Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jesus Used The Word As A Weapon


Luke 4:4, "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written,
That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13

Jesus answered every temptation with, "It is written." The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). It is the only offensive spiritual weapon that we have.

Since Jesus was the Word of God (Jn. 1:1), anything he would have spoken would have been the Word. He could have said "scat" and the devil would have had to go, yet He quoted the written Word of God three times.

This gives us great assurance that the written Word of God is sufficient for us. Jesus, in the face of the greatest temptations that Satan had to offer, did not need to say anything that was not already recorded in scripture.

It is likely that when Jesus returns to this earth and destroys His enemies, He will just speak the Word that has already been given in scripture. No wonder Satan tries to keep us from studying and knowing God's Word. Even our good works will hurt us if they keep us from really knowing the scriptures.

God has given us this mighty weapon of His Word! When we speak the Word in faith, hell shakes. Satan and his minions have already experienced what the Word can do. They know its power. We need to know it, too.

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Be a Friend to Bees


Bees often get a bad rap because a very few species might sting if they feel threatened near their nests. Actually, the majority of North America’s 4,000 native bee species probably won't sting you under normal circumstances.

Did you know that bees are nature’s most important and efficient pollinators? But they are disappearing at an alarming rate. On vast farms and in family gardens, bees move large amounts of pollen between plants, pollinating flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Bees help plants produce the fruits and seeds that about 25 percent of birds and many mammals depend upon for food. Over 100 crops we use in the United States require pollination.

So get to know your native bees—and learn how to bee-friend them.

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Will Animals Be In Heaven?

By Dr. Peter Hammond
Livingstone Fellowship

The largest book in the Bible, the middle book of the Bible, the Hymn and Prayer book of the Bible, the Psalms, reveal that all of God’s Creation have contact with God (Psalm 93). All God’s Creatures praise Him. “Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures… beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowl; …let them praise the Name of the Lord for His Name alone is exalted. His Glory is above earth and heaven.” Psalm 148:7-13. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6

God created all the animals (Psalm 104). All animals belong to God (Psalm 50:10). God cares for the animals. “Jesus said: ‘are not the five sparrows sold for two copper coins and not one of them is forgotten before God.’” Luke 12:6. It is that Scripture which inspired the first act of the Union of South Africa, the minting of the half cent coin and later the one cent coin with two sparrows on it – reminding us that God cares for the very least.

There are those who say that animals do not matter, but the Lord Jesus taught that His people are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 6:28). If a sparrow is worthless, then of what value are you? A hundred times zero equals zero. A million times zero still equals zero. For you to be of great value, the birds of the air must be of some value. Obviously animals matter to God because the presence of animals in Nineveh is recorded as one of the reasons for God’s mercy in not destroying that sinful city (Jonah 4:11).   Read the entire article.

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The Birthday Kindness Movement

On the surface, The Birthday Project doesn’t look like a typical ministry, nor does its founder describe it as one. But Robyn Bomar says God has used it to reach people who may not have ordinarily given it a chance.

The Birthday Project’s goal is to create a shift in the way people think about and celebrate their birthdays and other milestones. Rather than making the day all about themselves, participants spend the day serving others.

The idea came when Bomar spent her 38th birthday doing 38 random acts of kindness—one for every year of her life. The seemingly miniscule acts ranged from feeding parking meters, to handing out balloons to kids shopping with their parents, to rounding up carts in a store parking lot. She initially didn’t want to publicize how she celebrated her birthday, but her husband, Michael, convinced her to post it on her blog—not to brag, but to share it with people. It soon went viral, and comments began flooding in.  Read the entire article.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Coming To The End of Myself

by Donna L. Watkins

"When I come to the end of myself, I find the beginning of God." -- Unknown

How much more real this saying is to me than when I pondered it a year ago. I remember wondering how far it was until I would get to the end of myself. It surely seemed like a very long journey for one so independent and full of ideas on how to handle things.

One year later I feel as though I've been yanking and tugging and pulling and pushing my way through to get to complete healing. Once you've been partially healed and once you know that Christ has already given it in the atonement, it's hard to get it off your mind, but the problem with that is that it's easy to believe we can do something to make it happen.

 It's done, so how does 'doing' fit into the equation? It doesn't. The key is to have the Truth revealed to our hearts. The bridge is sometimes long from the mind to the heart, but the Holy Spirit is the One who does the work, if we simply step back and receive.

