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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Tuesday, November 13 2001  

No guts, no glory

No pain, no gain. No guts, no glory. No cross, no crown. No fast, no feast. They're all variations on the same theme. No vegetables, no dessert...does that belong there, too? Yes, it seems fitting to the topic of fasting in preparation of a feast. The diet of the Prophet Daniel and his young followers, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego, described in the Old Testament, King James translation, is described as "pulse," but the church traditionally refers to their food as vegetables.

Their refusal to eat the meats provided by their captors was a kind of fast and one that plays a major role in the fasts practiced in early christendom. As I recall, there is no explanation in the Book of Daniel of why they chose not to eat the food preferred by their captors; perhaps the Persians ate a lot of pork or other animals proscribed by the laws of Moses and it seemed more polite to plead being vegetarians than seem to be "superior" by having scruples about certain meats. Or it may have been because none of the meats were kosher, or dedicated by the priest, in what ever sense there may have been at that time (the Bible makes no such indication).

Vegetables, or more broadly, plant food sources, are generally better for us than animal products, but where the latter is high in fat, the former, especially their most popular staples—potatoes, rice, and wheat/cereals, and even most fruits—are high in sugar. Being diagnosed diabetic almost two years ago, my medical advisors recommended cutting virtually all the vegetarian staples mentioned from my diet and getting by with proteins rather than carbohydrates. My spiritual advisor blessed my request to omit the meat/dairy/eggs fasting routine I'd come to accept with increasing readiness each fast time. I haven't had a sandwich, nor pasta, ever since, and very little rice and much fewer potatoes than always before. That's itself a fast of sorts, but not the traditional Judeo-Christian one. The tests show it's working, medically, but every time I try getting away with a piece of pizza, there's a penalty paid in the flesh. Literally.

I miss the fasts. But there are other ways of keeping them.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

More cards for when you don't care enough...

"Happy Birthday! You look great for your age... Almost lifelike!"

"I knew the day would come when you would leave me for my best friend. So here's his leash, water bowl and chew toys."

"You are such a good friend that if we were on a sinking ship and there was only one life jacket...I'd miss you heaps and think of you often."

—Sent by Mike Harrison

God's heroes

We know what a hero is. Ultimately, it is someone who does whatever it takes to rescue someone who will die if they don't. Apparently, that's God's definition of a "hero" as well. Consider this, from Daniel 12:3: "Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever." God seems to be reserving special reward, special recognition, for those who lead people to a right relationship with Him. And heaven's applause will last "forever and ever." In other words, heaven's heroes are those who help other people get to heaven.

Ron Hutchcraft (adapted)
Sent by Jim Martin

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