Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why Did God Create Mankind? (5-minute Video)

by Clint Byars at ForwardMinistries.org


Have you ever wondered why you are here?
Have you asked, “what’s my purpose?”
Maybe you’ve even wondered, “what am I supposed to do?”

How you answer those questions may determine how religious you are. How you answer those questions may reveal the level of your performance mentality before God. How you answer those questions may give you insight into the kind of relationship you think you have with God and what you think God expects from you.

A created thing can not determine its own purpose. The creator of anything has its own reason for producing that object. You are here according to God’s intentions. So what are God’s reasons for creating mankind? More specifically, why did he make you?

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

God created everything for his pleasure. That begs another question; what brings God pleasure? How you answer that question reveals the kind of father you think God is. Does poverty bring him pleasure? Does sickness bring him pleasure? What about confusion? Many people seem to think God wants them confused. I hear many people talk about their life’s circumstances and ask the question, what are you doing God? As if he’s the one in control over that circumstance. God is not the author of confusion so it must not bring him pleasure for you to be confused about your life and it’s circumstances.

What brings God pleasure is the same as any other father, healthy loving relationships with their children. God is a good father, it is his good pleasure to give you his kingdom. What’s in his kingdom? Righteousness, peace and joy. It brings God pleasure when you to enjoy what he has given you, righteousness, peace and joy.

David wondered why God created mankind, he wrote about it in a psalm…

What is man that You take thought of him,
and the son of man that You care for him?

Then David receives his answer…

Yet you have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8)

The words ‘glory’ and ‘majesty’ or ‘honor’ in modern day language are dignity, worth, value and royalty. God has attributed to mankind incredible worth and value. Each human life is worth every drop of the eternal blood of Jesus. God sees mankind as kings and rulers over his creation. When God looks at people he sees a dignified, royal creature worthy to have authority over his own creation.

This is true of all mankind. This is the reason Christ died for the ungodly, because everyone is valuable. This is why Jesus remained obedient unto the death of the cross and passed into the grave while we were sinners, because God sees mankind as royalty.

Once we receive Jesus and are cleansed by his blood our royalty extends into Heaven because we’re then in Jesus but even before then, each human on this planet is worth more than all its gold and precious stones combined. The reason God created mankind was to enjoy his creation and enjoy fellowship with each other and enjoy relationship with him.


Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

God created everything for his pleasure. That begs another question; what brings God pleasure? How you answer that question reveals the kind of father you think God is. Does poverty bring him pleasure? Does sickness bring him pleasure? What about confusion? Many people seem to think God wants them confused. I hear many people talk about their life’s circumstances and ask the question, what are you doing God? As if he’s the one in control over that circumstance. God is not the author of confusion so it must not bring him pleasure for you to be confused about your life and it’s circumstances.

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Knee Osteoarthritis Supplement Treatment Better Than Drug

From eMaxHealth.com

In this latest study, investigators compared the effectiveness of celecoxib with a natural supplement, chondroitin sulfate, in 194 individuals with knee osteoarthritis characterized by inflammation and moderate pain. The multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled, comparative study took place over a two-year period.

During that time, the participants took either 1,200 mg per day of chondroitin sulfate or 200 mg of celecoxib. Three magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were performed during the study as well.  At the end of the intervention period, here’s what the researchers found:

• Progression of knee osteoarthritis was slower among patients who took chondroitin sulfate, based on MRI results

• Both chondroitin and celecoxib were equally effective (about 50%) in improving pain, function, stiffness, and joint swelling


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Does Coat Color Predict Feline Behavior?


 by Dr. Jane Bicks

Every now and again, new research emerges that reveals something that sounds extraordinary. In this particular case, it’s evidence that the color of a cat’s coat might correlate to their adult behavior.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But is it true? Fortunately, we have a veterinary expert who knows how to view the data with a critical eye.

In this post, Dr. Jane examines the curious evidence and provides an expert opinion on the matter. The answer just might surprise you! Read this Dr. Jane post now ... 

Sugar-Free Products Damaging Your Teeth?

