How much do you value your health? It’s a matter of the heart!


Do you realize you are no good to anyone when you aren’t healthy? Do you realize how much you are needed? Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so treat it that way! What will you allow into your body today? What will you do to help your body stay in shape? Where have you put it on the list of priorities?


How to Keep Healthy — Day 64: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Proverbs 6:20-29, Mark 12:28-44, Leviticus 13

Today’s devotional kicked off speaking about the importance of the heart to us and to Jesus…

How to Keep Healthy

  • Avoid smoking and using tobacco products
  • Be physically active every day
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Control your total cholesterol
  • Keep your blood sugar healthy

According to the American Heart Association, these are the seven things that you should do to keep your physical heart healthy.

The human heart weighs less than a pound (450g). It beats 100,000 times a day and over 2.5 billion times in the average lifetime. Your system of blood vessels – arteries, veins and capillaries – is over 60,000 miles long – enough to go around the world more than twice.

This is not just an amazing spectacle; it is the ‘heart’ of human life. Without your heart your body would quickly cease to work. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the Western world.

Jesus spoke a great deal about the heart. The heart is a metaphor for the inner life. The word Jesus used means the seat of the physical, spiritual and mental life. The heart is the centre and the source of the whole inner life – thinking, feeling, and willing.

God is concerned, primarily, about your heart. He wants you to have a healthy heart. He said to Samuel, ‘The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7).

Even more important than a healthy physical heart is the condition of your spiritual heart. In the passages for today we see how to keep your spiritual heart healthy.

–from Day 64: Bible In One Year 2017

So we need to take care of ourselves! We are no good to anyone else if we are dead!


1. Guard your heart … Proverbs 6:20-29

20My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 21Bind them always on your heart;fasten them around your neck. 22When you walk, they will guide you;when you sleep, they will watch over you;when you awake, they will speak to you. 23For this command is a lamp,this teaching is a light,and correction and instruction are the way to life, 24keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. 25Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. 26For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,but another man’s wife preys on your very life. 27Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? 28Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? 29So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;no one who touches her will go unpunished. –from Proverbs 6

It goes beyond just heart health from food! It goes to the heart’s link to the soul! It goes beyond food into our attitudes, our thoughts, and our actions! Let’s hold tight to all that God has told us that we may walk in the covering of His plans, purposes, and love! Let’s not be tempted into doing something we will in the long-term regret! Let’s live our lives with Jesus at the center and our hearts aligned to His plans for us! Nevermind it being about the actions, we need to cut it off before we find ourselves thinking about it and allow it to get hold in our hearts! Even allowing lust into the picture will be seen by God!

Today’s devotional speaks to this part of our reading as follows…

Jesus taught that adultery starts in the heart. He said, ‘I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart’ (Matthew 5:28). His teaching goes back to the book of Proverbs where the writer emphasises the importance of the heart – ‘do not lust in your heart’ (Proverbs 6:25).

He warns of the terrible dangers of adultery. We are dealing with something so powerful it is like a fire. In its right place (just like fire in the fireplace) sex within marriage is a source of great blessing.

However, if you allow your sexual desires to go in the wrong direction then it is like fire in your lap: ‘Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife’ (vv.27–29a).

Adultery does not usually just appear from nowhere. The unfaithfulness starts with the heart. This is where we have to exercise self-discipline. Take these words of wisdom and ‘bind them upon your heart’ (v.21).

–from Day 64: Bible In One Year 2017

2. Love Jesus with your whole heart … Mark 12:28–37

28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. 35While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ 37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”The large crowd listened to him with delight. –from Mark 12

When you think of love, what picture most often comes to mind but a picture of a heart! When we think of God, we should similarly think of love! God is Love! When we think of Jesus, we think of how much He loves us, so much that He was willing to die for us! Jesus is concerned with our hearts!

Today’s devotional speaks to this part of our reading as follows…

There is something delightful about the teaching of Jesus: ‘The large crowd listened to him with delight’ (v.37b). If I were asked to summarise this teaching in one word, I would use the word ‘love’.

When Jesus is asked by a lawyer which of all the commandments is the most important, he replies, ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself”’ (vv.30–31). At the centre of the message of Jesus is a love relationship with the Lord your God, which starts with your heart and overflows into a love for other people.

Who is ‘the Lord’? The question underlying all this quizzing of Jesus is, ‘Who does this man think he is?’ In the temple courts, Jesus turns the tables on them by challenging their assumptions about the coming Messiah (‘the Christ’, v.35).

