Keeping A Healthy Heart

11260948_967242630005511_931634998081476917_n“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts” (Proverbs 4:23, Message Bible).

God wants us to have a healthy heart. Since I have a family history of heart disease, it is especially important for me to take care of my heart. But to be honest, we all need to keep vigilant watch over our heart, not only spiritually but physically as well. Keeping a healthy physical heart is the way of wisdom and the right path.

What can we do to keep our heart in good shape?

A big way is to make sure we exercise regularly. If you don’t like to exercise, integrate these helpful tips into your everyday lifestyle to strengthen your heart. Whenever possible take the stairs instead of an elevator, and park your car at the far end of the parking lot from work. Try spending a few minutes of your lunch break taking a short walk. Think of housework as a chance to exercise. Brisk vacuuming can be a workout! Mowing the lawn and raking leaves is a chance to exercise. Walking your dog is a great way to exercise daily or you may want to take a walk with your family after dinner. There are so many ways to make exercise more fun without spending a lot of extra time to do it. I personally like to exercise, but I know that many people don’t. We must realize that exercise is absolutely necessary to keeping a healthy heart.

We also must work at what we eat in order to keep our hearts healthy. I like Dr. Don Colbert’s statement about the food we eat. He says, “You ‘wear’ your food on your body. You really are what you eat. Your clothes may be cotton, polyester, rayon, or silk but your body is made up of whatever you put in your mouth. Eyeliner and shapers can’t hide an unhealthy body. It’s time to make over your pantry and fridge with living foods so you can look and feel your best.” As you think about the health of your heart, realize that you want to control the amount and kind of fat, saturated fatty acids, and dietary cholesterol you eat in order to stay healthy.

Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

“Food is a blessing from God. Exodus 23:25 (NKJV) says, ‘You shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless your bread and water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.’ The word bread is also translated nourishment. God wants us to enjoy food. Let’s see which foods He made to bless your body.” Don Colbert, M.D.

Here are some good ways to keep our heart healthy:

  • Eat whole, natural, and fresh foods – Eat 6 or more servings of breads, cereals, or grains per day. Stay away from fast food restaurants.
  • Eat five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables daily – This is not only good for your heart, it is a good way to prevent cancer.
  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids – Eat more fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Drink water, tea, and non-fat dairy products – Choose skim or 1% fat milk and nonfat or lowfat yogurt and cheeses.
  • Eat lean protein – This can be skinless poultry, fish, and lean cuts of red meat. Eat no more than 6 ounces per day. Learn to create low-meat dishes by including pastas, beans, rice, or vegetables in your main dishes.
  • Avoid trans-fats and limit intake of saturated fats – This means avoiding fried foods, hard margarine, commercial baked goods, and most packaged and processed snack foods, high fat dairy and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
  • Use cooking methods that require little or no fat – Some examples are broiling, baking, roasting, and steaming. Trim off the fat you can see before cooking meat and poultry.
  • Limit foods made with sugar and white flour – They increase blood sugar levels. Increased blood sugar levels stimulate the pancreas to release insulin.
  • Use olive oil and garlic – Garlic can help thin your blood and lower your blood pressure, and olive oil is a healthy fat and can help raise your good HDL cholesterol.

Our heart’s job is to pump nutrient-rich blood throughout our body. Let’s not give our heart extra work by not taking care of it on a daily basis. It can’t handle too much extra work over a long period of time. It will suffer in health. Let’s wholeheartedly make the effort to daily keep a healthy heart. God wants us to have a strong heart, not only spiritually but physically as well.

“May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen” (1 Thessalonians 3:13, New Living Translation).

