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Next Weeks Issue

6 secrets the restaurant industry hopes you never find out. Read this and you’ll be wiser, richer, and thinner…

New breakthrough in carbohydrate research: Australian study proves you can enjoy your favorite foods and still lose weight ... as long as you do this…

3 secrets to repairing broken relationships ... from a professional crook…

The no-cost way to let your children know how much you love them. Sadly, not 1 parent in 1,000 really understands this secret…

The two biggest ways to protect yourself when you owner-finance your property. They may seem harsh, but you could lose big if you ignore them…

The woman who spread the gospel of Christ to battle-weary POWs when no one else could. Yet to this day, nobody knows her real name…

The secret link between a blacksmith and a mortician. And what both can teach you about how you appear to others…

 

This week.

“The Bible teaches that Christians are totally different from anyone else.” -  
Peter Jeffery, Evangelicals Then and Now(201) 537-4517

 

Finance

When a Cheap Mortgage Is Too Expensive

Did you know that the only way the mortgage industry stays in business is to keep you in debt? If you pay off your mortgage, the mortgage company loses a customer and regular monthly income. So the logical move for mortgage companies is to make it as easy as possible for you to borrow money.

Of course, the easiest way for them to make debt less “burdensome” on you is to get your monthly payments as low as possible. For years, they relied on adjustable rate mortgages, which would get you in the loan at a low rate, only to balloon later when interest rates increased. But now, the mortgage industry has made it even easier to stay in debt – forever!

The latest easy-money offerings for mortgages are called “interest-only” or “option-payment” loans. Interest-only loans are aptly named, as they require you to pay only the interest acquired each month. You don’t have to pay any principle. So 30 years from now, you’ll still owe the exact same amount you owe today.

The option-payment loans are even more insidious. With these loans, you have to pay only the minimum, like you would on a credit card. You can pay more, of course, but almost nobody does. So 30 years from now, you’ll owe a lot more than what you started with, because the minimum payment is usually lower than the interest you accrue each month. The hope for the homeowner is that the house will appreciate faster than the interest. But most people will find themselves upside down (owing more than the house is worth) on the loan very quickly.

These loans have become very popular lately. In fact, Kenneth Harney from the Washington Post says that option-payment loans make up more than half the loans out there today.

Don’t kid yourself into thinking these loans are the easy road to financial independence. They are an insidious trap. And jumping into one just to lower your monthly payments will cost you far more in the long run. Your goal should be to pay off your home mortgage as fast as possible. You don’t want a never-ending mortgage.

The safest loans out there are fixed loans for 30 years or less and adjustable rate mortgages that fit your timetable. If you plan to own a home for less than five years, then a 5-year ARM would make sense. But the “interest-only” and “option-payment” loans are only for very special circumstances that regular homeowners will never need.

I know the traditional loans aren’t sexy, but you won’t lose nearly as much money over the long haul. If you can’t afford the payment using one of these loans, buy a smaller home. It’s simple, but wise, stewardship.

– Steve Kroening

   

Health

Use Less Sunscreen and Still Protect Your Skin From Sunburn

Did you ever think that one reason God makes all the wonderful fruits and vegetables ripen in the summer is to help protect you from the sun? Well, a new study shows that certain nutrients from the most colorful fruits and vegetables will actually protect you from that nasty sunburn.

In the study, researchers asked 24 women to drink a high-flavone cocoa drink or a placebo. The researchers found that the women who drank the placebo (which contained only 10% of the nutrients in the cocoa drink) didn’t have any additional protection from the sun. But the women who drank the higher-flavonoids drink experienced 15-25% less sunburn than the placebo group.

But that’s not all the researchers found. They also discovered that the women who drank the nutrient-rich drink had thicker and smoother skin than those in the placebo group. And they also had better blood flow to their skin, as well as better hydration and skin density than those drinking the placebo.

The researchers concluded that a diet high in flavones will help protect your skin from the sun. While you’ll still burn, the pain and redness won’t be as great. And you’ll recover much faster.

The best way to get a diet high in flavones is to eat plenty of colored vegetables and fruits. These include blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, etc. You can also get lots of flavones from green tea and cocoa.

With this information, and proper management of your time outdoors, you won’t need as much, if any, additional protection. But if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, you’ll still want to use sunscreen.

– Steve Kroening

(“Long-Term Ingestion of High Flavanol Cocoa Provides Photoprotection against UV-Induced Erythema and Improves Skin Condition in Women,” Heinrich U, Neukam K, et al, J Nutr., 2006; 136(6): 1565-9.)

   

Family & Relationships

What Do Mount Everest and Your Marriage Have in Common?

Did you know that climbers attempting to scale Mount Everest will sometimes climb down the mountain a little ways? Why on earth would you ever backtrack when you’re climbing the tallest mountain in the world? The answer might give you some insight into the struggles you face in your marriage.

