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Spiritual Health

I just finished reading through the book of Daniel. Daniel was someone who knew God and didn’t allow what was going on in the world of his time to dictate to him whom he should be worshiping/following.

In the beginning of the book we see that Daniel was brought into the king’s palace for the specific purpose of entering into the king’s service, Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king” (Daniel 1:3-5).

How does Daniel react to his new lot in life? “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.” Daniel knew he shouldn’t be eating the king’s food and decides to take a bold step in asking to be allowed to go against the king’s wishes in order to obey the Lord, “Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8).

Not only does Daniel ask this but he is secure enough in what he believes that he asks this request of the steward in charge of them, “‘Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.’ So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables” (Daniel 1:8, 11-16).

Daniel and his companions were healthier than everyone else because they didn’t defile themselves with the king’s food. Not only were they healthier but the Lord God gave these men, “every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom” (Daniel 1:20).

I’m not going to make this about what we should or shouldn’t eat. The point I wanted to make today is that sometimes we have to do what God wants us to do and not what the world thinks we should do in order to remain spiritually healthy. We can’t gorge on the pleasures of this world and maintain good spiritual health. I know this isn’t easy because sometimes it requires us to stand alone, to be different and do the opposite of what the world says we should be doing.

I will leave you with this one last verse that I hope will serve as both a reminder and a source of encouragement today, Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (I Timothy 4:7-8).

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Depending Upon the Lord

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend on education, we get what education can do; when we depend on man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.” – A. C. Dixon

I love the reminder that we shouldn’t depend on anything but the Lord our God.

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Follow The Son

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Over the weekend my daughter and I took a photo walk through the Sunflower Festival near our house. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers because they seem so bright and cheery. I can’t help but smile when I see one.

Here are a few fascinating fact about sunflowers that we can apply to our lives:

Growing sunflowers always face the sun during the day. These young flowers will literally follow the sun as it moves across the sky. They have a similar internal clock as we do called circadian rhythms. It is “the behavioral changes tied to an internal clock . . . , which follows a roughly 24 hour cycle.” What is fascinating about this is that it faces east in the morning because the growth rate is higher in the morning and will follow the sun as it moves across the sky towards the west when the growth rate is higher at night.

Mature sunflowers respond differently to the sun. As their growth process slows down their circadian rhythm makes sure that the plant responds more strongly to the morning sun. This is why it stops following the sun across the sky. Some of the plants will turn west and stay that way but researches have discovered that the east facing plants attract five times as many helpful pollinators as the west facing plants. The reason? The east facing plants heat up faster which attracts bees quicker.

These plants instinctively know that they need the sun to grow. Not only do they need the sun to grow but they also know the importance of spreading and growing newer plants

As we mature spiritually we learn the importance of always facing the Son. We know we have to constantly read and memorize His Word as well as spend time with Him in prayer. It is only when we maintain our relationship with Jesus that we can be more effective in spreading the Good News to others.

Let us be like these beautiful flowers and never take our eyes off the Son.

(Note: Quote taken from The Mystery Of Why Sunflowers Turn To Follow The Sun.)

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Whose Are You?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6

This Sunday our pastor said something that I wanted to share with you, “Remember whose we are, not who you are.”

This got me thinking about the importance of remember we are God’s chosen children. When we take our eyes off of the Lord we tend to base our worth on what we do as if it makes us who we are. If we base our worth on what we do and it fails us we run the risk of being crushed or defeated. When we base our worth on knowing we are children of God, nothing here on earth can take away that inner strength He gives us. Satan will do everything in his power to crush you by any means possible. This means it is vital that your strength comes from the Lord and not from worldly sources. Satan can’t take away what isn’t his. He can try to defeat you through your job, relationships or health but he can’t take away the fact that you are God’s child.

Always remember that the Lord God, has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

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Are You Thirsty?

Men wonder why, in August heat,
The little brook with music sweet
Could glide along the dusty way
When all else parched and silent lay.