Sugar-Free Products Could Be Damaging Your Pearly Whites
From Medical Advisory Board - Aisle 7

New research suggests that sugar-free drinks and candies may damage teeth as much as their sugary counterparts. The flavorings in sugar-free products often contain high-acid ingredients, such as phosphoric acid and citric acid, which can erode the outer protective layer (the enamel) of the tooth.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne published the findings in a new report from the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre. In their experiments, they exposed donated human molars to 23 different drinks including sugary and sugar-free sodas, sports drinks, and milk drinks, as well as water for comparison.

Following exposure to the beverages, the teeth were analyzed for several markers of tooth damage, such as changes in calcium levels and enamel loss. In addition, the researchers tested 32 sugar-free candies, including lollipops, mints, and lozenges, to understand their potential to cause dental erosion. Here is what the researchers found.


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Internet Addiction Test

Have you ever wondered if you had an addiction to the internet? On days when I have a long list of work I definitely feel like I've been on the computer too much, but when I have days off the computer I am so happy, peaceful and in "another world."

For those who work on the internet for their jobs like I do, you're going to have a good amount of time being connected, but there are many that use of large amounts of their day online for nothing more than social sites, games and other non-satisfying venues.

The Internet Addiction Test (IAT) is the first validated measure of Internet Addiction described in the IAT Manual to measure Internet use in terms of mild, moderate, to several levels of addiction.  Give it a try ... if you dare :-)  Internet Addiction Test



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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easter - Three Days that Changed the World

From the Cross to the Throne
By Dr. James B. Richards


Romans 10:9-10 is the cornerstone Scripture for evangelicals in leading people to Jesus. While this is an incredible place to give clear cut steps for a concise process, this Scripture contains much more than a formula to be born again. It is, in fact, the cornerstone Scripture for appropriating every aspect of the promises of God!

It says: "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Every aspect of salvation, i.e., saved, healed, blessed, prospered, protected, made whole, sanctified, and more comes to us through this process of believing that God raised Jesus from the dead. All of these attributes of salvation exist in a certain state of being: righteousness. 

Thayer's Lexicon defines righteousness as “the state of him who is such as he ought to be.” God created man to be healthy, happy, prosperous, peaceful, and every other imaginable enjoyable state. In the Garden of Eden man was as he should be and in Heaven man will be as he should be.


Our concepts of righteousness are more focused on the “fruit” of righteousness than the “state” of righteousness. Moral and ethical living is just one aspect of how we should be. Healed, delivered blessed, prospered, protected, and set apart are just a few more aspects of how we should be.


We've made righteousness a goal instead of a state of being and as such we lock ourselves into a legalistic mindset. A goal is obtained by accomplishment or labor. A state of being already exists and is entered into by belief. Righteousness, like the Kingdom of God, already exists; we don't have to create it, it's something that we enter into internally. It's strictly a heart issue.

We can create carnal substitutes for any of the states of being that God offers. We can have circumstantial peace, but circumstantial peace only lasts as long as all external circumstances support it. We can have a joy or happiness based on obtaining the things we desire but, once again, this is subject to the actions of others. We can only maintain it as long as the world around us gives us what we want. Jesus offers us a joy that's independent of circumstances and He offers a peace that's beyond anything that makes sense.

Likewise, the appearance of righteousness can be manufactured, but as Jesus told the Pharisees, "You are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." (Matt. 23:27-28) God looks on the heart. Everything God desires to do in you, He desires to do in and through your heart.

The beginning of our walk with Jesus as Lord, as well as every step we take from that point forward, should revolve around what we believe in our heart about Jesus' resurrection from the dead. We only have in salvation what Jesus accomplished through the resurrection! There's no other place to look and there's no other process.

Sadly, we're taught to only look to the resurrection of Jesus as it applies to the new birth! But when we need healing, peace, prosperity, or all the other provisions of salvation, we look to individual Scriptures and attempt to create an intellectual comprehension of those Scriptures independent of the resurrection of Jesus. Every scriptural promise has its ultimate realization and power in the resurrection. 

