Book Plunge: Breaking The Stronghold of Food.

What do I think of Michael and Nancy Brown’s book published by Siloam? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let me be clear right at the start. I do not have this struggle. If it were possible to have all my meals in a pill form suddenly with some futuristic technology and still get all the nutrients and avoid hunger, I would have no problem with it. In my more literalist days, I could not get excited about the end of the age because people would talk about the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and I figured I’d just sit in a corner somewhere waiting until the meal was done. You can tell this looking at me. I weigh about 120 pounds and I’m a 5’7″ guy.

My diet, however, does not consist of a lot of junk. I do eat seafood and if I snack, I prefer things like granola bars and crackers and such. If we go out to eat, I would prefer to go to Smoothie King or Subway over a pizza place. I do have a fondness for something with peanut butter, but I do not have a food addiction at all. Why would I read this book then?

Because my wife does and I think part of being a good husband is understanding your wife.

Dr. Brown and his wife both struggled with a food addiction and they had to make a radical change. Dr. Brown writes about how this is also a spiritual struggle and for many people, yes, a sin struggle. It is mistreating the temple that one has been given and cutting their life short and robbing their loved ones of time with them for the sake of food. Dr. Brown is sympathetic in the book as is his wife, but he also just tells it like it is.

He’s also not preaching from Sinai. He tells about how he was one who struggled with this problem immensely. For him and his wife, much of what they did revolved around food. By removing the addiction to food, their whole lives became immensely better.

It wasn’t an easy struggle. Dr. Brown before he became a Christian was a heroin addict and once he gave his life to Christ, he went cold turkey entirely and is free. For him, giving up chocolates was harder than giving up heroin. He had to learn to change his palate radically and could not allow himself to cheat at all. Exercise was a part of it, but the biggest change was the change of diet.

Dr. Brown walks through how we tolerate often overeating, but we treat it differently from any other wrong. Who of us would say a little bit of pornography is no big deal? Who would say that a little bit of cheating on your wife is nothing major and hey, we all do it? Yet when it comes to food, we let all that fly out the window. Most of us don’t eat because we’re hungry, but because we want something else and we even have our bodies tricking us into thinking we’re hungry when we’re really not.

It also taught me that I need to be praying for my own wife in this. Granted for me, this is a challenge. I can spend a lot of time doing study and such, but prayer is hard since that’s a more relational act. Still, the idea was gripping and I hope that one day, my Princess will be free of the stronghold. I think she will be immensely healthier and happier and it will be better for the two of us.

Throughout the book, Nancy throws in her own helpful tips. One particular funny one is about how Dr. Brown saw an infomercial about another miracle weight loss product and was so excited. He really wanted to order it the next day and lose all their pounds. Nancy’s comment there begins by pointing out that this man actually has a Ph.D.! Yes. Sometimes Ph.D. can stand for phenomenally dumb. Even smart people, and Dr. Brown is certainly one, can fall for gimmicks like this. For him, there is no gimmick and the same goes for Nancy. There are no shortcuts on the way to success and there is no quarter with the enemy.

I do not struggle with this. Still, if you do or know someone who does, go through this book to open you up. I could read all about doughnuts and pizza and ice cream, which I can enjoy, and sleep peacefully not worried about temptation. (My wife says that the old adage of the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach would never have worked for me.) Dr. Brown’s book is less about diet and exercise I think than a look at the spiritual struggle with questions at the end of each chapter to make you think about the struggle more.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

What Will You Give?

How much will you give for what you want? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My wife is trying to diet and get in shape right now. She’s on Weight Watchers and frankly, she’s doing pretty awesome right now and learning to control herself. We also go to support groups for her. I am one who is underweight and I can’t relate to being obsessed with food, but I do go anyway to be her mutual support.

Last night, I was thinking about the concept of how these programs work if you do them. It’s all about how much you’re willing to give. It’s a simple concept and it’s one we know from our every day experience, but it hits at something true. How much you succeed in your life will depend on how much you are willing to give and you will get better at whatever you wind up giving the most to.

