Tuesday, February 20, 2024

What Does Your Appearance Say About You? Slaves of Sin or Slaves of Righteousness? What You Should Know About Plant-Based Diets.


What Does Your Appearance Say About You?

What does your appearance say about you?“While sitting in a waiting room, waiting for an eye exam, an elderly gentleman walked in whose appearance caught my eye. He had a nice suit on with a very nice wool overcoat. His shoes where so shiny you could probably see yourself in them. I can assure you I did not try. I thought to myself, this guy is rich, probably a CEO. As I looked around the room, everyone else was dressed in their jeans and one lady even had holes in her jeans. When I looked at the other people in the room, and how they were dressed, I certainly was not left with the same impression as I with the immaculate dressed elderly gentleman.

It made me think about our appearance. We know that God looks at the heart, and that is what is most important. But, our appearance leaves a message in others peoples minds. What does our appearance say about us? What is the first impression that people see when they see you? Does appearance mean anything? Is your appearance modest? Do we strive to wear our very best for the occasion? The main question we should also ask is does our appearance represent God? We are representative of God in our behavior and in our dress. We should dress as Ambassadors for the coming Kingdom of God. We should dress to honor God.

You do not have to spend a lot of money to look well dressed. Many thrift or second hand stores have great clothing for a low budget. You can find great quality clothes at these second hand shops. I know after seeing this gentleman it made me want to try harder and dress better because I know our appearance projects an image of us and of God, especially if they know we are Christians.

We want our appearance to project a high quality person, a representative of God! So always remember when you get ready to go somewhere what does your and my appearance say to others and am I representing God as an Ambassador?” From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/what-does-your-appearance-say-about-you#comments.  Yes, there are lots of comments to read about this, too!


Slaves of Sin or Slaves of Righteousness?

Romans 6:15-16

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

“The apostle Paul, after describing in Romans 5 the incredible sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of our sins and make possible the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life, saw the need to explain more fully.

We can do nothing to “earn” forgiveness or eternal life, but that doesn’t mean that God wants us to continue sinning. Obviously if God hates sin so much that He requires the death penalty for sin, He does not want us to go back to doing it. Sin causes pain and suffering and death. Obeying God’s law produces right relationships and life.

Paul points out that humans must choose whom they will serve: either sin leading to death or obedience to God’s good and righteous law, which leads to being right with God. Those are the only two choices; and as God said long before, He wants us to choose obedience and “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:16-19).

For more about sin and God’s law, see “The 10 Commandments for Today.” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/slaves-of-sin-or-slaves-of-righteousness/?


What You Should Know About Plant-Based Diets

eating veggies in a buddha bowl“Learn the pros, cons and safe ways to remove meat products from your diet ​

Thinking about trying out a plant-based diet and want to know more? Here, dietitians Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, and Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, explore some details that can help you decide if it’s right for you — and if so, how to jump right in.

What is a plant-based diet?

These vegan-like diets eliminate all animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and honey. As the name suggests, everything you eat — including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds — is derived from plants.

Are plant-based diets healthy?

Research reflects that following a plant-based diet has significant health benefits as long as you do it correctly.

“No matter when you start, a diet that is focused on plant foods will help you work toward the prevention of many illnesses and feeling better overall,” Zumpano says.

If followed properly, a whole foods, plant-based diet limits the use of oils, added sugars and processed foods, leaving only whole foods to provide nutrition. This maximizes nutrient intake and virtually eliminates foods that can lead to poor health outcomes.

These diets are low in saturated fat, free of cholesterol, and rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Research also reveals that following this type of diet will lower your risks of:

  • Heart disease.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Diabetes.
  • Digestive disease.
  • Colon and breast cancers.
  • Obesity.

Studies also show that a plant-based diet can help to lower body weight and reduce your LDL cholesterol.

The cons of a plant-based diet

Following a plant-based diet means saying goodbye to all animal products — including lean meat and dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream.

“That’s easier said than done for many of us,” Patton says. “But when you have the right guidelines and wrap in changes over time, replacing animal products in your diet is possible.”

Another thing to note — if you don’t plan your plant-based diet correctly, you may not meet all your protein, vitamin and mineral needs. And you won’t feel or look your best if you develop a nutritional deficiency. But there are easy ways to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need.

