Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Great Lent Week 1, Fasting
Volume 8 No. 462 February 9, 2018
 

IV. General Weekly Features

Health Benefits of Lent
Modern science has shown how fasting can be very beneficial to health in several ways.

To start with, 'T' cells, immune cells, play a central role in the immune system. And once created by stem cells, they reproduce many times. However, over time these reproduced cells become less efficient, less able to perform their duties.

But after about four days of fasting, the body starts consuming these old T cells, eliminating most of them. Then, when the fast ends, stem cells produce a whole new batch of young and strong T cells, which give the immune system a good scrubbing.

And there are other, also potent health effects to a proper fast. Acting much like a spring cleaning for the body, it sets the stage for physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual purification. Which while not integral to the fast itself, make optimal use of it.

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Importantly, fasting may also bring about an impressive immune system revitalization.

https://news.usc.edu/63669/fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-of-damaged-old-immune-system/

"...a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage - a major side effect of chemotherapy - but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

"When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged," Longo said. "What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back."

So in addition to healing the spirit, as a bonus, fasting helps heal the body.

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Fasting is an excellent soul cleansing tool...

The decrease in food consumption also decreases the production of 5-HTP in the enterochromaffin like cells of the Upper GI and stomach. The 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin which is the neurotransmitter that acts as a shock absorber blocking emotions from being transmitted across the neural synaptic cleft.

Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor which is supposed to increase serotonin in the synaptic cleft thus suppressing/blocking emotional fluctuations.

Fasting decreases the serotonin in the synaptic cleft thus allowing all our unresolved emotional issues to surface where we can deal with and heal them. Fasting facilitates emotional fluctuations, which can be a very good thing as you can dive down and find your wounds in your soul, but also reach higher levels in prayer.

I've noticed in my research that people on Prozac or other SSRI's decrease the impact of their ability to pray effectively. While it takes off the emotional lows, it also takes off the emotional highs and the connection experienced during prayer. This is what creates the flat affect in people on these drugs.

By the way, the inverse of fasting, carb and sweet consumption increases the 5-HTP and serotonin production to help block emotional pain. Emotional blocking is often what causes food addiction or sugar/carb cravings. 

Family Special: How to Inspire Manners In Your Children
1. When entering the house greet your children or even hug them. This should help develop their sense of love and self worth.

2. Be good to your neighbors and never backbite. Never speak ill of other drivers when on the road. Your children would listen, absorb and emulate.

3. When calling your parents, encourage your children to speak to them. When visiting your parents take your children with you. The more they see you take care of your parents the more they will learn to take care of you.

4. When driving them to school, don't always play albums or cds in the car. Rather, tell them some motivational stories yourself. This will have a greater impact - trust me!

5. Read to them a short story and even a scripture a day – it doesn't take much time, but very impactful in creating strong bonds and wonderful memories.

6. Comb your hair, clean your teeth and wear presentable cloths even if sitting at home and not going out for the day. They need to learn that being clean and tidy has nothing to do with going out!

7. Try not to blame or comment on every word or action they say or do. Learn to overlook and let go sometimes. This certainly builds their self-confidence.

8. Ask your children's permission before entering their rooms. Don't just knock and enter, but then wait for a verbal permission. They will learn to do the same when wanting to enter your room.

9. Apologize to your children if you made a mistake. Apologizing teaches them to be humble and polite.

10. Don't be sarcastic or make fun of their views or feelings, even if you "didn't mean it" and was "only joking". It really hurts.

11. Show respect to your children's privacy. Its important for their sense of value and self-esteem.

12. Don't expect that they will listen or understand the first time. Don't take it personal. But be patient and consistent.

13. Pray with them. Show them how to pray. Lead by example.

14. In addition, ask them to discuss their daily plans after the morning prayers. Children without concrete daily plans usually join others in executing theirs. They fall easy to peer pressure.

15. Hold them and bless them specially every morning.

Please share with other parents.

Courtesy of: Saumya Varghese, Cleveland, Ohio

Family Special: Three Tips for Your Family

by Charles R. Swindoll

The longer I live, the more convinced I become of how easy it is to allow irretrievable moments to slip away. I thought I learned this when Cynthia and I reared our four children. I'm finding it just as true now with our ten grandchildren. Regardless of our demanding schedules and in spite of our many responsibilities, we need to treasure those precious moments our children offer.

