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Gone Too Soon
Jan 31 3:17 AM

Gone Too Soon

Jan 31 3:17 AM
Jan 31 3:17 AM

David had not yet been crowned king when he heard the news that both King Saul and his dearly beloved friend Jonathan had been killed in battle.

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Day 3
Jan 03 12:59 AM

Day 3

Jan 03 12:59 AM
Jan 03 12:59 AM

As you read today's devotional, play "ATMOSPHERE SHIFT" from the Sacred Whispers Playlist.

Spiritual

WHEN GOD IS SILENT

By Marlin D. Harris

For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place, like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

Isaiah 18:4

One of the strangest and most difficult things to understand is the ‘silence of God’.  When the heat of our circumstances seems to beat down upon our brow without mercy, God’s silence is simply baffling.

A young teenager from an ancient Aboriginal tribe is out in the thick woods on his first hunt with his father.  His father had taken extra care to keep his son close to him and under his protective eye. However, when they rounded the corner of a low-lying thicket, they were, at once, staring in the face of a hungry wolf.  The young boy is struck with a paralyzing terror, yet the father stands firm and is oddly and completely silent.  The boy clings to his father for dear life and buries his head in his leathery leg coverings.  The wolf snarls and paces, yet the father remains silent and doesn’t say a word.  He simply stares at the wolf and never takes his gaze off of him.  Then, almost as quickly as the wolf had appeared, he turned around and trotted away. 

The boy asked his dad, why he was so quiet.  Why didn’t he say something? Why did he not do anything? The father calmly turned to his inquisitive son and said, “I did.  I stood my ground and looked him in the eye, and he knew that I was ready to fight to the death for you.”  The father said, “me and the wolf were talking in a language without words”.   The truth is that when it seems that God is silent, that is when He is staring the enemy in the eye and communicating with a language that we frail human beings could not understand.  When the voice of God can’t be heard, that is when His eyes are piercingly fierce.  Though it may seem that God is not talking to us, He is certainly speaking to our adversary, and He has already demonstrated that He will fight on our behalf, so much so that He Himself became a man in Jesus Christ, and died for us by the cruelty of the cross. 

In the passage above, Assyria is marching against Ethiopia, whose people are described as “a nation scattered and peeled” (v. 2,7). As the army advances, God makes no effort to stop them, and it appears as though they will be allowed to do as they wish. The Lord is watching from His “dwelling place” while the sun continues to shine on them, yet “before the harvest” (v. 5) the entire proud army is defeated as easily as new growth is pruned from a vine.

Isn’t this a beautiful picture of God—remaining quiet and yet fighting on our behalf with His fierce countenance? Please do not ever confuse His silence with passive agreement or consent. He is making His presence known, and has merely turned His attention from speaking to us, to speaking to the enemies that seek to ravish us.  In a realm where our eyes cannot see, there are ‘horses and chariots of fire’ (2 Kings 6:17) all around us waiting to respond at the command of the Lord of Hosts.  God has proven repetitively in our lives that He will arise at the most opportune moment, just when the plans of the wicked are on the verge of success, in order to overwhelm the enemy with disaster. And as we see the evil of this world, as we watch the apparent success of wrongdoers, and as we suffer the oppression of those who hate us, let us remember those miraculous words of our strong and mighty God—“I will remain quiet and will look on.”

Yes, God does have another point of view, and there is wisdom behind His words. Why did Jesus watch His disciples straining at the oars through the stormy night? Why did He, though unseen by others, watch the sequence of anguishing events unfold in Bethany as Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of his terminal illness, succumbed to death, and was finally buried in a rocky tomb? And shall we even mention, why did the Father watch in silence as the Roman soldiers were nailing His Son to a wooden cross and the hordes of hell glistened with glee as the Holy Son of God bore the sins of the world? 

In each of these moments, trust me, God was certainly not silent!  He was simply speaking with a language that you and I could not understand, yet it was one in which all the evils of hell knew very well.  He was in the shadows, staring down the enemy and waiting for the perfect moment to bring His decisive victory.  In my life, and in yours, He has done this time and time again.

Is the Lord being quiet with you? Confidently rest in the truth that He is attentive and sees all that you are facing.  You are not alone. He has His finger on your pulse and is extremely sensitive to even the slightest change. And He will come to your rescue when His Perfect Will has been achieved.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the calm reassurance that when You are silent, You are working.  I believe that You are working on my behalf, facing the enemy that I cannot conquer on my own.  You are my champion in the fight, my anchor in the storm, and my hope that eradicates all despair.  Thank You for Your faithfulness to me.  May I learn to trust You in the quiet seasons, and cling ever closer to You when the wolf appears. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

Daily Spiritual Exercise

Stop. Spend 15 minutes today listening to the voice whispering in the quiet of your heart.  Do Hear Him? In the quiet is when He is speaking the loudest.  That stirring in your heart; that is God.  Only He can nurture your soul.


Physical

SPIRIT-LED EATING – AN ACT OF WORSHIP

By Thea Dennard and Pastor Marlin Harris

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering (an act of worship).”