How to get enough protein

You’ll want to make sure that your diet includes enough protein to maintain muscle mass, strong bones and healthy skin. The following foods are packed with protein:

  • Beans, lentils and split peas.
  • Quinoa.
  • Fermented Soy products like tempeh, tofu, soybeans and soy milk.
  • Nuts and seeds.
How to get enough vitamins and minerals

You’ll also need to get adequate calcium and vitamin D in your diet to ensure healthy bones. This won’t be difficult if you:

  • Drink a milk alternative such as soy, almond, rice or hemp milk, which contain both calcium and the vitamin D needed to absorb it.
  • Eat plenty of dark green leafy lettuce and beans which contain calcium.
  • Eat mushrooms and fortified cereals which contain vitamin D. If you aren’t consuming fortified foods on a consistent basis you’ll need to take a vitamin D supplement. Sunlight is another source of vitamin D.

You’ll also need enough zinc in your diet to support a healthy immune system, enough iron to maintain energy and immunity and enough vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia. This means you’ll want to:

  • Eat whole grains, beans and fortified cereals for zinc and iron.
  • Eat fortified cereals and soy products to get your vitamin B12.
  • Nutritional yeast is also a great source of vitamin B12.
How to get started on a plant-based diet  …………..
Continued at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-a-plant-based-diet-right-for-you


Sunday, February 11, 2024

What Is Marriage? 1 & 2. Farmed Fish vs. Wild-Caught.


What Is Marriage? 1  (Special thoughts for Valentine’s Day)

What Is Marriage?“The Creator God made humans male and female, and He made the institution of marriage. He tells us why He created it and what marriage is supposed to be.

There is only one original source on earth where you can find out how, when, where and why marriage began. More copies of this book—the Holy Bible—have been published than any other written work, yet it is little understood. But by going to it, you can find an understanding of the meaning of marriage.


Summing up what the Bible teaches about marriage

  1. God designed marriage to be a lifelong, faithful relationship between one man and one woman.
  2. Adam was created first and was initially the lone human. From one of his ribs God lovingly formed a woman and presented her to Adam. They were “one flesh,” and she was the perfect complement to Adam. Together they formed a whole, and together they were able to build a family, having and raising children together.
  3. Because of sin, polygamy and divorce entered. Christ said divorce was only allowed in Israel because of their hardness of heart. While God does provide provisions for a marriage to dissolve under some circumstances, it is an extremely painful experience. God didn’t want His children to hurt one another in that manner.
  4. Through the words of Jesus Christ and the apostles, we can see that God’s perspective of marriage as a loving, monogamous relationship between one man and one woman has not changed. In the New Testament God reaffirms it and shows how very important fidelity within marriage is.

God's Design for Marriage BookletMen and women are different by design, intended to complement each other. And it is only through the marriage relationship that God intended children to be brought into the world—to be raised and taught under the loving, thoughtful care of their mother and father.

If you would like to read further about how to have a happy marriage, this “Marriage” section has many related articles for you to read. You will be glad you did!”  Complete article at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/marriage/what-is-marriage/


What Is Marriage?  2

“Some topics are more personal than others and tend to trigger more emotional reactions. Food and holidays, for example. Or “is that dress white and gold or blue and black” and, of course, marriage and sexual relations.

Although the Bible has a lot to say about marriage, it never explicitly answers the question, “What is marriage?” Probably for the same reason it doesn’t give a precise definition for travel, war, and sacrifice. Everyone in the Bible’s original audience already knew what marriage was, so why waste expensive paper and ink explaining it.

Our world, on the other hand, has become so full of confusion that we need to spell out even the most basic ideas. So, let me begin at the beginning…

Adam gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field, but the man could not find a helper fit for him. So YHWH God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that YHWH God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman (ishah), because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.      Genesis 2:20-24

This passage gives us the three most important elements of the definition of marriage.

  1. Marriage exists to help a man fulfill his assigned role in Creation.
  2. Marriage is meant to be a lifelong union of a man and woman.
  3. Marriage was instituted by God from the very beginning.

Marriage Exists to Help Man Fulfill His Mission

Although Genesis 1:28 records that the first collective mission of mankind was to be a caretaker over the earth and all life on it, Adam’s first individual assignment was to evaluate all of the other creatures to see if one of them might serve as a special helper for him. Of course, God knew that none of them would, but he had Adam go through this process so that the man would also know. When Adam was satisfied that none of the animals would meet his requirements, God created a woman, whom Adam named Eve.