In Eph. 1:16-23 Paul prayed for the church that "…the Father of glory may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…" For the remaining verses of this chapter he points out that the power that works in us is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. What we have, we have because He obtained it in the resurrection. We partake in it because we are in Him! 


The most essential aspects of our faith revolved around three questions: 1) what did Jesus conquer and obtain through the resurrection? 2) Am I in Him? 3) Do I believe that being in Him qualifies me to share in these benefits? If we live by resurrection power we must know what Jesus accomplished through the resurrection. This is where Rom. 10:9-10 come into play in every faith equation! 

In Isaiah 53 we see much of what Jesus endured from the cross to the throne. But the prophet begins that chapter by asking, “Who has believed our report?” Very little of the biblical report of the death, burial, and resurrection is believed by the church. This religious blindness is the primary result for the spiritual impotence of most believers and the church's failure in the world.

We believe the historical account of the life of Jesus but deny most of the biblical account of His death and resurrection. When Jesus said “It is finished” most people believe the work of salvation was completed. But in actuality, the true work of salvation had hardly begun. 

Kittle's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament may be the foremost authority in New Testament Greek. Listen to Kittle's definition of this Greek word: This verb means “to carry out, to execute, to fulfill, to carry out instructions, to bring to an end, to fulfill obligations.” Jesus had fulfilled or carried out all of God's directives in His earthly life. All of the prophecies had been fulfilled.

What started on the cross (Jesus becoming our sin) had its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus taking all the curse of the law we deserved. This didn't end with physical death. The debt was not paid until He was alienated from God in the abode of the wicked dead. He was held in the grave by our sins and by the curse of the law, alienated from God. But Jesus believed God's promise to Him. The book of Jonah and many of the Psalms graphically portray His struggle of faith. 

The most misunderstood reality of the resurrection is that Jesus became sin. He died the death of the wicked. For Him to be raised from the dead He had to use His faith to obtain righteousness. This is why the Scriptures refer to a righteousness that comes by the faith of Jesus. He used His faith to obtain righteousness so He could be raised from the death of sin. 

Rom. 8:29 says, “…that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Jesus wasn't the first person to be raised from the dead, but He was the first to be raised from the death of sin. Just as we are raised up in righteousness at the new birth, He was the first, the Captain of our salvation, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the first and the last in every way! He was raised up in righteousness (as He should be according to God's Word.) He used His faith in God's Word and received righteousness. Because we are in Him we have that same righteousness.

Jesus, having been raised up, conquered the devil and stripped him of all authority, entered the Father's presence, received an inheritance, and sat down at the right hand of the Father. Because we are in Him we share in all this with Him. "We are seated with (in) Him, in heavenly places." Our inheritance is the same inheritance that He received from the Father. We don't have anything that He doesn't have and He doesn't have anything that He doesn't share with us. "As He is, (right now seated at the right hand of the Father) so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

Our faith isn't rooted in the historical Jesus; it's in the resurrected Lord. We believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead after having become our sin and taking the curse that we deserved. But He used His faith to conquer all of that. The last catch to this scenario is that we have to believe in our heart! This isn't a mere intellectual acknowledgement of the facts; it must become a heart belief.

There are many aspects of believing in our heart but the primary indicator is found in the fact that what we believe in our heart is the core of our identity, who and how we see ourselves. If I believe in my heart that Jesus is raised up over sin, death, Hell, and the devil, I believe that I, too, am raised up. If I believe in my heart that through the resurrection Jesus obtained an inheritance, I believe that I, too, have obtained an inheritance. 

This is the heart of Paul's prayer in Ephesians. The revelation missing from the church today is the in Him realities that come through faith in the resurrected Lord.

(This article is based on the eight-part series entitled, Three Days that Changed the World.)


Monday, March 14, 2016

PRAYER REQUEST - The Nature In Us Newsletter - 3/15/16


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The Nature In Us Newsletter
March 15, 2016
By Donna L. Watkins

"Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you, not because they are nice but because you are."
 

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Hello Dear Friends!

