Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 429 No Coincidences

I have written often that there are no coincidences, that a coincidence is just God's way of staying anonymous.   He was so present in the coincidence that happened to me today and I'm excited to tell you about it.

First of all, it's summer time in Texas.  Whew.......   I had errands to run and a little after noon my stomach started to growl.  I decided to stop at Firehouse Subs for a quick lunch because I had never been there before but also because it's located sort on the backside of a shopping center so I thought it probably wouldn't be crowded.   Not so.   It was packed and after I made my order and paid, there were no empty tables.   I saw a woman sitting alone at a table obviously waiting for a to go order so I asked if I might sit at the table with her.  She smiled, said yes and shortly after picked up her order and left.  Right behind her a woman walked up to the table with the same request I had just made, so I asked her to have a seat.  Coincidentally, we had ordered the same thing and our orders came out right behind each other so we started up a casual conversation while we ate.

As we began to learn more about each other, we began to ask questions.  She asked if I did art shows and I said yes, that I had until last year when I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  She stopped and looked at me with a stunned expression on her face.  Then she shared with me that she had just finished treatment for rectal cancer and that God keeps putting people in her life who have cancer or have been healed of cancer.  It happens over and over.

As you can imagine, we began to share our experiences.  The conversation quickly turned to our faith, our love for Jesus and the miracles He has performed in our life.  We walked outside and, in the heat, continued to share our praise and wonder for the goodness of God.  In the end, we exchanged cards and intend to stay in touch with each other.   And so, I've made a new friend, a precious Christian woman who understands what I've been through and that I can understand what she's been through.  She shared this important scripture with me that I want to share with you.

" Affliction shall not rise up the second time."  Nahum 1:9

That is her prayer, that once we are done with cancer, we're done with it.... physically.   I don't think anyone who has been through cancer will ever be done with it psychologically.  Any time you have an illness where your life is threatened by a disease and where you have to become sicker in order to become better, the memory of the journey remains a part of your life forever.   But the good part, and there is a good part,  of it is that your relationship with Jesus and His healing mercies remain an even greater part of your life.

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
I know that what I had today was a blessed encounter that You arranged and I thank You.  How awesome You are to put the two of us together so that we might praise You and share the wonder of Your greatness.  I serve an amazing God and, for You, nothing is impossible.
I ask today, Father, that You continue to guide the medical community in developing cures for cancer that will no longer involve chemo and radiation.  You would never let an affliction come on Your children without there being a way to eradicate it. 
Thank You for the testimonies of all those who have been cured of cancer medically and for all those who have been cured supernaturally.  Let those of us who have had cancer use it as a platform from which to proclaim Your glory.   Let each warrior and survivor feel your healing Spirit moving mightily within them right now so they are healed so completely that the affliction of cancer does not return a second time.  Thank You for everything, Father.  Thank You.
In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the name above pain, the name above cancer, the name above all names.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 428 New Hope

For cancer survivors and for those still fighting cancer, it seems like every day there is a new hope on the horizon.  Tonight, Livestrong in Austin will be offering a free seminar on the importance of exercise in combating cancer.  It's too late to go back and add exercise to your lifestyle before cancer and, for me at least, it was impossible to exercise while going through treatment, but it's never too late to add the right exercise to your lifestyle now.  You can live stream this seminar on your computer tonight or see it later on their blog.  I've signed up for it and you can too at .

I heard this morning about a new drug being developed that will block the pathway of cancer cells so that healthy cells won't have to be damaged the way they are now with chemo and radiation.  As my friend Lisa lies in isolation with her mouth full of ulcers and lesions in her throat from the chemo, fighting a spiking fever and nausea while trying to rebuild her immune system, the thought of no chemo is truly a gift from God.

Eat to Defeat Cancer is a website I have long touted and it is based on the study of certain foods that starve the blood vessels that feed cancer cells thus inhibiting their growth.  I try to incorporate at least one and, most of the time, even more of these foods into every meal I eat.  To learn which foods, check out .   The hope is that as more is learned about these everyday super foods, incorporating them into a daily diet can prevent cancer cells from growing in our bodies. 

Hope is such an important thing.  We can hope that exercise will help prevent cancer.   We can hope that new drugs will help kill cancer.   We can hope that eating the right foods will help starve cancer.   But the real hope isn't in exercise, drugs, or food.  The real hope is in God.  We are told over and over again in the Bible to put our hope in the Lord.  Three different times in Psalms, David writes:

"Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."