Adam and most other creatures were created from the ground, but Eve was created directly from Adam. God didn’t create Eve from Adam’s head or foot, but from his side, showing that she wasn’t supposed to rule over him nor be his slave, but was supposed to be a peer. The woman was to be more like the man than any other creature in heaven or earth, a counterpart who would rule over and care for the earth together with him.

Eve wasn’t created to be exactly like Adam, though, or else God would have created another man and made them hermaphrodites or capable of parthenogenesis. Woman shares in the collective purpose of mankind as God’s stewards on earth, but each woman does so primarily by assisting her husband in his individual mission.

For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.    1 Corinthians 11:8-9 ESV

I know that doesn’t sit well with many people, but it is the plain teaching of Scripture. Eve was created specifically to be a helper for Adam, and Paul asserts that this principle applies within all marriages.

While the original task of humanity was to be a caretaker of God’s creation, the Fall necessitated a change in mission parameters. Our task now is to expand the Kingdom of God through procreation, evangelism, establishing justice, and generally doing good works according to God’s standards of justice and good. How each individual and family participates in this mission varies in as many ways as there are individuals and families, but you can know this with absolute certainty: A woman’s divinely appointed mission will never be at odds with her husband’s.

All kinds of things can prevent us from fulfilling marriage’s full purpose: illness and other circumstances that might be out of our control, the husband isn’t fulfilling his calling, or the wife isn’t fulfilling hers. However, our circumstances and failings can’t change the reason God created marriage.

Marriage Is a Lifelong Union

Genesis 2:24 says that the relationship of Adam and Eve is to be a pattern for all marriages, that a new marriage is inaugurated when a man leaves his father and mother to become one flesh with his wife.

“One flesh” implies that they are united in a way that would be painful and unnatural to separate and Yeshua (Jesus) confirmed this understanding when he said “They are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (See Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9.)

“Leaves his father and mother” doesn’t necessarily mean that he physically leaves their dwelling place. The Scriptural example is for extended families normally to live close together, frequently on the same land, and obedience to God’s instructions for the use of the land in Israel requires this. What this statement actually means is that the man steps outside of the nuclear family unit into which he was born and creates a new family still under the broad umbrella of his father’s clan and tribe.

This also doesn’t mean that marriage cannot be ended. God hates both divorce and death, but both happen, whether for good or bad, and both end a marriage. I’ll write more about this another time, but the Torah, Prophets, Yeshua, and Apostles all discuss when it is and is not appropriate to end a marriage. Divorce should be avoided because it breaks something that God didn’t want to be broken, but it is still possible.

Marriage Was Instituted by God

From the very beginning, God intended mankind to be male and female and to be joined in a union that he uses as a metaphor of his relationship with Israel.

Like the Sabbath, marriage was created for mankind’s benefit. Both parties, as well as their children, benefit from the arrangement, especially if it is conducted according to all of God’s instructions. However, also like the Sabbath, God created marriage because it suited his purposes. Every good master provides his servants with the tools necessary to accomplish his assigned tasks. The servant benefits because his job is made easier and more enjoyable. The master benefits because the servant is able to do a better job with greater economy.

Also like the Sabbath, marriage is not a man-made custom and man doesn’t get to define it. People today insist that they can make marriage whatever they want it to be: a man and another man, a woman and herself, and every other perversion one can imagine. Yet, Yeshua said that marriage is “what God has joined together”, so there can be no real question on this score. God makes the rules, not us.

Marriage was the very first government and was created by God to serve as the core of ministry, labor, justice, and civilization. It is a model of God and of our relationship to God and, as God is one (Hebrew echad), man and woman are to be one in spirit and flesh. Marriage benefits us and was created to help us in the work for which we were created, but ultimately both we and marriage belong to God and we have a responsibility to him to protect and honor it.”  From: https://www.americantorah.com/2023/03/27/what-is-marriage/


Farmed Fish vs. Wild-Caught

Transcript of video at: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/farmed-fish-vs-wild-caught-2/

“The levels of industrial pollutants found in aquaculture.

