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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

Keto – First 56 days or so…

The #Keto journey continues.   This covers 56 days or so into my wife’s and I changed way of eating (hint, notice I didn’t use diet).  Here is the first article for a refresher.  My lowest point has been 199.7 in this timeframe.  That has showed up a few times although our scales tease me, for several days my weight was 200.0 even before dropping 199.7.

Imagine, I’m standing alone in the bathroom yelling at the scales like it matters!?  I’m talking to myself stating “Really”, you couldn’t drop below 200.   My body has adjusted to the new weight and varies around 200 lb (give or take a pound).  I’ve had a few days where my diet wasn’t not as strict as first 28 days.

Staying in Keto requires efforts, consistency and planning.  A friend of mine who has been on Keto for year and half has an amazing story  He’s lost over 150 pounds, #Keto has been part of his journey.  Here is the article

I’ve settled into somewhat of a routine eating almonds, pecans, raw lunch meat instead of chips, cookies and other not so #keto friendly.  My biggest struggle is when I get home from work in the afternoon.   For some reason, it is a habit to munch for a bit before dinner.   Keto has helped curb cravings since my body is not generally hungry as much.  Chewing gum helps!

I work in technology.  I’m familiar with offerings companies try to use mobile apps.  Carb manager apps are no different.  My wife started using www.carbmanager.com keeping track of everything she ate.

In the spirit of doing it together, I tried a few days tracking my food intake.  This helped gauge levels we should achieve to keep our body in ketosis.  I did this for a while until I got the hang of it. Eating of enough fats was the toughest.  I almost always was over on protein.  From what I understand, too much protein will slow your weight loss.  This appears to be happening to me.

I’ve learned my body varies a few pounds, yet will continue to drop ever so slowly.  They tell me that is the best way to lose weight.  I enjoy seeing a 1 – 3 pound drop in a single day.  This is most likely from water weight.  I’ve continued to drink around 32 ounces of water in AM and 32 in PM.   I usually will drink more than 64 ounces of fluid.  The 32 and 32 are baselines to at least get minimum amount of water.

Changing how you eat definitely has made a difference. We are almost two months into eating differently.  When I eat breads or other junk food.  I can tell.   I get bloated and gas along with a mild case of heartburn.  Keto requires continued food preparation for best results.  We had cauliflower pizza crust, yum yum!   I’ve not had regular pizza in months.

Until next time.   Happy #Keto

PS – Wife is down around 18 – 20 pounds so far…

Take care,

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

Serving where we are called, listening to the spirit and saying NO.

 

Are you serving in the right ministry? Are you burnout? Do you feel guilty?  Having a hard time changing?  People serving in a church or community seek some type of validation or satisfaction for their efforts.   When we are unsure where we belong, we hesitant to commit. 

Ive been serving at my local church in a variety of volunteer positions.  This includes different leadership, some experienced, some it was their first ministry.  Regardless of the assignment, there is uncertainty during transitions.   Im no expert and the longer I serve, the less Ill declare any knowledge of whats the right approach as a lay person.

During last couple of years, Ive primarily did personal studies in the Old Testament, mainly minor prophets.  The perspective and examples given by each of these prophets is amazing and worth studying.   I do my best where Im called.  Sometimes my passion gets the best of me and the spirit needs to slow me down.  

For years, Ive prayed for direction and with my recent change of seasons in life ( all my kids graduated from High School).  My free time increased allowing for flexibility in serving.  The Lord called me to help in Childrens ministry.  Regardless of the call, serving in the ministry or position the Spirit has led you is rewarding.  I dont know how long Ill serve or help where Im called.  When its time to move on, either a different ministry or church, all I ask is God makes it clear. 

Whats the point of serving?  One of the main reasons is gets the focus off ourselves and onto others.   The current book Im serving, Ezekiel was called to the Lords voice to his people during some tough times, Israel had fallen away from following God and Jerusalem was being destroyed for the rebellion.   During this time, God kept Ezekiel quiet for 7 years, (YES 7 YEARS).   As we serve, I draw on scripture for strength and examples.   When seasons of life change and we get a discontent or unsure of our call.  Look at examples in scripture.   There are other examples such as Joseph in Genesis 39, 40.   Paul in Jail and singing (yes singing).   As we hopefully get more wisdom in our older years, we look at examples in scripture to help guide us and have patience, in things we do.  

NOW, to address NO in the title.  We cant be afraid to say no when seeking to serve.   I encourage people to try different things, dont be afraid to fail and move around.   Try different churches, worship styles and find your church home. 

How big are chains when we ask God to break them?

I was praying recently for a few various people, including some of my own asks. I got this incredible picture of a chain that I couldn’t get out of my mind. Have you ever tried to find a picture to describe what you are seeing in your mind. Here is a sample, notice the guy looks very small compared to the chains. I’m sure the chains we have acquired in the spiritual realm are much larger, but you get the idea. The good thing, God can break chains this big or even bigger!

In Luke 4:18, Luke talks about “..Set the captives free..”. Since we are born with a sin nature. We inherently have chains based on that nature. Jesus was in Heaven, came as a baby and became an adult to spread his ministry. Part of this was suffering a criminal’s death and died on the Cross. He provided everyone a way to re-establish a connection or “chain” connected to the father.

