Choose Life or Death. Every Day, All Day (Radio Show 001 Transcript)

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The following is a transcript from my radio show, Your Health At The Crossroads, which airs on 100.5 FM in Middle Georgia on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 6:30 PM.  If you don’t live in the area, you can stream it online at macons1005fm.com.

I have a question for you.  What is your morning routine?

What do you do when you get up?  You may or may not turn off the alarm clock.  Hopefully you take a moment to thank God for life and to reflect on the day that’s before you.  You brush your teeth and wash your face…well, I hope you do…?

So yeah, you do all of your preliminaries like that stuff.  How about your breakfast?  What’s your routine with that?

I think we all kinda know what our breakfast routines should be.  We should be eating something wholesome like fresh fruit, eggs scrambled with diced peppers and onions, and maybe a piece of whole grain toast or something.  Maybe grits and/or oatmeal…not the flavored packets or the instant stuff, but I’m talking about the whole kind that you have to cook for a little while.  So we all might know what we should do, but my question to you is what are you actually doing?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not asking you this to condemn you for eating a biscuit and hashbrowns for breakfast because, quite frankly, I still do sometimes.  Matter of fact, I had to stop myself just recently from getting carried away with chick-fil-a chicken biscuits with that strawberry jelly.  I was eating them just a little bit too often.  But hey, I’m just being honest.

So yeah, my questions aren’t to make you feel bad.  Rather, I want you to think about something.  I want you to think about how you make choices that impact your health every day, all day.

From the moment you wake up to the moment you lie back down to go to sleep, you make health-related choices.  Let’s talk about some of them:

  • You choose whether you eat oatmeal or a sausage biscuit in the morning
  • You choose how close or how far away you’ll park at your job
  • You choose to take the stairs or to take the elevator
  • You choose whether or not you’ll have snacks while you’re at work, and if you do eat snacks, you choose whether or not they’re healthy
  • You choose whether or not to drink coffee, and you decide on what kind of stuff you’re going to put into it before you drink it
  • You choose to either pick up dinner or to pick up ingredients from the store to cook dinner yourself
  • You choose to do something active after you get home like exercise or work in the yard, or you choose to sit in front of the T.V.
  • You choose how much sleep you’ll get at night based on when you go to bed

These are really just a few of the many, many choices you make every day that have some kind of effect on your health.  And keep in mind, for the most part, choices are somewhat binary.  What I mean is, there is a general ‘right’ course of action, and there is a general ‘wrong’ course of action.  There might be several right and several wrong options, but when you take a step back, there’s still a general right and a general wrong way of doing things.

So how do you know if a health-related choice is right or wrong?  Well that’s easy.  You can tell by the effect that the choice has on your health.  If I decide tonight after I leave the studio that I want to stay up to be on Facebook or to watch a movie, how do you think I’m going to feel in the morning?  Well my wife can tell you that I’ll probably be cranky and annoying, because I’m going to feel tired.  When you feel tired, that means that you should’ve gotten more rest, but you didn’t.  And that is not good for your health.

You might remember me mentioning Deuteronomy 30:19 earlier in this broadcast.  It’s very relevant about now, so let me read it:

  • Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT) “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

This is Moses dictating to the Israelites, God’s chosen people, what God was saying to them.  They’d just finished wandering in the wilderness for 40 years after having been promised a promised land.  They were finally arriving there, and God wanted them to understand that they were coming into some good stuff.  They had the opportunity to lay down their past oppression and wandering lifestyles for the chance to live in peace and prosperity.

He wanted them to understand, though, that it was up to them to make the right decisions.  He brought them into the promised place of peace, health and prosperity, but they still had to choose whether or not they would take advantage of it.  It was on the people to choose “between life and death,” “between blessings and curses,” and He basically said through Moses that He was watching and hoping that they would make the right choices so that they could have life!  Isn’t that amazing?  Life and blessings still didn’t come automatically to the people.  They were there, but it was on them to choose life and blessings.

I want to let you know this evening that it is the same way with us in regards to our health.  We have been given every single thing we need to live healthy in this world…fresh, whole foods, sun, air, water, the ability to move, and so on.  And yet, rates of lifestyle diseases in our country such as heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes continue to climb.  Over 27 million Americans had Type 2 Diabetes in 2012, and that was up from 25.8 million people in 2011.  That means at least 1.2 million folks were newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes between 2011 and 2012.  Over 600,000 people die of heart disease every single year, making it the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.  Keep in mind now that these are defined as lifestyle diseases, meaning literally that they’re caused by how we live.

Rates of these diseases are high across the board.  Even amongst church folk.  But how can this be when we have everything we need on this earth to live healthily?  Lack of knowledge is definitely a part of it, but could it also be that we are simply not choosing right?  That we are choosing death instead of choosing life?

Now the average person is not going to intentionally choose health habits that amount to choosing death.  I think we can agree on that.  But I just used a word that, if nothing else during this broadcast, I want you to remember tonight.  That word is “intentionally.”

If a person is dealing with Type 2 Diabetes, they didn’t intentionally try to get it.  Matter of fact, they were probably shocked when they were diagnosed.  But I believe that the issue lies with our intent, or our lack of intent, rather.  What happens is that you and I make bad health choices without even thinking about it.  We may not know that we’re making bad choices, and because we’re used to running on autopilot and our lives move so, so fast, we barely think about the choices we make.  When we’re hungry, we just “eat.”  When we are trying to get to work or do grocery shopping, we don’t normally think about making sure that we’re getting movement in.  We think about the easiest way to get stuff done.  That’s why we take the elevator or why we will fight several minutes just to find a close parking space.

Going back to Deuteronomy 30:19, God told His people through Moses that He was presenting them with the opportunity to make good and bad choices, and He was strongly hoping that they would see that the good choices were, well, good choices, and that they would always choose good so that they would live.  These choices that God was talking about aren’t your quick, autopilot choices.  They are intentional choices.  I mean, the word “choice” itself implies intent.  It implies someone intentionally deciding to do one thing over another.

My point is this.  You have good and bad choices presented to you every single day.  These are choices that will either make your health better, or that will make it worse.  If you want to make your health better, you have to think about the choices that you’re making – what you’re eating, when you’re going to bed, how active you are – and you have to intentionally choose the healthier choice.  This doesn’t mean that you never make a bad choice, but what it does mean is that you choose good most of the time.

We often sing lyrics in gospel songs where we tell hypertension and diabetes that they have to go, or where we ask for healing from such things, and yet, we don’t even realize 1) that God has already given us what we need to be healed, and 2) that we contradict the words of our songs by making choices that actually invite hypertension and diabetes into our lives.

My question to you this evening is this:  What are you about to eat for dinner?  You’re headed home for the evening.  Are you about to choose life or death?  Are you about to choose blessings or curses?  I’m not trying to bust you; I’m just trying to get you to really think about the choices you’re making right now.  Are you going to choose life tonight by getting to bed at a good time?  Let’s start thinking about every single health choice we make, and let’s intentionally choose good health.  To quote the last part of Deuteronomy 30:19 again, “Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

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