Thursday, July 31, 2008

Comforting words from Paul

I look forward to my quiet time with the Lord every morning. I sit in our bright and sunny living room in a comfy, down-filled chair with a delicious cup of coffee and begin studying God's Word. I am always inspired, encouraged, and thoughtful by the end of the day's lesson. I then read through Dr. McGee's commentary to help "fill in the cracks" and cement my understanding. Afterward, I turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer and thanksgiving. Lately, it's been more about thanksgiving than anything. I have found that there is nothing like a crisis to help one focus on what's good and positive in one's life...and I have much to be thankful for!

Today, part of my reading was in the Book of Romans...Paul's letters to the believers of that great city. In chapter 14 I came across these words:
"For we don't live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose--to be Lord both of the living and of the dead."
Romans 14:7-9
Isn't it wonderful as Christians to know that we belong to Him? That regardless of our physical being, we are His? What a sense of peace and fulfillment accompany our lives when we live in accordance to His purpose for us!!
"For the Scriptures say, 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'" Romans 14: 11
I wish you all a Blessed day!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The definition of "hope"

Webster's lists the archaic definition of "hope" as "trust." Hope is further defined "to expect with confidence."

This afternoon at 1:40 we met with my Sweet Hubby's new oncologist, Dr. William Clark, Jr. What a stark contrast to our appointment of one week ago...He spent 90 minutes with us; during which time he performed an exam and then proceeded to answer every single one of our (many) questions. We never felt rushed - quite to the contrary.

My Sweet Hubby will be on a two pronged chemo attack, one prong of which he will begin tomorrow. The other will more than likely begin next week. Dr. Clark is not ruling out radiation at some point, but right now chemo will be the primary focus.

Here's a tidbit of our conversation with him - and when we knew we had the right doctor on our "bus:"
Us: We saw an oncologist last week who held out no hope. Thank you for not taking that away.

Dr. C: Well, pancreatic cancer is a very bad diagnosis...but aside from this, you are a healthy and relatively young man. You are not bedridden. You are walking, talking, working, eating, drinking, going to the bathroom - all of that on your own. I have no reason not to believe that you will respond well to treatment.
Want even more positive news? The results of the chest CT that my Sweet Hubby had last week? No cancer!!! Praise God!

I don't quite think the doctor knew what to do with us...he probably hasn't had that much laughter in his office in quite some time - especially during a "first" appointment. He had to step out for a phone call at one point and a nurse in the hallway commented to him "what's going on in there - you look awful happy..." Ahhh, what a wonderful comfort prayer is!

We want to thank you all again for keeping us lifted up and spiritually covered. As you can tell, God is busy at work! To Him be the Glory!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"I love El Qanna"

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Sweet Hubby and I are participating in The Truth Project at our church every Wednesday night. What a blessing it has been! During the week he was hospitalized, we missed a session and it was all we could talk about that day...

This past Wednesday, I asked our Associate Pastor in charge of adult education who is facilitating this project if there was any way we could make up the session we missed. He was so gracious and accommodating - willing to do whatever he could...Praise God!! So last night, my Sweet Hubby and I got a private screening in our church's conference room. Oh - what a blessing it was!! We are so grateful that we got to see it! Here's a little tidbit:

Needless to say, we came away from last night with a new understanding of what the Lord meant (and means!) when He refers to Himself as a "jealous God!"
"for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14
Rarely in Scripture does God tell us who He is by name...In the above verse He tells us His name is Jealous - El Qanna!

In last night's lesson, Dr. Tackett taught that,
"The jealousy of the flesh says “you have something I want and I hate you for it.” The jealousy of El Qanna is a zeal that arises when sin threatens a covenant relationship. El Qanna arose in God to the extent of the sacrifice of His only Son."
To draw ever nearer to my Lord and Saviour...that is my goal. To continually thank Him for the most precious gift of His Son, Jesus. To demonstrate gratitude for the Grace that I receive on a daily basis. Oh...I'm with Dr. Tackett!!! I love El Qanna!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

"But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

The title of my blog today comes from the Book of Proverbs.
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24
I think most of us have those special people in our lives that are "family" without being related to us. For us, it's "J and T." We go back a long way. There's history in our relationship...comforting and comfortable! We know them and they know us. We are alike in many ways and different in others - enough to keep our friendship vibrant and interesting! We have seen each other through both good and trying times, helping the other couple celebrate or regain their balance. They are our best friends. They spent the weekend with us and what a blessing it was! God's Word says it best...
"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bone." Proverbs 17:22
And good medicine they were; we had the most wonderful time...laughing, talking, celebrating our baby boy's 24th birthday! Lots of great memories were made, as always when we are with them. We all went to church together yesterday and it just felt like a HUGE hug from start to finish! We were sad to see them drive away...we are always left wanting more time with them! But it just means we eagerly look forward to the next time we're all together again...

