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But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Jeremiah 26:14-15 (ESV)

Today’s ministers in the “free world” have it easy. Freedom speech combined with the right to assemble and freedom of religion make it real easy for today’s minister to stand boldly and proclaim the message of the Lord. Sadly, that is not the truth throughout the globe.

According to the World Watch List (WWL) of Open Doors:

  • 105 churches attacked, burned or vandalized each month
  • 11 Christians are killed everyday for their faith
  • 1 out of 21 Christians in South America experience high levels of persecution
  • 1 out of 6 Christians in Africa experience high levels of persecution
  • 1 out of 3 Christians in Asia experience high levels of persecution

We’ve got it easy and do not even understand the depths of persecution experienced by others for being of the same faith as us. According to Earthpages.org, we are experiencing a “global calamity” of 340 million Christians persecuted. Yes, much like Christian Mommas, I believe that we do need to pray for the persecuted believers across the globe. Yes, I believe many of us in the know need to do like Toby Mac and dc Talk sharing about the stories of the persecuted to inform others and raise awareness.

But I also believe it is boils down to the simple appreciation and actualization of our freedoms to go beyond simply preaching to make American believers feel okay with themselves.

Tune in Wednesday 11 AM PST

Rejoice and Be Glad!

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:12

They persecuted the prophets who were before you.

They persecuted the prophets.

The people of God rejected the message of God so much that they went so far as to kill the messenger.

They found that their best solution to their problems, among all of their options, was to kill the messenger.

They felt that things would be better off as long as that messenger was out of the picture and not sharing that message.

But Jesus tells us to embrace the rejection and roll with the resistance. He says: Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account (Matthew 5:11).

Blessed?

Then, He says for us to rejoice and be glad when they do such things and try to persecute us since they did the very same things to the prophets who came before us.

He doesn’t just want u to accept it. He wants us to embrace it and engage it in such a way that we wear it as a badge of honor. He wants us to understand that we are doing this for Christ and in the name of Christ, and all that is being done against us is on account of Jesus Himself.

So, rejoice and be glad!

Give Them My Entire Message- Every Single Word

“This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. – Jeremiah 26:2 (ESV)

God’s spoken Word is to come across just as God intended for it to reach His people. The Lord’s instructions to Jeremiah were clear. There was no mistaking what God wanted said and who He wanted it said to nor why he wanted it said to them right there and at that time.

Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins. – Jeremiah 26:3 (NLT)

The Lord had hopes of their corrective actions, “turning from their evil ways”, leading to Him changing His mind about destroying them.

That’s our job as preachers and teachers of the Word. We got to go forward and give God’s entire message.

We don’t get to cut and paste the “good parts.” We don’t get to hide the parts where God’s anger and wrath are burning like a fierce, raging fire. We do not get to eliminate any part of the Bible that leaves us feeling convicted and ashamed, ready to break down and call on Him for mercy and forgiveness.

No, borther, we need those hard sayings of Jesus. No, sister, we need those harsh words of the Lord speaking from Mount Sinai. We need more than just the blessings of the Beatitudes. It needs to get uncomfortable when the Word is stirring up things in our spirits and souls rather than some feel good, just come as you are, and I’m okay you’re okay message.

We are called to preach an uncompromised message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to serve as ambassadors of Christ, ushering people from the doom of darkness to the awaiting light of hope and healing.

If we fail to preach it, we are doomed and deserve to be condemned for our negligence of our office and station in the ministry. If we are obedient, then we will proclaim His truth (not her truth or my truth) and we will experience things that the prophets experienced when they faced a hostile mob of God’s people. If we do so accordingly, we can face the ridicule, the harassment, the chastisement, and the harsh words of bitterness and rejection.

What is at stake is the loss of many of the faith, falling away due to our issues rather than doctrinal or theological issues. Read their testimonies and see why they left or never even gave Christ a shot due to what they saw His followers doing.

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Friday Freebies Return

Friday Freebie Download: Determination Over Desperation

We learn early on in ministry that there will be desperate times, times when we feel like all is lost and some things are simply on a downward spiral out of control. That’s when our determination has to kick in. That’s when we will require sheer will and strength to carry on. Look over this Friday freebie download and its video on YouTube to see what that looks like.