You know how important the number three is and when something like this is repeated three times, it is the same as a gillion exclamation points.  Believe it!  No matter what is happening in your life, there is hope in God.  No matter the medical reports, there is hope in God.   No matter the dispair and desolation, there is hope in God.  Don't know where to find it?  Pick up your Bible.  Don't know where to look?  Start with Psalms and Proverbs.   God knows your every need and He'll guide you to the words you need to hear.  He loves you and wants the best for you but you have to seek Him and know that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  He is a great and wonderful God.

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
You are the God who heals.  You heal hearts and You heal spirits and You heal bodies.  You know our every need.   I ask today that You show each of Your children exactly where their hope is.   It's in You, Lord.   In You.
Father, we thank You for Your healing Spirit which is moving mightily within each of our friends dealing with the enemy, cancer, today.   We ask that You touch Lisa and David, a young father just diagnosed with brain cancer, and Sadie whose scans are showing growth where the brain tumors were removed and Tony who is off to camp with other teenage cancer patients while waiting on a pathology report on the new mass taken from his abdomen and Bryce who is just finishing another round of chemo and enjoying his time off.
Thank You, Father, for everything You do on behalf of these precious ones and their loved ones who are suffering along with them.   Bless them, love them, heal them.
In Jesus' healing name we pray.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 427 Obedience

Over the years, God would put a stirring in my soul to do something.   Even though I wasn't always sure where that stirring came from in my early Christian life, I was obedient.   It never failed to be the right thing for me to do.  This morning in my study time, twice I came across these verses in the 8th chapter of Romans.

"No, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8: 37-39

So, it seems that God wants me to share these verses with someone in particular today.  If that is so, then He will make sure that someone reads today's post and receives His words and His comfort.  We serve such an amazing God and He knows our every need.   We are so blessed that we have Him to turn to whenever we need to feel His giant loving arms wrapped around us, our shield and our protector.

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
Thank You for being there for us in every single step we take.  Thank You for caring for us and shielding and protecting us.  Thank You for allowing us to be used by You to share your comfort with others.  Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You.
We thank You again today for the protection that You are for our friends fighting the enemy, cancer.  We thank You for giving them authority over all the powers of the enemy.  We know that Your healing is taking place inside of each of them right now.  Help us to be stronger in our faith as we face the day and help us to stay focused on You, the true source of all healing.
We pray these things in the name of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 426 Just Passing Through

Yesterday was my daughter Melanie's birthday and we celebrated with dinner out and then back to her home for cake and presents.  My son-in-law, John,  is a musician.  He sings, plays the guitar and writes some amazing songs.  My grandson is learning to play the guitar and all in all, it's a musical family. 

So, at the table, John played a Willie Nelson song that is a cover of a ColdPlay song which I had never heard.   I shared another  of Willie's songs, one that he had never heard.   It was one that Willie recorded with Sheryl Crowe called "Come On Up To The House".    I play it over and over and in my mind, "the house" in this song is a metaphor for God.  The refrain says:

This world is not my home.
I'm just passing through.
It tells us to quit whining because that does no good.  Just come on up to the house.  Just take our worries to God. 
For those of us who have faced some life challenging events, we know this home is temporary.  At the same time, this life being temporary does not require less of us.  It requires more.  Have you ever stayed in temporary housing for a few days or a few weeks waiting for a more permanent move?  There probably wasn't a feeling of responsibility for that place.   For us as Christians, we have to honor this life and this place we are given, even though it is temporary, because it is where we have the opportunity to come to know Jesus better and to know ourselves better.  It is where we learn to love Him more and to show that love as the guiding light of our life.  It is where we learn to care for this earth, for our loved ones and for our friends and neighbors.   It is an opportunity to do good for others and, in a way, it is a proving ground for our next life. 
Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
I am so grateful Father for this life experience You have given me.   I hope to prove myself worthy of all You sacrificed for me.   I can't make this walk alone and I know that You are right alongside of me.  Thank You for being there for all of us all the time and for never abandoning us.  Help us today to honor You by living the best life that we can. 
Father, I am offering a special prayer today for our friend Lisa.  Her immune system is gone right now and she is in isolation and has spiked a fever.  We ask that Your healing touch energize every med she is given to fight the infection, to fight the multiple myeloma and to cure her completely.  She is such a passionate warrior for You.  Keep her safe and protected and let her feel Your presence today as You surround her with Your love.
I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 425 Walking A Tightrope

First of all, let me say that I DO NOT LIKE HEIGHTS!   Every time this week the promo came on TV for Nik Wallenda's walk across the Grand Canyon, I had to switch stations.  I simply couldn't watch it.  About five minutes into the walk, my cousin Bobby called me and told me that Nik was talking with Jesus the whole time he was walking.   So, with nerves stretched and my heart pounding, I had to watch.

