Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior
Volume 6 No. 382 November 4, 2016

III. General Weekly Features

You Are God's Pumpkin

by Kelly McFadden

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, "If you boast, boast only about the Lord."
--1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (NLT)

Pumpkins is Fall Photo by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Malankara World
Photo by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Malankara World

For most of the country, the crisp cool air of autumn is upon us. A sure sign of autumn is that Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere in retail stores. Halloween costumes and disguises are selling out in stores as trick-or-treaters are ready to take over the streets. A popular symbol of both harvest time and Halloween is the pumpkin. I was thinking recently that being a Christian is a lot like being a pumpkin. Perhaps you are visualizing this orange, round vegetable and wondering how you could ever be compared to one of these squashes! Simply put, like a child chooses a pumpkin to carve and mold an image upon, so God carves and molds His own unique design in you.

The Scriptures tell us that the Lord chooses us. He lifts us up and washes the dirt from our skin. Then he opens us, connecting deep inside to scoop out all the slimy, yucky stuff, including seeds of doubt, spite, lies and fear. Then, He carves a new creation and makes our faces shine by putting His light inside for all to see.

Sometimes I feel like I don't want my light to shine because I am ashamed of a thought or action or pattern in my life. I try to hide the light Christ has put in me and blend in with the crowd. What I forget is that when God carved me, created me and gave me His Son, I no longer had to count on my own strength. I can count on the Lord's. It is He who washes me clean; it is He who gives me a spirit of strength and perseverance; it is He who makes me pure; it is He who frees me from sin; and it is He who gives me hope. When I realize that my part of the equation is to rely on His strength and power, then I can do as Scriptures say, and shine His light through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What starts as an everyday squash turns into a lantern of light. What starts as an everyday person turns into a beacon of hope for all to see. Through our union with Christ, we are given the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit who enters and dwells in our lives. It is He who picked you out and carved you just the way He wants you. So make sure you keep your lantern lit for all to see.


1. What sins are in your life that you need to release and allow the Lord to scoop out for you?

2. Each time you see a pumpkin this autumn, think through why it is so important for you to be a vessel of light representing our Lord.


Psalm 19:7-10; Colossians 2:3

Source: Homeword with Jim Burns

Health: Is Your Water Destroying Your Thyroid?

by Al Sears, MD, CNS

We're all familiar with the additive fluoride.

But do you know what your daily requirement for fluoride is?


In the 1940s and '50s, dentists believed that fluoride was an essential nutrient necessary to build strong bones and teeth. Communities around the country started adding it to their drinking water. And the CDC heralded water fluoridation as one of the greatest public health feats of the 20th century.

The goal was to reduce dental cavities, but the experiment turned out to be a big bust.

Fluoride actually increases cavities.

One large study looked at 400,000 students. It found that for each 1 part-per million (ppm) of added fluoride in the water tooth decay went up by 27%.1

Today, we also know how harmful fluoride is. In fact, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry lists it among the top 20 substances posing the most significant threat to human health.

Studies prove fluoride:

Calcifies arteries and leads to heart disease
Increases tumors of the mouth and thyroid as well as rare forms of bone and liver cancer
Interferes with brain development in children and significantly lowers IQ scores
Makes bones weak and brittle and increases the risk of fractures
Increases the rates of ADHD in children

And the evidence about the dangers of fluoride keeps growing.

New research now shows fluoride greatly increases your risk of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, weight gain, constipation, aches, dry skin and thinning hair. It makes you feel cold all the time. It can also cause slowed heart rate and impaired memory. And it's a major cause of depression.

The new study looked at fluoride in the water supply in England. They found that low thyroid rates were 30% higher in areas with 0.3 mg of fluoride per liter of water.2 And that's less than half the fluoride level in the U.S.

The researchers in England also compared two communities. One had fluoridated water and one did not. They found that the fluoridated area was twice as likely to report higher rates of low thyroid.

Protect yourself from fluoride's effects

In America, approximately 70% of people have fluoride in their drinking water. That's more than 200 million people…

But it isn't just in your drinking water. It's everywhere…

Fluoride is in antibiotics, prescription drugs like Prozac, non-stick pots and pans, and toothpaste. You'll get it in iced tea, wine and beer made with municipal water. It's in produce like lettuce and bakery products.

You can't avoid it completely, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself right away:

1. Take turmeric.

This root has been proven to protect the brain from the neurotoxic effects of fluoride.3 Other studies show curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, protects kidneys against fluoride toxicity.4 It's also been shown to prevent DNA damage from fluoride in white blood cells.5

I like to use fresh turmeric root in the kitchen. I grate it like ginger and add it to soups, stews, stir-fries, rice, or lentil dishes. You can also buy ground turmeric, but make sure it's all turmeric and not mixed with curry.

You can also take curcumin supplements. Look for one with at least 90% or greater "curcuminoids." It should also contain piperine (an extract from black pepper). That increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2,000%. Take 500 to 1,000 mg a day.

2. Filter your water.

Most common household water filters like Brita won't remove fluoride. Find one that specifically filters out fluoride like ZeroWater. You can also install a filter on your sink faucet and your shower (because fluoride can be absorbed into your skin).

3. Don't use fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride toothpastes have to contain a poison warning. Don't take the chance. There are plenty of good fluoride-free versions on the market.

4. Check your bottled water.

Some bottled water comes right from the tap. To find out how much fluoride is in your bottled water, check out the Fluoride Action Network's chart at

5. Buy organic produce.

Pesticides have high levels of fluoride. Iceberg lettuce tests at 180 times the recommended levels. Citrus fruits, potatoes, grapes and raisins also have very high levels. Buy only organic versions of these foods to minimize your exposure.


