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8/24/15 8:47 A

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www.veganhealth.org/b12/elder

Elderly lacto-ovo-vegetarians and vegans often have very low serum B12 levels. They should make sure they are getting a reliable source of B12. In fact, all people over age 50 should get some B12 by way of fortified foods or supplements due to lower stomach acid decreasing absorption of food-bound B12.

Brants et al. (1990, Netherlands) (1) and Lowik et al. (1990, Netherlands) (2) compared the B12 status of elderly (65-97 yrs) lacto-ovo-vegetarians to non-vegetarians.

They concluded that a lacto-ovo or lacto-vegetarian diet can be adequate in old age, with positive impacts on heart disease risks, provided that it is carefully planned, especially with respect to iron, zinc, and B12.

Woo et al. (1998, Hong Kong) (3) compared 106 elderly Chinese lacto-ovo and vegan women to 229 non-vegetarians:

All were older than 65 yrs (avg. 81); all were apparently healthy.
Vegetarians had been on the diet > 10 yrs.
Low B12 occurred in 53.8% of the vegetarians (data not given for non-vegetarians).
16 vegetarians had B12-deficient anemia compared to 1 non-vegetarian.
Vegetarians had a lower prevalence of a history of smoking and heart disease.

There is evidence that adults 65 years and older should take at least 500 µg per day of vitamin B12 in order to optimize their B12 status (see How Recommendations Were Formulated: Adults Over 65 Years).

References

1. Brants HA, Lowik MR, Westenbrink S, Hulshof KF, Kistemaker C. Adequacy of a vegetarian diet at old age (Dutch Nutrition Surveillance System). J Am Coll Nutr. 1990 Aug;9(4):292-302.

2. Lowik MR, Schrijver J, Odink J, van den Berg H, Wedel M. Long-term effects of a vegetarian diet on the nutritional status of elderly people Dutch Nutrition Surveillance System). J Am Coll Nutr. 1990 Dec;9(6):600-9.

3. Woo J, Kwok T, Ho SC, Sham A, Lau E. Nutritional status of elderly Chinese vegetarians. Age Ageing. 1998 Jul;27(4):455-61.

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8/23/15 10:13 P

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Joel Osteen

Today’s Scripture
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
(Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He Gives Strength

Have you ever felt backed into a corner about a particular situation, and you couldn’t see a way out? We’ve all felt overwhelmed at one time or another. Be encouraged today because the Bible says that when you cry to God for help He will hear you and answer you! He will give you strength when you are weary and power when you feel weak.

No matter what is going on in your life today, God is greater than any obstacle or difficulty you may be facing. Do you need strength to overcome a challenge in your life? Do you need power to stand strong in the midst of a storm? Call on Him and He will hear you. The answer is on the way while the words are still on your lips! Open your heart today, receive His strength, and let Him empower you to live in victory all the days of your life!


A Prayer for Today

“Father, thank You for hearing and answering my prayers. Fill me with Your strength and power today. I give You my whole heart and surrender to Your work in me in Jesus’ name. Amen.”



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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8/23/15 3:39 P

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Jainism
The virtuous compassion of the Jain lifestyle yields exemplary vegetarians

All good Jains are vegetarians, for they believe that no living entity should be harmed or killed, especially for food. According to one famous Jain motto: "All living creatures must help each other." From its inception 2,600 years ago, Jainism has remained faithful in its commitment to nonviolence and vegetarianism.

Because followers of this gentle religion make compassion the central focus of their lives, their understanding and practice of ahimsa exceeds even that of many of the followers of other Eastern religions. Jains believe that humans, animals and plants are all sacred and can feel pain. Hence, they are careful to avoid harming even plants.

The concept of ahimsa, noninjury, permeates all aspects of Jain life. Some ascetics of this faith will sweep insects from their path as they walk and wear a face mask to prevent inadvertently killing small organisms as they breathe. Traditionally, these kindly souls adhere to the ideals of nonviolence with regard to the jobs they take to make a living. Often, they will work as traders of commodities. Even here, they follow rules. They will never handle goods made with animal products, such as hides, horns, ivory and silk. Farming and defending one's nation are allowed as exceptions to the rule.

