe in healing? Let's jump into the Bible and see what it teaches us!

Lesson 7: Rest and Restoration (Matthew 4, 5 & 11, Luke 12, Numbers 8)
"I'll rest when I'm dead." Have you ever heard that? Ever said it yourself? Sometimes it feels that way to me. When I was in law school, students seemed to study every day. I believed that I should not work on Sabbath. It was a wonderful, guilt-free rest. God blessed me for it and gave me better grades than my buddies who studied every day. But, these days rest is more elusive. I still refrain from secular work on Sabbath, but I teach this lesson and sometimes preach. That seems to be as much work as anything I do during the work week. Some pastors take off Monday, but I need to work Monday. How do we balance work and rest? Let's jump into our study and see what God has to say on the subject!

Lesson 8: The Atmosphere of Praise (Matthew 6, 1 Chronicles 29)
Praise God! Just past midnight, a fire broke out in the first of a line of six townhouses between where I live and the beach. A strong wind drove the fire so that it quickly consumed one townhouse after another. I was certain that our condominium, which was only 15 feet from the last townhouse, was doomed. My wife, daughter and I prayed, the firefighters battled the flames, and the fire was stopped at the last townhouse! The fire even burned a hole in the fence between the townhouse and our condominium! Our hearts are filled with intense gratitude and praise. Let's explore what the Bible teaches us about praise from His people!

Lesson 9: Temperance (1 Timothy 3, 2 Peter 1, 1 Corinthians 9, Romans 14)
Is temperance the right goal for a Christian? My old Webster's dictionary tells me that the word temperance comes from the Latin for "moderation." The new Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "moderation in action, thought or feeling." I hear Christians say that they are "sold-out for Jesus." Preachers tell me that I must give my heart 100% to Jesus. This is consistent with Deuteronomy 10:12 which tells me to serve God with "all" my heart and soul. It seems to me that 50% of my heart and soul would be more in accord with the goal of the moderate, temperate person. 100% seems a little extreme if moderation is the goal! Let's move cautiously into our study of the Bible and find out if temperance is truly God's goal for our life!

Lesson 10: Integrity: Wholeness and Holiness (Titus 2, Matthew 4)
When I was growing up, one parent of a friend liked to challenge my group of friends on whether we were saved. It was good to be forced to think about eternal things and my relationship with God. However, I also remember that same parent was not honest - he suggested a way in which I might save money by cheating the government. The contrast was stark - and I remember his lack of integrity as clearly as I remember his gospel prod. How about you? Is your life a mixed message? What does it mean to live a life of integrity? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 11: Optimism: Happiness and Healing (Ecclesiastes 9, 2 Corinthians 12, Luke 10)
My wife teases me about always being the optimist. However, even I understand how people can become discouraged. The reasons for discouragement are sometimes obvious. This week I visited a fellow who was just moved to the section of the medical facility where people go to die. Although very physically fit, he was brought to this point by a brain tumor. Others become discouraged over what most would consider to be a very minor thing. How can we keep a positive and happy outlook in life? How can we have joy in life? Let's jump into our study and see what the Bible suggests!

Lesson 12: Nutrition in the Bible (Daniel 1 & 10, Genesis 1, Acts 21)
If you were asked about the key to a healthy and long life, what would you say? Most would say "exercise, diet, good air, and common sense." Common sense meaning to avoid dangerous practices. The Bible says a lot about diet and common sense. Jesus famously said in Matthew 15:11: "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'" Does this make diet irrelevant? If so, why does the Bible say so much about diet? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 13: Social Support: The Tie That Binds (Genesis 1 & 2,Ecclesiastes 4, Galatians 6, Ephesians 4)
More and more people in the United States these days are single. Most people find their entertainment in the Internet, television or video games. Right now you are using the Internet to study the Bible by yourself! Are we all loners? An uncle of mine, who died many years ago, was a minister in the Salvation Army. He used to tell me about the "old days" when the church was the social center of the community. Is this trend away from community, especially church community, a good or bad thing? Does it impact our health, spiritually or otherwise? Let's dive into the Bible and find out what it says about community!

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