Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: The Road to Emmaus, 2nd Sun after New Sunday
Volume 6 No. 344 April 15, 2016
 

III. General Weekly Features

Health: The Organ Of Healing

by Wes Hopper

"It is a well known fact that all the various schools of healing can bring about cures of the most wonderful character. The most obvious conclusion that strikes your mind is that there must be some underlying organ and process that is common to them all. Indeed there is. The organ of healing is the subconscious mind, and the process of healing is belief." Joseph Murphy

We are very fortunate to have the medical care that we have today, almost 100 years after the above quote was written. [At that time] The understanding of disease was limited and the medicines and antibiotics were few. But that does NOT mean that Murphy's quote is no longer valid.

What we have done is create a strong culture of belief in medicines, and as a result most of us take a pill or get a shot and expect to get well. And so we do! Now I'm not recommending that we give up medicines, but I am recommending that we give credit where it is due to our subconscious mind and our belief in healing.

There are really three prongs to the health of our bodies - how well we take care of ourselves, our inner medicines that Murphy talks about, and our modern medicines that help us along. That three-pronged approach seems to work very well for the folks who consciously use all three remedies!

So treat your doctor kindly. He or she is an important part of the health triad, but only one of the three. We get to maintain all three parts of our health triad to live life fully!

Source: Daily Gratitude

Health: Fighting Flu The Natural Way

Nutritional Supplements May Help Keep Those Sniffling, Sneezing Symptoms at Bay

Cold and flu season has arrived, which means the potential could be high for lots of sniffling co-workers and children who need to stay home from school.

Vaccinations help many people stave off the flu, but a number of Americans also try an alternative approach, using nutritional supplements in their efforts to stay healthy.

"Certain herbs, mushroom extracts and other natural compounds contain powerful antiviral properties," says Naum Burman, the founder and researcher for BioLab Rx (www.biolabrx.com), a dietary supplement company.

"Combine them together and you can get a natural boost to your immune system."

Such products do that by increasing the body's natural defense cells, which are crucial to the body's defense against bacterial and viral infection.

"The body's own immune system is probably our best defense," Burman says. "But illness, stress, medical therapies, diet and lack of sleep can all compromise our immune system. That's why it can help to give the immune system a boost."

He notes that it's always important to check the ingredients, instructions and warnings for any over-the-counter supplement. Immune Super Plus, for example, is only for adults 18 and older and shouldn't be taken by pregnant or nursing women.

The flu season routinely takes a toll on Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control:

• The timing of flu is unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Most seasonal flu activity typically occurs between October and May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February.

• It's estimated that each year an average of 5 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.

• Estimating the number of flu-related deaths can be difficult because death certificates don't always specify flu as the cause. But there's little doubt that flu seasons can be severe. The CDC, for example, reported that over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Some people, such as older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

In addition to vaccines, the CDC suggests several preventive measures, such as washing your hands frequently, keeping a distance from those who are ill and staying home yourself if possible when you are sick.

Burman says that supplements also provide an extra measure of prevention, and plenty of people apparently agree. The Nutrition Business Journal has reported that Americans spend well over $1 billion a year on supplements to help boost immunity and ward off cold and flu.

Burman, originally from Europe, essentially was born into his interest in maintaining health through nature. He grew up in a family where herbs and natural cures were common and knowledge of herbs and their use was the norm.

As an adult, Burman continued his research, traveling through Asian, European and Middle Eastern countries so he could gather herbal knowledge from cultures around the world.

Armed with that knowledge, he founded BioLab Rx, which also produces natural products for hair loss, joint pain, migraine headaches and other conditions or ailments.

"I thought this would be a good way to combine the wisdom of the ages with today's newest technology," he says.

About Naum Burman

Naum Burman is founder of and researcher for BioLab Rx (www.biolabrx.com), a dietary supplement company. Burman, originally from Europe, grew up in a family where herbs and natural cures were usual and knowledge of herbs and their use was the norm. He also spent years traveling through Asian, European and Middle Eastern countries, gathering herbal knowledge.

