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Have you ever been persecuted for your faith?  I haven’t, though I’ve been ridiculed, but this is nothing.  I’ve met people, though, who experienced real persecution, and their faith is resilient.

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #16 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Throughout the history of Christianity, persecution of individual Christians and the Church has been constant.

And today, persecution against Christians is increasing around the world. 

The ministry Open Doors, sponsors a “World Watch List,” that recounts the top 50 countries in which, in their words ,“it’s most difficult to follow Jesus.” 

According to The Watch List, more than 360 million Christians live in places around the world where they experience high levels of persecution. That’s more than the population of the United States. In 2021, some 4,761 Christians were killed for their faith, 4,888 churches and other Christian buildings were attacked, and 4,277 believers were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned for their faith.

For 17 consecutive years, North Korea has been ranked #1 as the most dangerous country for Christians, only recently displaced in 2021 by Afghanistan. Add countries like China, Laos, Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, Iran, Syria, and other Middle Eastern or North African countries where persecution of minority religions, especially Christianity, is an ongoing experience. 

Persecution intersects with discussions of freedom of religion and belief, and it can be considered in at least two ways: persecution of others – how we should respond to it, and personal persecution – how we should prepare for and respond to it.

Persecution is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict,” or “specifically: to cause to suffer because of belief.” The word is typically used in association with religious violence.

Periodically, I hear someone claim the American Church or Christians are experiencing “persecution.” But I don’t use “persecution” to refer to incidents in the US. Frankly, while churches in the US have been harassed by government or other entities, and while genuine persecution will likely someday come to this country, it’s not now. 

Meanwhile, persecution of the Church, Christians, Muslims, Jews, or several religious minorities is rampant elsewhere in the world. Indeed, restrictions on religious freedom is now a global crisis, in autocratic and religiously dominated regimes but also in democratic countries.

In my view, and I believe it is a biblical perspective, Christians should defend and promote religious freedom, the “first freedom,” for all human beings, whatever their religion or no religion at all. It’s part God creating us thinking, reasoning, choosing human beings made in his image, and it is part of Love your neighbor as yourself.

In the US, rather than persecution, we can talk about opposition, harassment, discrimination, even hostility, for example:

  • Eroding freedoms and a cultural tide that is more secular or pagan.
  • Increasing intolerance of Christian activity, evident in fines, lawsuits, jobs lost, and public disdain.
  • Increasing harassment and anti-religious or specifically anti-Christian bias in education at all levels.
  • Big Tech censorship of religious or Christian viewpoints.

Yet what we experience in the US, worrisome and negatively trending though it may be, is still different from the painful struggles elsewhere in the world that Christians are enduring because of their faith. 

Christians in the US still enjoy freedoms and protections rooted in the First Amendment that make profession of faith relatively easy or unthreatened compared to Christians living where owning a Bible could cost life and limb. 

This does not mean that persecution will never come to the US, nor that we should ignore anti-religious trends in government and culture. In fact, we should learn what God says about persecution, discover how we can assist isolated believers globally, and learn how we should prepare if God allows persecution to come to our doorstep.

Let’s think about what the Scripture says.

First, persecution is predictable.

  1. In John 15:30, Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
  2. The Apostle Paul said, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Tim. 3:10-15. 

Second, the Scripture indicates persecution occurs within the will of God.  

  1. God uses persecution to purify the church. Persecution has always made the church stronger. “Yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”  13:21, Mark 4:17
  2. And persecution has been instrumental in generating the Diaspora, spreading the truth worldwide: “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:19-21

Third, the Early Church suffered persecution.    

  1. The first martyr, Stephen, was arrested and stoned Acts 6:8-15, 7:1-60.
  2. The Apostles were arrested and imprisoned, and all but John were eventually martyred. Tertullian, one of the 2ndC, Church Fathers said, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.”
  3. The great Apostle Paul said, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure,” 2 Cor. 11:24-28.
  4. And Scripture pays tribute to faithful followers of Christ, saying in Heb. 11:36-38, “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated. of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

Scripture also tells us what our attitude should be toward persecution and persecutors:

  1. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, fortheirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt. 5:10-12
  2. “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”  5:44
  3. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”  12:14

How then should we regard persecution?