Although the levels of dioxins and PCBs continue to decline, there is one dietary source that still remains a threat: fish. Everything eventually washes into the sea. Yes, we can get some from eating horses, but most of human dioxin exposure comes from eating fish. The World Health Organization puts the tolerable upper daily limit of intake at 1 picogram—one trillionth of a gram. As you can see, just eating dairy and we’re already skirting with the max, and fish takes us straight over the top.

Everyone agrees that the omega-3 fatty acids, like DHA, found in fish, are healthy. But, given the industrial contaminants in fish, as a recent analysis in Food and Chemical Toxicology concludes: “If people choose to get their recommended long-chain omega-3 intake from fish, the majority of consumers would exceed the safety limits for dioxins and dioxin-like substances (like PCBs).”

And, just like with eggs, factory-farmed fish have significantly more dioxins. In fact, for every toxin tested, farmed fish had higher levels of DDT, these other banned pesticides, over ten times more PCBs, and ten times more dioxins than wild-caught fish. Aquaculture fish can be considered farmed and dangerous.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Seven Keys to Coping With the Trials and Tribulations of Life. Whose Prayers Won’t God Hear? Are Calcium Supplements Safe?


Seven Keys to Coping With the Trials and Tribulations of Life

Seven Keys to Coping With the Trials and Tribulations of Life“Sometimes life is tough! In troubling times we often turn to God, but do we pray for the things that will help us cope? Here are seven vital elements to request of God.

If you have never experienced any difficulty in life, and never expect to, you can skip this article.

Ah, you’re still reading, as I suspected. Because if one thing is certain, it’s that tests and trials and problems do come upon us. They vary in origin, type, intensity and length, but come they will.

When we read in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man,”  we can easily list the most common ones. There are health problems, the death of a loved one, financial stress, job troubles, loneliness, mistreatment, troubled relationships, dangerous circumstances, etc. Even blessings, when misused, have turned into trials for some.

And when we see unusual trials, none are so rare that others have not faced them as well.

No matter how big or small the hardship, how long it lasts, how temporary or permanent the consequences, we have to cope. Sometimes we cope well, and other times we don’t. You may recall examples of both in your own past.

But we don’t have to cope alone!

Peter says we should be humbly “casting all your care upon Him [God], for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He knows and understands our needs because “we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (verse 16).

What are the needs that we should pray to God about? It’s easy to focus only on what seems obvious—I lost my job, so, God, please help me find work. I’m sick, so, God, please heal me. I’m lonely, so, God, please bring someone into my life.

We may always go to God, but we may not always ask for all the things we really need.

There is nothing wrong with asking for a specific answer to a specific problem, but is that the only thing we need in order to cope with the trial? Are there other things to ask God for as well, and maybe to ask for first?

Let’s consider seven needs—keys to surviving life’s trials—to cast upon God in our prayers.

First of all, we humans are heavily influenced by emotions, and in times of stress our emotions often fluctuate. We cannot afford to allow an unsettled emotional state to dictate our level of confidence in God. That means we need to …

1. Pray for faith

Four times Matthew records Jesus using the phrase, “O you of little faith.” Each situation differed, but in each one He identified an enemy of faith—worry, fear, doubt and human reasoning. When life goes well, those are nonissues. But in times of trial, those enemies tend to raise their ugly heads!

When the future is uncertain, when life is challenging, it’s not always easy to confidently repeat Paul’s words, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

That’s the time to pray, “Father, please strengthen my faith. Help me to remember this.”

“We know that all things work together for good” is a statement of faith, of confidence in what you will see in the future. Faith doesn’t tell us in advance how, or when, or what we will go through, or why it will work that way. Faith just says “we know.”

Do we? When God gives us faith, we do!

It’s called walking by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Sight only tells us one thing—when we see God has intervened. Faith tells us He will. We only see the past and present, and even then our perspective is often not very clear. But spiritually, God helps us see what lies ahead.

However, accepting that requires belief—faith—in Him, His Word, His way.

Why is faith important to God? Because He’s our Father. He’s in control. He wants His children to believe and trust Him.

If we have faith that God has the answers and will answer, we must also be willing to wait for Him. That means we need to …

2. Pray for patience

A scripture telling us to patiently wait for Christ’s return also holds a lesson for patiently waiting for Him to answer our prayers.

In James 5:7-8 we read, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

Sometimes we say God is in control, but get impatient if He doesn’t control things on our schedule!

