Monthly Archives: January 2013

Praise the Lord, Who Satisfies Your Desires with Good Things

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5

This Psalm reminds me of a Matt Redman song (which I put below) but it also reminded me of a moment I had this past Friday. My son had asked me to buy him cinnamon sugar pretzel sticks as we were leaving the mall, and I agreed to the special treat. But since they are a mess, I asked him to not eat them in the car and to wait until we got home to enjoy them. They were next to me then, and as we were driving home, I took one to eat. Just then a lovely worship song came on the radio that I love to sing along with. Only my mouth was full of something I knew I shouldn’t be eating. One, they were for my son. Two, I read later there are 99 grams of carbs and 500 calories per serving! YIKES!!! I knew I shouldn’t have them, but I had grabbed it anyway to indulge my own craving.

Sadly, though, as I listened to the song, it occurred to me that I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t eat and praise the Lord with singing at the same time. This became a good picture for me – at least in my life, praise and self-indulgence in an area I know to be sin in my life can’t go hand in hand.

Then this morning after reading this, I thought the reverse might actual be helpful. The next time I’m tempted, instead of giving in, I should give praise to the Lord! I love worship music and praising the Lord. If I choose to do that with my time rather than eat, I think the cravings will go away. Even if not, I’m sure my soul will be much more satisfied.

I love that these verses tell us that the Lord benefits us – He’s not asking us to give up something that is good for us or truly pleasing. In the end this sin is a killer! Instead, God forgives our sins and He heals our diseases (verse 3), He redeems our life and crowns us with love and compassion (verse 4) and He SATISFIES OUR DESIRES WITH GOOD THINGS (verse 5)!!! He renews our youth like the eagle’s (verse 5). Later on in Psalm 104, we are reminded that the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love (verse 8); His love for those who fear Him is greater than we can imagine and He has compassion on us like a father has compassion on his children (verse 13).

God is not asking us to give up things that are good for us. He has our best in mind. He’s not in heaven looking down with anger because I have my son’s cinnamon sugar pretzel stick in my mouth. Instead, He’s calling us to BETTER things. He says to lay down our desire for food that isn’t meant for us and instead come to Him who satisfies our desires with GOOD things instead! When we do, we’re healed and our youth is renewed. He loves us! He is compassionate! To even think about it brings tears to my eyes.

Instead of eating, I should be praising! I need to remember all that God is and all He has done for us. I need to satisfy my soul longings with some good honest worship time. And the end result will make me feel better anyway – what a God we serve!

Father God, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You for Your compassion and grace. We thank You for Your love and that You want what’s best for us. Sometimes it feels like we’re giving up so much when we aren’t eating what our sinful nature craves. But, in reality, we need YOU to satisfy our desires with good things. We need You to renew our youth like the eagle’s, heal our diseases, redeem our lives from the pit and forgive our sins. We confess that we struggle with overeating. But, we long to please You, God. Please forgive us and allow us to start fresh. Guide us with Your Holy Spirit into a life of self-control and discipline. We thank You for all Your many benefits, and we ask that You receive the praise due Your Name. Let our souls praise You! Thank You, God. You are so deserving. Please make us more like You. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Open Wide

“You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:9-10

Have you ever tried to fast for a day from food? While there are some days that I can skip eating breakfast and lunch and think nothing of it, the minute I say that I’m going to fast I feel like I’m starving. I get shaky and my head begins to ache and I feel downright awful.

But, have you ever had a day where you haven’t touched the Bible? I don’t think we feel nearly as physically awful as we do going without food. And yet we truly need God so much more than we realize!

As I began the process of losing weight, I realized that food had become a “god” in my life. I didn’t want to go without it, I wanted to eat what I was in the mood for (even if it wasn’t the best thing for me) and I used food to try to fill a void – whether it was in celebration, sorrow, anger or boredom. It had begun to rule my life. I planned my days around meal time, I was cranky when I had to do without, and my thoughts were filled with what sounded good and what pinterest recipes I should try to make, etc.

I’ll admit that I still struggle with these things. God says we are not to bow down to them. And He shows us in the above verses that it is God alone who leads us out of slavery to them and into a life set free for His glory. We don’t have to have food rule our lives. We can go without it! When I was sick a few weeks back, I didn’t eat for a couple days in a row. And I didn’t die! Most of what we feel I think is our mind playing tricks on us. Yes, we need food for energy and sustenance. But, we can go without it if necessary and if that’s what we’re being called to do. We can do without our favorite things for a time if we are supposed to do that to show God He is more important to us than any other things we’ve allowed to become our ‘gods’ or focus.