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Donna at Alberene Soapstone Quarry
May 5, 2012
This isn't the newsletter you usually receive.  It's the first I've missed since I began doing the newsletter issue of The Nature In Us back in February of 2010.  Although the screened porch is right off the bedroom with "only" 10 steps to be on the chaise, all I can do now is listen from inside.  So I'm not seeing what's going on in our little paradise.

I will mention at this time that there are other posts in queue to go out this month, so you will see some things come across that I did possibly months ago, never being able to count on having a good day.  

I would like to request prayer.  I know there are some faith-filled prayer warriors out there because when I did this after the initial diagnosis 4 years ago, I made a comeback and there wasn't anything I was doing different. I didn't even take the drugs which I am doing now.

I tried to put in as many details as possible since some people want details and other want an overview.  You can choose which way you want to go.

We will not be able to keep up with individual emails, so there is a Caring Bridge website that has been set up for you to access and get updates from.  Here's the address:  www.caringbridge.org/visit/donnawatkins3

It's been quite a challenge for the past couple of years and especially since I had very little breathing capacity since September last year.  I am good at rolling with the punches, but after awhile you're just simply beat from lack of sleep and food.  Please pray that I can get some food down since my appetite is horrible and I'm too tired to even want to eat.

On March 8th I went into the hospital, something I should've done back in September.  Since both of my parents died in the hospital in 5 months of each other when both of them were to have only a few days of treatment but never did come out. I guess it really set up a phobic response within me.  Not that I mind dying, but the process of it while I am there. Any medical equipment, hospital beds, wheel chairs, and all those many diagnostic gadgets.

My mom went in for foot treatment for 3 days.  They took away her herbs she was using for diabetes and put her on the drug, didn't track what she was eating so she went into a diabetic coma and never came out.  My dad went in for a week of radiation.  We had just come back from a trip together, spry and light-hearted.  At the end of the time they told me he was released tomorrow and an hour later he was dead.

Randal, My Husband
It is what it is.  I'm too weak to walk anywhere and all I want to do is sleep, which is nice, but my breathing is greatly challenged already.  They discovered a lot of fluid in my right lung and some in the other also, but could only take off 1.5 litres off the right lung or it would imbalance the lungs or something.  I could breathe again and slept through the night for the first time in years.  The next day I went back on the oxygen at the 2.0 level and was spitting up blood and am already up to the 4.0 level.  The machine only goes to 5, so that makes me really nervous. 

I had a high temperature.  Took care of high temperature with herbs.  I still have at least 10 pounds of fluid to move off which means I actually weigh about 98 pounds.  My normal is 125 throughout adulthood.  Please pray that the rest of the fluid in the lungs will move out and also from the abdomen and thighs and I'm able to begin building back some actual real weight. 

My husband has been awesome, wonderful and amazing through all of this.  Keeping his heart light. When I do the intercom on the phone, he says, "Housekeeping!"  He smiles and fills many requests all day long for years now besides having the housework and his job running our businesses.  He hasn't complained or showed he's bothered at all.  I know he's carrying a heavy load.  We have no family here and haven't really allowed friends to visit since it is so taxing on me.  After a couple hours of a visit I would have to sleep the rest of the day.  Now I'm sleeping anyway.  Please pray for him to have strength and courage as we go through this ordeal

Ben, Our Son
Our only child is Benjamin and he lives in Oklahoma City, a long way from Virginia.  I know this is very taxing on him.  He's one of those hi-strung folks like I used to be.  He remains positive at all times but I know he's very concerned.  He had his grandmother die, his aunt, and a couple of his close friends in accidents in the last year, so death has robbed him of so much in such a short time.

We have been planning to meet down south to visit a place called Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell's Inlet, SC.  I was there years ago and it's the most magnificent gardens I've ever seen.  There are 300 acres and over 1400 pieces of sculpture scattered throughout and they also maintain a wildlife preservation area.  It was a dream fulfilled and I wanted to share that with Ben because he loves sculpture and photography and you can click away there forever.  My husband and I spent 6 hours there.

Please pray for peace in his heart during this time and that he will allow the Lord to be his everything.