Jesse Turner who spoke at church yesterday used the circus and a tightrope walker as a metaphor for a day in the life of a Christian.  He mentioned several times to be sure that "you know that you know that you know that you know" who your Savior is and where your salvation lies.  Nik Wallenda exhibited that yesterday. 

"I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With Him at my right hand I will not be shaken."
Psalm 16:8

Nik was focused.  He tried to talk during the walk and quickly found out that in order to make it across the Grand Canyon, 1500 feet up in the air with no safety net, he had to be focused and his focus was on Jesus.  The words of praise that came from his mouth were beautiful and inspiring.  The Bible says that God inhabits the praise of His children.  He was there next to Nik.  Nik knew that he knew that he knew that he knew that he knew that Jesus was his Savior.  He knew that Jesus was his safety net.  He displayed a peace that passes all understanding for most of us who simply cannot comprehend  how or why a human being would attempt such a feat. 

What an incredible platform from which to share his love of Jesus and his total trust in Him.  Milllions watched Nik accomplish the seemingly impossible while keeping his eyes on Jesus.  So, I wonder what your seemingly impossible feat to accomplish today is and will you keep your eyes focused on Jesus?   I'm going to do my best to follow Nik's example and through everything today I will tell Him how much I love Him and how He is my everything.  He has proven over and over that He will see us through if we just ask and He will do it again for us today. 

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
Thank You for bringing Nik safely across the Grand Canyon last night.  That You for the example he is that with You, anything is possible.  Thank You for keeping the tightrope of life steady for us today and the winds light.  We can only make it across with our eyes focused on You.
Lord, thank You for bringing our young friend Tony through his surgery safely on Friday.  The doctors successfully removed the diseased appendix along with a small mass that was growing where his cancerous kidney used to be and it was sent to pathology.  We are asking, in Your name, Jesus, for a good report.   We are asking in Your name that the mass is nothing to even be concerned about.  Only You can do that Lord.
We thank You for bringing healing to this nation Lord.  Cancer is so much more prevalent today than ever before.  We ask You to heal our bodies and to heal our spirits.  Show us how to live for you, honoring You with everything we do. 
We love You, Jesus.  We love You and give You all the praise, honor and glory.
In Jesus' precious name.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 421 What If?

I think about and write often about the "ifs" in the Bible.    Did you know that the word "if" appears almost 1600 times?   That's a lot of "ifs".   This morning I heard the phrase "what if" and it set off a light bulb in my head.  Important questions to ask myself, not just today but every day.

What if I put more trust in God?   What would happen if I could just let go of my anxieties and turned them over to Him?  He promised that He would take on all our cares if we could just do that.

What if I spend just an extra five minutes on my knees in prayer every day?   Jesus prayed all night.  One time he went away to pray and fast for 40 days.  What would happen if I just took that extra time to be with Him,  just the two of us?  I think it would be a much closer relationship.

What if I take the time today to exercise my body so that I was in the best shape I could be in?  Probably I would be better able to serve Him.  That in itself is it's own reward. 

What if I make the right choices today in the foods I eat?  There is certainly a reward in that.  Not just feeling better at the time but long reaching benefits allowing me to still better serve Him.

What if I let go today of any anger and unforgiveness in my heart?  What would happen?  It would certainly make room for more love and joy and it would allow God to forgive me.  He tells us that we have to forgive in order to be forgiven.

What if you take a few minutes today to think about your own what ifs?  Try it.  Just put what if in front of anything that you've been dealing with and turn it over to Him.  He says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  It only becomes light when you give it away and He's there to receive it whenever you're ready.

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
I know so many people that read and pray along with me are going through huge issues.  I ask that You open their minds and hearts to the release, the relief and the lightness that can only come from You if they will just turn their burdens over to You.
Father, I surrender every one of your warriors fighting the enemy today to you and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ that You make their yoke easy and their burden light.  For Lisa who has had her entire immune system destroyed so that healthy stem cells can be implanted to kill the multiple myeloma in her blood, I ask that you ease the pain and the nausea and give her complete healing.
For Tony who will have his appendix out tomorrow so that he can restart chemo, I ask that the surgery go quickly and that recovery is complete so that he can resume treatment to completely destroy every cancer cell in his body.
For Bryce, Lord I just ask that you ease the nausea that he is fighting from the chemo.  He just celebrated his fifth birthday and we want him here for at least another eighty or ninety birthdays. 
We surrender the healing of these precious ones to You, Lord.  You are the God who heals.  Let them be shining examples of Your love and mercy.
We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the one true Messiah.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 419 Do You Have Your Rewards Card?