Jains classify the life-quality of all living entities according to the number of senses they possess. The lowest forms of life have only one sense: touch. This group includes plants. The highest life forms--including humans and most animals--have all five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. The earthworm is an example of a life form with only two senses: touch and taste. Lice have three: touch, taste and smell. Mosquitoes have four: touch, taste, smell and sight. Jains consume only plants, because plants have just one sense.

Jains have extensive dietary rules regarding the choice and preparation of the plants they eat. Generally, vegetables that grow underground are prohibited, because harvesting them usually means pulling them up by their roots, which destroys the entire plant, as well as all the microorganisms living around its roots. When possible, fruits are plucked only when they are ripe and ready to fall to the ground. Ideally, these are harvested after they have fallen of their own accord.

Grains, such as wheat, rice and beans, are collected only when the pods are dry and dead. Very orthodox Jains will not eat certain fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of seeds--like eggplant and guava--because these so often contain worms. Cauliflower, broccoli and other vegetables with velvety surfaces are also avoided by orthodox Jains because tiny insects get stuck on their surfaces and cannot be removed. Mushrooms are not consumed because they may contain parasites. Leafy vegetables, like cabbage and spinach, are carefully washed and inspected for insects and worms. Dairy products are allowed.

Jains follow restrictions on the timing of food preparation and its consumption. Meals must be cooked and eaten only during daylight hours. This rule evolved because cooking food at night could cause the death of small flying creatures like gnats and mosquitoes that would be attracted to the light and warmth of a fire.

Jains perform several kinds of fasts, including during festivals and on the eighth and fourteenth day of the full moon cycle. While fasting, only foods prepared from grains are allowed, and no fruits or vegetables are consumed. Besides protection of other living beings, the primary purpose of the Jains' dietary codes is to control desire and purify mind and body. In addition, their practices provide health and environmental benefits and help to conserve world resources. At a world environmental congress recently held in England, a comparative study of religions proclaimed Jainism the most environmentally friendly religion on Earth.

The lifestyle of modern Jain monks and nuns is more austere than that of even the strictest lay Jains. In their respect for Mahavira, Jainism's founder, monks of the Digambar (sky-clad) sect wear no clothes, shave their heads and walk barefoot. They eat only once a day, and then only what is offered to them as a sacrament.

Today there are roughly five million Jains worldwide, with the most orthodox residing in India. Although many modern Jains modify their dietary restrictions for convenience, most are faithful vegetarians. Some have entered non-traditional professions. A select few have migrated to foreign countries and have become some of the wealthiest Indians in the world.

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8/22/15 7:57 A

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Doing What Comes Naturally

by Max Lucado • August 22

My child’s feelings are hurt. I tell her she’s special. My child is afraid. I won’t go to sleep until she is secure. I’m not a hero. I’m a parent. When a child hurts, a parent does what comes naturally. He helps. As a father, I can tell you those moments are the sweetest in my day. They come naturally. They come willingly. They come joyfully.

If I know that one of the privileges of a father is to comfort a child, then why am I so reluctant to let my heavenly Father comfort me? Do I think he was just being poetic when he asked if the birds of the air and the grass of the field have a worry? And if they don’t, do I think God will? Why don’t I let my Father do for me what I’m more than willing to do for my children? Good question.

From The Applause of Heaven



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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The Two-Letter Word “IF”

by Max Lucado • August 21

The prison of pride is filled with self-made people, determined to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps even if they land on their rear ends! To the prideful it doesn’t matter what they did or to whom they did it or where they’ll end up– it only matters that I did it my way. You’ve seen the prisoners. The alcoholic who won’t admit his drinking problem. The woman who refuses to talk to anyone about her fears. Perhaps to see such a person all you have to do is look in the mirror.

The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just. . .” (1 John 1:9). The biggest word in Scripture just might be that two-letter one, IF. Justification…rationalization…comparison…t
hese are tools of the jailbird. But Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn. . .” (Matthew 5:4). You see, true blessedness begins with deep sadness.

From The Applause of Heaven


IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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A Clear Message

by Max Lucado • 8/20/2015

As long as Jesus is one of many options, He is no option. As long as you can carry your burdens alone, you don’t need a burden bearer. As long as your situation brings you no grief, you will receive no comfort. As long as you can take him or leave him, you might as well leave him because Jesus won’t be taken half-heartedly.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn. . .” (Matthew 5:4). When you get to the point of sorrow for your sins, when you admit that you have no other option but to cast all your cares on him, and when there is truly no other name that you can call, then do as Jesus said to do. “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). And he’s waiting for you in the midst of the storm!