So on the sideline of all that brain activity has been my deep desire for revelation of how deep the love of God is and a growing understanding of who I am in Christ. As I look back I realize how much the Holy Spirit has continued to draw me into His presence to build my trust in the Father so that He could mold and shape me into who He created me to be. I'm convinced that our mode of operation of doing is rooted in a lack of trusting God.

I've been reading The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee over the past half year.  It's really deep and yet profoundly simple with many practical illustrations on the experience of the Cross. I read chapters over and over again, knowing in my spirit that it was food necessary for survival.

Looking back over the path of all the struggling I have done thinking there is something I can do to bring about total healing in this earthly body makes me realize the long road the Holy Spirit has had with my soul. But He's good at what He does and I am so excited at how much change can take place in a year.

 How much more revelation we can have when we are still to know Him. Understanding of who we are in Christ has to be based in the heart and not the mind to become all we were designed to be and to experience the life that Christ called, "more abundant."

Believing there is nothing my flesh can do about life's situations is a hard thing for me to grasp. I guess I grew up with a really strong work ethic. Most of us are taught that if you want something you need to get out there and get it. Yes, there is great value in being diligent and steadfast, but as a Christian the only way it all comes together is if we're diligent in letting Him do the doing. One idea from the Holy Spirit is worth a million of our own thoughts. Our mind has so many ideas of how to get things done, it's hard for the Holy Spirit to get a thought in at times. It's so foreign to think that doing nothing will produce everything. But that's the grace walk.

The Law brings us to the end of ourselves. That was its purpose. It was written to show mankind what was required by a holy God, and in knowing it, we come to total despair of ourselves realizing there is no way for our flesh to keep the Law.

© Donna L. Watkins
Old City Cemetery - Lynchburg, VA
Pickerel Plant Blooming in Pond at Butterfly Garden
View Enlarged Image
So, God sends Jesus Christ to earth to take ALL of our sins and to fulfill the Law Himself. As we offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice, as a slave or servant, we find that it's like having a master who has an impossible list of tasks for us to do, and in knowing there is no way for us to fulfill this job, he himself does them all himself.

Christ fulfilled all of the Law for us and we are now free from doing anything of value in the flesh. What we focus on instead is living by the Spirit and being led to each impossible task and then allowing Him to do it through us. God can do all things, but He generally uses people in bodies to get things done. We are of most use to Him in areas where we feel totally useless.

It's so simple it seems impossible. It must've seemed impossible to the people of Paul's time also since they seemed to have a problem with not doing. With the Law mentality fresh and foremost in Jewish minds I'm sure it was inconceivable that we could just rest in Jesus. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us: "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. We're a world full of people who need rest for our souls! And when we take His yoke and join ourselves to Him, He will carry the load.

We must die so that He can live through us. In so many ways life seems so hard because we face the challenges head-on and struggle to deal with them, or we head for our cave and turn away from facing the issues at all. Neither option is designed to work. We are to turn it all over to Him.

The majority of the Galatians were Jewish Christians and Paul had quite the conversation with them in Galatians 3:1-5 where he rebukes them saying, "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?"

After an example of Abraham, he continues with verse 10 saying, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

Obviously we've never been able to do everything written in the Law. James 2:10 tells us that "whoever keeps the whole Law but fails in one point is guilty of breaking all of it." The Old Testament Commandments could not be satisfied which is why they had to apply the blood to the mercy seat.

How much more did Christ expand that Law when He gave the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) where He said even if we think something and don't do it, it is still sin. Christ came to become the curse for us and to free us from the Law. We hear that and know it mentally, but our flesh can't comprehend how it works because it can only work as we walk in the Spirit, not while we choose to walk in the flesh with all of our own ideas rushing and rolling around in our minds.

© Donna L. Watkins
Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet, SC
How Much Love The Father Has For Us   (My Title)
View Enlarged Image
We can say as Paul said, "Oh, wretched man that I am" (Romans 7:24). Paul had a hard time giving up his flesh with all the knowledge and esteem he had known in the flesh, but in the end he says it was all of the same value as dung. "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:8-9)

And in the end the revelation is so simple it's hard to grasp. Paul has a great concern over believers confusing and complicating the simplicity of the Gospel as he writes to the church at Corinth, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3).  We must come to Him as children.  He's a good Daddy.  Many earthly fathers were not so, but God is a perfect Father and Jesus said that in seeing Himself we have seen the Father.