Few stopped to think how, every morn,
The sparkling steam anew was born
In some moss-circled, mountain pool.
Forever sweet and clear and cool.

A life that, ever calm and glad,
One melody and message had.
“How keeps it so,” men asked, “when I
Must change with every changing sky?

Ah! if men knew the secret power
That gladdens every day and hour,
Would they not change to song life’s care,
By drinking they find Jesus there?

– James Buckham (Taken from Thoughts for the Thoughtful)

I came upon this poem in my devotional book last week. It was perfect for reminding me of how important it is to fill yourself up with the Lord every day. This means spending time reading the bible, memorizing and praying.

I have been struggling with this even though I’ve spent half of my life going through my morning routine of waking up early and spending the quiet hours before the family gets up with the Lord. I feel parched and am learning how vital it is to drink from the stream of the Lord than reading a book for pleasure or whatever else seems to distract me from my time with Him.

The world around us is like a dry desert. When I fill up on it I feel dry and parched. The good news is that the stream the Lord provides for us NEVER runs dry. We just need to choose what we fill ourselves up with. He even said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37).

The stream is always there. Will you just stand by it looking or will you take a drink and fill yourself up?

Note: My thoughts poem came from “Streams in the Desert” by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

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Zephaniah 3:17

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Sometimes there is a verse that sticks with you. Zephaniah 3:17 is one of those verses for me. The book of Zephaniah is filled with God’s judgement upon His people for their sin. I admit it is hard to wallow through it all but then we come to the end and this verse. A verse that reminds us of God’s love, mercy and restoration.

It is always good to be reminded that the Lord God is in our midst. He is with us always, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). This means that no matter what we are going through the Lord is walking along side of us.

We should also be reminded that it is He who came to save the lost, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). We have been redeemed when we acknowledge that we are sinners, repent and become a Child of God.

He will rejoice over us because we are His creation and He wants a relationship with you.

I love the next part of this verse, “he will quiet you by his love.” It reminds me of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Even in the midst of a trial the Lord can quiet our anxious hurting hearts with peace.

I can just imagine the Lord God exulting over us with singing. We are His creation and we were created to have a relationship with Him. How amazing is that? When we have a correct relationship with Him we feel that great sense of peace and joy almost like we can literally hear Him singing over us.

Do you know Jesus? Do you want to have peace in your heart but can never find it? The Lord God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to quiet you with His love. He wants to rejoice over you with His singing. Above all, He wants you to know that you are His beautiful creation. Please go to the “Want to Know Jesus” at the top right column of this blog. Read through the scripture passages to see how you can find salvation through what Jesus did for you.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

Over the past several years I have come to realize that we are starting to neglect meeting together. I’m not talking about going to church. Although I’m sure that is happening. I’m talking about taking the time to physically meet with someone over a cup of coffee.

A few weeks ago I decided to see if any of my Facebook friends wanted to meet me for coffee. I was overjoyed when several responded and dates and locations were scheduled. These are people I’ve connected with on social media. I’ve seen pictures of what they do. Pictures of their children and grandchildren. I feel like I know all about them and yet I really don’t. Social medial only gives you one side of the story. It is only when you meet together over coffee (or tea in my case) that you get to see more of who they are.

You get to actually hear each other laugh out loud and not just read “LOL”.

You can see their children and grandchildren in real life. No picture compares to being able to listen to little ones tell you a story or feed you delicious fake food.

You may even get to learn more about them and start to make a new friend.

The interesting thing about doing this is that everyone I’ve met up with seems to yearn for the personal connection as much as I do. My friends, connecting on social media is not making connections personal. It is quick and easy but it doesn’t allow you to go very deep. I believe Jesus calls us to make these personal connections. He did it Himself during His busy ministry. We need to stop being so busy that the only time we have to give people is through a quick connection via the internet. I want to challenge you to make the effort to get together with someone this month. Trust me when I say it’ll be worth it.