It seems like every time I purchase something now days, the checker asks for a rewards card so that I can receive either an instant benefit or a benefit at a future date.  I have reached that point in the Bible and I'm excited. 

I've been studying the Old Testament lately and have worked my way slowly and meticulously through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.  So far, God has led His children through the desert and given them law after law after law to follow with the threat of some dire punishments if the laws are not followed.  Finally, in Deuteronomy, He starts to lay out the rewards for obeying Him.  Thank You Lord.  And there are amazing rewards.

He promises prosperity and good health and long life and all those things we long for but... it seems each reward is preceded by an "if" of some sort.   The rewards come with a requirement.  Some action has to be taken first. As Pastor RO often says, with God, it's like a checker game.  You move and then He moves.   With a rewards card, you have to make the first move and that is a purchase.  With God, we have to make the first move and that is to show our love and obedience and then we can expect the rewards from Him.

Does obeying Him and being rewarded mean that we will never have financial problems or that severe illnesses will never strike?   No and no.   What it does mean is that regardless what happens, we have an assurance that we are not alone and that He is there with us no matter what we're going through, and that He will never leave us.  It means that in the midst of illness, we know that He is working on our behalf to bring about a cure.   It means that even though we don't have all the material things we want, we are still rich beyond imagination. 

Obedience, in a way, simply means doing the right thing.   Sometimes, doing the right thing is not easy but as the old saying goes, it is it's own reward.  God has instilled that sense in us that if we do things His way, knowing what is right to do, there will be a great release of pain and anxiety and a huge sense of relief and reward.   There is no big secret to His reward.  It's all there in the Bible.   Just pick it up and read.   You'll be excited and encouraged and reassured that He is real and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.  Thank You God.

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
You have made Your plan for us so plain and easy to understand.  We just need to love and trust You and open ourselves to Your guidance and then follow.  And we do.
We thank You for the miracles that are taking place every day as You guide the medical community closer and closer to totally defeating the enemy cancer. 
We thank You for the healing Spirit moving mightily within our friends Lisa and Tony and Bryce and Sadie and Frank.  Strengthen them Father to fight this huge battle here and give them stamina to overcome so that they may be witness to Your goodness and grace.
These things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 418 Do What You Can

This morning I was exercising along with Faithful Workouts on the NRB Channel.  The leader kept saying, "If you can't do this, then just do what you can."    Some of the exercises were a little hard for me so I did what I could and when I couldn't do something, I just substituted a movement that I could do.

I was thinking then.... that is the same thing God asks of us.   If you can't spend hours in studying His word every day, that's okay.   Just do what you can.  Maybe it's only 15 minutes or maybe it's only a chapter a day, at least you're trying.  I think that once you are in the Word, there is so much to learn that you will quickly grow hungry for more and find time for more. 

What if you have difficulty finding long periods of time to spend in prayer and then waiting for an answer?  God wants us to do what we can.  One of the most profound words I ever had from Him was when I was in front of the computer, reading a message that had a scripture in it.  My Bible was on the table so I stopped to look up the scripture and when I reached the word "love" in the verse, God just flashed His message into my mind.  "Slow down and just love Me."   That didn't come after long prayer and meditation but in the midst of seeking Him in a quick and hurried way.  He knows what you can do and He loves you and blesses you for every effort you put forth to do more.

What about doing for others?  Few people have time for volunteering so what else can you do?  How about a special donation to support a group that does for others what you can't?  How about cleaning out your closet and donating those things you haven't worn for ages to someone that can use them now?   What about a garage sale to get rid of the junk in your garage and earmark those funds for God?  Or maybe donate an old piece of furniture to someone like Salvation Army that will put homeless people to work to rehab it for resale?

Just ask.  God is so good to respond.   If you can't do one thing for Him, you can surely do another.  If you ask, he'll provide the answer. 

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
Thank You for showing us what we can do when we're in the midst of can't do.  Show us what we can do for others and by doing for them, do more for You.
Lord, we thank You for the healing that is taking place now in those precious cancer fighters that we prayed for alst week.   Bryce celebrated his fifth birthday and is doing better every day with scans showing huge improvement.  Tony is finally able to eat, will have surgery this week to remove his appendix so he can restart chemo.  Sadie is doing better and our friend Lisa is in the midst of massive chemo treatments getting ready for stem cell implant.  Lord, we just ask that You continue to give them the stamina to fight off the enemy and to defeat this enemy so profoundly that it becomes nothing more than a distant memory.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, the one true Messiah.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 413 Be Careful What You Ask For

Probably not many people find much humor in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament.  This morning I was studying Numbers and I had to stop and laugh out loud.   God's response to the people of Israel was so unexpected to me and yet so typical of any parent.