The devil loves to deceive us into thinking that God isn't for us so we may as well get in there and figure it out and do it ourselves.  The same message he used on Adam and Eve ... God is not for you, He's withholding something good from you. God gives all good things and never withholds from us.  He says to us, "I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2).  Our soul must prosper and the only way to do that is to get it out of the way, renew our minds, and allow His Spirit to walk this life out through us.

All the more reason to get to know Him more and more and more and more. When we see that God IS love, we will have no problem holding HIs hand and not heading out on our own to the wastelands of life and our worthless mental solutions. God IS love ... He doesn't just love, He IS love. Another amazing huge thing for us to ponder.

"When I come to the end of myself, I find the beginning of God." -- Unknown

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Gigi's Herbal Heartworm Success Story

My friend, Robin, sent me another heartwarming heartworm story from one of her many happy clients.  She's been helping people and pets with heartworms for a very long time.  Her website has a lot of such testimonies, but I love to share one from time to time in this blog.

There are many heartbroken stories of pet owners who didn't find Robin's website, so if you can help me share this information, more dogs will be able to live and make their human family soooo happy!

Here's Gigi's story submitted by her family:

Our family is extremely partial to boxers and we have always bought them from breeders. However, this time we decided to rescue one. As God would have it, the day we set aside to look for a dog, there was one at a pound, only 45 minutes away! 

We (all six of us) went to meet Gigi. Poor baby! She was skin and bones and terrified of everything ... especially people. I was a little nervous about getting her, thinking she might bite one of the children out of fear, but my husband reassured me that she wasn't aggressive and he would like to take her home. 

With four children around, Gigi didn't have a chance at staying afraid of people. They loved on her, hand fed her, slept with her, brushed her, walked her, etc. She has become the best dog we have ever had; the most loved dog in the world.

So when we took Gigi in for a routine check-up and found out that she had a severe case of heartworms (apparently contracted at least 4 months before we adopted her), we were devastated! The vet recommended that we either euthanize her, or put her through a $1000+ regimen. We couldn't afford the treatment, so we went home and told the children what the vet had said. They cried for two days and gathered up their life savings (about $20) to help pay for "Gigi's heartworm poison."

I was already treating my family with essential oils, so it occurred to me that there must be some way to treat my pets naturally as well. Google, here I come! Lo and behold, Bandit's Buddies popped up! So I ordered the regimen and began it right away.

Fast forward to her next routine check-up (6 months later). I asked for the heartworm test to be done, just hoping that the severity would be down to moderate or mild. The vet came in with the results of all the tests and said, "Gigi is a very sweet, healthy dog. Just make sure you brush her teeth regularly." 

That's it?! So I asked about the heartworm test ... (drum roll, please) ... NEGATIVE! In 6 months! Wow! I barely restrained myself from doing cartwheels and expressed how pleased I was. That was when the vet rechecked the chart, realized that Gigi had previously been diagnosed as being heartworm positive and started back-pedaling ... "Oh, our test must be defective! We'll need to send the blood work out to another lab!" It has been two weeks and I haven't heard a peep from her! -- The Geurink Family

Read more about Bandit's Heartworm Program.
Read Bandit's Heartworm Story.
Read about Bandit's Prevention or Maintenance Program.

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Dangerous Pesticides Found in Celestial Seasonings Tea

Well, here we go again.  Another "natural" food company hitting the dirt.  

Tests showed high pesticide levels in 91% of Celestial Seasoning samples.  Ten (10) out of eleven (11) tested were found to contain dangerously high pesticides.  Read the entire article.

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Frogs Need Our Help, So Hop to It!

Kermit the Frog once sang, “It isn’t easy being green.” Although then he was lamenting that he blended in too much with his environment, he might be grateful today for this camouflage, as it just isn’t easy being a frog.

Frogs are among the more than 1,800 amphibian species that are threatened and the at least 168 amphibian species that have gone extinct in just the last two decades. Threats to them include habitat loss, water pollution, climate change, disease and invasive species.

Many states are hosting Save the Frogs Day events on April 27 to help raise awareness of frogs’ troubles and funds for amphibian conservation.  Read more ....

