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Lakeview Ladies

Lift Your Eyes

I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)

The first time my son got sick, he was two months old, and I was gripped with fear.  In tears, I poured my heart to my husband.  His response was simple.

“Let’s pray.”

I was so frustrated at first.  Pray?  How about, “Let’s call the doctor?”

Then the conviction came, gently but swiftly.

Who imbued the physician with the knowledge and ability to treat my son?  Who knit my son with His own hands in my womb, day and night?  Who loves my son so much that he sacrificed his to give mine the chance of eternal life?

El Shaddai, Lord God Almighty.

Jehovah Rapha, The Lord that Heals.

I gave my heart, fears, and questions to God, and in exchange, he gave me peace in the knowledge that His will is good, pleasing, and perfect.[1]

No matter what troubles our hearts — whether it’s repairing our health, stabilizing our finances, struggling against addiction, mending broken relationships, or even holding on to the will to persevere — we can always ask God, the maker of heaven and earth, to help us.

Yahweh, you are sovereign.  You are Holy.  Your will is good.  When I feel overwhelmed by my worries, help me to turn to you first, for you are the source of my strength.   

 

Written by Dianna Benjamin

[1] Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. “ (NIV)

Your Body is a Temple

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 (NIV)

Have you ever been to a wedding or visited a cathedral or memorial?  If you have, you probably noticed that people behave differently in those spaces.  When something is considered sacred, most people treat that object or event with an elevated level of respect, even if they don’t share the same beliefs.

When you think about your body, do you think of it as a sacred space?

It is easy to forget that once we give our lives to Jesus, our bodies house the Spirit of the Living God.

Even though we are hyper-aware of their every flaw, our bodies deserve honor because the blood of Jesus has purchased them.

Eating healthily, exercising regularly, and thinking and speaking positively about our bodies are all ways that we can honor our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Lord, thank you for sacrificing your body so that mine would be redeemed.  Thank you for filling me with the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.[1] Father, give me the grace to honor you with my body by fueling it with the right foods, exercising, and loving it with my thoughts and words. 

 

Written by Dianna Benjamin

[1] Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”  (NIV)

 

Exercise and the Emotionally Healthy Heart

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Proverbs 31:16 ESV

This past January, Indianapolis residence went 19 days straight without a single ray of sunshine, and in 30 days, we only saw the sun for two or three of those days. Cloudy, cold, sunless days can wear on your emotions. Besides spending time with God in His Word and prayer, exercise can also keep you in a healthy state of mind.

The Proverbs 31 woman “sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”[1] The image of someone working vigorously makes you think she’s physically fit. She works out! So, it’s no surprise, the latest research from a Harvard study proposes those who exercise regularly have “a happier and more optimistic disposition.”[2]

Regular exercise keeps us mentally and emotionally healthy.

Exercise is a weapon against the winter blues (or even just the day-to-day emotional downs life can bring). Do you have something weighing heavily on your mind, a decision before your or concern for a family member or friend? Give exercise a try. Bundle up and take a walk. It’s surprising how your thoughts can become more optimistic. Often people have found daily exercise to be a great time to talk to God or listen to powerful praise music.

Is it easy? Absolutely not. But make a commitment to give your best. Commit to it for a week and see if you notice a difference. Better yet, ask those around you if they’ve noticed a difference in your outlook and attitude.

Heavenly Father, my life is full. It’s hard for me sometimes to exercise. Show me how I can make time to exercise. Remind me of the importance of a balanced heart—body, mind and spirit.

Written by Shanna D. Gregor

 

[1] Proverbs 31:17 NIV

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201612/harvard-study-reports-happier-adults-may-exercise-more

The Power of the Blood

I will go through the land of Egypt on this night and strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, whether human or animal, and bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am God. The blood will serve as a sign on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I will pass over you—no disaster will touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:12-13 MSG

Jesus made it quite clear that “in this world [we] will have trouble.”[i] Sickness, death, marital strife, financial insecurity—those afflictions strike seemingly without regard for our plans or the fragility of our hearts.  And when they do, it is so easy to feel that we have been crushed.

So it was for the Israelites.  As a cruel pharaoh beat them down, they witnessed the miracles of God do little to soften this pharaoh’s heart, and they waited in terror for God’s final plague to pass over Egypt.

But God gave them something powerful; something with which even death could not reckon.

The blood.

Though calamity will confront us, we can take heart in the power of Christ’s blood.  Though instability, loss, and pain surround us, we can be assured by its salvation of our souls.