Disclaimer:

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Please be sure to consult your physician before taking this or any other product. Consult your physician for any health problems.

Family Special: Five Parenting Mistakes That Are Unique to Millennial Moms

By Megan Shauri, FamilyShare

A millennial mom faces different parenting obstacles than those faced by moms in the past. There are always new advancements in technology, new studies and new ideas that change how parenting looks from one day to the next. Here are five mistakes you may be making with your kids, that weren't around as your parents were raising you.

1. Social media overkill

With all the social media out there, it is easy to film every milestone, write every cute or disgusting experience and post every picture of our kids online. We think they are the most precious and amazing little people that have ever walked the planet and we want to share that with the world. And social media has given every parent the access to do just that. It is instant and goes out to every person we know, and even ones we don't. But how is that affecting our kids? Years from now, are they going to be grateful that every embarrassing moment or naked baby photo of them is posted online somewhere for anyone -- even strangers -- to access? As millennial moms, we have to be responsible for our social media use. We need to be conscious of the fact that photos of our children are easily accessible to people we may not be aware of, and that posting so often may come back to haunt our children in the future.

2. Fear of what might happen

With technology advancement in our time, we are constantly hearing stories of child abductions, sex trafficking, school shootings and countless other horror stories that happen around the world. These things are terrible, and are really happening and need to be taken seriously, but we should not let them stop us from letting our children experience the world. We cannot keep our children locked behind closed doors and only let them out under strict parental supervision. Children need to explore and not be afraid of the world. A millennial mom needs to be aware of what is going on; we need to be smart, and we need to teach our children about strangers and possible dangers. We need to teach them that most people are kind and caring, but we also need to teach them how to be discerning; how to communicate with us about where they are and what they are doing. It is important to be safe; it's OK to not let your children walk to school by themselves, and important to make sure you meet the people they are spending time with; just don't go tothe extent of never letting them out of the house.

3. Over-sanitizing

This one can be a bit controversial. Most people feel it is better to over-sanitize than under-sanitize, but some germs actually can be good for you. They build antibodies, help develop a healthy immune system, and can even prevent allergies. It is a topic that millennial moms need to be aware of. There is a tendency to sanitize everything a child touches and everyone that touches your child. It is smart to do that during cold and flu season, but to do it all the time causes your child to miss out on some important immune-building properties. It is best to consult your doctor about what is the right amount of sanitation your child needs.

4. Branding our kids

It is popular now to brand our kids; meaning we have websites, blogs and hashtags that are set up specifically for them. Our children are trending before they are even saying their first words. While technology is really cool and we feel we are setting our kids up for the future, we need to remember they are kids, not merchandise. We should be encouraging them to play, be silly and learn manners; not to be performing for their newest YouTube video, or posing as if in fashion magazines. If your kids enjoy doing that, great; but make sure it is something they like and want to do, not something they have to do. Instead try and cherish those moments; not everything has to turn into an Internet sensation.

5. Too many limits

We are constantly being told what is best for our kids -- how much screen time they should get, what foods they should and shouldn't be eating, what age they should be reciting the state capitals and painting their first masterpiece. It is easy to get caught up in all the recommendations and forget that they are just that -- recommendations. They are not rules; they are guidelines. That means you can apply them as best as you can to your life. You obviously should be trying to promote a healthy lifestyle for your kids; but if they watch an extra hour of TV one week, don't get down on yourself. What works for your best friend's family may not work for your family, and that's OK.

Parents face different challenges in today's world than those faced even just 10 years ago. And 10 years from now there will probably be even more changes. It is important to be aware and to be knowledgeable about what is happening in the world, and hopefully that will keep us from preventing some parenting mistakes.

