Day 30 – Saturday (9/22/18)

Health Update:  Still Trucking.  Still Waiting.

Thought for the day: Having peace.

I’m getting my thought for the day from Wisdom Hunters.  I’ll be honest, I have been pretty tired today, my mind has been in weekend mode, and it’s been hard for me to come up with an original thought.  I think I have mentioned before, Wisdom Hunters is a great daily devotional that God has used to speak to me many, many times.  Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be better rested and have my head in the game for a thought of my own.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”

Philippians 4:9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful”

I am so thankful that God has granted me an overwhelming peace so far throughout this process.  Now patience… I’m struggling a little on that one as we hit the 1 month mark and I’m still waiting on the data needed to start treatment… but peace… I feel in my heart that God has this all under control, and He is using this situation for His glory.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the overwhelming peace You have given me.  Thank You for being there, available, where I can simply lay down my situation at Your feet, and know that You will handle it as You see fit.  I pray for the all of Your Church services tomorrow, that You would be with the pastors everywhere, and that You would speak through them.  If anyone hears Your word tomorrow Lord, and they don’t know You as their personal savior, I pray that they would surrender their life to You, so that they may experience the same overwhelming peace that You have given me (in whatever situation they are facing).  Thank You for everything Lord, amen.

Day 29 – Friday (9/21/18)

Health update:  Still Trucking.  Still Waiting.  I had my “post-op” appointment today.  Good news!  The incision is healing very nicely.  That was about all I got out of the appointment…  Stanford still has the biopsy.  Results are still not determined yet.  They will call me whenever the results are available.  Not what I was hoping for, but again, God has a plan, and everything in His timing.

Thought of the day:  Being intentional

You are walking down the hall at work.  A colleague is approaching.  You say “Hey, how are you doing today?”  They say, “Fine.  And you?”  You say, “Fine,” and you keep walking.

How many times has that scenario played out for you?  How many times are you hoping that is all they will say?  Do you get a pit in your stomach when instead of answering “fine”, they actually say “not so good, let me tell you what happened to me this weekend?” … and you suddenly realize that you are about to be “roped” into a 10 minute conversation?  They poor out their soul to you about some trial they are experiencing, and at the end of the conversation you never wanted to have to begin with, you say, “I’ll be praying for you,” but you walk away and never do?

Have you ever ran into a friend from you past, and you have a quick conversation, and say “hey, we need to go out to lunch sometime and catch up?”  You both agree… but the lunch never happens?  The moment you walk away, life comes back at you and you forget all about it?

Have you ever been talking with your spouse, and you say to each other “We need a date night… we need someone to watch our kids, so we can go out and just enjoy each other again (like it was before kids, haha).  You both agree, but then another month passes, and still no date night.

For my thought of the day, I’m hoping that I’m not the only one that has experienced the above scenarios.  If I am, then at least I have done some self-reflection through this blog today.  I think the key to fixing these scenarios is being intentional.  Do you really mean what you say?  When you tell someone how you are doing, are you really fine?  When you tell someone you will pray for them, do you really mean you will?  When you “allude” to plans, do you really intend to follow through?

One suggestion I have in becoming more intentional is to act immediately.  When you tell someone you will be praying for them, stop right then, and pray with them in the hallway (or wherever).  It will only feel “weird” a few times.  You will get used to it.  I had a lady pray for me right in the middle of a mall.  I promise the people staring are staring because they are curious what is different about us.  Don’t be embarrassed of the God we love.  When you tell someone you would like to have lunch with them to catch up on things, stop right then and schedule it.  When you and your spouse agree you need a date night, call up a baby-sitter and put it on the calendar.  Pick a day, pick a time.  Be intentional.

James 5:12 “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath.  But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.”

Dear heavenly Father, please help me to be intentional.  Help my yes to be yes, and my no to be no.  If I tell someone I will pray for them, or I will meet with them, help me to do it or schedule it immediately.  I pray that when someone opens up to me about an issue they are having that I will listen intently, and actually focus on what they are saying.  I continue to pray for the pathologist at Stanford that they are coming to an accurate, timely conclusion.  I’m a little frustrated (not at You, but at the situation) that I’m now heading into another weekend without final answers, but I know that You have a reason.  Thank You for helping me be patient during this time.  Amen.

