Pondering Thought – Lense

Passing along for friends, family and others in the USA.  We celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 4th.

Scripture – Proverbs 16:32-33 King James Version (KJV) 32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.3 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

When you think of someone or something..
Do you think of good, bad or nothing at all?

Do you think of bad things from the past?
Or think of good things yet to come?

Do you guage someone or something based on what has happened?
Or do you wait with anticipation what positive things are yet to come?

Many, many of us are wired to base future events on past successes or failures.
It is in our nature to be quick to judge and label.

Be slow to judge
quick to forgive the past and future.

We are human with our own faults, weaknesses and also we all have gifts..
This was my reminder the day before our country’s official birthday.

 

Have you won the lotto?

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The title is an eye catcher.  Ever wonder what you would do with $1 million dollars… I’m sure if you were honest. At least one time in your life you’ve thought about how your life would change if you “WON THE LOTTO”.   What would you buy?  Mine would be a truck along with donating to worthy causes.

Ever seen one of these signs? What is your first reaction? Negative?  Why is this person standing here holding this sign instead of out finding a job?  I don’t have time?  I don’t want to engage…

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Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”

Here is my short story I felt led to share.  I was out and about one day and pulling out of a local retailer.  A person was standing at an intersection where several cars a second were exiting.

I had my window down and waiting for traffic to clear.  I acknowledged the individual who was standing there.  I asked her name, she replied Bobbie.   I said hello and pulled out into traffic.

As I was headed to my destination.  I couldn’t help but say a short pray for Bobbie.  As I finished my errand, I had Bobbie on my mind.  God was nudging to go back and talk with her.   I headed back to the retailer.  I walked down and engaged a conversation.

I asked “How are you today? What is your story?”  At first she was a bit standoff’ish.  I don’t blame her.  I was interrupting her attempt to collect from cars that continued to exit the retailer.  After asking a few other questions and telling her about myself.  I handed her a donation…This is where it gets real.

She asked if I found the money on the ground?  I stated no and asked why?  She shared with me a passer by once handed her a $100 bill.  His comment to her was as follows.

“I found this $100 on the ground and figured it wasn’t mine and I would give you to.  I’m not out anything and I don’t like people who stand with signs like you are doing”.

Not sound very loving does it?  Apostle Paul writes..

1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV) “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

I could sense her defensiveness when telling me about this story.  She took my donation and put in her pocket.  Then she asked me directly…

Have you won the lotto? 

I thought for a moment and stated… Well, not on earth but as a Christian my eternal destination is set as far as my faith goes.  I feel with Christ in my life, I’ve won the lotto yet not fully realized it.  But on earth, I’ve wished a few times but not won.

We talked for a few more minutes and I asked.  Has anyone else stopped by. She told me no.  I asked if anything good happened this particular day.  She said no.  I asked her where she was from.  She mentioned a small town about 30 minutes away from the location.   I told her I was from a small town.  She asked me if I recognized her because they worked a location in my town recently.  I asked her what she thought of my hometown.  She said the people were nasty and were not nice.  This was humbling although I can understand.

We talked a few more minutes and as I was walking away.  I said God bless and have a good day.  She said, goodbye Steve with a smile.

I don’t type this for a pat on the back. I struggle every time I see a person holding a sign asking for help.   What I got from this particular situation was as a Christian.

Have we won the lotto?  My answer is yes.  The next time you see a person holding a sign.  They are made in God’s image and deserve compassion.   Take time just once to stop by and have a conversation, hand them a few bucks.  It was an eye opener and try to follow prompts from the Holy Spirit.

From one moment we talked about winning to the lotto to people asking for assistance via a sign standing outside a busy intersection.  What were your emotions?

Hope this makes ya think.  It did me…

God bless,

Steve

Leviticus study

This is an on-going study of Leviticus.  This is the third book of the Old Testament.   After finishing up a several month study.  I felt the prompt to study the saying from Jesus.  I didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.  (Matthew 5:17)  The portion of Jesus words is “fulfill it” intrigues me.  I want to understand this statement better.   I’ll be updating or posting more.  Here is my study material besides reading scripture directly.

Chuck Swindoll two part Leviticus sermons

Easy English commentary by Gordon Churchyard

 

I’ve also learned early on a study of Hebrews should compliment a study of Leviticus.  So…I’ll be studying this as well.

Stay tuned!