Source: JWR, FamilyShare

Family Special: Error Or Opportunity?
"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." - Proverbs 12:25

Many years ago, at what was then Standard Oil Company, an executive's mistake cost the firm more than two million dollars. On the day the news leaked, the firm's employees feared the wrath of the powerful head of the company - John D. Rockefeller - and found various ways to avoid him. One partner, however, kept his previously scheduled appointment. When he walked into the president's office, he saw Rockefeller writing on a pad of paper.

"Oh, it's you, Bedford," Rockefeller said calmly. "I suppose you've heard about our loss?"

The partner said that he had.

"I've been thinking it over," Rockefeller said, "and before I ask the man to discuss the matter, I've been making some notes."

Across the top of the page was written,

"Points in favor of Mr. ________."

There followed a long list of the man's virtues, including a description of how the executive had helped the firm make the right decision on three separate occasions. Since the earnings from these decisions had added up to many times the cost of the recent error, Rockefeller told Bedford that he had decided to seize the opportunity to encourage the executive instead of censure him.

The next time your spouse fails you, you could cut him or her down in a torrent of angry words… or you could see a golden opportunity to encourage.

Just between us…

When was I most encouraging to you during a crisis?
Is there a particular Scripture verse you cling to during tough times?

Lord, we so often underestimate how much influence our words can have. We ask for wisdom to speak encouragement - especially when criticism might be expected. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Family Special: Fuel for the Long Run - Preserving Marriages

by Wayne Brouwer

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1–31

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30–31

More weddings at which I tie the knot result in strong marriages than end in divorce. Maybe that's because I won't officiate unless both partners can openly declare their trust in God. I also insist that they go through significant prenuptial counseling. Still, one couple lasted a mere 14 weeks because he didn't match up to her romantic ideals and she way overspent his budget. Another marriage survived for a decade before it was asphyxiated by his hyper-controlling tendencies.

But what scares me more is when a couple calls it quits after 20, 30 or 40 years. Once you get past the "11th-year-fear," shouldn't some deep interconnectedness set in to provide stability for the onslaught of the years? Shouldn't it be like the old John Deere tractor that I farmed with as a boy, which took more work to get going than to keep running? I would strain to turn the massive flywheel over the first time, but once the magnets caught, the pistons popped and the flywheel gained momentum, it almost took an act of God to kill the thing!

God isn't in the business of killing a good thing. As Isaiah notes, he "gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" (Isaiah 40:29). Even in marriage? Especially in marriage, since God thought that one up in the first place. Still, how do we find the grace to run the race of relationship and not trip along the way?

Isaiah 40 isn't about magic. Its opening verses recall the stumbling and sinfulness of God's people. They speak also about the warm and compassionate heart of God. The rest of the chapter breathes a reminder to seek God's care. Marriages, like careers or characters, aren't made overnight. They happen when folks dig in for the long run and keep their eyes on the prize.

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck said that the scariest people aren't those who have quirky personalities or relational scars. The most threatening folk, he wrote in People of the Lie, are those who don't believe in a power beyond themselves. When people stop praying and assume an attitude of belligerent self-sufficiency, said Peck, they shrink the world to their perspective and seek to control it according to their whims. The result is always horrifying.

Marriages that go the distance are inevitably built on trust - in God and in each other. It's as an 81-year-old man told me from his oversized chair. Slapping his hands on the armrests, he said, "We're 60 years married this week and mighty proud of our family. But it's not us that did it; it's the grace of God."

Let's Talk

  • What do we depend on God for in our relationship? How do we express that dependency?
  • Where do we need God's help right now? Where are we stumbling or fainting? What should we ask for to recover our courage?
  • Who around us has gone through rough places and survived? What can we learn from them? How might we gain new insights from their experiences?

Source: NIV Devotions for Couples

Inspirational: Are You Affecting the World?

by John O'Leary

"We can choose to be affected by the world or we can choose to affect the world." - Heidi Willis

Many first responders share similar experiences after severe storms blow through a community.

