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Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 24, 2016
Notes: Revolutionize Your Prayer Life
Today we will be consider Luke 11:1-13 where Jesus responds to his disciples request to learn how to pray.
Prayer: “Prayer is an uprising of the mind to God” St. John Damascene (7th century)
Prayer can include: Praise, Thanksgiving, Meditation on God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Scripture, God’s goodness and faithfulness…, Petition: request and needs
We are helped by the God—Holy Spirt–in our prayer: Romans 8:26-27
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit prays for and through us. This is important as we consider Luke’s account of the Lord’s Prayer.
Two accounts of Jesus teaching his disciples to pray: Matthew and Luke
Matthew emphasis the important role forgiveness plays in the life of the followers of Jesus.
Forgive us our sins:
In Matthew after teaching on prayer Jesus concludes:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt. 6:14-15
In case there was any confusion, Jesus brings this idea again in Matthew 18:21-35 when He tells a story about unforgiven.
Taking into account all of Scripture we understand that this is not a quid-pro-quoe (a straight up this-for-that) exchange. Jesus’ work on the Cross is complete. He has already won the victory. However, that does not mean that we will work in the victory that He has secured. God does not seem to force grace and mercy upon us. We receive what He has already done. When we do not forgive, we are rejecting receiving God’s grace and forgiveness in our own life.
In Luke, Persistence is emphasized.
It can be helpful to look at the end of a passage to help understand things said earlier in the passage. So we will consider the second part and bring that understanding into the earlier part of the passage.
Let’s start with the story of the friend in need: Luke 11:5-8
5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
Ancient Nearest hospitality custom—even until this day… There were not any 24 hour drivthrough to pick up a little something before you got to your friend’s house. To this day in Iraq, when I was visiting people in their homes they would always provide somethings. If it was tea time, we would have the best tea and sugar in the best cups they had to offer. If it was a meal time, they would always provide the best food they had to offer (the produce as magnificent). Even during Ramadan, they would lay out a spread for us and insist that we partake. They would say, “You are our guests. As such, we off you protection and sustenance.”
(I can picture the man thinking, “alright already…just don’t wake little Joseph…we will all be up all night…)
Notice, he got up to provide what was needed. Perhaps we need to reassess our understanding of “need”.
Luke 11:9-10 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)
Prayer’s will be answered. We may not always like the answer.
St. Paul was persistent in prayer: (2 Cor. 12:8-9a)
“Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
He was praying
[Jesus was a praying person. Eternal w/ the Father, yet as a man he prayed.]
in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
[Consider praying this prayer in different ways. Each week during the Eucharist we pray this prayer. Consider taking time throughout the week to pray it slowly and deliberately. Perhaps pausing at each phrase and meditating on what you are saying. Consider studying each of these areas in Scripture and meditating on Scriptures relating to each phrase throughout the day.]
Father, [Consider taking time to meditate on God as your Father. On fatherhood, on the fatherless and how God may have you demonstrate this to those in need of a Father.]
hallowed be your name. [Honoring the name of God in word and deed.]
Your kingdom come. (Your will be done, on earth as in heaven)
[Not Clinton’s, Trump’s, the American, or British; but YOUR Kingdom. What does that look like?
Matthew 5:3-11 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Humble in spirit, humbly dependent on God.]
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. [Meek is not week.]
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. [God’s righteousness and His restorative justice.]
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
This aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven is for us here on earth. We can pray for God’s grace and strength as we live out His kingdom here on earth.
We will continue with the prayer Jesus taught his followers in our next episode.
In today’s Epistle reading St. Paul says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love (agape) builds up.” Why is he saying this? What does it mean? How does this apply to the moral might and ethic situations we are facing today?
What will we do with our “knowledge”? What will we do with our liberty (freedom)? These can be tools for building up or for destroying others.
Lectionary Readings for Proper 24 year B
In Isaiah the prophet proclaims that one will come to bare our sins and provide for our healing and peace. Peter writes of this prophecy in his first letter.
Why is this not as evident in our day as it has been in generations past?
There are no easy answers. In today’s message we consider some possibilities and solutions for this situation. Join the discussion!
Here are some of the verses referenced in considering this situation:
1 Peter 2:23-25
23 When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
Why don’t we see more of this manifested in the world? After all, Jesus said:
John 14:12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.
Truly Knowing and Seeking God….