The moment we become impatient, we start living by the clock, not by faith: “I’m running out of time. I need this faster; I want it according to my time frame.” Impatience starts evaluating our situation according to the time passing, and if change doesn’t come when we want, our attitude easily shifts—our faith wavers.

Certainly in tough times we want quick relief. That’s understandable. But it’s so important to tell God, “My problem is in Your hands, but help me trust Your timing so I can wait patiently on You.” Patience turns off the clock; it doesn’t put God on our schedule.

James reminds us that in times of trial sometimes God is working to build something in us—perhaps an aspect of spiritual character—that doesn’t happen instantly.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Letting patience “have its perfect work” isn’t easy, but God can help you with it. Ask Him to!

Patience doesn’t imply that we do nothing, however. While patiently waiting for resolution, we must often take action and make decisions. That means we need to …

3. Pray for wisdom

James also spoke to this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (1:5).

Big problems often require big decisions. When the doctor is asking your permission to treat your sick child in a certain way, how do you, as an untrained person, know what is in your baby’s best interest? That’s pressure, but you can’t escape it. That’s when you need wisdom to sort through all the thoughts that come to mind, wisdom to get the advice you need, wisdom to weigh pros and cons, wisdom to discern what to do when logic fails to clearly tell you.

Consider Proverbs 2:3-7: “Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”

Later in the same chapter we read, “When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things” (verses 10-12).

Wisdom is a subject far too huge to detail here. These few verses, though, make the point—ask God for it!

Humanly, we have our physical, mental and emotional limitations. Knowing our tanks can run dry, we need to find the capacity to be strong. This means we need to …

4. Pray for endurance

Ephesians 6:13 encourages us to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Sometimes there is nothing left that you can do but stand and ride out the storm!

“Recall the former days in which … you endured a great struggle with sufferings,” Paul said. “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:32, 36).

Sometimes we just need to hang on a little longer, not give in, and not give up.

James noted, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure” (James 5:11). Do we count as blessed those who quit and give up? Maintaining the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual stamina we need can nearly exhaust us at times, but God can and will grant us strength to endure. Just ask Him!

Likewise, most stressful situations in life carry the potential of fearful consequences. That means we need to …

5. Pray for courage

After the Israelites exited Egypt, they created their own trial, which led to a 40-year stretch of hardship. As that ended, Joshua assumed the reins of leadership when Moses died, and God, knowing new challenges would arise, encouraged him. “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).

Then, three times in the next four verses, God exhorts him to “be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed.”

One needs courage when life is tough, when failure comes, when suffering mounts. And we don’t always have that quality on our own. So turn to God, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 16:13, to help you “watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

In recent years some fascinating studies of people with life-threatening illnesses indicate that those who maintain a particular mental quality have a stronger capacity to deal with their ordeal. That means we need to …

6. Pray for hope

Paul listed in 1 Corinthians 13 three of the most important qualities we can possess—faith, hope and love. Love is the greatest, he said, but hope is huge.

Hope is our vision of what the future holds. It keeps in mind a picture of life that helps us see beyond our present circumstances.Hope is our vision of what the future holds. It keeps in mind a picture of life that helps us see beyond our present circumstances. Faith is the confidence, and hope is the inspiring vision.

Perhaps the most dangerous mental state one can be in is hopelessness. Paul’s fervent wish for us was that “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Please download our free booklet Finding Hope in a Hopeless World from our LifeHopeandTruth.com website, and never underestimate the need to ask God for hope!

Having asked God for all these things—faith, patience, wisdom, endurance, courage, hope—now is the time to …

7. Pray for your specific needs

Whatever you need—the healing, the job, the friends, the money, the relief, the relationship—yes, ask God for it!

Finding Hope in a Hopeless World BookletJust remember that God knows our strengths and weaknesses, sees things we don’t see, and has the wisdom to know what is best for us. So His answer may be yes, no, maybe or wait.

That’s why, when we ask of Him something specific that we believe is the answer to our problem, we need to also ask for faith, patience, wisdom, endurance, courage and hope.

When we do that in time of trial, not only can we cope with our situation, but we can thrive in our relationship with Him.”  From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/christian-living/seven-keys-to-coping-with-the-trials-and-tribulations-of-life/?


Whose Prayers Won’t God Hear?

Psalm 66:18

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.