Let me set the stage.   Poor Moses is in charge of over 600,000 men plus women and children.  That alone is an improbable task.  They've left Egypt and been camped at Mt. Sinai for over a year and have finally completed the Tabernacle under God's direction and are starting to move toward the land that God promised their forefathers.  Can you imagine the number of whining complaints that Moses had to deal with every day?  But God always provided.  When they were thirsty and whined to Moses, God provided sweet clear water.   When they were hungry and complained to Moses, God provided manna six days a week with extra for the seventh.  Now, after months of a steady diet of manna, they were back at Moses' tent with more complaints.  Moses was so worn out from all the complaints that he told God to just take him then because he couldn't stand it any longer.  It was his sort of "Calgon, take me away" moment.

The children of Israel wanted meat.  They were sick of manna.  They wanted meat.  Oh, why did they ever leave Egypt. They had all they wanted to eat in Egypt and it was free. The Lord, at that point, was getting tired of their whining too and told Moses that if they wanted meat to eat, they were going to get meat to eat.  They were really going to get meat to eat.  They were going to get so much meat to eat that it would come out their nostrils and they would be sick of it!  I started to laugh at that point because even though that really didn't sound like a "Godly" answer, it certainly sounded like the answer a weary parent would give a whining child.

Even though most of us are parents and know what it is like to deal with a complaining kiddo, it is still so comforting, regardless of our age, to remember that we are also children.  We are children of the Most High and He loves us in a way that far surpasses the love that we have for our own children.  When we complain and when we whine, He hears us.  He may not respond in the way that we wish or in the timeliness that we want, but He is there for us, behind the scenes, preparing the way for us.  What a great and awesome God we serve.

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
You are such an amazing God and we thank You for the loving care You show us each day.  Thank You for providing and for meeting all our needs.  Thank You for preparing the way for us, the way for hope and the way for healing and the way for salvation.
Father, You are the God who heals.  We ask healing mercies today for Your young children, Sadie and Bryce and Tony, who are waging a valiant battle against the enemy, cancer.  Tony is in the hospital with appendicitis and because of a suppressed immune system cannot have surgery.  Lord, just touch him today, ease the pain, boost his immune system to fight the infection and wrap Your comforting arms around him so that he knows You are with him every step of this journey.
Thank You, Lord.  Thank You.
In Jesus' precious name we pray.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 412 You Got It All Wrong!

How often have you heard someone say they would rather ask for forgiveness than for permission?  They were saying that they were determined to do what they wanted to even though something was telling them they shouldn't.  So, they would just ignore the warning, go ahead and it would be okay because they could ask for forgiveness later.   Doesn't work that way. 

In 1 Samuel 15  we are told that

"To obey is better than sacrifice." 

Sacrifices are how God established a way to forgiveness for sin in Moses' day.  It pointed the way to the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ hundreds of years later.  In this passage He is telling us through Samuel that God is much happier with obedience than with asking for forgiveness.  Asking forgiveness for something may erase it from God's memory but, guess what, it doesn't erase it from our own.

Have you ever done or said something that hurt another person?  Even though that person may have forgiven you and God has forgiven you, it doesn't leave your conscience that easily.  Often it lingers and the event replays itself in your mind over and over and you feel those pangs of regret and embarrasement over and over for what you have done. 

Have you ever said this?   " I know better than to eat this but I'm going to anyway."  Unfortunately, I have.  The result.... I don't feel well after.  Maybe I feel lethargic or my tummy swells or I have heartburn.    Or maybe for others it is that second or third or fourth drink or another cigarette.  "Knowing better" or "I know I shouldn't" means STOP!   

God is so gracious in giving us that builtin firewall past which we shouldn't go.  He also gave us free will so whether we do or don't do something is up to us.  We are shown over and over that obeying Him is so much more satisfying than not obeying and having to ask for forgiveness later. 

