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Recently I had to get braces. Being a 26-year-old woman in the prime of life this came a bit of a shock but there was no getting around it. My orthodontist had been examining my teeth for some time and concluded I had misaligned teeth. The longer this went on the worse things would get. Braces would be needed and not the invalign kind that can be hidden but the headgear setup that looks like something out of the movie Saw!

He assured me that it would only be a short time and then I could have them removed. 6 months though is quite a long time when you need to walk around looking like you stepped out of a medieval village. Understandably my self-esteem took a nose dive. Everywhere I went I could feel the press of eyes on me, it wasn’t an easy subject to talk about and most seemed to skip around it. Considering how obvious the braces were this unwillingness to acknowledge them bordered on the ridiculous.

Having always had a strong fate in God I knew I could turn to him for guidance. I went through my Bible, which I always have by my bedside, and went through passages I had marked earlier. I found ones that gave me the strength when needed.

new year

1 Timothy 4:10That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe”

I’ve struggled through hard times before and I’ve always pulled through thanks to a strong belief that God is guiding me and knows what’s best. Anyone who’s undergoing depression or anxiety can benefit from these words which remind us strife is a part of life and one of the ways we test ourselves, both against the world and our faith in God.

Psalm 34:17-18 – “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”

This reminds us that even in hard times God is always there. He listens to us and gives us strength in spirit. It’s in rough times when we feel demons oppressing our should that we can turn to the light of God to guide us back.

Building on that, here are others that gave me the strength to get my confidence back.

Psalm 62:5-6 – “Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure”

Philippians 4:13: – “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me”

Psalm 28:76 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield”

Not forgetting, of course, the support of friends and family. They helped me make light of things and get back to normal. Look to your church group if you need it, it can make a massive difference knowing you have the support and unconditional love of those around you.…

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Pets have never been more popular these days. Almost every family has at least one dog or cat. Along with hamsters, rabbits, goldfish and two dozen others, there’s never been such variety available in the pets we choose. Hence this raises the question of what the bible has to say about pets. Do they go to heaven? How should we treat them?

The bible does not really address how we should deal with pets. The only possible example of a pet owner is the poor man in Nathen’s parable a man who “had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him” (2 Samuel 12:3). We can though draw some conclusions based on what the bible says on other topics.

 

God made all the world and all the things in it. As such they all deserve respect. This includes animals as well which should be loved as much as any parts of God’s creation. “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!” (Psalm 145:9-10)

 

Likewise, all animals deserve our protection. God made us to be the lords over the other animals. As God is our lord and protector so must we be a protector of the animals he has given to us. Those who mistreat animals are abusing that trust and invite god’s malice. “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel” (Proverbs 12:10)

God’s care for animals explains our desire to keep pets. As God created mankind in his image (Genesis 1:27) we have inherited the part of God’s nature that cares for animals. Whenever we look after our pets we are reflecting a part of God’s nature, to a certain extent. Our pets rely on us to meet their needs, much as we rely on God to provide for our needs. By keeping a pet, we are taking on responsibility and modelling our behaviour on the creator.

Parents should introduce a pet into their home to teach responsibility to their children. It can serve as a lesson on how God takes care of us and, as such, how we must take care of the pets we take in. This reflects on our personal integrity and devotion to living a righteous life. “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal” (Proverbs 12:10)

 

Make this your goal and incorporate it into your life as much as any of god’s other teachings. It is the meek that shall inherit the earth so show that attitude when caring for those in our protection.

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if your anything like me you love to read and listen to music at the same time. When picking up the bible for a relaxing read or some contemplation I’ve found that it helps put me in the right state of mind if there some calming music in the background. Some, in fact many, would argue that you can’t read and listen at the same time. Both demand attention and right to, I feel though that a balance can be found.

I commute daily to work by train, it takes over an hour and I’ve always got a book with me when I do. The Bible is probably the most common one I take with me. In difficult times, a few readings have helped put things in perspective and find peace again. The problem is though it’s very difficult to concentrate with the noise of the train. Stops are being made, people constantly getting on and off, loud school children and just obnoxious loud talkers on their phones. It’s almost impossible to even hear myself think, much less concentrate on any reading. So I started bringing along some headphones with me to help drown out the background and find my Zen.