Hospice came out and explained everything and it's awesome what they will be doing and that all of it is covered under Medicare A.  They will come bathe me, wash my hair, straighten up room, change sheets. Just an amazing array of helpful things. It's like having angels at your service ... and some of them may well be angels.  I will have to go back to the hospital to get a drain put in that lung and then the Hospice nurse can drain it daily if need be and I'll be breathing better.  Getting excited about that already. The hospital deal will be by appointment and I'll be taken directly there and when it's done go directly home.  Until then they're having Randal pick up a "comfort pack" with morphine and atavan, being instructed to use the morphine tonight so I can get some sleep.  It makes it feel like there's more breathing room even though it changes nothing in the lungs.  Please pray for quick hospital appointment without any issues during procedure.

I will close now since this task is the biggest I've handled since I got home.  It's taken me a couple of days to do it, but I feel it's my real chance at healing.  Ready to lie back and try to sleep.  Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers and faith for healing.

Donna





P.S. See anything in here that might help somebody you know?  Please share! 

Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter.

Simply want to copy and paste the link into an email, here it is:

www.thenatureinus.com/2016/03/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-31516.html 


Posts Since Last Newsletter

 

Refined Sugar vs Natural Sugars Like Honey & Fruit

Natural Repellent Developed For Deadly Viruses

Burning Stones in Drought-filled Times of Life

Are We Addicted to Facebook or to Ourselves?

A Natural Alternative Heartworm Success Story

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/15/16

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Dietary Supplements Now Has Office at FDA

We Can Transform Our Lives

Who Owns Organic? Eggs and More!

2015 Top 10 Health, Cancer, and Science Breakthroughs

Do Dogs Experience Guilt?

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/1/16 (DLW)

The Holy Spirit Is a Better Teacher Than the Law

It Turns Out Cancer Can Be Killed After All

Could Clocks Be Harming Your Health, Happiness & Productivity

Feline Food Fun Video

Our Words Are Alive

Are You Pleasing God or People?

9 Signs You Might Be A People Pleaser

Video: Kitty Play Time

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 1/15/16 (DLW)

Why Does Healing Sometimes Take Time? (DLW)

Probiotics May Shorten Sick Time in Kids

6 Steps to a Warmer Basement

Six Steps to Fear-Free Vet Visits


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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Monarch Butterflies Make Comeback

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Monarch Butterfly with Chrysalis Beside It
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Monarch butterflies have made a big comeback in their wintering grounds in Mexico, after suffering serious declines.  The area covered by the orange-and-black insects in the mountains west of Mexico City this season was more than three and a half times greater than last winter. The butterflies clump so densely in the pine and fir forests they are counted by the area they cover rather than by individual insects.

The number of monarchs making the 3,400-mile (5,500-kilometer) migration from the United States and Canada declined steadily in recent years before recovering in 2014. This December, the butterflies covered 10 acres (about 4 hectares), compared to 2.8 acres (1.13 hectares) in 2014.

While that's positive, the monarchs still face problems: The butterflies covered as much as 44 acres (18 hectares) 20 years ago. "The news is good, but at the same time we shouldn't let our guard down," said Omar Vidal, director of the World Wildlife Fund in Mexico. "Now more than ever, Mexico, the United States, and Canada should increase their conservation efforts to protect and restore the habitat of this butterfly along its migratory route."  Read the entire article.



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Pine Bark Improves Brain Function for Boomers

From Underground Health Reporter.com

A recent study out of Chieti-Pescara University in Italy showed that an extract of French maritime pine bark from the Pinus pinaster tree improved brain function in baby boomers who had oxidative stress but were otherwise in good health.

Researchers divided 77 participants between the ages of 55 and 70 into an experimental group and a control group. Both groups put the following lifestyle measures into practice: 20 minutes of exercise a day, in bed by 10:30 pm, 8 hours of sleep a night, and regular meals at defined hours with reduced intake of caffeine, salt, sugar, and alcohol.

In addition to these lifestyle measures, the experimental group supplemented with 100 mg of Pycnogenol (the U.S. registered trademark of this pine bark extract) each day for a year.