By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International

Recharging Your Emotional Battery

11295805_964488090280965_8199398249291123842_n-2“For me, the hardest word in the English language is no. I would like to say yes to everyone and everything, but obedience to Christ requires me at times to say no. Like the gardener pruning the vine, I must constantly trim away unnecessary activities if new life is to spring forth.” Dwight Carlson

Tiredness and fatigue are common problems in most societies. Many people are tired. You know you are fatigued when you are experiencing a lack of energy, a loss of a sense of well-being, weariness, an overall unpleasantness, no ambition, and a loss of interest. Most of us, if we were to really admit it, are tired of being tired. Stress can produce tiredness and fatigue. Tiredness can be a real enemy because it can bring dissatisfaction, restlessness, irritability, a loss of joy, depression and so many other negative things.

God knows our energy capacity and never requires more than we are capable of achieving. We need to set appropriate limits and learn to say no. We also need to evaluate the emotional gauge in our life.

Emotional Fatigue

“I have now committed myself to installing an emotional gauge in the center of my dashboard and learning how to read it. I take responsibility to manage the emotional reservoir in my life.” Bill Hybels

When we are tired over a long period of time, we must look at the emotional area of our life. We may be emotionally fatigued and not even be aware it. If we want to walk in overall health, we must look at our emotional as well as our physical strength. It is important that we know what activities drain our emotional reservoir. These are tasks that sap us of energy in just a short time. We may be oblivious to the intense drain some activities are having on us emotionally.

It is important to look at three gauges on the dashboard of your life in order to be healthy. The first gauge is the spiritual area of your life. Ask yourself questions like, “How is my spiritual life?” “How is my quiet time?” “Am I praying?” If this area reads normal, then you know you are doing all right spiritually. The next gauge is the physical gauge. Ask yourself questions like, “Am I eating healthy?” “Am I exercising?” “Am I getting enough rest?” “Am I feeling well physically?” If that battery is “ok”, then you know you are doing all right physically.

If these two batteries seem to be “ok” but you know something is wrong, you may be drained emotionally. If you don’t feel like building relationships, if people drain you, or you want to quit ministry or change jobs, something may be wrong. You may need to recharge your emotional battery, but you must realize that this is a slow process that takes time. You may be asking the question, “How do you recharge when you are emotionally drained?” You recharge by doing something totally different than your work or ministry. You may want to go jogging, read a book, listen to music or play golf.

Other keys to emotional recharging is using your major spiritual gifts and learning to wait upon the Lord. This will breathe life back into you and energize you. Working hard in areas that you are not gifted in will drain you quickly. Don’t let people pull you away from using your primary gifts. Don’t let busyness take you away from waiting on the Lord for His emotional and physical recharging. When you minister with the gifts God put in you, you have a new passion for ministry.

“He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength (causing it to multiply and making it to abound). Even youths shall faint and be weary, and (selected) young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall run and not be wary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired” (Isaiah 40:29-31, Amplified).

Each one of us needs to learn to live a healthy, balanced life. We can’t work 70 hours a week and last very long. We need to learn to be marathon runners. We must learn to monitor our spiritual, physical, and emotional gauges so that we can minister for a lifetime. Can you run at the pace you are presently living at and still be running 20 or 30 years from now? Take inventory and learn to live a balanced life. My husband and I just spent a week in the country, and it did us a lot of good. I love to work but I am learning to take time out. I encourage you to not neglect your emotional battery. If it is running low, take the necessary time to recharge. You want to finish the race healthy and well-balanced for God’s glory.

“Replenishing emotional strength takes time – usually more time than it took to drain. The best analogy I can offer is a car battery. If you sit in a parking lot and run all your car’s accessories – radio, headlight, heater, horn, rear defogger, power windows – you can probably sap the battery in about ten minutes. After that massive drain, suppose you then take the battery to a service station and say, ‘I’d like this battery charged. I’ll be back to pick it up in ten minutes.’ What would they tell you? ‘No, we’re going to put the battery on our overnight charger… A slow, consistent charge is the best way to bring a battery back to full power.’ Likewise, to properly recuperate from an emotionally draining activity takes time.” Bill Hybels

