FEAR WEAKENS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

We are living in some very scary times. The fear is visible. The fear of getting infected with the COVID-19 virus; the fear of your loved ones getting infected; the fear of what the future holds financially; the fear of the unknown. It is controlling our every move and decision making. It is making us sick!

IMMUNE SYSTEM

Our state of mind affects one’s state of health. When we allow fear to take over our thoughts, it can have serious health consequences – our heart rate increases and we develop high levels of adrenaline and stress hormones. When this remains constant, our fight or flight response activates. The fight or flight response is the instinctive response your body gives when faced with a dangerous situation. When it’s on, the body releases stress hormones. These stress hormones weaken the immune system, which makes us vulnerable to infections and diseases.

FEAR NOT

I know it’s easier said then done but I will say it anyway, fear not! You see, “heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool” (Isaiah 66:1). Meaning, God is above all. He is in control; He will always be in control. We can either continue to fill our minds with the latest news headlines allowing fear to take over our body, or we can choose to rest in that blessed assurance and stillness of His promises. So let’s rest in the promise of His word, especially during these uncertain times. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

If there was ever a time to put the Word of God into practice, it sure is now!!

D. Arelis

YOU CAN’T CHANGE SOMETHING UNTIL YOU ACKNOWLEDGE IT

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs‬ ‭31:8‬‬‬

Imagine trying to make an important statement to someone only to realize that the person hasn’t been listening to a word you’re saying. Very frustrating, right? This is exactly what is happening to our world today. The minority of voices are crying out and instead of being an alley, we are getting offended and shutting these voices out. If the word of God teaches us to stand for truth and justice why aren’t we doing this?

SPEAKING UP

The story of Esther is a perfect example hereof. When Mordecai asked Esther to speak to the king on behalf of her people (the Jews), she hesitated. She was scared considering that in those days, anyone who goes before the king without an invitation, was put to death. She feared for her life. Seeing that she was hesitant, Mordecai replied, “Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this” (Esther‬ ‭4:13-14‬).

After hearing this she stood up and proceeded to the king’s court with that “if I perish, I perish” attitude. She spoke up and the king canceled the edict ordering her people’s death. 

BREAK THE SILENCE

This is the attitude we are called to have. Just like Esther, we have been raised up for such a time as this. To rise up courageously and speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, defending the voiceless and the oppressed. However in order to do so we must first listen. Don’t take it personally what is being said. Be an alley, listen and try to understand. Afterwards, make their voices heard by amplifying it. Because you can’t change something until you acknowledge it!

How are you being part of the change today?

 

D. Arelis

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

A strong immune system does not mean you will not get sick. It means your body will be in a better shape to fight off viruses. Here are some ways to help keep it strong.

THE RIGHT DIET

Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your gut? This is why keeping it healthy is extremely important. Ways we can do so is by focusing on a more Mediterranean way of eating. For example, consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Include fermented foods into your diet – these help build the good bacteria in your gut. Avoid inflammatory foods such as processed meat and fried foods. Also, avoid refined sugar as it increases inflammation which can lead to diseases.

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Furthermore, try to stay away from other processed foods/snacks such as potato chips, pretzels and rice cakes. Yes, rice cakes are not as healthy as we thought they were. They are made out of processed white rice which are high in carbohydrates. Furthermore, as you might already know, alcohol also weakens the immune system; it undermines your body to cope with infectious diseases, therefore, try to avoid it or reduce its consumption.

STAYING ACTIVE

Just the right amount of exercise can help boost your immune system too. Physical exercise has many health benefits. Not only does it help decrease your chances of heart disease, but it will help flush out bacteria out of your lungs and airways. It causes change in antibodies and white blood cells, which are the body’s immune system cells that fight diseases. 