  1. Expect persecution
  2. Be informed and pray for those who are persecutedInternational Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church – first Sunday in Nov. See also Voice of the Martyrs, or read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563), William Tyndale – translator of Bible to English, burned at stake.
  3. Stand with persecuted Christians. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it,” 1 Corinthians 12:26.
  4. Provide practical help, as possible, for persecuted Christians, including immigrants.
  5. Be ready to give an answer, 1 Pet. 3:15-16.
  6. Trust God for the results– Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fiery furnace, yet Stephen was stoned unto death. God said, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life,”  2:10.
  7. And we’re provided perspective: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” Eph. 6:12.

In the providence of God, real persecution may indeed come to the United States. I do not know what God will ask of us. I do know he will build his church “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” Matt. 16:18.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Isn’t it amazing to hear seemingly sophisticated people saying things that seem to lack common sense?  Does common sense even exist anymore?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #15 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

The idea of “common sense” goes back to Aristotle and, generally, refers to a kind of basic awareness or ability to perceive, understand, and judge in a manner that shared by nearly all people.

But for there to be common sensepeople need to believe certain thing in common. In other words, they, and the culture they produce, embrace certain understandings, what the philosophers call “presuppositions,” about God, humanity, the created order, right and wrong. We order our lives around such presuppositions. 

But we now live in an upside-down age that defies presuppositions rooted in Christian faith. Consequently, we live in an irrational age. Pretty much, like the days of Noah, people do whatever they want to do, when they want to do it, with whom they want to do it. This sounds good. Sort of sounds like freedom.     

But what we’re doing doesn't add up. No matter if you measure by history, religion, moral philosophy, nature, or common sense, the answer is the same: a lot of what we’re doing is irrational, i.e., it makes no sense.     

Why? Because so much of what we’re doing jettisons concern for right or wrong, defies faith and reason, and is disconnected from reality as God designed it.This is the very definition of irrational.      

Freedom is a wonderful thing, a blessing, and a gift from God to humanity. God created us with free will. It’s part of being made in his image.

But freedom works best, guided by belief in God, individual responsibility, and personal accountability. For freedom to thrive, it needs a culture wherein moral concerns remind us that life is best when lived within divine parameters.

The Scripture says it like this: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).    

But these are old ideas, ones contemporary culture no longer recognizes. We want no one, least of all religion or even duty to God and country telling us what we cannot do. 

Freedom to act with a moral compass of our own devising, freedom to do what’s right in our own eyes is what we want, and we’re chasing after this wind with all we’re worth.    

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

And I don’t just mean “bad people,” the violent, the murderer, the rapist. Certainly, they act with no regard for anything but their own gratification, rage, or emptiness.      

Nor do I mean just the bold, often articulate, or creative, secularists, atheists, or hedonists among us. We know them today. If not “celebrities,” they’re called “influencers,” a term that means individuals who post their shallow values online, day in and day out, for millions of followers to read and emulate.

But these celebrity influencers are not a cause but a symptom. They’ve become who they are because they’ve been enabled by a culture enamored by the beautiful people, their high rent looks, or outrageous behavior, or material excess.   

So, when I say we’re riding hell-bent for leather into irrationality, I don’t mean just the wayward ones out in la-la land. I mean “us,” our culture.     

Contemporary culture—meaning our “way of life”—seems bent upon finding ways to embrace, even promote ideas, attitudes, values, and practices earlier cultures, and earlier generations in our culture, considered lacking in common sense. Indeed, in much of this, contemporary culture is celebrating irrationality.     

Some of the ideas, attitudes, values, and practices we’ve recently embraced are irreverent, some are immoral, some are ill advised, and some, at least at one time, were illegal

I say, “recently embraced,” but Solomon reminded us in the book of Ecclesiastes that there are no new practices under the sun, just old ones recycled (Ecclesiastes 1:9).     

