This evening I began an in-depth study of Daniel that I bought from Christian Book.
I am really excited.
Two companies have entire series with individual studies of each book of the Bible, as well as some topical studies. To start off, I have ordered one study on Daniel, one on Revelation, and one about angels.
Rereading the first half of Daniel this evening has been really illuminating. I have been in the New Testament for quite a while. But every chapter of this book is a constant reminder to prevail, to have strength. Of course there’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Everybody knows the story about the fiery furnace. But there’s so much more than that. Kings were ordering fortune-tellers and sorcerers to death right and left, and Daniel was able to speak up and interpret the King’s dream because God had given him that gift. It had to have been at least mildly nerve-wracking to offer up not only an interpretation of the King’s dream, but to actually recount it to him, especially knowing how many people had put to death for not being able to do that. But Daniel went ahead because he knew that God had granted him that vision.
As a spiritual person I am really compelled by the central role that dreams play in Daniel. The king has important dreams that show him his future, and Daniel has visions about these dreams that he is able to interpret. Essentially, God repeatedly gives people spiritual and literal information through dreams and visions. That is incredibly powerful. People often laugh about the entire subject of interpreting dreams. Freud did the subject no favors in a lot of ways. And of course sometimes dreams have nothing to do with God. However, we should never rule out the possibility that what we have seen in our sleep is a message.
God goes where he pleases and does what he wants. He is limitless. He can speak to us regardless of our state of consciousness. I need to start paying more attention to my dreams. I need to be spiritually receptive when I am awake and when I’m asleep.
Today, when I got home from taking Angelica to speech and visiting with my mother, I was in the mood for cake. And I had some cake left over. Well one frosting covered by led to another and pretty soon I had eaten all that was left of the cake.
I’ve always struggled to understand why gluttony was a sin and today I think I figured it out. Any time something comes between you and the Lord It’s a Sin. After eating all that cake I tried to study my devotionals and read my Bible, but I was in such a sugar coma and felt so lethargic that I couldn’t focus to study the Word. I had eaten too much and it was preventing me from drawing closer to God.
Being fat is not a sin. Having soda or cake or ice cream, even frequently, is not a sin. It is only when eating comes between you and God or between you and fulfilling your God given responsibilities that eating becomes a sin.
Of course gluttony isn’t limited to eating. It can include anything from shopping to crafting to drinking, to anything really. Anything you indulge in too much at the expense of your relationship with the Lord falls into the category of gluttony.
Armed with this conviction, I am determined to never over eat again. I’m not going to give a song-and-dance number about how I’m going to go to healthy eating habits, because I love sugar. I’m not doing this to lose weight so I’m not going to make any goals in number of pounds. I simply don’t want to eat until I am overfilled ever again. This control will be good for my spiritual growth.
Sometimes I open a random page in my devotionals instead of reading it in order, to see what message might be speaking to me. It’s the same way I tend to read the Scriptures. Today I just happened to open to an entry about laziness and sloth.
“The path of lazy people is overgrown with briers, the diligent walk down a smooth road.” Proverbs 15:19.
“No matter how much you want, laziness won’t help you a bit. But hard work will reward you with more than enough.” Proverbs 13:4
I could have opened to any page in the devotional. I had no idea what page was what and could have chosen anything. But my fingers and my eyes alighted on this. And I think there’s a reason.
I have been lazy. I’ve been lazy with the housework and lazy with the yard (I’m afraid of bugs), and lazy with my body. I’ve even been lazy with parenting. Angelica should be in sign language lessons and dance and piano. I take her to speech therapy, but that is it. Dance might have to wait until we move to Colorado and she can start a full year from beginning to end the following fall. Piano and sign language though I need to get started on. I’ve been lazy with my body by being sedentary. I don’t move much. This is not a commentary on my weight, as there are plenty of people as lazy as me who are smaller than me and plenty of people who move more than me who are bigger. But it is a simple truth that I don’t exercise. I should get an exercise bike.
I’ve been lazy with housework. Sometimes I don’t keep up with it because of my mood, sometimes because I’m just not very good at it, but sometimes it is because I am being lazy. I am very fortunate in that God has blessed me with a beautiful house and lots of things in that house. I need to take better care of them.
My devotional says that whatever it is I am doing, menial or great, I should do my best. I am a homemaker and mother and writer. But am I being the best homemaker I can be? The best mother? The best writer? I’ve been slothful about submitting my work to magazines over the past year. Am I engaged enough with Angelica? How can I give her a leg up on education and self development? Am I being the best wife I can be? What can I do to make my husband’s life easier and more comfortable?
These verses and this passage in my devotional have convicted me today. I think I’m going to go fold laundry and organize the bathroom. Now. Right now.