Keto – First 28 days

This post covers my first 28 days of eating differently using Keto.  I almost hate to say it’s a diet although when you search the web for Keto.  The term Keto Diet will appear frequently.  What is Keto?   I’ll borrow the definition from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketogenic_diet  “The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet”. 

“Steve why are you dieting?” some people have asked.  You seem fit, not overweight and look healthy.  When I started in middle of April 2018, my weight was 215.2.  I’m not a person who was overweight like other examples found on the web.  I was pleasantly plump although my weight was creeping up.   My clothes were starting to get a bit tight.

I went to the DR for my six-month checkup for high blood pressure medicine.  I was feeling some discomfort in my mid-section where I previously had double hernia surgery.  The DR checked me out and the hernias were still solid (good news!).  Getting the mid-section checked was a bit uncomfortable, but anyway. I contributed the discomfort to potentially my pants being a bit tight 😊

I’m not sure how it all happened but an answered prayer somehow got my wife also doing Keto.  For the guys reading this who don’t cook and wanting to lose some weight, for me at least it took my wife to adopt a different way of eating.  The meal planning primarily is done by my wife (ok…99.9999%) by her.

This was a blessing although I wanted to participate in cooking and not make her feel the burden was totally on her.   I’ve at least tried to help cook, chop, grill or do dishes.  Try is the best advice.  When you sit down from a day at work and your wife (girlfriend or significant other) is preparing the meal, ask how you can help?! Take care of the kids, chop some onions (they make you cry), take care of some laundry.  Yes, take care of some laundry.  I found out after 30 years of marriage how my wife wants her clothes in the closet.  Better late than never!

The first week, I went from 215.2 to 207.5.  I’m like YIPPEE!  Although later to learn how our body normally uses sugar for energy.  One of Keto’s benefits once the body has exhausted extra sugar, it’ll naturally start using fat for energy.  The Lord is sneaky, he developed a natural way to help us burn fat!

The body can only store a couple days of energy through sugar then starts to pull energy out of your muscles.  I read that somewhere and what I learned from that is, DRINK WATER!.  After a few days I felt a little sluggish and only to realize I was feeling dehydrated.  Some call this Keto flu when you feel bad, headaches can happen as well. https://blog.kettleandfire.com/keto-flu/

Before starting Keto, I would maybe drink 25 – 30 ounces of water per day.   The rule my wife read is we should target ½ your weight in ounces of water.  I tried drinking around 100 ounces, that was a bit too much.

I’ve settled on 64 to 80 ounces for now.   I try to drink 32 in the AM and 32 in the PM.  At first that seemed like a lot, but my body adjusted.  Before drinking this amount of water, I would drink one water bottle full and make a few trips to the rest room.

The second and third weeks my body was stubborn although this is normal.  The term I found on the internet is called “Post Induction Stall Syndrome.”   I’ll let you determine the acronym 😊   Both my wife and I experienced this to some degree.  Starting through the third week I started to get comfortable eating mainly meat, vegetables, butter, eggs, bacon to name a few staples.  We also supplement with meal replacement shakes.  I’ve tried a few different ones.

I try to put into practice, don’t be afraid to experiment.   I work in technology and we use a term “fail fast”.   I’m good at trying something a few times and then learning.  The Keto method of eating is like that.  Try different things. One thing I tried didn’t work.  Greek Yogurt and Bacon Bits.  Didn’t try that a second time.  Feel free to pass along your experiments.  I found out I LOVE Avocado and Sauerkraut with Sausages.   My wife got some sauerkraut and sausages simmer in the crop pot, then mix up avocado.  EAT UP!  Yummie!!  Don’t knock until you try at least once.  Avocado are high in natural fat.  I’ve struggled to meet the daily allowance of FAT. I’m good at making the protein.   My cravings haven’t been too bad although I’ll admit a few cookies with M&M’s have somehow gotten eaten.

Yes, I’ve cheated although from time to time when I have cravings, prayer (seriously faith is a big thing in my life), nuts, gum, drinking water are some ways I’ve dealt with the cravings.

Overall, the first 28 days. We’ve read a lot, tried a few things, changed some habits and so far, my lowest point is 201.7 and averaging about 2 – 3 pounds per week.  That isn’t too bad.   I’ve even started to fast on purpose where I skip morning breakfast before I go to Church on Sunday.  Fasting is talked about in the bible, I’ve found it to be helpful in mixing up my body, so it doesn’t get too comfortable.   https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-fasting/

Exercise is another thing key thing we’ve tried to do regular walks 30 – 40 minutes.  This will help increase the Ketones and Ketosis https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-1-diabetes-guide/what-is-ketosis#1

That’s all for now.   I’m into my fifth week and it’s pretty much habit.  Didn’t hurt our church was doing a series on Prayer and there have been a few prayers along the way to help change our habits.  Between my wife and I we are down around 30 pounds.  She has lost more and doing an awesome job!   Love you honey.

Next time I can share more experiences with apps that we are using to track our progress.  Until next time!

PS – I’d suggest making a visit to your DR if you are unsure if this way of eating is for you.

Good luck and God bless,

Steve