Eulogy For My Dear Friend, Sonny Hambrick

George F. Hambrick Jr.
(May 4, 1961 – September 7, 2015)

I can think of a thousand places I would rather be today than speaking at a funeral service, especially one for my cherished friend, Sonny Hambrick. At the same time, there is no place that I would rather be than right here, right now. You see, we cannot truly appreciate the joy and ecstasy of life until we experience the agony and separation of death.

Yes, there is a time for everything under heaven, even grief. Despite our culture of immediate gratification and the avoidance of anything difficult or painful, we all find ourselves compelled to be here to honor the memory of Sonny Hambrick because of one reason: we loved him or someone in his immediate family.

I am honored to be here today to speak on behalf of Sonny and his family. When Rhonda asked me if I would be willing to share some stories about Sonny with you, I began to think about which words I would use to describe him:

Sonny was Bold and Fearless – When we were young and full of vim and vigor, if you found yourself in an unpleasant situation where you needed someone to have your back, there was no one better than Sonny. He was not afraid of anyone or anything, and he was always ready to “throw down” if he had the opportunity. Sonny would have made a great NFL football player or a terrific soldier… except for the fact that Sonny didn’t particularly care for people telling him what to do.

Sonny was Loving and Kind – If you talk to others about Sonny or read what has been written about him by friends, family and coworkers since his untimely death, a common theme begins to emerge of his humility and kindness. I knew this side of Sonny even when he was young and full of bravado, but life has a way of softening even the toughest among us if we will allow it to. Sonny loved people and he loved animals, especially dogs.

Sonny was Spontaneous and Fun Loving – Sonny enjoyed life to its fullest, and I think that is what attracted us to each other when I first came to Savannah Christian for my junior year of high school. It didn’t take us long to become running mates. He was always ready for an adventure, whether it be a road trip, or a midnight sailing excursion.

Sonny loved the University of Georgia and his Bulldogs. We attended UGA together as room mates in the Fall of 1980 during the glory years of UGA football, when Hershel Walker ran over anyone in his path, when Erk Russell stalked the sidelines with blood all over his face from head butting his defenders, when James Brown thrilled Sanford Stadium with his song, “Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs”. We soaked up every moment of that incredible year when UGA won the National Championship. We were together when Larry Munson screamed “Run Lindsay! Run Lindsay!” and “Look at the sugar falling from the sky!”.

We had no idea how blessed we were and how special those times were. It was fun to win and fun to learn. Fun to work and fun to play. The legal drinking age was 18 when Sonny and I arrived in Athens, and lets just say we took maximum advantage of that fact. I’m not going to get too far into what we did in those days, other than to say two things:

1. Thank you Lord for looking after us in our stupidity.
2. I’m so glad we didn’t have cell phones and YouTube!

I remember one frigid night in February, Sonny and I got into a silly disagreement and got separated at a fraternity party. I ended up catching a ride back to our dorm, which for those of you who know Athens, was on the first floor of Milledge Hall. I didn’t have my room key so I knocked on the door. No answer. “So this is how its gonna be.” “I said I’m sorry, you blankety blank! Let me in!” Still no answer. After banging on the door for a few more minutes, it was obvious that he was determined to ignore me, so I did what any responsible, level headed young man would do in that situation. I went outside and kicked one of the window panes in – only to find that Sonny was not in there. When he showed up a short time later, I told him the story and we nearly died that night of laughter and the sub freezing temperature in our room.

Sonny and I both married our high school sweethearts. Unfortunately, my dear wife Jahn could not be here with us today because of unavoidable conflicts, but trust me, she is here in spirit. She and Rhonda used to burn up the highways together between here and Athens every weekend. When I asked Jahn what her favorite memory of Sonny was, she said “Walking into your dorm room to the sound of Sonny singing Kenny Rogers love songs to Rhonda”.

I hate to admit it, but Sonny and I were both kind of free flowing in our love of the ladies when we were young. You might have even called us “Lady’s men”. However, when Sonny fell for Rhonda, he fell hard. Rhonda put a spell on Sonny that no one saw coming. He didn’t care that people said he was robbing the cradle. He was madly in love, and the fact that she was barely a teenager was irrelevant. Rhonda has stayed by his side through thick and thin ever since, and I can’t imagine how lost she must feel at this moment. Rhonda, I pray that God will comfort you in your temporary separation from Sonny, and He will fill your mind with all the many sweet memories you have together.