I love that the Lord knows our struggles. Just look at the end of the verses above – He says “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it!” What a promise! He will give us what is good for us. He will become what sustains us. He knows how badly we crave things that aren’t in our best interest. But, if we admit our sin and our struggles to Him, He’ll be our Lord and fill us with what we need.

These last couple days have been hard, I’ll admit. I’ve been eating once again like I’m never going to get a solid meal again and must fill up now. YIKES! I can’t seem to give it up. So, I go back to the goodness of God’s Word and ask Him for help. Since I read these verses, I have continually been praying “You fill me up, God, please. Fill me with something better than I would choose on my own.” The food that I’ve been ingesting is not filling me. I could keep going and going and going! I need Him to fill me and to let go of this stuff that is only going to make me feel worse in the end.

Are there things in your life that consume your thoughts? If so, may I humbly suggest that you also lay aside anything that has become a foreign god and ask God to fill you up instead. Open wide!

Dear Heavenly Father, You are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you (Psalm 86:5). You are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God (Psalm 86:10). Thank You for being merciful (Psalm 78:38). We know that we can trust You, that You love us even when we don’t deserve it, You are good and holy based on who You are and not based on what we do. We know that we can’t earn Your gift of salvation, we simply have to believe that You are a forgiving God and have made the way for us. We long to please You and ask for Your forgiveness for stubbornly going back to old habits and ways. God, this struggle to lose weight isn’t always easy. But, we believe that it’s right. And we believe that it is You who are helping us, for Your Name and for Your glory. Please help us. Please fill our mouths with good things and keep out anything that is not good for our bodies or honoring to You. We need You! We confess that we have let ‘foreign gods’ consume our thoughts – please take them away from us and let us bow down and serve and worship You alone. May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart be pleasing to You. Thank You for understanding our struggles and helping us through them. May we please be healthy and thin for Your glory. We thank You and praise You for being faithful, awesome and amazing. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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Resolutions Take Resolve

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.’ Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.” Daniel 1:8-20

One of the best Bible studies I’ve completed to date was Beth Moore’s “Daniel.” I got so much out of God’s Word – I would highly recommend it. First, we see in verse 8 that Daniel RESOLVED not to DEFILE himself with food. In the beginning of Daniel (not posted here), the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, with permission from God, had taken some Israelites captive. These were good-looking, intelligent and royal young men (Daniel 1:4). They were to be trained in Babylonian culture (which was far different from the Israelite or God-worshipping culture these boys were used to) in preparation for service to the king. Daniel and his friends (who were re-named Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego by the king) chose not to defile themselves with royal food and wine and instead ate and drank healthy.

They were tested in this for 10 days and were better nourished and healthier than the others who ate whatever ‘choice’ foods were presented to them. And, God honored their resolve and gave them knowledge, understanding and wisdom. When questioned, they were ‘ten times better’ than the others throughout the kingdom.

In the next chapter, Daniel and his friends were put to their first test when the king had a disturbing dream and they not only had to interpret the dream, they also had to guess the dream first. They prayed, and God answered them. Most of the book of Daniel is about end-time events, and Daniel was given so much information on what was to come and wisdom for his present time. Beth Moore noted, and I wholeheartedly agree, that Daniel might have missed the important call on his life had he not chosen to walk in the way of the Lord from the very beginning. Instead of choosing to blend in with Babylonian culture, he RESOLVED. He chose not to defile himself. And, I think it no coincidence that the very first issue revolved around food. He had to say no to choice foods and wine and stick with water and vegetables. He had to keep his body and mind pure so the Lord could use him.

We know about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and how the only thing burned up was the chains that bound them (Daniel 3:25). And, we’ve heard of Daniel and the lion’s den. Some of the other information was new to me, though. Had Daniel not been obedient in the ‘small’ things of life like his diet, God may not have used him for the bigger things.

If we are going to lose weight, it’s going to take RESOLVE. We are going to need to press on when the enemy is tempting us. We’re going to have to make up our minds to eat healthy. We are going to have to say no to choice food if we want to see the bigger things God has for us. How I pray that we can meet this challenge! Test yourself for 10 days and see what God can do!

Dear Heavenly Father, I am so honored to learn about You through Your holy Word. There is nothing I enjoy more than receiving new wisdom. We see in this Scripture that You gave knowledge and understanding to these men who resolved not to defile themselves with food. Help us do the same! Give us resolve! Help us withstand temptation. Help us say no to ‘choice’ food and eat and drink that which is healthy for us. And, may we bring glory to You in the process. We love You, Lord God, and we praise You! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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