Daniel 1:8-16

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself.

Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.”

Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days.

At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. Daniel 1:8-16

As I said last week, I don’t choose the Bible verses to think about each morning. I use the daily readings assigned via “Taking Faith Home” (www.vibrantfaithathome.org) And I also said that our congregation is currently in the midst of a 40 Days of Health stewardship program called “The Daniel Plan.” The idea for that plan came from today’s verses from Daniel.

That I began writing devotions again is the fruit of my desire to be more focused on my daily Bible reading. Sharing what comes out of that with others is what started me writing daily devotions. It is about both accountability and the power of community.

Eating more vegetables and drinking more water has become a daily focus for me. The challenge of drinking a gallon of water a day is balanced by the promise that drinking water is good for my body on many different levels. From flushing out toxins to staying hydrated to alleviating hunger to increasing my daily fitness regimen via frequent walks down the hallway to the restroom, water is nothing but good for me.

And vegetables? What could possibly be easier than “wash and eat?”

Daniel did very well on a diet of water and vegetables. But he didn’t do it alone. He did it in a small group with three other friends. And they didn’t do it to look better at the class reunion just around the corner or to look better in the wedding pictures – they did it as a statement of their faith in God, their trust that God would take care of them, and the sense that God had given them that this was the right plan for their lives.

Thus my thought for today – if we think health is only about diet and exercise we are kidding ourselves. Spiritual health, connecting with God, and emotional health, connecting with other people on the same journey, is every bit as important to our overall health.

My day will end today with a small group of people meeting together to support and encourage each other on our journey to better health. Tomorrow morning I will leave for a couple of days with my friend Kenny to ride around Arkansas. Using my vacation days is also part of the plan.

So this will be the last devotion for this week…and here’s hoping and renewing my commitment to better health for the rest of my life, rather than just for 40 days.

Let us pray: Thank you, Lord, for the story of Daniel and the lessons that his life teaches us about physical health and spiritual centeredness. Thank you that he isn’t a lone hero but one in a group, all useful to you, and models for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Daniel 1:8-16”

  1. Carolee Groux Says:

    Group support with a common goal makes the going less rough, and can improve your chances of success. Best of luck with your commitment to a better diet and improved health.
    Safe travels on your road trip around Arkansas.

  2. Sharon Longnecker Says:

    Praying for your safe travels through our AR hills. If you should happen to make it to Bella Vista (right at the AR/MO border, call me (479-644-0692) and John will treat you to a meal at Duffer’s cafe, where he works. It is ranked high on the golf circuit, though it is just a small family spot. Open only for breakfast and lunch. Blessings, Sharon

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