Let me get practical right up front and ask the question that's on your mind, "How do you do that?" I'm glad you asked. I have learned that we can capture those irretrievable moments by following three simple, two-word applications.

First, give attention.

By that I mean we must notice more than the needs of the child; we must give attention to the child. I like the way one woman put it. I love her honesty.

I never really looked at [my children]. When I looked at their mouths, I saw dirt around them. When I looked at their noses, I saw them running. When I looked at their eyes, I saw them open when they should have been closed. When I saw their hair, it needed combing or cutting. I never really looked at the whole face without offering some advice.

For over twenty years, I invited myself into their lives. I, put sweaters on them when I was cold, removed blankets from their beds when I was hot. I fed them when I was hungry and put them to bed when I was tired. I put them on diets when I was fat. I car-pooled them when I felt that the distance was too far for me to walk. Then I told them they took a lot of my time.

I never realized as I dedicated my life to ring-around-the-collar that cleanliness is not next to godliness — children are.¹

Take a look at yourself for a moment. Have you allowed yourself to become persnickety around the house? Are you so nit-picking that everything has to be constantly clean? Is that really next to godliness — or is it your attempt to maintain control? The dirt will just come back. But truth be told, the children may never want to come back. Give attention to the children. You can train them without breaking their spirits or degrading their self-worth.

Second, take photos.

Capture those special moments in pictures. When they first learn to water ski and they are barely staying up, take a picture. When they mark on the walls with permanent markers, take a picture. Is it their first date or first corsage? Grab the camera. Photos at birthdays, graduations, and weddings are obvious. But I'm talking about those daily moments in the lives of each one of your children that are irretrievable. Capture those moments permanently by taking photos. Make your kids individual photo albums to give to them when they have kids of their own. You capture so much more than images when you take photos.

Third, start laughing.

I'm serious! We live in one uptight generation! I mean, we are TENSE! One of my contributions to our family is a sense of humor. I will commit myself to it for the rest of my life. They may never remember my sermons, but I hope they always remember that I'm the guy who threw their mother in the pool and lived to tell the story. (Throwing her into the pool was no big deal...but living to tell the story...well, that's altogether different.)

Most parents of adult children have one major regret. They regret not having more fun. Fun times are the moments kids log in their memories. They remember those times when something didn't go as planned, or when Dad tripped and spilled his dinner in the restaurant, or when Mom, for an April Fool's joke on Dad, had an attorney call him threatening a lawsuit. "April Fool's, honey!" If you can laugh about it, so will they! Regrettably, they also remember when the slightest spilled milk turns into an hour of blame and ridicule. Without a sense of humor, you as the parent soon become the grim reaper. Your kids will feel an awkward, constant tension when they are around you...and they will yearn for the time when they don't have to be. What a tragic way to grow up! So lighten up...and start laughing! You'll regret it if you don't. Laughter in the home begins with you.

Time with our kids and grandkids is precious. It is irretrievable time...never to come again. My advice? Give attention...take photos...and start laughing.

References:

1. Erma Bombeck, Family—The Ties That Bind...And Gag! (New York: Fawcett Books, 1987), 218–19.

Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.

You Are The Light of The World

by Paul Estabrooks

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."
- Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus is also the great light of the world (John 8:12). Those who believe in Him are brought out of darkness into His light (Colossians1:12-13) and in turn become lights also. In essence, they live the beatitudes. What does light do?

A. It exposes dirt

If Christians live holy and righteous lives, it will show up the unrighteous deeds of others (Ephesians 5:8-14). An example is that people who take bribes feel very vulnerable if there are others that don't. Christians who work in government offices can, by their uprightness and integrity, diminish the amount of corruption just by their very presence and principles.

B. It lights up the way so that we do not stumble

If Christians walk by the principles of the Word of God, their lives take on a higher purpose and direction than that of self. This will not fail to attract the attention of a watching world. The world then is faced with a choice - to accept or reject such a model. To those who reject, that light becomes darkness. But for those who accept, that light illumines their lives and they will not make wrong choices.

C. It discourages works of darkness

More crimes are committed at night than in the daytime.

