Your “Check Engine” Light

wpid-img_3346.jpgThe article below is part of “Topical Tuesdays” and part of my weekly email as a Chaplain to my Army unit.   I offer these non-religious reads to them praying that they will want more and might view the hyperlinked Christian Resilience videos that I also send to them.

The article begins with a recent hope to diagnose personal physical ailments.  For spiritual concerns, however, we need God to diagnose our core concerns.  And it’s essential that we submitting to His plan for spiritual healing.  As you read, consider the following passages on spiritual health:  Matthew 18:6-17, Mark 1:29-39, Mark 2:17, Luke 4:23, and Luke 17:11-19.  Then discuss the following with a friend:

  • Which people in your life do you trust with the deeper concerns of your heart and why?
  • What types of spiritual concerns merit immediate attention, and what types of actions?
  • How spiritually ‘well’ can a Christian be in this life?  Elaborate from Scriptural themes.



Testing Wearable Sensors as ‘Check Engine’ Light for Health                          

“Your ‘Check Engine’ Light”
by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (17 January 2017)

The bulls-eye rash was unusual.  Then a smart watch and other sensors noted changes in the heart rate and oxygen levels of Stanford Professor of Genetics, Michael Snyder.  After developing a fever, doctors diagnosed him with Lyme’s disease.  A geneticist, a smart watch, and Lyme disease. Oh, my!  It was a perfect storm for Snyder’s Stanford team. They quickly began researching the possibilities of future users using wearable tech to track changes in their baselines of health for warning signs to see a physician.  “One way to look at this is, these are the equivalent of oral thermometers but you’re measuring yourself all the time,” said Snyder, senior author of a report released Thursday on the project.  In the PLOS Biology journal, researchers report that such changes could reveal illnesses from colds to Type 2 diabetes.   (

Most of us would like an early warning system that something could be wrong in our body.  That would give us time to respond and head off greater risks to our health down the road.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could also have alarms that would detect early signs of spiritual and relational problems?   That could be even better.  After all, most physicians tell us that our more common ailments – headaches, irritable stomachs, high blood pressure, ulcers, muscular tension, and more – are often psychosomatic.  That is, our mental stresses are so great or prolonged they affect our bodies.  So if we could learn how to detect those symptoms early and associate them with specific spiritual concerns, we might avoid cases of abandonment, domestic violence, depression, anxiety, and more.

In fact, we do have some such alarm systems.  And there are many parallels with physical detection.

First, we need to know our base line.  As Dr. Stanford’s team rightly noted, the tech-wearer needs to note daily changes in their ordinary physical health.  Although most of us run an internal temperature of 98.6o, we may vary subtly or greatly in other areas:  our oxygen levels, our resting heart rate, the flexibility of our muscles, our responses to specific allergens, etc.  In the same way, most of us have a basic “fight or flight” default system, but we have differing levels of tolerance and display varying degrees of self-control, initiative, forgiveness, commitment, etc.  To detect a spiritual problem within us we need to know our base line.  But we need to be honest, which leads to our second system.

We need people who know us intimately (family, close friends, or both) and whom we trust intimately.  As I stated in an earlier article, each of us has our Johari Window:  areas in our lives that we and everyone else sees, areas that we see but others do not, areas that no one knows (not even us), and areas that others see but we do not.  That last window pane is one reason we need others in our lives.  But we must also listen to them.

Most of us also listen to a third alarm system: some thing or someone we view with inherently higher wisdom.  Some look for that in the bio-psychosocial nature of Man; some turn to astrology or tarot cards; some turn to a religion; some turn to a personal or universal sense of conscience.  As intrigued as we are with smart tech, a higher sense of wisdom is still a go-to for many.  But what is true?  Again, good questions lead to good answers.  Detecting real problems for real solutions is the best quest.


If you’re interested in reading other posts from this series, “Topic Tuesdays”, you can subscribe to this blog.

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If you’d like to know more about who publishes the articles, videos, and other materials on tools4trenches, you can click on the picture of me and my wife.

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