STOP STRESSING

Studies have shown that the state of the mind affects one’s state of health. Thus, allowing stress to take over your mind and body can have serious health consequences. For example your heart rate may increase and you may develop high levels of adrenaline. When this happens, the fight or flight response activates. This is the instinctive response your body gives when faced with a dangerous situation. When it is activated, the body releases stress hormones. These stress hormones weaken the immune system, which make you vulnerable to diseases.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Last but not least, sleep reboots your system. It enhances T Cell responses, which is an essential part of the immune system. So try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep to keep your immune system strong.

With all this said, pay extra attention to what you’re putting inside your body. Take care of yourself. Stay healthy!

 

D. Arelis

COMPARISON PARALYZES US

Comparison distorts our inner peace. It merges our attention towards our shortcomings while distracting us from what we are capable of. It completely blocks our vision to see God’s perfect plan for our lives. 

But why? Why do we find the need to compare ourselves with someone else?

SHORTCOMINGS

We compare because of our insecurities and fears. During Moses’ first supernatural encounter (burning bush) in the desert, the Lord instructed him to go to Egypt to convince Pharaoh to free the people of Israel from slavery. Moses was horrified of course. This was a task that was beyond his comfort zone. According to Exodus 3:11 his reply was, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” In other words he was like, “Listen God, I don’t know if you know but I am not fit for this job.” He didn’t think he was good enough.

Then God responded and said, Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:11-12).

God was telling Moses, and you and I today, that it’s only because of Him that we can do all things. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord” – Zechariah 4:6. 

In conclusion, comparison prevents you to become the best version of you. Keep in mind that everyone’s walk in life is different. We all run in our own pace towards our purpose. Don’t allow comparison to paralyze you from moving towards greater things!

 

D. Arelis

BUT GOD…

Have you ever looked back on your life and thought to yourself, “Wow! How did I survive all that?” Most of us have a story to tell reflecting God’s love and mercy and so did Joseph.

Joseph’s hardship started the moment he was sold into slavery by his envious brothers. After being sold to the slave traders, he was sold again to one of Pharaoh’s officials – Potiphar. From being sold twice to being thrown into jail for false accusations for 12 years, things weren’t looking too bright for the kid. However, even so, “…the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Genesis 39:21). Long story short, a few years later the tables have turned. Joseph ended up being the second most powerful man in Egypt, next to Pharaoh. When the brothers became aware of the situation, they feared he was going to seek revenge. But he didn’t. Instead he let them know: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20).
When you read through each scenario of Joseph’s life, you see how God was forming him and preparing him for his purpose, to save thousands of people in Egypt and in the surrounding regions.

BUT GOD

Having said this, every single scenario in our lives has also been played for a reason. This past year has been a year of so many questions. “Why God? When God? How God?” I couldn’t understand the way God was moving in my life. Nothing was making any sense. It felt as if someone pressed the pause button on my entire career and personal life. I wasn’t getting the job I wanted and and other areas of my life were nonexistent. But God! Won’t He do it? Oh yes He will!
After job hunting for over a year, God opened that door with that job opportunity for me. And right at that moment, each past humiliation; hurt; rejection, made perfect sense. God was preparing me to walk through that door. Have I not been prepared, my old way of thinking and my old way of perceiving things wouldn’t have allowed me to operate accurately.

THROUGH EVERY SET BACK

Remember that in every setback God moves us closer towards our purpose if we allow Him to. No matter how irrational and unfair your situation may be, trust that God is always in the midst of it and means it for good. He is moving mountains we don’t see.

Are you allowing yourself to grow through what you’re going through? Are you ready to walk through that door?

 

D. Arelis

AND AS YOU SPEAK

The other day I woke up with this phrase on my mind: “and as you speak”. Just that random phrase. No dream, nada! After going about wondering what it meant, the story of Samuel came to mind.

