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Murrayville resident’s book links scripture and fitness

POSTED: January 14, 2012 1:30 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Lillian Welch works out Friday at the J.A. Walters Family YMCA. Welch, a Murrayville resident and retired physical education and health instructor, recently wrote a book about fitness based on passages in the Bible.

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When Lillian Welch reads the Bible, she isn’t doing so just for spiritual gratification. She’s also gleaning guidance for maintaining her physical being.

Although she’s no stranger to the Bible, Welch says she was surprised by how thorough the directives were once she started doing more intensive research for her book, "Fitness, Fun and Faith."

"I didn’t realize there were so many scriptures that apply to fitness, nutrition and health. I came up with 90 scriptures that applied to my book," said Welch, a Murrayville resident, who taught at Gainesville State College from 1977 to 2009.

"It was pretty amazing to me that God had given so much instruction in the Bible.

"Most look for scriptures for their eternal life or when they are having difficulties in relationships, so I think a lot of people would be very surprised to know there are instructions about activity and wellness also."

One scripture that Welch interprets as a call to good health is 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple," Welch cites in her book.

She also quotes 1 Corinthians 10:31 — "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" — as a directive for eating a balanced diet.

Although Welch never aspired to be an author, she says she felt a calling from God to pen her book after reading, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren.

"Before I finished reading it, I felt like I was given a homework assignment from God to write about what I know," said Welch, a retired physical education and health instructor.

"I started the book eight years ago. It took me a long time, but that’s OK. It took Noah a long time to build the ark, but he stuck with it until he finished."

As a self-professed fitness lover, Welch has no problem being active. The goal of her book is to inspire others to see the importance of activity and a proper diet.

"There’s an Indian proverb that says, ‘If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?’ I think that is an important point to consider," Welch said.

Her book isn’t a one-size fits all prescription for getting fit. Instead, she presents it as an outline with useful advice that can be tailored for each individual.

"Each one should test his own actions," said Welch quoting Galatians 6:4-5.

"Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."

Her book is available at retailers like the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville and Nest Feathers in Oakwood, potential readers can also order it online from Welch’s website.

"Fitness, Fun and Faith" contains strategies for young families and baby boomers alike. Welch says her book is for anyone looking for motivation to get fit.

"I feel like God blesses us in many ways. For believers to not be disciplined with the care of their bodies, they are ignoring a facet of their life that could help them live more dynamically and abundantly," Welch said.

"If you go to a concert and the performers only sing soprano, it’s not as enjoyable as it would be if they were singing alto, bass and tenor, too.

"If people are trying to live a good life, but are ignoring their bodies, they’re missing the greatest melodies in life. I want to hear that melody."



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