- Hosea 4:6 My people are being destroyed for lack of knowledge (NIV) [because you don’t know me. (NLT)]
- Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
- Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
- Deuteronomy 11:26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—
- 30:15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. (NLT)
- 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
- Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Faith, Hope, Love…
Mark 6:5-6 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (NRSV)
In what, who, do we put our hope…
Psalm 33:20 We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield.
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope (trust) in (or wait for) the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
This by no means exhaustively explains why we are not seeing this with more regularity in our day. Are we ready to see a great outpouring of God’s power? If not, how can we get ready?
There is hope, healing, forgiveness and new life in our Messiah. We should not keep it to ourselves. Some may laugh, some may scorn, some may mistreat us…but we cannot be silent. Are we willing to stand up and proclaim the “Good News”? This message of hope and new life also includes a call to “repent”. A call to change–of most kinds–is not always accepted with gratitude. So ironically the message that leads to life, and an abundant life, does not always receive a warn welcome.
“So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net
[And if anyone asks you about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. (NLT)]
We do not have to have the answer to every question, every objection, and every problem. Rather, we are called on to give an answer for the hope that we have from a life in Christ.
How do we share “Hope”?
It does not have to be complicated. We do not have to quote verse after verse to speak God’s truth. The truth of Scripture is true even if we do not quote the verse in conversation.
We share it by entering into conversations with people. It starts with caring enough to really listen. Our agenda should be to live out the love of God, the love God has for them and the love God has shown to us.
Surrounded by “brokenness”.
We are often in contact with people that are experiencing the results of broken lives, bodies, relationships, and dreams. In fact, we are no different. It is from our own experiences with “brokenness” that we can compassionately connect with our fellow man.
Sometimes we experience brokenness as a result of our own actions. Sometimes we experience brokenness as a result of the hurtful and selfish actions of others.
Many people talked about the difficulties they are facing, or difficulties their loved ones are facing. When the opportunity arises in a conversation I will ask something like, “Can I share with you what gives me hope?” If they consent then I share something like the following:
(developed by Jimmy Scoggins, Pastor, First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, Fl.)
Genesis 1:31 says, “Then God look over all he had made and he saw that it was very good!” (NLT)
(Note: you do not need to quote the Bible verses to express the Biblical truth.)
God has a design for sex, marriage, finances, health…relationships. When we depart from his design it result is our brokenness. We not only can hurt ourselves, but we often hurt others. Other people departing from God’s plan can also hurt us. This departure from God’s design is what the Bible calls sin. This departure leads to our brokenness and the brokenness of those around as, the brokenness of the world.
Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (NLT)
Proverbs 14:12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. (NLT)
We experience brokenness in many ways: bodies, minds, finances, and relationships. We then seek to cover up our brokenness in an attempt to fix ourselves. Some self-help attempts may bring some improvements; but in the end they fall short.
We may also attempt to cover up the problem with drugs, alcohol, money, education, success, relationships, etc. Some of these actions end up causing harm and lead to more brokenness. None of them can fill the void or fix the damage.
At some point we realize that we cannot fix ourselves. We have tried this and that and nothing really changes.
God did not leave us in despair. There is Good News. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves.
Gospel means Good News. God loves us, his creation, so much that he sent his Son to live as one of us, yet without sin. The Bible says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 NRSV)
Romans 10:29 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (NLT)
We know that we need to change. But we cannot fix our selves. The solution is not simply turning from “sin”. We must turn toward the One who designed us.
This kind of “change” is what the Bible calls repentance. When we confess that Jesus is Lord (that is, that He is Lord over our lives, this universe, our problems…) and believe that God raised Him from the dead (as such He is victorious over sin and even death itself) we will be saved.
“Saved” into a relationship with the Creator. We become a new person. It is as if we are born a second time. We start to experience God’s design for us and His creation.
Jesus heard words of love before entering into the time of trial. The wilderness is a time of preparation for what is to come. It can make it difficult to endure temptation with the idea of God in our minds that He is mean, angry, and capricious. Jesus heard a message from the Father that reinforced His deep love.
The angles were with Jesus. Notice they did not keep Him from being tempted. Rather they are there to remind him of the love and reality of His Father.
God is love. His is was demonstrated in sending His Son. (John 3:16)
Zephaniah 3:17 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs
Psalm 149:4 For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus was not given the knowledge of His Fathers love simply to make him feel better. He had spent eternity with the Father. We needed to know who He was. We also need to hear the same words in our own spirit.
Jesus lives out he Great Commission by example through out the Gospel of Mark. He, Proclaims, Calls, Teaches, Exercise Spiritual Authority, Healing, Sends Out.