Steve

2nd, 3rd & 4th kindle version of books for free – Dec 15th to 19th 2017

I made kindle versions of my 2nd, 3rd and 4th books available for free from December 15th to December 19th. The About the Letter C book will be removed out of publication after Christmas. Here are the links:

33: About the Letter C
http://amzn.to/2aoHDRG

One Reason: 21 Days to a New Beginning
http://amzn.to/2yWLMsk

Remember the Nails: 40 Days of Doing Something Uncomfortable on Purpose
http://amzn.to/2AVYo4E

Enjoy,

Steve

Poem : Rejection

Rejection

Scripture : Ephesians 6:12-18

Poem

You know me better than I know myself
My heart hurts and I dont know why

The enemy is very persistent
day and night reminding me of things

The thoughts are not loving
The thoughts are not kind

During a quiet time
In your loving way

I was reminded to ONLY focus on You
You showed me others are overwhelmed

I found comfort knowing you loved me enough to share the truth
I was able to recognize your voice

It was soft, loving and firm
You said this time of trial was needed

Lean on you even more
Seek your guidance

I type this to remind myself
You are in control of all

Even though you hear lies
I gave you the authority and ability to rebuke them

The rejection you feel is a vain attempt to distract you
Dont be afraid, be aware

Be patient, be still
Be open and vulnerable

Know that I am in charge
know that I have your best interest at heart

I will show you the way
I will open doors when the time is right

Until then, stay close
Stay in my word frequently

Use the gifts I have given you
Stay on course to the commands I sent

These are your guides
These are what satisfies you

Not others who you think
They have their own course given by me

Although they see you
They are called elsewhere for the time being

Even though this might hurt right now
Trust me, seek me and you will understand in time

You know this now
It will take time to accept

The heart is truly selfish
It only wants what it wants

Keep praying, keep seeking
I have given love letters to reference

These are my words
For I am the Engineer, Architect and Authority of all

I know your heart, you believe this
the lesson of patience isnt easy, but necessary

I have given you a witness who was close in your life
For he showed you the complete picture of my love

For he is in glory
Remember this lesson, remember and share the memories

I will continue to refine you
I will continue to guide you

All things are under my control
You know this as I have revealed to you time and time again

I know you love me
I hear your prayers frequently from my son

Keep working, Keep praying
As Paul stated, Put on your full Armor daily

This will help in the daily battles
Lord, thank you for your grace and truth

In Jesus name
Amen!

Story Behind the Poem

This story covers a time right after my father passed away. The enemy has been not stop attacking me, reminding me to not love those who God chose to lead his people. I recognize the lies and rebuke them often. The anxiety I feel is an obvious attempt to distract me like in the past. Although it is annoying, I know the truth. My heavenly Father shared this poem to me, so I could share with others even in trial and tough times in life, lean on him for everything. I am doing my best to be vulnerable and only seek approval from him. Be patient to not let my free will and selfish ways interfere in His plans. Be still enough to listen for his voice and be intentional when he wants me to be.

Secondly, our church started a series called Voice of God. Meaning, if you seek God, listen and obey, you’ll hear God’s voice more clearly. As with this poem: God is firmly and lovingly instructing me to listen and focus solely on Him. There is NO need to seek others for approval, guidance and direction. God wants me to focus on Him. He has something to teach me, so….I’m not very patient, I like to do things my own way. I’m doing my best. We’ll see how things go, until this. This poem was for me and I plan to meditate often, remind myself and see what He has in store for me.

About my Dad

What can you do to cover everything about a loved one when they pass away? The short answer….You can’t. You want to celebrate their life as much as possible and share stories with everyone who knew him. My Dad passed away on October 15th, 2017. I had the privilege to spend several days with my brothers, sisters and my mom before he passed (all of them are awesome and unique! I could write an entire story about each of them, LOVE YOU GUYS!).

Over the years, there were many seasons in my Dad’s life. He was a son and a brother growing up. By his own acknowledgement, he didn’t have much in the way of money or material things, but he sure did have a lot of stories from this timeframe. As he grew, he joined the service and served our country in the Army. By his own words, “this changed my life and helped me grow up”. As he started on his journey towards adulthood, he became a father and husband. He had kids (five of them) and I can’t believe he had that many. He ran three businesses.

First, Jim’s Market. This was previously a small grocery store in the late 60’s, early 70’s. By coincidence, the store was also owned by a person named Jim, who apparently named the store. When my parents bought in 1975. They kept the name and put their own spin on the store. It started out to be a small grocery store because of my Dad’s previous 20 years working at Kroger. My Dad quickly found out this was not a store like Kroger rather a small party store (a convenience store by today’s naming). It carried beer, wine, chips, had a full deli and video games (my personal favorite for a few years). The store was famous for having Polish sausages (his personal favorite), BBQ chicken, ribs and pork chops. Oh and those mock chicken legs. For us kids, we spent many, MANY hours using this special “thing” that formed the mock chicken legs. The store was a central part of our lives for 10 years. It was a defining part of my life since I was six when they bought it. They sold when I was 15. While owning the store, my parents also ran a video game route with 200+ games, this was in the early 80’s.

As my Dad’s life progressed, him and my mom bought a restaurant in Belding Michigan. This was open for few years and along with having a food-service equipment business, he was the definition of a entrepreneur. It never ceased to amaze me the confidence my Dad displayed making something special and successful. He didn’t end up on the cover of a magazine like some do or being a wall street type business. My Dad was a hometown guy who liked to get to know his customers. He treated them with respect, integrity and could sell about anything to anybody.

