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Christian Natural Health

Christian Natural Health is the podcast that teaches you about natural health from a biblical perspective. I'm Dr. Lauren Deville, a practicing naturopathic physician in Tucson, AZ. In this podcast, my guests and I will cover topics ranging from nutrition, sleep, hormone balancing and exercise, to specific health concerns like hair loss, anxiety, and hypothyroidism. Once a week, I'll include a bonus episode, meditating on a Bible verse or passage. I'll also interweave biblical principles as they apply throughout the podcast--because true health is body, mind, and spirit. Learn more about me at http://www.drlaurendeville.com/
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Now displaying: June, 2021
Jun 25, 2021

Today's podcast is a meditation on and retelling of John 2:1-11.

This retelling comes from Messiah: Biblical Retellings. The second book in this series is Daughters of Zion: Biblical Retellings

Introduction
    Why was this Jesus’ first public miracle?
    It’s clear he didn’t actually intend it to be. He tried to tell Mary no, and that his time had not yet come, but Mary insisted. Presumably these were close friends of hers, and she was embarrassed for the host that they had run out of wine. She also knew Jesus could help, which is remarkable in itself. Up until this point, Jesus had been baptized by John in power, but he had not yet done any miracles. Mary surely knew that he could do miracles as the Messiah, but it’s remarkable that she had the faith that he would, even after he told her no and he never had before. It was her faith that made this one happen: she actually ignored his ‘no’ and told the servants to go ahead and do whatever Jesus said to do. What must they have thought, when they knew they’d filled up the vessels with just water, and then brought them to the master of ceremonies to taste? Were they snickering amongst themselves? Were they wondering what they would say as explanation?
    After Jesus was baptized by John and anointed with the Holy Spirit, he had the powerto do miracles. Satan tempted him in the wilderness to do miraculous signs to prove who he was to himself, since he had never yet performed any miracles. Satan wanted Jesus to doubt his identity. So when Jesus was beginning to literally starve after 40 days with no food, and Satan tempted him to turn a stone into bread, a necessity for himself—and he resisted. Yet now, when Mary wants him to turn water into wine—a luxury for others, he does it. Not only does he do it, he makes up to 180 gallons of it! It takes 5 normal sized bottles of wine to make a gallon, so this is 900 bottles of apparently exquisite wine. No matter how big this wedding, that’s way more than they could ever drink, even with a marriage celebration that went on for days. He continues this theme of abundance throughout his ministry: in the feeding of both the 5000 and the 4000, there was far more left over than he started with. When Jesus told Peter and his partners to cast their nets on the other sides of the boat, there were so many fish that the boats began to sink. He is a God of more than enough.
    Moses’ first miracle under the Covenant of Law was to turn a rod into a serpent (a symbol of sin). Jesus’ first miracle as the bringer of the New Covenant of Grace is to produce an excess of wine (a symbol of joy) for a celebration. This reminds me of the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut 16:9-15): in both cases, the people are to take a portion of what he has blessed them with and enjoy it themselves—all God asks is that they invite Him to the party. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).
 