 

“Suddenly the Lord called out, ‘Samuel!’ ‘Yes?’ Samuel replied. “What is it?’ He got up and ran to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?’ ‘I didn’t call you,’ Eli replied. ‘Go back to bed.’ So he did. Then the Lord called out again, ‘Samuel!’ Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?’ ‘I didn’t call you, my son,’Eli said. ‘Go back to bed.’ Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?‘” (1 Samuel 3:4-9) 

When Eli realized that it was God calling the kid, he told him to go back; lie down and if he hears someone calling his name again to just say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:10).

 

HEARING VS LISTENING

When we know God, we know His voice. It’s not about hearing God speak; it’s about listening to what He is saying. Hearing is the act of perceiving a sound. You can hear someone speak without actually listen to their words. Now because Samuel did not know God, he was hearing but not listening up until Eli told him to listen. Listening is the ability to receive and interpret a message. It requires concentration in order to process meaning from words and sentences. 

With all that said, many believers today don’t know God. They know about Him but they don’t know Him. Knowing Him means recognizing His voice in a world full of distractions.

Are you familiar with the cocktail party effect? The cocktail party effect refers to the ability to focus one’s attention on a particular stimulus while filtering out a range of other stimuli. For example when a person is able to focus on a single talker or conversation in a noisy environment.

When it comes to God, it’s the same thing. The moment He speaks, your attention should immediately shift to the sound of His voice.

 

Whose voice has your attention today?

 

D. Arelis

PUT YOUR BLINDERS ON

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” – Proverbs 4:25

To focus means to center your attention in one direction. When we lose our focus, our motivation starts to fade which can make the quality of what we are doing, decrease.

NO DISTRACTIONS

Often times in life while listening to the voice of God and following His directions, somewhere down the road, we still allow people/circumstances cloud our vision – blinding and distracting us from moving forward.Horses that pull wagons and carriages wear blinders. Have you ever wondered why? The purpose of these blinders is to prevent the horse from looking anywhere else but forward – it prevents them from becoming distracted or panicked my their surrounding. These horses are on a mission, meaning they cannot afford to be distracted. In life neither do you and I.With all this being said, these past two weeks have been a challenge for me. I got somewhat discouraged by certain things that were happening and started to forget the reason of the season I am in. I quickly realized I needed to let go of the distractions and refocus my perspective. And just like the carriage pulling horses, I needed to put my blinders on.

2020 FOCUS

Keeping focus is difficult. But taking your eyes off of God’s purpose is not an option. It will lead you in the wrong direction and you sure do not want that.Where is your focus fixed on today? Is it anxiety? Discouragement? Hopelessness? Are you more focused on what is happening around instead of in front? Narrow down your focus. The moment you do, you close off but one line of thought – God’s.

Let your eyes look straight ahead – not beside you, nor behind you but before you. Having a 2020 vision means having a perfect vision. Don’t lose your 2020 focus this year!

D. Arelis

WHEN GOD DOESN’T ANSWER

In a world where anything you want is just a click away; where food can be ordered through an app and delivered to your door in less than an hour, it can get frustrating when you’re asking God for something and all you hear is silence.

Unanswered prayers can trigger many emotions within us – from confusion to disappointment to anger. Often times these emotions not only show our lack of understanding of how God moves but it also leads us into thinking that He is not listening.

WHEN THE ANSWER IS NO
A “no” answer from God can be the most difficult thing to accept. Although we know it is for our own good, we still want to know why He is choosing not to give us what we’re asking for. However, ultimately it doesn’t matter how much you pray; or how much effort you put into getting that which you want because at the end of the day if it does not align with His will, it will not be given to you. Trust that when He closes one door it’s to protect you and redirect you – even if it hurts. God is moving in your favor.

WHEN THE ANSWER IS WAIT
Now when He tells us to wait it’s because it’s not the right timing. We live in a time where everything is fast-paced and waiting is the one thing nobody has time for. I mean, nobody likes to wait. It requires patience and trust. Two things many of us lack. Now when it comes to our prayer life, this is the exact attitude we adopt towards God. Understanding what it means to wait is grasping the thought of what it is to not do anything; to let time go by until something happens – until you see His hand move. Trust in His timing. Believe that if he’s done it before, He will sure do it again.

