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Sadly, our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. They chose to take the direction of intemperance when Satan beguiled Eve with his slippery lies. Their intemperance brought death into our world.
Temperance means avoiding all harmful behaviour and substances, and doing all good things in moderation.
However, human beings tend to do what they want to do, and temperance can seem like a dirty word - even if we are striving to live according to God's will.
After reading pages on this website, you may have realised that time is running out for our world, and each of us has a short time on this earth to get close to God. This page is all about living a temperate lifestyle according to God's will, because He loves us and wants to communicate with us. God communicates with us through our minds. Making a decision to "clean up" our lives takes courage, can involve many personal struggles, and sometimes plain hard work. But working towards being temperate is as much a part of our spiritual walk as our health journey!
“Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.” 1 Corinthians 9:25
Put another way, have you noticed how putting unhealthy desires ahead of everything else can lead to lots of problems?
Have foods become dangerous to human health?
Topping the list of dangerous foods, (yes, dangerous) are processed meat products - hot dogs, frankfurthers, luncheon sausages, ham, bacon, salami and the like. Why are they harmful? These meats contain additives to stop the meat going rotten. Researchers say the protein in the meat and the additives bind together and become cancer promoting. The World Cancer Research Fund advises people to avoid processed meats.
That doesn't mean we can all go out and pile our plates high with fresh meat though. All and any animal products can raise the risk of disease.Why? Most animal products today are produced in environments which make profits but do not necessarily build health. There are many studies linking a diet high in animal products with disease and death.
Added to that, animal products are concentrated foods, making them difficiult for the human body to digest. If eaten at all, animal products need to be eaten sparingly, and thought of as a flavouring rather than the main event on the plate!
Other "foods" are showing up as dangerous daily indulgences. Highly refined foods are far removed from the plants they originally came from. These "food like substances" include white flours, white bread, white rice, sugars from sugar cane, sugar beet and high fructose corn syrup (from corn), margarines and products made from all these. And the supermarket shelves are crammed with them.
Why are they dangerous? The human body was not designed to eat highly refined foods. You might have heard the term "empty nutrition". This means these kinds of products have very little goodness for your body. But once eaten, there is little room in your stomach and little desire to eat real food which is loaded with goodness for your mind and body.
An increasing groundswell of people are realising their perplexing health disorders are linked to eating wheat, dairy products, sugar and processed vegetable oils. How many more people are unaware their daily foods may be poisoning their bodies and minds?
We have also observed that aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in carbonated (fizzy) drinks and many "sugar free" foods, has mysterious and damaging effects on people's lives too.
Other substances we can think about as harmful are certain spices (some people say anything which feels hot on your tongue), vinegar, and caffeine (tea, coffee, chocolate and cola drinks).
So, what is delicious and harmless to eat every day? What does God provide? Go to Nutrition to find out!
Many people avoid alcohol because it is a fermented drink which affects their mind and body functions. But how many people realise that food can make them drunk too?
Regularly overeating at meal times, or continuous snacking causes an alcohol-like fermentation in their digestive system.
As the food begins to ferment, toxins are produced, causing gas, heart burn and foul breath. And when these toxins enter the bloodstream they cause dullness of mind, irritability, fatigue and disturbed sleep.Yes, people could be walking around intoxicated from the food they eat!
Sometimes all this food in our digestive tracts causes digestive fatigue, bringing a feeling of faintness. This is so easy to interpret as hunger. If more food is eaten the vicious cycle continues.
Please be kind to your stomach - it needs a break between meals - don’t you need breaks during your day?
Here’s a quote from Erik Pepper of San Francisco State University.
“The horror of TV...is the bypassing of the judgement centre in the encoding of information; yet forever thereafter this information influences behaviour, character, personality and disposition; although the reasons for this behaviour and the source of feelings are not recognized by the individual.” Reference: video of Dr Agatha Thrash speaking on “Influences of Thought.”
Dr Thrash says television has this hypnotic effect because our eyes are focused on a smallish rectangle or square which is constantly flashing.
Yes, flashing. Next time you watch television count the number of seconds one particular frame or camera view is shown. Most programmes, even documentaries only show one frame for about 7 seconds, then flash, the frame changes. Try it. We don’t need to move our eyes around because the camera is doing it for us.
Meanwhile, we tend to blank out other influences around us, so all we hear is one voice coming from the focused area.
All these factors send the electrical frequencies of the brain into a pattern called alpha waves. You cannot think critically about information your senses are receiving when your brain is in alpha mode. Critical thinking requires the human brain to be in beta wave mode.
“That might be true for some people,” you are thinking, “but not me, I have more control over my brain than that.”
Well, be prepared for a shock. If you watch television regularly, your brain will lapse into alpha mode in only 5 seconds!
According to Dr Thrash, if a person watches television only very occasionally, perhaps once a year, and then watches for one hour, his or her brain will stay in beta mode for about 40 minutes. If the same person watches television for another hour the following day, it will take only 5 minutes for the brain to slip into alpha waves. By the third day the brain slips into alpha waves in 5 seconds!