- Proclaimed the “Good News” of God’s Kingdome and called people to repentance and belief (faith): Mk 1:15; 1:38
- 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God had come near, repent, and believe in the good news.”
- 1:38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; (What message? – 1:15) for this is what I came out to do.”
- Called people to “follow” Him: Mk 1:17; 2:13
- Simon and Andrew (16); James and John (19); Levi (2:13)
- 1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me…”
- Teach Scripture: Mk 1:21
- Took authority over “unclean spirits” (demons) = spiritual warfare: Mk 1:23-26
- Healed the sick: Mk 1:29; 1:40-45
- Sends out to proclaim the message, have authority over demons: Mk 3:13-15
Does this message of being a beloved child of God ring true in your heart and mind? If not, this is the place to start. We start with our own response to His call to us to repent and follow. It continues when we respond to His call in baptism. God makes us His children. He gives us a new heart, a new identity. He sends the Holy Spirit which enables us to cry to God, “Abba” Father.
It is time for us to become the proclaimers of the Good News. It is time for us to call other to repentance. It is time to invite (call) others into community, into the Family of God. It is time for us to take authority in the spiritual realm. It is time to offer healing and hope.
As part of God’s family we all will participate in proclaiming, calling, teaching, and taking spiritual authority. Yet each of us will live this out based on the unique gifts and tallest God provides.
It is time for us to live out, by the power of God’s Spirit, our baptismal call.
In this episode we will discuss 5 tips for staying healthy at holiday parties. There are many more. Let us know what you do to help yourself stay healthy during celebrations. Here are 5 things I like to “bring” to parties…
- Bring a full stomach
Do not go to the party hungry. It is hard enough to not eat tasty, addictive things when we are full. There is no reason to try and resist on an empty stomach.
- Bring a healthy alternative.
Some may think you are a little crazy for waling with a plate of cut of vegetables and hummus. But, who cares? You are not only doing yourself a favor there are others wanting to at least add in a little something healthy.
- Bring some nut butter.
Vegies and a healthy hummus may not be enough to satisfy your desires. An individual package of nut butter can do the trick. Artisana is a brand I enjoy. Here are some options:
Hemp Seed Butter
Be careful not to buy a nut butter that has added sugar and oils. Some brands mix add sugar, salt and additional oils.
- Bring Herbal or Green Tea
Sweet drinks are a huge source of extra, and potentially hurtful, calories.
- Bring the Right Attitude and Mindset
Do we have the mindset that we CAN withstand temptation? Are we ready to withstand peer pressure to eat/drink things that will ultimately hurt our bodies?
If we do eat unhealthy, are we prepared to pick ourselves up and start fresh? Don’t beat yourself up if you falter. It is not about perfection.
All these things deal with our mindset and our attitude.
Please share your thoughts. Together we can come up with some great ideas!
How do you deal with all the tasty “stuff” from the holiday parties? How do you prepare yourself? What do you bring? What do you do to get your mind and attitude ready?
Photo courtesy of nuchylee on freedigitalphoto.net
– Art Therapy, what is it?
– Finding healthy ways to express the darkness
– Some ideas…
– Is it a good fit?
Art Therapy, what is it?
Just at the mention of the word therapy some people want to change the subject. In the past when I have thought of art therapy I pictured people sitting around finger painting or creating an oddly shaped clay pot. Apparently there are much more imaginative possibilities. Please stick with me. What I am discussing hear can be formal or informal.
People have been expressing themselves and working through problems using art for a long time. Recently there have been effort to formalize a therapeutic method to help people with PTSD. It is usually combined with other traditional therapeutic methods. I think these are worthy efforts.
In a general sense, it is tapping into the creative parts of our brain to express ideas and concepts in a context that can help lead to growth and healing. This is not a textbook definition, but it works for me.
Art can also be therapeutic in this consumption. Reading a story, looking at an image, listening to a song can all be part of our own healing process.
Finding Healthy Ways to Express the Darkness
Whatever is on the inside seems to find its way out—even if we think we are hiding it. Part, but certainly not all, of PTSD is attempting to integrate these “dark” experiences into the reality of our lives. We can try and hid from these things. This hiding can be a temporary coping mechanism we use to get through a crisis. But at some point we need to deal with and integrate these memories.
– Writing Stories
Finding expression for what is going on inside. In art, of any form, we can capture and express ideas of both beauty and tragedy.
Some can find release in word. Poetry, stories, journaling, and song writing can be good options to explore. Fictional stories can be a way of expressing deeper realities.