My Sweet Hubby and his best friend, T.

The four of us, plus the birthday boy!

We belong to an awesome church. I don't even know where to begin - how to describe - the fellowship, the love, the support we have there. Since my Sweet Hubby's diagnosis, it has all been amplified and magnified 1000%. We know we were led there, planted there by the Lord. What a blessing! What a gift!

Yesterday, prior to worship, we were chitchatting with a member of the choir when the Music Ministry Director came over to tell us of his prayer support. He asked my Sweet Hubby if there were any special songs that he would especially like to hear in an upcoming service; any music that would encourage and uplift him. I was surprised when an immediate response was given! I fell in love with this song when it came out last year. I cried every time it played on the radio. We were fortunate enough to see them perform it live on our recent K-LOVE cruise. My Sweet Hubby said he heard it the other day and this time it moved him to tears. It is a powerful song. I have no doubt we'll be hearing it one Sunday soon...As you listen to it today, if you would just say an extra prayer for my beloved, I'd be ever grateful.

Jesus Bring the Rain ~ Mercy Me

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Good times, part II

We have another busy, jam packed weekend in store for us! Today is our baby boy's 24th birthday...hard to believe. We're so thankful he's home so that we can celebrate it with him!

Our best friends are arriving from North Carolina around noon to spend today and tomorrow with us. I know my Sweet Hubby and T are looking forward to spending "guy time" together. Many is the time we wish we lived closer and could visit more often...J and I will, I'm sure, spend some time in my studio and I'll treat her to a fab facial! Ahhhhhhh.....lovely!

Tomorrow we have church and then will have some more memory making in the afternoon before saying goodbye to everyone and sending them on their way safely home.

This is good medicine ~ love, laughter and the company of family and good friends. To God be the glory!

I wish you all a beautiful, blessed weekend - however you spend it...See you Monday!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ya gotta have faith...

Faith. It's something I think about a lot these days. Do I have enough? Too little? I pray about my faith daily. I ask the Holy Spirit to "shore me up" - strengthen and encourage me. I am never disappointed. Ever.

Today, my Bible reading was all about faith, really...It was God's own lesson plan for Gigi! I love that!! 2 Chronicles 16:1-9 tells us the story of King Asa, who for all intents and purposes was a very good King, a God-fearing, God-obeying King. And the land under him had been peaceful and prosperous, blessed by the Lord. But somewhere toward the end of his reign (the 36th year of his 41 years on the throne) he chose to rely on man rather than God. And it did not go well.
At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, "Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. Don't you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers? At that time you relied on the Lord, and he handed them over to you. The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war." 2 Chronicles 16:7-9
We see there is a price to be paid when we lose our faith in the Lord. Yet scripture reminds us BOLDLY that the very eyes of God are searching for the faithful in order to strengthen them. I find great comfort there, I hope you do as well. I know that the Lord uses many things to strengthen us. His Word empowers me every day. By His loving grace He has used others to lift me up and encourage me on a DAILY basis.

Just this morning I read an email from someone I have never met...and if I told you the circumstances of how we became "acquainted" I can assure you, you would find it a hard tale to believe. But even at the time, I remember saying "everything happens for a reason." So as far back as a couple of years ago, God already had this plan for me. He had people in place that He knew would be a source of strength and fellowship for me...people who would be powerful prayer warriors for my Sweet Hubby. How can you NOT be in awe of a sovereign savior that covers you so completely? How can you NOT just fall to your knees in gratitude? How can you NOT have faith in God Almighty?

I was so blessed yesterday. The Lord put person after person in my path that lifted me up and gave me "hugs" from above. I sit here this morning and marvel at it all...The blessings literally rained out yesterday. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!! Amen, amen and amen!

Remember what Jesus Himself said about faith...
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20
Since I didn't have a "Music Monday" post this week, I thought I'd close with one of my favorite songs. It's all about faith!