Sonny cherished his family – all of them. From his sweet mom Miss Ann who I affectionately called Mom too, to his lovable Dad George who tried his best to keep us out of trouble, to sweet Pam who he adored, Deborah and all the extended family. But most of all, he loved Rhonda and his precious children Trey and Macy. He loved to call and tell me all about how they were doing. He called me and asked for prayer when Rhonda lost her job, and called to let me know when she got a better one. He was incredibly proud of you Trey and Macy, and he will remain your greatest fan as you embrace an uncertain future without him. I pledge to each of you today – as do many people in this room – to be there for you should you need me.

I will miss getting those phone calls out of the blue when I answer my phone and all he says is “Hey”, and instantly I am transported back in time to our magical days of college and of starting our families together. With Sonny and me, time was irrelevant. We always picked up where we left off without missing a beat. Frankly, he did a better job than I did of staying in touch, but what a sweet friendship we had. He knew me as well as anyone on this earth – and loved me anyway.

Today we celebrate Sonny’s life and his legacy of love. His light burned brightly, and his departure from this earth leaves us feeling the stinging pain of grief. Grief as they say, is the price of love. However, even as we grieve, there is a celebration of homecoming for Sonny in heaven.

Its funny; You would never have voted either of us “Most likely to become Sunday School Teachers”, but God’s amazing grace and loving protection covered us in our youthful exuberance, and He used every experience, every choice – good and bad – and every precious relationship to grow and mold us.

Don’t get me wrong… neither of us are saints, and neither of us are evangelists, but if Sonny were able to stand before you today after meeting His savior face to face, he would remind you all of your mortality, and he would implore you to settle in your mind and in your heart the most critically important question you will ever be confronted with: That is “Who is Jesus Christ, and how does the answer to that question affect me?”
For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness. The wages of our sin is death, or separation from God. But God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Sonny has left the prison of his flesh and entered into eternity in the presence of and in direct fellowship with God. He no longer suffers from compromised liver or kidney function, and the weaknesses that kept him keenly aware of his dependence on God no longer hinder him. Sonny has been rewarded for his faith, and now he is at perfect peace.

I take great comfort in that, and I sincerely hope that you do too.

God Bless you all.

Is Your Health Being Undermined by This Common but Deadly Sleep Disorder?

Several years ago, at the request of my dear wife, I got tested for sleep apnea, and it probably saved my life. She had patiently endured my snoring, but as a nurse, she was disturbed by the increasing frequency of episodes when I appeared to stop breathing – as well as my increasing weight gain and levels of fatigue and irritability. So off to the sleep center I went…

In case you aren’t familiar with this condition, apnea means “no breath,” and obstructive sleep apnea is the periodic stoppage of breathing while asleep. It is caused by a partial or complete blockage of the airway by the tissues in the back of the throat. Oxygen levels in the blood drop and carbon dioxide rises, waking you up just enough to start breathing, but not enough to be aware of the feeling of terror that comes with not being able to breathe. For those who have severe sleep apnea, the result is you wake up feeling exhausted, perhaps covered in sweat and often with a dry mouth and sore throat.

People who suffer with even mild sleep apnea get sleepy during the day, and it’s no wonder. This continuous arousal prevents them from getting adequate rapid eye movement (REM) sleep—the deepest, most rejuvenating and essential level of sleep.

During my evaluation for sleep apnea, I had 110 attacks of apnea (spells when I stopped breathing for 10 seconds or longer) in one hour. Not a good thing! My oxygen level was low, and I got virtually no restorative REM sleep.

Sleep Apnea Is Catastrophic to Your Overall Health

A ton of research reveals links between sleep deprivation and a broad range of health concerns. In addition to making you exhausted and cranky, poor sleep can trash your memory and mood, make you gain weight, raise your blood pressure and blood sugar, stress your immune system, increase your risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and dementia.

Sleep apnea can set off a cascading nightmare of deteriorating health that spirals out of control before you know it. The combination of deprivation of REM sleep plus other ill effects of sleep apnea (such as significant drops in oxygen levels in the blood, fluctuations in hormone levels, and elevations in blood pressure, heart rate, and cardiac output) wreaks havoc on the body.