Researchers compared cognitive parameters and oxidative stress among participants in both groups and found significant improvement in those who supplemented with Pycnogenol.

The results speak for themselves.

Product Source:  Pycnogenol


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The Road Of Life

Author Unknown
From The Fish Wrapper News

Donna at First Landing State Park, Virginia
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't KNOW Him.

But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. . . It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!"

I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn trust.

I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine.

And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says. . . "Pedal."


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Wolves Bring Amazing Habitat Changes to Yellowstone Park

From Sustainable Human

This amazing 4-1/2 minute video on wolves being reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and all that changed since their arrival really shows that God has connected all of Creation with a plan and purpose. And if He's done this with the land and the animals, imagine what He has in mind for you! There is great reward in spending time with the Lord.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:26-27 & 6:31-34).

View the awesome video.



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The Inside Scoop on Homemade Pet Food


 by Dr. Jane Bicks

In her latest post, Dr. Jane explains some of the finer points of launching headlong into the world of home-cooked meals for companion animals.

Aside from the costs associated with buying all of the individual ingredients, there are loads of other aspects pet parents need to fully consider before committing to this latest ‘foodie’ trend.

Thanks to Dr. Jane, you’ll have a better understanding of the work involved in preparing foods that are actually nourishing for pet kids. Read this Dr. Jane post now ... 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 3/1/16

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The Nature In Us Newsletter
March 1, 2016
By Donna L. Watkins

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

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Hello Dear Friends!

Critters
Wildlife Crossings - Road mortality has significantly impacted a number of prominent species in the United States and elsewhere, including white-tailed deer, Florida panthers, and black bears.

According to a study made in 2005, nearly 1.5 million traffic accidents involving deer occur each year in the United States that cause an estimated $1.1 billion in vehicle damage. In addition, species that are unable to migrate across roads to reach resources such as food, shelter and mates experiences reduced reproductive and survival rates.

In the United States, thousands of wildlife crossings have been built in the past 30 years, including culverts, bridges, and overpasses. These have been used to protect Mountain Goats in Montana, Spotted Salamanders in Massachusetts, Bighorn Sheep in Colorado, Desert Tortoises in California, and endangered Florida Panthers in Florida. (Source: amusingplanet.com)  Get more info on their website.

Manatees - In 1991 when surveys began in Florida on the West Indian Manatees, there were only about 1,267 that could be found.  The population has now increased 500% to 6,300 and 13,000 overall.  So, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a down-listing status of the manatees from endangered to threatened for the Endangered Species Act.  Federal commitments will stay in place for protection that will allow the population full recovery.  The protection measures that had been put in place on federal levels, Florida, Puerto Rico and industries established over 50 manatee protection areas which have played a big role in reversing the decline.  Read more about this good news.

Tidbit - Cancer - Can you imagine cancer treatment being as easy as a monthly shot in the arm?  In Texas, doctors are doing human trials on a "cancer vaccine" that converts a deadly disease into a chronic one, allowing patients to live longer.  There's no need for chemotherapy, but allows cancer to be treated like high blood pressure or diabetes.  Read more about this.

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Male Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker on Tree
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Birds 
Recent Visits - We have begun to see the Common Grackles which means they're making their way back up north. Fortunately it's not the huge flocks we get at some point which are so loud you can hardly concentrate. Last year they began coming through February 18.

Yesterday I heard the Red-winged Blackbird singing his song.  We had a first-time visit of one doing it last year also ... maybe the same one.  Only stayed about a week.  We didn't have any girlie to respond.  That was on April 17.  This one February 29.  I keep saying Spring is coming early.

Woodpeckers - The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized member of the woodpecker family.  We've had very frequent visits from the male and female during the past two months.

Do you have these birds visiting your feeders or habitat? I always like to know if a bird is a female or male.  I notice some difference in their personalities and ways of life.  Woodpeckers are much easier to determine male or female than many birds such as the Tufted Titmouse and the Black-capped Chickadee.  The Northern Flicker is part of the woodpecker family so it is usually included on woodpecker lists.