With all that being said, remember that God wants to answer your prayers. He wants to give you the desires of your heart. But all in accordance to His will. His Word tells you to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11).

Trust His will; trust His timing!

 

D. Arelis

GOD IS NOT A GOD OF CRUMBS

What if you were meant for more but you are settling for less? What if you were called to stand out but instead you are comfortable fitting in? 

To settle means to remain at a certain level. To “settle for crumbs” means to remain at a lower level than where you’re suppose to be. Whether it’s a job below a certain skill/pay level, a partner, a house, friends etc., if it does not meet your standards, don’t settle for it. Remember, “He made you the head and not the tail; he has put you on top and never at the bottom” (Deuteronomy 28:13). God does not do average so neither should you.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

The other day I was having one of those father-daughter conversations with my dad about life decisions, and he said something that stuck with me: “God is not a God of crumbs”. How true is this?! That moment I stepped outside of the box I was in mentally in order to be able to look at myself from a different perspective – from God’s perspective. You see, too often we choose to stay in situations with no room for improvement, even when we are well aware that God always has His absolute best in store for us.

HIS ABSOLUTE BEST

But why do we still choose to settle for crumbs? Well more often than not, people either want 1. a quick fix; 2. are under pressure; or/and 3. don’t believe they will or can find something better. When Job’s wife suggested him to settle by cursing God and die — after losing his children, his life-stock and his properties — he chose not to. And the Word of God tells us that therefore, “the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years” (Job 42:12-17).

With all this being said, settling for less, will rob you of God’s best. I love the story of Job, there are so many powerful life lessons we can learn, including the part where he chose not to settle. He did not go for a quick fix; he did not allow the pressure of his wife get to him and neither did he allow his current situation stop him from believing that God had something better in store. And I am convinced that his way of thinking developed the moment he said: “I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

When it comes to your life choices today, are you eating at the table or picking up crumbs off the floor?

 

D. Arelis

AND SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA LAY DOWN YOUR ‘ISAAC’

Letting go can be one of the most difficult things you get to do in this life. Whether it’s your past, a bad relationship, or that dream job you’ve always wanted — it’s not easy. However, in order for God to move on your behalf, it is necessary.

LET GO AND TRUST

We are all familiar with the story of Abraham and his boy Isaac — the child of the promise. Now, one day God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love — Isaac — and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you” (Genesis 22:2).

And you may ask yourself “well why did God ask Abraham to lay down the one thing that mattered to him the most?” Simple, because He was giving Abraham a second chance. A second chance to let go and trust Him completely. The first chance Abraham had was during his waiting season. And we all know how that part of the story went. Yes, he failed in trusting God when he decided to take matters into his own hands and impregnated Hagar. So this time around, Abraham wasn’t planning to fail another test. Long story short, God did not allow him to harm his child.

LAY DOWN YOUR ISAAC

With all that being said, we all have an ‘Isaac’ God is asking us to lay down. Laying down your ‘Isaac’ means completely submitting what matters to you the most. Surrendering your will to His’. In some cases, God asks us to let go only to return it all back. Yet in other cases, things and/or people are just not meant to stay. Once you lay it all down, you’re allowing God to show His glory through you and through your situation.

NEW WINE INTO NEW WINESKINS

There’s a parable of Jesus in Matthew that explains how the old and the new are not compatible. “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins” (Matthew 2:22). You see, old wineskins are stretched to their limit each time wine is fermented inside of them. Therefore, pouring new wine in stretched wineskins will cause it to burst. Now the same goes for you and I when it comes to asking God to bless us while we are still holding on to our past. It doesn’t work. We have to let go of the old so that the new can take place.

What is God asking you to let go of today?

 

D. Arelis