“Does God hear the prayers of sinners? Yes and no.

Yes, our merciful God always loves us and works with us, and Jesus Christ even died for us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). We were all sinners (Romans 3:23), so if God did not hear our cries for forgiveness, there would be no human He would hear. After sinning, David prayed, “Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities” (Psalm 51:9). God heard that prayer.

But without repentance, as Isaiah wrote, “Your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

Psalm 66:18 talks about sin “cherished” in the heart (New International Version). “If I have known it was there and encouraged it,” then God wouldn’t listen (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on Psalm 66:18).

To be assured God will hear and answer us, we must repent and work to root sin out of our heart with God’s help. See more about repentance in “How to Repent.” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/blog/whose-prayers-wont-god-hear/


Are Calcium Supplements Safe?

Transcript of video at: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-calcium-supplements-safe/

“The unnaturally large, rapid, and sustained calcium levels in the blood caused by calcium supplements may explain why calcium from supplements, but not from food, appears to increase the risk of heart attacks.

In 12 short years, government panels have gone from suggesting widespread calcium supplementation may be necessary to protect our bones to “Do Not Supplement”. What happened? It all started with a 2008 study in New Zealand. Short-term studies had showed that calcium supplementation may drop blood pressures by about a point. Though the effect appears to be transient, disappearing after a few months, it’s better than nothing. And excess calcium in the gut can cause fat malabsorption, by forming soap fat, reducing saturated fat absorption and increasing fecal saturated fat content. And, indeed, if you take a couple Tums along with your half bucket of KFC, up to twice as much fat would end up in your stool, and with less saturated fat absorbed in your system, your cholesterol might drop. So, the New Zealand researchers were expecting to lower heart attack rates by giving women calcium supplements. To their surprise, there appeared to be more heart attacks in the calcium supplement group.

Was this just a fluke? All eyes turned to the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest and longest randomized controlled trial of calcium supplementation. The name may sound familiar—that’s the study that uncovered how dangerous hormone replacement therapy was. Would it do the same for calcium supplements? The Women’s Health Initiative reported no adverse effects. However, the majority of the participants were already taking calcium supplements before the study started; so, effectively the study was just comparing higher versus lower dose calcium supplementation, not supplementation or no supplementation. But what if you go back and just see what happened to the women who started out not taking supplements and then were randomized to the supplement group? Those who started calcium supplements suffered significantly more heart attacks or strokes. Thus, high dose or low dose, any calcium supplementation seemed to increase cardiovascular disease risk.

Researchers went back, digging through other trial data for heart attack and stroke rates in women randomized to calcium supplements with or without vitamin D added, and confirmed the danger and most of the population studies agreed—users of calcium supplements tended to have increased rates of heart disease, stroke, and death.

The supplement industry was not happy, accusing researchers of relying in part on self-reported data—like they just ask if people had a heart attack or not rather than verifying it. And indeed long-term calcium supplementation caused all sorts of gastrointestinal distress including twice the risk of being hospitalized with acute symptoms that may have been confused with a heart attack. But no, the increased risk was seen consistently across the trials whether the heart attacks were verified or not.

OK, but why do calcium supplements increase heart attack risk, but not calcium you get in your diet? Perhaps because when you take calcium pills, you get a spike of calcium in your bloodstream that you don’t get just eating calcium rich foods. Within hours of taking supplemental calcium, the calcium levels in the blood shoot up and can stay up as long as eight hours. This evidently produces what’s called a hypercoagulable state, your blood clots more easily, which could increase the risk of clots in the heart or brain. And, indeed, higher calcium blood levels are tied to higher heart attack and stroke rates. So, the mechanism may be calcium supplements lead to unnaturally large, rapid, and sustained calcium levels in the blood, which can have a variety of potentially problematic effects.

Calcium supplements have been widely embraced on the grounds that they are a natural and, therefore, safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures. But, it is now becoming clear that taking calcium in one or two daily doses is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food. And furthermore, the evidence is also becoming steadily stronger that calcium supplementation may not be safe. That’s why most organizations providing advice regarding bone health now recommend that individuals should obtain their calcium requirement from diet in preference to supplements. But if we can’t reach it through diet alone, would the benefits to the bones outweigh the risks to the heart? We’ll find out, next.”  From: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-calcium-supplements-safe/

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.