“So what do we do with the kids? Television keeps them so quiet and entertains them.” Well might you ask. Perhaps you will buy them a video game machine, or games for a family computer.
Hold on to your cash until you’ve read the next quote. An article called, “The Amazing Video Game Boom”, published in the September 27, 1993 issue of TIME magazine says:
“’The kids get it right away. Nobody has to explain to a 10-year-old boy what’s so great about video games. Just sit him down in front of a Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo machine, shove a cartridge into the slot and he’s gone - body, mind and soul - into a make-believe world that’s better than sleep, better than supper...’”
Could it have something to do with the mind-altering chemicals in cigarettes reaching the brain seven seconds after being inhaled.
A report titled, “Mortality from Smoking in Developed Countries 1950-2000.”, by a group of authors, including World Health Organisation scientist, Dr Alan Lopez and Oxford scientist, Professor Richard Peto, found smokers have a one in two chance of dying from their habit. One in four die from smoking in middle age (35-64 years).
The relationship between smoking and cancer is well known, causing 24% of all cancer deaths in New Zealand. But did you know the following facts:
“Nine out of ten deaths from bronchitis and emphysema are due to smoking.”
“Nine out of ten people with circulation problems are smokers.”
“Around eight out of ten heart attacks in men under 45 are associated with smoking.”
“Women who smoke have a greater risk of infertility, miscarriage, premature labour, still birth, early neonatal deaths, earlier menopause and osteoporosis.”
“Children exposed to parents’ smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and are more likely to be admitted to hospital with bronchitis and pneumonia.”
These are but a few facts, selected from the Cancer Society of NZ (Inc) information pack on smoking.
So how many New Zealanders give their lives over to a mind-altering drug, risking an unnatural, painful death? And what about people who don’t smoke, but live or work around smokers?
“The results of the 1996/97 Health Survey showed that around one quarter of all New Zealanders are current smokers. This includes 26.4% of men and 23.5% of women.”
“Nearly half of all non and ex-smokers reported that they were bothered a lot by cigarette smoke. A further one-third reported being bothered a little.”
“In general, younger people were more likely to smoke than older people. Women in the youngest age group (15-24 years) smoked more than men of the same age.”
“Men and smokers aged between 45 and 64 years were more likely to smoke heavily.” Clearly, smoking is a life-threatening habit for those who choose it, and also those who work and live around smokers.
Do you know the words in each and every piece of music affect your brain - even if you have music on for background noise only? And the rhythm and pitch affect our thoughts and emotions too.
Constant repetition of pitch, for example, produces an hypnotic state. Our ears have nerves connecting all areas of the body, so music influences the natural rhythms of our body.
Disharmonic music, such as rock, alters the heart rate and overstimulates endorphin production. You may notice people listening to this style of music seem to get a false “high”, followed by a “low”. People seem to get restless, irritable, disorderly and angry. Some music has even been associated with teenage suicides.
But, rock, heavy metal and rap can’t take all the blame. Gentler music can have a damaging effect on our nervous systems too. Instead of listening to the soft words, listen to the drum beat! A well-known behavioural scientist, Pavlov, experimented with one beat which was faster than and slower than the heart beat of dogs. He found that repeated exposure to this fast/slow beat damaged the dogs’ nervous systems. They never recovered fully. This fast/slow beat is very common in today’s easy listening music. Are our nervous systems becoming damaged too?
Well, we’ve talked about some substances, television and music. But Temperance is more than this.
Yes, we’re talking about sex. We need to be willing to stop all harmful sexual practices. You may consider this to be a very personal topic to discuss, and you are right. Yet perhaps this message is just for you, right now in your life, wherever you are.
What are harmful sexual practices? They include adultery, incest, promiscuity and all homosexual practises.
The tricky thing is, once we have begun to indulge in harmful sexual practices, we may feel trapped or committed to the kind of lifestyle we have chosen, and the people who are living the same lifestyle. We may even try and convince ourselves that our sexual choices are acceptable in this world we live in. Ask this question: To whom would this be acceptable - God or the enemy of God?
Well, the choice is yours. When you realise that every single habit or practice can most definitely be overcome, you may see a tiny beam of hope shining just for you! You may feel a warmness in your heart! We are human beings with limitations - and our God has so much more power than us, and far more love for us than we can ever imagine. With His help we can be free. Remember:
"And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
You may be thinking, "But it is impossible for me to change, what about the people I truly do care for, what about the damage I have already done, what about all the bridges I have burned behind me?"
"Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" Matthew 19:26
If the change you desire in your life is according to God's will, He will start a process of change within you. We cannot change others, but with God's help we can be changed. If you have started a process of change and then find yourself in a situation you don't want to be in, immediately call out to God. This is faith. He is our immediate help in trouble:
"This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him. And saved him out of all his troubles." Psalms 34:6
With these wonderful hopes in mind, God's full and fabulous love for each one of us, let us be strong to read some facts about harmful sexual practices:
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
Sexual immorality carries the risk of becoming infected with these sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s):
Gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, genital warts, genital herpes and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which may develop into AIDS.
Gonorrhoea and chlamydia bacteria can spread within the genital tract to other body parts. Both men and women can become infertile and repeated infections can increase the risk of infertility. These two STD’s may also infect the throat through oral sex and anus through anal intercourse.
