Monthly Archives: June 2015

Our thinking: “I can’t manage this.” #God promises: “I will supply all your needs.” #Jesus #Christ #breastcancer #cancer

Regardless of how brave you are, when you first hear that someone you love has cancer a wave of fear hits.  When you get over the shock, you wonder how you will manage the whole thing. The unknown future, the uncertainty, the potential for the worst possibility to come true.  Your mind can carry you away like a wild river. If it’s your wife or husband and you’re a two income family, then you wonder how you will pay your regular bills, not to mention the additional medical bills.  At that point, it’s easy to hit your figurative and literal knees.  “I can’t manage this,” is a humbling phrase.

My wife and I had to deal with the news about her grade 3, stage 3 invasive ductal breast cancer and our son’s adenocarcinoma within days of each other.  There was a ton of uncertainty, the potential for a lot of bad things to happen in the future, and the potential for a lot of very difficult decisions.  But one thing we knew for certain was that God could still be trusted and that he would see us through.  So why we knew we couldn’t manage, we knew God would supply all of our needs. Here’s his promise.

Phillipians 4:19

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

It’s been almost two months since they were diagnosed and both have had surgeries. My son has one more surgery and my wife starts 20 weeks of chemotherapy on July 8.  God has supplied us with strength, he’s supplied us with friends and family and neighbors we didn’t even know who pray for us, cleaned our house, had fund raisers for us, and brought us meals.  I expected God would grow our faith through this and he has – both in him and in our friends, family, and neighbors.

There’s still uncertainty.  My wife’s surgery went well but they could not remove all the cancer because it had encased her brachial artery and nerves.  But we have faith in God and that the chemotherapy and radiation will kill it all and she will be cured.  For our son, he has a couple of more scans and if that comes back as we expect then he will just have one more surgery and follow up monitoring.

God has more than met our needs. He has blessed us and carried us through the storm.  I can’t manage and I’m glad I can’t.  God is a much better manager than me.  After all, he spoke the universe into being and breathed life into every living thing.

To learn more about my wife and son’s battle with cancer, please go to Battling Cancer x2

For information about my Christian Thriller, please go to Malevolent Tide

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Our thinking: “I don’t have standing before God.” God promises: “Your faith in Christ is your standing.”

It does not matter where you are from or who you are. Christ will hear your cry when you rest all your hope and faith in him.

Matthew 15:21-28
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

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Our thinking: “I can’t be forgiven.” #God promises: “You can be forgiven.” #Christ #Jesus #breastcancer #cancer

When bad things happen Christians sometimes think it is God punishing us for our sins.  God’s word doesn’t comport with that view.  Sins have bad consequences here on earth that have nothing to do with God’s intervention.  God judges and punishes the unsaved, unrepentant, perpetually Christ-rejecting soul in the eternal realm.  God knows the heart of everyone on this planet. Those who live in remote jungles as well as those who live in crowded cities and there will be some who live and die in a remote jungle who will meet Jesus and hear his name for the first time when they reach heaven.  There are some who are born and raised in Church and who claim to be Christians but who will have a horrific awakening when they cross the valley of the shadow of death because the Jesus who knows all things will say to them: ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!.’ Matthew 7:22-23

Those individuals are ones who were never saved and never received the holy spirit because in their heart of hearts they never humbled themselves before Christ and rested their forgiveness on his work at the cross and resurrection.

For those that have rested all forgiveness on the name of Christ, they receive the holy spirit which gives them the power to repent and turn away from sin and be made new.  To try and turn away from sin before asking Christ’s forgiveness is basically telling Christ that you have the power to make yourself holy and acceptable and when you boil it down, that attitude is a prideful insult to the face of the living God.  The holy spirit and the help and power if gives to the individual to turn away from sin and towards healing and a new life in Christ only comes after asking Christ to save you and forgive you.

