24
Feb

Cellphones and your brain

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: USA Today

A recent study has demonstrated that the radiation waves which are emitted from cell phones are linked with increased activity in the part of the brain closest to the antenna. There is no evidence to suggest conclusively that this increased activity is either positive or negative, but the part of the brain stimulated most is associated with functions like emotion, sense of smell, memory, eating, and aggression.

Humans cannot control outcomes and can seldom predict them, a fact which the unrest in the Arab world is proving.  The good news is that the omniscient Lord of the universe is our Father.  His plans for us are “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).  Whatever your fears about the future, you can give them to him today in the assurance that you are in his hand (John 10:28).  The safest place in all the world to be is the center of the will of God.

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4
Feb

Golf trip led to dramatic weight loss

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: USA Today

Will Council is an avid golfer who wanted to go with some friends to play the courses in Scotland. The problem was those courses don’t allow carts and he was too overweight to be able to walk them. As a result, he finally found the motivation he needed to lose weight.  He lost 181 pounds in 18 months, went to Scotland, and had a time he’ll never forget.  He is now committed to keeping the weight off and enjoys a much better lifestyle than he had before.

Motivation is the key to sustained success.  When you are tempted to disappoint your Lord, remember that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Jonathan Edwards made it his daily resolution to live so fully for God that he would be prepared to meet him that day.  What if this were your day to stand before Jesus?

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3
Feb

Americans infusing daily life with the spiritual

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: USA Today

Many people are making a concerted effort so far this new year to make spirituality a higher priority in their daily lives. People are trying different approaches, from fasting once a week to praying or meditating on something God has shown them while they drive to work. What they are finding is that not much about your daily routine necessarily has to change if you make a concerted effort to add a spiritual aspect to what you’re already doing. Beyond the fasting and praying in the car, some of the more popular approaches have been saying a quick prayer every hour or volunteering to help the needy.

How are your New Year’s resolutions going so far? For many, things that seemed so doable a month ago are beginning to get harder and harder to continue. If you committed to growing in your walk with the Lord this year, chances are you started out pretty well. But if things are starting to get more difficult, Paul has some good advice for you. He tells us to rejoice always and to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17). That doesn’t mean that you walk around all day praying and ignoring the rest of your life. It can simply mean making a concerted effort to be more mindful of God in the course of our daily lives. If you see someone having a tough day, say a quick prayer. If you’re having a good day at work or school, thank God. You’ll quickly be amazed how much your day can change when you go through the good and the bad with an awareness of God’s presence.

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3
Feb

Madden predicts Steelers victory

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: USA Today

EA Sports’ Madden NFL 11 has made its annual prediction for the Super Bowl this weekend. According to its simulations, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to win 24-20 after Aaron Rodgers throws a late interception. While some may doubt the game’s dependability in this regard, it has successfully picked the winner of 6 of the last 7 Super Bowls, with the Giant’s upset of the Patriots the lone exception.

If only life were as simple as football.  No one in the Bible gets a five-year plan.  The good news is that your Father’s will for your life is “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).  He has a plan to prosper you and give you hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  Have you asked him to lead you yet today?

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2
Feb

A home treatment for Super Bowl stress

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: The New York Times

Few things in life can cause as much stress as a close football game in which your team is playing.  When that game is the Super Bowl, stress is only heightened.  Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to help ease the stress for loved ones and friends who find themselves suffering from Football Attention Neurosis (or FAN for short). Some recommended treatments include establishing a therapeutic alliance by sharing in the loved one’s football watching experience or, if necessary, using half-time to formulate a post-game intervention strategy if needed. Whatever method you choose, do not use the line, “it’s just another game.”  It will end poorly for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, stress in some form is a fact of life for us all. While some may deal with it better than others, each of us goes through it in our own way. How do you deal with stress? Do you work out? Maybe eat? Talk with friends? While all those may be good habits (except for eating), the Bible offers us another alternative. Matthew tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and then not to worry about what may come tomorrow (Matthew 6:33-34). It’s important to pay attention to the order of those instructions. If we are not to worry about what comes tomorrow, we must seek first the Kingdom of God today.  When our focus is on God, everything else tends to fall into place.

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28
Jan

The spy who fooled Hitler

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: BBC

The Allied landing at Normandy is one of the best known military events in recent world history. However, the details that led to its success are still being discovered. For example, experts have recently recovered a Nazi memo detailing that Hitler believed the primary landing spot for the attacks would be in Pas de Calais, France. The reason he believed this lie was that a highly successful British double agent named Juan Pujol Garcia fed the false information to Nazi command.  Garcia concealed his identity from the Germans so well that he received awards for his service from both the British and the Nazis during the war. Ultimately, the Allies took the beach; Garcia’s deception saved countless lives during the assault.

When we look back at history, seldom do we see a complete picture of how things played out. We may know the eventual outcome and the key players involved, but very often it’s the people that go unnoticed who make the greatest impact. God works the same way today. We may not be able to see how his call on our lives will have an impact on the Kingdom, but he can. God doesn’t do anything by accident—when he shows you his will for your life, never doubt that it can have consequences far beyond anything you can imagine. But his plan can be carried out only by those committed to following his guidance every day. Have you given God permission to use your life for his purposes today?

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28
Jan

Cerebral palsy is no limit for champion speller

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: CBS DFW Channel 11

Tanu Shivaswamy is a 5th grader at Canyon Creek Elementary School in the Richardson, TX independent school district. She is also this year’s winner of her school’s spelling bee, a feat impressive by itself but even more so since she can’t speak. Cerebral Palsy took away her speaking abilities but she used sign language to advance as far as the fourth round of the district tournament. She is determined to progress even further next year.

Our culture measures success by appearances and possessions.  God measures it by faithfulness.  Use your gifts for his glory and every day will be significant for eternity.

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17
Jan

Boy sent home for wearing Steelers jersey

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: Komonews

A 13 year old student at Tacoma’s Truman Middle School was sent home for violating the school’s dress code. However, it wasn’t what you might think: he was sent home for wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey on Seattle Seahawk’s appreciation day. The school normally has a strict dress code; students were told prior to the day’s affairs that the only acceptable alternative was the colors or jersey of the Seahawks. The seventh grader and his family are die-hard Steelers fans and he  felt that he should be able to represent his team in the same way as the other students.

Jesus seeks such allegiance from us: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).  If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

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17
Jan

Chernobyl and your soul

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: CNN

Scientist have recently discovered that in many areas around Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear accident in history, plant life is flourishing and shows little effect from its proximity to the toxic waste. While  leaves and stems show traces of radioactivity,  seeds do not. The area is still not deemed to be habitable but signs such as these are pointing towards a time when perhaps people can return to the region.

We have all experienced the pain of an event which haunts us long after everyone around us has moved on. But it doesn’t have to be that way. God stands ready to redeem our past mistakes in ways that we cannot  imagine. But he won’t heal what we won’t let him. Where do you need God’s redemptive touch today?

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17
Jan

Flunking the Army’s “spiritual fitness” test

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: USA Today

The U.S. Army has included 5 spiritual questions in its most recent well-being assessment survey. Studies have shown that spirituality has a positive impact on quality of life, the ability of a soldier to cope with difficult circumstances, and on mental health. While there are several groups pressuring the Army to remove the questions, officials seem committed to the legitimacy of this dimension of fitness.

They are right: “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

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