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ANSWERING THE CALL

May 5, 2011 Read: Luke 22

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." --Luke 22:42

Though my tiny legs hate me for it, I still head outdoors for a run 2-3 times a week, usually along a two-mile path that takes me around a nearby park. Last week, as temperatures hit the low-to-mid 90s, I found my run labored. Sweat poured from my brow and my legs felt heavy. For a moment, I considered skipping my next sprint and settling into a nice walk for the rest of the way. Then, I noticed the fatigues.

Camped out under a tree to catch what little shade there was to be found, an Army recruiter was coaching a prospective soldier though a set of sit-ups. A hundred yards up the trail, I notice a small group of high school-age guys running my way -- each of them appeared to be waging his own personal battle against the heat, fighting every natural instinct to quit. Each young man in the group was wearing an Army t-shirt. A newer, fitter Army requires soldiers to be in better shape and for these teens, it was training day.

At a time of day when most of their peers were heading to the community pool, these young men were preparing for the privilege to serve. Knowing the dangers inherent to the jobs that they were committing their lives to, not to mention the derision they'd face from their lesser-motivated classmates, these brave young men still chose to defend 307 million people they'd never meet as their trade. Though none of them hoped it would ever come to it, each of them was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, and in doing so they unwittingly mirror the life (and death) of another soldier.

Though he feared his demise (Luke 22:42), Jesus voluntarily endured mockery, ridicule and ultimately the pain and suffering of the cross for you and me.  Bravery isn't necessarily the act of charging into the breach, but rather a willingness to answer the call.

--E.V.

SWEET NEWS ON SALT New research is rewriting the recommendations on sodium consumption

There are so many things out there that can harm us. Why does salt have to be one of them? For years, we've learned that this tasty seasoning should be consumed only in moderation -- that high sodium consumption could lead to heart disease and high blood pressure -- leaving us to lead cautious and bland nutritional existences.  But newer research is laying rest to these guidelines.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed over 3,000 healthy European men and women and found that higher-than-normal sodium consumption did not appear to increase the risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or having a heart attack. What's more startling was that they found those who consumed the least salt had a 56 percent higher risk of death from a heart attack or stroke compared with those who had the highest consumption, even after controlling for obesity, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and other risk factors.

While we're not going to encourage you to schedule a Salt Party, researchers concluded that some individuals simply appear to be more sensitive to the mineral than others and that sweeping guidelines for its consumption may be ill-advised.

For the full story, head to CNN Health.

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