For those who have asked and received Christ’s forgiveness and subsequently received the Holy Spirit, those individuals must forgive themselves of their past sins and must keep forgiving themselves when they stumble into sin from time to time as they walk with Jesus.  Satan will lie in an attempt to mislead and discourage.  If a true Christian cannot forgive themselves after God has forgiven them, then they too have displayed pridefulness and have slapped God in the face with a huge insult in thinking their standards are more righteous than the living God’s.

Acts 10:42-44

42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

Believe in Christ and his power and ask for him to save you from God’s wrath, receive the Holy Spirit who will help and comfort you, forgive yourself, and you will be able to forgive others.  At that point your joy will not be subject to this life’s circumstances but will transcend the present challenges, including cancer and even death.  That is what he meant when he said ‘seek the truth and the truth will set you free.’  John 8:31–32

To support my wife and son and their battle with cancer, please go to Battling Cancer x2

For information about my Christian Thriller, please go to Malevolent Tide

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Our thinking: “It’s not worth it.” #God promises: “It will be worth it.” #breastcancer #adenocarcinoma #Jesus #Christ

Finding the strength to keep on keeping on is not easy when waves of set backs hit you and keep hitting you.  It’s a challenge we face daily as we walk through this life.  Sometimes it has to do with school if your a kid, work as an adult, and life and death at any age when something like cancer pops up in your life.

I participated in sports and can attest that competition is a great motivator for giving it your all and not quitting when the going gets tough. But the competitive spirit cannot hold a candle to the greatest motivator of all time – hope.

To overcome and stay the course during the darkest hour, a human being must have their eyes, heart, soul, and mind focused on the finish line.  For the Christian, the ultimate finish line is standing face to face with Yeshua the Messiah.  We call him Jesus but his mother pronounced his name as Yeshua.  And yet while being in heaven with him is the ultimate, he promised us certain things to give us hope, a certain hope, during our journey here on planet earth.

Here’s a promise from God that Paul recorded:

Romans 8:26-28 (NIV)

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

So, God can and will turn anyone’s mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a lemon into lemonade if that person will humble themselves before Jesus and acknowledge his work on the cross is the only way they can avoid God’s wrath for the sins they have committed.  Remember pride., more than anything, is what led Lucifer to rebellion and got him and a third of all the angels kicked out of heaven.

Yet, God loved humans so much that he made a way for us to be reconciled. He did not do this for his angels.  So, have hope. Your life on this planet is important and has eternal significance for your soul and the souls of others.  It is worth it. It is worth living and breathing and fighting for. When it comes to cancer or life and death issues, never give up, never surrender, focus on how Jesus went to the cross and overcame death itself.

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Our thinking: “I’m not able.” God promises: “You are able.’

When you’re exhausted, the thought of being able to do one more thing is daunting.  Look at what Paul went through as recorded in 2 Corinthians 11

Despite all that, he found strength by focusing on Christ.

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

God is able and when you receive the Lord as your savior then you receive the Helper, the Holy Spirit and with that power residing in you, then you are able to press toward the goal.

To support my wife and son and their battle with cancer, please go to Battling Cancer x2

For information about my Christian Thriller, please go to Malevolent Tide

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Our thinking: “I can’t do it.” #God promises: “You can do all things through #Christ.” #breastcancer #adenocarcinoma

Scholars are certain that Paul the Apostle recorded Philippians and conclude he most likely was inspired to write it while in prison in Rome during the year 61 or 62 AD.  He was a real person, who recorded real events, and who had a first hand encounter with Christ.

Ever since that Damascus Road experience with Christ, Paul was swept in and out of storms and all the while he was at the very center of God’s will. Like Moses and David, God sent Paul on a mission that Paul could not survive, much less complete, in his own power.  Paul’s key was his faith and his faith allowed the power of God to flash through him like a lightning bolt on a dark stormy night.

God not only gives us a peace that passes understanding, he gives us a strength to endure.  My wife has been asked how she is coping with her cancer and having a child with cancer at the same time. Her response from the get-go, “God is carrying me through this because I can’t handle it myself.”