Black History Month Chat Series

During Black History Month, I have taken on some principles that many associate only with kwanzaa and tied them back to the inspiration and icons of Black history over the years. These chats have included cooperative economics and the usage of collective resources pooled together to demonstrate community unity and collective responsibility. We have dived into self-determination and kujichagulia as a means of hope for many to hold fast and remain intent on overcoming obstacles and barriers to success.

This Saturday serves as the final chat in this series for Black History Month. It will focus on imani (faith) throughout Black history. In all honesty, it will only be a snapshot of the dynamic effects of the diaspora on the faith of Black people. Given the work of Dr. Henry Louis Gates on the Black Church with PBS, the depth of Black faith is far and wide including everything from rastafari and Islam, from voodoo and santeria to Baptist and Methodist systems of beliefs. The wide spectrum of Black faith

Tune in at 10 AM PST weekly every Saturday,

Original Publications at Original Prices

For those who may not know, I am a writer and author of multiple self-published books on evangelism, ministry and the Christian faith. Also, I have written books of poetry. Reflections of a Believer was my first book if inspirational poetry in 2008, followed by Lamentations in the Storm and Broken Pieces. Words from the Underground takes a conceptual spin on social commentary with some odds and ends of artistic license. Most of these are available in print and in e-Book format.

Here’ the catch. As I work on the release of my other projects, I noticed the original pricing remained for my books. That was ages ago and no adjustment for inflation or anything. So, I would like to continue to offer these publications at these original prices without any markup until the end of April (National Poetry Month). Take advantage of this offer and I will donate 20% of the profits to help fight poverty split between a local organization and a national effort.

#Godspeed

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Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Jeremiah 8:22 (NKJV)

No Balm in Gilead to Cure the Condition

The prophet’s left to weep in his sorrow and somehow comfort himself with that somehow. That’s the picture that we get from verse 18 in this chapter. Yet, verse 22 stands out as probably the most memorable and recognized verse from this chapter. It resonates as much as a summary of the chapter itself as it does as a prognosis of the way things are for this wicked and wayward nation of Israel.

There’s no balm in Gilead to heal this nation from its disaster.

This week’s Bible study discussion on Wednesday at 11 AM PST will have us going in deeper on the lack of a cure for the condition for Israel.

Without a cure for their condition, Israel and Judah are doomed to suffer. As the Lord says in verse 3, they have chosen death over life. Verse 5 says it like this: They hold fast to deceit, They refuse to return. In verse 9, we see that they have rejected the word of the Lord. I think the Lord says it best when He clearly states in verse 13: I will surely consume them.

Look Back at Them Fooling Around with False Faith

Chapter 7 showed this wicked and wayward nation fooling around with false faith. They practiced the rituals, but they lost their relationship with God. They went through the motions, but they did not have that necessary connection with God. We see the inevitable despite the invitations to repent from God. We see God’s people making a mockery of God’s desire for a relationship with His people.

Check out last week’s Bible study outline on chapter 7 with our FREE download available here.

Refusal to Repent Comes at a Cost

The refusal of both Judah and Israel to repent comes at a high cost. Check out the description of repentance. The idea that not a single person found it necessary or appropriate to turn back to God sounds absurd. But the fact that the entire nation was viewed as covetous and dealers in falsehood shows that they were not prepared to turn to God and turn away from their graven images and idol worship. The cost for that refusal to repent is spelled out throughout this chapter. Aside from the serpents that God will send upon them in verse 17, God is openly sending His wrath upon these folks in an effort to surely consume them as verse 10 says. He questions them provoking His anger, but in the end He is clear that there is no balm in Gilead.

Download our FREE Bible study guide for chapter 8.

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 Sin Actions by which humans rebel against God, miss His purpose for their life, and surrender to the power of evil rather than to God. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

That’s a fairly basic definition for sin. We could go deeper and further down the rabbit hole of research and come up with all sorts of descriptions and additions to the definition, but for the purpose of this post. This definition will do just fine.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon that sparked the Great Awakening in America. In fact, he preached this legendary sermon hinged upon a single statement that lies within a single verse out of Deuteronomy. The verse was Deuteronomy 32:35 which says: “Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; because the day of their calamity is at hand, their doom comes swiftly” (NRSV). Quoting the King James Version, Edwards hinged his thoughts and remarks on the words: “Their foot shall slide in due time.”