Lower blood oxygen levels in men who have severe sleep apnea slows testosterone production in the testes, resulting in weight gain, loss of energy and stamina, impaired focus and motivation and even lead to chronic anxiety or depression.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people with sleep apnea have three times the risk of developing high blood pressure as those without this sleep problem. Sleep apnea is also an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease and stroke. These conditions are associated with increased levels of oxidative stress, C-reactive protein, and clotting factors, and all of these are elevated in people with sleep apnea. Cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure are also much more common among sleep apnea sufferers.

It is said that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from sleep apnea to some degree. There is also a significant relationship between sleep apnea, elevated blood sugar and insulin, and insulin resistance. Severe sleep apnea is associated with a five-fold increased risk of diabetes. Obesity, a related condition, is also associated with sleep apnea, although the exact relationship is harder to understand since obesity is often a primary cause of sleep apnea as well. Erectile problems, immune dysfunction, memory loss and concentration difficulties… the list of problems associated with sleep apnea goes on and on.

The Most Effective Sleep Apnea Treatment

When I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, I immediately began using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which is a device worn at night that delivers a steady stream of air to keep the airways open. I couldn’t believe how much it improved my quality of life. Some people complain that their CPAPs or APAPs (an automatic version of CPAP) are uncomfortable, and they do take some getting used to.

Since I started using this sleep apnea treatment, I’ve slept without my CPAP machine only rarely, and not by choice. I may occasionally forget to pack something, but I (almost) never forget my CPAP because I am so convinced of the tremendous benefits offered by a good night’s sleep.

Automatic and continuous positive airway pressure (APAP and CPAP) machines are hands down the best-studied and most effective treatment for sleep apnea. Attempting to lose weight without a CPAP is very difficult because each episode of apnea releases stress hormones that promote weight gain. Although I’ve been using this therapy myself for years and have never had any problems, I do understand that not everyone tolerates it so well. For me, I found that a small mask covering only my nose worked much better than a full face mask.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, compliance rates hover around 60 percent, and mask discomfort and nasal issues are common roadblocks. However, because sleep apnea has such serious adverse effects on your health, the benefits of treatment far outweigh the discomforts of the therapy. That’s why, if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed APAP or CPAP, you need to work with your doctor to try different masks, a humidifier, and other potential solutions before giving up on it.

Secondary Treatments for Sleep Apnea

I wish there was a proven alternative to CPAP/APAP for those who simply cannot tolerate this sleep apnea treatment. Oral appliances, dental interventions, surgical procedures, and positional therapies are certainly worth a try, but can’t guarantee results. That being said, everyone with sleep apnea can and should use natural therapies to address underlying health problems such as thyroid insufficiency, insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

Almost everyone with sleep apnea will benefit from losing weight. In fact, adequate weight loss will completely eliminate the condition in many, and losing 20 to 30 pounds will result in significant improvements. Avoiding alcohol may also be helpful. This is especially true for individuals with mild cases, who may snore and have episodes of apnea only after having a drink. Taking sedatives or analgesics at bedtime can have similar effects, so getting off such drugs may help.

Research published in 2009 suggested that specific throat exercises can help by preventing airway collapse during sleep, resulting in better sleep, less snoring, a significant reduction in neck circumference, and an overall decrease in sleep apnea.

Here are a few of the exercises you can do on your own:

1) Repeat the vowels (A, E, I, O, U) over and over again exaggerating enunciation.
2) Do multiple long, drawn-out yawning movements, opening your mouth wide and tightening the muscles in the back of your throat.
3) Push your tongue up against the back of your front teeth, slowly run it back over the roof of your mouth as far as you can, then slide the tongue back to its original position against the front teeth. Per the study, about 30 minutes daily of these and similar exercises, which can be done throughout the day, are required for maximum benefits.

Bottom Line: Sleep Apnea is Deadly if Left Untreated!

If you snore, are overweight, and/or have metabolic syndrome, you need to get tested for sleep apnea. If you are or have been diagnosed with this condition, try the CPAP/APAP treatments, start an exercise and weight loss regimen, and take supplements that naturally address some of the underlying issues associated with it. Dramatic changes in sleep apnea symptoms are usually seen in patients losing a mere 10-15% of their body weight as fat.

Logos Nutritionals offers several supplements that can be tremendously helpful. First, for those who need to safely lose weight, MagnifiThin is a wonderful aid to boost metabolism and curb your appetite. For those battling with insulin resistance or Metabolic Syndrome, FitCose 1C is a remarkable breakthrough blood sugar support formula. Last but certainly not least, Sleep Advance has proven to be a superior solution for calming the mind and promoting deep, restful sleep.

