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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Our thinking: “I’m too Tired.” #God promises: “I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28-30 Battling #breastcancer #adenocarcinoma

I’m always amazed how tired I am after sitting all day in a hospital waiting room. I was reminded of this as I waited while Alison was in surgery. When the surgery went an hour longer than scheduled, it didn’t help.  Then the doctor came out and I found out that her cancer had wrapped itself around her brachial nerves and artery. He’d spent an extra hour trying to remove as much as he could without damaging the nerves or her arm’s blood supply. While he could only remove 80% of it, we are confident the 20 weeks of chemo and subsequent 6 weeks of radiation will kill it, all of it.

I felt the same tiredness while our son, Ben, underwent his first surgery and later an ultrasound, CT scans, and an MRI.

There’s also a fatigue that comes with any big change because handling the ebb and flow of emotions takes energy. Add to that the extra energy needed to focus on the routine tasks while your mind tries to constantly return to the crisis at hand.

The only thing I’ve found that comforts and energizes me when nothing else does is God’s promises. This is the second verse stitched on a pillow case that a friend gave to my wife.

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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

My wife had gone back with my son during his CT and MRI scans. When she came out this is what she found. 😉

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Things my wife’s #breastcancer and son’s #adenocarcinoma have taught me: #cancer #Jesus #Christ #God

Dealing with the fears and uncertainty of a loved one’s cancer is not easy. Dealing with it when your wife and son have two different kinds of cancer at the same time is doubly not easy. But whether one loved one has cancer or two, or more…the situation compels you to prioritize what’s important versus what’s not, and to separate wants from needs.

While cancer is bad and one of the evidences that when Adam fell the whole creation fell with him, God’s promise in Romans 8:28 is still true. Here’s a couple of examples of how he’s worked this bad situation for our good.  I’ll post more in the future.

1. My wife and son and all of our family feel more loved than ever because of the kindness of family and friends who have prayed for us and supported us with food, financial support, and by just being there.

2. I have become very conscious that everyone in my family needs me to be there. Obviously, my wife and 11 year old son, but also my 13 year old because he has a mom and brother who are ill and a dad who’s pulled in several directions. He’s very understanding and takes care of mom when I’m away but I try to be careful that I don’t take him for granted.

I posted some scriptures the other day and my wife was given a pillow case with 15 more verses sown on it yesterday. It contrasts our thinking with God’s Thinking. I’m going to post one everyday for the next two weeks.

Our thinking:

  • It’s impossible

His Promise:

All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)

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

Thanks and remember God calls you to him just as you are. Don’t worry or try to clean yourself up first, let him heal you.

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Battling Cancer x2: My Wife and Son’s Journey through the Valley #breastcancer #adenocarcinoma #Christ #Jesus #Bible

My wife, Alison, and I are so thankful that God has surrounded us with friends and family who pray for us and care for us as she and our 11 year old son, Ben, deal with their cancers at the same time.

I’ve posted Scriptures on this blog that have helped us and I hope they help you. We have a hope that is certain.

2 Corinthians 5:7.  For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Psalm 136:1-3.  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever. . .

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

Thanks and remember Christ is at the right hand of God interceding on your behalf and for those that trust Christ, the Comforter and Helper (Holy Spirit) lives in you and utters prayers to God on your behalf even when you don’t know how to pray. You are not alone.

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Encouraging Words from #God: Just the #scriptures #Bible #Christ

I had someone tell me I should post these again, so here are 7 verses that help me.  Hope they help you.

1. Romans 8:28.  “All things work together for the good for those who love God, to those called according to his purpose.”  He will turn my test into a testimony and my mess into a message.

2. Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  He loves me more than I can love me and my family more than I can love them.

3.  Proverbs 15:22. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” He provides wise Drs. to provide advice and cures.

4. Exodus 15:26.”I am the Lord, who heals you.”  He is the great physician who heals mind, body, spirit, now and forever.

5. Isaiah 43:2-3. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”  He is with me and my family and will carry us through, come what may.

6. James 5:16. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  Prayers by others, by the Holy Spirit who groans in me, and by Christ who intercedes for me at God’s right hand are all heard by my Abba and they move him to send help in times of need.

7. Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  God hears every prayer, holds every tear, extinguishes every fear, replaces worry with faith, and bears my burdens.  He is my King, my leader, my shepherd, my example, and my living God who knows my son and wife’s name and has numbered the hairs on their heads.

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#God’s Word Ends #Worry: #breastcancer #adenocarcinoma #Jesus #Christ

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

This verse reminds me that I am loved by the creator of the universe, the one that gave me life.  The verse doesn’t say it will be easy; it doesn’t say the Lord will fill in all the valleys before me, it doesn’t say he’s going to keep me from tripping, or even dying, but what it does say is so much better.  It says he will go before me and that I will never be alone and that I am not to be afraid or discouraged.

If I am human then I am subject to emotion and negative emotions can spawn doubts and depression.  My cure is to read and remind myself that I’ve been adopted by the living God.  That fact makes every day above ground a good day and the day I leave this body is the day I meet the creator himself.  But until that day, he is with me, even so…

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