Our Afflictions Are Temporary

With rheumatoid arthritis, every day is a struggle. That is just one of the things that can make life really hard. Not just for me, but for most people. There are many different types of struggles. But the good news is that, no matter what trials we face, we can know without any doubt that there are better days coming.

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Knowing that my pain won’t last forever, I have hope. It makes me want to behave as though my life is not about the pain, because it’s not. My life is about being a Christian… the best Christian I can be. Because I have the assurance that the weight of my affliction doesn’t compare to the glorified life and body that are awaiting me. Even if my hardships here on this earth remain until I die, my eternal life will be without pain and strife. That promise is more than enough to keep me going.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
Jesus knows our pain and our sorrows. He feels them. He loves us, and He will give us all of the strength that we need, if only we will truly let Him.

He gives me the power to arise every morning. His might carries me through each and every day. I can overcome the pain and strain from moving, toiling, and enduring throughout my life because He carries me. To God be the glory.

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Why Die?

I know that I am not the first one to ask this question, specific to the apostles. Why would anyone choose to die a horrible death when they could easily conform to the demands of the authorities? By simply denying Jesus, they could have avoided the persecution and brutality they suffered.

Why? Because they were eyewitnesses to the truth. Because they knew, beyond all doubt, that Jesus is who He said He is. Because they knew that the truth is bigger and more durable than their fragile, human lives. And above all, Jesus was able to sustain them and give them peace, even while they were imprisoned, and/or tortured, and/or killed. Only John the Revelator died a natural death. The manners of death for the others included crucifixion, beheading, stabbing, stoning, and flaying.

Methods of crucifixion from the time varied, none of them pleasant. Beheadings were carried out by sword, the guillotine still centuries away from being invented. Therefore, death would have been less instantaneous. Stoning was, of course, like being beaten to death with big rocks. Flaying/scourging was accomplished by using a whip with many tails. Each tail was corded with metal or bone, in order to split skin and muscle. This method of punishment was almost always used prior to execution. Obviously though, a human body is only able to withstand so much flaying.

They became martyrs because they knew that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They knew that He performed real miracles, that He was crucified, that He died, and that He arose on the third day… because they saw it! They were there! They watched Him ascend into heaven. After all that they experienced with Him, and after being blessed with the Holy Spirit sent to them by God, they were able to endure and complete the mission that they were given.

“And they overcame [the devil] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11)

As missionaries, they expanded the Christian church. As martyrs, they made it possible for future disciples of Christ to point to the example set by the apostles and for us to pose the logical question…

Why would they choose death? Because they knew for a fact that what Jesus had told them was true. There is a better life beyond this one, an eternal life, and that Jesus is the  way to that life.

For the Martyrs

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Russian Opposition Leader Shot Dead

According to BBC News – Europe, staunch Putin critic and Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead.

Read the complete story using the link below.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31669061

I am interested to know what everyone thinks about this news, other than the tragic loss of human life. Please be sure to leave comments.

Lyme Carditis Can Cause Sudden Cardiac Death: Article from medscape.com

Medscape: Multispecialty      http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/834176

Janis C. Kelly

October 31, 2014

 Lyme carditis associated with Borrelia burgdorferi infection was uncommon but was linked to two previously unsuspected cases of sudden cardiac death, Joseph D. Forrester, MD, from the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues report in the October 31 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Health care providers should consider Lyme disease as a cause of cardiac symptoms in patients who live in or have visited a high-incidence Lyme disease region, especially during summer and fall months and regardless of whether the patient reports erythema migrans. Additionally, health care providers should investigate the potential for cardiac involvement in patients who have other signs or symptoms of Lyme disease, particularly if they report chest pain, palpitations, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or syncope,” the authors write.

The follow-up investigation to a December 13, 2013, report of three cases of sudden cardiac death associated with Lyme carditis included examinations of Lyme disease in seven high-incidence states. Lyme carditis was defined as acute second-degree or third-degree atrioventricular conduction block accompanying a diagnosis of Lyme disease.

During 1995 to 2013, the 121,894 cases included 1696 cases of Lyme carditis. Age-adjusted all-cause mortality (0.6% within 1 year of Lyme disease diagnosis) was lower than expected based on national rates. “Two of these deaths (0.002% of the total) were classified as suspected cases of Lyme carditis–associated mortality after review of available clinical information,” the authors write.

The two new cases were men in their 40s and 50s, both had clinical evidence of disseminated Lyme infection, and both experienced cardiac arrest within 6 weeks of Lyme disease symptom onset.

Median age for Lyme carditis was 43 years, but carditis was more common among men aged 20 to 39 years, among women aged 25 to 29 years, and among those older than 75 years than in patients aged 55 to 59 years. Most carditis (69%) was diagnosed during June through August. Patients presented with “fatigue, malaise, muscle and joint pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, and syncope,” the authors note.

“In reported cases, sudden cardiac death remains infrequent when Lyme carditis is recognized and treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy. However, two additional suspected sudden cardiac deaths associated with Lyme carditis were discovered, bringing the total number of cases identified during this investigation to five (three confirmed and two suspected). These cases highlight the public health and clinical challenge that Lyme carditis poses and the need for better primary prevention strategies,” the authors conclude.

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;63:982-983. Full text