Let’s suppose you want to be a good baseball player. You have a dream of playing in the major leagues someday. What do you do? Well you sit and watch your favorite team play all day and you read a lot of books about baseball, but you never go out and practice. You never go and work out and build up your body so that you yourself can play baseball. You will wind up knowing a lot about baseball, but you’ve never given yourself to playing the sport. You will not make it to the majors.

When I was in Bible College, I was a commuter. Now I’ve always been good at video games, but when I went to visit some guys on campus, I got pretty good competition at the original Super Smash Bros. (That’s how long ago it was) Why is it that that was working out that way that I wasn’t doing as good as I thought I would? Because these guys all lived together and no doubt got together regularly and played and so they had got better at it.

If you want to do anything in life, you will have to give and you will only get out what you give. This post started talking about dieting. If you say you are trying to lose weight, but you never want to exercise and you want to eat whatever you want without limits, you will never lose it. You might really want to, but without effort, nothing will happen. Ultimately, someone has to decide that they want health more than they want food.

If you want to learn another language, you are going to have to sit down and spend some time studying the language. Most of us are not going to be savants that learn by osmosis. Even if you do have a natural capacity for learning, you still have to do some work.

I have had my father-in-law Mike Licona be on my show three times at this point. At the start of one show, I wanted to point out something about us. Mike was not an academic in school and he would struggle just to make passing grades. I was the kind of student who went to school, came home and played video games all day long, and got A’s. Yet you know what? When it comes to apologetics, both of us have to give and both of us have to study. Right now, Mike can easily run circles around me. If I ever want to get to the point where he is, I have to work.

This will also apply in your marriage as well or any other relationship. Too often in marriage we ask about what our spouse will give us. We rarely ask about what we will give them. How many men are saying “I don’t get enough sex in marriage!” Well how about asking what you’re giving? Frankly guys, a lot of times you might not be getting sex because I hate to say it, you’re an insensitive jerk to your wife. Have you considered doing things like, I don’t know, helping out around the house, taking care of the kids, investing time in your relationship with your wife?

Now you women, don’t think you’re getting off of the hook. Some of you are asking the opposite question. “When is that lazy bum going to help me with this housework?” You see, too often in marriage, men and women really have the same attitude. “If they don’t do what I want, I won’t do what they want.” Well that’s just petty. There are a number of women who will advise you even that if you want to have your husband do more around the house, seduce him. Really seduce him. Let your husband know that you want him and watch and see how he changes.

Here’s a possibility the wife and husband might be dreading. “What if I give to them and they still don’t treat me right?” That’s hard, but you know what? You’ve done the right thing. There’s no guarantee someone will respond favorably even if you do the right thing. Jesus’s audience sure didn’t respond favorably to His message and He never did anything wrong. You do the right thing anyway and you pray to God for the well-being of your spouse. When you stand before God, you can do so knowing you did the right thing. Besides, if you’re doing the right thing just to get what you want out of the deal, are you really doing the right thing? Husbands shouldn’t give time and help to their wives to get sex. Wives should not give sex to get something they want from their husbands. Of course, if your motives aren’t pure, I recommend you still do the right thing anyway and ask God to help you with your motives.

What about children? You will have a better relationship with your children the more you give. Note also please that this giving does not mean you buy everything in the world that they want. Of course, there’s a time and place for material gifts in any relationship, but when you’re gone one day, your kids won’t be saying “I really wish they’d had bought me that X-Box I wanted.” They will want that time. They will want to know you were interested in what they were interested in. Maybe not to the same extent, but you can talk to them about it.

If you want to be good at apologetics, you will have to give. If you want a good relationship and understanding of God, you will have to give. You will have to do the work yourself. The more you do it, the better you will get.

Also, keep in mind there is no need to fear if God will give or not to you. God is the greatest and most generous giver. He may not give you what you want, but He will give you that which is for your good if you are one who loves Him. Give your all to God and watch and see what happens.

So today, I ask, what are you willing to give? If you are not willing to give, do you really want something? There are no shortcuts in this. Just do the right thing. Give.

In Christ,
Nick Peters