He asks them a question quoting Psalm 110. He challenges the idea that the Christ will simply be a king from David’s line. He will not only be a son of David, he will be David’s Lord (Mark 12:35–37a).

We now know that Jesus is ‘the Lord’. The command to love the Lord with all your heart is a command to love Jesus with all your heart. Make this the number one priority of your life.

Jesus is concerned, not with legalistic literalism, but with the spirit of the law. He is concerned not with outward appearances but with the heart.

–from Day 64: Bible In One Year 2017

3. Focus on your heart … Mark 12:38–40

38As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” –from Mark 12

Today’s devotional speaks to this part of our reading as follows…

Speaking for myself, I find that hypocrisy is always a danger in my own life. It is a temptation to be concerned about position, platforms, titles and honours. And we have to be careful about praying prayers to impress, rather than from the heart.

Jesus criticises the leaders of his day because their hearts are not right. They are far more concerned about outward appearances than about their own hearts. He says, ‘They love to walk around in academic gowns, preening in the radiance of public flattery, basking in prominent positions, sitting at the head table at every church function. And all the time they are exploiting the weak and helpless. The longer their prayers, the worse they get’ (vv.38–40, MSG).

All the things mentioned indicate their love of being shown deference and of receiving honour from other people. But God is not concerned about status and ‘show’ (v.40). He is concerned about our hearts.

–from Day 64: Bible In One Year 2017

It is from the overflow of our hearts that the mouth speaks! It is from the overflow of our hearts that we act out — for good and for bad. So we need to be careful what we allow in and to take root! We don’t want to allow a bitter root to get hold! We should remove it through forgiveness!

4. Give from your heart … Mark 12:41–44

41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.

–from Mark 12

It’s not a matter of size or quantity, it’s a matter of the heart! Nobody should give out of guilt or compulsion, it should be out of the overflow of your heart! Nobody should give out reluctantly, but with a confidence from their hearts! You should give what you have decided in your heart! God loves a cheerful giver!

Today’s devotional speaks to this part of our reading as follows…

Jesus is not concerned about the size of your wallet. He is concerned about the size of your heart.

Jesus challenged the conventional assumption that large gifts are worth more to God than small ones. He encourages us that it is not only the rich who can please God through their giving – the poor can do so as well. He challenges the rich that it is not enough simply to give sums that greatly surpass that of the poor. Jesus was looking for generous and sacrificial hearts.

What we give, and the way in which we give, reflects our hearts. Jesus does not actually criticise the rich people who throw in large amounts of money. But he does say that the poor widow who gives ‘two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence’ (v.42) has put in more than all the others.

Jesus sees her heart and the fact that ‘this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford – she gave her all’ (vv.43–44, MSG). Others look at the outward appearance; Jesus looks at the heart. It is not the amount, but the attitude of the heart that matters to God.

–from Day 64: Bible In One Year 2017

So invite Jesus into your heart! Ask Him to help clean things out! Ask Him for wisdom and discernment! Ask Him to help you only to allow in what He desires and what is good for your heart health! What needs to be removed? What needs to be added? What needs to be adjusted?