Of course, what one calls irreverent, immoral, ill advised, or illegal depends upon one’s worldview. What you believe—your presuppositions—about God, life, and truth influences what ideas, attitudes, values, and practices you consider legitimate. This is the prime reason contemporary culture celebrates irrationality. It does so because the current cultural zeitgeist, or “spirit of the age,” has jettisoned the idea of moral absolutes in favor of a new (ironically) absolute called “moral relativism.”   

According to moral relativism, ultimate truth doesn’t exist…or if it does, it can’t be discerned or defined. And moral relativism also rejects the existence of clearly knowable, objectively established truth. In place of ultimate truth, or knowable, objective truth, contemporary culture affirms the idea, “There is no truth” or “What’s true for you may not be true for me.”     

Consequently, since we can know nothing for sure, we cannot believe anything for sureIf we can know nothing and can believe nothing for sure, what we believe and, therefore, what we do does not matter.     

A culture that does not believe in objective truth is vulnerable. Well, actually it is wide-open, to subjective “truth.” In other words, if we don’t believe truth is determined outside of us than it must be OK to determine it within us. 

But this idea doesn’t work well, because human beings have depraved hearts and minds (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:28), so, what’s inside us is not strawberries and cream but darkness, a capacity for and an inclination to evil.

Scripture repeatedly describes human beings as created good and for good. Yes, humanity by God’s design started out well. But with what’s called the Fall, human beings gave over their hearts to sin and depravity.      

Scripture uses phrases like “willingly ignorant” or “deliberately forget.” We forget on purpose what is right (2 Peter 3:5). We are influenced by sin’s “powerful delusion” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). We “suppress the truth by…wickedness,” we function with futile thinking and foolish hearts, and we “exchange the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1: 18, 21, 25).     

We’re so good at this we “invent ways of doing evil” and in terms of our evil ways of life we “not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:30, 32).     

This approach to what’s right allows us to determine what to do based upon personal experience, or the new catch phrase—“fairness”—as opposed to deciding what’s righteous or what’s best, based upon biblical doctrine (Philippians 1:9-11), Church teaching, history, or even “natural law.”    

So, if we want to have our cake and eat it too, or if we think “just the right amount of wrong” is a sustainable lifestyle, then what’s to stop us from joining Frank Sinatra and singing the classic humanist anthem:

“And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my wayFor what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels

The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, it was my way.”

My way…

If we want to get an abortion, it’s my way.     

If we want to say heterosexual relationships outside monogamous marriage are OK, well then, “If you can't be with the one you love honey, Love the one you're with.”     

If we think we can win not just a race, we can beat the races, than why not gamble with abandon? Life is just a crapshoot anyway so let it ride.           

If we want to believe life began by chance and that human beings are descended from some animalistic humanoid, it’s my way.      

If we want to spend beyond our means including spending other peoples’ means (our children and grandchildren), there’s no piper to be paid, no reckoning. It’s all going to work out. It’s my way.     

If we think God is an unnecessary hypothesis, that we can live life, and apparently the afterlife, without him, then what’s stopping us from creating our world and our future in our image? It’s my way.

And that’s the problem. We’re creating an increasingly scary world with a scarier future.          

Celebrating irrationality is not rational. 

Our culture cannot sustain itself indefinitely with this kind of pell-mell rush to senselessness. Yet lemming-like, we keep running toward the cliff.

But God is still the God who created reality. If we want to celebrate rationality, to exercise common sense, do it God’s Way.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Have you ever been betrayed? I mean you discovered your trust had been misplaced and the hurt is real? Betrayal is sadly a part of life in a sinful world, but the Lord did not leave us without perspective and support.

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #14 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

A few years ago, I visited the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, and I was glad for the opportunity. It brought back a lot of memories.

When Richard Milhous Nixon was re-elected in 1972, I was a 20-year-old college student studying political science. I was thoroughly into the issues and the campaign, and Nixon became the first president I excitedly voted for. He was “my president” in the same way the college students who campaigned for President Barak Obama will forever feel a special attachment to him.

Later, as I walked to my car, I realized I felt down and a little twisted inside, and I thought, what’s this? Then it hit me. I felt betrayed, even a little angry.

