Friday, February 26, 2016


Luke 15:7 There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Luke 15:10 There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Please note: We are all sinners. We all fall short of the holiness of God. The Pharisees didn’t believe this. They thought the law made them perfect, holy.

Here’s the context of these two verses in Luke 15:1-10 NASB
Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming to Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable, saying, 

“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' I tell you that in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine persons who need no repentance."

So the tax collectors and the sinners were listening to Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes grumbled about Jesus being friendly with sinners. Jesus then addressed the Pharisees and told the above story of the lost sheep, followed by the story of the lost coin and the story of the Prodigal son. Jesus let them know in each story that there was joy in heaven with God and the angels whenever a sinner repented.

Barclay says the Pharisees tried to avoid all contact with people who did not strictly obey the petty details of the law. They looked down on all who didn’t keep the law even to the point of rejoicing in their destruction. The Pharisees thought these sinners were deserving of nothing but destruction. In contrast God is overjoyed when a lost sinner is found. Many give up hope for the lost, but God doesn’t. God is kinder than we are.

This is awesome to ponder. God cares about each individual person – just as the shepherd cares about each sheep. He is a personal God who cares for each unique person. And he rejoices when the lost return to Him. The Pharisees were shocked that Jesus welcomed sinners. They didn’t understand how he could welcome sinners, even sinners who repent and follow Him!

Dear Father,
We thank you for your great Love and kindness for us - for every person. We thank you that you are a loving personal God and that you yearn to share your love with all mankind – one life at a time. Help us accept all people as you do. Help us share the Gospel and witness for you. Thank you for the vision of the great party in heaven that occurs every time a sinner comes to You. Your exuberant, rejoicing Love thrills us.

In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Three Books on Healing

The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing

By Dr. Mimi Guarneri

The Heart Speaks is a beautiful book written by a cardiologist who has a warm heart. Dr. Mimi weaves her life experiences and stories about her patients throughout the book including the childhood tragedy of losing her mother to a heart attack. Her medical school training required her to suppress all her emotions. She learned to do this and for years operated on heart patients but didn’t really know them. She says in the introduction:

“No one spoke of the other layers of the heart that didn’t appear in a stress test or electrocardiogram: the mental heart affected by hostility, stress and depression, the emotional heart that could be crushed by loss, the intelligent heart that has a nervous system of its own and communicates with the brain and other parts of the body. No one lectured about the spiritual heart that yearns for a higher purpose, the universal heart that communicates with others, or the original heart that beats in the unborn fetus before the brain is formed.”

Dr. Mimi learned to listen to her patients in order to discover the correct diagnosis, finding this often more accurate than tests or her medical training. As a result the most puzzling or difficult patients responded and were helped by her.

She offers research to support her use of an integrative approach to her patients. She develops an individual treatment plan for each patient including for example, acupuncture, yoga, good nutrition, and prayer.

My review doesn’t do justice to this marvelous book. This book will be helpful to patients, doctors, nurses and the entire medical community. This approach has and will open and heal many hearts. Perhaps it will even help transform the health care system.

Dr. Lani’s No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide: The Truth about Density Testing, Osteoporosis Drugs and Building Bone Quality at Any Age

By Dr. Lani Simpson

Dr. Lani’s No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide is an outstanding book on the health of our bones and on understanding and treating osteoporosis. Dr. Lani is a chiropractor who has been trained to read dexa-scans and understand these tests. She works closely with a medical doctor. Her research and experience with patients is detailed in the book and is thorough and convincing. She experienced bone loss herself and tells her own story. Dr. Lani says that many of the medications given to promote bone growth actually cause harm. (I have had difficulty with these same medications so was glad for the validation of this.) She also says that often dexa-scans are not accurate and she gives information about how to assure you receive valid tests.

I was most surprised by Dr. Lani’s connecting the health of the digestive system of the patient and the health of the bones. When the digestion is off the body does not absorb the needed nutrients especially calcium and magnesium. (I’ve had digestive problems and never connected this with bone loss.) Instead of giving separate medications or treatment for the bones and the digestion she believes it’s essential to treat the body as a whole and understand what will help it heal. She offers a realistic plan for eating right, taking some supplements and exercising to correct the digestive issues and build stronger bones or at least stop the bone loss from progressing. This is a great reference book with much information here including pictures and diagrams. I highly recommend this book.

Spontaneous Healing: How To Discover and Enhance Your Body’s Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal itself

By Andrew Weil, M.D.

Spontaneous Healing is a fascinating and enlightening book. A friend, who had leukemia at 17 and is a healthy 50 year old now, raved about this book so I bought it. It's in paper back and probably in most libraries as it was published in 1995.

The thesis of the book is that the medical profession only concerns itself with disease. Medical schools teach nothing about prevention or about the ability of the body to heal itself. Dr. Weil, a Harvard Medical School graduate, is not against medical care but tells many ways we can encourage our body’s immune systems to help us heal. He gives many examples of “spontaneous healing.” A chapter near the end of the book titled Cancer as a Special Case gives detailed information about approaches to this disease.