One Touch ~ Nicole C. Mullen

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finding our equilibrium

OK - so yesterday was not a good experience with the oncologist. As a health professional myself, the one thing I know is that you NEVER take hope away from your patient. Sometimes it's all they have. Well, obviously the doctor we saw yesterday was absent from med school the day they taught that lesson.

So, bottom line from her radiation, chemo only. She was not interested in discussing any complimentary therapies - period.

She ordered some further diagnostic tests to determine if the cancer has spread to any other areas, and my Sweet Hubby had the first scan (chest CT) this morning. We now await the brain MRI.

I had contacted Johns Hopkins earlier in the week to seek a second opinion appointment and I got that call back this morning. The downside of an appointment at JH is you cannot have begun any treatment when you are evaluated. The earliest appointment they could give me was August 22nd. And that is just WAY too long to wait to begin chemotherapy. So we may utilize JH further down the line, but for now we need to begin treatment. I scheduled an appointment with another oncology practice for this Wednesday. We will get our second opinion there and I'm hoping that this new oncologist will be more open to supporting the patient as they attempt to fight and help themselves.

So, in a nutshell...that's where we stand at the moment. I imagine this upcoming week, my Sweet Hubby will begin chemo. Thank you all for your continued prayers! I received a wonderful email from a friend today. She included several scripture verses...I'll close with this one:
"The Lord Himself goes before you - He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged." Deut. 31:8

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A bit speechless...

Those of you who know me can vouch for the fact that I'm not often rendered speechless. Our visit to the oncologist today has left me feeling a bit "sucker-punched." We are in the "process of processing" today's meeting with the doctor and I'm afraid I don't have much to post right now...Please bear with me, keep my Sweet Hubby in your prayers and I promise to be back to normal (whatever that might be!) tomorrow...


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A wonderful day and now we prepare for battle!

As I posted on Friday, the five of us (my parents, our youngest son and my Sweet Hubby and I) got together at my favorite seafood restaurant on Saturday afternoon for my "birthday" lunch. We had a wonderful time! The food was delicious - I had the mahi mahi (my absolute hands down fave!!) and it was grilled perfectly. My Mom loves the hush puppies so she was in her glory as well! I was with my favorite people in all the world so I couldn't have asked for anything more. God is good. Aww...aren't we the sweet couple?!

So Saturday late afternoon, after my folks had gone home and our youngest and his girlfriend had taken off to try and catch the new Batman Sweet Hubby and I were sitting at home thinking, "Now what do we do?" Truth be told, we've been doing a lot of that lately...there are many, many moments when we feel lost and don't know what to do with ourselves. My Sweet Hubby is very tired. So he sleeps. I putter. We pray. But Saturday, we wanted to do something. I suggested Barnes and Noble. There was a cookbook I wanted to get and I wanted to look at some other books as well. Off we went. As luck would have it, my cookbook was not in stock at the time. (Never fear, I located it the next day at a different B&N and it has now joined my collection!)

But...I did get some other books that we consider the beginning of our "artillery." So we are girding ourselves for battle. We are taking notes and my Sweet Hubby has begun a wellness and treatment binder. Our attack on this disease that has attacked him will be multi-faceted and we are prepared to be relentless. My Sweet Hubby has pledged to do his part and I have vowed to do mine. We have attacked first and foremost spiritually and we know you all join with us in agreement here. We will also incorporate medicine, diet and nutrition, the power of the mind through positive thinking and imagery, immunology and whatever else we feel will aid us in achieving a victorious outcome. We are determined.
"For you have girded me with strength for battle; you have subdued under me those who rose up against me."
2 Samuel 22:40
Meet the beginning of our artillery:

And in closing...because I know there's at least one of you reading this who's wondering just what that cookbook was...I wouldn't want to leave you hanging! So here it is:

Be Blessed!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What a testimony!

I received this from a friend via email the other day. I decided to share it here, rather than forward it on. I found it moving and poignant.