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
Thank You for showing us the limits past which we should not go.  We thank You for forgiving us but we thank You even more for teaching us what to do in order to live for you.  Thank You for showing us what to eat and how to treat our bodies so that we are better able to serve You.  Thank You for showing us how to treat others so that we are always a reflection of Your love and grace.
Lord, today we are asking special healing mercies for another young man fighting the enemy.  Tony Colton is so very sick right now and we are believing that You, Jehovah Rapha the God who heals, are strengthening his body for this battle and empowering his immune system to destroy every cancer cell in his body.  Let Him be an example of Your hand at work as he grows in You through this journey.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the name above cancer, the name above all names.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 411 Cancer Schmancer

Don't you love it?   That's Fran Drescher's term for cancer.  No more elevating it to a supreme bugaboo.   Put it under our feet where it belongs.

Saturday night I looked at "Favorites" on my computer.  It is a list of websites that I've bookmarked over the last few years.  I was surprised and excited to see some and others ..........  not so much.  So, I began to edit.

Colorectal Cancer ....................  Deleted!
Stages of Colon Cancer ...................Deleted!
Treatment for Colon Cancer ....................Deleted!
Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer....................Deleted!


That was cleansing.  Then I found something, a song I had saved for several years and that I had forgotten about.  It is one of the most touching and loving sounds I have ever heard.   It was exactly what I needed at the time I first discovered it and it still brings me huge comfort.  So, turn up the volume, settle back, maybe grab a tissue and enjoy.

"He Loved Me Then, He Loves Me Now."

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
You have given such amazing words and voice to some of Your children and we are so grateful when they share it with the rest of us.  Thank You for loving us, no matter what.  We love You too.
Lord, today we ask special healing mercies on Bryce who is still having trouble keeping food down, even though he is through with chemo.  Give him the strength today to absorb all the nutrients of food that he is given.
We ask special healing mercies on our friend Lisa.  She starts the process this week of totally suppressing her immune system so the healthy stem cells can be reimplanted.   It is a painful and debilitating process.   Let her know, Lord, that You are there with her.  Surround her with Your love and comfort in such a tangible way that there is no doubt that she is one of Your beloved children.
We ask that these two are soon able to put cancer under their feet, to tread on it and that they are soon able to delete it from their lives.
In Jesus precious name.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 407 A Coincidence? I Think Not

God is so amazing and I just love Him so much.  Yesterday I wrote in my journal about Joshua and Caleb seeing past any fear of the giants that were facing them to the victory that God has assured them was theirs.  It's a wonderful story and hearing Jesse's experience makes it more real than ever.

This morning I woke about 2:30am.  Now, for me, that is a little bit too early to read or study so I moved to my favorite couch where I spent the better part of last year and turned the tv on with the volume low.  I watched cooking shows and late news shows and early news shows and then switched to a random Christian station and promptly fell asleep.  That was God sending me back to sleep because He woke me, refreshed, at precisely the time when the subject of discussion on a particular show was the rest of the story that I wrote about yesterday.

Sounds a little like Paul Harvey, doesn't it?  The rest of the story.............  It may have been coincidence for me to wake at that exact time but then I've always heard that coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.  Anyway, back to the rest of the story.  Before attacking Jericho, which stood in the way of the Israelites reaching the promised land, Joshua sent two spies to check things out and they went directly to the home of Rahab.  She knew who they were, hid them and told them that the people of Jericho were "melting with fear."  Can you imagine?  Here the Israelites were frightened of the giants and the giants were melting with fear of the Israelites.  God was setting up Jericho for the defeat that was coming.  He was quietly, anonymously, working in the background for the victory of His children.   His words to them are just as reassuring today as they were then.

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
Thank You for Your word.  Thank You for reminding us that no matter how large the giants look right now for those dealing with cancer, that You are quietly working in the background, working out the way for their victory.  Thank You for showing us that we don't need to be afraid or discouraged because You are with us wherever we go.
Lord, today we hold up young Bryce to you.  He has finished a grueling round of chemo and is now having a hard time keeping food down.  We ask, Father, that you calm his stomach, strengthen his body and give him the stamina he needs to defeat every cancer cell in his body so profoundly that it will soon be only a distant memory in his life.
We also hold up my friend, Jo, to You.  She is fighting lung cancer for a third time and is growing weary.   Lord, You have healed her twice.  Three is such a powerful number and we know that her third healing will be a complete one.  Please give her the strength and fortitude to withstand whatever is required so that she can continue to worship You and be a shining example of Your healing mercies.
These things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, the name above cancer, the name above all names.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 406 Against All Odds

I recently read the most powerful definition of the word Faith.  Faith is trust against all odds.   Wow!  That just says everything right there.  Trust in God, against all odds.  No matter what is going on around you, no matter what the medical reports are saying, just trust against all odds.