5. Keep your heart holy … Leviticus 13:1-59

Regulations About Defiling Skin Diseases

1The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2“When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a shiny spot on their skin that may be a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest. 3The priest is to examine the sore on the skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling skin disease. When the priest examines that person, he shall pronounce them ceremonially unclean. 4If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. 5On the seventh day the priest is to examine them, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate them for another seven days. 6On the seventh day the priest is to examine them again, and if the sore has faded and has not spread in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a rash. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean. 7But if the rash does spread in their skin after they have shown themselves to the priest to be pronounced clean, they must appear before the priest again. 8The priest is to examine that person, and if the rash has spread in the skin, he shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease.
9“When anyone has a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to the priest. 10The priest is to examine them, and if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and if there is raw flesh in the swelling, 11it is a chronic skin disease and the priest shall pronounce them unclean. He is not to isolate them, because they are already unclean.
12“If the disease breaks out all over their skin and, so far as the priest can see, it covers all the skin of the affected person from head to foot, 13the priest is to examine them, and if the disease has covered their whole body, he shall pronounce them clean. Since it has all turned white, they are clean. 14But whenever raw flesh appears on them, they will be unclean. 15When the priest sees the raw flesh, he shall pronounce them unclean. The raw flesh is unclean; they have a defiling disease. 16If the raw flesh changes and turns white, they must go to the priest. 17The priest is to examine them, and if the sores have turned white, the priest shall pronounce the affected person clean; then they will be clean.
18“When someone has a boil on their skin and it heals, 19and in the place where the boil was, a white swelling or reddish-white spot appears, they must present themselves to the priest. 20The priest is to examine it, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has turned white, the priest shall pronounce that person unclean. It is a defiling skin disease that has broken out where the boil was. 21But if, when the priest examines it, there is no white hair in it and it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days. 22If it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling disease. 23But if the spot is unchanged and has not spread, it is only a scar from the boil, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.
24“When someone has a burn on their skin and a reddish-white or white spot appears in the raw flesh of the burn, 25the priest is to examine the spot, and if the hair in it has turned white, and it appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling disease that has broken out in the burn. The priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease. 26But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in the spot and if it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days. 27On the seventh day the priest is to examine that person, and if it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease. 28If, however, the spot is unchanged and has not spread in the skin but has faded, it is a swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a scar from the burn.
29“If a man or woman has a sore on their head or chin, 30the priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease on the head or chin. 31But if, when the priest examines the sore, it does not seem to be more than skin deep and there is no black hair in it, then the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. 32On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread and there is no yellow hair in it and it does not appear to be more than skin deep, 33then the man or woman must shave themselves, except for the affected area, and the priest is to keep them isolated another seven days. 34On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread in the skin and appears to be no more than skin deep, the priest shall pronounce them clean. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean. 35But if the sore does spread in the skin after they are pronounced clean, 36the priest is to examine them, and if he finds that the sore has spread in the skin, he does not need to look for yellow hair; they are unclean. 37If, however, the sore is unchanged so far as the priest can see, and if black hair has grown in it, the affected person is healed. They are clean, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.
38“When a man or woman has white spots on the skin, 39the priest is to examine them, and if the spots are dull white, it is a harmless rash that has broken out on the skin; they are clean.
40“A man who has lost his hair and is bald is clean. 41If he has lost his hair from the front of his scalp and has a bald forehead, he is clean. 42But if he has a reddish-white sore on his bald head or forehead, it is a defiling disease breaking out on his head or forehead. 43The priest is to examine him, and if the swollen sore on his head or forehead is reddish-white like a defiling skin disease, 44the man is diseased and is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him unclean because of the sore on his head.
45“Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

Regulations About Defiling Molds

47“As for any fabric that is spoiled with a defiling mold—any woolen or linen clothing, 48any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather or anything made of leather— 49if the affected area in the fabric, the leather, the woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is greenish or reddish, it is a defiling mold and must be shown to the priest. 50The priest is to examine the affected area and isolate the article for seven days. 51On the seventh day he is to examine it, and if the mold has spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather, whatever its use, it is a persistent defiling mold; the article is unclean. 52He must burn the fabric, the woven or knitted material of wool or linen, or any leather article that has been spoiled; because the defiling mold is persistent, the article must be burned.
53“But if, when the priest examines it, the mold has not spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather article, 54he shall order that the spoiled article be washed. Then he is to isolate it for another seven days. 55After the article has been washed, the priest is to examine it again, and if the mold has not changed its appearance, even though it has not spread, it is unclean. Burn it, no matter which side of the fabric has been spoiled. 56If, when the priest examines it, the mold has faded after the article has been washed, he is to tear the spoiled part out of the fabric, the leather, or the woven or knitted material. 57But if it reappears in the fabric, in the woven or knitted material, or in the leather article, it is a spreading mold; whatever has the mold must be burned. 58Any fabric, woven or knitted material, or any leather article that has been washed and is rid of the mold, must be washed again. Then it will be clean.”
59These are the regulations concerning defiling molds in woolen or linen clothing, woven or knitted material, or any leather article, for pronouncing them clean or unclean.

–from Leviticus 13

Today’s devotional speaks to this part of our reading as follows…

The Old Testament laws covered every aspect of life, including cleanliness, health and hygiene. As a result, we read a great deal in the Old Testament about the kinds of regulations set out in this chapter, in addition to all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. These rules and regulations were all concerned with holiness though, and their motivation was supposed to stem from a desire to please and emulate God (Leviticus 11:44). In other words, the outward rituals were supposed to reflect the inner attitudes of the heart.

At the time of Jesus, many of the teachers were putting the emphasis in the wrong place. They thought that holiness could be attained simply by obeying a whole lot of rules that concerned outward behaviour and actions, rather than heartfelt obedience towards God.

Jesus pointed out that there is something far more important than all of this. As we see in today’s New Testament passage, ‘To love [God] with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices’ (Mark 12:33). Holiness is not a matter of outward appearance. It is a matter of the heart.

–from Day 64: Bible In One Year 2017

 

 

 

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