At first, I was quite uncertain as to what to listen to. None of my usual favorites seemed appropriate for reading. I also tended to lose focus when a favorite part came along. After about a week or two of trying different things, I finally found a playlist that works for me. It might not suit you but I found some common denominators as to why some music is better than others. Great reading music should have the following attributes

No Vocals
It’s very difficult to focus on your inner reading voice when you have another voice coming through your ears. Research has shown that music with a lot of vocals is not good for concentration. Choose music so that has little to no vocals. Classical is one of my favorites. Some of my favorites are Schubert, Bach, and Chopin. Bach, in particular, is a wonderful choice, most of his music is religiously inspired or themed. Strange as it may seem, electronic music can also be great. I love the beats of DJ Krista.

Less variation is better
The less varied a song is the easier it is to focus on the reading at hand while the music serves as a backdrop. If a song goes through a lot of variation with up, downs and changes in tempo then it will be a lot more difficult to focus properly. Choose songs that have a steady rhythm that doesn’t change much. A good example I found was ‘On the Corner’ by Miles Davis, an album that has been torn to pieces by critics and jazz lovers since its release in 1972. The same constant atonal riff just keeps going with little variation or change in tempo. As a jazz album, it’s terrible but I love it for reading. The lack of rhythm or tempo change makes it very easy to zone out and focus on the reading…

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Continuing on from last week’s article we provide more quotations from the Bible on the need to keep fit. Christianity stresses the importance of spiritual strength and devoting time to improving ourselves and others. The spirit is important but so too is the body. After all, it is a gift from God and should be treated accordingly. By staying fit and healthy we can also better serve the Lord and those around us. No matter what your job maybe you should still keep yourself fit and healthy. So get out there and start running, find a gym or even hire a personal trainer. To help keep yourself motivated here are some quotes from scripture on the importance of physical exercise.

 

1 Corinthians 9:26-27
“Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”

This passage mentions the importance of giving your full attention to any exercise. Don’t exercise halfhearted but strive always to make yourself better and stronger for the trials of life

1 Corinthians 6:19
“Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God”

We must give thanks to God for all the things we have received which means showing them due respect and care so that when they must be returned they are better than when received. Our bodies are temples of the holy spirit and should be treated as such.

Isaiah 40:29-31
“He gives power to the faint, abundant strength to the weak. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.”

The Lord will give you strength to achieve your life goals if you put your faith in him. It’s when things become difficult that we reach a test in our fate which must be seized as an opportunity to do more and better.

Proverbs 24:5, 31:17
“A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might.” “She girds herself with strength; she exerts her arms with vigor.”

We must always be striving to better ourselves both mentally, spiritually and physically. We best serve The Lord by serving others so seek to strengthen yourself in every way. Life can through a lot of challenges our way so practice strength training so that you will be ready for what lies ahead.

2 Peter 1:5-7
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love”

Take from this the importance of self-development. We must always be striving to better ourselves. Exercising builds discipline and self-control which can then develop virtue.

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The Scripture teaches us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Co. 6:19).  The Apostle Paul taught Timothy about how ladies should manage themselves outside, “with shamefacedness and sobriety” (I Timothy 2:9).  In these modern days, the line between modest apparel and provocative pieces seems to be getting thinner.   Nevertheless, it is important to keep God´s standards.

When it comes to exercising, the Bible has a lot to say about how to manage it.  Besides guarding our tongues, disciplining the body, and running the race, we should take care of our bodies.

What the Bible says about exercising

Let us take a look at some Bible verses that actually motivate you to keep up the race and exercise your body.  Because you see, God is interested in us having a healthy and wholly life, both in flesh and spirit.

1 Timothy 4:8 “Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.”

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 “Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”

2 Timothy 2:5 “An athlete who runs in a race cannot win the prize unless he obeys the rules.”

How should it be done

The Bible does not specifically mention anything on what type of exercises a believer should engage in.  It is safe to say though that practices that tap into spiritual realms that God dislikes are not the Biblical way of doing them.  Exercises that involve dancing frantically or with sensual poses with a partner are not in favor with what the Bible teaches about prudence and good practices belonging to saints.

If you ever need a good program that contains a program that does not offend God´s ways in any way, we would recommend Fresh! Fitness.  Take a look at their program and learn how they aim towards a better you, physically.…

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