When I read this, my mind went almost immediately to the Israelites  leaving Egypt.  Just try to imagine what that must have been like.  First of all, God's presence had hardly been known for over four hundred years.  They had been in slavery for so long that none of them had lived anywhere other than Egypt.  That was home.  Probably most of them worshiped the same gods the Egyptians worshiped.  Those were convenient gods to worship because all one had to do was worship and there was nothing required in return.

Then all of a sudden Moses shows up.   What a charismatic person he must have been, even with his stutter.  He tells them he's going to take them away from Egypt to a land of milk and honey.  Then God starts to show up with plague after plague on the Egyptians.  Probably most of us would have run for cover, but the people of Israel followed Moses.  Yes, there was mumbling and grumbling.  Probably lots of it.  But they put their faith in Moses and in God.  And despite all odds, being stuck between an angry army of the Pharoah and the Red Sea, they could have simply given up and gone back.  But there had to be a huge amount of faith - of trust against all odds - for them to take that first step into the dry bed of the Red Sea.  Even Moses had doubts at times but still he trusted against all odds and obeyed.

Jesse Turner on Sunday told the story of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  After beating cancer of the kidney and bone cancer where part of his arm and shoulder were removed, he received the word that there was a spot on his pancreas, which is usually fatal.  The doctors told him to get his affairs in order and return to the hospital for a particularly grueling surgery.  On his way home that day, God spoke to him in the wonderful way that God does.  For some reason, God reminded Jesse of Numbers 13 and 14.   It was the story of Joshua and Caleb who went with spies to see what the Israelites would be up against in getting to Canaan.  The spies came back with a report of huge people and fortifications that couldn't be breached.  Joshua and Caleb said that victory was theirs.  Jesse realized what God was telling him.  He trusted God against all odds and chose not to have the surgery.   Three years later the spot on his pancreas has not changed and he is continuing to do God's will and spread His message everywhere he goes.

There is an old gospel hymn that goes:

Trust and obey,
For there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus
than to trust and obey.
Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
We thank You today for the trust You have put in us to show us the wonder and glory of Your love.  We thank You for showing us who You are and what You are, our Creator, our Saviour, our Love.
We ask Your help in growing stronger in our faith each day.  Help us to be able to see beyond the odds that are surrounding us to the trust that we can have in You.  We know You are there for us through everything the world might throw at us.  We know You are there for us through cancer regardless of the odds the medical reports are giving.
You, Father, are our everything and we are grateful.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 405 Study, It's Good for the Soul!

Over the past few years I have spent time reading the Bible.  But time spent reading the Bible is not necessarily the same as time spent studying the Bible.  After being diagnosed with cancer last year and having more down time when I didn't feel like painting or doing much of anything, I spent more time studying.   Joel Osteen opens his services with an affirmation that includes, "My mind is open....."  That is what study of the Bible is about.  It requires an open mind to see much more than simply what is written there, special insights that speak to us in a way they might not to others.  I believe God allows us to see what we need to see at any given time, even if it is contrary to common interpretations.

My morning study time, which I love, has lately been focused on Mark.   Mark wasn't one of the Twelve but his writing was one of the first written after the death and ascension of Jesus and it is thought that, since he traveled with Paul and Barnabas, it was written mostly from Paul's perspective.  Whether he was an eye witness or not, the words are just as powerful.

In the first chapter, Mark writes:

"...Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  'The time has come,' He said.  'The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!'"   Mark 1:14,15

In reading this passage before, in my mind's eye, I saw the people downcast with heads hanging low, shoulders bent with the weight of guilt as they repented and that Jesus was warning of judgement day.   Beware.  That was a total reflection of my first encounter with the Bible and Jesus through "fire and brimstone" preachers.  In studying this morning, my mind was open and I received an entirely different view of this passage.  First, I think that Jesus was saying that the time has come to open our eyes and realize that the kingdom of God is near, is close at hand, is ours if we just want and ask for it.  It isn't some far off seemingly unattainable state of being.  He was sharing the good news that anyone can be a part of the kingdom of God.  All they have to do is repent.  Repent simply means to change one's ways.  I now see joyful people with their heads held high, rejoicing in the knowledge that they are leaving the old ways behind and coming into the glory of being one of God's children.

