Tuesday, December 18, 2012

See You Later!

"See You Later!" One of the last expressions my mom, Lisa Furrow, said to me and my little girl.

Yes, Mom. See you later.

Less than 4 days have whooshed past on this earth since Lisa entered eternity. At 8:50am on Saturday morning, she took her last painful breath ever. Then, she was in the Presence of the Person who IS her Passion. Jesus.

Here is where Lisa posted 61 blogs since she heard of her diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer. She fought hard and during that year and a half, she wrote her heart out. I pray that you are touched, encouraged and strengthened as you read her passionate work, her words which cry out to you, reader, the truth of eternity.

Seek His Face. She would exhort us all to seek His face. To walk by faith and not by sight. Now, she is in the presence of His face.

Check in here as we post updates to her life's passion, bringing GLORY to GOD! In lieu of flowers, donations have and are still being made to Practical Christian Living Foundation. Her vision for this ministry was to provide needs as Jesus commanded in Matthew 25:34-40  -->

34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Those on His right hand, those who love Him and seek to glorify His name are to minister food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, homes to the homeless, clothing for the poor, visits to the sick, and visiting and (perhaps even delivering...in a spiritual sense) those in prison.

Lisa's last project was to give 60 boxes to young children in the Cancer Center who are undergoing treatment. She stated in her last blog that seeking our own comfort is a sickbed of its own. Amen Mama! :-)

So, let's not seek our own comfort and sit in its sickbed. Let's glorify and serve God by ministering to the poor, sick, needy, imprisoned around us.

I will be the first to admit that as I stand here in my kitchen and type away, I have a nagging ache to sit alone and hide from the world. Behind that nagging ache, however, is a fire in my belly to see Jesus and know Him. How do I do this? By talking to Him, crying out to Him, reading His precious Word, and ministering to those around me. I hear him saying, Get up! Even though my mom's race on this earth is done, I am still runnin' and, in the aspirations of my 4 year old daughter, when asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up, Emma?" Her reply, "I want to be a really fast runner and a really high jumper!"

So we've got to run fast and jump high! Eh?

Lisa, my mom, always loved your input and ideas. So if you are sparked by her life and her courage to comfort others in need, to seek a world outside her own and impact others for Christ, then share how you would like to do that, even today or this week. For me...I might like to visit a nursing home later this week. Now that I've written it, I must do it! Haha!

And finally, maybe, share how Lisa encourages you today to keep your EYEZ on the SKYZ:-)

See you later.

Waiting for Jesus,
Jess Parsons

P.S. I will be posting my thoughts and memories on my blog "This Musing Mama." God bless you all!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Other Side of the Street

We live in a world that is enlivened by opposites.
We see contrasted elements of texture, color and design in creation. Rugged cliffs edged by peaceful waters. Blankets of soft fresh green grass surrounded by ancient stones. Billowing gentle clouds often announcing fierce downpours.

In our lives we can experience deep sadness that gives birth to great joy. Laughter that turns to tears or the light of peace that pierces the darkness of dread. 

From these vastly differing and changing landscapes, we can ascertain that the way things are are not the way they will always be, and that where we are is not where were going to be forever.
Actually, it is pretty amazing how quick things really can shift.

I was thinking about this concept in terms of our experiences and how we relate to those around us.
Somedays recently I have thought things like ...”Today I will have the grand goal of getting up and getting dressed!”
But then, I actually get up get dressed  feel better and then find myself outside of the house and around people ( this is big these days, though I believe it will not always be like this.)

But in this season, this cautious pace has caused me to slow down, not only physically but also mentally. ( no wise cracks here ok..:0 )
To have the opportunity to see things and people at a more deliberate pace is a blessing.
I believe there is always someone opposite us. Someone across from us that we can see and affect or be affected by no matter where we are.

For example, my daily trips for the last 20 days have taken me to Radiation Oncology at UMC. Sitting in that waiting room, I have seen many people “across” the room from me
A young anxious mom with a bald headed teenager in pj’s. Another bald headed teenager with his dad, toting an IV pole. A middle aged man telling someone, anyone who would listen, that he hasn’t been able to drink water for a long time and that they are going to try to teach him how to eat starting tonight.
A women in a wheel chair with a bandage on her neck seeking to sooth the burn of radiation.
These are just a few. 