From The Applause of Heaven



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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8/19/15 11:29 A

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Jewish scholars believe God intended man to be vegetarian

Although ancient Hebrews ate meat, they did so sparingly. This restraint was not religiously or even ethically motivated. Meat was expensive and its consumption was a luxury. As an agrarian society, biblical Jews used animals mainly for labor and were largely vegetarian. They also consumed a great quantity of milk and milk products, mainly from sheep and goats.

Today most Jews live on a predominantly meat-based diet. A typical Jewish simcha (private celebration) consists of brisket, gefilte fish cakes, fish and chicken soup or chopped liver. Roberta Kalechofsky points out in Vegetarian Judaism--A Guide for Everyone that "Western Jews have historically eaten as much meat as the non-Jews; and due to their growing prosperity, European Jews have started to fully identify themselves with the meat-based diet."

Scholars of Judaism agree that God's intention was for man to be vegetarian. "God did not permit Adam and his wife to kill a creature and to eat its flesh,'' said Rashi, a highly respected, 12th-century, Jewish rabbi who wrote the first comprehensive commentaries on the Talmud and Tanakh. Ronald Isaacs states in Animals in Jewish Thought and Tradition that all Talmudic rabbis conclude that "the permission to eat meat [was granted to human kind] as a compromise, a divine concession to human weakness and human need." Rabbi Elijah Judah Schochet, in Animal Life in Jewish Tradition, notes that "scripture does not command the Israelite to eat meat, but permits this diet as a concession to lust."

Jewish dietary laws are unique in including a prohibition against mixing meat and milk: "You shall not seethe a kid in its mother's milk " (Exodus 23:19). This mandate of not boiling a young goat in the milk of its mother is an elaboration of the command against cruelty to animals. Also, because offering meat boiled in milk was a pagan form of hospitality, Jews saw ruling against the practice as a way of distancing themselves from pagan ways.

Judaism prohibits the consumption of blood: "Only flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat " (Genesis 9:4). "You shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh; for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof " Leviticus 17:14). The rationale behind this injunction is that life belongs to God, and blood is life. "Blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh " (Deuteronomy 12:23).

In Jewish tradition, only certain animals are suitable as food. According to Elijah Schochet in his book Animal Life in Jewish Tradition: "Only quadrupeds which chewed their cud and had parted hoofs, such as the cow, sheep, goat, gazelle and male deer, were fit for food, these being by and large the herbivorous ruminants. Animals possessing only one of the two required characteristics, however, such as the camel, the badger and the pig, were forbidden, as of course, were animals which neither had split hoofs nor chewed their cud. Animals which died of natural causes were prohibited, as were those torn by wild beasts. Only fish possessing both fins and scales were permitted, while the majority of insects were forbidden. All land creatures that crawled on their bellies or moved on many feet were prohibited. Numerous birds were outlawed, notably predatory fowl and wild waterfowl."

Jewish scholars cite three characteristics that distinguish animals as not suitable for slaughter as kosher meat: 1) that they are injurious to health, 2) that they are aesthetically repulsive and 3) that they serve as symbolic reminders to Jews of their status as holy people. Rabbinical authority states that these guidelines are to be obeyed in order that Israel should be "a holy people unto the Lord, " and "distinguished from other nations by the avoidance of unclean and abominable things that defile them."

The Bible does not provide direct support for the various Jewish dietary laws pertaining to the koshering process. Still, ritual slaughter (shechitah) is one of the central elements of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws). Kashrut decrees that an animal's throat must be cut with a single, swift, uninterrupted horizontal sweep of a perfectly smooth knife in such a way as to sever the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries and jugular vein. The profuse loss of blood is supposed to render the animal unconscious quickly, thus minimizing suffering.

Cruelty can be measured by the length of time it takes for an animal to die. One study performed by the English Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals concluded that "there is often a time-lag of anything from seventeen seconds to six minutes from the moment the animal's throat is cut until it actually loses consciousness. Although the throat may be cut, the animal is by no means free from pain and can in some cases have a considerable awareness of what is happening." Clearly, Judaism's animal slaughter for food is difficult to reconcile with its pro-vegetarian interpretation of the Torah and its mandate to not inflict pain on any living being.