In 1741, in a Connecticut church, Jonathan Edwards unleashed a sermon of fire and brimstone that thrust all who heard it into the troubling results of ongoing sinfulness. He addressed the separation from God. He addressed the slippery slope that was peppered with demons and other evil spirits awaiting the fall of man in his iniquity. He clearly stated that the hand of God both held evil at bay with restraint and the sinner at the mercy of God’s longsuffering and lovingkindness. He clearly had a handle on the text and contents as well as its connection to other biblical passages and verse for reference, but he held fast to that single statement.

Their foot shall slide in due time.

Sinners are Forced to Face Sin’s Consequences

Recently reading this famous sermon from Jonathan Edwards again, I could not help but mention last week during our Live @ Lunch Bible Study livestream its correlation with our weekly study and discussion of Jeremiah chapter 3. I went back and read it again, removing distractions in order to focus more intently on the words that Edwards had shared with that unsuspecting congregation. After all, he was only the guest minister. It wasn’t even his own church. And he preached that text like that and sent that congregation, and eventually the entire nation, into a frenzy. Yet, as I read that sermon again and then read chapter 4 of Jeremiah for our Jeremiah Journey, I could not help but to take another look at how we look at sin.

Sadly, we tend to think sin is hidden. Some of it isn’t all on the average Christian. To a degree, some of our pulpit preaching has veered away from the topic of sin. Some sermons focus on love covering a multitude of sins, while others hoop and holler about how He paid it all with the choir and the organist joining in to create a crescendo of voices in praise at the close of the sermon. Sin was discussed and mentioned during the sermon, but it seems like the sermon let folks off the hook because the penalty of sin is pushed upon the cross and placed on Christ.

But did the believer really have to face what his or her sin really amounted to?

Did the believer have to accept that the sin that they so easily dismissed caused the Lamb of God to suffer as a man of sorrows like Isaiah refers to Him so aptly?

I think not.

If We Don’t Face It, We Fake It

Stripping down sin to dumping it all on Jesus because He cares for us, is a careless and conceited form of Christianity. While we are the elect of God, we are by no means elite. That’s what Jeremiah was wrestling with as he tried to share God’s message with God’s people. They just couldn’t believe that God would do them like that, not the children of God and the house of Jacob. God just would not do something like that to them despite how much they had strayed away from Him and their covenant with Him.

Judah and Israel were not even close to facing the facts.

Your ways and your deeds
have brought this upon you.
This is your doom, and it is bitter
it has reached your very heart

Jeremiah 4:18 (ESV)

God’s own words to God’s own people said it. Their ways led to it. Their deeds brought it upon them. Their doom was of their own doing. Jeremiah had the job of sharing it and shedding light on it, but they knew that they had tried to play God. The longer they got away with it the less that that believed He would do something about it.

Join us at 11 AM PST as we continue on the Jeremiah Journey

True Faith is to Know Sin Lives in Us

We remain as Paul once said “filthy rags” and unclean other than for the sake of the cross and suffering and shed blood which covers us and cleanses us. We truly need to face the fact that our sin drives a wedge between us and God, disrupting a harmonious and joyous communion with Him. A faith that does not shed light on sinfulness requiring the Savior suffering and sacrificing for the sake of our salvation is a faith that is void of the central truth of our belief that God saved us and spares us of the penalty of our sins. We believe that His mighty work was done in order to redeem us and restore us as He spiritually regenerates us to become more like Him on earth and to be with Him eternally.

Our saving grace is a trail of blood. What grants us forgiveness are hands pierced and punctured by nails. Blood seals our covenant with the Savior when we believe that He is the atonement for our sins and that He stood in our place and withstood our punishment in our stead. Therefore, we are saved because He gave His life for us that we might have life and life more abundantly. Yes, we can claim that because He shared such blessings with us through His shed blood for our sins. We can have it and so much more, but we have to confess that He did not endure the cross just because. He endured the curse of one who hangs on the tree for sake of granting salvation to the lost like you and me.

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For my people are foolish;

they know me not;

they are stupid children;

they have no understanding.

They are ‘wise’—in doing evil!

But how to do good they know not.

jeremiah 4:22 (ESV)

Think about what God says about His own people. He refers to them as “stupid children” with “no understanding” who know how to do evil “but how to do good they know not.” His description of them is fueled with frustration from constant pleading with them to turn from their evil ways and idolatry. His words sting with the pain of a father agonizing of a child’s misguided life choices that will lead to an inevitable doom unless some form of intervention takes place.

