REACH UP A New Beginning, Once Again
One of the beautiful truths about God is that He is full of new opportunities and new beginnings, again and again. As we read the Bible we see how often He would seek His erring children and offer them a second chance to ‘begin once again’. He can’t help Himself because His nature is one of love, grace, and compassion. His mercies are never ending.
As we reflect on the things that did not go so well for us in terms of our mental, physical, or emotional health we have a choice. We can feel bad (maybe guilty) and discouraged, thinking that we can’t help it… there is nothing we can to change things. Or we can learn from the bad choices we made that might have contributed to a poor health, and then look for God for guidance and counsel as to what we can do differently to reduce our risk and improve our wellbeing.
God is a God of second chances and with a brand new year He also gives us a brand new page to write on. Now, there are many voices trying to convince you what your priorities should be, or what you need to do to improve your health. Are you open to listen and learn? If so, who will you listen to? The doctor on TV who has this popular show and many people think he or she is the ultimate expert? Or will you humbly seek God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe who has inspired His prophets to give us sound advice?
Our God is Jehovah Rapha – the Lord our Healer! Our Healing Master heals our troubles, our sickness and our souls. We can trust Him. He wants to teach us a better way to live.
We can begin by choosing to spend more time listening to Him and learning at His feet, through prayer and Bible study in the first hours of the day. It is interesting to see what the scientific world has to say about people of faith who do that. The document health benefits that follow us when we believe and live our faith are amazing!
We know that religious beliefs and activities have been associated with better immune function; lower death rates from cancer; less heart disease or better cardiac outcomes; lower blood pressure; lower cholesterol; and better health behaviors (e.g. less cigarette smoking, more exercise, better sleep). In addition, 39 of 52 studies found that religious persons live significantly longer. The effect for regular religious attendance on longevity approximates that of not smoking cigarettes (especially in women), adding an additional 7 years to the lifespan (14 years for blacks).
Isn’t it interesting? Beyond these scientific findings, though, we know that even when disease strikes (because it does, even to the most faithful health reformers), the Peace that exceeds all understanding will be ours if ask for and sense His presence by our side. Yes, there may be challenges or disappointments in 2013, but He can transform them into opportunities and Godly appointments for His glory and our own good. Do you believe this?
Today our Jehovah Rapha reminds us of 5 promises whatever your circumstance: If you are hurt - “I will heal you”; If you are confused - “I will guide you”; If you are alone in this world - “I will help you”; If you feel alone – “I will be your comforting companion”; If you are anxious or fearful – “I will give you peace .. and hope for a bright future”.
Our part is to choose Him before anything else. Daily. To talk with Him in prayer, to listen to Him through His word…for “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
Katia Reinert, PHDc, CRNP, FNP-BC, PHCNS-BC
Director, Adventist Health Ministries – NAD
Focus on a Spirit Led Revival Join Seventh-day Adventists around the globe to pray for revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Join us in the “777” prayer, seeking “Revival and Transformation” as 7th-day Adventists praying 7 days a week at 7 o’clock (am or pm) daily, without ceasing until Jesus comes. For more information visit www.revivalandreformation.org
Reach NAD prayer calendar:
Jan 8-14 (Greater New York Conference)
Jan 15-21 (New York Conference)
Jan 22-28 (Northeaster Conference)
Jan 29-Feb 4 (Southern New England).
GREAT HOPE PROJECTThe Great Hope audio recordings are now available online. Downloadable in mp3 format, they can be loaded to your iPod, CDs, iphone, computer, for listening while you are exercising, driving, or working. The Great Hope can be ordered through your local Adventist Book Center (800-765-6955). The price is now 1-199/ .79 ea. and 2,000 or more/ .49 each plus S&H. Join us in the distribution of 3 million copies of The Great Hope in North America. (English, Spanish, and French).
40 Days Prayers and Devotion on Earth’s Final Events
In this Book 4 of the series, Dennis Smith reminds us that we are called to reach out to others with God’s love and share His promises so that others too may watch and be ready.
REACH ACROSS AND FORWARD Health Ministries Resources
Adventists InStep for Life (AISFL) is a Division wide health initiative. The website provides information and resources on how your church, school, or healthcare organization can become involved. Begin 2013 by motivation yourself, your family and your church to register and report miles of physical activity. Consider volunteering to be your church, school, or hospital coordinator so you can report miles for others. Register for the first AISFL Webinar on January 29 @ 8pm EST by going to www.adventistsinstepforlife.org.
Adventists InStep for Life Mobile Apps are available for download for android and iPhone users. You must first register at the website listed above, download the app searching under the name of INSTEP or ADVENTIST INSTEP, and then start recording your physical activity.