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Newsletter - 4/15/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter

If you judge other people you have no time to love them. -- Mother Teresa

Happy Springtime!

Randal and Donna - 10th Anniversary
April 1987
We acknowledged our 36th wedding anniversary on April 9th, but didn't celebrate since neither of us came up with an idea on where to go. We enjoy taking a trip to celebrate rather than eating out or buying gifts, so that's the motivation to work before play.

It's truly and finally Spring here at Bluebird Cove.  We still have some chilly nights, but the days have been lovely and even a few downright hot, but I won't complain about heat.

Right now our focus has been on getting the garden back into shape. Spring is our heavy work time for that since we leave all the leaves on the ground until then to give the plants more protection. We lose less perennials that way and some of the annuals even come back from the roots of the year before.

One of the things I struggle with in gardening is cutting blooms to bring into the house so I can enjoy them hour by hour. I always feel a bit guilty since I figure there's something outside that needs them, and yet I do leave plenty in the ground. I tell the ones chosen for the house that they are very special. Of course I don't say that until they're inside so the other plants won't hear [grin].

Spring Bouquets From Our Garden 
Hellebores, Daffodils and Hyacinths 
View Enlarged Image
This Spring I made some small bouquets of Hellebores, Daffodils, and Hyacinths. The Hellebores seem to be doubling every year now that they've got their feet settled into the hard Virginia clay that the earthworms have softened for them.

Right now all the trees in the forest behind us have lime colored green leaves coming out.  Nothing seems to be able to contain itself from bursting forth.  I love it!  It's like watching God create Earth all over again.

The forsythias have just about lost all their blooms and the redbuds are budding.  We have a lot of hollies and they're all covered with flower buds.  They make a very small flower, but the bees love them and the scent is wonderful to us also.  View holly blooms.

The butterflies are scurrying about looking for early blooms to feast on. Our state butterfly is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, a rather large butterfly and with the bright color of yellow very easy to spot as it is flittering about. On Saturday I was on the screened porch after working in the yard and there were two of them dancing up and down as they were preparing to mate.

© Donna L. Watkins - Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
View Enlarged Image
I imagine we will have such heavenly visions all around us when we get there and spend eternity amongst the many animals.  I think we'll even have those things that have gone extinct on our earth.  We've not been a good steward of what God made for us, but Heaven will be glorious with all the creatures and blossoms that God designed for our pleasure.  We will be able to lie down with these precious beings surely rejoicing with them that the pains and miseries of Earth are far behind us.

We purchased some more butterfly favorites at the nursery yesterday and I will be very excited to get them into the ground this week.

This year I've put quite a few new things in our deck pots. There's a lot of flowers we can't plant in the ground because the deer will eat them, so I put some seeds in pots to have more color on the deck and more nectar for the butterflies and hummingbirds. I sowed Red Salvias, Hummingbird Salvias (salmon color), Cleomes, Heritage Petunias, Hyssop, and even some Spinach for my hubby's "morning mush" (a VitaMix concoction of veggies, fruits and antioxidant spices).

© Donna L. Watkins - American Toads Mating
View Enlarged Image
The woods behind our home, and our own acre of wildlife habitat we've developed, are filled with the beautiful songs of so many birds. It reminds me of the Italian tradition of a man wooing his loved one with operatic songs from the street below her window.

All these males singing to attract their mates, just like the frog choruses at night, each male trying to convince the female that he is the most handsome of all and the best choice for fathering the females offspring.  Listen to audio of our night-time chorus.

On April 8th I heard the first call of the American Toads. They have a long trilling call that's very recognizable. They used to mate and lay their eggs in our small pond until the huge pond across the street went dry and we had some Bullfrogs set up housekeeping at our pond commanding dominant position since they eat everything else.  Apparently they've gone back across the street and our pond is once again available for smaller toads and frogs.

On the enlarged version of the photo, you can see the "string of pearls" (eggs) being laid as they are mating. The female is always the larger of the toads so she is on the bottom of this photo and the weight of the male keeps her egg discharge under water.  Read more about American Toads.

© Donna L. Watkins - Spring Peeper in the Garden
View Enlarged Image
We've had Spring Peepers lay their eggs even before the American Toads arrived.  They began singing away as soon as the days warmed up. I love to see all the life that bursts forth from that little backyard pond we put in. It's been such a great addition to our habitat for the last nine years.