Subject: Tony Snow's Testimony

This is an outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, President Bush's former
Press Secretary, and his fight with cancer. Commentator and broadcaster
Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemotherapy, Snow joined the Bush Administration in April 2006 as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23, 2007, Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen,- leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but has resigned since, 'for economic reasons,' and to pursue 'other interests.' It needs little intro... it speaks for itself.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

'Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of

us with potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in America
today - find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality
while trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of
presumption to declare with confidence 'What It All Means,' Scripture
provides powerful hints and consolations. The first is that we
shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the 'why' questions: Why
me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't
answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more
to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is,

a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror
darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies
define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are
imperfect. Our bodies give out. But despite this, - or because of it, -
God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the
narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the
interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can

send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic
seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of
nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on
family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere. To regain footing,
remember that we were born not into death, but into life,- and that the
journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We
accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that
stirs even within many non-believing hearts - an intuition that the gift
of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken
enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might,
main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter how their
days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want

lives of simple, predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as the
eye can see, - but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists
and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance;
and comprehension - and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere.
The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably
strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not
experience otherwise.

'You Have Been Called'

Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to

wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at
the side. 'It's cancer,' the healer announces. The natural reaction is
to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. 'Dear God, make
it all go away. Make everything simpler.' But another voice whispers: 'You have been called.' Your quandary has drawn you closer to God,
closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter,- and has
dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our 'normal time.'

There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived an

inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of
calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before
us the challenge of important questions.
The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change.
You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious,
and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful
caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger,
shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies.

Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips

to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from
his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.
There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, - for it is through
selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the
most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we
ever could do.

Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with

the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He
cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he
took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for
forgiveness on our behalf.
We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we
acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others.
Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and
dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A
minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions
often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the
burden of two peoples' worries and fears.

'Learning How to Live'.

Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms, not

with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught
us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by
transmitting the power and authority of love. I sat by my best friend's
bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at
his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer.
A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at
least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who
apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest
uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until
his last conscious moment. 'I'm going to try to beat [this cancer],' he
told me several months before he died. 'But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side.'

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't

promise us tomorrow, He does promise us eternity, - filled with life and
love we cannot comprehend, - and that one can in the throes of sickness
point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather
future storms. Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we
believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to
serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our
limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so
that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, He throws reminders in our way. Think of the
prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, - to speak of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back

and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of
death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous
and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but
we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

We don't know much, but we know this:

No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or
frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each
and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the
hollow of God's hand.'

Tony Snow

What a wonderful man he must have been...our world is certainly a better place because he was here for 53 years. Today I lift his wife and 3 children up to the Lord in prayer and ask that He keep them enfolded in His loving arms.
"Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and noone will take your joy away from you."
John 16:22
There is a particular paragraph above that I bolded. It speaks to the prayers of others - the "prayer warriors" - who keep us lifted up. I want to thank all of you...our prayer warriors! We are awestruck when we think that there are people around the world (truly!) praying for my Sweet Hubby. How humbling. Many (most) have never met him...and never will. But we are connected through Christ. We are The Body!! We have a battle ahead of us. We are preparing ourselves to wage war! Please keep those prayers coming. We, in turn, are praying for you...we are SO grateful for each and every one of you. May our Lord bless you all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Good times!!

I'm really looking forward to today...Matthew is coming home this morning, we're meeting my parents for lunch this afternoon at my favorite seafood restaurant (a belated birthday meal!), it's a beautiful day - the sun is shining and I'm with my Sweet Hubby! It just doesn't get any better than that! Lots to be thankful for...and I am.
"I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. O, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together." Psalm 34: 1-3
And then tomorrow - church!! Nothing better than praising our God with the fellowship!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend ~ see you Monday!

Friday, July 18, 2008

One word...

The call from the doctor came yesterday afternoon at 1:18. And with it one word: adenocarcinoma. As pancreatic cancers go, it is the worst of the lot. Not that any of them are good. He told me that my Sweet Hubby has been on his prayer list. Which made me cry. I don't know that I've ever had a doctor tell me that he's praying for a loved one of mine. He and I discussed oncologists. I told him we wanted excellence...he rattled off a list of names. I codified it by saying we would also hope for a Christian physician...again, one name was repeated. There was a moment of silence, he told me he was going to pray, and then make a phone call. We have an oncology appointment on Wednesday at 10:00. Please keep my Sweet Hubby in your prayers as he begins this next phase. And if you would, please also say a prayer of thanksgiving for Dr. Jan Janson - we are so grateful for him and to God for him.

As I was coming to a close in my scripture reading this morning, there it was - my little "hug" from the Lord for today!
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." Romans 5:3-5
I know that my Sweet Hubby has been blessed and filled with the Holy is evident! Praise God!

Today, I will remind myself to rejoice! I stand on the promise of Romans 8:28!!!!
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
I hope you all have a joyous day as well!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

David...I feel your pain!

O lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. Don't let my enemies gloat, saying, "We have defeated him!" Don't let them rejoice at my downfall.
Psalm 13: 1-4
The above was how my Psalm reading for the day started out...and boy, can I relate to poor old David. You see - we STILL do not have the results of my Sweet Hubby's liver biopsy. Which means we know no more today than we did almost a week ago. We feel...forgotten. I phoned the doctor's office on Tuesday, I was assured the doctor would call us yesterday. No call came. I have already called once this morning, but they are not in yet. I will call again soon. We are waging battle here! The enemy will NOT win!

So as in all things, I turn to the Lord for my strength. I know He will not fail me. And I continued my Psalm reading...
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. Psalm 13: 5-6
Ah - there's that word! Unfailing. I love that word. It's a solid word. I know I can count on it, rely on it. Man may disappoint, doctors may disappoint, but my God - well...He's a ROCK and I'm leaning on Him. And the best thing is there's room enough for ALL of us!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Precious gifts...

"Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The Lord called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name." Isaiah 49:1
How amazing that the Lord knew me and loved me before I WAS me!! Oh how He cares for us...

Today is my birthday. I feel surrounded by love. My husband. My family. My friends. My GOD!!

I will admit that I was feeling a bit "fragile" earlier. It started last night at bedtime.

And then I remembered something our Pastor said recently. If Satan can't have your soul, heart or mind, he will come after your joy. And I had obviously surrendered mine. I recalled the words to a song from the early 80's (you know me and music!!) "Jesus Never Fails" and the chorus goes like this:
Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails.
You might as well get thee behind me Satan, you cannot prevail...
because Jesus NEVER fails!!!
I feel sooooo much better!! AMEN!!
"Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7
I received the most beautiful birthday bouquet from my Sweet Hubby this morning...he tiptoed out at dawn and culled from our yard. FTD could not have put together a more lovely gift for me! Thank you honey, I love you so much! And a handwritten card too ~ doesn't it just melt you? I too! Have a blessed day, I know I will!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh we are seeking His face...

First off, I would just like to say "thank you" for the outpouring of support and prayer we have received...we are beyond words and so grateful to you all. We received no call with biopsy results yesterday, so I imagine today will be the day...I have already placed a "reminder" call to the doctor's office. Knowledge is power.

Last night, my Sweet Hubby and I were reading Dr. Vernon McGee's commentary on the Scripture we had read yesterday. I am so grateful to my friend, V, for recommending Dr. McGee's Thru the Bible series ~ it has been such a powerful tool in my daily walk!

So last night as I was reading, one verse jumped out at me. Literally JUMPED!
"Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually. "
1 Chronicles 16:10-11
Dr. McGee's study goes on to say:
"James 4:8 tells us, 'Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you...' However that doesn't insure fellowship with God. We have to follow through with 'Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.' Do you seek His face continually? What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning? When you go to bed at night, what is the last thing you think about? Do you think about God all during the day? Or do you just leave God behind when you go to work or go to school or go to a social gathering?"
It is so amazing to be in some form of praise and worship at all times...whether in His Word, in study, in song, in prayer...

Even when I wake up, there is some form of praise on my mind. Usually a song lyric, but oftentimes a Scripture verse. How comforting that even before I have conscious thought, I am praising my God...seeking His face!!! I LOVE THAT!!

James had it so right...when we draw close to God, even a little bit, He moves in and gives us the biggest bear hug. And I really need one right now. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We will praise Him in this storm!

I have missed a few days of blogging. For those of you who have been checking in, I apologize. We're in the midst of a crisis. On July 8th, my Sweet Hubby was admitted to the hospital and on July 10th, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The CT scan also showed multiple lesions on his liver which suggest that the disease has metastasized. We are awaiting the results of his liver biopsy which will give us a better picture as to what - if any - treatments are available to him.

Of course, we are praying for a complete healing. But we also realize that may not be God's will...

No one said that our lives as Christians would be without trial or turmoil.
"But praise be to God who gives us strength to overcome through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57
I have been in awe of my beloved husband this past week...he has been a testimony to God's most amazing Grace. If you would, please pray for my Sweet Hubby, Steve. I am grateful.

Last week I started "Music Monday" so it is fitting that the song I chos
e for today is by one of our favorite groups.