According to Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, “mountain climbers will often step back from a particularly difficult overhang or stretch and discuss how to surmount it. Much of the fun in the sport is encountering the challenges and figuring out a way to get around them. If mountain climbing were easy, it would lose a great deal of its appeal.”

The same could be said of marriage. If it were too easy, many of us would lose interest. In fact, many people have affairs when their marriages stay boring for too long. While conflict is typically the result of sin – and not something to be desired – God can use conflict to challenge our character and grow us spiritually.

As Thomas says, “Struggling successfully and profitably brings a deeper joy than even trouble-free living…. God created us in such a way that we need to struggle to stay alive. Challenge is what keeps us seasoned. But to be profitable, our struggle must have purpose, and it must be productive. Two people who do nothing but fight in their marriage and make each other miserable are not engaging in a helpful spiritual exercise. It’s only when we put struggle within the Christian context of character development and self-sacrifice that it becomes profitable.”

So the next time you have a fight with your spouse, think about how God can use the conflict to deepen your character and walk with the Lord. “Instead of immediately thinking about how [you] can take a helicopter to the top, [you] might take a climber’s approach and think, “This is really tough. This is a challenge, no doubt about it. How do I keep loving this person in the face of this challenge?”

– Steve Kroening

 

   

Parenting & Education

The Most Powerful Word in a Parent’s Vocabulary

Even the smallest change in the way you parent can make a huge difference in the way your children behave. For instance, the word “no” is one of the smallest in the English language, but one of the most difficult to stand behind. But doing so can radically change your children.

I saw a perfect example of this the other day at the store. The checkout line was not very long, but one of the customers was a mom with three young children. She was perhaps in her late 20s. Her cart was filled with bright colored plastic beach toys, swimsuits, hats, and sunscreen lotion. Its contents advertised the upcoming vacation of the young family.

The children were talking among themselves when the oldest child, perhaps six years old, began to ask and then demand more candy and trinkets. The two smaller children in the cart soon chimed in, adding their pleas for a coke and balloons. The mother explained that they had already spent their money and would go home for a fun lunch on their deck – no additional cokes or trinkets that day. And that’s when pandemonium broke out.

The older child began to argue that he needed the items and wanted to know why he couldn’t have them. The younger children started to cry, as they pointed to the colorful balloons floating overhead. The mother held her ground and reaffirmed that the family did not need these additional things and needed to be grateful for all the new toys in the cart.

The crying soon increased and the promise of a fun lunch on the porch soon faded. I prayed that the Lord would give her a resolute heart. However, within minutes the frustrated, tired mother gave in and the little tyrants all won their coveted prizes.

It was quite sad. What did that young mother teach her children that day? Was it gratitude for all the new things mommy had bought? I think not. The lesson learned was that mom will eventually give in to their demands if she is tired enough or just wants peace. The Word of God is clear and precise on child rearing. Peace at any price is never a good option. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.”

– Gladys Villnow

   

Success

Is This the Best System for Stock Market Success?

Are you an investor who has said, “I know the best way to make a stock go down – I just have to buy it”? If so, don’t feel bad. Success in the stock market is elusive for many. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s a new book out that tells you the best way to win in the stock market.

The book is called Rule #1. It’s written by Phil Town, who became a millionaire following the system he discusses. The premise behind Phil’s system is to buy something wonderful and buy it when it’s on sale. He tells you exactly how to do it. And what I really like about it is that he encourages you to buy stocks of companies that you know and believe in. So he doesn’t push you to buy stocks that you would have moral problems with.

Does the system work? Not only does it work, but it has worked for many people. It’s worked for people with a lot of money. And it’s worked for people with almost nothing. It’s about as fool-proof a system as you will find. I spoke with Phil a few weeks ago and asked him what kind of success stories he’s seen.

One of the best was about a housewife who used Phil’s system and found instant success. Phil told me, “She is 35 years old. She has five kids between two and ten. And her husband is a blue-collar worker. After a period of time working with Rule #1 investing, she started to realize there were things about this world that she understood quite well as a result of her experience and expertise as a mom. One of the areas was what kind of movies she would let her children watch. It was an interesting area to her. And, when she did her research, she discovered Pixar was on sale. She bought it and it just exploded. She did great!”

So if you’re looking for a great way to make money, Rule #1 is for you. Even if you’ve never invested in stocks before, Phil’s makes stock investing about as easy as it can be done.

– Steve Kroening

 

   
   

Wisdom From History

Sometimes Changing One Thing Can Make a World of Difference

If you’re stuck in your current job or just not getting as much done as you need to, look around and see if there’s a simple adjustment you can make. You might be surprised at what a difference it will make.