By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International

The Manifest Presence of God

22793_968829669846807_2236742335163857583_n“When God’s presence becomes a tangible reality in a community, the church then becomes a catalyst for growth. God’s presence is more effective than our best church growth methods. When God’s presence is tangible, supernatural ministry results and becomes a magnet for hungry souls and broken people.” Rhonda Hughey

There is a popular Christian song. The song goes like this, “Let it rain. Let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain!” In many places there is a great desire for God to open the heavens and flood down His manifest presence upon the land. We must have a heart-felt expectation that God has heard our prayers and will answer. Pray that He will open the floodgates of heaven and come and rain His presence and fire on your land. As God descends upon the land, His people will rise higher into the throne room of heaven.

Evidence of God’s Manifest Presence

“God longs to open doors of spiritual reality to us. He wants us to sit with Him in heavenly places. We must live with a spiritual vantage point from the throne room of God. The throne of God is the seat of His authority; it represents the place from which He rules and reigns over the nations. Jesus invites us to this place of authority and victory. We have to see the Lord! We have to accept the invitation to come up higher around the throne, to behold Jesus, to see Him and believe! Once you see this, you have hope; and once we see what God sees, then we can come into agreement with His purposes. If we cannot see God’s kingdom purposes, we cannot agree with them!”

What is the evidence of God’s manifest presence upon a city? Slowly meditate on the following words as you think about God’s presence in your city: renown, joy, praise, honor, awe, tremble, abundant prosperity, peace, boldness, miraculous signs and wonders, Holy Spirit, crown of splendor, royal diadem, holy, great delight, married. What does God’s manifest presence look like and how do things begin to change?

  • A new Spiritual Identity – God’s people begin to be personally transformed. They begin to know their spiritual identity in Christ. There is an increased intimacy with the Lord, both corporately and individually. They begin to release God’s glory to others. They bring light into the darkness and carry His presence wherever they go.“Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all the nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it” (Jeremiah 33:9).
  • A New Spiritual Authority – A personal and corporate refining takes place. There is no more compromise or complacency, but there is steady growth in holiness. Passion for Jesus becomes the highest priority. The church has a new spiritual authority that greatly impacts the city. The Spirit of God is released through the church radically, and signs and wonders take place.“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-31).
  • A New Spiritual Purpose – The church begins to really know her purpose, and begins to love and serve the city. Captives are healed and set free through the Spirit of God. Strongholds are broken. The church is an agent of change in the city. People are drawn to Jesus and the church because God’s people are carrying God’s presence and glory into the community.“So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6).
  • A Transformation Takes Place – City transformation and fruitfulness begins to take place. The Kingdom of God begins to touch the earth and kingdom vision is released. There is city transformation that reflects God’s glory and beauty. The city has a new name and is no longer deserted or desolate.“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take great delight in you, and your land will be married.” (Isaiah 62:3-4).

“We must become hungry and thirsty for more of Jesus in our midst. We must cry out in desperation for God’s presence to be restored in our lives, our churches, and ultimately in our cities. We must treasure the manifest presence of God, because as Jesus said in John 15:5, ‘Without Me you can do nothing.’” Rhonda Hughey

The glory of God is contagious. Hunger for His presence increases. Many individuals who have been here in Spain praying say that their lives have been changed even after only a few days. All of a sudden everyone is seeing what is really important in life. I have heard passionate prayers, I have seen many tears, and I have heard many cries for God’s presence to come to the city. God is doing something big. Everything is narrowing down to one thing – seeking God and His manifest presence.

We invite you to seek the Lord for your city. Give God extravagant time. Pray through the above points for your city. It is time for us to hunger for God’s presence. We can’t do anything without the presence of Jesus. It is time to seek the Lord.

“Information doesn’t transform cities. Conferences can’t transform a city! Education can’t transform a city! Having citywide ministry programs or large networks cannot transform a city. Only the presence of Jesus can bring transformation, and only individual people willing to get on the altars of prayer to contend for His presence will become the kindling for God’s fire.” Rhonda Hughey