Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 2 No. 55 February 16, 2012

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Wedding Church at Cana, Galeele, Israel
Wedding at Cana - Painting
Wedding at Cana
Top: wedding church in Cana

Bottom: Painting of
Jesus at wedding in Cana
Table of Contents
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1. Editor's Note

2. Bible Readings for This Sunday (Feb 19)

3. Sermons for This Sunday (Feb 19)

4. Sermon of the Week:  Sermon for the First Sunday of Great Lent
    by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Malankara World Board Member

The way to a happy life here on earth and the world to come, is to listen to the word of God in attention. There is no other way. .. Life is also like a feast of marriage - a love feast of finding out the need, addressing the need at the appropriate place, sensibly solving and fulfilling the need. This can happen only to the genuine Christians who follow Him. ...

5. Inspiration for Today

Serving the Lord with all humility of mind. Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whoso-ever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. ...

6. Featured: Water Turned in To Good Wine at Cana: Spiritual Implications

But Jesus became the meal that humanity would eat, be pleased and be blessed. He did not send us out. He received us in, in to Himself. When He promised Noah that He would not destroy the world with water, He was making the positive promise that He was going to save us through water. The passage through the red sea was only a shadow. The conversion of water to wine and wine to His precious blood for our cleansing is real. ...

7. Book Excerpt: The School of Prayer - Lesson 24: The All-Prevailing Plea

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, If ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in my Name. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my Name: ask, and ye shall receive. In that day ye shall ask in my Name."..The power of prayer and the answer depend on the right use of the Name. ..Even when we pray to Jesus Himself, it must be in His Name. The name represents the person; to ask in the Name is to ask in full union of interest and life and love with Himself, as one who lives in and for Him. ...

8. Wondrous Prayer Power

Answers to prayer may not be wondrously manifested. But do not underestimate prayer power. Intercede for those in need of salvation. Be blessed with peace in fellowship with God through prayer. ...

9. St. John Chrysostom on Fasting

Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.
If you see a poor man, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. ....

10. Why Did Jesus Go to the Wedding?

Why would Jesus, on his first journey, take his followers to a party? Didn't they have work to do? Didn't he have principles to teach? Wasn't his time limited? How could a wedding fit with his purpose on earth? ... Jesus wasn't invited because he was a celebrity. He wasn't one yet. The invitation wasn't motivated by his miracles. He'd yet to perform any. Why did they invite him? ....

11. I Thought I'd Call

There is a story about a New York City policeman investigating a case. Even before he finished dialing, he somehow knew he’d made a mistake. The phone rang once, twice – then someone picked it up. "You’ve got the wrong number!" a husky male voice snapped before the line went dead. ...

12. The Beauty of Heaven Cannot be Described in Words

The true greatness of the believer's eternal destination can't be captured with words because it is just so wonderful. So as you look forward to living forever with Christ, do so with the expectation that you're going to experience something better than you could ever imagine! ...

13. Health: The One Ingredient Label You Have Never Read…And Should!

Most parents are careful about learning what’s in the stuff their kids eat and drink. They avoid artificial dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and sweeteners. Yet ask just about any of those same folks if they have ever looked at what is in their toothpaste and you’ll likely get blank stares. ...Many ingredients in some commercial toothpastes are of questionable benefit and some are just plain bad for you. ...

14. Recipe: Open-Faced Zucchini Burger

This is a great recipe to try during the Great Lent. No meat in the burger and healthy and tasty too. ...

15. Family: How to Be a Refuge for Your Children

If Daddy is afraid, where can a little child turn? Daddies are supposed to be safe. They are supposed to know what to do and how to solve problems and fix things and, most of all, protect the children from harm. But what happens if a child sees fear in Daddy's face? What if Daddy is as scared as the child, and doesn't know what to do? Then the child is utterly distraught and feels panic. He feels that the one strong and good and reliable place of safety is no longer safe. ...

16. Humor: Driver's License

17. About Malankara World

Editor's Note

On Sunday evening we are starting the Big Lent. It is the time for introspection and reflection. It is the time for us to get closer to God.