Life so vividly portrayed in the sounds around us. The Peepers are so loud while we're playing a game on the screened porch that we have to raise our voice to have a conversation.

I can hardly go to sleep at night with the wonder of it all and waking up in the morning is like waking up in Paradise.

The squirrels may not be singing but they've got vocals of their own and the males are running and chasing the gals all over the property and up and down the trees. Leaping from small branch to another tree and simply crazy "in love" with those females.

Watch a video of a male that is happy to procreate as God told them to do.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this newsletter, we'd like to take a short trip to celebrate our anniversary.  One of the places we've been considering is Columbia, SC.  We rather love the state of South Carolina and have been to many places there, but are not familiar with Columbia.  Anybody live there?  What places are a "must see" in your opinion?  Please let me know!  Congaree National Park is definitely already one of our "must see" places.  Absolutely awesome!

On my health, I did an update post on the blog last week after a visit to the doctor.  I also did an update on that post this morning since things have been improving (Counterattack of The Devil - A Health Update).  As stated in the post, I communicate through the blog with family and friends so that I don't have to keep repeating "bad news" which I believe becomes part of us if we repeat it often enough.


It's time to be outdoors, so hope all of you have scheduled times to see all that Spring has to offer in your area of the world.  Wash the winter blues away and rejoice in the beauty and freshness of Spring!

Abundance of Blessings to YOU!

P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter?   You can share this post from the website at the bottom of the post.  Look for the little white envelope. Thanks for sharing!  

View Posts By Topic

Posts Since Last Newsletter

The Positive Impact of Religion on Health

Birdhouse Basics

Loneliness Taxes Immune System

Puppy FAQ's

Counterattack of The Devil - A Health Update  (DLW)

Oppressed By The Devil  (DLW)

Grow Your Own Birdseed

Outdoor Exercise is Best!

Natural Remedies for Swollen Feet & Ankles

73 Million Packages of Poisoned Bird Seed Sold

Newsletter - 4/1/13  (DLW)

April Is National Garden Month

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Positive Impact of Religion on Health

Some people need more than the Word of God to believe things written in it. For those who validate a lot of scientific evidence, you will enjoy seeing how science if catching up with what The Word has said for ages.

The Biology of Belief
By Jeffrey Kluger

We travel to Lourdes in search of a miracle; we go to Mecca to show our devotion; we eat hallucinogenic mushrooms to attain transcendent vision and gather in church basements to achieve its sober opposite. But there is nothing we pray — or chant or meditate — for more than health.

People who believe in a loving God fare better after a diagnosis of illness than people who believe in a punitive God. No less a killer than AIDS will back off at least a bit when it's hit with a double-barreled blast of belief.

"Even accounting for medications," says Dr. Gail Ironson, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Miami who studies HIV and religious belief, "spirituality predicts for better disease control."

The author of four books, including the soon-to-be-released How God Changes Your Brain he has looked more closely than most at how our spiritual data-processing center works, conducting various types of brain scans on more than 100 people, all of them in different kinds of worshipful or contemplative states. Over time, Newberg and his team have come to recognize just which parts of the brain light up during just which experiences.

When people engage in prayer, it's the frontal lobes that take the lead, since they govern focus and concentration. During very deep prayer, the parietal lobe powers down, which is what allows us to experience that sense of having loosed our earthly moorings.

The frontal lobes go quieter when worshippers are involved in the singular activity of speaking in tongues — which jibes nicely with the speakers' subjective experience that they are not in control of what they're saying.  Read the entire article.

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Birdhouse Basics

From Birds & Blooms

There are few bird-watching experiences more rewarding than setting up a birdhouse and having a pair of birds select it as their home to raise young.

 Not all backyard birds use houses, including many popular species like cardinals, orioles and goldfinches. But enough common birds do nest in birdhouses to make it worthwhile to set up a few to see what happens.

About 30 bird species in each region of the country are so-called cavity nesters, which means that most of them will also use a birdhouse. Bluebirds, purple martins, house wrens, chickadees, tree swallows and house sparrows are the most common occupants. You might also be able to entice nesters like wood ducks, screech-owls, woodpeckers, titmice and nuthatches.

But setting up a successful birdhouse isn't as simple as "build it and they will come." There are several key factors to consider that will give you the best chance to attract nesting birds.  Attract more nesting birds with these five basics.