Finally, to learn everything you ever wanted to know about sleep, read this very informative article.

James D. McCusker – A Great American

Jim McCusker was my friend from the first moment we met back in 1988 as young men trying to forge a career in (at that time) life insurance sales at Mass Mutual. We spent a lot of time together; at the office studying or preparing proposals, on the road making sales calls, or after work unwinding from the day. Through it all, if you were with Jim, there was never a dull moment. Truth be told, we played as hard or harder than we worked, but I will always cherish the laughs and meals we shared, the late nights drinking scotch and playing putt putt in the office, and the many long conversations (OK yes I mostly listened) in which we pondered all manner of problems and opportunities under creation.

Several things immediately struck me when I befriended Jim:

Jim was at all times and in all circumstances, absolutely unflappable. Never at a loss for words, Jim could talk to anyone about anything, and he often would. He never met a stranger. He was inquisitive by nature and genuinely interested in others.

Jim was smart. Really smart. He was without a doubt the greatest thinker I have ever known. Jim never shared with me what his IQ was, but his vast vocabulary was ever expanding, and he literally knew a little something about everything. And if he didn’t know about something, he was such a skilled pontificator that you would never realize it!

Jim and I shared a healthy general disdain for the powers that be and a certain detachment from the standards that supposedly govern our little region of the universe. We soon picked up on that commonality, and I think it was Jim who coined the term “Burgstiner Time” to describe my more European approach to time management.

Finally, and most importantly, Jim had an immense capacity to love. He was a gentle and kind soul, bold yet humble, and always a servant – especially to young people. Jim was a devoted husband, brother and son, but by far his greatest joy was being a Dad.

As his close friend, I was a grateful recipient of the love that overflowed from Jim’s heart, and it was he more so than I who made the consistent effort to stay in touch once our career paths diverged, even when we moved away to Atlanta. Whenever we got together, whether in person or by phone, it was like no time had passed. We delighted in each other’s company and encouraged one another in our struggles.

Like all of us, Jim was not perfect, but he left behind a legacy of love and a willingness to dream that impacted all who were fortunate enough to be loved by him. Jim’s soaring mind and sweet soul were released from the limited confines of his mortal body on March 26, 2014. We all miss him now, but I look forward with great anticipation to being reunited with him in paradise one day, where the answers to the many questions we pondered together will finally be understood.

THREE RESOLUTIONS WORTH KEEPING

 

Its two thirdbigstock-I-m-The-Best-324629s of the way through January now. Have you, like most Americans, already come up short on keeping your new year’s resolutions if you even bothered with them at all this year? We start out with the best of intentions, but so easily end up getting distracted by the hectic pace and inevitable chaos of life.

 

Despite the advantages of living in the “Information Age” with easy access to all manner of conveniences that are designed to maximize our productivity and quality of life, we are living in challenging times. Our bodies and minds are being bombarded with unprecedented levels of stress. From the relentless demands of immediate interpersonal access (smart phones) to the cumulative burdens of environmental and emotional toxicity associated with living in these days, we would be wise to heed the words of the Apostle Paul who exhorts us to “Be no longer conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”. (Romans 12:2)

Even though we recognize that our body is a temple, it is far too easy to take it for granted and mortgage our future with poor choices today. With that in mind, lets look at a few concrete changes or resolutions that are well worth incorporating into our day to day living for 2015 and beyond:

1. HYDRATE – Dehydration is rampant in our culture, and the insidious toll it takes on your health is even more so considering how easily avoidable it is. The leading cause of kidney stones and constipation, dehydration bogs down your metabolism, making even your cells tired. Make cool filtered water (and a little fresh lemon to help alkalize the body) your drink of choice today, and toss the sodas (especially diet). Drink at least a half ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, and up to twice that amount if you exercise (which you should) or drink alcohol or caffeine (which perhaps you shouldn’t – certainly not in excess).

2. GET MOVING – Regular moderate exercise will do wonders for your metabolism, your energy level, your dress or pant size, and your outlook on life. Not to mention all those infamous markers of health such as blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels that your doctor uses to assess your body’s obvious lack of pharmaceuticals. Forty five minutes of brisk walking three times a week is enough to make dramatic improvements, but adding some anaerobic exercise and light weight bearing repetitions will greatly enhance and diversify your results (i.e.- bone mass gains,etc.).

