June 24, 2010Read: Philippians 1 "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel." --Philippians 1:12

You've probably seen the cartoon depicting a frog in the rain being swallowed by a pelican. Upon closer inspection, you notice the frog choking the bird on the way down. The caption reads: "Never Give Up." From the frog's perspective, he had the pelican right where he wanted him.

"As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly." (Philippians 1:13-14)

Rain or shine, Paul kept a tight grip on the higher purpose of spreading the good news. Though deep in the belly of prison, Paul figured, "Good, a captive audience." I picture him cracking his knuckles and clearing his throat: "Fellas...glad you're here."

Turning circumstances into platforms, Paul saw the storms of life as downpours of holy water. Let's find courage in his example today. When God puts us right where He wants us, let's make the most of the moment at hand.


STRESS LESS Improve your health in a heartbeat by worrying less This week we've talked about some practical ways to begin the spring season in a healthier way, and today we tackle one of health's biggest foes: stress.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." --Philippians 4:8-9

Stress is powerful, causing too many ailments to fit on this page, but when we worry and fret, one way the body responds is by raising levels of a specific hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, since it's elevated in time of our "fight or flight" response to stress. A normal or mild increase in cortisl is good for immune function and a healthy memory. But rampant levels of the stuff due to mismanaged stress could do us harm such as:

>> Impaired cognitive performance >> Suppressed thyroid function >> Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia >> Increased blood sugar >> Decreased bone density >> Decrease in muscle tissue >> Increased abdominal fat

So not only do we need to continue to make conscious efforts with our food and activity, but controlling our levels of stress and at home can make a big difference in our overall goals of abundant health. Pray constantly, exercise often and eat well.

Originally posted 3/25/10.