Many of us are deeply moved by what we see. A photograph can instantly move us emotionally. There is a difference between a selfie or a quick snapshot and a photograph that has the power touch us deep in our soul.
My Chrome Cast TV device displays some of the best photography from around the world that I have ever seen. The 1080p HD television comes alive with seen from around the world. A few sunsets are included in the rotation. For a moment my TV is transformed in to a tool of tranquility.
The same is true with other emotions. Have you ever seen a photographic essay of a tragic historic event? The phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand word” holds truth. The empty loneliness in the eyes of an orphaned child; or the terror in the eyes of a mother holder her dead child can move us to tears—maybe even action.
Not only can looking at images have a power affect. For some, capturing images can also be a sources of healing.
Is art a good fit for your recovery?
I do not consider myself to be “artistic”. Yet I have at times greatly benefited from the creative efforts of other people. I have also benefited from expressing myself artistically. Perhaps I have not made full us of these areas of my brain to aid in my own post-traumatic growth process.
How about you? Perhaps consider giving some kind of artistic express a chance.
How has art, in any form, positively impacted any part of your recovery?
In today’s episode I share part of my story. Information, facts, and data are an important part of any plan. Testimonies of success are also important. I love information. Without it I would not be where I am today. I also need encouraging stories from real people.
Today, I hope to encourage you along your journey by sharing the ups, downs, struggles and success I have encountered along the way.
In episode 1, I shared a little about the source of my lung damage and the beginnings of having diabetes. Today, I want to share the personal side of my journey. You will hear some of the “how” I have achieved my current success. But mostly I will share my experiences. The thinking behind my journey, as well as some of the struggles I faced.
In December of 2013 I experienced a heart attack. That got my attention.
A year and a half earlier, I read and followed Dr. Bernstein’s book, “Diabetes Solution”. He takes a high animal protein, very, very, low carb, medication and exercise approach. I experienced some success. My fasting blood sugars dropped from 130+ t0 around the upper 115+.
I lost about 20 lbs. over a few months—to about 165 lbs. But I was still not in the blood sugar range that Dr. Bernstein recommends—even with medication. Just as important, I was not feeling any better.
Fast forward a year: My weight was now about 175 lbs. I was still eating a moderately low carb diet and I still usually did not feel well.
On top of the diabetes, I was still experiencing many serious lung infections. Ugh! I was a bit down.
Despite following my doctor’s recommendations and staying away from sweets, I was still experiencing diabetic complications. My doctors told me I was doing well. They said my diabetes was “under good control”. And by the ADA standards, I was. But by the real world of my human body, it was not!
When my A1C (a way of measuring blood sugar over about a three month period) was 7.9 my VA doctor said, “I would not worry about it. If it was 8.0 then we would need to take more action. Besides, I have seen patients with much higher A1Cs.” [I will get into what the numbers mean in another episode.]
Of course he “wouldn’t worry about it”. It is not his foot, eye, heart, kidneys, that could suffer damage. What did he have to worry about? Nothing!
I, on the other hand, was the one experiencing neuropathy in my feet, atypical cataracts in my eyes and eventually, at the ripe old age of 44, a heart attack. Yes, what did he have to worry about? He had already been transferred. He had already moved on to “not worrying about” other patients diabetic complications.
So you can see that I was a bit frustrated. All the docs wanted to do was to keep adding medications. Not one of them told me that in a relatively short time I could be healthy. They all told me that I would keep getting worse. The best I could hope for was to slow the process a bit.
Well, enough was enough! Living this way was not very enjoyable. Feeling sick from the lung problem was bad enough. Throwing on top of that, fluctuating blood sugars and all of the side effects of the medication, that was too much.
Time to Try Again
I decided to try a different approach. The last approach, based on Dr. Bernstein’s book, focused on animal meat, cheese and other low carb animal products. So, I decided to go in a different direction. A moderately low carb, moderate protein, moderate fat (plant based) experiment.
On Valentine’s Day 2014 I decided to start making changes. I had been reading and studying, but I was not ready to go all in. So I started to make some cutbacks. These cutbacks lead to the first 5 steps outlined in episodes 2-5.
On February 14 my fasting blood glucose (FBG) was 149 mg/dl and I weighed 177 lbs. Over the next three weeks I started to eat healthier.