Fictionalized Retelling: from Mary's POV
 
Deborah had been one of my dearest friends since the earliest days of my marriage to Joseph. She and her husband Zev had thought they were barren for many years, before the birth of their daughter Yasmin. Later they had two boys too, but Yasmin was the princess of the family. I watched her grow up with my own children, and loved her like one of my own. When Joseph passed away, her family and ours grew even closer. Zev cared for me like I was one of his own sisters, though my sons were old enough to take care of me then.
    Alas for Yasmin, though, her parents were too poor for much of a dowry, and she was never a beauty. When she reached eighteen with no marriage prospects, Deborah privately cried with me that perhaps Yasmin would never marry. What would she do in her old age, once her parents were not around to provide for her anymore?
    “Her brothers will no doubt provide for her,” I soothed my friend, though inwardly my heart broke for Yasmin, too. Yasmin did not let on, but I knew how it must hurt her not to be chosen, and how she must fear growing old without a family of her own.
    So when she met Tobias, a poor merchant’s son who seemed to see in her what all of us saw, we held our breaths… until the day finally came, when Tobias approached Zev for the Shiddukin, or commitment. When Zev asked Yasmin privately if she would consent to become Tobias’s wife, Deborah told me that Yasmin had burst into happy tears on the spot, choking out her yes with so much emotion that they could hardly understand her.
    I had been present for Yasmin’s Erusin, or betrothal ceremony to Tobias. I thought my face might split, I was grinning so hard as she and Tobias traded the wine goblet under the huppah. Betrothals typically lasted a year, and Tobias would need that long to prepare a place for his bride. From nine months after that day on, Yasmin kept her oil lamps burning in the house twenty-four seven, in case Tobias sounded the shofar and led the bridal procession to collect her in the night. I knew that Deborah and Zev privately fretted about this, since they could not really afford that much oil. But they dared not deny their girl this little luxury, after all she had suffered.
    The oil became a problem when nine months turned into a year, and twelve months became fifteen. Zev finally told Yasmin they could not afford to continue burning the oil lamps. Deborah told me of the tears that followed, and I understood why. Yasmin was not crying because she was denied the oil for the lamps. The oil lamps symbolized her hope that Tobias would ever return, and her hope was dwindling. Had he changed his mind? Would he return at all?
    So when the shofar sounded in the streets of Cana after a seventeen month betrothal, the entire town turned up to celebrate the Nissuin. We all loved Yasmin, Deborah, and Zev. I was relieved that Jesus had just returned home in time, as well: he had been baptized in the river Jordan and then went off into the wilderness for forty days, though I did not know how long he would be gone. He had made it clear to me that he would not necessarily share with me all the details of where and when he would be going from this point forward. I understood the significance of what he was saying. Since his very unusual birth, I had anticipated the day he would step into his role as the Messiah. I wanted to ask him what had happened in the wilderness, but he happened to arrive on day three of the Nissuin, at which point there was such hubbub and commotion that I could hardly ask him anything. He also arrived with a group of several men I had never seen before, orienting themselves around him like disciples. I beamed at my son and waved at him across the way when Deborah intercepted me, all aflutter.
    My face fell as I focused on my friend, and for one wild second, I thought, what crisis now?
    “We are out of wine!” she gasped. “It’s only the third day, and we are out of wine!”
    I understood what she meant immediately. It was considered shameful to run out of wine at all, let alone on day three. Although wedding guests typically helped to pay for the seven day wedding feast of Nissuin, none of our friends were wealthy people. There was no one to whom they could appeal for help.
    “This is because of the excess of oil burning all those months?” I guessed, and Deborah gave me a tearful nod.
    I bit my lip, and looked back at Jesus, then at Deborah again.
    “Leave it to me,” I whispered with determination, and crossed the room.
    I grinned and hugged my son, but when I got close enough to his ear I whispered pointedly, “They have no more wine.”
    When Jesus released me, I saw that he scrutinized my face with a slight frown. “What does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
    I narrowed my eyes at him. “I know about the dove from heaven,” I whispered back, referencing the rumors I had heard about the voice that had declared Jesus’ identity when John baptized him in the river. “You’ve stepped into your ministry now. You even have disciples. If Elijah and Elisha could both multiply oil and flour, I know you can do this! Besides, it’s Yasmin!” I insisted. “She’s practically your sister…”
    I saw that Jesus was about to protest again, so I turned away before I could hear it, gesturing at the servants nearby. I pointed them to Jesus.
    “Whatever he says to you, do it,” I instructed them, turning back to Jesus. I might have worn a slightly triumphant expression. He returned a mock glare, but the corners of his mouth turned upward. I knew I’d won.
    With a slight sigh, Jesus turned to the servants and pointed at six enormous empty waterpots used for ritual purification. “Go and fill the waterpots with water,” he instructed.
    I saw the servants frown at each other skeptically, but I reminded them, “Do it!”
    They shrugged, and went to do as they were told. It took two men to carry each filled pot back to Jesus, since they held about thirty gallons each, sloshing water over the edges as they carried them.
    When they returned, Jesus nodded at them and said, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.”
    The servants at first did nothing. One finally echoed, “Take him some… water.”
    Jesus returned the look I knew so well: that unblinking quiet confidence that said he meant just what he said, and wasn’t going to change his mind.
    The servant shrugged and said, “Well, okay then…” and dipped a goblet into the water. Then he looked down into the goblet and started. He looked back up at Jesus, then down at the goblet, then up at Jesus again. Jesus’ expression had not changed, though there might have been just a twinge more amusement.
    I smiled at Jesus with gratitude, but hurried after the two servants. They brought the goblet to Tobias’s father Uri, acting master of the feast. Uri was tipsy already, and gave a loud and cheerful “Hey!” when he saw that the servants had brought him another goblet of wine. He raised it to his lips, though his attention was elsewhere. All three of us watching eagerly for his reaction. He raised his eyebrows, lifted the goblet to his nose, sniffed it, and swirled it before bringing it to his lips again. Then he looked first to the servants, then to Deborah in amazement. He beckoned his son to him across the room, and Tobias came trotting over.
    “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” he cried out, clapping the boy on his back and drinking a long draught from the goblet. “Well done!”
    Tobias turned to us, looking confused. I giggled, and gestured to the servant.
    “Bring the bridegroom a goblet too!” I told them. “Bring me one as well!”
    They did so, whispering excitedly among themselves. Many of the guests turned to Jesus after they had no doubt heard the story, with expressions ranging from skepticism to amazement. Tobias shared his goblet with Yasmin, who went to Jesus to thank him. In minutes, the story had traversed the room, and the people swarmed Jesus, wanting to know if it was true. I could just see him through the crowd that now surrounded him, and I raised my goblet in the air to him in a silent toast.
    “To my son,” I whispered to myself. “The Messiah.”
Jun 18, 2021