Praise You In This Storm ~ Casting Crowns

We are facing a pretty big storm right now...bu
t we serve a bigger God and we know He is holding us close right now. We feel it. We've seen it. He WILL be glorified.

While we were in the hospital (I say "we" because I was allowed to stay 24/7) one song kept playing over and over in my head. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would hear the song. I'll close today's blog with it. All other ground is sinking sand...Peace to you all.

Solid Rock ~ 4Him

Monday, July 7, 2008

Introducing "Music Monday!"

As I was in my car early this morning, starting my day of errands, I was listening to the radio. My Sweet Hubby and I listen to K-Love radio station exclusively. For those of you unfamiliar with K-Love, they are a listener supported Christian station with affiliates nationwide and around the world. I invite you to see if there's a K-love station in your city...if not, you can also listen to them via online streaming.

As I was driving, a song by Leeland came on and a verse in the song really gave me cause to lift a hand in praise (only one - I was driving, remember?!)

"With your love you set me free...oh...
Three nails gave me liberty"

It was then that I decided to dedicate Monday's blog to music. I can't tell you how personal music is to me. I don't know that I'd be where I am with the Lord today if not for music. I truly believe that He used it greatly in my healing after the whole Catholic church debacle. Music moves me, soothes me, raises me up and brings me to worship at the foot of the Cross.

The Scriptures mention music repeatedly. The Psalms are David's hymns to the Lord...I like to think that we please God with our songs of praise and that He sits in Heaven...listening...and smiling.

"Hear, you kings! Give ear, you princes! I, even I, will sing to Yahweh. I will sing praise to Yahweh, the God of Israel. Judges 5:3

"...speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" Ephesians 5:19

So today and everyday, I encourage you to praise our Heavenly Father in song!

Be Blessed~

Yes You Have ~ Leeland

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Now I lay me down to sleep...

I was nearing the end of my Bible reading this morning...when I read the most comforting sentence in one of David's Psalms:
I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. Psalm 3:5
Now I realize that David wrote this at a time he was fleeing from his son, Absalom. But I like to think that it is just as relevant today, for all of us, as it was for David the day he thought the words.

And I kept going back to read that sentence over and over again. It made me feel as if I were a little girl again...just knowing that my Mom and Dad were there to protect me and keep me from any harm through the night. I never even gave it a thought...

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He's always there, ever watchful. And most times, I never even give it a thought. This morning, He gave me a reminder!

Friday, July 4, 2008

One Nation, Under God

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

This great Nation of ours - these United States of America - was founded by a group of individuals seeking religious freedom. Then, we sought to keep our Country's "face" turned toward God. May it always be so.

As we celebrate our hard won Independence today, let us not forget the men and women serving in our military....and their families. Lord, please reunite them soon. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Truth Project

On Wednesday nights after prayer service our church offers what they call "Refuel Classes." Usually there are quite a few different topics to choose from covering a variety of interests. For example, my Sweet Hubby and I just completed an 11 week study of the Book of Revelation. This study actually encompasses the better part of a year, broken down into 4 "semesters," with us just having completed the first of four. It was fascinating!

For the summer, the church leadership decided to offer just one class: The Truth Project. Here's a brief description, in a nutshell, from the website of Focus on the Family:
The Truth Project is a DVD-based small group curriculum comprised of 12 one-hour lessons taught by Dr. Del Tackett, President of the Focus on the Family Institute and a Senior Vice President of our ministry. This study is the starting point for looking at life from a biblical perspective. Each lesson discusses in great detail the relevance and importance of living the Christian worldview in daily life.
Last night was Week 3 for us. I have to say, each week gets more and more fascinating! Dr. Tackett is an absolutely riveting speaker and the course content is so relevant to today. Last night moved me to tears. The focus was on evil. "Why is there evil in the world?" We, as Christians, believe that evil exists in the world because of man's decision to reject God and embrace a lie (Satan) traceable all the way back to the very beginning of time. Evil is as old as humanity. But, as Dr. Tackett so exquisitely and profoundly reminded us last night - man, even in his fallen (from Grace) state, still bears the Image of God. If that's not an "OH WOW" moment for you...well, it certainly was for me last night. Tears. Again now.

Dr. Tackett spoke of how the Lord hears the sound of man's evil against man...

But the Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground!" Genesis 4:10
And if the Lord hears the blood of one solitary man cry out to Him, how must He hear the cries of millions?

I cry for our nation and our world...and I pray. Lord, deliver us from Evil. Amen.