The politics of Nixon’s second term had turned quickly to Watergate chaos.  “What did he know and when did he know it?” In a painful few months Nixon’s presidency collapsed under the weight of malfeasance and an unexplained 18½ minute gap in a White House audio tape.  

August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon announced his resignation. August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned, and Gerald R. Ford was sworn into office. August 10, 1974, Sarah and I got married. It was an eventful week.

It’s been over 40 years but viewing Nixon’s gravestone rekindled emotions I didn’t know remained. I’d been energized by this man’s leadership. I’d agreed with a measure of his policy perspectives, but he’d fooled me, Billy Graham, and many others. 

Nixon squandered enormous political talent and experience. His personal character was exposed and didn’t match his public persona. He cheated to win re-election. He covered up. He lied. He did this to his country. He did this to me. 

I felt betrayed because I’d put my trust in his leadership. 

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

I’ve also felt betrayed a few times in more personal ways than a distant president. I’m guessing you have too. It’s more realistic than cynical to say that if you live long enough someone will eventually trade on your trust. 

And then there’s our behavior toward others. I don’t like to think that I may have betrayed someone, but as a sinner saved by grace, who’s still a sinner, I probably have.      

Betrayal comes in many forms. Maybe in your workplace: people you trusted said things publicly about you that you later heard and could scarcely believe. People close to you, or so you thought, stayed faithful while they worked for or with you but verbally kicked you on the way out the company door. People were your friends as long as they got something out of the transaction; when circumstances changed, they stabbed you in the back.  People lied about what really happened, or worse, they lied about you and assassinated your character. People you helped gain their positions used their newfound empowerment to undermine you.     

By the way, criticism and betrayal are not synonymous, particularly if you hold a leadership position. Criticism rightly given and rightly received, iron sharpening iron, makes us better, stronger. Criticism seeks to help. Betrayal seeks to harm.     

Maybe your company leaders betrayed the trust of thousands of employees, of which you are one, and now your pension fund or your investments are diminished or gone.  

Maybe a spouse you loved was unfaithful.      

And, of course, there are many more ways in which people betray people.  Human beings are infinitely creative, so they keep inventing new ways to betray. It’s one of the sins of the human race that began when Cain betrayed Abel, and it’s not going to go away this side of heaven. It’s not fun and in fact it can hurt deeply. 

Given the sin nature in all of us, betrayal, or the experience of being betrayed, is probably unavoidable. Betrayal comes to us all. So now what?       

We have a choice on how we respond to betrayal. We can retaliate, hitting back in some tangible way that attempts to hurt others who’ve hurt us. We can seek revenge (kidding ourselves that it’s justice we’re after). We can contract for legal redress (I recognize that such remedies may at times be biblically justifiable, but I’d recommend mediation or arbitration before pursuing lawsuits as a last resort). We can dissolve into bitter recrimination.  

Or we can look to the Lord for another way toward resolution that may or may not ultimately result in reconciliation. The Bible tells us how.      

1-Pray. James 5:13 - “Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray.” My Mother used to tell me this. I’d come home from school with some story of what an evildoer had done to me and she’d say, “Have you prayed for him?” I didn’t want to pray for him. I wanted to punch him. But I did discover that one cannot pray sincerely for someone and continue ill feelings in your heart. The Spirit takes over, changing our feelings if not the circumstances and directing our response toward life.     

2-Never respond in kindJames 4:11 - “Brothers, do not slander one another.” Never put in print what you’ll be ashamed of later. Print possesses a shelf-life longer than your life. Cyberspace magnifies your responses even broader and faster, potentially to billions. Besides, vitriolic responses are about hurting, not healing.      

3-Never over-reactProverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” This too shall pass. It’s amazing how different personal battles appear from the vantage point of time. Not long ago I spoke with a man with whom I’d battled a few times. He and I were just different, and it came out, not in things we’re ashamed we said but in periodic friction. Funny thing was, when we talked, neither of us could remember the substance of the issues involved. All we could remember is that we used to butt heads and now we wondered why.     

4-Never seek vengeance. Romans 12: 17-19 - “Do not repay anyone evil for evil…If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge…I will repay, says the Lord.” Turning the other cheek may be one of the more difficult things we’re called upon to do in our lives. God is sovereign. He knows. He’ll make things right in his good time.          