1. Teotia SPS, Teotia M "Dental Caries: A Disorder of High Fluoride And Low Dietary Calcium Interactions (30 years of Personal Research)" Fluoride, 1994 27:59-66.

2. S Peckham, D Lowery, S Spencer. "Are fluoride levels in drinking water associated with hypothyroidism prevalence in England? A large observational study of GP practice data and fluoride levels in drinking water." Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, February 2015;69:619-624.

3. Sharma C, Suhalka P, Sukhwal P, Jaiswal N, Bhatnagar M. "Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence." Pharmacognosy Magazine. 2014;10(37):61-65.

4. Seyed Fazel Nabavi et al, "Protective effects of curcumin against sodium fluoride-induced toxicity in rat kidneys." Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012;145(3):369-74.

5. Hemlata Tiwari, Mandava V Rao, "Curcumin supplementation protects from genotoxic effects of arsenic and fluoride." Food Chem Toxicol. 2010;48(5):1234-8.

Recipe: Spicy Chinese Cabbage (La Bai Cai)
Spicy Chinese Cabbage, a Shanghainese appetizer, requires combining thinly sliced  cabbage with salt and Sichuan peppercorns, then letting the cabbage cure for a bit. Cooking consists of briefly frying dried red peppers in hot oil, then stirring in the cabbage. That takes all of two minutes - and the dish is delicious.

Serve as one of many dishes or for a light lunch.

Note: Even though the cabbage is salted, it retains a little bite and gets its nice heat from a chili infusion.

MAKE AHEAD: The cabbage needs to be salted and refrigerated or left in a cool place for at least several hours and up to overnight.


• 1 head Chinese cabbage (about 1 1/3 pounds total; also called napa cabbage)

• 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 3/4 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns

• 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

• 3 small dried red chili peppers, seeded and cut into small pieces


Rinse the cabbage, then place it on a cutting board and slice it crosswise into very thin strips, placing them in a large mixing bowl as you work. Add the salt and Sichuan peppercorns, then use your clean hands to scrunch them into the cabbage. Cover with a plate that fits inside the bowl, then weight the plate with a 28-ounce can. Refrigerate or set in a cool place for several hours (or up to overnight).

Remove the weight and plate. Drain the cabbage, squeezing out as much moisture as you can; there should be much less volume. Pick out and discard the Sichuan peppercorns.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, turn off the heat. Add the chilies and stir-fry for a few seconds, until they have darkened and become fragrant but not burned. Add the drained cabbage and stir-fry just until it is evenly coated with oil and the chilies are evenly distributed.

Serve at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: From the Book, 'Land of Fish and Rice' by Fuchsia Dunlop; Jewish World Review

Family Special: The Greatest Gift From Wife

by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

"Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap… yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!"
- Luke 12:24

Although the battle for healthy self‐confidence is most often fought by women, many men also struggle with the issue. Unlike a woman, a man derives his sense of worth primarily from the reputation he earns in his job or profession. He draws emotional satisfaction from achieving in business, becoming financially independent, developing a highly respected skill, being the "boss," or being loved and appreciated by his patients, clients, or business associates. When his career fails, however, look out.

His confidence often falters, and he becomes vulnerable. Depression, anger, and withdrawal are just some of his potential responses.

Wives, here's something to remember: More than anything, your man needs your respect. Compliment him on the qualities you most admire in him. Avoid comments that debase or embarrass him - especially in the eyes of others. As much as is reasonably possible, understand and support his career, but also create such an affirming atmosphere at home that he will be happy to leave career concerns at the office.

The better you understand your differences, the more you'll appreciate the gift that is your mate.

Just between us…

wife to husband

(wife) What achievement are you proudest of?
(wife) Are you satisfied with the current state of your career?
(wife) How can I help you with your career?
(wife) How can I show more respect for you and what you do?


(wife) Father, thank You for my husband - for the energy, skills, and ambitions you've placed in him. Help him to know that You love him no matter how he performs, and please help me show him the honor and respect I feel. Amen.

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

Family Special: Face Tough Times Together

by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
- ROMANS 15:1

Life in a fallen world can be tough. But what makes suffering and hardship worse is that they often turn us against each other rather than toward each other.

Here are a few ways to keep that from happening as you negotiate the common speed bumps and detours of life:

Give your spouse time and freedom to process trials differently. Fight the urge to discount each other's emotions or grow impatient with the time it's taking your spouse to deal with something. Some of us are quick to move on. Some process slowly and are more introspective. Give your spouse freedom to not be like you.

Recognize the temptation to withdraw from each other during periods of intense challenges. As a result, you end up thinking your spouse doesn't understand you or isn't taking the tough time seriously enough, which makes you want to pull back even more.

Respond to trials by embracing God's perspective of suffering. Search the Scriptures for God's counsel and point of view. Verses like "In everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:18) help to strengthen you through seasons of suffering by reminding you that God is good and He is in control.

Remember that your mate is never your enemy. As my friend Dr. Dan Allender says, your spouse is your "intimate ally," a fellow burden bearer for a difficult time.

If the burden or suffering persists, seek outside help. If you feel as if you're slipping off into a deep ditch as a couple, don't wait until you have all four wheels stuck before you seek help. Find godly counsel by calling a mature mentoring couple, your pastor or a biblical counselor to gain some traction.


Talk about the way each of you responds to periods of suffering, stress or a major challenge—and why. What do you need the other to understand about how you process difficulty?


Take some time to pray for one another around an issue you are facing. Express your trust in God to guide, strengthen and see you through . . . together.

Source: Moments with You Couples Devotional

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