Jewish dietary laws apply only to animal foods. All fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains--and anything that does not contain meat or milk products--are intrinsically kosher. Making meat kosher involves a complex process of removing all blood from the flesh. The butcher must remove veins, sacs and various membranes that collect blood, then soak, salt and rinse the meat to extract any remaining blood. Some authorities point out, however, that while koshering removes blood from the larger blood vessels, it does not extract it from the smallest vessels, such as the capillaries.

Today, the number of Jewish vegetarians is increasing. Advocates promote the Jewish teaching that "humans are partners with God in the preservation of life and health."

"The removal of blood [from meat] is one the most powerful means of making us constantly aware of the concession and compromise which the whole act of eating meat, in reality, is." The Jewish Dietary Law by Rabbi Samuel Dresner.

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Twice Imprisoned

by Max Lucado • August 18

My friend, Anibal was guilty. Period. I met him in Brazil. I also met my friend Daniel who had given Anibal a Bible. And he took me with him to tell Anibal about Jesus. We centered on the cross. We talked about guilt, and forgiveness. His heart was touched as we discussed heaven, a hope no executioner could take from him. But as we discussed conversion, Anibal’s face hardened. He had never backed down before any man, and he wasn’t about to do it now.

“Don’t you want to go to heaven?” I asked. “Sure,” he grunted. But the eyes that met mine weren’t tear-filled— they were the eyes of an angry prisoner. Twice imprisoned. Once because of murder, and once because of stubbornness. Jesus said, Blessed are those who know they’re in trouble and have enough sense to admit it (Matthew 5:5). Anibal didn’t want to…but my prayer is that we will.

From The Applause of Heaven



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Hinduism

Hindus comprise the great majority of the world's vegetarians

The vast diversity of Hinduism's multifaceted culture shines like gold in the variety of its numerous foods--both vegetarian and not. Geography, occupation, class and economic status play a significant role in determining the diets of modern-day Hindus. So does dedicated religious commitment.

Hindus are unmatched in their development of the art of enjoyable eating for healthy living. Their vegetarian food preparations are among the most varied in the world, and their ability to create a well-rounded nutritional diet without forfeiting taste is legendary. Many Westerners, inspired to be vegetarian but thinking a meatless diet might be boring or nutritionally lacking, derive renewed encouragement and inspiration from the many time-tested vegetarian traditions of India. One source of such wholesome eating dates back thousands of years to the health-care system of ayurveda, the "science of long life, "which utilizes food both as medicine and sustenance.

India's cooking traditions vary greatly from North to South. One typical South Indian vegetarian meal might consist of an ample portion of rice centered on a banana-leaf plate, surrounded by small servings of vegetables prepared as curries, pickles and chutneys. This tasty assortment would be enhanced with soupy sambars and rasam, a few jaggery sweets on the side and a small portion of yogurt to balance the tastes and soothe digestion at the end of the entire meal.

Setting aside extenuating circumstances, most good Hindus would choose to follow a vegetarian way of life. All Hindu scriptures extol nonviolence and a meatless diet as being crucially important in the successful practice of worship and yoga. Most Hindu monastic orders are vegetarian. For centuries, Hindu temples and ashrams have served only vegetarian food. "Hindu dharma generally recommends vegetarianism, " notes Vedacharya Vamadeva Shastri, "but it is not a requirement to be a Hindu."

The earliest scriptural texts show that vegetarianism has always been common throughout India. In the Mahabharata, the great warrior Bhishma explains to Yudhisthira, eldest of the Pandava princes, that the meat of animals is like the flesh of one's own son, and that the foolish person who eats meat must be considered the vilest of human beings. The Manusmriti declares that one should "refrain from eating all kinds of meat " for such eating involves killing and leads to karmic bondage (bandha). The Yajur Veda states, "You must not use your God-given body for killing God's creatures, whether they are human, animal or whatever." The Atharva Veda proclaims, "Those noble souls who practice meditation and other yogic ways, who are ever careful about all beings, who protect all animals, are commited to spiritual practices."