The difference between male and female for them is the addition of a black mustache for the male.  The female has nothing in that area of the face as you will notice the difference in the pictures shown.

On Male Pileated Woodpeckers the difference is the red mustache stripe.  The Female Pileated Woodpecker has a black stripe.  The Red-bellied Woodpecker really does have a red area on its belly, but it's rarely seen.

The Male Red-bellied Woodpecker has a red head from nape to beak.  The Female Red-bellied Woodpecker has a red nape but it's not all the way to the crown.  Isn't it interesting how the whole red thing plays into woodpeckers?

The Red-headed Woodpecker is another one that doesn't show any distinguishing features different from each other.

View Enlarged Image 
Female Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker
View More Northern Flicker Photos
The Female and Male Downy Woodpeckers are identified with the female having a black and white head and the male having a red area on the head.  The photo link shows the male feeding the female during mating season.

The Hairy Woodpecker is very similar to the Downy but can be identified through the length of its beak.  It is much longer than the Downy .. almost as wide as its head.  The Female Hairy doesn't have any color on her head, but the Male Hairy has some red near the nape of its neck and there's a prominent black bar extending onto upper chest from shoulder on both of them.

Tidbit - Christian & Muslim Peace - Faced with the threat of terrorist attacks in West Africa, Muslims and Christians have each other’s back.

The worshipers are protecting every place of prayer, no matter religion. On Fridays in Cameroon, Christians guard the mosques as Muslims pray. Muslims return the favor by protecting churches during Sunday services.  Peace is anywhere you choose to put it.  Read the rest of the story.

Spiritual - Home and Friends - I came across a picture of a print by Nathan Greene that I instantly resonated with.  When you've got multiple health issues you can certainly feel like a sheep that has lost your way.  Jesus is our Shepherd and I've recently had deeper revelation on that and it's been so wonderful to imagine Him as my Shepherd and when I lose my way, He leaves the 99 and comes after me. 

View Enlarged Image
"The Rescue" by Nathan Greene
Other Prints of the Shepherd Series
I especially liked the black sheep since I was not what you would call a compliant child.  Very independent, strong-willed and would take a spanking rather than give in.  Yet Jesus loved me through those times and now I see how deep and wide His unconditional and extravagant love is.  So I purchased the print and found the same picture on a puzzle at Amazon.  WOW!  It was a challenge as a puzzle, but many of you know that we love to do puzzles and winter time is when that happens.  I'm keeping on the one end of the dining room table to enjoy, even though the print is right across the bedroom when I'm lying in bed.

I have an appreciation for art but have never been a collector of such things.  I have an artistic friend in Texas that does all kinds of artsy things like making jewelry, crocheting scarves and even the new mermaid blankets ... and the list goes on.  She has a website (www.CreativeExpressions.com), so you can take a look.  I recently ordered a gorgeous scarf for a friend that wears scarves all the time.  She does beautiful work!


There are days when I think more about heaven than I do earthly life ... but this picture reminds me that Jesus' hand is only an inch away from pulling me out of this disease pit.  The brambles and thorns may be pressing but I'm coming up.  I love the clothes that Jesus is wearing.  A shepherd and yet clothing of royalty.  You can see the richness of it in the larger image.  And the royal colors of deep blue and burgundy.  I will not drown in the river of disease that threatens to sweep me away.  During one of my journaling days of what I thought the Lord was telling me, I heard Him say, "You're almost there."  I had a moment of comfort with that, but of course I wondered, "Was that You, Lord?"  So I asked for a confirmation.  God knows our frailties and loves us so much, so he'll give it, but you must closely focus on seeing it every day until you do. 

A couple days later I looked up at the picture and the thought instantly came, "Look at His hand.  It's only an inch from the sheep.  You're almost there."  WOW!  I just cry when I think about how much our Father cares for us to be involved in all the details of our lives.  Then that afternoon another friend in Texas was writing a few words of encouragement.

It turned out to be a confirmation of what God spoke to me.  You know when you hear God, the devil will try to steal those words from you.  "Did He really say .....?  Those were thoughts from your own head." I always ask God to confirm it to me in some way and then I keep an attentive eye and ear out to notice when He does so.