Now there has been a day or two when I have made it there and stumbled into the back room for an IV fluid infusion to deal with the dehydration that chemo and radiation can bring. (Not poor me please, I’m just thankful that the Lord provided this treatment and it helps so much!)
On those days, I have to think that I was the one across the room from someone else and they reached out to me. The nurse with her comforting ways, the receptionist who got me situated quickly, saying kind words and those who reached out in prayer across the city from their homes or across the county through emails.

But, as I find myself on better days, I can then again see the others across the room,
And, I can pray for them, perhaps offer a word of hope, encouragement or camaraderie or maybe just a smile.

I believe we are all meant to cross the street and touch those around us in some way, when and as we can.

The example that comes to my mind is that of a man who was on a journey and on his way, passed through a “racially tense” situation
He dared to overcome personal obstacles crossing the street of prejudice, busyness, and inconvenience to touch someone very opposite him in what they were experiencing. He was having a good day. They weren’t.
Let’s look at the difference his gestures and choices made.

Luke 10:25-37

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?
27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

For those of us who want to make a difference in our worlds, Jesus’ final words in this account are our source and strength.
“ Go and do likewise”

There is always someone across the room or across the street or across the city or county that we can reach out to with compassion and touch.
A phone call, a prayer, an act of mercy or practical help, an all important visit to listen and just sit with someone suffering. These are all great gifts that may cost us some comfort, but trying to exist only for our own comfort is a sickbed of it’s own.

Perhaps today you are the one that finds yourself on the side of the street needing a good Samaritan to cross over and encourage you.
If so, post your prayer request here. There are lots of prayer warrior princesses ( and princes I dare say..:) out here who will pray. You are not alone. And He hears every cry of our broken hearts.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-5

If you have a story of a “good Samaritan” touching your life. Briefly share it here. It know it will encourage the rest of us to “Go and do likewise.” 
I’m so excited! I  just love stories!

And always remember, Jesus literally Cross-ed the street of suffering to show you His great love.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Philippians 2:5-8

Sunday, November 4, 2012

True Freedom

From the vantage point of my bed in my childhood bedroom in England , I could peer out the tiny upstairs window and see a large tree that held a bird's nest.
I used to love to watch the mother bird flit around in the nest, faithfully caring for her eggs until they hatched. Then, watching as she returned with food to feed their little mouths until they were strong enough to leave the nest and fly away.

Around the same time, (I think I was about 5 or 6), I became fascinated with catching a bird. My mom had told me that if you get salt on a bird’s wings they can’t fly, so they can be slowed down enough to grab hold of.
I remember running around the backyard with the salt shaker trying desperately to seize this magnificent creature destined to fly.

There’s something about flying that just shouts freedom to me. Unhindered, unrestricted soaring, sailing, floating freedom.
No traffic lights, no walls..no limits.

Trying to capture a bird is somewhat of an oxymoron, as is trying to contain freedom,
as it’s very essence is fluid. However, I believe all of us desire to be truly free.

Different people have different ideas of what freedom is.
Preschoolers think freedom is being able to eat as much candy as they want, while teenagers think it’s never having to sleep and being able to go where they want, when they want, with who they want for as long as they want!
Some of us think of freedom as being able to do something we can’t do now, like run a race or see someone we love that lives far away.

There is a passage in the Bible that demonstrates true freedom to me.
It’s an account of a very sick man, some faithful friends and a God who sees beyond the surface to what we need most.
Found in Luke 5:17-26, here it goes:

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

I think if you were to ask this man what his greatest need was, he would be like, “are you serious? I’m paralyzed!” “Obviously it’s physical healing!!”
While this was a great in this man’s life and Jesus does heal him, He addressed the greater need, the need that we all have and that is forgiveness.

We can strive for financial freedom, seek freedom from limitations in our bodies our jobs or our bank accounts, but having a fresh clean slate of forgiveness from sin and it’s debilitating sidekicks, guilt and shame is experiencing true freedom.

Dealing with the physical afflictions that come with a disease, I would be the first to say
my obvious need is healing. But, I can tell you there is nothing like having a relationship with the true and living God. 
There are many long nights when I literally am just up and hanging out with Jesus, Reading His word, listening to His Spirit speak through those truths ..life, hope, love  and assurance into my soul. Things that cannot be taken away. Freely given, freely to be enjoyed, unconstrained or slowed down by the grainy afflictions this life might try to throw on our wings of faith.

