Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
(Philippians 3:8)

The Loss Of All Things

Dear Friends,Welcome. This weeks opening and closing comes from a book by Mark Batterson, titled “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day”. We hope you find it a source of inspiration. Have a great week ahead.

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day

No Sacrifice

I think many people make a fundamental mistake in the way they view their relationship with God. They view it in win/lose terms. They see it as a zero-sum game. They focus on what they have to give up and fail to realize how much more they get back. A relationship with God is the ultimate win/win relationship.

Let me go out on a theological limb: I don't think there is any such thing as sacrifice when you're a follower of Christ.

Sure, we are called to “deny ourselves” and “take up our cross.” We're called to “lose our lives so that we can find them.” And we certainly experience temporary loss. But I don't think anyone has ever sacrificed anything for God. Why? Because we always get back more than we give up. And if you get back more than you gave up, have you really sacrificed anything at all?

On December 4, 1857, the famous missionary David Livingstone gave a speech at Cambridge University.

People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa....Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice.. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.

You've never sacrificed anything for God. But let me push the envelope even further: If you were to always act in your greatest self-interest, you would always obey God. That is what I mean by a win/win relationship.

I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 9:28-29

There is an old aphorism: “No one ever bet too much on a winning horse.”


WND (Edited from longer article.)


Every minute: 12 million texts, 2 million emails, 72 hours of video

Published: 1/14/12

by STEVE ELWART Email | Archive

Steve Elwart, P.E., Ph.D., is the executive research analyst with the Koinonia Institute and a subject matter expert for the Department of Homeland Security.

If you think you are being bombarded by information now, just wait.

The term "Information overload," sometimes called, "infobesity," is a term that came into everyday use in the 1970s. It refers to our inability to absorb and process all the information to which we are exposed.

If given too much information, we tend to just shut down. There is a term for this, "Information Fatigue Syndrome" (IFS). The term was coined by Dr. David Lewis, a British psychologist, and the author of the report "Dying for Information?" commissioned by London based Reuters Business Information in 1998.

IFS symptoms include, poor concentration, hostility, falling into a trance-like state, burnout, and a compulsion to check email, voice mail, the Internet to stay connected. Eventually, the sufferer will experience a lower immune response, depression and burnout.


The Complete Guide to What To Do Before, During, and After a Disaster



Report says Assad residing on warship

A handout photo distributed by Syrian News Agency (SANA) on July 3, 2012, shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during an interview with a Turkish newspaper in Damascus. UPI 

License photo

Published: Jan. 14, 2013

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family have been living on a warship, with security provided by Russia, intelligence sources told a Saudi newspaper.

An Al-Watan report Monday says the family and Assad aides are residing on the ship in the Mediterranean Sea and that he travels to Syria by helicopter to attend official meetings and receptions.

Otherwise, he stays on the warship, the sources told the Arabic language newspaper.

When he flies to his embattled country, the president lands at undisclosed locations and is transported to the presidential palace under heavy guard, the sources said.

The Russian-guarded warship provides a safe environment for Assad, who has lost confidence in his own security detail, the report said.

Assad's presence on the warship suggests he has been granted political asylum by Russia but there has been no official comment from Moscow, the newspaper said.

The circumstances reinforce Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's comment Sunday that Assad's removal from power is "impossible to implement," the newspaper said.

Assad's presence on the ship could be a sign of looming negotiations on the conflict in Syria, the report said.



EPA To Outlaw Many Wood Burning Stoves

Posted by: Rob Richardson

Fri, 11 Jan 2013

Our ever so helpful government has decided that your wood burning stove is now a danger to the world. In another attempt to outlaw the off grid lifestyle, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the same agency that was recently caught using drones to spy on Americans, is now going after home owners who use Wood Burning Stoves to heat their homes.

Shortly after the re-election of President Obama, the agency announced new radical environmental regulations that threaten to effect people who live off the grid. The EPA's new environmental regulations reduce the amount of airborne fine-particle matter from 15 micrograms to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

This means that most wood burning stoves would now fall into a class that would deemed unacceptable under these new draconian measures. The EPA has even launched a nifty new website called burn wise to try to sway public opinion.