Day 28 – Thursday (9/20/18)

Health Update:  Still Trucking.  Still Waiting.

Thought for the day:  This is not Burger King, you cannot have it your way.

I’m stealing the ideas for today’s thought from our Bible study last night at Church.  Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  What does it mean to have the mind of Christ?  The first thing we need to look at is a buffet.  What is so great about buffets?  Most people will say it is the fact that you get to pick and choose what you want.  Don’t want to eat vegetables?  Want to go straight to the dessert bar?  Cool.  I give this example to say that when trying to embody the mind of Christ, it is NOT a buffet.  You cannot pick and choose what aspects of Christ you want to strive for.  You cannot say that I will be kind, but I refuse to forgive.  What you must do instead is understand what the mind of Christ consists of, and strive to embody all of it.  In a nutshell, the mind of Christ is three parts consisting of Unity, Humility, and Selflessness.  The fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Philippians 2:1-4 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.””

It is not easy to embody all of these attributes of Christ, but it is essential if you want to live a life that is truly Christ-like and one that fulfills Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 22.

Dear heavenly Father, it is hard for any human to fully grasp and display all of the characteristics of Christ.  For me, there are some that come easy, and others that are difficult.  I suspect we are all like that.  I pray that You would help each of us in the areas we are weak, so that we may better represent Christ in our daily lives.  Help us to truly love You with all of our heart, soul, and mind.  Help us to truly love our neighbors as ourselves.  I pray for my doctor’s appointment tomorrow that everything will go according to Your will.  I also pray for a lady that came across the prayer chain who is also having a biopsy on a mass that was recently found.  I pray that she would look to You throughout the process, and that You would grant her peace of mind.  Thank You Lord for all that You do, Amen.

Day 27 – Wednesday (9/19/18)

Health update:  Still Trucking.  Still Waiting.

Thought of the day:  We Believe

While driving to work this morning, I was listening to the song “We Believe” by the Newsboys.  I have heard the song many times, but for some reason this morning I was more focused on the actual lyrics.  I think this is a very powerful song, as it actually identifies the trinity and tells the whole gospel story in a nutshell.  The chorus goes like this:

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe

I would recommend everyone give this song a listen today, and reflect on your own life.  Do you believe?  If you do, rejoice in who God is and what He has done for you.  If you don’t, check out Day 23 of this blog, and ask yourself if you should?

Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E00j5xGeDm8

Dear heavenly Father, I believe.  Thank You for sending Your Son to die for me.  Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to live in me and guide me.  Deep down I’m still anxious over these test results Lord, and I’m ready to get the show on the road.  Please help me to remain firm in You, knowing that You have it all under control.  I pray for the lost Lord.  If there is anyone reading this blog who does not know You as their personal savior, I pray that You would soften their heart today, that they may come to know You.  Thank You for continuing to use me, even in this trial.  Amen.

Day 26 – Tuesday (9/18/18)

Health update:  My wife today reminded me that I was supposed to have a post-op visit 10 days after the biopsy.  I was not sure if that was to discuss results (which we know are running behind) or if that was to just check incision, etc.  I called the doc, and they said that usually it is for both, but obviously my results are still pending.  They said the latest they would go for the post-op portion was 14 days.  They set me up with a Friday appointment, and said maybe if we are lucky, we could have results by then.  Even if the results are still pending Friday, I still have to go to the doc for the basic post-op checkup.  I know everything is in God’s timing, but it would sure be nice if God’s timing had the results in before the visit.  Other than that, still trucking.  Still waiting.