Whether we believe it or not, God is speaking from a place of love and seeking His children’s return to Him. However, it appears that His longsuffering has turned to bitterness which now kindles both His anger and wrath.

Take this week’s reading and Bible study to heart. Understand that God’s desire for us to be in a covenant with Him requires us to turn back to Him and offer our lives to Him. He doesn’t want us in a relationship with Him while flirting with the world. He’s asking for our all. He is seeking our entirety. Consider the extent of Jewish repentance in the form of teshuvah. As the process goes, the offender should under three stages: confession, regret, and vow to not repeat the act again.

Contemplate your life choices. Pray for God’ forgiveness when other things have consumed your time and attention that did not connect to you connecting with Him. Ask God to wash and cleanse you of worldly desires that stifle your relationship with Him growing and blooming into something joyful and fruitful. Trust that God has the power and ability to change you and believe that He desires to receive you into fellowship once again with mercy and love. Read this week’s Bible study and see where God beckoned His people to “lament and wail.” You just have to turn to Him. God has already been awaiting you with open, outstretched arms.

Watch last week’s Live @ Lunch Bible Study where we discussed the Whoredom of Israel & Judah.

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Everything Teaches You One Thing or Another

My grandmother was regularly saying how you learn something new every day. That stuck with me for years. Even after her passing years ago, it just seems befitting to recall her wisdom as I encounter it coming to fruition time and time again.

You can learn something new every single day. The caveat that Grandma did not mention to me was that you need remain open to it to recognize it and receive it. I spent these past 2 weeks with more openness and receptiveness than usual. I embraced that growth mindset that we oftentimes hear about with a huge dose of positive thinking blended with possibility thinking to boot. And, boy oh boy, did I learn some things.

1. A Good Idea is Not Always a New Idea

Undefiled is a 3-Part Study on Incidents from the Book of Daniel (Live @ Lunch Bible Study)

Engaging in the 10-Day Detox Challenge was nothing new. Rick Warren had incorporated the same detox concept as an option within The Daniel Plan which is actually a 40-day challenge. I must admit that it started, as so many things in this world, with the Bible. It started with a brave teen-ager from Judah held in captivity by the Babylonians when he refused to defile himself with the king’s delicacies. It started with Daniel and his request for he and his companions to be provided vegetables and water for ten days. I was directed there by the Spirit after an unsettling discovery of the health status for many people of color as I outlined in a livestream that included an #AwakenAmerica alert on health issues and morbidity stats from the CDC and OMH.

The Holy Spirit was confirming all of my ideas with all of what had already been in place and available. I did not have to do anything new. I just had to remain open to receiving it. Sometimes you do not have to start from the beginning. Sometimes you can just pick up from where somebody else has already begun. That was reassuring to me as I started along this journey.

2. God Teaches You as You Teach Others

I learned a lot as I sought to coordinate daily blog posts in a diary-style series and weekly Bible study lessons that I shared across social media and email lists in preparation for Pastor Powell and I’s weekly Bible discussion on the same topic. I fully immersed my ministry work into the teaching and sharing in the hopes that somebody would get what they needed out of this, only to learn that I might have learned the most myself.

I learned about my own lack of focus. I learned how my own priorities have to shift if I want people to join in and participate with me. I learned to become more inclusive of others and become more considerate of what they might have going on rather than just that good ol’ Baptist “whomsoever will” attitude and approach. I have broadened my views on what it takes to get others on board and ready to roll with you.

Allrecipes Sale – Full Year Just $6 (40% Off)

3. All Christians Don’t See It All the Same Way (And That’s Okay)

I got friends who are COGIC, AME and Apostolic, even Jewish, Muslim and atheist. We all have different upbringings and experiences when it comes to our faith, even the ones who were once believers and now no longer believe. Those experiences shaped our development within the realm of our faith. They blended with the teachings and other doctrine of our faith to provide us with the tenets that we have come to accept and believe as God’s way.