On their site, while trying to convince people to get rid of their old stoves and buy the new EPA-certified stoves, they sate that these older stove must be scraped and cannot be resold.

From the EPA Site:

The local air pollution agency says I can't sell my old wood stove to help pay for an EPA-certified wood stove.  Why is that? - Replacing an older stove with a cleaner-burning stove will not improve air quality if the older stove is reused somewhere else.  For this reason, wood stove changeout programs usually require older stoves to be destroyed and recycled as scrap metal, or rendered inoperable.

Let's hope this doesn't fall under the jurisdiction of the newly created Department of Homeland Security Environmental Justice Units? The next thing you know we might all be getting a knock at the door..... Your Neighbor reported that you might be burning some wood, do you mind if we take a look around?






Exclusive: Dr. Lee Hieb gives real skinny on 'low-fat' malarkey

Published: 1/15/13

by LEE HIEB, M.D. Email | Archive

Dr. Lee Hieb is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. She is past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a free market medical organization.

I have a hobby. When I see a healthy patient over 90 years old, I always ask them about their diet, and the answer is almost always the same: They lean over and, sounding a little guilty like the kid who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, say something like, "Well, I hate to tell you this, but I have eaten butter, eggs and bacon all my life."

At which point I ask the female patients about their pie cooking - and they all agree they used lard.

Now this is not a rigorous scientific study, but I have been doing this for over 20 years, and the observation is remarkably consistent. The important fact, in my opinion is not what they ate, but what it implies about what they didn't eat: They did not switch to margarine. They did not use Crisco for cooking. They did not wallow in corn oil. In short, they ate natural fats, not manmade ones. In their heartland, meat and potatoes, home-cooked diet, the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 oils was generally high.

I hate to keep denigrating the food pyramid, but it deserves denigrating, and once again with regard to intake of "fats." For at least 40 years, the policy wonks have pushed a low-fat diet, also promoting "heart-healthy" margarines in place of butter, and have recommended more complex carbs overtly as well as covertly (in most low-fat foods, artificial lab-derived filler carbs give the food "substance," so low-fat foods are generally high-carb foods).

During this reign of the government nutritionists, Americans have become more obese with more diabetes, metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer's dementia. The recommendations persist even in the face of massive data showing that oils derived from plants such as soybeans and corn - i.e. Omega 6 oils - create inflammation in the body and contribute to disease.

Studies on Paleolithic diets and diets in other historical periods have shown that primitive man ate a diet consisting primarily of grass-fed meat (with its fat), nuts, roots and berries. This resulted in an intake of fats fairly evenly balanced 1:1 between Omega 6 (generally vegetable oils) and Omega 3 oils (generally from fish and olive oil).

By the turn of the last century, with the Industrial Revolution giving us the ability to process foodstuffs, people were eating diets roughly 4:1, by World War II, 8:1, and today our Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is somewhere around 20:1.

As we progressed from our hunter-gather stage to pastoral life and early agriculture, we added milk and cheese, some breadstuffs, and still we did not see, in general, the diseases of modern civilization. But add industrial agriculture that allows us to process and modify grains (see December column on wheat) and squeeze corn and soybeans for their oil, and we have an explosion in cardiac disease, hypertension, cancer and dementia.

It is estimated that 20 percent of American calories come from soybean oil. One study looking at various populations, comparing rates of coronary artery disease to tissue levels of Omega 6 fatty acids, shows a nearly straight line graph of increasing cardiac death with increasing Omega 6 tissue levels - and of course the U.S. is on the top. On the other hand, the Inuit and other similar arctic tribes who subsisted on a diet of 90 percent whale blubber until joining "civilization" were not similarly plagued - and were not fat.

Why are these Omega 6, vegetable-derived oils damaging? Because they produce the chemicals responsible for inflammation in the body. And inflammation is implicated as a common pathway or at least a great inciter of artery clogging, as well as cancer, autoimmune diseases and dementia.