Over 2,000 years ago, Saint Tiruvalluvar wrote in the Tirukural (verse 251): "How can he practice true compassion who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?" and "Greater than a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial fires is to not sacrifice and consume any living creature." (verse 259)

Vegetarianism, called shakahara in Sanskrit, is an essential virtue in Hindu thought and practice. It is rooted in the spiritual aspiration to maintain a balanced state of mind and body. Hindus also believe that eating meat is not only detrimental to one's spiritual life, but also harmful to one's health and the environment.

Most Hindus strive to live in the consciousness that their choice of foods bears consequences, according to the law of karma. Even the word "meat, " mamsa, implies the karmic law of cause and effect. Mam means "me " and sa means "he, " intimating that the giver of pain will be the receiver of that same pain in equal measure.

Historically, while a large portion of ancient Hindu society lived predominantly on a vegetarian diet for religious reasons, certain communities, like kshatriyas (the Hindu warrior class), consumed at least some meat and fish. Hindu royalty also ate meat. Nomadic Hindus, who did not farm, had to rely on animal flesh for food, because nothing else was available. Agricultural communities were among the best examples of Hindu vegetarianism, for they were not inclined to kill and eat the animals they needed for labor.

All animals are sacred to Hindus, but one stands out among all the rest--the cow. According to an ancient Hindu story, the original cow, Mother Surabhi, was one of the treasures churned from the cosmic ocean. The five products of the cow (pancha-gavya)--milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung--are considered sacramental.

Although no temples have ever been constructed to honor the cow, she is respected as one of the seven mothers--alongside the Earth, one's natural mother, a midwife, the wife of a guru, the wife of a brahman and the wife of the king.

Some controversy exists with regard to the Vedic interpretation of meat-eating. The the earliest of the Vedas, the Rig Veda, mentioned the consumption of meat offered in sacrifice at the altar, but even such ceremonial meat-eating was an exception, rather than a rule. Vedic offerings primarily consisted of plant and dairy products, such as ghee, honey, soma (an intoxicating plant juice), milk, yogurt and grain.

According to Vedacharya Vamadeva Shastri in his book, Eating of Meat and Beef in the Hindu Tradition: "Animal sacrifice (pashu bandhu) is outlined in several Vedic texts as one of many different possible offerings, not as the main offering. Even so, the animal could only be killed while performing certain mantras and rituals."

Today, according to a recent survey, 31 percent of all Indians are vegetarian. Meat is not even sold or allowed in certain famous pilgrimage locations like Haridwar and Varanasi, and many non-vegetarian Hindus abstain from eating meat on holy days or during special religious practices. Most Indian states have a legal ban on the slaughter of cows, and beef is only available in non-Hindu stores and restaurants.

They who are ignorant, though wicked and haughty, kill animals without feelings or remorse or fear of punishment. In their next lives, such sinful persons will be eaten by the same creatures they have killed. Shrimad Bhagavatam, (11.5.14)




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A New Name

by Max Lucado • August 17

Show a man his failures without Jesus, and the result will be found in the roadside gutter. Give a man religion without reminding him of his filth, and the result will be arrogance in a three-piece suit. But get the two in the same heart—get sin to meet Savior and Savior to meet sin—and the result just might be another Pharisee turned preacher who sets the world on fire.

Saul to Paul. The apostle Paul never took a course in missions. He never read a book on church growth. He was just inspired by the Holy Spirit and punch-drunk on the love that makes the impossible possible: salvation. He called on Jesus’ name—and His name only. He got a new name and, even more, a new life. May the same happen again.

From The Applause of Heaven



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Separate yourself by Joel Osteen.

Today’s Scripture
“So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself...] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes...”
(2 Timothy 2:21, AMP)

Separate Yourself

Are there people or activities in your life that you know you need to separate yourself from? The Bible says that bad company will corrupt good morals. God wants you to constantly be growing and rising higher in life. That’s why this verse encourages us to separate ourselves from corrupting influences. Bad influences are more than just the people in your life—it can be anything that wrongly influences your thinking.

Be careful about what you are allowing into your mind. Be careful about what you read and what you watch on TV or the internet. Don’t give your attention to things that are going to drag you down. Choose to separate yourself today. Remember, God wants you to live an abundant life. He wants you be separate so that He can work through you and fulfill His purposes in your life!


A Prayer for Today

“Father, thank You for Your Word which is the truth that sets me free. Give me strength to separate myself from anything that does not honor You in Jesus’ name. Amen.”