The key to all of this, I believe, is to want it.  How do we begin to want it?  For me, it was when God placed a Christian woman in my path.  No matter what she was going through and she was going through a lot, she was calm and always secure in her beliefs.  First I wondered about her and then I began to admire her and then I wanted to be like her.  That led me to truly want to know more.   I wanted to know more than just the Sunday School and superficial messages about Jesus.  I wanted to really know Him and I wanted to know more  about the kingdom of God and I wanted to know more about me.  I can only hope that God will use me as He used that woman and that maybe I can inspire some other person to want what I have in the Lord.  Because it's really wonderful and it's really easy.  All you have to do is ask.

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
First of all, I thank You for this gorgeous day here on the beautiful earth that You breathed into existence.  What a privilege to live in a nation where I can freely worship You and freely write of Your greatness.
I thank You today for all the people that You have placed in my life as shining examples of what I can strive to be as one of Your blessed children.
Lord, today I ask special healing blessings for our friend Frank.  We prayed with Frank through a bout with lung cancer that has been defeated.  The doctors are now turning to a mass on his kidney.   I just ask that You continue his healing so that the mass can be defeated as well.  We are believing for Your loving mercy as he meets with his doctors this week to go over test results.
Thank You for being the loving Father that You are.  Thank You for being there for us, to calm and guide and reassure us through whatever trials we have to go through here on this earth. 
I ask continued blessings and mercy for friend Lisa as the doctors prepare her body for reimplanting the stem cells that have been harvested to rid her body of multiple myeloma.  Let these two children of Yours be triumphant examples of Your healing grace.
In Jesus' precious name, the name above all names.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Day 404 Surviving

Yesterday, June 2nd, was National Cancer Survivor Day.   How appropriate it was that the guest pastor at church was Jesse Lee Turner who has defeated cancer three times.   At the end of the service, Pastor RO asked that everyone with cancer, cured of cancer or those standing in for someone with cancer come forward for annointing and had Jesse pray over them.  It seemed like a quarter of those present came up to the altar.  It is sometimes almost overwhelming how many people have been or will be touched by cancer in their lifetime. 

This past Friday, I was at Methodist Hospital bright and early to check in for out patient surgery to finally have my port-a-cath removed.   I have put that off for about 3 months longer than I had to waiting until I was sure that I was cured and would no longer need it.  My oncologist was sure I was cured and my gastroenterologist was sure I was cured and God was sure I was cured but I wasn't.  Lord, please forgive my unbelief.  I hung on to it like a security blanket.

Like the good Christian that I am, during quiet time by myself in the prep room, I prayed and thanked God for bringing me through this storm and to the point where I am now.   Like the good Christian that I am not, I had an immediate negative reaction to the anesthesiologist who was going to put me under for the procedure.  She was fairly young, attractive but with a flat affect to her face and voice, no smile even though I smiled at her and I just did not like her.  Wow!   Your anesthesiologist  probably is not the person you want a bad relationship with going into surgery. 

In the past year, I've been put under five times.  I was assured this would be light anesthesia yet I ws out for three hours and could hardly talk the rest of the day due to a sore and bruised throat.  Do they put a tube down your throat for light anesthesia?   I don't think so.  Of course, I blamed her.   I didn't even like her name.  In my mind, I was calling her Dr. Kervorkian.   I am writing about this because I am thinking now that maybe my negative feeling toward her resulted in the negative experience with the anesthesia. 

So, since Friday, the tape of my conversation with her has been replaying in my mind.   Yesterday, I had to recognize it and deal with it before I could take Communion.  I asked for forgiveness for being so judgemental.  Pastor RO reminds us almost every Sunday that we don't know what other people are going through.  Maybe something was going on in her life and I didn't pick up on it and just thought in terms of myself.

A church that I attended years ago stressed the fact that Christ abides in each and every one of us and that we need to recognize the Christ in others.  I sometimes forget that each person I deal with is a child of God and that He loves them just as He loves me and that I need to be a reflection of that love.  So, since yesterday I have been sending love to that Dr. and blessing her.  Has it helped?   Maybe a little bit.  But I know that if I continue to see her in the light of God's love, those tapes will leave my mind and she and I will both be better for my prayers. 

"..I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you."         John 14:20
"Remain in me, as I also remain in you."         John 15:4

Precious Lord, Jehovah Rapha,
Thank You for opening my eyes to my failures so that I can ask forgiveness and correct them.  I am so blessed to be a child of the Most High.  Remind me daily, Father, of your love for others and show me how I can better share that love with others. 
Father, I thank You for the service yesterday and for the prayers of healing that were bestowed on each cancer warrior and on each cancer victor.  We each know what it is to stare into the face of the enemy and to come out on the other side and that it is only through Your grace and favor that we are led to that side. 
You are the one true God. 
In Jesus' healing name.