Thought of the day:

Today’s thought is going to stray from the pattern of recent days.  Rather than doing my version of a devotional, I want to reflect on some recent events.  If you will remember back to the post on Day 17 (use the “Jump to day” button if you need a refresher), I discussed the “fable” of the man who passed up 3 opportunities where people were trying to save him during a flood.  He passed them up saying God would save him instead… and then he died.  Turns out, those three opportunities was HOW God was trying to save him.  With this thought process in my head this morning, I reflected back on several emails I have received over the past weeks where people are sending me homeopathic remedies to “cure” cancer.  Eat this, take this, avoid this… it worked for a friend of a friend, it will work for you too!  My mindset as I read those is that there is no actual data / scientific method used.  Then I got a text from a friend who simply offered me a book called “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II.  I let the book sit on my desk for a couple of days.  Then, (back to my pondering this morning), I thought to myself… “Could this be God offering me a solution, and I’m too stubborn to take it because I’m waiting on God?”  It is amazing how God can harden your heart or soften your heart toward things.  While my heart was clearly hardened to some of the homeopathic remedies, my heart was softened this morning to the point I decided there was no harm in cracking the cover.  I read a section during my lunch break, and I’ll be honest… I was truly amazed.  The author is a mixture between a scientist, an engineer, a doctor, etc, etc (this is not self proclaimed by him, this is my interpretation).  His thought process through the series of experiments he ran over 40 some years was spot on with how I think.  As I was reading and saying “nah, that is coincidence”, he would break out the next study that would prove the first.  He actually spent a whole chapter explaining (from a sub-atomic level) how cancer is even “created” within a human.

To summarize, I offer this quote out of the introduction to his book.  This got my attention enough to keep reading.  “So imagine our shock when animal protein, but not vegetable protein, was the culprit in turning on cancer in our studies.  The most significant carcinogen, the substance that almost invariably led to cancer at 20 percent of the rats’ diet, was casein, or milk protein.  Plant proteins, such as those from wheat and soy, had no effect on cancer development, even at high levels.  In fact, in 1983, my Cornell University research group showed that we could switch early cancer growth on and off in rats simply by changing the amount of protein they consumed.  Equally amazing, when cancer was switched off for a relatively long time by feeding a low-protein diet, it could be turned on again by switching to a high-protein diet.  The effect was striking.  When turned on, cancer growth was vigorous and robust.  When turned off, it was totally shut down.  Major changes in cancer development, both positive and negative, were triggered by only modest changes in protein intake.”   The book goes on to explain WHY this was observed, from a sub-atomic level.

Now, I have read some 50 pages out of 400.  I still have a lot of questions, but there are another 350 pages I suspect will answer them.  Do not get me wrong.  The “meat and potatoes” of this book (no pun intended, haha), does NOT indicate that I can get rid of my cancer by diet changes alone (it is too late in my case).  I will need chemo.  But, what it does indicate is that diet changes can drastically help prevent reoccurrences after the chemo does its job.  However, for someone who does not already have cancer, diet changes could help prevent it from starting.  Again, I have gotten numerous “tips and tricks” offered, but God set my heart on this one, and reinforced it by grabbing my attention enough for me to keep reading (due to the massive amounts of data, and scientific methodology used).  For those who don’t know me, I haven’t read a book cover to cover (excluding books of the Bible) in over 20 years… I highly dislike reading… but I have a hunch I’ll finish this one.

One thing that God has reinforced in me as I was reading is just how intricate and complicated our bodies actually are.  When you get down to the cellular level, it is absolutely amazing how God formed us.  There is 1000% ZERO chance, that there was a “boom”, and we just began to be.  Nope, we are 1000% CREATED beings, made in the image of God, for His glory… and what an awesome creator He is.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for creating me.  Thank You for weaving together such an amazing intricate body.  I pray that as I study more on the cancer topic, that You would show me what You want me to know, and help me avoid that which is false or irrelevant to my situation.  I pray for my appointment on Friday.  While it seems really convenient to have the results locked in for that visit, You may have a different plan.  I accept whatever Your perfect will is Lord, because I know that your timing is perfect.  Thank You for helping us to have a good week so far, and I pray for the rest of the week to goes as well as the start.  Amen.

Day 25 – Monday (9/17/18)

Health update:  Still Trucking.  Still Waiting.