One of the most interesting and important aspects of all this is what Omega 6 oils, and Omega 3 oils do to our brains. The human brain is mostly cholesterol, which is vital to proper neurological function. It is the precursor of many hormones including serotonin, a major neurotransmitter in the brain associated with feeling happy and sleeping well. Cholesterol may be an antioxidant as well, and one study of IV injections of HDL cholesterol showed that it acted to actually clear clog arteries.

The overall issues of the cholesterol hypothesis will be addressed in another column, but, in short, we have been sold on the popular notion that any cholesterol elevation is bad. This, in spite of the information that, in people over 60, the rates of death and dementia go up if cholesterol is lowered below the 250 range. And in the Melbourne Women's Midlife Health Project, a group of 326 women aged 52-63 years were monitored for memory and cholesterol. They found that higher serum concentrations of LDL-cholesterol and relatively recent increases in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were associated with better memory.

The manufactures of statins - the most common cholesterol-lowering drugs, and the financial powerhouse for the drug companies - contest that this memory loss is "transient" and resolves with removal of the drug, but concerns about this remain.

Polyneuropathy, a metabolic disease of nerves that gives patients numbness in their hands and feet, is clearly associated with statin use/cholesterol lowering, and this is not always reversible. For my money, something that damages nerves is risky for the brain. There is no doubt that some people benefit from statin drugs and cholesterol lowering, but we went from lowering levels of 350 to lowering levels of 200, which are now labeled "abnormal."

For me, I have accepted a degree of cholesterol elevation with aging, but I am scrupulous about the fats I ingest. I avoid boxed processed food, since usually these are made from the bad oils. I make my Christmas plum pudding from gluten-free flower and suet, cook with butter and olive oil and take supplemental fish oil.

I had the opportunity of talking with Dr. Barry Sears, author of "The Anti-Inflammation Zone," about fish oil. He and others now recommend three grams of good quality fish oil to supplement our American diets for people who are generally healthy. People with chronic disease may need more, and then I recommend his good book. Olive oil is the cooking staple, but I use coconut oil for cooking as well, and try to incorporate some into my daily diet. Coconut oil is thought to bypass a metabolic block in Alzheimer's and is being used experimentally in treatment for that disease.

Finally, fat is insulin neutral - meaning it doesn't raise or lower it. But fat moderates the degree to which carbs are absorbed. A full-fat ice cream has a lower glycemic index than a low-fat ice cream. And the fats in our diet decrease hunger. The French in this instance are right - they have never eaten "low fat" yet have lower cardiac problem rates than the U.S.

So fats are not the enemy, but should be eaten in their natural, not processed, forms. My rule of thumb for my diet in general: If my great-grandmother would not have recognized something as food - e.g. "Little Debbies," "Cheetos" (and I love Cheetos!), microwave popcorn, etc., I don't eat it. But my diet is rich and varied and delicious. Bon appetite.


Play the Fool

For more than thirty years, Gordon MacKenzie worked at Hallmark, eventually convincing the company to create a special title for him: “creative paradox.” Along with challenging corporate normalcy at Hallmark, Mackenzie did a lot of creativity workshops for elementary schools. And those workshops led to a fascinating observation that he shares in his book, “Orbiting the Giant Hairball”.

Mackenzie would ask the kids upfront: “How many artists are there in the room?” and he said the pattern of responses never varied.

In the first grade, the entire class waved their arms like maniacs. Every child was an artist. In the second grade, about half the kids raised their hands. In the third grade, he'd get about ten out of thirty kids. And by the time he got to sixth grade, only one or two kids would tentatively and self-consciously raise their hands.

All the schools he went to seemed to be involved in “the suppression of creative genius.” They weren't doing it on purpose, but society's goal is to make us less foolish. As Mackenzie says, “From the cradle to grave, the pressure is on: Be Normal.”

MacKenzie came to this conclusion:

My guess is that there was a time-perhaps when you were very young-when you had at least a fleeting notion of your own genius and were just waiting for some authority figure to come along and validate it for you.

But none ever came.


It's Just Like The Plan


Until next week...keep on believing.

Almondtree Productions

 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 11:3)