Romans 12:1 (MSG)

Healthy eating and dieting are very mental because people often eat according to how they feel or based on emotions.  As long as we look at our food, or our money, or our jobs, or even our families as something simply for us to consume for our own emotional pleasure, we will find that those things will never satisfy or fulfill us.  In fact, God never intended for food to fulfill us.  This is why the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write in the Scriptures in 1 Corinthians 6:13Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats, but God shall destroy both it and them.”  This means that even though food is important for our bodies, it was never meant to have any eternal value to our souls.  Food, and the mortal bodies that it feeds, will ultimately one day all be destroyed; only the spirit and the soul remains immortal. 

The only thing that can make our lives whole and give us a deep, lasting sense of meaning is not food, but only God himself.  Saint Augustine was right when he said “our hearts are restless, until we find our rest in Him”.  So many people use food for something that it was never intended to do.  It may give us an escape, or uplift our hearts for the moment, but soon the ‘high’ it brings wears off, and we are back in the mundane, stressful existence that we so desperately try to escape.  The fact is that you and I should be joyfully living out our purpose until we simply have no desire to abuse food or to overeat.

Eating is much more an act of the mind than it is an act of the body.  The fact that we eat may very well be physiological, but what we choose to eat is doubtlessly mental.  When the mind is depressed, either because of loneliness, anger, grief, trauma, or simply boredom, it often turns to food to bring it comfort.  However, it can be catastrophic to allow our minds to be controlled by these external circumstances of life.  Renewing the mind actually means daily turning the thoughts and meditations of our minds over to the Spirit and Word of God.  Romans 8:6 [ESV] says,

The mind that is governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  [emphasis mine]

A decision to eat healthily should be at its core a spiritual decision to feed our body the necessary nutrients that it needs in order to foster a healthy and vibrant spiritual life.   I have found that I can’t be my best for God, my family, and my career, when my body is sluggish, unhealthy, and ‘ill-nourished’.  No person can repetitively harm his body, without also doing harm to his spirit.

Spirit-led eating is the practice of paying attention to how the food we eat glorifies God and serves His purposes. It is an awareness of how your food nourishes your body, soul, and spirit; an acknowledgment of God’s role in the food we eat by giving Him thanks for it, and a recognition that food is a gift from God.[1]  When I am eating healthily, my mind, body, and spirit are all involved in the meal.  This is genuine self-harmony.  At every meal, “all” of me comes to sit at the table and be nourished.  Perhaps this is why Jesus chose to use the act of eating as a fitting example of the Holy Communion that we have with Him and that He has with us.  The various aspects of our being are never more in sync with each other than when we are eating.  Our mind has chosen the best foods to satisfy the hunger of our bodies, which in turn will give it health so that it can serve as a house for our spirits a little longer, which enables us to serve the purposes of God. 

Let’s move now from the mental and spiritual aspect of healthy eating to actually “walking it out”.

Practical Action Today: 

A few tips for starting your new healthy lifestyle journey:

1)    Clean out the junk food from your pantry and refrigerator. Give it away or throw it away.

2)    Take a mental note of your local or main grocery store and visualize the food items on the outermost aisles of the store, this is called the ‘perimeter’ of the grocery store.  The items found in the perimeter of grocery stores are usually fresher and less processed food items.

3)    Go back to your healthy alternative list of food items that you wrote down on Day 1 of this Fast, and evaluate how many can be found in your grocery store’s perimeter. If many of them are still located in the center aisles of the store, see if you can tweak your healthy options/alternatives to ones that can be found or created from items found in the perimeter of the store.

4)    Create your grocery list for the week. Be sure to add healthy snacks to eat between meals.

NOTE: The best way to shed unwanted bodyweight is with a faster working metabolism. One easy way to speed up your metabolism is by eating more frequently.

Try eating smaller, healthy meals every 3 hours. For example:

7:00 am - Breakfast

10:00 am - Snack

1:00 pm - Lunch

4:00 pm - Afternoon Snack

7:00 pm - Dinner

5)    Before you go to the store, do a quick internet search on “how to read food labels” to educate yourself on what you should be looking for when reading things such as serving information, calories, nutrients, and the percent daily value (% DV).

6)    Go grocery shopping! It’s almost impossible to eat healthy and frequently (try not to skip meals) when you eat out or on the go 24/7.

Prayer:

Father, I pray that you will grant me the wisdom and the sensitivity to know that everything in my life is meant to glorify You, including the food that you have so richly blessed me to be able to enjoy.  Free me from the enslavement to ‘food-pleasure’ that I am so easily entrapped by, and allow me to know what true freedom in Christ really is.  Empower me to live a whole, deep and satisfying life that is not controlled by what I eat, what I wear, what I drive, or where I live, but rather by Your Divine Presence and nothing more.  Let me daily be ravished and engulfed by Your love. In Your Name, Amen.

[1] Morenzie, Cathy. Healthy Eating, God's Way: Weight Loss Devotional and Challenge (Healthy by Design). Guiding Light Publishing. Kindle Edition


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