We often think of Lent as giving up our favorite foods. Although abstaining from favorite foods help us develop discipline, lent is more than giving up food. Jesus said nothing that goes into us from outside needs cleansing. What come out of us are the ones that require cleansing. What comes out of us are things like selfishness, envy, lack of compassion, lack of love, greed, etc. etc. Lent is the time to clear these out of us and go through a cleansing process. Lent is also the time to examine our lives to make sure that we are in conformity with what is prescribed in the 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes, the precepts of the Church, and the virtues of prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice.

Here is something I came across The Anglican Digest that will give you a better perspective on lent:

Lent is more than just giving up.
It is giving… developing a greater love towards God, self and others.
LENT can be a FEAST AND A FAST.

LENTEN DISCIPLINE:

Fast from worry; feast on trusting God.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from hostility; feast on tenderness.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast from unceasing prayer.
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from fear of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on speech that purifies.

Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on the fullness of truth.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.

Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.

Fast from lethargy and apathy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.

I want to thank Paulose achen, a member of Malankara World Board, for preparing the Sermon of the Week. During Great Lent we plan to bring our Malankara World Journal Specials on each week providing you with resources to meditate throughout the Lent. This week's issue will be published on Saturday. Read the keynote message. You may want to read it more than once! Many theologians believe that the Wedding at Cana did not end there; it proceeded with the Last Supper and the institution of the Holy Qurbana and then to the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. Take some time and meditate on the significance of this "sign" that points straight to Calvary.

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (Feb 19)

First Sunday of Great Lent (Kothne Sunday)
(Pethurtha of the Great Lent)

The Great Lent starts by commemorating the first miracle performed by Jesus i.e. turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee. The Gospel reading for each Sunday of the Great Lent is about a miracle performed by Jesus.

Evening

Morning

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_Great-Lent.htm

Sermons for This Sunday (Feb 19)
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for 1st Sunday in Great Lent (Wedding at Cana)

More Sermons

Sermon of the Week:
Sermon for the First Sunday of Great Lent

by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Malankara World Board Member

Gospel: St. John 2:1-11

"Do whatever He tells you." (John 2:5)

Are you ready to do what He tells you?

The way to a happy life here on earth and the world to come, is to listen to the word of God in attention. There is no other way. Jesus says, "I'm the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). The problem of the world is that we are not ready to bring the matter to Him and allow him to work in His time. We meddle with things that can't be solved with our human brains, but is possible only with the simple obedience to work things out as per his manuals and directions.

In Cana, Galilee, Jesus, his mother and disciples were in a marriage feast. Mary brought the problem of wine shortage to Jesus and she trusted him to do what was right. The servants followed his instruction of filling the 6 stone jars with water and distributing it. " So the servants followed his instructions" (John 2:8). Then the water became wine.

Life is also like a feast of marriage - a love feast of finding out the need, addressing the need at the appropriate place, sensibly solving and fulfilling the need. This can happen only to the genuine Christians who follow Him.

The Bible, without any doubt, speaks about the kingdom of heaven on earth and above and is for those who follow the will of God. "Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my father in Heaven will enter" (Mathew 7:21). Again Christ says, "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is like a wise person who builds his house on solid rock" (Mathew 7:24).

The question everyone asks everyday is, 'Is it possible to do and live by the word of Jesus?" If Jesus is the God and Lord that you and I accept, then we should, will and can follow His ways. Otherwise, there is no meaning of worshipping, preaching or having churches and institutions bearing his name.

The established churches, Christian institutions and the majority of the so-called Christians are keeping away from Jesus and his teachings from our daily lives thinking that it will hurt their so-called smooth, prosperous and worldly life on this earth, thus revealing the 'real person' in them.

There are millions of unheard and unsung people who follow Jesus in their daily lives. Here is an example of a community that live by the sermon on the Mount and the words of Jesus for a happy Christian life. They live in a community in Denver, Colorado, and perhaps in all of the Rockies. It's a branch of a medieval experiment in Christian Communal Living, an international movement founded in France in 1973. There are more than 70 branches all over the world including Germany, Hungary, Lebanon, Peru, Djibouti, Zaire and News Land. This is what they do pretty much all day: work and pray as monks do. At 7.15 am, it's morning prayer followed by celebration of mass at 8. Then at 8.30 am, members read their Bibles. They work from 9 am to 11 am after which it's an adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. By noon, they again say their prayers and have lunch. The afternoons follow a similar pattern like the mornings and, finally, the day ends with night prayers at 8.30 p.m.