Dr. Weil notes the pessimistic stance of many doctors who predict the worst - which can affect the mind and body of the patient negatively. The book offers many patient case examples of healing through natural means and many of his patients say their illness is a gift which helped them change their unhealthy or dysfunctional life styles. They learned to accept what happened in life. I highly recommend this book. 

These three books have informed my thinking about how to beat disease and I have used much of the information given to boost my immune system and stay healthy.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:2-3

Blessings, Dottie

Friday, February 12, 2016


Q. Television is ruining my family. I want to talk and connect with my kids and with my husband but the TV is always on. I’ve heard that TV with all the violence isn’t good for the kids and this worries me, also. I’ve told my husband how I feel but he says he’s tired after work and TV helps him relax. He doesn’t think it hurts the kids. What do you think?

A. You are correct in your belief that too much TV viewing is harmful. There’s a great deal of research which links TV watching to a variety of health problems. Obesity is one of these. Experts believe that the biggest cause of weight gain in the United States is the time spent vegetating in front of the TV. 
There is also evidence that the passive nature of television viewing affects the brain development of children. One study showed that both children and adults exposed to TV suffered a 20% decrease in creativity. TV may be the cause of the 20% decline in SAT scores in the last 25 years. 
Television interferes with thinking, with using our minds actively. Reading a book, playing a game or talking with a friend requires more. We must use our minds, our imaginations, and invest ourselves. These skills are lost when not exercised. An activity that engages our interest and imagination enriches the brain, even in adults.
There has been concern about the amount of violence and sexually suggestive or even immoral content in much TV programming. The effect of this violent or sexually promiscuous content cannot be positive for children, families or for our society.
In addition there is research which shows that the more TV viewing a person engages in the less they are involved in relationships with others, in civic, church or social activities.  Martin Seligman, psychologist, says that people who are passive, watching television are less likely to report they are happy than people who are actively doing things. 
Depression has increased in our society in recent decades. A study of the Amish, who do not own or watch television, showed that they have a significantly lower rate of depression than the general population. Many studies show that engagement with others is a key ingredient to health. You and your family will be happier and healthier if you turn off the TV and get involved with other people. 
Watching television kills conversation in families and between couples. It prevents intimacy. Marriages drift into trouble when there is little time for connecting. Children also need time to talk in order to feel loved and to learn to connect with others. 

Talk over with your husband the information about the effects of TV on all of us. Work out a plan with him to gradually decrease the amount of TV viewing the family does.  Here are some suggestions: 
·       Turn off the TV during meals. Sit as a couple talking over coffee for a while longer after the children have finished eating.
·       If banning TV from all meals is too drastic, start with one or two TV-less meals a week. 
·       Don’t use television as background noise. Turn it off if you’re not watching.
·       Only turn on a program that interests you. 
·       Get involved in other activities. Get out board games to play with your children or with each other. Go to concerts, plays or church activities together.
During Lent, traditionally a time of fasting and prayer, we might all consider restricting our TV viewing. Some may want to go on a TV diet. Some may choose a total fast from TV. Forty days is long enough to establish new habits.

“Change your ways. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Friday, February 5, 2016

Valuing Ash Wednesday

February 10th is Ash Wednesday, a special day celebrated in many Christian churches. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the beginning of the 40 weekdays before Easter. Lent is observed in many Christian churches as a period of prayer, fasting, confession, repentance, and self-denial. It echoes the 40 days in the wilderness Jesus spent fasting and overcoming temptation. It also assists Christians in focusing on Jesus resolute journey leading to his crucifixion and resurrection. We learn to identify with his unwavering obedience. We recognize the price he paid for us.

Our faith journey, described in Changing Churches, began in a United Methodist Church - a church that observes Ash Wednesday. Throughout our years there, Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of a solemn and holy time of reflection. While searching for a church in 2008 we attended an Ash Wednesday service at another Methodist Church. I noted in my journal:
We sang six verses of "Just as I Am" and "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood." The hymns, responsive readings, confession, and pastor's message, touched and filled us. We received ashes in the shape of the cross on our foreheads and took Communion - opening and recommitting ourselves to Him. What a sacred event!

Prayer Journaling
In 2004 the teacher of my ladies Bible class mentioned journaling Psalm 51 (about David's sin), one phrase at a time, for the forty days of Lent. This proved to be a sobering but valuable exercise. In order to build up the church, Christians must change and grow. We must face our own sin and repent. The next forty days are a good time to focus on this in prayer.

Understanding the Church Calendar
For those not in a liturgical church, Mark Galli's explanation from his book Beyond Smells and Bells, may help you appreciate the emphasis on the church calendar. He writes:
The church calendar aims at nothing less than to change the way we experience time and perceive reality. . . . Advent signals the new year. For the church, the annual rhythm is not winter, spring, summer and fall, but Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. . . . The church calendar is not about the cycle of life - school or sports or harvest time - but about the movement of history toward a glorious goal. We celebrate the past events of history not merely to remember them, but note how they infuse the present with meaning and power, and point us to our future hope.

Let this be a Holy season for all Christians to ponder and pray and deepen our faith.