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November 10, 2011 Read: Ephesians 2

"For by grace you've been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God." --Ephesians 2:8

"No more school, no more books, no more teachers, dirty looks."

For years, my wife Loretta and I have playfully sung that short tune at the end of each of her college semesters. See, after high school, rather than walk for a diploma, she walked down the aisle. And throughout the years, she's chipped away at her degree at night school, auditioning for the title of graduate. Well, I'm proud to report that today she takes her final final exam. But what's interesting is that, even though she's done with class, the next ceremony isn't until May. So she'll have to wait for her reward, even though she's met her requirement.

Kind of easy to think of Heaven at this point, right? Except, Heaven isn't dependent upon us passing every earthly test. Our days are full of multiple choices, but our performance doesn't chip away at some heavenly quota of credits, and frankly, nobody auditions for grace.

The truth is, someday we'll graduate this life. And like I'll be singing "no more school" to Loretta one last time as she walks through the door tonight, I like to think that we'll hear much the same when we finally meet our requirement, face-to-face.

No more hurt, no more pain. No more struggles, no more strain. All is right, the fight is done. Welcome to Heaven. Your heart, I've won.

--Jimmy Peña

COFFEE & CHOLESTEROL Science explores the connection between your morning java and your heart health

We are a caffeinated nation. Sure, stressful commutes, hectic family lives and TPS reports keep us heading back to the coffee pot multiple times throughout the day but there is also a palate-pleasing allure to a well-brewed cup of java. But while the caffeine gets most of the attention, there are other compounds in coffee to be aware of -- some to be cautious of.

Some worry about coffee's effect on cholesterol because of the presence of certain compounds in the beans. Daily consumption of 10 milligrams of cafestol—the amount in about four 5-ounce cups of French-press coffee—has been shown to raise cholesterol by 8 to 10 percent in four weeks, mostly due to increased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Some people are affected more than others, and the effects may be greater in those who have higher cholesterol to begin with.

Luckily, most American-style, drip coffee is practically devoid of these types of compounds and coffee's many health benefits, such as its powerful antioxidant content, may outweigh the risks. Read the full report from the University of California (Berkeley) by clicking here.