A distraught woman rang the bell late one night and said, "My nephew, Bobbie, is going to die. He's on artificial ventilation. He's going to die. Could you pray for him?" Community members sat with her in the chapel and prayed with her. The next night the woman came back and told them that her nephew was alright. They are daily witnesses to the possibility of having priorities and values for another purpose of living, another way of life. "Bearing the fruit for the Lord is what matters," says one member aged 30, a pensioner who attends the weekly devotion. "The way they treat the people spiritually and emotionally, they are an inspiration to a lot of people. From them I've learned the joy of resurrection."

The challenge that we have before entering the Great Lent of consecration, renewal, repentance and rejuvenation is 'Are we ready to keep the word of the Lord or are we ready to remove the mask of Christianity that fools the innocents?" Are we ready to follow Jesus' words as the servants did in Cana, Galilee, when water was turned into wine, which made people believe in Him as their Lord and God?

"This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him" (John 2:11).

Rev. Fr. V. V. Paulose is with the Jerusalem Christian Mission in Toronto, Canada.

 Malankara World Infocenter on Suffering

Many of us face challenges in life. It may be financial, job related, about children, health, marriage, etc. etc. In fact, it is clear that it is not a question of if we will face these storms of life if we are not already, it is only a question of when. How do we handle this? Malankara World has a special infocenter with  detailed articles, meditations and strategies to overcome life's storms here: http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Reading/Suffering/Default.htm

Bookmark this page so you can come back to it easily. Visit often.

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind.

Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whoso-ever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. - I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man, ... not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. - When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Our rejoicing is this, ... that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world. - We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

ACTS 20:19. Matt. 20:26 28. Gal. 6:3. Rom. 12:3. Luke 17:10. II Cor. 1:12. II Cor. 4:7.

Featured This Week: Water Turned in To Good Wine at Cana: Spiritual Implications

by Dn. Monsy Manimalethu Jacob

Our Lord and disciples along with virgin Mother attend a wedding at Cana. The wine is prematurely finished. Mary intercedes. He turns six twenty/thirty gallon stone water-pots of water into good wine.

  • Why was their wine-bottles empty?
  • How Jesus did come to know about it?
  • Why does Jesus say that His time has not come yet?
  • Was it just an accidental coincidence that He happened to be there?
  • Did Jesus re-fill their empty wine bottles?
  • Was this just the 1st miracle or the 1st part of the miracle that He is and His incarnation?

Our Church explains the incident most spiritually. In our prayers for the Monday evening (Penkisa), we say that it was Jesus himself who emptied their wine bottles. When He was in Mary's womb He was sustaining the universe. He is almighty God. The prayer adds that the wedding party of music and dancing was changed to glory and halleluiahs.

He converted the water in the cleansing Jars to good wine, proclaiming the reason for his incarnation, suffering, crucifixion and resurrection; which is the cleansing of all humanity from their sins. The old wine bottles are thrown away when you are a Christian.

The 2nd part of the miracle is done on the Cross, hanging on that two pieces of timber, hands stretched out as extended as possible. In the Passover evening He proclaimed that the time has come.

In the 1st part (in Cana) He said His time has not come yet.

Mary was interceding, as anybody of faith in Jesus should. Feel the burden of others and intercede for others with our Lord, so that we have the feeling of communion through Jesus.

According to John Chrysostom; When Isaac wanted to bless Esau, he sent him out to hunt and asked him to bring a meal for him so that he would be pleased in the meal and bless Esau. Jacob got the blessing by setting the meal before Isaac.

But Jesus became the meal that humanity would eat, be pleased and be blessed. He did not send us out. He received us in, in to Himself. When He promised Noah that He would not destroy the world with water, He was making the positive promise that He was going to save us through water. The passage through the red sea was only a shadow. The conversion of water to wine and wine to His precious blood for our cleansing is real.