My friend wrote:  "He has his hand reaching out for the struggling lamb ... you're not alone, I'm here.  The road is rough, the climb is hard, don't give up, keep believing.  Take My hand...things are about to change."  There it was.  I treasure the print, but I treasure what God has given me in friends and relationships.  Without the interaction of the Body of Christ with each other we are lost.

Tidbit - Homeless - After spending a day of living it rough on Dublin's streets experiencing life as the homeless do, Emily Duffy came up with an idea to raise money for a charity that helps them.  The 15-year-old Desmond College student came up with an invention and called it "Duffily Bags. "  These bags which are used to sleep in have a highly reflective, fire retardant and waterproof shell with Velcro straps allowing the user to get in and out.  The bags are now being produced by former homeless people now earning $10 an hour.  Read the whole story and watch the video.  This might be a great project for a ladies day at church or a youth group.


Recipe - Carob Clusters - My neighbor across the street offered to make me anything I want and can send a recipe for.  That was so sweet!  Before her husband died, we used to enjoy many dinners over there, lots of laughs, and good fellowship.  They were the first people we met when we moved into this house in Virginia.

With my greatly limited sodium diet, I can't think of any actual "meal" that she could do.  My meals are a sandwich plate of various items from opening containers with things like date & coconut rolls, baby peppers, no salt blue corn chips, yogurt cheese, etc. etc.  Sometimes it's a bowl meal which would be rice, or oatmeal or corn grits or pasta.  Keeping my protein up is the challenge and I don't think I ever come close to the number of calories I should be eating, but that's okay. 

I was hungry for a biscuit recipe I used now and then that uses oil and is easy to mix without rolling the dough out.  It has chopped onions and caraway seeds.  With my no-sodium baking powder they can be made a no-sodium meal.  That was the first thing I had her make, but as Valentine's Day rolled along I was thinking of a sweet treat and one of the things I would make when we had Benjamin growing up was Carob Clusters.  Have had it since 1978 which was the first time I made it.  Since you drop them on wax paper and chill them in refrigerator so they're a bit more chewy, it's easy to tear one off at a time from the wax paper.

I got off of chocolate in Nov. 1998, but Valentine's Day still makes me think of chocolate.  I don't crave it or think about it, but it's like Valentine's Day isn't the day without something that tastes like chocolate, so that would require something carob.  Enter the recipe for Carob Clusters.  I thought I'd share it with you in case any of you is interest in a "legal treat" for any holiday or no holiday.  I call sugar an "illegal food" since I was so addicted to it when I was on chocolate.  I always say that if somebody makes me something that has sugar in it that it's legal because it was made with love ... and love covers all!

Carob Clusters - Yield:  30

Combine in large saucepan:
1/3 c. carob powder
1 c. honey

Add and cook to 236ยช (soft ball stage of cooking candy):
1/2 c. milk (I used vanilla coconut milk)

Remove from heat and add:
1/4 c. butter
1 t. vanilla (unless you use a alternative milk with vanilla)

Stir in:
2. c. oats (I like the old-fashioned ones)
1 c. of unsweetened coconut
chopped nuts (optional - I used pecans for added protein)

Drop onto wax paper and chill.

Spiritual - Quote
"The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention." -- Duguet

Take a moment right now to think of somebody that needs a good deed.  It will benefit you even more than them.  It's soon daffodil time.  I love to share our flowers with others.  They will remind them that somebody loves them as they enjoy the flowers for days.  We never know how people are doing on the INSIDE.  Many times we manage our lives rather well on the OUTSIDE, but inside we are really hurting.

May You Be Super Blessed in March! 

Make Easter a Special Celebration! 
It's not about the Easter Bunny or baby chicks.

Here's What Can Happen To Those Unwanted Easter Bunnies And Chickens

Donna

P.S. See anything in here that might help somebody you know?  Please share! 

Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter.

Simply want to copy and paste the link into an email, here it is:

www.thenatureinus.com/2016/03/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-3116.html 


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