I find that this time taught me that I was more aligned with what Muslims practice as Ramadan and Jews practice as Shabbat while fasting until sundown on certain days to eat. My Christian friends asked odd and probing questions as to what I was doing and why was I doing it before the holidays. I see why Jesus said just fast and maintain yourself, especially your composure when the people of God got questions about what you do in the name of God and good health. Since we do not commonly talk about restraint instead of renewed purpose or reborn spirits, many of our brothers and sisters are wondering what’s up with us. Like one super sanctified person felt compelled to ask me: “Are those beliefs really Christian?” (Yeah, Christ was a Jewish title that meant “anointed” and referenced the Messiah. Even the so-called heathens mocked Him in His last hours as King of the Jews. I mean they did call him “Rabbi” on multiple occurrences in the Gospels, right? #churchfolks #unchristian) That requires more than prayer. That spirit must be driven out or directly challenged with truth laced with wisdom and humility and soaked down dripping with the blood, sweat and tears produced by fervent prayer which can move many things. And that’s why we are here for each other, to strengthen one another in what we do not know about God.

And that’s okay.

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Detox Challenge Day 7

Reflections on Day #6

Day #6 had me roasting potatoes and veggies for my evening meal.

I am looking back on Day #6 and still trying figure out how my energy levels peak at certain points once I overcome some mental hurdles. I am back to that positive thinking and self talk to get up off the culprit of the couch. With yesterday’s activities, I found myself engaged in my usual Saturday livestream with an extraordinarily inspiring guest Mz. Sharifah as she shared her battle with cancer and finding the courage and strength to advocate for and assist others during their cancer treatment. Also, I dropped off my running shoe donations at Milestone Running Store for the Black Men Run San Diego fundraiser and agreed with Coach Nasara to join the meetup run at a local park next Saturday. I did multiple rounds of mini exercise breaks and snoozed a bit between activities such as social media posts for my multimedia ministry and searching and sorting a curated list of online vegetable dishes and vegan/ vegetarian meal plans. Yesterday was filled with a lot of activity despite being off of work and it included a lot of energy and effort.

In hindsight, my approach to Saturday as a day off from work was more of a mental obstacle than anything. After all, it was not a day of limited activity by far. However, that 9 to 5 mindset crept in and had my perspective foggy about what I would do with my extra time on my hands. Extra time? Please believe me. No extra time wasted in the making of that day by any stretch of the imagination.

This is the day the Lord has made, We will Rejoice and be Glad in it

psalm 118:24

Focus on Faith

Having started my weekend with a fairly active Saturday, I look upon Sunday with a slower and perhaps later start. I see myself doing more leisurely exercise and less intensive routines. I will take it easy on my body but not take an entire rest day. I want to hear from God and remain in tune with Him today, so I interact with others but I am cautious to not allow any other voices to drown out what I might hear from Him.

Focus on Fuel

I am excited to continue discovering more ways to consume more fruit, water and vegetables. I will admit that my water consumption has been higher but not at all where I believe it should be for my level of activity during any given day. I need to add water breaks to my smartphone alarms? Or, I could just ensure that I am consuming water at every mini workout break and during 3/4 of all of my meals and snacks. I think I will start there.

Focus on Fitness

Today I will drop by the local golf course for a brief short game tester. I probably won’t bother with the putter, but I definitely will be armed with my wedges. There are a few public courses in San Diego where you could truly walk the course and test each hole with nothing higher than an 8 iron or a pitching wedge. I won’t go that route today, but I will practice up on my short game at a local course. Beyond that, I need to stay steeped in those breathing exercises and yoga stretches for when I do play a full round during this break.

A good example is the best sermon.

Benjamin franklin

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Detox Challenge Day 1

Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.”

Ezekiel 3:1

My morning focus could have been placed upon what I was giving up, what I was refusing to eat or consume over the next 10 days for this detox challenge. But I chose to go about it another way. I chose to seek my strength by faith rather than will power and to place my focus on what God has to offer me.

  • God can offer me both spiritual and physical strength
  • God’s provision is enough to sustain me
  • God wants me actively engaged in activities that energize me and stimulate my mind
  • God simply wants me to focus on Him and His Word firstly

Focus on Faith

I turned to Ezekiel this morning, seeking to face this challenge with a word from God to fuel my strength as I faced this challenge. I was led to Ezekiel chapter 3, the point where God direct His prophet to “eat what you find; eat this scroll.”

It is what we read in verses 2-3 that gives us more insight and inspiration on how to handle God’s Word as our spiritual fuel. “So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll” (v. 2, NKJV). We see the prophet’s obedience to God’s directive met with God causing him to “eat that scroll.” Then, in verse 3, we are treated to the words:  And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.

What we see is that what God supplies us is enough to sustain us and satisfy us. Trust God today for what you need both spiritually and physically. Start today with your focus on Him and see where He leads you throughout your day.