Oh God! You are Miracle,
Oh God! You are Qurbono,
Oh Qurbono! You are the Miracle

Book: 'With Christ In the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray

Lesson 24: The All-Prevailing Plea
[Editor's Note: Here is this week's lesson from the book, 'With Christ in the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray. This book is a very important reference book on intercessional prayer, something Orthodox Church believes in greatly. Murray skillfully describes the role of the Holy Spirit within the church and exhorts Christians to use the blessings God has given us. This book is a guide to living a life as a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you have missed the earlier lessons, please read them in Malankara World.]

'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, that will I do. If ye shall ask me anything in my Name, that will I do. That whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my Name, He may give it you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in my Name. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my Name: ask, and ye shall receive. In that day ye shall ask in my Name.' - John xiv. 13, 14, xv. 16, xvi. 23, 24, 26.

HITHERTO the disciples had not asked in the Name of Christ, nor had He Himself ever used the expression. The nearest approach is, 'met together in my Name.' Here in His parting words, He repeats the word unceasingly in connection with those promises of unlimited meaning, 'Whatsoever,' 'Anything,' 'What ye will,' to teach them and us that His Name is our only, but also our all-sufficient plea. The power of prayer and the answer depend on the right use of the Name.

What is a person's name? That word or expression in which the person is called up or represented to us. When I mention or hear a name, it calls up before me the whole man, what I know of him, and also the impression he has made on me. The name of a king includes his honor, his power, his kingdom. His name is the symbol of his power. And so each name of God embodies and represents some part of the glory of the Unseen One. And the Name of Christ is the expression of all He has done and all He is and lives to do as our Mediator.

And what is it to do a thing in the name of another? It is to come with the power and authority of that other, as his representative and substitute. We know how such a use of another's name always supposes a community of interest. No one would give another the free use of his name without first being assured that his honor and interest were as safe with that other as with himself.

And what is it when Jesus gives us power over His Name, the free use of it, with the assurance that whatever we ask in it will be given to us? The ordinary comparison of one person giving another, on some special occasion, the liberty to ask something in his name, comes altogether short here,—Jesus solemnly gives to all His disciples a general and unlimited power of the free use of His Name at all times for all they desire. He could not do this if He did not know that He could trust us with His interests, that His honor would be safe in our hands. The free use of the name of another is always the token of great confidence, of close union. He who gives his name to another stands aside, to let that other act for him; he who takes the name of another, gives up his own as of no value. When I go in the name of another, I deny myself, I take not only his name, but himself and what he is, instead of myself and what I am. ... Continue reading the full lesson in Malankara World.
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Prayers/Murray/Murray_24.htm

Previous Lessons (Archive)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Prayers/Murray/Default.htm
Wondrous Prayer Power
"In the concentration camp, seven hundred of us lived in a room built for two hundred people. We were all dirty, nervous and tense."

"One day a horrible fight broke out amongst the prisoners. Betsie began to pray aloud. It was as if a storm laid down, until at last all was quiet. Then Betsie said, 'Thank you, Father.' A tired old woman was used by the Lord to save the situation for seven hundred fellow prisoners through her prayers."

Paul told Timothy that prayer is the primary function of Christians. It should "be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions." And, truth be told, it is not just for their benefit, but for yours, "that [you] may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (I Timothy 2:1-2)

Answers to prayer may not be wondrously manifested. But do not underestimate prayer power. Intercede for those in need of salvation. Plead for the Lord's guidance for this country and its leaders. Be blessed with peace in fellowship with God through prayer.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 147:1-11

Source: Corrie ten Boom, Presidential Prayer Team

St. John Chrysostom on Fasting
Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.
If you see a poor man, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.
Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies.
Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.
Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.
For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers?
May HE who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us.

May the grace of God be with you in everything you do.

Why Did Jesus Go to the Wedding?

by Max Lucado

Why would Jesus, on his first journey, take his followers to a party? Didn't they have work to do? Didn't he have principles to teach? Wasn't his time limited? How could a wedding fit with his purpose on earth?

Why did Jesus go to the wedding?

The answer? It's found in the second verse of John 2. "Jesus and his followers were also invited to the wedding."

Jesus wasn't invited because he was a celebrity. He wasn't one yet. The invitation wasn't motivated by his miracles. He'd yet to perform any. Why did they invite him?

I suppose they liked him.