Take the horse collar, for instance. I was born and raised on fruit farms just after World War II. While we had tractors for certain work, an old Clydesdale draft horse fulfilled many of the farming needs.

When grape-picking season came around, old Nugget, as he was called, was harnessed and connected to a flatbed cart. His job was to stand beside the grape pickers who, after filling their boxes, placed them on the cart for transportation to the packing shed. From there they were re-packed and shipped off to the city markets.

I used to enjoy harnessing old Nugget. He was big, 16 hands or more. And this huge collar had the shafts of the tray attached to it so he could pull the load.

Now I took technology like this for granted. But horses like Old Nugget didn’t always have it so good. You see, the horse collar was invented in 400 BC in China. But it didn’t really see widespread use until the 8th or 9th century, when Europe picked it up.

Prior to that, a device was attached around the horse’s neck and the more he pulled, the more he choked himself. The Romans, for example, had a 500-kilogram (1,102 pound) limit on the load a horse could be given.

The horse collar changed all that. Now instead of choking himself, the horse could pull the weight against his shoulders. This dramatically changed the amount of weight a horse could pull.

So one simple change made a huge difference, as productivity increased significantly.

– Ian Hodge

(Dr. Hodge is author of the book 801-315-3564.)

   

Word for the Wise

The Way You Listen Can Make a Huge Difference in Your Success

“Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” Hebrews 5:11

Dull – Do you remember learning to drive? Do you remember how hard it was to parallel park the first time? Do you remember the mild panic when you first drove in traffic? But now, after years of practice, you probably aren't even aware of most of your driving behavior. It’s so routine that you don’t even think about it. Now you can talk on the cell phone, listen to music, watch the billboards and still negotiate the car to your destination. When we see a driver who really isn't concentrating at all, we say that person is “asleep at the wheel.”

The same thing can happen in our journey with God. We become dull (nothros – sluggish) when traveling the road of faith becomes a routine. How does it get to be a routine? Simple. We do the same things over and over and over until we stop thinking about them. The same order in the church service. The same evangelistic invitation. The same communion procedure. The same message delivery. The same prayers. The same Bible stories. Pretty soon it’s all so scripted that we can go to sleep at the wheel. We aren't traveling any new roads so we don't have to pay attention to the terrain.

The author of Hebrews chastises his readers. “You should have progressed much further by now. You should be teaching others, but instead I have to take you back to square one. You have been satisfying yourselves on a diet of routine sameness. Bland spiritual pabulum. No wonder you haven't grown up.”

What kind of diet do you have? When was the last time you read something about God that really pushed you to think? When was the last time your prayers brought new insight and experience? When did you last enter a time of fellowship with other believers and discover that you were on new and unfamiliar ground? Or did you think that God only intended us to stay in elementary school?

There’s a quick self-test in the next verse. “By now you should have been teachers yourselves.” How about you? Is your intention to be a teacher of others or are you content to sit and listen with dull hearing?

– Skip Moen

(Ed. Note: Skip Moen, PhD, is the president of At God’s Table and the author of Words to Lead By.)

   

The Time Shaver

It’s Blueberry Season! Here’s How to Pick Them Faster

One of our favorite family activities in the summer is picking blueberries. Working outside together in God’s beautiful, serene setting is a great joy for all ages. Of course, it doesn’t stop there! Naturally sweetened pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, smoothies, ice cream, and pies are a daily reminder of how gracious God was to give us the taste buds to enjoy His creation. If that wasn’t enough, the health benefits of eating blueberries are well documented, as you’ve already seen this week. Maintaining good health is a great TimeShaver!

During the first few years of picking, we had one main challenge – we could not pick enough to freeze for the entire year. Our family can now pick 35-45 pounds in two separate one-and-a-half hour sessions. As seasoned TimeShaver pickers, we would like to share a few simple tips to help improve your yield at harvest.

(1) Don’t always follow the pack. Pickers sometimes congregate, thinking others know where the best fruit is. We usually find the most plentiful bushes in areas that are more difficult to locate.

(2) Time your visit. Monday after a potentially busy weekend may not be the best day. We like to go early on a Wednesday or Thursday. Cooler morning temperatures also result in more efficient and enjoyable picking experiences.

(3) God gave you two hands, use them! Our yield increased dramatically (30-40%) after we started tying our bucket handles to our waist. Not only can we pick with both hands simultaneously, we are able to locate the berries hidden or out of reach from the novice picker.

Need to find a local blueberry patch? Type “blueberry picking (your state name)” on your favorite search engine. Enjoy!

– Dale Gramith (613-848-4155)

     

 Resources

4693429577 by Gary Thomas (BUY NOW)

Evangelicals Then and Now, Peter Jeffery, Evangelical Press (BUY NOW)

 

     
 
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