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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God Has Done It

by Max Lucado • August 14

The rich young ruler. He’s rich, powerful. Just ask him. He knows where he’s going. But today he has a question. Calling on this carpenter’s son for help must be awkward. “Teacher,” he asks, “what good thing must I do to get eternal life” (Matthew 19:16)? How much do I need to invest to be certain of my return?

Jesus’ answer is intended to make the young man wince. “Obey the commandments.”

“Hey,” he grins, I’ve obeyed all of these.”

Jesus gets to the point. “If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions, give to the poor and you’ll have treasures in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). The statement leaves the young man distraught. It wasn’t the money that hindered the rich man—it was the self-sufficiency. God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves. This was the message of Paul: “For what the law was powerless to do—God did” (Romans 8:3).

From The Applause of Heaven





IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Hope Comes from Him

God is constantly planting seeds of hope and victory in your life. He’s constantly speaking to your heart and encouraging faith. Often times, when we’re anxious and worried, it’s difficult to hear His voice of hope and confidence. But when we stop and quiet ourselves, when we find rest in Him, we can more easily recognize His voice of hope.

The Bible says that faith gives substance to the things we hope for. In other words, your hope gives your faith something to work toward. Hope is the foundation for your faith.

If the cares of this world have left you frustrated and empty, make the decision right now to open your heart and allow the Lord to deposit His hope on the inside of you. It doesn’t matter what you are facing today or what’s happened in your past, there is hope for the future. Believe it and receive it today! Hope comes from Him!


A Prayer for Today

“Father, thank You for the gift of hope. I receive it by faith today. Thank You for lifting me up into heavenly places with You. Use me for Your glory and show me how to be a vessel of hope to those who are around me today in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

By Joel Osteen

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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The Beginning of Joy

by Max Lucado • August 13

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” You’ve been there. You’re turned your back on the noise and sought his voice. You’ve stepped away from the masses and followed the Master as he led you up the winding path to the summit. His summit. Clean air. Clear view. Crisp breeze. The roar of the marketplace is down there, and the perspective of the peak is up here. Gently he invited you to sit on the rock and look out with him at the ancient peaks that will never erode.

Just remember, he says, you’ll go nowhere tomorrow that I haven’t already been. Truth will still triumph. Death will still die. The victory is still yours. And delight is one decision away—seize it! Joy begins by breathing deep up there before you go crazy down here!

From The Applause of Heaven



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Divine Wisdom

by Max Lucado • August 12

When I was ten, my mother enrolled me in piano lessons. Spending afternoons tethered to a piano bench was a torture just one level away from swallowing broken glass. Some of the music I enjoyed. I hammered the staccatos. But I could never understand the rest. The zigzagged command to do nothing. Nothing! What sense does that make? Why sit and pause when you can pound? “Because,” my teacher patiently explained, “music is always sweeter after a rest.”

Divine wisdom. In fact, it reminds me of the convictions of another Teacher. Before He went to the masses, Christ went to the mountain. Before the disciples encountered the crowds, they encountered the Christ. And before they faced the people, they were reminded of the sacred! Is it time for you to rest?

From The Applause of Heaven



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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A Radical Reconstrution

by Max Lucado • August 11

God promises a special blessing. A sacred delight. It’s not a gimmick to give goose bumps or a mental attitude that has to be pumped up. No, Matthew 5 describes God’s radical reconstruction of the heart. Observe the sequence in the Beatitudes. We recognize we are in need—we’re poor in spirit. Next, we repent of our self-sufficiency—we mourn. We quit calling the shots—we’re meek. We are so grateful for his presence that we yearn for more—we hunger and thirst. We forgive others—we’re merciful. We change our outlook—we’re pure in heart. We love others—we’re peacemakers. We endure injustice—we’re persecuted.

It’s no casual shift of attitude. It is a demolition of the old and a creation of the new. The more radical the change, the greater the joy. And it is worth every effort, for this is the joy of God! A special blessing….a sacred delight.

From The Applause of Heaven



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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A Cure for the High and Mighty

by Max Lucado • August 6

God doesn’t dislike arrogance…he hates it. Could he state it any clearer than Proverbs 8:13: “I hate pride and arrogance.” And then a few chapters later it says God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense. Believe me, he’ll put those upstarts in their place. You don’t want God to do that. It’s far wiser to descend the mountain than fall from it!