Big deal? I think so. I think it's significant that common folk in a little town enjoyed being with Jesus. I think it's noteworthy that the Almighty didn't act high and mighty. The Holy One wasn't holier-than-thou. The One who knew it all wasn't a know-it-all. The One who made the stars didn't keep his head in them. The One who owns all the stuff of earth never strutted it.

Jesus could have been all of these, but he wasn't. His purpose was not to show off but to show up. He went to great pains to be as human as the guy down the street. He didn't need to study, but still went to the synagogue. He had no need for income, but still worked in the workshop. He had known the fellowship of angels and heard the harps of heaven, yet still went to parties thrown by tax collectors. And upon his shoulders rested the challenge of redeeming creation, but he still took time to walk ninety miles from Jericho to Cana to go to a wedding.

As a result, people liked him. Oh, there were those who chaffed at his claims. They called him a blasphemer, but they never called him a braggart. They accused him of heresy, but never arrogance. He was branded as a radical, but never called unapproachable.

His faith made him likable, not detestable. Would that ours would do the same!

Source: From 'When God Whispers Your Name' by Max Lucado;
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1994)

I Thought I'd Call

There is a story about a New York City policeman investigating a case. Even before he finished dialing, he somehow knew he’d made a mistake. The phone rang once, twice – then someone picked it up.

"You’ve got the wrong number!" a husky male voice snapped before the line went dead. Mystified, the policeman dialed again. "I said you got the wrong number!" came the voice. Once more the phone clicked down.

"How could he possibly know I had the wrong number?" the policeman asked himself. A cop is trained to be curious – and concerned. So he dialed a third time.
"Hey, c’mon," the voice said. "Is this you again?"
"Yea, it’s me. I was wondering how you knew I had the wrong number before I even said anything."
"You figure it out!" The phone slammed down. He sat there for a while, the receiver hanging loosely in his fingers.

He called the man back.
"Did you figure it out yet?" the man asked.
"The only thing I can think of is nobody ever calls you."
"You got it!"
The phone went dead for the fourth time. Chuckling, the officer dialed the man back.

"What do you want now?" asked the man.
"I thought I’d call – just to say hello."
"Hello? Why?"
"Well, if nobody ever calls you, I thought maybe I should."

Source: Gary Nicolosi, The Wideness of God’s Mercy

The Beauty of Heaven Cannot be Described in Words

by Dr. Jack Graham

But, as it is written,
"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him…
"
1 Corinthians 2:9

I heard a story about a little girl who was blind from birth. Her mother constantly tried to describe the beauty of the world. She would describe the color of a flower, talk about the glory of a sunrise or a sunset, try to describe colors of the mountains, and so forth.

Due to the miracle of medicine and the touch of God, she underwent an operation whereby her sight was restored. And as soon as she could after they took the bandages off, she looked out the window. For the first time in her life, she saw the trees, the green grass, and the blue sky. So she turned to her mom and asked, "Oh, mother, why didn't you tell me it was so beautiful?" And her mother said, "Honey, I tried to tell you but you just had to see it for yourself."

I think one of these days when we get to heaven, we might run up to the authors of the Bible and say, "Why didn't you tell us how beautiful it is?" And they'll tell us, "We tried to tell you, but you just had to see it for yourself!"

The true greatness of the believer's eternal destination can't be captured with words because it is just so wonderful. So as you look forward to living forever with Christ, do so with the expectation that you're going to experience something better than you could ever imagine!

AS YOU LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR ETERNAL HOME WITH CHRIST, REMEMBER THAT IT WILL BE BETTER THAN WORDS COULD EVER DESCRIBE!

Source: Powerpoint Devotional

Health Tip: The One Ingredient Label You Have Never Read…And Should!
You Probably Know What’s In Your Kids’ Peanut Butter, But Do You Know What’s In Their Toothpaste?

Most parents are careful about learning what’s in the stuff their kids eat and drink. They avoid artificial dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and sweeteners. Yet ask just about any of those same folks if they have ever looked at what is in their toothpaste and you’ll likely get blank stares.

Considering the fact that children – and adults -- ingest toothpaste twice a day every day, it’s probably the most frequent thing we put in our mouths other than water or other beverages. And still, most people have never looked at what is in their toothpaste.