Thought for the day:  Experiencing the Trinity through prayer

Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning’s which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Hebrews 7:25-27 “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.  For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

I got these two pieces of scripture from a Charles Stanley devotional this morning.  The devotional made some interesting points that I personally take for granted.  Typically when I pray, I think of it as I’m talking to God.  What I fail to realize sometimes is that when we pray we are actually experiencing the Trinity.  The Trinity was always difficult for me to grasp as a child.  How could God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all be three separate entities, yet one?  I think the act of prayer can help explain.  Each time we pray, we actually have both the Holy Spirit and the Son interceding for us to the Father.  It is really a remarkable concept when you ponder it.  To quote the last statement from Charles Stanley in the devotional “We are never alone when we pray, because the Trinity acts on our behalf. Not only is prayer an amazing privilege; it’s also an awesome and powerful endeavor. The next time you come to the Lord in prayer, remember that it’s a divine appointment with almighty God.”

There was a song I learned as a child at camp Good News (which is sponsored by CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship)) which also helped explain the Trinity.  Here are the lyrics (taken from the cefpress website).

“(Verse 1) God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, three in one. God the Father loves me so, Gave His Word so I would know. God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit three in one.

(Verse 2) Three in one and one in three, God the Son, He died for me. For my sins His blood He gave, then He rose up from the grave. Three in one and one in three, God the Son He died for me.

(Verse 3) Three in one and one and one in three, God the Spirit lives in me. Day by day and hour by hour- Helps me witness by His power. Three in one and one in three, God the Spirit lives in me.”

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for reminding me today what all is actually happening each time I pray.  It is a divine appointment, where I have the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ interceding on my behalf to You.  Thank You for allowing us to better understand the Trinity through our prayers.  We should not take for granted the true power that is being experienced.  Thank You for desiring a relationship with us.  Thank You for providing a communication method for us to express to You thanksgivings and requests.  Thank You for the beautiful day You gave us as Hurricane Florence moved out of our area.  I continue to pray for all of the prayer requests on our prayer chain (too many to type, but You know them).  There are a lot of sick and hurting people in our extended church family, and I know that You have them all in Your care.  Thank You for being the great physician.  Amen.

Day 24 – Sunday (9/16/18)

Health Update:  Still Trucking.  Still Waiting

Thought for the day:  God’s plan vs. our plan

In Sunday School today, we were reading from 1 Samuel , chapter 8.  In this chapter, Israel demands a King.  “We will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles”.  When Samuel heard this, he took the concern before God.  God told Samuel “heed their voice.  However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them”.  Samuel spent several versus warning the Israeli people what would happen to them if their request for a king was fulfilled.  Some warnings included (paraphrased) that the king/government would take 10% of their stuff (in addition to the 10% they were already giving to God), their sons would have to work for the king, and their daughters would be taken to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers for the King.  Basically, the warning was simple.  You want a king?  You can have one, but you are going to be giving up your children, freedom, and possessions.  So what did Israel decide to do?  They did not listen to the warnings, and demanded, “give us the king”!   If you read through the rest of Samuel, you can see how this played out for them.  Spoiler… not good.

What about us?  Have you ever been stubborn when it comes to something you want?  Have you prayed and asked God to give you something, and His answer was no?  Did you figure out a way to get what you wanted anyway?  How did that turn out?  For me, in my adult life, I know one time that I did this.  I won’t elaborate the details, but let’s say the decision became very costly for me.  After that personal experience, I became very careful when God tells me no.  There have been at least 3 other times that I remember distinctly where I had a plan, and God said no.  These times I obeyed, and dropped my plans, knowing that God knew something I did not.  In all three cases, months later, I realized WHY God told me no, and I’m so thankful He did.  To summarize my point… When you have a plan, pray, listen, and obey.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for allowing me to go to Church today.  Hurricane Florence has really not caused as many issues in our area as originally projected.  This is a tremendous blessing.  Please be with the people in the eastern part of the state, as they have really been hit hard.  Thank You for reminding me today the importance of including You in decisions.  When situations arise, we need to pray, listen, and obey.  Obedience can be difficult sometimes, but I thank You for the Holy Spirit who can help us obey.  As we start a new work week tomorrow, I pray for safety, strength, and opportunities to serve You.  Please continue to be with the pathologists at Stanford, and I look forward to hearing the results (in Your timing).  Thank You for all You do, amen.