NAD HEALTH SUMMIT 2013 Early bird registration discount ends on January 31 so hurry up! This regional Summit is connected with the NY13 initiative and will take place in New York City March 13-17 for a limited number of registered attendees (300 max) so please register early to save your seat and get equipped for health evangelism. Dr Neil Nedley will present evening outreach on optimizing brain health. We will also have hands on health expos, a track for pastors, a track for nurses, a track for community services, the Adventist Recovery Ministries training and the official NAD Health Ministries training. Receive the early bird discount if you register by January 31, 2013 and secure your hotel at www.NADhealthsummit.com.
Health Sabbath – February 16, 2013 Plan ahead to participate in the special Health Sabbath program in 2013. The NAD Health Ministries department has prepared resources with a special focus on Recovery from addictive and harmful habits. Learn more about the health Sabbath at an upcoming free webinar on January 15 at 8pm EST. To register go to www.NADHealthMinistries.org and click on calendar.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month Many women and girls are victims of stalking and this month offers an opportunity to discuss potential ways to assist them. The National Center for Victims of Crime has resources at http://www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org/awareness.
Funding opportunities for health programs On January 22 NAD Health Ministries is sponsoring a webinar on Funding Opportunities from the CDC (Community Transformation Grants, REACH program aimed at reducing health disparities) and the NAD. The webinar will be recorded and available for download under RESOURCES tab (click WEBINARS) at www.NADHealthMinistries.org site
1-31: Cervical Health Awareness Month (USA)
6-12: National Folic Acid Awareness week (USA)
20 – 26: National Non-Smoking Week (CANADA) www.nnsw.ca
27: Family Literacy Day (CANADA) www.abclifeliteracy.ca
Looking Forward (February 2013)
Heart Health Month (worldwide)
Congenital Heart Health Month (worldwide)
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (US)
1: National Wear Red Day (US)
7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (US)
3-9: Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Canada and US)
14: Sexual and Reproductive Health Day (Canada)
REACH OUT NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION
In the month of December, the Leadership of the North American Division had the opportunity to reflect on the divine blessings of 2012 and also consider how we should carefully read and apply the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy in regards to health. Dr George Knight explored with the group the importance of taking the context of particular health counsels given, instead of applying them indiscriminately to everyone in the church today without considering the specific its intentions. Often times, many zealous and sincere members, pastors or leaders are not careful as they use Ellen White to teach about health, and some of the assertions are promoted as prescriptive to all when in fact she intended it to be for one person with a specific health situation. The group was encouraged and blessed to see the beautiful balance and divine inspiration of the beloved prophet who was a pioneer in educating and writing about health and prevention with the main objective to help people become whole in Christ. Many attendees experienced a renewed commitment to use the inspired writings as the original author intended, and committed to continue learning growing in knowledge and embracing the message of health and healing in their own lives.
IOWA-MISSOURI CONFERENCE Dubuque SDA Church InStep Walkathon
It was with great enthusiasm that the Dubuque SDA Church in Iowa received the NAD Health Ministries invitation to participate of the Adventists InStep for Life and Let’s Move Day initiative. Although they did not have enough time to plan for a Let’s Move Day, they decided to ask permission from the City Office in Dubuque for a walkathon. The City office suggested they a walk during the Winter, inside the large Kennedy Mall.
The church was so excited with the news and after prayer they began to find sponsors for our event. They reach out to Wal-Mart, Walgreen and Hy-Vee. “I went to these places and to my surprise all the people involved said yes”, said Rirett Guerra MacKenzie, Health Ministries leader. She recounts, “I prayed so hard that morning and then I went to Wal-Mart to ask for the Store-Manager. After I explained our intention, he included his co-manager and staff. They got impressed by the Holy Spirit and they called me weeks later letting me know that they will sponsor us with 50 t-shirts and a banner , just as we requested. I saw clearly how God opened the doors. The little steps we did are so important because this was the first big activity from our church into the community”. Linda Bennett, a nurse from the church organized the health literature to be given as they also did health screenings for 54 walkathon participant. “We hope to invite them again for other event as we begin a healthy movement in Dubuque for a complete change of lifestyle”, said Rirett.
“The Health Message from our church is opening the interest of the souls in Dubuque, giving them the remedy that never ends, a remedy without any cost, just a beautiful smile.” People got excited with the organization of our event in Dubuque and invited the church to organize more such events in other malls outside of Dubuque.
GEORGIA-CUMBERLAND CONFERENCE Wimbish SDA Church Launches Recovery Ministries
he Wimbish SDA Church first felt motivated to start a Adventist Recovery Ministries program after Frank Sanchez, Southern Union Coordinator for Adventist Recovery Ministries, conducted an Awareness Weekend back in the Summer of 2011. Mr Sanches shared the 12 Step Christ-centered Recovery program and Aubrey Duncan felt impressed to be the program coordinator and start this ministry. After much prayer, discussion, and Church Board approval, the program got started on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013. The initial meeting was well attended with a group of ten individuals, six church members and four visitors. Following the Journey to Wholeness program outline, participants volunteered to individually read the Credo, Steps, and Traditions. Collectively the group repeated the Serenity Prayer, Pledge, and Promise. Most of the evening was spent talking about the First Step, recognizing the powerlessness and unmanageability of a life of addiction. Appropriate Bible passages were read as participants freely, sometimes emotionally, share their acceptance of this fact.