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Loneliness Taxes Immune System

The truth ... is that science is catching up with the Word of God. The scriptures are very clear that we are not meant to be alone, that we were created for relationship, first and foremost with God and then with each other: Genesis 2:18 “It is not good that man should be alone,” and 1 Corinthians 12 -20.

Poor quality relationships, which make you feel lonely, are definitively linked to a number of health problems. More specifically, research links loneliness to a number of dysfunctional immune responses and increased blood pressure.

Researchers saw that people who were lonelier produced more inflammation-related proteins in response to stress than did people that were more socially connected. This means they reacted more strongly to stressful situations than those people that did not consider themselves to be lonely.

Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous conditions including coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease as well as the frailty and decline that can come with aging.  Read the entire article.

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Puppy FAQ's

From Dr. Jane Bicks

At Life’s Abundance, we’re celebrating puppyhood. This is partly because we just launched our brand new Large Breed Puppy Food, but mostly because WE LOVE PUPPIES.

Dr. Jane is tackling some frequently asked questions when it comes to baby dogs. Dr. Jane applies her considerable talent and demonstrates her insider’s knowledge in the review of just a handful of commonly posed queries, like …

Why does my puppy have hiccups?
What sorts of vaccinations does my puppy need?
How common a medical problem are worms?

Do what’s best for your pups, now and in the future, by reading the latest post from Dr. Jane now.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Counterattack of The Devil - A Health Update

by Donna L. Watkins

As many of you know, I've began again experiencing breathing problems at the same time in 2012 that the whole heart nightmare began back in December of 2011. It has continued to worsen and I felt I needed some direction to determine my battle plan, so I went to the clinic today since my breathing has been labored even for walking. I don't take to clinical environments, tests or drugs, so it's not easy to get my body into this mode of thinking.

I figured I'd have a chest x-ray and hope for pneumonia (yes, really :-). Well, it was the heart again and the doctor said I was on the thin line of going back into congestive heart failure and also that he'd never seen such a large heart due to the left ventricle's growth. I was going to crack a joke about having a large heart, but he was explaining something else to me. He's a Christian and has been so very accommodating since he knows I'm medical phobic and that we use herbs. He also says that I'm very tuned into my body so he can trust I will see something changing.

He wants me on digitalis and lasix even though I'm not retaining fluids right now (actually I have gained 5 pounds in the past week which was another sign to me that I needed to know something). I have stayed at the same weight I was in high school except when I went through getting thyroid meds properly dosed in 1976. So, I know when something's up. I put the fluids on the thighs first last year and then it was abdomen which is what had all my organs swimming and drowning and was unable to eat hardly anything.

I listened attentively and he went through the anatomical stuff but not like the ER doc or the cardio doc last year who emphasized the horror stories. He said he'd like to keep me around awhile longer since God's not finished with me yet. I agreed.

One question he couldn't answer was how it could've all gone away for 5-6 months like it did allowing me to have normal (even excessive) energy and stamina and be involved in very active activities.  I also ate plenty of salty foods without a thought of concern.  We aren't high sodium eaters, but after those months during the raging fluid battle and counting sodium grams and finding barely anything to eat, I have praised the Lord any time we eat things that I couldn't think of eating before.

So, I don't know what happened last year, but I have been reading about various ways that healing occurs and one of them is through "mental faith." In other words we believe with our minds that we can accomplish this and our bodies respond with healing. Hence why unsaved folks get healed all the time with various methods and even those who pray to gods since where ever your faith is, it can bring about healing.

BUT! with those methods, it's not the same as God's provision for healing in the atonement and things generally resurface if it's not based on the blood of Christ. I can see the "mental faith" would fit my personality since I got very determined to be healthy again after the ER doc pronounced death over me. I'm so glad I got to read that info just over the past weekend so my mind had a bit of an understanding of possibilities. Don't know about you, but I always want to know WHY?

I suppose I knew that a visit to the clinic doctor that I have used for annual thyroid bloodwork would give me enough information to get my head and body in gear. Once I set my mind to something I can keep it there till the job is done. However, I'd much rather use the provision of the atonement and Christ's Blood.