Dentist and national oral health care expert Harold Katz, (www.therabreath.com), suggests that needs to change. Many ingredients in some commercial toothpastes are of questionable benefit and some are just plain bad for you.

Consumers have become increasingly aware of the hidden toxins in foods, beverages and eating and drinking utensils, he says. They avoid high fat and high sodium foods, sulfates in their personal care products, aerosol sprays, and toxic chemicals in their household cleaners.

“They’re taking no chances, and rightfully so. Remember the rush to replace plastic baby bottles with glass ones after the BPA scare in 2008?” he asked.

However there has been a surprising lack of attention to toothpaste, Katz says. The dentist suggests that all consumers – but especially parents – take the time to read their toothpaste tubes today. Effects of potentially unhealthy toothpaste ingredients are multiplied in the smaller bodies of children.

Here are a few ingredients to stay away from:

FD&C blue dye No. 2: This commonly used toothpaste dye is one of several on the list of additives to avoid, maintained by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It’s said to be linked to learning, behavioral and health problems, severe allergic reactions, and headaches, among other problems.

Sodium lauryl sulfate: The American College of Toxicology reports this ingredient in cosmetics and industrial cleaning agents can cause skin corrosion and irritation. Doses of .8 to 110 grams/kilogram in lab rats caused depression, labored breathing, diarrhea and death in 4 out of 20 animals.

Triclosan: An anti-microbial ingredient, the federal Environmental Protection Agency lists triclosan as a pesticide and regulates its use in over-the-counter toothpastes and hand soaps. According to the agency’s fact sheet, “Studies on the thyroid and estrogen effects led EPA to determine that more research on the potential health consequences of endocrine effects of triclosan is warranted. … Because of the amount of research being planned and currently in progress, it will undertake another comprehensive review of triclosan beginning in 2013.”

Saccharin and aspartame: Both of these artificial sweeteners are on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s list of additives to avoid.

Toothpaste buyers should look for natural ingredients, such as aloe vera juice, which cleans and soothes teeth and gums and helps fight cavities, according to the May/June 2009 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's clinical, peer-reviewed journal. Aloe vera tooth gel is said to kill disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, Katz says.

Also, avoid all toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh detergent that has been linked to canker sores. Toothpastes that are free of sulfates include Weleda’s Salt Toothpaste, TheraBreath and Tom’s of Maine.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day and get children into the habit from a young age, Katz says. You’ll have fresh breath, avoid painful dental problems, and be far more likely to have your teeth in your mouth when you go to sleep at night as you age.

Just be sure to check what’s in your family’s toothpaste and avoid buying anything with problematic ingredients. And when it comes to brushing kids teeth use a pea-sized drop of paste on the brush – no more – and oversee brushing to ensure young children don’t swallow their toothpaste, says Dr Katz.

About Dr. Harold Katz

Dr. Harold Katz received his degree in bacteriology from UCLA and is the founder of The California Breath Clinics and author of The Bad Breath Bible. He has been featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “Early Show” and “The View” with Barbara Walters and countless other TV shows.

Read more health tips in Malankara World Health Section

Cafe - Recipe: Open-Faced Zucchini Burger
[Editor's Note: This is a great recipe to try during the Great Lent. No meat in the burger and healthy and tasty too. Skip the honey if you are diabetic.]

Ingredients

2 slices toasted whole-wheat bread
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup soy parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded soy Mozzarella cheese
2 large slices zucchini
1 tablespoon cold-pressed oil
1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Directions

Dip zucchini slices in the beaten egg and then in the flour and saute in hot oil for a couple of minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Place zucchini on top of the toast and place on a baking dish.

Mix the sliced mushrooms and honey in the spaghetti sauce.

Pour over the zucchini and top with cheeses and broil for a few minutes until lightly browned and bubbly hot.

Notes: Egg plant can be used in place of the zucchini.

Spaghetti sauce can be used. You can skip the mushrooms and honey. Top with the spaghetti sauce.

More Recipes/ Cooking Tips at Malankara World Cafe

Family: How to Be a Refuge for Your Children

by John Piper

If Daddy is afraid, where can a little child turn? Daddies are supposed to be safe. They are supposed to know what to do and how to solve problems and fix things and, most of all, protect the children from harm. But what happens if a child sees fear in Daddy's face? What if Daddy is as scared as the child, and doesn't know what to do? Then the child is utterly distraught and feels panic. He feels that the one strong and good and reliable place of safety is no longer safe.

