Thursday, August 1, 2013

You are my Hiding Place

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. Psalm 119:114 NKJV

My kefir ready to strain out the kefir grains. 
Earlier this week I purchased milk kefir grains. They come dehydrated in a tiny package. You bring them home and they become like a new pet that must be cared for daily. If you do they create a batch of kefir every 24 hours. Day one you put your kefir grains in a canning jar with a cup of milk and cover it with a coffee filter.  Day two you pour the milk through a stainless steel strainer and fish out the tiny grains and put them in a new jar with another cup of milk. The process continues during the 3-7 days until one morning its not milk that is poured through your stainer but something thicker than milk and thinner than yogurt.  So today was my third day and ta da I have kefir. It tasted a bit sour to me so I am doing a second ferment with it. Which means I removed the kefir grains and gave them new milk in a new jar and in another jar I added a couple of flavored tea bags to the completed kefir and will let it sit till this evening when I will put it in the refrigerator. 

So kefir is like yogurt in that it contains live healthy bacteria that our bodies need to be able to fight off the bad bacteria. The good bacteria can get killed off by things like antibiotics. If they don't get replaced things like yeast take over and can begin to cause a whole new host of health problems. 
So yogurt that you get in the store and says "live cultures" contains about 7 strains of good healthy bacteria. Kefir is like a super food it contains 50+ strains and not only does it clean house in your gut it actually sets up colonies that then do good things like create B vitamins. Be vitamins help you to better deal with stress. 

Anyway I bought my grains on Monday thinking I'd have kefir by Tuesday. I did not realize there would be about a week of getting the kefir grains up to speed. So Tuesday I bought unflavored kefir from the the store because I felt impressed upon by the Holy Spirit that my body needed it. I drank a cup in the morning and a cup later in the day. I noticed that night when I sat down to practice piano that I could actually concentrate. I was able to stay focused and play through my pieces multiple times. I have not been able to stay focused while practicing for almost two years. Interestingly 2 years ago I was very sick and was given three rounds of antibiotics and still was not well. The doctor at that point suggested slowing down, and getting extra rest. Which I did and eventually felt a bit better but I still would get sick very easily which at times led to more antibiotics. 

This summer I decided to work on improving my heath and wellness. I have eaten low carb for many years except for the times when I have gotten off track and gone back to processed foods. 
I always feel better when I am eating fresh vegetables and meats and staying away from high carbohydrate and processed foods. This summer I began reading about the heath benefits of fermented foods. I made my first batches of laco fermented vegetables and saw a lot of my brain fog and memory improve. It seems that the fermenting process causes more of the vitamins present in the food to become bio available. So that fermenting led me to reading about kefir another fermented food. I'm still pretty new at fermenting and making things like kefir.
I am liking the results. I am feeling healthier, I have more energy, much better mental focus, and memory, and I am shedding unwanted pounds. Plus I'm having fun with my kitchen science projects.   

So what does this have to do with today's verse. "You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word." Psalm 119:114 NKJV The Lord has been my hiding place and I have seen the Holy Spirit leading and directing me to research and study various things to improve my heath and wellness. When we are feeling lousy and stressed out we are less effective for the kingdom. I think of the story of Daniel and his buddies who asked to decline the rich fare from the kings table and asked for vegetable instead. They honored the dietary guidelines that God had given them in a foreign culture. Turns out they were the healthiest and smartest of the bunch.  Maybe the God who created our bodies knows what it takes to keep them healthy and how to fix them when they are broken? 

Daniel 1:11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.

Our verse today says "I put my hope in your Word." The Word promises in John 16:13
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

If you are struggling with something God has the answers. The question for you is weather or not God is your first or your last resort? Most of the time His answers require that we begin a journey of transformation of your mental, physical and spiritual health. We try to put God in a box and relegate Him to church on Sunday, when He is interested in every part of our life.

Mark 12:30
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

Prayer: I pray the Lord will continue the good work He has begun in you. That you would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and that you would make the Lord your hiding place. That you would find hope in His Word.

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