Pursue humility. Humility doesn’t mean you think less of yourself but that you think of yourself less. Paul described it in Romans 12:3, “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you.” God has a cure for the high and mighty: come down from the mountain before he employs it. You’ll be amazed what you hear and who you see. And you’ll breathe a whole lot easier!

From Facing Your Giants



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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How’s Your Marriage

by Max Lucado • August 7

How’s your marriage? On your wedding day, God loaned you an intricately crafted, precisely formed masterpiece. He entrusted you with a one-of-a-kind creation. Value her. Honor him. Some men collect wives as trophies; a means for pleasure, instead of a part of God’s plan. Don’t make this mistake. Be fiercely loyal to one spouse. Fiercely loyal. Don’t even look twice at someone else. No flirting. No teasing. No loitering at her desk or lingering in his office. Who cares if you come across as rude or a prude? You’ve made a promise. Keep it.

Your spouse is not your trophy but your treasure. Make your wife the object of your highest devotion. Make your husband the recipient of your deepest passion. Love the one who wears your ring. Make her, make him your giant-size privilege, your towering priority!

From Facing Your Giants



IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Joel Osteen

Today’s Scripture
“Then the LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’...”
(Exodus 4:2, NIV
What’s in Your Hand?
Do you ever feel inadequate for what you are called to do? You’re not the first one! So often, when we think of Moses, we remember him as the great spiritual giant who led the Israelites out of captivity. But did you know that Moses doubted himself, too? He didn’t feel equipped. In fact, he was even self-conscious because he had a stuttering problem! God simply said to him, “What do you have in your hand?” In the next few moments, God showed Moses that it didn’t matter what equipment he thought he needed. The God of the universe can take what you have and turn it into whatever it needs to be in order for you to accomplish what you’ve been called to.

So what’s in your hand today? It may not seem like much, but God wants to use it. He wants to take you to places you never dreamed. He wants to pour out His blessing and favor so you can live the abundant life He has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today
“Father, today I release to You all that I am and everything that I have. I invite You to flood every part of my being and use me for Your glory. Thank You for using what is in my hand in Jesus name. Amen.”

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Keep Waiting—God is at Work

by Max Lucado • June 25

I’m convinced the Sabbath was created for frantic souls like me, people who need a weekly reminder that the world will not stop if I do.

In one of the most dramatic examples of waiting in the Bible, Daniel prays for people who had been oppressed for seventy years. He abstained from food and drink for twenty-one days, as he labored in prayer, persisted, pleaded, and agonized. No response. On the twenty-second day an angel of God appeared. He revealed to Daniel that his prayer had been heard on the first day.

From an earthly perspective, nothing was happening. But from a heavenly perspective a battle was raging in the heavens. God was working! What if Daniel had given up…lost faith…or walked away from God? Consider these better questions: What if you give up? Lose faith? Walk away? Don’t! God is at work. Keep waiting!

From You’ll Get Through This

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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God’s Doing What’s Best for Us

by Max Lucado • June 23

God is at work in each of us whether we know it or not, whether we want it or not. Lamentations 3:33 says, “He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way.” He doesn’t delight in our sufferings, but He delights in our development. It’s what Paul pointed out in Philippians 1:6, “God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure He will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.”

Don’t see your struggle as an interruption to life but as preparation for life. No one said the road would be easy or painless. But God will use this mess for something good. This trouble you are in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. God is doing what’s best for us, training us to live God’s holy best!

From You’ll Get Through This

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Today’s Pop Quiz

by Max Lucado • June 22

Each day has a pop quiz. And some seasons are final exams. Brutal, sudden pitfalls of stress, sickness, or sadness. What is the purpose of the test? James 1:3-4 says, “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

God hasn’t forgotten you. Just the opposite. He has chosen to train you. The Hebrew verb for test comes from a word that means “to take a keen look at; to choose.” Dismiss the notion that God does not see your struggle. On the contrary, God is fully engaged. He is the Teacher; we are the students. Trust His training. You’ll get through this. He can make something good out of your mess!