But if Daddy is confident, then the children have a refuge. If Daddy is not panicking, but calm and steady, all the walls can come tumbling down, and all the waves can break, and all the snakes can hiss and the lions roar and the wind blow, and there will still be a safe place in Daddy's arms. Daddy is a refuge, as long as Daddy is confident.

That's why Proverbs 14:26 says that "his children will have a refuge," if Daddy has a "strong confidence." Daddy's confidence is the refuge of his children. Dads, the battle to be confident is not just about us, it is about the security of our children. It is about their sense of security and happiness. It's about whether they grow up fretful or firm in faith. Until children can know God in a deep personal way, we are the image and the embodiment of God in their lives. If we are confident and reliable and safe for them, they will be much more likely to cleave to God as their refuge when the storms break over them later.

So how shall we have "strong confidence"? After all, we, too, are little children, clay pots, weak and broken and battling anxieties and doubts. Is the solution to put on the best show we can and hide our true selves? That will lead to ulcers at best, and God-dishonoring teenager-repelling duplicity at worst. That is not the answer.

Proverbs 14:26 gives another answer: "In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence." This is very strange. It says that the solution to fear is fear. The solution to timidity is fear. The solution to uncertainty is fear. The solution to doubt is fear.

How can this be?

Part of the answer is that the "fear of the Lord" means fearing to dishonor the Lord. Which means fearing to distrust the Lord. Which means fearing to fear anything that the Lord has promised to help you overcome. In other words the fear of the Lord is the great fear destroyer.

If the Lord says, "Fear not, I am with you, be not dismayed, I will help you," (Isaiah 41:10), then it is a fearful thing to worry about the problem he says he will help you with. Fearing that problem when he says, "Fear not, I will help you, is a vote of no confidence against God's word, and that is a great dishonor to God. And the fear of the Lord trembles at such dishonoring God.

If the Lord says, "I will never fail you nor forsake you," so you can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6) - if the Lord says that to you, then not to be confident in the Lord's promised presence and help is a kind of pride. It puts our reckoning of the trouble above God's. That is why we read the amazing words of the Lord in Isaiah 51:12, "I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies And of the son of man who is made like grass?" Who are you to fear man, when God has promised to help you? So it is pride to fear man. And pride is the exact opposite of the fear of God.

So, yes, the Proverb is true and a great help to us. Fear God, dads. Fear God. Fear dishonoring him. Fear distrusting him. Fear putting your assessment of the problem above his. He says he can help. He is smarter. He is stronger. He is more generous. Trust him. Fear not to trust him.

Why? He works for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4). He will solve the problem. He will rescue the family. He will take care of the little ones. He will meet your needs. Fear not believing that. Then your children will have a refuge. They will have a Daddy who "has strong confidence" - not in himself, but in the promises of God, which he trembles not to trust.

© Desiring God. www.desiringGod.org.

Humor: Driver's License

A mother is driving her little girl to her friend's house for a play date.
' Mommy ,' the little girl asks, 'how old are you?'
'Honey, you are not supposed to ask a lady her age,' the mother replied. 'It's not polite.'
'OK', the little girl says, 'how much do you weigh?'
'Now really,' the mother says, 'those are personal questions and are really none of your business.'
Undaunted, the little girl asks, 'Why did you and Daddy get a divorce?'
'That's enough questions, young lady! Honestly!'
The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play.

'My Mom won't tell me anything about her,' the little girl says to her friend.
'Well,' says the friend, 'all you need to do is look at her driver's license. It's like a report card, it has everything on it.'

Later that night the little girl says to her mother, 'I know how old you are. You are 32.'
The mother is surprised and asks, 'How did you find that out?
'I also know that you weigh 130 pounds.'
The mother is past surprised and shocked now. 'How in Heaven's name did you find that out?'
'And,' the little girl says triumphantly,' I know why you and daddy got a divorce.'
'Oh really?' the mother asks. 'Why?'
'Because you got an F in sex.'

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