What are you waiting for?

OK, sometimes I just have to laugh out loud! And today was one of "those mornings" with the Lord! I was just moseying along, minding my own business, reading Scripture...I mentioned in yesterday's post that my Sweet Hubby and I are reading the Bible this year. In order to do this, we have so-called "one year Bibles" which have Scripture divided up in daily sections. Each day includes Scripture from the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and Proverbs. Nice! My Sweet Hubby says that next year he's just going to read his Bible "straight." Me...I don't know - I kinda like it this way! Variety is the spice of life! But, I digress!

So I'm reading in the New Testament today, Acts 21:37-22:16. Paul has been arrested and taken into custody in Jerusalem for preaching the Gospel. He asks the commander if he might address the crowd, those who are accusing him. Now Paul (formerly Saul) had a history of persecuting the Christians himself, so he really understands the anger in the crowd.
The Paul said, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today. And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. The high priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing me to bring the Christians from there to Jerusalem, in chains, to be punished.
It was while traveling on the Damascus road that Paul witnessed the "bright light" and heard the voice of the Lord speak to him.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' "'Who are you, lord?' I asked. "And the voice replied, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene' the one you are persecuting.' "I asked, 'What should I do, Lord' "And the Lord told me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do.'
So...that "bright light?" Well - it had left Paul (Saul) blind. In fact, he had to be led by the hand into Damascus by his traveling companions - all of whom witnessed the light, but did not understand the voice speaking to Paul from the heavens. Those words were for Paul alone. I love that the Lord speaks to just us, as individuals. Then and now.

When Paul and his companions enter Damascus, a godly man named Ananias came up to him, stood next to him and said, "Brother Saul, regain your sight." And Paul (Saul) could see once more! Amazing. Ananias went on to tell him:
"...'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.
And here's where I laughed out loud!
What are you waiting for?
I can almost hear Ananias saying it now!! I can picture him throwing his hands up in the air! Can't you? Take a moment and think about it...Ananias continues:
Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord."
Given the fact that Paul is delivering this speech from chains, I think you know what he chose to do, right? What an awesome witness for the Lord!

And I sure appreciated the chuckle this morning!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

He listens and He answers!

So my Sweet Hubby and I made a commitment that this would be the year we read the Bible cover to cover. Quite an undertaking for two former Catholics who had been taught from early childhood that Biblical interpretation should be left to the Priests! But that's a past life and we now know that we, ourselves, are fully equipped with the Holy Spirit! And so in January we began! Oh how we have enjoyed our time in the Word!!! If we had only known all these years what we were much more personal our experience with our Lord and Savior could have been...sigh...

We are currently in the Book of 2 Kings and today we read 20:1-22:2.

About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: "This is what the LORD says: Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness."
When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, Remember, O LORD how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you. Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
But before Isaiah had left the middle courtyard, this message came to him from the LORD: "Go back to Hezekiah, the leader of my people. Tell him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and three days from now you will get out of bed and go to the Temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my own honor and for the sake of my servant David.'"

As I continued with my reading and study this morning, I kept coming back to those two verses: "...he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD..." and "Then he broke down and wept bitterly." I can relate! Many is the time on this walk of mine that I have 'broken down and wept bitterly.' And I can picture Hezekiah, lying in bed - ill. Deathly ill. The scripture goes on to mention a "boil." An abscess? Deadly infection? He was dying. I can "see" him turning on his side, fetal position. Isn't that the position we assume when we're seeking comfort? The one most familiar to us from before we have memory? And he prayed to the Lord...and he wept bitterly. And the Lord heard. And He answered Hezekiah.

Recently, in a discussion about prayer, one of the pastoral staff at our church put it like this: God ALWAYS answers prayer...Sometimes the answer is GO (yes), NO (self explanatory!), or WHOA (wait, not right now). But He is FAITHFUL!! Always.

Take delight in the LORD and He will give you your heart's desires. Psalm 37:4

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Welcome! I hope you'll be a regular visitor...

I have spent the past several months engrossed in blogs...a variety of them -- life in general blogs, food and cooking blogs, health blogs, etc. And I'll admit, I've toyed with the idea of having my own. Kind of like wanting a puppy after seeing the one your neighbor just brought home! But this morning, after my Bible reading and time with the Lord, I decided to do it! It was just that who am I to argue? I'll post about my walk with the Lord and see where it leads! I'd love some company...