Here are my numbers during that time:
- FBG average 131 (range 116-154)
- Morning Blood Pressure 128/88
- Resting Heart Rate 79
These were my numbers on a restricted diet, with medications. My medications during that time were:
- Lantus [insulin] (blood sugar)
- Metformin (blood sugar)
- Micardis (blood pressure)
- Atorvastatin (Cholesterol)
- Clopidogrel [beta-blocker] blood pressure, heart rate
- Aspirin (blood thinner)
- Plavix (help prevent blood clots)
- Omeprazole (heart burn)
- Nitrostat [Nitroglycerin] for angina
For my respiratory problems:
- Codeine (cough suppressant)
And on an as-needed (but regular) basis:
- Prednisone (steroid)
- Over the counter decongestant
- Over the counter pain and fever reducers
- Polyethylene Glycol (a laxative to handle some of the side-effects of the combination of medications)
Can anyone say, “Wow!” That is a lot of medication.
On March 9, three weeks after beginning this journey, it was time to go all in. I did not know what to expect. Honestly, part of me did not want it to succeed. Why? Because it is easier to say, “There is nothing I can do. This is just the way it is. It is not my fault.”
It was Lent. There is a long tradition of fasting during this time of reflection and transformation. I did not know if I could make it all the way through Lent, eating clean and healthy.
I committed to a 7 day juice fast + 14 days of eating a plant based diet. At that point I would evaluate my progress and decide what to do next.
I had met with my doctors. The cardiologist, was like, “Why would you want to do this. These medications will keep you going…” Fortunately my primary care was more supportive.
What were my goals?
I started with a testable hypothesis: “A vegetable based diet free from refined grain and sugars will reverse my diabetes.” My basic standard for “reversing” diabetes would be to have laboratory numbers in the “normal” range. I kept detailed records of my resolutes.
It was important to me that this could be duplicated without expensive equipment, pills, potions, or powders. That included expensive supplements.
My major objective was health! It was not to lose weight. It was not to fit into some of my old clothes. Rather, I wanted to be healthy! Healthy would be defined as, exceeding medical standards listed in table 1 AND by how I felt!
|Marker||December 2013 Heart Attack||Before (March 2014)||Initial Target||Now (with no medication)|
|Fasting Blood Sugar average||140s||131||Below 100||88|
|A1C Blood Sugar Test||7.1||6.4||Below 5.7||5.2*|
|Total Cholesterol||244||103***||Below 200||137**|
|Triglycerides (fat in blood)||250+||121||Below 150||119**|
|Waist Size (measured at the belly button||43+||43+||Below 40||32|
|Weight||175 lbs.||177 lbs.||Below 155 lbs.||130 lbs.|
* September 2014 (5.7 June 2014)
** June 2014 – three months w/o medication
*** Many consider this too low. This was due to the statin. Notice, even with the statin the HDL was not in an acceptable range.
What was I thinking?
All the science facts, stats and testimonies were still not enough to get me moving. I had to psych myself up for this. I had to convince myself that it was worth a try. I did not have a support group and I could not afford to go to a program. I could not afford expensive solutions. It had to be done within our current budget.
I asked myself, “If I had a treatable cancer that required a few months of uncomfortable sacrifice; but offer a high probability of success, would I take it? My answer was, yes! I convinced myself that the risk of failure from trying my new approach was worth the potential success.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and all the other contributing factors to our top killers are serious. The good news is we can do something about them.
The 7 day Juice/Blended Vegetable Fast Begins
On Sunday, March 9 2014 I started a week long vegetable juice/blended smoothie fast. This was not a sweet fruit juice fast. Rather a juice or blended drink that consisted of cucumbers, celery, greens of many kinds, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and many, many other vegetables.
It was hard. At times it was horrible! Most of the time I felt like garbage. Some report feeling good after about 3 or 4 days. Not me! I had moments of feeling “ok”; but mostly I felt awful. After the first week, I began to start to occasionally have better days.
Not only did I feel bad, I smelled bad. My breath stank. You know it is bad when you are praying with people at Church, and they turn their head in another direction. They are trying to do it suddenly, but you know why.
The two weeks following the juice fast were also hard. But it was worth it!!!
I had to rely on the testimonies of those who had gone before me on this journey. I had to rely on the reported clinical experience of medical doctors that have helped them on their journeys. But for me, that was not enough. I had to rely on the scientific principles behind the concepts.
Living in a house with people eating all the things I used to eat did not make it easier. During my juice fast, my wife baked cookies. My family ate pizza and all the things that I also like. There was ice-cream in the freezer, Pringles and Oreo’s in the pantry. You get the picture.
After a week of the juice/blended drink fast, I started to eat whole, mostly raw, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and progressively some low glycemic fruit.
