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As many begin to set New Year’s resolutions, let’s enjoy this month’s theme—habits for a healthier, happier, and more hope-filled new year. Ordinary Women. Extraordinary Habits.

Each week, we’ll share a healthy habit to try. All so you can share with others God’s best for your body, mind, soul, and spirit. We’ll look at one Bible story to see what we can learn for our unfolding 2022 narratives. And finally, we’ll offer a healthful recipe to nourish your body and share with others as part of sharing God’s extraordinary love through our valuable daily moments.

This Week’s Healthy Habit…

The Cure for Vitamin G Deficiency: A Healthy Habit for Savoring God’s Word


Jesus called himself the bread of life and promised all who came to him would not hunger. (John 6:35).

Also, when tempted by hunger, Jesus quoted that God’s word was bread. What does it mean to feast on God’s Word? How might we fill up on and offer soul food?

Jesus was hungry. As fully human, He felt hunger. At the start of His ministry, He fasted 40 days. No human body can go that long without food and not feel hungry.

Jesus was powerful. As fully God, He commanded all the atoms in the universe. At the end of the 40 days, Satan used every trick to tempt Jesus.

“If you are the Son of God,” Satan said, “tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

And later, “I am the bread of life.”

Have you ever heard that sometimes when you’re badly craving something, it’s because your body is deficient in a nutrient? For example, if you’re craving chocolate, it could be that you’re lacking in magnesium and need to choose things like nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens.

Our hearts are like this, too. We curl up with a bowl of pasta and a romantic comedy after a hard day. We seek comfort and fullness. But this isn’t what we really need. We need the Comforter, our God, “Vitamin G.”

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

And if Jesus is the bread of life and people do not live only on food, then a feast awaits us in Him and His Word.

Lectio Divina is this week’s healthy, hopeful habit. It is Latin for holy reading. It is the practice of meditating on a small portion of Scripture. We read it slowly, prayerfully, and repeatedly, listening carefully for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and understanding of the text.

It’s like putting that decadent piece of chocolate in your mouth, noticing its complexities, and feeling its smoothness. You’re savoring it, experiencing it.

Lectio Divina is the same. It’s a slow savoring of the Word of God. But where chocolate is the proverbial moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips, God’s Word satisfies deeply, fully, lastingly.

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again,” Jesus told a hungry, craving crowd.

Our hearts are Vitamin G deficient, and Lectio Divina is one way to stop and be filled with lasting God-nourishment.

When we’re tempted to fill up on other things, we can take a breath. We can remind our heart so desperately needs, then find that portion of Scripture to taste. If you’re unsure where to turn, you might try looking at a Bible’s topical index. Or head to biblegateway.com and type in search terms like “hope.”

This kind of concentrated stillness can be difficult at first. Don’t give up, thinking you’re not able. Simply refocus and try again. It is a practice, which means it takes…practice. Experiencing God more is worth it!

Lectio Divina can also be practiced in a group. Read Scripture out loud, perhaps reading it in three different translations. Allow for people to listen and reflect in quiet. Ask what one word stood out most, what they are feeling, and what Christ might be inviting them to from this Scripture.

Our cravings are indicative of a deficiency. We’re missing something. Our bodies are looking for something we need.

The same is true of our hearts. We each know what we turn to when we’re tired, hurting, weary, or bored.

Let us each learn to, in the moment, turn to God’s Word, the bread of life, and find fullness there.

Are you Vitamin G deficient? What cravings tell you that you need Him? When might you schedule a 15-minute window to try Lectio Divina this week? How might you take some of the insights from that time and share it with another?

To Grow in Ordinary Moments;  Perhaps as You Cook this Delicious Recipe Below!

Naomi’s Recipe of the Week:

Hoppin’ John

What I Love About This Recipe:

My family makes Hoppin’ John every New Year’s. It’s a fun tradition that reminds us that we start the new year alongside many others who hope for good things.

As we identify our cravings for the new year, how will we ask God how He wants to strengthen us to be healthy for Him in 2022? Practices like Lectio Divina sustained me in profound ways during a tumultuous year. I pray you experience the same extraordinary refilling!

Recipe:

Note: Many things may affect the cooking times of the black-eyed peas. They could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook to tenderness, depending on their age, where they were grown, and the water you are using.This recipe uses 1/2 pound of dried black-eyed peas (about 1 1/4 cups). You could use up to a pound of black-eyed peas without changing the amounts of the other ingredients. However, you’ll need to double the amount of water, and you may need to add more salt. Recipe by Simply Recipes.

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 pound bacon, or 1 ham hock plus 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces dried black-eyed peas, about 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • Salt
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • Scallions or green onions for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Cook the celery, onion, and green pepper: If you are using bacon, cut it into small pieces and cook it slowly in a medium pot over medium-low heat. If you are using a ham hock, heat the oil in the pot. Once the bacon is crispy (or the oil is hot if you are using a ham hock and not bacon), increase the heat to medium-high and add the celery, onion, and green pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Add the black-eyed peas and seasonings: Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaf, thyme and Cajun seasoning and cover with 4 cups of water. If you are using the ham hock, add it to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half, (less time or more depending on the freshness of the black-eyed peas) until the peas are tender (not mushy).
  3. Cook the rice: While the black-eyed peas are cooking, cook the rice separately according to package instructions.
  4. Strain the peas and adjust the seasoning: When the black-eyed peas are tender, strain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the black-eyed peas for salt and add more if needed. If using a ham hock, remove it from the pot, pull off the meat, and return the meat to the pot.
  5. Serve with rice: Serve the dish either by placing a ladle-full of black-eyed peas over steamed rice, or by mixing the two together in a large bowl. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with collard greens, kale, beet tops, or turnip greens.