D. It dispels fear

When light shines, the phantoms of the night just fade away. People who are afraid of the dark prefer to sleep with the light on.

Light even enables discernment to be made - between friend and foe and between truth and counterfeit. It enables work to be done. Light enables plants to grow. Used in modern technology, it aids in telecommunications (fiber optics), helps to heal (lasers), and aids in publishing books.

The light of the Gospel also blesses in so many ways. And Christians who walk in it can in turn help others by sharing the knowledge they have concerning life, death, sin, salvation, God, the devil, heaven and hell. For these are the issues that plague man on a wide scale and for which they are striving to find adequate answers. The light will be recognized, not just in words, but in "good deeds" which lead others to praise our Father in heaven.

In Kumasi, Ghana, African Enterprise has been organizing city-cleaning teams. Before an evangelistic campaign, Christians often ask government leaders if they can clean it up. Then they send out teams of people with makeshift straw brooms and pails of soapy water to scrub the city. Christian workers have cleaned hospitals, city parks, and government grounds before major outreaches.

RESPONSE:

Today I am determined to shine for Jesus - the true light of the world!

PRAYER:

Lord, I want my life to count for You and Your kingdom. Help me be a lighthouse for You.

Source: Standing Strong Through the Storm

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

Forget. And Move Forward.

by Dr. Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC

"The past isn't your past if it is still affecting your present."

A personal past. We all have one. Sometimes it isn't glorious.

In some cases, painful pasts are consequences of our own bad choices. Self-inflicted wounds. Often however, the heartache from the past has been caused by others. Betrayal. Unfaithfulness. Deceit. Broken trust. Slander. Needle-pointed thorns that have lodged in our hearts and festered into ugly infected wounds.

It is impossible to reach and stretch for the future when we live in the pain of the past.

The book of Genesis gives us a great example of this principle. Joseph, at seventeen years-of-age, was loved by his father Jacob "more than any other of his sons…and he made him a robe of many colors" (37:3 ESV) His brothers "hated him and could not speak peacefully to him." (37:4 ESV) They then conspired against him and "sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver" (37:28 ESV) who then "sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharoah, captain of the guard." (37:36 ESV) Potiphar's wife then seduces Joseph, and when he rejects her advances, she falsely accuses him and "his master took him and put him into prison…" (38:20 ESV) Many years later, he interprets a dream for Pharoah and is released from prison and put "over all the land of Egypt" (41:43) At 30 years-of-age (thirteen years after his brothers sold him into slavery) Joseph is given Asenath "the daughter of Potiphera priest of On" (41:50 ESV) in marriage and fathers two sons.

What's interesting is the names he gives his sons. "Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh (making to forget) 'For' he said, 'God has made me forget all of my hardship and all my father's house.' The name of the second he called Ephraim, (fruitfulness) 'For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'" (41:51-52 ESV)

Joseph determined that he would not be a prisoner of his past. All that had happened in the "prison" season of his life was neither fatal nor final.

Make a bridge over your past. Release it. Work through it. Stretch for the future and be fruitful. The Apostle Paul expresses the same conviction in Philippians 3:13-14, "…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

The beauty of a past that has been healed is expressed in The Song of Solomon, "My beloved speaks and says to me: 'Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.' The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come…" (2:10-12 ESV)

Let go of the past. Press toward the future. It just could turn your life around.

Source: Hunger and Thirst Devotional by Dr. Tim Clinton

About The Author:

Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. ...

Copyright ©2017 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

Inspirational: What is your limit?
  • The bear came to prepare David to face the lion.
  • The lion came to prepare David to face Goliath.
  • Goliath came to prepare David to face Saul.
  • Saul came to prepare David for the throne.

God allows situations with a difficult appearance to transport us to larger places.
When we reach our limits, God comes with providence.

The limit of Moses was the sea ...

God split it in two.

The limit of Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac ...

God provided a Lamb.

Hannah's limit was her sterility ...

God gave her a son.

The limit of Lazarus was death ...

God raised him up.

What is your limit?

May God bless your life abundantly and that what is today your limit is tomorrow the instrument by which God will show you your miracle in your life.

Do not look at your problem or the difficulties you live today as a limit, but as an opportunity for the manifestation of his glory in your life.

Source: Pullolickal Connect
Courtesy of Mariam Zachariah

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