Barbara Samuels is an international speaker, transformational wellness coach, CEO, and life strategist. She operates a successful lifestyle coaching company  "Living All Alive", that empowers individuals to take control of their health and reverse type 2 diabetes, and she is the author of the book, Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally.

Barbara has over 27 years’ experience working in the field of nursing as a registered nurse. Her experience in this field spanned on two continents. She has worked in England, Jamaica, and the United states. During her time as a nurse, she was deeply grieved as she witnessed the pain/suffering and untimely death of her patients from type 2 diabetes complications. 

She knew there must be more that she could do. She wanted to have a greater impact, and so she decided to become actively engaged in improving the health of others through education and wellness coaching. She left the hospital setting and has been making a major impact in helping to restore the lives of individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Barbara is married with 3 children. She is passionate about sharing the gospel, through avenues of health and wellness. Barbara’s mission is to help others live and experience the abundant life that they were created to have, enjoying all the blessings that God has for them.

For more about Barbara, see her website, Living All Alive, or find her on Instagram @LivingAllAlive.

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Jun 11, 2021
Introduction
Shinar was in what is now modern day Iraq. The land of Babylon got its name from the Tower of Babel, so named because the Hebrew word Bāḇel means confusion. Presumably the etymology of the English word babble comes from its Hebrew equivalent.
It’s interesting what is not in the text in this story. The people of the earth built a fortified city and a tower, intending for it to reach up to heaven. We know from God’s reaction that what they did was somehow evil, but there’s nothing inherently evil in building a city or a tower. What was the problem? 
I think the clue is in the phrase, “…a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Remember that this was only one hundred (and one) years after the flood—Noah and his sons were still alive. Could the point have been that their descendants were trying to protect themselves against a future act of God, even though He had already promised He would never again send a flood upon the earth? Was the problem that they were trusting in their own might and seeking their own glory, leaning on “their own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6)? Did the tower up to the heavens imply that they saw themselves as equal with God? 
Ultimately I think the issue was pride—and the fact that, left unchecked, the people might actually achieve their ends. God had to intervene once more; He had to make sure that the people of the earth did not once again become corrupted beyond redemption, beyond the point where He could bring forth a savior. The fact that He went about it by confusing their language is profound, though. He said, “the people are one and they have one language, and… now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:6-7). What a powerful statement about the power both of the tongue (Proverbs 12:14), and of agreement of vision and purpose! The Hebrew word for “nothing they propose to do” is zāmam, translated elsewhere as devise, imagine, or plot. We do nothing without first imagining or considering it, conceiving it in our minds. In the same way, the writer of Proverbs tells us to guard our hearts (or our minds or imaginations), “for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23), and “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). First comes the thought; then comes the word, and this translates into the deed or the action itself. We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27), and God spoke the world into being (Genesis 1:3). In the same way, our words have great power (Proverbs 18:21). When God saw that the descendants of Noah used this power to pursue their own ends and to forget Him, He dealt with it by confusing their language. He could not change their thoughts without violating their free will, so He intervened at a later stage in the process. Their words, lacking understanding, also lost the power of the unity of vision. Even with the loss of a huge percentage of his workers, Nimrod son of Cush, the son of Ham still went on to found Babylon, Assyria, and Nineveh, as well as many other cities (Genesis 10:8-12). Imagine what he could have done had they maintained the unity of language! In the same way, think of all the seemingly impossible advances in knowledge, understanding, and technology that have occurred even within our own lifetimes. All of these began as an idea, an imagination, a vision—which were subsequently communicated to others who caught the vision and could then add their own skills in pursuit of a common purpose. God Himself said of this process, “now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them” (Genesis 11:6). What a statement! What incredible power He has given to mankind, to use for good or ill. 
I also find it interesting that while this initial incident of producing different tongues divided and scattered mankind across the globe, Pentecost had the exact opposite effect: the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church united those who had been divided by language in a common purpose and vision (Acts 2:1-12). The Lord brought men together with the supernatural understanding of one another’s languages, and as a result, the church swelled from one hundred and twenty people (Acts 1:15) to over three thousand in a single day (Acts 2:41). 
What struck me most about this story was that Noah was still alive at the time—in fact, he lived for another 150 years after this (Genesis 9:28). I’d never thought of that before. Everyone on earth at the time would have been family to him: his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. How did the patriarch let this happen? How did his descendants go astray only one century after the flood? And how awful for him to essentially lose much of his family when they could no longer communicate with one another. It wasn’t like they could just pick up the Rosetta Stone and learn; this was the advent of all the new languages of the earth. Even if there existed a written alphabet for the original language they all spoke, there certainly wasn’t one yet for any of the new languages. So those who shared a language in common presumably migrated together to found new nations with their new tongues (Genesis 11:8). 
 