And stories, he was probably most famous for his stories. If you went for a ride in his truck (1999 Ford F350 dually), you would be entertained by his stories. You talked the entire trip. Never once can I recall him just pondering about something, regardless if was me, my brothers or sisters, he was humble and could relate to each of us. Each of kids are different, over the last few days of his life, I realized we have more in common than I first thought.

Later in life, my Dad retired and took up his true passion: farming. He acquired 40+ acres to farm hay and did he have passion for this…OH MY. His lifelong friend Cecil was also a farmer. My Dad put many, many hours of love and passion into making sure the ground was just right. From putting lime on the right time of the year, to making sure the first or second or even the third cut was the best it could be. My Dad loved farming. He took pride in the long hours out in the field, fixing his tractor or painting so things looked right.

My Dad accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. Faith was an important thing in his life and he tackled learning all he could about God. He read several books as we studied in a small group. My Dad was always curious to learn. By his own humble words, he wasn’t educated, but that was just his own in-security. From examples in life, there is more than just being book smart. The last part of his life, he battled cancer with the same positive outlook as he tackled everything else in his life. There were a lot of bad days, there were a lot of good or so/so days.

During his final days, I was doing my morning devotions and ask the Lord “when” are you going take him home? The Lord, as he has done so many previous times, painted an absolute stunning picture. It went something like this:

“Riding his favorite 656 tractor, Red and White shining in the sun, which was setting to the west just over the treeline.My Dad in the field, east side of my brothers house, headed south taking care his hay. He only had a row or two left before it was time to go home to be with Jesus. I shared with my family Dad only had a couple of rows left. After he was done, a very loving person shaved, combed his hair and getting ready to see Jesus. It was 12:10 PM he went home to glory. His farming was complete, done with pride, joy and the best it could be”

Over the years, I’ve wrote many poems, including an entire book about his journey with cancer called 33 : About the Letter CIt’s available on Amazon either in print or kindle version. Along with those 33 poems, here are some I found I wanted to share involving my Dad. Probably my personal favorite is called My Savior Wears Bibs. It was a project I did with my Dad in 2010. Here are links to them.

We all grieve in our own way, mine is writing. My brothers and sisters are so gifted in many ways. My sisters are gifted in painting among many other things. It’s incredible the talents and how easy they make it look. My one brother does taxidermy and each of his mounts are amazing, you can tell they are done with pride. My other brother is so gifted in many things, he can craft anything out of metal, build most anything yet is an artist in his own way. They have so many other gifts not even mentioned, yet I sit here and realize all of us were influenced by my parents. Each of us got a sprinkle of talents from both Mom and Dad. As I wrap up, I have shed many tears of joy, celebrating this occasion believing you are in heaven with your Lord and Savior Jesus, one day you’ll meet each of us at the gates welcoming us home into eternity! Love you Dad.

Love -Your son Steve

About my Dad : My Savior Wears Bibs

Topic 52My Savior Wears Bibs

Scripture : Mark 10:3545; John 13:120

Poem

Wake up in the early morning
To do a task that will brighten your house.

Say a quick prayer asking for guidance,
Asking for safe and efficient work.

After reviewing a given task list,
The work begins on the project

Nailing pieces of wood to make a deck look almost new again.
Enjoy working with family,

Enjoy talking to friends and getting advice,
Wondering along the way

Was this the right thing to do.
Then I remember, our Savior was a carpenter.

Not only did he shape wood,
He knows how to shape people.

He puts his bibs on to do his work,
Taking a person from one perspective and

Shaping him into something better
To perform his work.

You have to serve,
For its been said to be a leader,

You must learn how to first serve others.
Jesus did not come to be worshiped

But to serve others.
To spread Gods word that

The kingdom of heaven is near.
He performed miracles, shared parables.

He washed the feet of others.
The next time you see construction workers,

The next time you see gardeners,
The next time you see a person in bibs,

Realize his job is not fancy.
His job probably isnt fun.

His job will not bring fame or glory.
As with Jesus, he wore bibs

Doing his work, trying to share Gods love.
Thank you, Jesus, for wearing bibs.

Amen!

Story Behind the Poem

In the summer of 2010, I worked with my father for two days to fix the steps in front of my house. My wife thought it would cost a lot, but it was only about $150. Everything for those two days worked out perfectly. With my fathers guidance, we straightened up a few foundational posts that were leaning, replaced the steps, fixed the hand railing, and overall made the deck look decent again without spending too much money. As always, my dad knew what to do and figured out what he didnt.

At the time, I joked with people who did real work, meaning those who worked outside for a living, wear a popular brand of coats and bib overalls to stay warm in the winter. I thought if I published the title with a brand name, I could get in trouble so I chose to use the generic term of bibs. I joke with people that I dont do real work since I work in an office. I told them one day Ill have a real job, and then Ill wear this particular brand of bibs to stay warm during the cold months of the year.