Focus on Fuel

Yesterday, I did my meal prep and diced up my veggies and bagged up some nuts to get me through the midday crunch. I knew that I wanted to spend some time in the afternoon getting clear on my meal plan for the evening after my lunch and snack break for the day. I saw that as part of my plan since I wanted to add new flavors and foods to my diet during this period.

  • Berries (a variety of types)
  • Cucumbers and squash
  • Quinoa (red and white)
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Lentils of various colors

I approach my fueling with baby steps, but I know that my preference is to eat as many raw vegetables and fresh fruit varieties as possible. My taste for lentils and beans will need to level up so that I continue to maintain protein intake levels without meat. Overall, I want to increase my consumption of a wide variety of vegetables and fruit varieties to keep from killing my menu with boredom.

Focus on Fitness

I have designed my day to where I have carved out four 10-minute fitness breaks. I have planned and spaced out these breaks in a manner to where I can follow up 2 of the breaks with a morning and a midday meal and 2 of the breaks with snacks. I had looked at walking at least 50% of these breaks with an audio companion in the form of a podcast or Faith By Hearing via the Bible App. But since it wanted to rain early this morning, I might mix it up with cardio and floor exercises plus some resistance bands. I will update on tomorrow’s review.

My primary focus on fitness is movement. I want to raise my heart rate periodically. Working at home during COVID-19 has not been my healthiest lifestyle to date. It has also spurred the recognition for a need to make some definite changes. I will continue to diversify my physical activity under this focus area, but here’s where I am getting started today.

God never tells us to give up things just for the sake of giving them up, but He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, namely, life with Himself. 

Oswald chambers

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But Daniel made up his mind to not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king

Daniel 1:8 (NLT)
Daniel in the lion’s den

Most folks are aware of the Book of Daniel in two ways. Many are familiar with the prophet Daniel being sentenced to the lion’s den, and the second most popular item out of Daniel is the three Hebrew boys tossed into the fire by their Babylonian captors. Both stories involve a degree of faith and fortitude, the willingness to embrace the fury of others who find fault in the believer holding strong to his or her convictions. But there is another part of the Book of Daniel that speaks volumes to us.

In Daniel chapter 1, we see the Babylonian plot and plan to mastermind a generation full of noble potential and transform them into what would be considered fit and qualified after three years to “enter the king’s service” (Daniel 1:5, NIV). This included “a daily amount of food and win from the king’s table” (Daniel 1:5, NIV).

But Daniel made up his mind to not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. . .

It is not so much the plan to “teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians” (v. 4) that Daniel objected to as much as it was “the royal food and wine” (v. 8). The NIV says that Daniel resolved not to, while the NLT translation made up his mind not to regarding verse 8. The concept of defilement stems from the Law and its decrees on clean and unclean foods in Leviticus 11:1-47 and Deuteronomy 14:3-20. Daniel determined not to defile himself with such food and drink, proposing another nutritional plan for himself and others.

“Test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water. . .” -Daniel 1:12 (NLT)

The test proved Daniel wise and the nutritional plan valid. In the New Living Translation (NLT), it is said: “At the end of ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king” (v. 15). The impact of those ten days caused the Babylonian officials to only feed the young men vegetables “instead of the rich food and wines” (v. 16, NLT).


So now fast forward to today. Keep what Daniel did and how things turned out for him and others in Babylonian captivity at that point. Trust me on this one. I am going to bring it all full circle in just a moment.

Episode #26 of Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce

I presented on taking a deeper look into health inequalities and health disparities in the United States through a division of Life Path Multimedia called #AwakenAmerica, an arm of socioeconomic and political awareness, advocacy and action. I had done my research and had grown increasingly appalled at the endless trail of data and statistics that depicted a truer picture of the health crisis among women and minorities.

The popular consensus of some folks who are suddenly woke and others who clamor for the photo ops and press conference podium is that gun violence is destroying our communities and wiping out people of color. In fact, one report went so far as to suggest that police brutality is the leading threat of life to young Black men in America. The stats cause us to have to read the reports fully and analysis the data thoroughly before speaking on whether or not some of these conclusions are valid arguments, but what is not up for debate is that gun violence is a reality and countless communities across this nation are in need of immediate solutions that go beyond prayer vigils and marches to the mayor’s office at city hall for peace and justice now. Police reform is a real issue and needs to be addressed in a manner that does not leave communities without any protection from law enforcement but renders a valid means of serving the public good and providing a sense of security and safety to community residents.