5-Forgive. Colossians 3:13 - “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Responding to betrayal with forgiveness brings resolution to us even if the other person(s) never change or are never open to reconciliation. Forgiveness is not only right; it’s a release. It literally liberates us. What mattered no longer matters. When we forgive, we don’t work to make the offending parties “admit” or “apologize.” We don’t work to “win.” We simply ask the Lord to enable us to forgive when it’s beyond our ability to do so. And he does.    

6-Bless and be at peace with them. Romans 12:14, 16 - “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…Live in harmony with one another.” No one’s ever been betrayed like Jesus. Judas used his three-year relationship to identify Jesus with a kiss and betrayed the Savior for 30 pieces of silver. Peter denied Jesus three times. The Disciples deserted him.

Yet Jesus loved them all, even calling Judas “Friend,” and he continued in the Father’s mission to sacrifice the Son to make forgiveness and reconciliation possible.     

I know that responding to betrayal with forgiveness is not the natural thing to do. But that’s the point. Christians aren’t supposed to be natural, but spiritual.       

Jesus is the only one who can enable us to overcome betrayal.    

  

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

I like watching football. But I don’t much like the NFL.

  1. There is the politicization of the game, first the national anthem controversy, then the wokeism, in the name of civil rights but really pretty shallow self-serving posturing.
  1. Then there’s the League’s history dealing with or rather winking time and again at players involved in abuse of women. Lot of examples. Take the current DeShaun Watson case: 22, or is it 24, women accuse him of sexual assault, misconduct. Yes, a TX Grand Jury declined to prosecute. Yes, one is innocent until proven guilty. But that’s a lot of smoke to suggest there’s no fire. In the post-“Me Too” era it’s mind boggling how many teams are actively considering trading for him to be their QB. Do you want this guy to be the face of your franchise? Apparently many do.
  1. Then there’s the League’s decision, as soon as the law allowed, to embrace sports gambling as a business opportunity, this after decades arguing gambling could undermine the integrity of fair and free competition. And while the League pulls in millions on the backs of its fans, it has the moral audacity to fine players who gamble on their teams.

Remember Al Davis? “Just win, baby.”

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

If you look under “healthcare” in the dictionary you’ll probably see the word “expensive,” so wouldn’t it be great to identify some healthcare steps that make for a healthy body, mind, andbank account?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #13 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Healthcare is a long way from what our forebears endured during the 1800s and earlier. Thankfully, we no longer use leeches to suck out poison, understand germs, 

recognize the importance of hygiene, and have developed a vast array of medicines and medical technology that improve the quality and often the longevity of our lives.

But with this advancement has also come increasing costs—for the meds and med tech but also for health and medical insurance to helps us pay the bills. Consequently, some argue the government should do more, then do more again, taking care of us with socialized healthcare programs that too often trade benefits for liberties.

But take heart, there are costfree healthcare steps we can choose. We shared a few of these steps in the last podcast episode, “Costfree Healthcare 1,” so here we go with “Costfree Healtcare 2.”

What can we do for little or no cost that will improve our health?