I also started walking and progressively adding other light physical activities. See episodes 2-5 for details.
I Wanted to Quit
At times I wanted to quit. But my numbers were good. Really good! I had no excuse to quit. The changes had worked better than any combination of medication I had tried over the years.
Day 21 – from the beginning of the juice fast (March 29)
It had been almost three weeks without diabetes medication. My numbers were looking good.
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 93
- Blood Pressure = 100/80
- Resting Heart Rate = 86
- Weight = 162.5 lbs.
- Waist Size = 39 ¾
Not bad for 21 days! So I decided to continue. Besides, I was just starting to feel consistently better.
It was around this time that I watched the documentaries, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, “Forks over Knives” and “Food Inc.” for the first time. They each helped inspire me to keep going.
Day 40 (April 18)
By now I was starting to feel good much more of the time. At this point, I did not want to stop. I would still have some bad days. It seemed like I would be able to tell when I was burning fat, and as a result, releasing all those stored toxins back into my blood.
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 75 (note: It was not always this low, the average at this point was about 86)
- Blood Pressure = 110/75
- Resting Heart Rate = 65
- Weight = 155 lbs.
- Waist Size = 37 1/16
Day 60 (April 28)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 82 (Five day average 83)
- Blood Pressure = 118/81
- Resting Heart Rate = 71
- Weight = 153 lbs.
- Waist Size = 35 ½ (on April 27)
Day 100 (June 17)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 83
- Blood Pressure = 98/73
- Resting Heart Rate = 71
- Weight = 146.5lbs.
- Waist Size = 34 ¾ (below 35, for a man, is considered an important marker)
On July I, started a more formal exercise program – Power 90 by Tony Horton (Not P90x, but his older, easier program). It took me 100 days to complete the first half (level 1-2) of a 90 day program! Progress was slow. Who knows how long, or even if, I will complete level 3-4. Nevertheless, progress is progress!
Day 151 (August 7)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 83
- Blood Pressure = 102/71
- Resting Heart Rate = 75
- Weight = 134 lbs.
Day 255 (November 19)
- Fasting Blood Glucose = 90
- Blood Pressure = 109/70
- Resting Heart Rate = 64 (The low 60’s is now normal. One morning it was 58!)
- Weight = 130 lbs. (November 18 and I have been around the same weight for about 10+ weeks)
- Waist Size = 32 1/8
Not only do these numbers look good – as well as the lab numbers mentioned above, but I feel great! Not just OK most of the time, but good almost all of the time and great some of the time.
Improved Respiratory Health
I still have lung problems with some coughing. The obstructive disease has not reversed. This seriously limits my physical capabilities and that is the reason it took 100 days to make it half way through a 90 day program.
The lost weight, decreased inflammation throughout my body, no infections, and increased muscle mass and strength, have all helped extend my physical capabilities by a little bit. Not much; but something is better than nothing.
No lung infections in nine months is a big deal! This is a record since Iraq 2006 when the problem started. Nearly every little cold would turn into a prolonged and nasty lung infection. Each would last for weeks and require a lot of medication. I would cough so hard that it caused a couple of small hernias.
The extra inflammation and mucus would, at times, bring my lung capacity down to around 10%. These times were scary for me and my family. The gurgling and wheezing, together with deep and prolonged coughs, produced disconcerting sounds.
Successfully dealing with my diabetes has increased my quality of life in many areas:
- Increased energy (a lot!)
- Clarity of mind
- Immune system strengthened
- Reduced lung infections (so far elliminated)
- Reduced all major Cardiovascular risk factors
- Increased confidence
How will defeating diabetes help transform your life?
Are you ready?
Are you ready to begin your journey to take your health to the next level? It may not be “easy”. But you can do it!
You do not have to do it alone. I am willing to walk with you through this journey. I am willing to share what worked for me. Working with your healthcare provider is key. It would be foolish to not coordinate your medication and nutrition plan with a healthcare professional. Each of us has unique considerations that need to be taken into account. Medication needs will change as you change your body. This needs to be coordinated and monitored professionally to ensure maximum safety.
I am not a doctor or other health professional. I am an ordinary guy that has wrestled with diabetes. What I have to offer is my experience, information and encouragement.
What worked for me, may not work the same way for you. Each of us is unique. Nevertheless, most of the concepts and principles are applicable to all who call themselves human.
Sign up for my free newsletter at RestoredLifeNow.com, listen to these podcasts, and let me know if you want to talk.
Let’s build a community around helping each other succeed!