After getting back home and having lunch, I told Randal what I'd heard and that I wanted us to be in agreement on this decision. We both finally agreed that we'll take the protocol from the doc while we continue to learn and seek God for more revelation of His Word to our hearts and not just what we hold in our minds. The doctor had volunteered that I may not have to be on the drugs for long (was he sensing something more than the physical realm?), but it would be wise to get my heart back into rhythm and the cardiac arrest dangers behind. More than likely his positive thoughts were said to encourage me. He's one amazing doctor when it comes to today's practice of medicine.

Drugs was one of the other ways to heal, but there again, it was one that many times isn't a permanent solution or one without side effects creating more drug use. I will be "eating up" Hawthorn Berries which builds the heart muscles since mine are so stretched due to the enlarged heart that will help with blood flow. I've had numbness in my left foot since the breathing problem began. Hawthorn Berries are good for many issues of the heart and it's funny but it's the only herb that I crave once I get on it. I make herbal tea with the capsules (since I want the assured purity and potency guaranteed by Nature's Sunshine) and I also use the liquid herb version if I want a quick dose. Both methods are more readily assimilated than just taking the capsules and right now I'm into "quick."

I will begin the lasix (diuretic) in the morning for about a week to see what it does. He did indicate that the lasix itself could take care of it, so I can hope on that before I begin the digitalis next week (used to regulate heart rhythm in congestive heart failure to strengthen the heart) would be a much better approach. All I can rely on is what I feel the Holy Spirit is telling me and with Randal and I having the same thoughts on it, it's a good way to go. I will also be faithful with whatever herbs I'm instructed to use along the way.

The most amazing thing was that after talking about it with Randal, I laid back on the bed looking out a tall window at a pine and old red oak tree. I was trying to figure out the feelings I was having and it took awhile for me to realize that I was at total peace. Since my mind is usually so busy trying to figure something out, I knew that I wasn't feeling like I normally do, but I was amazed when I finally saw that it was simply an overwhelming peace that made me not want to move from the spot I was in. It continues to dominate and assure me that all is well.

God got me into herbs back in the late 70's when the doctors could find no way to help the asthma that plagued me with a diagnosis of Environmental Illness (now called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). I was pretty much left to stay at home (where we cleared out any trace of a product with chemicals in it), since so many things triggered the asthma attacks outside of the home. God is faithful and He works with us any way He can with the faith we have and where we find it along the way.  The foundation of it all is that He has never left me and will never forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), so I'm the road with Jesus where ever I am.

Related Article:
How Does God Heal?

Update 4/15/13
Communicating by blog post is so much better than having to repeat this over and over to family and friends.  I believe the more you repeat something the more it becomes part of you ... so I don't like talking about my health problems since I am focusing on healing.  It may seem a bit impersonal to some, but it's the way I need to work with it right now.

I began the Lasix and took off the 5 pounds of fluid on my thighs, but have not used the Digoxin.  I have to have a peace about timing when I use herbs, so that's what I'm doing with the drugs.  I have worked up a schedule for the Lasix but am back off of it since I was getting much too thirsty (I am drinking a half gallon+ fluids) and a bit light-headed probably from potassium loss.

I plan to begin the Digoxin this week so I will know if there are any side effects coming from that without being on the Lasix.  I want to see how much difference the Hawthorn Berries will make since I have increased the dosage on that and been getting great results.  The intense pounding in the chest from my heart having to work so hard has stopped and my high energy has returned.

I have read that Hawthorn Berries make the Digoxin more effectvie, so dosage would need to be cut and that's what I plan on doing.  Beginning with half of what the doc said and see what that does.

Breathing may be a little bit better.  Hard to tell since I'm moving about so much more with my energy back.  It had been going downhill for about a week before I went to the doctor.  I'm real happy that I can still move about and do ... especially in the garden and with various outdoor painting projects I want to get done.

Update 5/3/13
I stopped taking the Lasix after losing the 5 pounds of fluid and have kept my weight normal since then (3 weeks off).  I took the Digoxin for a week with each day seeming to add another side effect.  Finally after a week, I stopped it.  That was 9 days ago.  Neither helped the breathing, so I am still praying for wisdom on that.  It's definitely better.  The Digoxin took away my energy and that returned a couple of days after stopping.  Thank you for all your prayers.  Healing is still in progress, but it is already finished in my spirit.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oppressed By The Devil

by Donna L. Watkins

Many years ago we were in a church that sang a song saying, "Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow." I've been thinking a lot lately about what God gave us by sending Jesus to the Cross. There's so much more than we ever realize and it's overwhelming to consider what we have missed by thinking His death was to only provide us with a ticket to Heaven. Even then, many people who are saved believe it's their works that make God pleased with them.

