Saturday, March 28, 2009

Praise is Healthy

"Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.
Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.

The Lord supports the afflicted;He brings down the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens which cry
The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness
~Psalm 147:1-11

It is good to praise the One who made all and provides for all. God is the one who gives the rain in Spring. He makes plants to grow for our food and for our healing and it is He who provides water to drink. God is the One who heals our broken hearts and He is the One who binds our wounds, both physical and emotional. Without Him there is no health, in fact there is no life.

When we have good health, our skin radiates, our eyes shine, we are "becoming," an old word for beautiful or nice to look at. Also, we feel good and our emotions are positive. Psalm 147 says that praise is pleasant and praise is becoming. It makes us happy and beautiful. Praise is, in fact, the least expensive beauty treatment you'll ever find!

Praise isn't just telling God how great He is, though that's part of it. When we tell Him, we remind ourselves, build up our own faith and become more thankful. But praise is also expressed in the way we live our lives. Obedience to God's loving laws shows our praise in action.

But we cannot praise unless we have the fear of God. Maybe that sounds weird, but think about it. The fear of God comes from an understanding of His character, His greatness, His authority. Praise is speaking these traits back to God and obeying Him because of them. If we have this understanding, we fear God and praise is the result. If we don't understand the fear of the Lord, we do not submit to Him in obedience and we do not speak His praises. We will not wait for God's decisions and His timing if we don't understand His lovingkindness.

God's favor is on those who fear him, the pslamist says, and on those who wait for His lovingkindness.

Ouch! Waiting is so hard. But it is only hard because I don't yet understand the lovingkindness of God.

"Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and
refreshment to your bones." Proverbs 3:7-8

So the fear of the Lord is healing and praise is becoming.

Dear Lord, reveal yourself to us that we may fear You, obey You and praise You all the days of our lives. Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009 - Essential

The Essential Oil in a plant is basically its blood. Like our blood it carries nutrients, oxygen and water to every part of the plant. It is the life of the plant.

For this reason, essential oils can be very healing. Depending on the personalities--properties--of each plant the essential oil can affect our bodies in a number of positive ways.

"You do not need to have worked with essential oils on a daily basis over many years to come to the realization that nature has provided mankind with a tremendously powerful and diverse materia medica. Some of the healing that has taken place under their influence would be called miraculous if we didn't have the scientific basis for explaining how the oils work...Each oil has its own medicinal and other properties. Modern-day research has confirmed centuries of practical use of the oils, and we now know that the fragrant pharmacy contains, apart from its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal qualities, essential oils which are antiseptic, antiinflammatory, antineuralgic, antiheumatic, antispasmodic, andtivenomous, antitoxic, antidepressant, sedative, nervine, analgesic, hypotensol, hypertensol, digestive, expectorating, deodorizing, granulation-stimulating, circulatory-stimulating, and diuretic, and much more besides...One of the most satisfactory aspects of using essential oils medicinally and cosmetically is that they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind. The most effective way to use essential oils is not orally, as one might think, but by external application or inhalation." ~The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, by Valerie Ann Worwood.

Basil, for example is a good oil for bronchitis, fatigue, colds, better mental focus, migraines, gout and aches & pains.

Eucalyptus is used for sore throats, bronchitis, coughs, sinusitis, skin infections, ulcers, sores, rheumatism, aches and pains; as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

Jasmine helps fight nervous tension, depression, menstrual problems, laryngitis, anxiety, lethargy and can be used as a relaxant.

What a wonderful pharmacy God has created for us in nature! Without additives and fillers to make them work and without leaving any toxins or side-effects behind, essential oils absorb into the skin naturally and begin working on a cellular level.

God does the same for us on a spiritual level. Recently I've been reading "The Organic God," by Margaret Feinberg. I'm also leading a small group discussion based on this same book. She makes some powerful points concerning the character of God and His natural influence in our lives.

I've noticed that when I try to make myself grow or learn a certain lesson, I fail or I forget it very quickly. But there are times when God reveals something so unexpectedly and in such a real way that I am changed.

Often He hooks me just enough so that I want to learn more, I crave more of the taste He's just given me and I begin to seek Him for more. This is God's work in me through His Holy Spirit. It is a gift from Him. I can't make myself change, become holy or even keep my mind from pride. On my own I'm helpless. But God works from within. His Spirit carries His truth throughout my being, feeding my mind, my belief system and my spirit like spiritual blood.

As Feinberg says, The Organic God is Natural, Pure and Essential.

Acts 17:28 says, "In Him we live and move and have our being."

Our relationship with God is as essential to life as our blood.

**Try this simple recipe for an Essential Oil blend that helps relaxation and mental focus.

February 20, 2009 - Winter Thaw

Dormant. Lying underneath the ground is something beautiful, new life waiting to push its way to the surface. To reveal its beauty for all to see.

February is a time of anticipating Spring. Temperatures rise a little, melting snow and ice here in Minnesota. Then they drop again freezing the water to a smooth, slick accident waiting to happen. Toward the end of the month dirt and dead grass become visible in patches. And we know what lies beneath that ground . . . new grass, flowers, perennial herbs . . . we can hardly wait!