Antibiotic resistant strains of gonorrhoea have now developed. (About 5% of all reported cases in New Zealand, with much higher incidence in Australia, South East Asia and USA). Source: NZ Venereological Society pamphlets.
There is also strong evidence that anal cancer is caused by sexually transmitted infection. Reference :Frisch M. et al, “Sexually Transmitted Infection As A Cause of Anal Cancer.” New England Journal of Medicine 1997; 337; pp1350-8
AIDS was first diagnosed in the early 1980’s. Those most at risk of getting AIDS are:
Reference: Aids Information for Teachers, p 87. Produced by the NZ Department of Health.
Anal and vaginal intercourse, oral sex, sharing sex toys such as vibrators, and any practice which breaks the skin or draws blood (either inside the vagina or anus or on the skin) increases the risk of catching the virus from an unsafe sexual partner.
God can give you power to overcome all harmful sexual practices, if you decide to choose His way:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Notice the words, “...and such were some of you.” With God there is always hope, new life, forgiveness and cleansing. All sins can be forgiven and overcome.
What about sex within marriage? Yes, sex within marriage is a wholesome, good gift from God since the creation of Adam and Eve. Yet, as the world has become more and more polluted with sin, we need to be aware that even this wholesome gift can be twisted and polluted. Overwhelming thoughts of sex is not healthy, even within marriage. Brutal sex, forced upon a wife or husband is not healthy. Manipulating a husband or wife into something with the promise of sex is not healthy.
We are seeking the ideal in God's eyes. How would He want us to honour His special marriage gift? Something to think about?
In the 2002 edition of "Healing with Whole Foods," author Paul Pitchford talks about excessive male ejaculation. He says that according to modern nutrition, semen contains considerable amounts of zinc and omega 3 fatty acids. These nutrients are essential to a healthy immune system.
So overdoing sexual encounters, even within the loving bonds of marriage, can deplete a husband's body of zinc, omega 3 and other nutrients.
We wives need to be kind to our husbands and ensure they are eating good wholesome foods and getting rejuvenating rest at night.
Let us remember that sexual intimacy is a healthy and invigorating activity within a loving marriage. Studies have shown that sexual activity doesn't need to disappear with age. For the over-50's sex is particularly healthy! When a husband and wife agree to be moderate in lovemaking, they can enjoy a full, interesting, intimate, affectionate marriage. Yes! It is true.
Doing good things in moderation also includes exercise, work, sleeping, drinking water and sunbathing. They are all good habits, but they can be taken to dangerous extremes.
Another example is healthy foods. Yes, they are good to eat, but we can choose to eat in moderation, chewing well and eating only at meal times. (Usually only two or three meals each day).
But we live in a society which constantly shouts at women (and men) to wear tight fitting clothes, to be slim enough to wear a pair of tight jeans, to wear underwear which can be seen through clothes, low cut tops, and so the fashion demands continue.
Sometimes you might hear a whisper here and there about dressing modestly, or read a book advising readers to choose their clothes sensibly.
But stepping out of an entire life of wanting to be enticing to the opposite sex, or wanting to be the best dressed woman around can be very difficult. It’s a bit like stepping off a conveyor belt. God will help you change even lifelong attitudes, if you are willing to walk His way. Never forget, stepping into God’s way is completely different to running with the world.
Of course, modesty doesn’t mean looking frumpy, or dressing in dowdy clothes. Modesty means dressing stylishly, in clothes which suit us as individuals. Modesty means wearing clothes which skim the body, rather than sticking to it. Modesty means being yourself, not following along with everyone else.
And a most interesting thing happens - a sense of freedom washes over you. Like a sigh of relief, you no longer have to ”strut your stuff” whenever you leave your front door. You see, God becomes the one you want to please - not some stranger down the street. The attention God gives you is vastly more satisfying than all those admiring glances.
There are also health reasons for choosing modest clothes. For good health we need perfect circulation. For perfect circulation, we need to be sure our arms, legs and feet are covered. (Ideally, with long sleeves, long trousers or skirts, socks or stockings and shoes).
If these parts of the body are not covered, blood rushes to the trunk and pelvic area because they are warmer than the uncovered legs, arms, feet and hands.
Believe it or not, this causes congestion of blood in the very areas which need to be free of congestion to perform their jobs. Also bacteria can thrive in the warm, moist conditions - such as in the lungs and pelvic region.
Tight clothing can also be a contributing cause in haemorrhoids and varicose veins. A good general rule is to wear clothes which leave no marks on your skin when you take them off.
So now we know Temperance covers a large part of our lives. Is anything left untouched? Probably not.
Temperance requires us to look closely at all areas of our lives, weigh up the knowledge we have gained against our habits and current lifestyle, and then to choose.
Choosing to change our habits means making a commitment to ourselves and God, then beginning the work of living God’s way.
Our human brains take time to develop a new “pathway” and you may struggle, calling on God frequently for help, until one day you realise a new habit has formed and the old one is receding! Amazing!
Won’t you choose the right path towards temperate living today? Read more>>