So What is Killing People?

But police brutality and gun violence are not the top killers of people of color in the United States. In fact, if we just looked at Black males across the board, gun violence ranks as the fourth leading cause of death. Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death for this group respectively. For Black males under the age of 44, homicide is atrociously high and ranks at the top of the list.

When we look at Black health in general according to the CDC, approximately 13% of Blacks in the U.S. are in what is considered “poor health.” Additionally, the lifestyle practices that lead to the top two causes of deaths are smoking and obesity. According to the same webpage, 20% of Black men smoke, while only 13% of Black women smoke. When it comes to obesity, 37.5% of Black men are considered obese and 56.1% of Black women are obese.

And what does this have to do with Daniel determining not to defile himself with the royal food and wine assigned by the Babylonian king?

Our Health is in Our Hands

Just as Daniel “made up his mind,” plenty of us need to follow suit and make up our minds about how we are going to handle our health. My research revealed much of what I already knew. Much of what plagues us is right in our own hands. It is within our own control. It has more to do with lifestyle choices than with living conditions. Our health is in our own hands.

We can make choices to that lead to us preventing some threats from attacking us and our lives. We have the power to make up our minds about what will and will not indulge in just like Daniel did when he took a stand for himself and his three friends during Babylonian captivity. If we made some simple changes, we could see some major differences.

Heart disease, hypertension and diabetes are conditions that do not have to be on our health radar if we approach our health differently. I am not saying that everyone has to become a vegan, but I am saying that many of us need a period of detoxification.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. . .

Hosea 4:6 (NASB)

10 Day Detox to Start

Join me in taking control of our health. Let’s take 10 days to detox. Ten days to allow those toxins from packaged and processed foods to clear out of our bodies. Take 10 ten days to open your mind to other possibilities than just accepting what the FDA has okayed as food product. Take 10 days to allow your body to get cleansed and your mind to consecrated on God’s intention for you.

Rick Warren of Purpose Driven fame made an effort with this some years ago with his work on health with The Daniel Plan, Many bloggers and authors even theologians have addressed this same passage of the Bible in regards to health and nutrition. I am simply asking you to join me in an effort to partner and collectively support each other through ten days that could potentially serve as an eye opener and a breakthrough for somebody when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

Join me in a FREE 10-Day Detox Diet based on Daniel 1:5-16 December 14th through December 24th. Visit the Life Path Multimedia Facebook Group and request membership before December 14th. I have already started adding items in the group discussion. Check out the flyer and join us as we seek to fight for lives by taking control of our health day by day.

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DAILY THEME: Thank God for sharing His Word with us

Giving Thanks

Read Psalm 119 throughout your day It is a psalm that has the Word of God, His laws, His precepts, and His statutes at its core. It was used as encouragement by the Christian Fiction Girl Blog. A Child Shall Lead Them stressed the importance of teaching the Word with Psalm 119:11.

Psalm 119 consistently and repeatedly directs the reader to the Word of God. Use it for your morning devotional reading. Dive into it during your lunch breaks. Take it via audio Bible resources like Faith Comes by Hearing or YouVersion on your drive home from work today. Find a way to take in His Word and let it stick.

Giving Back

Share the Word with someone today.
Don’t hold back. Just share it.
Use whatever you have as a means of sharing the Word.
Go on TikTok or IG Stories and read a verse or two.
Take to Facebook Live or Instagram Live and offer up your favorite verse.
Tweet your favorite words from the Scriptures with a link to the full chapter on sites like Biblegateway or Studylight.
Go Beyond the Norm:
Inbox or DM someone with your favorite verse and what it means to you. Make it a personal appeal to share the Word with someone. Let it be a direct share between you and that one person. And make yourself available for the possibility of the person asking questions of you. You never know how much it might settle on someone’s heart and make their day today.
Check out more with our training download available online.

Just in Case

The Spirit might have pricked your heart and motivated you to do something. But that also might present you with another dilemma. You might not have planned anything for this season or this week of good works.

Don’t sweat it too much. You can still do something rather than give up and do nothing. You can actually partner with another church or local service agency. Or, you can still do your own thing by piggy-backing on another group’s project or event like a food giveaway.

Be sure to download the Partner or Piggyback Tip Sheet for more information on how to make that happen this week.

#GivngThanks #GivingBack

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