Fictionalized Retelling: Preincarnate Jesus' Perspective
I looked down at the earth and frowned. 
It was desolate, compared to the lush world before the flood one hundred years earlier. The earth had given forth its fruit and prospered in the last hundred years, but it was nothing to what it had been before. The temperate climate I had intended, and the tropical forests and glades spanning the globe had now become predominately ocean, desert nearer the equator, and tundra toward the poles. Still, My intention was for Noah’s descendants to repopulate the inhabitable portions of the earth, such as it was. That was not what they were doing.     
There were just over ten thousand of them now. I had kept my covenant with Noah simple. I needed a nation of those whose hearts would follow Me before going into detail about morality, to both teach them that they needed the Seed of Eve to come and redeem them, and to keep them pure enough that He could come at all. They weren’t there yet. In fact to start, I needed one man whose heart toward me was pure. 
That was why I frowned upon the earth now. I had given my vow to Noah that never again would I wipe out the earth’s entire population, and yet here they were only a century later, already challenging that resolution. 
“We told them to fill the earth and subdue it,” the Father observed to Me. “Yet they have all settled in Shinar, and the rest of the earth remains uninhabited.” 
“Yes, and see what they are doing,” the Spirit growled. “They are building a great city, with a temple to reach to heaven. Nimrod thinks he is God.”
“Satan heard the covenant too, that we would never again destroy the earth in a flood,” I murmured. “He thinks that means if he corrupts mankind again, there will be nothing We can do to stop him.” 
The Father sighed. “If mankind can only get past this stage without complete corruption, and give Us something to work with—”
“Where is Noah?” I groaned. I knew the answer, but expressed my frustration. Noah was their patriarch, the eldest man of the earth and the father of them all, at over seven hundred years of age. Yet he had said nothing to hinder the rebellion of his descendants, or to remind them of Us. He had grown complacent. He had Our promise, repeated several times per year in the heavens after each rainfall, that We would never again destroy the earth in that way again. We had not explained to him Our ultimate purpose. We had not explained that he and all mankind had an enemy that longed to keep Us from bringing the Seed that would ultimately redeem them. He would not have understood if We had. So he watched as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grew ambitious for their own legacy upon the earth, and forgot Us. He was actually even proud of their accomplishments. He did not think to warn them. He too was blinded.
We would have to get involved once again, since We lacked a man upon the earth to do it for Us. Yet We would need to do it without destruction, abiding by the rules of Our own covenant with Noah. 
“I will go,” I announced, “and see this city and tower which the children of men have built.”
So I descended from heaven to the land of Shinar, deliberately obscuring My radiance so that they would not know Me. I walked about the city incognito, like a stranger to those parts, dismayed at what I saw. Under the direction of Nimrod, son of Cush, all of the men of the land worked together toward Nimrod’s common vision. They had developed bricks and mortar, just like men had done before the flood, and had used them to create a sprawling city. At its center was a ziggurat, built with successive layers and a tower at the center which reached halfway to the sky. With an intricate system of pulleys, the people of Shinar continued to pile layer upon layer to the tower, with a spiral staircase on the inside so that they could still climb to the top. They worked well together. Too well. 
“In and of itself, the tower is not evil,” I murmured to the Spirit, who was with Me, but invisible to the men around us. 
“No,” He agreed, “but what is the motive for building it?”
This was rhetorical, but I answered anyway. “The people have become great in their own eyes, convinced they can accomplish anything they wish, without Us.” 
“To a large degree they are correct,” He replied, pensive. “They are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they have started to do, and now nothing which they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
I sighed, and made My way to the center of the ziggurat beside the tower, where Nimrod and his family lived. From there, he gave orders to all of his sons and nephews and cousins who built the tower with him. I frowned, listening and observing, until he had a moment of reprieve between the giving of orders. 
“You are in charge of this land?” I asked him. 
Nimrod looked at Me, narrowed his eyes, and sniffed with disdain. “Whose son are you? I do not recall.” 
“God’s son,” I told him. 
He gave Me an odd look followed by a little sneer. “Mmm, aren’t we all.” 