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© Donna L. Watkins - White Orchid Had Delicious Smell
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden - Belmont, NC
This would be called self-righteousness, because if we think we can add anything to the work of Christ, then we have debased the entire plan of redemption. Sadly many good works are being done by people who were called to do and be something else. God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives and unless we're walking in His plan, we're not in the will of God, so good works don't give us any gold stars for our crown. 

I've been seeking to know more about the Father's plan and purpose for my life. Being so independent and quick-thinking, I've come up with plenty of ideas for my life and followed my own path asking God to bless it as I went on my way.  I loved tasks and projects, so filling my life in days past was an easy thing.  Now I realize that if I'm not walking in God's will each day, my life is truly worthless compared to the desire I've had to be in God's will.  I've got everything I do in question before the Father, even this blog.  Doing spiritual things doesn't necessarily mean they are ordained by God.

For so long a chunk of my life has been to manage the diseases of my body.  I accommodated the devil with each added disease or infirmity he placed upon me, rearing my head up and setting my chin with determination that disease would not get the best of me. My goal was to live each day with joy and peace regardless of my health. That seemed to be a mission in and of itself. I've sure realized that was not God's plan for my life since

God does not put sickness on us. Jesus came to show us the Father and Jesus never made anybody sick. "He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil" (Acts 10:38). Notice it says healing was for those oppressed by the devil? You can be sure that the devil is not involved in doing God's will. He has been opposed to it since the day he rebelled in heaven and took a third of the angels with him.

Why is it so hard to receive all that God has provided through Christ? It's what we believe in our heart. Jesus told His disciples that "Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says" (Mark 11:23). We can learn so much knowledge, but it's just a boat load of facts and information. What we believe is actually what moves us and molds us. Since most churches are not teaching the actual Bible we are not taught what the words "salvation" or "saved" actually mean. The Greek word is "sozo" and it includes emotional and physical healing and a whole lot more. [Read: What Part Of You Rules Your Life?]

If we have seen salvation as simply being the forgiveness of sins and a ticket to heaven, we don't expect any more. Even when we find out the Truth, we have believed something different for so long, it takes time to fill in the ruts of our memory/belief system before we can actually apply the new teaching. This is what Paul called "renewing the mind." Our thinking controls our body. Consider this segment by Dr. Caroline Leaf:
" ... research shows that DNA actually changes shape according to our thoughts. As you think those negative thoughts about the week ahead that hasn’t happened yet, or that person who hasn’t actually said or done anything yet, (even in the absence of the concrete stimulus) the toxic thinking has changed your brain wiring in a negative direction and thrown your mind and body into stress. According to Dr Herbert Benson, MD, and president of Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute, toxic thoughts lead to stress, which affects our body’s natural healing capacities. Toxic thinking literally ‘wears down’ the brain and the rest of the body." [Read: 75-98% of Mental & Physical Illnesses Come From Thought Life]
See why it's so important not to let the devil have his way with your thoughts, words and actions? It literally destroys us! Jesus countered the lies of the devil with the Word of God. We could do no better. That's why the devil has attacked the Bible so heavily. The current contemporary churches display Scriptures on the overhead screen so you won't even find many people in church these days with their Bible. Of course there have always been many people who carried their Bible to church but never opened it at home.

The Word of God is FOR us! God gave it to us through inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it is the only way to win the battle in our minds. Consider Hebrews 4:12: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." How powerful is that!? No support group can do that for you. If you don't know where to begin, I suggest this video series from a conference by Andrew Wommack: Changing The Way We Think (The Importance of the Word).

We do not have to stay oppressed by the devil. God has given us everything we need to succeed.
"According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature ..." (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Don't leave the gift on the table. You've unwrapped it with salvation and have taken the wrapping paper, but have you left most of the gift behind? Determine today that you will stop allowing the devil to steal from you. You are a child of the Almighty God. You have been placed in Christ and all that is true of Him is true of you. We posses it because it is in Him and God has placed us in Him to receive it all. It's our choice. Free will came with a great price tag.

I encourage you to watch the series, Changing The Way We Think. It can really put you on the path to change.

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