Hope and joy can be found in all circumstances if the hope and joy are based on something that transcends circumstances.  Christ transcends all circumstances and has overcome death itself. Born once, Die twice. Born twice, Die once.

Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

For more information about our battle with cancer, please go to Battling Cancer x2

For information about my Christian Thriller, please go to Malevolent Tide

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You know what you have when two researchers rub each other the wrong way? Science Friction ;)

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Our thinking: “I can’t figure things out.” God promises: “I will direct your steps.”

Ever been in a situation where you can’t do anything to help? Faced a problem that you can’t solve? Forced to make a big decision without really knowing how to decide?

My recent experience with these three uncomfortable positions have involved dealing with my wife’s breast cancer and son’s adenocarcinoma. As a husband and father, I have an important support role but I’m not a surgeon or an oncologist and am not equipped to cure them of cancer. Fortunately, we have good doctors who work as a team to do that. But we also have the great physician.

My wife had to decide whether to do a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or double mastectomy. Being only 44 years old, she decided on a double mastectomy to give her the greatest chance of never going through this again. For our son, we had to decide on the extent of treatment. No one should have to go through radiation or chemotherapy unless it is really necessary. All of these decisions are very complicated and very important. They also involve trusting knowledgable advisors.

As a result, we pray for God to grant us wisdom and for God to grant our doctors wisdom. We also pray he guides us through this maze of life. From where we stand we cannot see over the hedges, but he can. He’s made us perfectly free and we can choose to go it alone or we can choose to ask him to help and guide us. The choice is ours.

I choose to ask God to guide me. It doesn’t mean I don’t have to think. It doesn’t mean I don’t have to go and seek sound advice and wisdom. But it does mean as I think and as I seek advice and wisdom, God will guide my steps and will guide others to me when need be.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

For more information about our battle with cancer, please go to Battling Cancer x2

For information about my Christian Thriller, please go to Malevolent Tide

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Our thinking: “I can’t go on.” God promises: “My grace is sufficient.”

For anyone who’s experienced a tragedy like being diagnosed with cancer, Shock, Anger, Disbelief, Denial, Helplessness, Depression are feelings that hit like a tidal wave. If they linger (and they will try), despair can set in. Despair can be as much of an enemy to one’s health as the cancer itself.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

So, the mortal nature in us says, “I can’t go on.” And that can kill us.

But God promises:

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

This scripture and promise from God was directed at Paul the Apostle. Paul had a pain – a thorn in his side – as he called it. He had just asked for the third time that God remove it. Keep in mind that Paul had experienced Jesus in person on the road to Damascus. Except for Jesus, Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) was the greatest evangelist and church planter that ever lived. He’d cast out demons, healed people, and raised people from the dead. He was bitten by a poisonous snake and did not become ill, was stoned but did not die, and survived prison and shipwrecks.

So, why did God not respond by removing that thorn from his side? Only God can truly answer that question. But what God said was that his grace was sufficient. His grace was enough to carry and sustain Paul. And if God’s grace is enough for someone like Paul, then it’s enough for me.

Grace cannot sustain you if you don’t really understand what it means. Grace can only sustain you if you really know what it means. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense is a simple device that reminds me of what grace means and what is in store for me and those whom I love who know Christ. Our purpose is to be loved by God and to love God and bring him glory. Our purpose is not to have a pain-free life. In this world, God allows man to be perfectly free, allows the sun to shine on the evil, and rain fall on the good. In the world to come the good will be set apart from the evil and death itself will be put to death.

Even so, in this life God gives us grace if we choose to receive it and with it comes a peace that passes all understanding. That understanding is what changes the carnal attitude that says, “I can’t go on,” to an overcoming attitude that declares, “I can go on because God’s grace is sufficient.”

For more information about our battle with cancer, please go to Battling Cancer x2

For information about my Christian Thriller, please go to Malevolent Tide

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Our thinking: “No one loves me.” #God promises: “I love you.” John 3:16 #breastcancer #adenocarcinoma #Jesus #Christ

Time flies when your having fun. That is a saying we’ve all heard and experienced. But when cancer is threatening loved ones, time can drag by one moment and turn into a blur the next. As I look back since we found out about my wife’s breast cancer and son’s adenocarcinoma it’s hard to believe it’s only been two months. Other times it seems forever, especially when I try to recall what is was like when neither of them had cancer.