3. EAT TO LIVE – We have never had so many choices of foods (and cheaply manufactured items masquerading as food) to eat as Americans do today. Only in the last generation has the demand for consumer convenience and extended shelf life made such a happy marriage, creating massive conglomerates that enjoy obscene profits at the expense of our ignorance and our health.

The “patterns of this world” are ever changing in response to the insatiable lusts of mankind, but make no mistake; the things of this world are fiercely set against the wisdom of God and His children. Paul could scarcely have imagined that 2,000 years after he wrote those inspired words, we would be sitting on the couch mindlessly watching television and snacking on fast foods and soda or a highly processed mixture of genetically modified grains, sugar and toxic fats with a few synthetic vitamins added back in to create an illusion of wholesomeness. God knew that the message He gave to the first century church to avoid the corruption of this world would be pure wisdom for all ages, but especially so in these last days.

In order to eat to live, we need to eat living food, and living food does not generally come processed in a box. Reject the foolishness of man’s wisdom and its culture of death, and take advantage of the wonderful diversity of nutrient dense, organic foods that God has made readily available.

Granted, this is easier said than done, as man’s greed has corrupted all of our food sources to some extent through factory farming, genetic engineering and the indiscriminate use of hormones, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, and a host of other synthetic chemicals that are ever escalating our toxic burden. It is no wonder that so many people suffer from chronic degenerative illnesses, the symptoms of which are the body’s way of revealing a compromised bioterrain within.

This is where Logos Nutritionals and the Burgstiner Wellness Protocol can make such a profound difference in one’s quality of life. The authentic natural medicines that we offer are designed to strengthen the body’s detoxification pathways, restore the integrity of organ systems and revitalize cellular energy and immunity. My father once pointed out to me that “Man turns to excellence just as surely as a flower to the sun”. This is true, whether in the beauty of the arts, the dependable efficacy of a nutritional supplement, or the thrill of athletic competition. We rejoice in the opportunity to serve, both through the quality of our products and the priceless impact of the message of God’s love that we share.

The three resolutions presented here are ones that must be embraced as a lifestyle if you hope to thrive during these difficult times. There are others that may be more obvious and pressing such as stopping smoking or any habit that may be holding you back from achieving your goals. Personally, having for the most part successfully internalized these big three over the years, my main resolution for this year is to write more consistently. To that end, I wholeheartedly solicit the prayers of my readers.

So here’s to 2015; may it be a year of breakthrough in your health, your attitude and your relationships!

After All These Years, Why is “Modern Medicine” Still Bleeding its Patients?

22073517_mThere was a time when the best medicine had to offer was a good bloodletting. From ancient times up to the nineteenth century, blood and other bodily fluids were regarded as “humors” that had to remain in proper balance to maintain health. In medieval Europe, bloodletting became the standard treatment for everything from epilepsy and gout to the plague. It is said that our first president, George Washington, owed his premature demise in part to excessive blood loss from bloodletting.

Today bloodletting remains a conventional therapy for a very small number of conditions such as hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes a toxic accumulation of iron in the body. In this case, bloodletting is the best way to lower the serum iron load. Having been largely rejected as an archaic procedure, bloodletting is once again receiving attention thanks to a 2012 study published in the journal BMC Medicine which suggested that bloodletting might offer cardiovascular benefits to obese people with metabolic syndrome.

Such legitimate benefits notwithstanding, one can only wonder how many people have suffered or died needlessly over the centuries due to the ignorance and arrogance of entrenched medical dogma, especially when taken to extremes. While the advancement of medical knowledge and technology have reduced needless suffering and death for some, the historic marriage of the medical establishment to corporate interests forever changed the face and focus of medicine, exposing all of us to “bleeding” of a different kind.

Its All About Profit

Why is it that drugs so often go about their work in such a clumsy way? Even though most drugs are engineered to target a very precise outcome and mask specific symptoms, the universal laws of cause and effect almost always lead to unintended side effects. These side effects, which become known during the discovery phase of researching a new drug, can be devastating. However, they are sometimes nullified, engulfed in a mountain of “data” and overlooked as an “acceptable risk” when assessing the overall profit potential of a drug.

Obviously not all drugs are bad, and some are even miraculous, but some (such as statins, anti-resorption drugs, proton pump inhibitors and flu vaccines) will go down in history as infinitely more barbaric than bloodletting or any other crude form of medicine. This tragic retrospective judgement of such draconic drugs will be multiplied by the vast numbers of innocent people who suffered from taking them and the obscene profits that were generated through their suffering.