“The Wimbish church program is destined, by God’s grace, for great success as individuals are determined to overcome their struggles through the power of Jesus Christ”, says Aubrey Duncan, program coordinator. “The ultimate goal of the program is not only to help with overcoming addictions; but leading and developing a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.” The group solicits our prayers and is planning to strengthen the program using the resources of the Health Sabbath coming up on February 16.
ADVENTIST HEALTH Engaging Community in Physical Activity
Adventist Health (AH) sponsored the largest number of teams at California International Marathon that took place in Sacramento early December. Approximately, 200 people including runners on 45 relay teams, photographers, drivers, cheerleaders and other volunteers represented Adventist Medical Cente-Hanford, Feather River Hospital, Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, St. Helena Hospital-Napa Valley, Sonora Regional Medical Center, Ukiah Valley Medical Center and the corporate offices in Roseville. One of UVMC’s teams won first place in the female category in the California International Marathon as well as winning in their category for all corporate teams that participated in the marathon. (Inside- AH monthly publication).
CHOOSE FULL LIFE Spend more TIME alone with GOD in PRAYER and BIBLE STUDY
FACT: Anxiety can shorten a person’s life. Researchers examined data on more than 60,000 people from 10 large cohort studies in England and found that even very mild depression or anxiety raised the risk of death from heart disease by 29% and all-cause death by 20%, even after adjusting for unhealthy behaviors that often accompany anxiety and depression, like smoking and excessive drinking. They also accounted for things like exercise, weight, and diabetes.1 HOPE: God has a better plan! Psalm 55:22 tells us to cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall (NIV). A randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of prayer on depression, anxiety, positive emotions, and salivary cortisol levels. Participants receiving the prayer intervention showed significant improvement of depression and anxiety, as well as increases of daily spiritual experiences and optimism compared to controls. Participants in the control group did not show significant changes during the study.2
_________________________________ FACT: Prayer plays a role in promoting gratitude. Researchers found that participants who were randomly assigned to pray evidenced greater gratitude than those who were randomly assigned to a control condition, even after controlling for baseline levels of gratitude and general levels of religiosity.3 HOPE: Feeling down after the holidays? Do your own experiment. Take a baseline reading of what you think your gratitude level is, then again after a month of spending time praying each day. When we pray, our perspective changes.
_________________________________ FACT: Meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain. Study participants were taught a meditation technique which involved paying close attention to breathing patterns while acknowledging and letting go of distracting thoughts. Brain imaging showed that pain intensity ratings were reduced after meditation by an average of 40%, and pain unpleasantness rating were reduced by 57%.4 HOPE: This research confirms that our thoughts can have a real and measurable impact on our physical experience. But instead of just focusing on breathing and letting go of distractions, meditate on God’s Word, ponder His Ways, and reflect on how His truth pertains to you. No imaging is powerful enough to measure the effects!
_________________________________ FACT: The more one prays, the less alcohol they drink. Four methodologically diverse studies show that prayer frequency and alcohol consumption are negatively related. Researchers randomly assigned people to regular prayer or nonprayer tasks and then asked them to report their alcohol consumption after four weeks. Those who were assigned to pray drank about half as much as those who weren’t. 5. HOPE: Spending time alone with God is the best way to curb addictive behavior. Not only does it put you in touch with divine power, but closeness to God will decrease your craving for anything else.
1. Russ, T. C., Stamatakis, E., Hamer, M., Starr, J. M., Kivimäki, M. & Batty, G. D. (2012). Association between psychological distress and mortality: Individual participant pooled analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2012, 345. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4933.
2. Boelens, P. A., Reeves, R. R., Replogle, W. H. & Koenig, H. G. (2009). A randomized trial of the effect of prayer on depression and anxiety. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 39(4), 377-392. doi: 10.2190/PM.39.4.c
3. Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., Braithwaite, S. R., Graham, S. M. & Beach, S. R. H. (2009). Can prayer increase gratitude? Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 1(3), 139-149.
4. Zeidan, F., Martucci, K. T., Kraft, R. A., Gordon, N. S., McHaffie, J. G. & Coghill, R. C. (2011). Brain mechanisms supporting the modulation of pain by mindfulness meditation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(14): 5540-5548. doi: 10.1523/ JNEUROSCI.5791-10.2011
5. Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., Marks, L. D. & Stillman, T. F. (2010). Invocations and intoxication: Does prayer decrease alcohol consumption? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 24(2), 209-219.