  1. Avoid Narcotics.53 million Americans, or 19.4% of people 12 and over, used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year. Remember the commercial: “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs”? Sizzling fried egg. Actually, that commercial understated the problem. Hard drugs debilitate not only the brain but every part of a substance abuser’s life. “Using” is unwise, illegal, and unhealthy. 
  1. Don’t Abuse Alcohol.If alcohol and tobacco are included, 165 million or 60.2% or of Americans aged 12 years or older currently abuse drugs and alcoho Alcohol abuse slows reflexes, impairs mental processes, increases the risk of several diseases, and often leads to alcohol dependence. It’s not called “Getting hammered” for nothing.
  1. Develop a HobbyHobbies typically involve collecting, accomplishing, enriching, learning, expressing, developing, preserving. Part of the fun is that we don’t have todo these things. The very “unnecessary” character of many hobbies is evidence of the creative talent we possess as imago Dei, beings made in the image of God. The capacity to develop, arrange, or make is a form of investing ourselves and our values in the Created Order. It’s a God thing, which raises our quality of life.
  1. Forgive.The man or woman who does not forgive is the man or woman who is hurt in perpetuity, embittered, and enslaved. Meanwhile, the unforgiven often go on unscathed. Jesus commanded us to forgive “not seven times, but seventy-seven times,” i.e., unto infinity if necessary (Matt. 18:22). Forgiving doesn’t exonerate another; God still brings things to account. Forgiving is a divinely enabled act that releases us. You probably know someone who hasn’t forgiven a parent dead for 25 years. Sad. Unforgiveness is a cancer of the soul. I can’t prove it, but I think unforgiveness is the number one sin in the Christian Church.
  1. Avoid Sex Outside Marriage.“Friends with benefits” is a hip phrase communicating the general moral state of our culture. It denotes unmarried friends who have sex-sans-commitment whenever they’re inclined. But sex outside marriage is neither as casual nor as inconsequential as commonly believed. On the contrary, certain pathologies form a scary list of direct and indirect consequences: STDs, unwanted pregnancies and sometimes abortions, broken marriages, and additional psychological, spiritual, and physical forms of duress that can last a lifetime.  

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

  1. Serve Others.If you’re feeling depressed, down in the mouth, or logy, focus upon someone else’s problems. Then help them. It’s amazing what “Love one another” does to one’s perspective, feelings, and even actual circumstances.
  1. Don’t Speed.From our youth we’ve heard “Speed Kills.” It does.
  1. Get Married.I’m hard-pressed to argue this one is costfree, but researchers have repeatedly made the case that married people are healthier and tend to live longer than unmarried people. It seems God knew what he was doing when he said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). Of course, women have always known that men would make a mess of things if left to their own devices.
  1. Get a Pet.Again, not sure this is truly costfree, but with the dividends the costs are minimal and worth it. People who own pets live longer, healthier lives. It’s called pet therapy. Go figure.

Our Brownie the Beagle has a philosophy, a consistent one:

--If I say, I’m really stressed…Brownie says, “Let’s go for a walk.”

--Me: Such and such happened and it’s a bummer…Brownie: “Let’s go for a walk.”

--Me: My favorite team lost…Brownie: “Let’s go for a walk.”

--Me: The world is ending as we know it…Brownie: “Let’s go for a walk.”

Moral of the story: If you need near costfree healthcare, get a dog or other pet. Pets are less expensive than Peloton or gym memberships, and they ask very few questions about our problems. They focus on “joie de vivre” – the joy of life.

Costfree healthcare is in our grasp, just a choice or two away. Live without self-induced health problems. Live longer. Deciding to live healthy is a matter of God honoring stewardship. 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022    

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

With the cost of health and medical insurance continuing to go through the roof, wouldn’t it be great to find healthcare that didn’t cost us anything?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #12 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Healthcare might be the most contentious compound word in the English language.

Health care, the phrase, only recently became healthcare, the compound concept, a near inevitable progression already recognized by several respected dictionaries.  

In high school, we took a class called Health, which is to say, how to take good care of yourselfNow,healthcare is something government does, or insurance agencies provide for us.    

Whether we think healthcare reform is overdue or overdone, most of us would probably agree it is, and ever will be, overpriced.       

But what if we could enjoy cost-free heathcare—sort of like the citizens of Greece, only for real, with no one else in the E.U. helping pay the bill?     

Maybe cost-free is a phrase that can come to our rescue. We’ll make it compound. Not cost -dash- freebut costfree, a newly evolved word that makes 21st Century sense, to us if not to our grandparents.  

Or is costfree a compound redundancy? If something is costfree, why don’t we just say it’s free? Well, because nothing’s really, free.  

Anything worthwhile costs us something by way of investment of time, talent, or treasure. It’s the accountability God built into the world’s economy so that, despite our continuing efforts to debase ourselves, we cannot run amok forever.  

Eventually, bohemian youth grow up—though among musician rockers there seems to be a lot of bohemian holdovers into advanced age.