Come May we'll be able to till the soil and loosen the dirt to prepare for planting. Maybe not as big of a deal for us as for the farmers, but still, we'll plant a few vegetables and flowers.

Underneath the surface of our hearts, new life waits to spring forth as well. God is creating new life in us. It's just waiting for the ice to melt. We've become cold and hard to the things of God. Winter has set in while we weren't looking. We're often too busy to warm in His presence, too busy to till the sin-hardened soil and too busy to practice the disciplines that will prepare our heart for new life and harvest.

But God is working.


Quiet yourself.

Can you feel it? Something different deep inside. A work only the Creator can accomplish.

It's still February, but Spring will soon arrive.

Friday, March 13, 2009

March 13, 2009 - Promise of Spring

It's the middle of March and I long for new life. To see a little color would be like spotting a red poppy in the midst of a blizzard. The grass is still brown and mostly covered with snow, the trees are bare and dull and there are no flowers to be seen. Ah but the PROMISE of Spring helps me hold on for just a few more weeks or maybe only days. Anticipation rises; the promise awaits.

I remember what it was like last Spring when the new grass first appeared, bright, pastel green slowly overtaking the yellow-brown on the ground and on the trees. Not long after that small flower buds began to form, their happy colors littered the neighborhood with cheer. Soon light green grew into a deeper shade covering the trees, bushes and grass. Then later in the Summer fruit developed and come Fall it ripened into delicious nourishment.

Now I wait for the process to begin again. Even when I'm not consciously thinking about it, my spirit and body anticipate it. Even when I look out the double windows and see the snowy characteristics of December or January, still I know it's March.

Spiritually I find myself longing for new life as well. During this season, the Father faithfully brings to mind my sin. He reveals the barrenness of my heart. I'm uncomfortable with the realization that I am not beautiful. I'm dark, dull and vapid. My life is barren, producing very little fruit.

And this would be my end except for the PROMISE of new life in Christ.

Easter is coming!

How I long for that new life to spring up in me once again. I want my life to produce. But fruit doesn't just spring up with the grass in March, often it needs cultivation. Preparation for the soil, water, sun, and then the seed that was planted must do what it was created to do. It must obey its own DNA. Without that obedience it's a bad seed and will not produce fruit.

Here I kneel and bow, Lord Jesus, aware of my barrenness, ashamed of my ugliness. I repent. Please forgive me. Come in to me again with the wind, water and sunshine that is Your Spirit. Nourish me, make me grow strong and able to obey what you've created me to be. May my life be like a glassy lake reflecting Your life and may it produce fruit to heal and nourish others. According to Your desire. Amen.

Fresh Spring Greens/Salad

February 13, 2009 - Being Me

What is so natural about wanting to be like someone else? Oh yes, it's very common, but unnatural. Does an apple tree want to be an asparagus? I recently read an advertisement by an author I admire very much. Her writing is powerful and she does so much to help those who are hurting. She's humble and has experienced enough pain in her own life to help her understand the situation of other people.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled for her success in publishing as well as in the Kingdom of God. But when I see someone like her, to be honest, I'm a little jealous, I wonder, what is my one all-consuming burden? And how much of a difference does my life make?

I waste so much time by allowing these questions to fill up my thought life. What's the point? I mean, doesn't God know each one of us? He created us, right? So here's a freeing thought: I don't have to have a super special burden and I don't have to be the one in front, making a difference in some BIG way. All I have to do is be who God is asking me to be, right here, right now; to love the ones He places around me, to help where He gives me the opportunity. My Creator knows me, He made me who I am and gifted me according to His plan. He has allowed certain experiences in my life and He will lead me one step at a time.

Should I argue with the Potter for making me a common vessel?

Dear Lord, forgive me for wasting so much time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8, 2009 - Living Food

Bright, orange, round, it fits in the palm of your hand. A perfect sphere ripe with health and nutrition. A small moist mist sprays from within as you pull back part of the peeling. Mouth-watering juices drip down your mouth and run down your arm. The orange is a perfect orb of vitamin C and other vital nutrients.

Unlike man-made inventions which pass for food today, God's creations still satisfy as well as nourish our bodies. He created us and he knows what this flesh needs to function at peak performance. The foods He created are alive. They mesh with the body perfectly, are digested and converted to energy and nourishment--building and repairing.

Raw food is made by God specifically for our bodies, also made by Him. They are called water foods. Made up primarily of water they're synergistic with the human body which is also made up primarily of water. They are easily digested. They cleanse even as they nourish.

Raw food is also known as living food. Eating fresh raw fruit and vegetables is life-giving. These are the foods to focus on in a healthy diet.

These are also great foods to use when cleansing the body. Along with clean water, they help flush the body of toxins, which over time could cause sickness.

Raw foods can be quick and easy too. Just grab an orange and peel. These are easily accessible even here in Minnesota at the end of winter. They bring us a little digestible sunshine from the South.

So enjoy God's food, created for you.

Try these recipes (Orange Shake, Deep Green Leafy Salad) to incorporate delicious, fresh food into your diet.