Dear Jesus, thank you for the blood.  Thank you for the protection it offers from disaster.  Help us to cling to the truth of its power more than we cling to our own fallible logic.  When we face trouble, give us the strength to resist despair and to remember that we have already been given the ultimate victory, for through your death and resurrection, we have overcome.       

Written by Dianna Benjamin

[i] John 16:33

If You Knew How Precious You Are

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made!  I worship in adoration—what a creation!  You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Psalm 138:13-16 MSG

Imagine that you have spent the last thirteen years delighting in your daughter’s every growth spurt, met milestone, and laugh.  As strange as it sounds, you’ve even been impressed by her worst sides: the power of her screams, the determination in her temper-tantrums, and the creativity in her messes.

Now imagine that you tell her she is smart and beautiful, and she responds by saying, “Mom, I’m stupid.  And I look gross.”  This girl is the most precious, miraculous accomplishment of your life, and she has no idea.

Sometimes, we are that thirteen-year-old girl, and God’s heart breaks at how we see ourselves.

How many times have we casually said, “I look gross,” or refused to believe in our ability to be useful.

As we choose to grow more in touch with God’s love for us, perhaps we would treat ourselves with more grace, patience, and kindness.  Maybe we would believe that we were worthy to walk in the freedom Jesus has given us in an inconceivable expression of unrelenting love.

Dear God, thank you for making me marvelous.  Thank you for knowing everything about me and loving me despite the parts of myself that I am ashamed of.  Help me to love myself that way, too, and to see myself with your eyes.  Give me the grace to walk in the power and freedom you have given me that I may bring you glory and advance the Kingdom of God. 

Written by Dianna Benjamin

Physical Health and Your Spiritual Heart

And now, look, the Lord has let me live, just as He said, these forty-five years since the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, [a]look at me, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so is my strength now, for war and for going out and coming in. Joshua 14:10-11 AMP

We are spiritual beings who live in a body and have a soul which is made up of our mind, will and emotions. A healthy life requires a balance between our spirit, body and mind. There are extremist in every area, those who give one area all their attention, almost neglecting the other area.

Imagine a man at 85 who is just as strong as he was in his thirties or forties. Caleb declared he was just as fit physically as he was the day Moses sent him out to fight. Caleb developed a balance that kept his spirit, body and soul established and fixed.

Your physical health affects your spiritual heart.

When you’re fighting for your health, it challenges your faith. The same is true in every area of your life. Jesus disciple, John said, “I pray you prosper in health, even as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2).

Heavenly Father, I want to live my life in a way that pleases you. Give me wisdom and discernment for my health. There are things I enjoy, that I know are not good for me. And there are things I don’t enjoy that I really should do. Help me to balance my wants and needs and do what is best for me—spirit, body and soul.

A Heart Reconciled to God

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Some days you feel the gravity of the earth stronger than others. While the gravity of earth really isn’t any stronger than it normally is, your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health can make life feel heavy or light—depending on the condition of your heart.

The second entry in Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines rest as, “quiet; repose; a state free from motion or disturbance; a state of reconciliation to God.”

Think about the times you felt closest to God’s heart?

Perhaps it was in the quiet of a night as you laid awake, praying softly. Maybe you sat with your infant nestled close to your heart in the early hours of the morning and you felt Him step near.

Quiet, restful moments in God’s Word, and in his presence lightens your load, frees you from worry and gives you hope. Your spiritual man needs time with Him. Take some time today and reconcile your heart with Him.

Father, thank you for always having time for me. I let go of the heaviness. Show me how to live each day free and light in you.

Written by Shanna D. Gregor

Rest—Keeping Your Heart Healthy

And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (ceased) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done (Genesis 2:2 AMP).

Noah Webster’s dictionary, published in 1828, defines rest as, “Cessation of motion or action of any kind, and applicable to any body or being; as rest from labor; rest from mental exertion; rest of body or mind. A body is at rest when it ceases to move; the mind is at rest when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated ….”[1]

Rest doesn’t come naturally to most of us.

We live in a busy world and feel compelled to stay in constant motion. Even when you take a moment to sit down after hours of constant movement, your brain continues compiling a list of all the things you still need to do.

Rest can be uncomfortable. When you choose to rest, for a few hours or even a season, you have to trust that your world won’t fall apart. Your heart physically and emotionally was not created to run at high capacity for long periods of time and it’s important to give yourself permission to rest.

Father, thank you for my healthy heart. Give me wisdom to know when it’s time to take a break. And when I do, pour your presence out over me and help me to drink in your peace.

Written by Shanna D. Gregor
[1] http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/rest

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