They report that during the storm it's tremendously loud. The wind howls, branches break, thunder cracks, rain falls.

But as soon as the storm blows through, everything changes. With roads blocked there are no cars; with poles dropped there is no electricity; with the storm gone there are no noises.

It's totally still; eerily quiet.

And then, cutting though the great silence, echoes the high-pitched shrill of chainsaws ripping through downed wood.

In the aftermath of a storm, that noise announces that although there may be catastrophic damage, homes crushed, and lives shattered, there are also individuals trying to remove debris, make a difference, and begin rebuilding lives.

I was thinking of those storms, those chainsaws, and those individuals wielding them a little over a week ago while preparing to speak at the Stephen Breen Memorial Foundation Dinner in Fort Worth, TX.

The dinner is now in its 12th year. It celebrates the life, example, spirit, fight, and final requests of a young man.

Stephen was a very typical 15-year-old boy. A bit goofy, always grinning, foolish enough to think he was (as he would say) "a chick magnet," but self-conscious enough to rarely speak to them.

His life changed dramatically after the storm of a cancer diagnosis.

Through the pain and uncertainty of procedures, Stephen chose to keep a remarkable attitude. Focusing more on the pain of those around him than his own, friends, family, and strangers came to visit him in the hopes of encouraging Stephen, only to leave encouraged themselves.

He figured if he wasn't able to make himself better, he might as well strive to ensure he made others better.

As the story of Stephen's great love made its way through his community, others began desiring to make a difference for him. Make-A-Wish sent him to the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The Dallas Cowboys invited him to attend a practice. The entire team huddled around Stephen afterwards, hugged and signed autographs for him, and cheered loudly as he hobbled off the field.

His friends and classmates supported and loved him through it all, too. Even as he lost his hair, his body swelled from steroids, and the end seemed terribly close, they were unflinching in their support and love this young man.

At what would be his last event as a student, the homecoming dance, the prettiest, most popular girl in school went as his date. No, not out of sympathy or some selfless act of service, but out of a desire to be with someone as vibrantly, infectiously alive as he was.

Stephen's family received the same echoing love of the chainsaw buzz, too.

Meals were delivered, prayers were offered, visitors came to the hospital to simply sit with his family. Stephen's dad, Jim, occasionally had loyal friends sneak him a beer or glass of wine to the hospital as he spent 10 … then 20… then 30 nights in a row sleeping in Stephen's room. During this time the family's grass was cut, house was cleaned, and his other siblings were warmly invited into the activities and love of other families.

Even as the end came, these loyal friends remained present.

After Stephen took his last breath and the family had said their final goodbyes to their son and brother, three family friends quietly waited downstairs for several hours. As Stephen's family left the room, these men entered, tenderly picked up the child, and carried Stephen from his bedroom, down the steps, to the waiting hearse in the driveway.

And, yet, the buzz of the chainsaws continued to echo. The typical kid had inspired a community and more than 1,500 people attended his funeral. The final procession moved past a long corridor of his high school football team all wearing their uniforms as a final sendoff of respect to a young man who had captured the hearts of the community.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect about this family, this boy and this community is that it didn't end there. The echo of the chainsaws, generosity, love, faithfulness and life continued.

Although Stephen died almost 12 years ago, his magnificent life and legacy lives on. For you see, near the end of his life, knowing the end was near, he asked that he be remembered through acts of generosity done for others. Specifically, he wanted kids with cancer and their families to receive the same amazing gifts he received as he battled, and he desired that children who wanted to attend Catholic schools, but were unable to because of finances, be able to attend.

Through the pain and silence of his death, the chainsaws of great love and generosity have raised almost $2,000,000 to provide the same loving echo he felt so fortunate to receive while he lived.

My friends, this was not an easy newsletter to write. It likely was not an easy one to read, either. And yet, writing and reading is the easy part. Living it is the real invitation from Stephen's life.