Still, everyone, sooner or later, must pay the piper, unless of course we just keep looking to government to take care of us cradle-to-the-grave.

It’s a hard lesson that I’m afraid our country, or at least a lot of our political leaders, have not learned—the idea that, eventually, we must live within their means

But then again, if you’re a duly elected politician of either Party, or you’re an appointed for life or good behavior bureaucrat, when the time comes, you retire and go home. The bill coming due for expansive expenses you created is someone else’s problem. It’s a classic “kick the can down the road” scenario.     

So costfree healthcare makes sense to me. Whatever results from ideologically or partisan-driven political healthcare battles in government, Congress, or state legislatures, we’re not hostage to it.  

We can still do a number of commonsense things for our health.  

We can assume individual responsibility and initiative.  

We don’t have to wait for government or health insurance companies to take these steps. As good stewards of the life God gave us, we can make our own responsible healthcare choices.    

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform.  Download an episode for your friends.

Allow me to share several ways you can enjoy costfree healthcare:

  1. Read the BibleNumerous studies have demonstrated that regular Scripture reading makes a positive, cumulative impact upon spiritual and emotional and, thus, physical well-being. Don’t read it as a fetish or good luck charm but read and apply the Word in your life. God’s Word never returns to him void of impact.
  1. Pray.When I was a kid in Sunday School, teachers told me that reading the Bible is “God talking to us” and praying is “Us talking to God.” Talking to God changes us and bolsters our well-being, no matter how the Lord chooses to respond to our needs and requests.
  1. Attend Church.Researchers have repeatedly found that people who attend religious services one or more times per week live longer, healthier lives. Church provides us with community, meaning, and fellowship, all ingredients of better living.
  1. Exercise.Regular exercise benefits all human systems, respiratory, digestive, muscular, circulatory, everything. Exercise improves moods, reduces stress, re-energizes energy, maintains weight, purifies skin, enhances sleep. Even just walk—walkers live longer, enjoy better mental acuity, experience lower incidences of disease, age more slowly, reduce risk of catching colds, and more. You don’t have to compete for the Olympics. Just get a step counter app. Walking just 30 minutes per day reaps rewards. It’s impossible to overstate the positive impact of exercise upon our health. Put another way: “Couch potatoes are less healthy potatoes.”
  1. Eat BetterWe are what we eat. Poor diet, poor health. Better diet, better health.
  1. Lose WeightSome 73% of Americans are overweight or obese.The US spends more per person treating obesity than any other economically advanced country. Presently, overweight issues are at 14% of the country’s total annual healthcare expenditure. Obesity accounts for overtwo-thirds of all diabetes treatment costsabout a quarter of treatment for cardiovascular issues, and 9% for cancer. The moral of the story: burn calories, reduce pounds.
  1. Quit Smoking. Walking away from smoking is an act of liberation. A one-pack-per-day smoker spends about $2,292 per year on the habit. Quit smoking and you liberate your pocketbook from daily loss, from higher insurance costs and, believe it or not, from lower resale value on your cars. Quitting liberates you from higher probabilities of heart disease, lung or throat cancer, and other diseases. The first question I’m asked at the Doctor’s office, after my birthdate, is do you smoke? Why is that?
  1. Get SleepAdequate sleep recharges the body, protects the heart, may increase memory, and generates a long list of other benefits.  
  1. Get RestSleep and rest are different. You can be caught up on sleep but still be going full tilt, non-stop, gung-ho in the rat race…over prolonged periods. This is a recipe for myriad health problems. We need rest and relaxation = R&R. God created the world in six days then rested on the seventh. He didn’t rest because he was tired. He rested to enjoy what he’d done. Rest need not be synonymous with doing nothing, though this can be beneficial too. Rest can be recreation, or re-creation. Rest revives, restores, rejuvenates. Rest is detachment from the norm. Jesus combined rest with prayer, drawing away to the mountains, the water, or the Garden of Gethsemane. Rest is best when it reinvigorates the soul.

There are more healthcare measures that arguably don’t cost us a dime. I’ll share those with you in the next podcast. I commend costfree healthcare to you. It’s eminently affordable.

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022    

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.