From You’ll Get Through This

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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They are Watching

by Max Lucado • April 23

Seekers may not understand all that happens in a house of worship. They may not understand the meaning of a song or the significance of communion, but they know joy when they see it. By the way, wouldn’t the opposite be equally true? What happens when a seeker sees boredom on your face? Others are worshiping and you’re scowling? Others are seeking God’s face while you’re seeking the face of your watch?

As long as I’m getting personal—parents, what are your children learning from your worship? Do they see the same excitement as when you go to a baseball game? Do they see you hungry to see the face of your Father? Or do they see you content to leave the way you came? They’re watching. Believe me…they are watching! May I urge you to be just like Jesus…and prepare your heart for worship.

From Just Like Jesus

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Joel Osteen

Today’s Scripture
“The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”
(Proverbs 16:9, NASB)

He Directs Your Steps
What are you doing to bring your dreams to pass? Are you getting prepared? Do you have clear direction? Are you taking steps of faith? Success is intentional. You may not know what steps to take right now, but God has a good plan for your life. If you’ll do your part to seek Him and begin to make plans to succeed, God will guide you. He will direct your steps. You don’t have to vaguely go through life. God wants to show you His plan. He wants to pour out His blessing on you and see you living a life of victory.

Decide today to make plans to succeed. Write down your goals. Make time to evaluate where you are in life. Evaluate your finances, your career and your relationships. Don’t go another week without having a plan for your future. Evaluate how you’re spending your time and money. If you’ll go beyond dreaming and start making plans to succeed, God promises that He’s going to direct your steps. He will lead you down the path of His favor.

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for ordering my steps. Help me to see clearly the plan You have for me today and every day. I submit every area of my life to You and trust that You are working behind the scenes for my good in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Today’s Scripture
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

New Creation
Everyone loves to get something new. But as a believer in Jesus, you’re not only getting something new, you are something new. You are a brand new creation! Your eternal being, the spirit on the inside of you, is re-created in Christ. The old is gone, the new has come.

The Bible also talks about working out our salvation. That means you have to retrain your body and mind to act, think, speak and live according to the new spirit within you instead of the old habits you used to have. Don’t ever get stuck in a rut thinking, “I’ll never change...that’s just the way I am.” No, the Bible says that the Spirit of God aids us in our weakness. He gives us strength to overcome. He empowers us to live as more than conquerors.

Is there something you want to change in your life today? Remember, you are a new creation in Christ. You are empowered to overcome. You are equipped to walk in the new, abundant life the Lord has in store for you!

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for making me a new creation. Thank You for empowering me to live as an overcomer. I give this day to You and ask You to help me fully understand the plan You have for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Joel Osteen

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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God is Not Sometimes Sovereign

by Max Lucado • June 19

This season in which you find yourself may puzzle you, but it does not bewilder God. He can and will use it for His purpose. God is not sometimes sovereign. He is not occasionally victorious. Jeremiah 30:24 reminds us, “The Lord shall not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the thoughts and intents of His mind.”

Case in point. Joseph in prison. From an earthly viewpoint the Egyptian jail was the tragic conclusion of Joseph’s life. The devil had Joseph just where he wanted him. So did God. What Satan intended for evil, God used for testing. If you see your troubles as nothing more than isolated hassles and hurts, you will grow bitter and angry. But, if you see your troubles as tests used by God for his glory and your maturity—then even the smallest incidents take on significance!

From You’ll Get Through This

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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Actions Have Consequences

by Max Lucado • June 18

Actions have consequences! In the book of Genesis we read how Joseph placed his loyalty above lust when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. His primary concern was the preference of God when he said, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God” (Genesis 39:9)?

The lesson we learn from Joseph is surprisingly simple: Do what pleases God. Your co-workers want to include a trip to a gentleman’s club on the evening agenda. What do you do? Do what pleases God. Your date invites you to conclude the evening with drinks at his place. How should you reply? Do what pleases God.

You don’t fix a struggling marriage with an affair, a drug problem with more drugs, debt with more debt. You don’t get out of a mess by making another one. You’ll never go wrong doing what is right. Just do what pleases God.

From You’ll Get Through This

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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This week Max Lucado is speaking to Fathers. We ladies need to show our fathers, husbands, sons and grandsons these.
I didn't find any place to post this so figured General Team Discussion was the best place.

IRENE FROM TEXAS
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:22-26 (NIV)



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