Events in the last two months seem to blur together when I try to remember them. But one thing that I clearly recall (and experience daily) is the feeling of being loved and cared for by family and friends and people we don’t even know. They have prayed for us, fed us, supported us financially, shared their stories of battling cancer, taken our kids places, watched over our kids, cleaned our house, and the list goes on and on. We will never be able to repay the kindness, support, and love we’ve been shown. It’s encouraging to see Christ’s light and love living in so many people.

What about those who don’t have a support system of family and friends? Who can they turn to in the depths of depression over tragic news? How can they cope?

To try and nswer that as honestly as  I can I have to think back on when I first found out about the severity of Alison’s cancer. Weeks before she noticed the swelling under her arms, she had planned to go see her mom and aunt in Alabama. A day or two after seeing our family doctor, she had several biopsies on the same day that she was supposed to leave with our sons for Alabama. Because of the soreness and it being an 8 hour drive, she didn’t leave until the next day, which was a Thursday.

I was at work on Friday and around 11:30 am my world was turned on its head. We’d expected that she was going to have some sort of infection and antibiotics would be the answer. Instead, Alison fought back tears as she told me she had invasive ductal carcinoma with grade 3 cells – the most abnormal and invasive kind. I was shocked. The first words that came to mind were, “It’s going to be OK. We can trust God.”

I made it through the rest of the day in pretty much normal fashion. I put the terrible news on the shelf. Call it disbelief or denial, either one applies.

However, when I got home that afternoon it was a different story. I was here at home and Alison wasn’t. Reality came crashing in. I was alone and only a few people knew and they were in shock as well. Not having her with me at that time made me see and feel a touch of what life would be like without her. We only had biopsy results and for all I knew the cancer might have spread throughout her body and all the fears your mind can generate were trying to run away with me.

So what did I do? I took the dog for a walk and had a heart to heart with God. There’s nothing wrong with opening your Bible, calling your pastor, your parents, your best friend, or a counselor. But for me, I just wanted God. Why just God? Because he’s the one who made me. Going straight to God was what Jesus did when he faced the terrifying reality of the cross. He asked for God to take that cup away but quickly followed with nevertheless let Your will be done. I prayed the same thing for my wife, my son, and my family. I cried too.

Alison and the boys weren’t going to be back until Sunday night and she was scheduled to see the surgeon the following Monday. So, I had Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning alone. Looking back it was similar to the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. The good thing about being alone was that I didn’t have to be strong for anyone and would be fine one minute and balling the next. The thing was I really wasn’t alone. I realized from my first walk and talk with God that the Helper and Comforter (Holy Spirit) who lives in me was praying for me as was and is Christ who stands at our Father’s right hand and intercedes for us constantly. That knowledge gave me the courage to research the internet and I found a site that is dedicated to women who were diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and who’ve survived for more than 10 years.  MBCN 10 + year Survivors’ Stories

Thankfully all of Alison’s subsequent MRI’s and PET scans did not indicate any cancer outside of her left breast and axillary area. But the cancer has encased her brachial nerves and artery so severely that the surgeon couldn’t remove all of it. The remaining 20% will be killed by chemotherapy and radiation.

Alison and I both had similar moments when we at the very first learned about our 11 year olds cancer. At that time when you don’t know what it is or how bad it will be, but you can trust God to carry you through come what may. Thankfully Ben’s cancer is treatable with just one more surgery and then periodic monitoring to make sure it doesn’t return.

The third verse on the pillow case given to Alison is this:

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For more information about our battle with cancer, please go to Battling Cancer x2

For information about my Christian Thriller, please go to Malevolent Tide

Humility in the form of recognizing you cannot work your way to God is the only thing faith in Christ will cost you. Once you do that, he makes everything else possible.

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