A Road To Hope

As a manufacturer of authentic natural medicines, I cannot imagine bringing to market a product that I knew would bring harm or suffering to a certain percentage of those who took it, much less sudden death. Supplements by definition cannot treat disease by targeting symptoms, and that turns out to be a blessing. Rather than masking symptoms, natural medicines focus on causes, providing nutrients that target metabolic deficits and support compromised organs or systems that contribute to illness.

If you or someone you love is dealing with chronic illness or you just want to maximize your quality of life, take a look at the life transforming supplements that make up the Burgstiner Wellness Protocol and other natural medicines divinely crafted and offered with love by Logos Nutritionals. Their only side effects are HEALTH AND HOPE RESTORED!

"Before they call, I will answer." (Isaiah 65:24)

African baby This is  a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa:  

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter.  We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).  We  also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.  One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes so easily in tropical  climates).

"And it is our last hot water bottle!’ she exclaimed.  As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central  Africa  it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.   They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right,” I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely  can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free  from drafts.  Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me.  I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle,  and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills.  I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During  prayer time, one ten year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. ‘Please, God’ she prayed, ‘Send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.’

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, "And while you are about it, would you please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know you really love her?"

As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I  honestly say "Amen!"?  I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so.  But there are limits, aren’t there?  The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland.  I had been in Africa for al-most four years at that time, and I had never-ever received a parcel from home.

Anyway,  if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle?  I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door.  By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel.  I felt tears pricking my eyes.  I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children…

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot.  We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly.  Excitement was mounting.   Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out.  Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.  Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas — that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the…..could it really  be?

I grasped it and pulled it out.  Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle.  I cried.

I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth  was in the front row of the children.  She rushed forward, crying  out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!"

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly.  Her eyes shone!  She had never doubted!

Looking  up at me, she asked, ‘Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?’

"Of course," I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the  equator.

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child — five  months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a  ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

"Before they call, I will answer." (Isaiah 65:24)

When you receive this, say the prayer.  That’s all I ask.  No strings attached.  Just send it on to whomever you want —  but do send it on.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive.  There is no cost, but a lot of rewards.  Let’s continue praying for one another.

This  awesome prayer takes less than a minute.

"Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask you to minister to their spirit.  Where there is pain, give them your peace and mercy.  Where there is self-doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them.  Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask you to give them understanding, guidance, and  strength.  Where there is fear, reveal your love and release to them your courage.  Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them.  I ask you to do these things in Jesus’ name.  Amen!"

What to Eat?

EAE I am often asked which diet is best to promote good health and longevity.  Sounds like a simple enough question doesn’t it?  If so, why is it that you get so many different answers to that question depending on which “expert” you ask? The short answer is “It depends”.  Not much help, eh? Indeed.

That is to say there are a number of factors which determine what an optimum diet looks like for an individual, from metabolic type and other genetic influences to lifestyle and cultural factors, to food quality and availability. Also adding to the confusion is the multitude of voices out there vying for our attention to hawk their thinly veiled, hastily packaged self seeking agendas (i.e. – diet fad of the month).

Further complicating things is the fact that in some cases, what once was truth may no longer be valid due to the cumulative corrupting influence of mankind’s lust for power and money (i.e. – infiltration of the natural foods industry by Big Pharma/Ag/Chem Industries).  This is the most dangerous of all the factors mentioned, as what our society now accepts as normal (genetically modified, prepackaged frankenfoods, artificial sweeteners, chemical and bioweapons, etc.) has only recently been unleashed upon mankind in the last generation.

So where do we turn for truth in these last days?  Why to God’s word of course! For “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)

The apostle Paul could scarcely imagine the predicament our generation would find themselves facing when he penned the following admonition from God’s mouth: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

God’s word has a lot to say about the subject of diet. But how does one put all of its dietary wisdom into proper context with today’s world circumstances? Who among us has the knowledge to combine scriptural truths with a thorough understanding of human physiology and nutrition? In my opinion, Sylvia Zook PhD does, and she has lovingly and thoughtfully captured that knowledge in her wonderful book Eatin After Eden.

I enthusiastically recommend her book as required reading for anyone who wants to better understand the relationship between their diet, their health and how scripture applies to both. May God continue to protect and richly bless Dr. Zook in her ministry efforts.  She is truly a modern day “voice in the wilderness”.

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