“Yes, though it seems you have forgotten it,” I said. “What is the purpose of this great city and the tower you have built?”  
He regarded Me again, as if deciding whether or not to dismiss Me. But, not willing to give up an opportunity to boast, he replied, “My grandfather, and probably Your great-grandfather, saw the earth destroyed in a great flood. This was only possible because the people had not fortified themselves against such disaster. We shall not make such a mistake.” 
I arched a brow at him. “You think that your ziggurat would save you against the hand of God, should He decide to destroy this generation?” 
Nimrod puffed out his chest. “Yes,” he declared. “My grandfather Ham told me that the flood waters rose above the peaks of the highest mountain of the earth. My tower shall reach higher than that, up to the very heavens themselves!” 
I considered telling Nimrod to ask Ham, or Noah, how it really was when the fountains of the deep broke open. The very idea that this ziggurat or its tower would have survived that was laughable. But it did not matter; Nimrod would not hear it, and the point was moot anyway. 
“You do recall the Lord’s covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood,” I said. “Why fortify yourself against a disaster which shall never recur?” 
“Ah,” Nimrod’s mouth curled at the edges. “Perhaps not a flood, but there are other kinds of disasters, are there not? This fortress would withstand a cyclone, or an earthquake, or a volcano, or a rebellion—whatever disaster may befall, my great name shall live on in the earth. My descendants shall still speak of me for thousands of generations to come.” 
“So your goal is your own glory, then,” I concluded. 
He shrugged. “Mine and that of my children after me. My glory is their glory. Why am I still talking to You? Get back to work!” 
I regarded him, and then murmured, “You have fortified yourself and your children against physical destruction, yes. But there is a kind of disaster that you cannot guard against, which shall destroy your best laid plans and bring them all to nothing.” 
He sneered. “‘Awh nem, wama hdha?” He blinked, confused, and then suddenly frightened. He clapped a hand over his mouth. “Madha faealt bi?” he demanded. 
“I have confused your language,” I informed him, though I knew he would no longer understand Me. “And not yours only. All around, you will find that your workers no longer understand one another. A few will share each tongue, and those few shall become tribes unto themselves, and will scatter together across the globe—”
“Madha faealt bi?” Nimrod wailed, lunging at Me. I casually raised a hand as if to deflect him, and lifted the veil from his eyes so that he could behold My true form. His eyes widened, and he collapsed to the ground in terror as My glory radiated all around him. 
I left him like that, groveling on the ground, as I strolled down the stairs of the ziggurat, joined by the Spirit as the cacophony of new tongues erupted all around Us. They shouted at one another now, as if that would help. 
Halfway down the ziggurat, We caught sight of the seven hundred year old Noah, and his son Japheth. I felt a pang of sorrow as Japheth shouted at his father, “Miért nem tudsz megérteni engem?” Noah shook his hoary head with dismay, as he at last realized that this was no joke. 
“I’ve lost my children,” he moaned to himself. “I’ve lost them forever—” He raised his eyes to Me then, and though I had again resumed My cloaked appearance, he knew Me. “We have forgotten You,” he whispered. “So you’ve made their language like the babbling of a baby to me.” 
“This is a mercy, not a punishment,” I told him gently. “Just as it was when We expelled Adam and Eve from the garden so that they could not take of the tree and live forever in their fallen state. Left unchecked, Nimrod and all your family in unity against Me would have corrupted the earth, just as surely as did the Nephilim.”
“Have you left me anyone at all?” Noah choked. 
“Shem, Arphaxad, and his children retain your language,” I murmured, laying a hand on his shoulder. “You will journey together with them to the land of Ur of the Chaldeans, together with their wives and children.” 
“What of Nimrod?” he asked me. “And Shinar?” 
“Nimrod will remain here, of course, along with all those who share his language. But he now has less than a tenth of the men he had before. He will continue to build here, and then will move on to construct the beginnings of other mighty nations. Your great-grandson will yet be great upon the earth, though not the absolute ruler he had imagined himself.” 
Noah covered his face with his hands, and I allowed him to fall into step beside Us. He looked back at the ziggurat once we had descended to the earth with one last look of sorrow, the unintelligible shouts mingling together in an angry, distant din. 
“Nimrod had called it the Tower of Shinar,” he murmured. “But hereafter I will call it the Tower of Babel.” 
 
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