We live in a world ripe with storms. Difficulties, chaos, despair and brokenness is ubiquitous in our communities, our families and in our own life. We can retreat from it, hide for cover, raise our fist in anger demanding the answer to the question, "Why me?!"

Or, we can pragmatically and faithfully view the damages and ask "what more can we do?"

We can embrace the tragedies and losses as part of life, show up courageously and lovingly for those around us, grab our chainsaws and let our noise bring hope, possibility, and new life to a community starved for it.

This is your day to realize that you can choose to be affected by the world. Or you can choose to positively affect the world.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

John O'Leary
www.johnolearyinspires.com

Senior Special: Outliving Your Retirement

3 Tips to Avoid Outliving Your Retirement Fund

Financial Experts Explain When It's OK to Play It Safe – and When It's Not

As people get closer to the age when they hope to retire, traditional wisdom calls for moving into more conservative – safer – investments, such as Treasury bonds and many fixed-income mutual funds.

"The problem is, what is 'safe' for one person may not be 'safe' for another, given the amount of money in their portfolios, how their investments are allocated, and what their retirement lifestyle goals are," says financial advisor Haitham "Hutch" Ashoo, co-founder with advisor Chris Snyder of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, (www.pillarwm.com).

"Some investors believe Certificates of Deposit and U.S. Treasury bonds are safe investments because of their backing, but the income they generate is so low, they may not be safe in terms of producing the income you need for 30 years of retirement."

A better approach is to analyze how much investment risk you must assume to achieve what's important to you, says Snyder.

"Your lifestyle goals determine your risk level, and your portfolio should be an allocation of stocks, bonds and cash that correlates directly with the risk level you need to assume."

Snyder and Ashoo, co-authors of "Four Factors The Affluent Must Know To Avoid Financial Disaster And Secure Their Dreams," available as a free download at(www.pillarwm.com), offer these tips for building a portfolio you likely won't outlive:

• Don't aim for earning a certain percentage rate simply because you consider it an acceptable one.

Once you've identified your retirement lifestyle wants and needs, you can calculate how much they'll cost. Subtract your guaranteed income from sources like Social Security and pensions, and the remainder is what your portfolio will need to generate, adjusted for inflation, for the rest of your life, Ashoo says.

"Setting a goal of earning a 5, 6 or 8 percent return doesn't work because the markets fluctuate each year and are unpredictable," he says. "It's better to evaluate inflows and outflows during retirement and adjust for inflation. That process helps determine how much money you'll need at certain points in your life, and the returns you'll need."

• Market timing and chasing hot managers is not the way to build a lasting, long-term portfolio.

Modern Portfolio Theory, developed by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Markowitz, tells us that 90 percent of the return in your portfolio is based on the allocation of stocks, bonds and cash, Snyder says.

"The percentages you allocate between these asset classes is far more important than timing the market or chasing around for the number one fund," he says. "Wall Street prefers you spend your time focused on the wrong thing.

• Don't automatically spend when your portfolio earnings exceed expectations.

When your portfolio is growing at a rate that gives you a good amount of confidence you won't outlive your money, are you safe to spend more when gains exceed your expectations?

"Everyone has different priorities – some may want to increase spending to enhance their lifestyle while others may take the opportunity to lower their risk even more, so they can sleep better at night," Ashoo says.

He and Snyder say clients in that situation this year have responded in varying ways. Some have paid down mortgages with the extra money, moved up their plans to retire, traveled more or lowered their portfolio risk.

"What you need to remember is that gains can be taken away as quickly as they appeared," Snyder says.

About Haitham "Hutch" Ashoo and Chris Snyder

Haitham "Hutch" Ashoo and Chris Snyder are co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, (www.pillarwm.com), of Walnut Creek, Calif., specializing in customized wealth management advice to affluent families. With a combined 51 years of experience, they are the authors of numerous published works, have addressed thousands of investors nationwide, and have been interviewed on radio shows across the country. 

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