The limitations of sin that we all inherited as being part of the human race, hindered our ability to interact freely with God, until Jesus Himself became a man, to bear our sins in His own body on the cross and then rise victoriously from the dead. The rolling away of that stone from His tomb signifies the rolling away of the burden of sin that each of us can experience if we receive that truth and grasp Jesus hand for help. Truly, He will lift anyone who asks, out of the murky muddy waters of sin and put us on solid ground where we can live with Him securely.

All of our bodies will eventually fail, and then the greatest gift will be the most evident , eternity with the One who loved us enough to give us true freedom.

Jesus said, And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

And referring to Himself, He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Direction, freedom from sin, meaningful and eternal life..
Not found in a system or a formula, but in a Person.

Today and every day may your heart open wide to receive Jesus, and soar with Him, unrestrained, on the wings of the forgiveness He freely offers.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

Listen and be truly set free!!
Jesus, Messiah by Chris Tomlin

*Update..After a rough couple of weeks and "seeming" setbacks, I am happy to report I am eating better and better..Praise God!
My doctor said on Friday this was "nothing short of a miracle," as he expected me to get a PEG ( feeding) tube.
I have 9 more radiation treatments, please pray that those would go along smooth with no damage or inflammation to my esophagus and other organs.
I have  a CT scan this Tuesday ( the 6th) and should know the results by Wednesday.
Love you all!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Bouquet of Belief

I love flowers. Their imperfectly perfect petals and the pop of color they bring to a otherwise barren landscape make me smile contentedly, as I consider the Maker of this kind of extraordinary beauty.
This week I decided to sleep in flowers. ( No I promise, the pain meds have not gotten to me..:))
Since I am spending a lot of time resting in my bedroom, I replaced my old bedding with a vibrantly colorful comforter set just bursting with blooms of flowers in deep and rich saturated hues. I feel surrounded by comfort in my blanketed garden of security.

These past two weeks have been pretty difficult as I have been dealing with pain, pressure in my chest, difficulty eating and the flu like symptoms that come and go as a result of chemo and radiation.
After my hospital stay, they decided to start me on radiation to try to shrink back the tumors surrounding my esophagus. I started Oct.11 and go daily (except weekends) until Nov. 14th.
It seems as waves of discouraging info or symptoms come my way, I seek more fervently to try to find tangible lifelines of faith. Some beauty, security and comfort in the midst of a seemingly dreary landscape.

As a result, a few flowers have cropped up in the garden of my heart. Some blooms that can be put together to form a bouquet of belief.

1.Truth Rises
There is simply so much information that comes your way when encountering cancer and many other difficulties in life. Advice is given from many different and very well meaning sources. Decisions need to be made that can make it feel overwhelming to know which way to choose.
Your own thoughts begin to swirl about what is going on and the enemy definitely tries to discourage with his arsenal of lies about where God is in all of this. 

I have found that simple but powerful truths have provided the most strength, primarily that Jesus said, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” Heb. 13:5

He will never walk away or abandon us. In fact He says He will be with us. ”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you...” Is 43:2 
To me that is different then Him just being an onlooker, He is actually walking the path that we are on with us, side my side, hand in hand. Carrying, counseling and guiding.

The Old Testament man of suffering, Job after losing his property, his children and experiencing terribly painful boils from head toe, said two really profound nuggets of truth that provide great perspective when encountering trials

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:20

Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Job 2:10

Difficulties will come and we may never know exactly why, but God is in control, He remains good, and He is with us.
Allow these truths to grow deep in the soil of your soul and pluck out any weeds that may try to choke them out!
Trust in the reality that the TRUTH is stronger than ANY lie and will always rise to the top of the flower bed as it stretches towards the Son.

2.Hope Anchors
Living without hope is like feeling adrift in a sea of crashing waves and crushing winds.
We must have something to hang onto lest we float about spiritually aimless.
Yesterday a hope sower gave me a long stem to add to my bouquet.

Because the symptoms can be so intense,f it is hard to not think that the cancer is growing at rapid rates to basketball size proportions. She informed me that sometimes the symptoms are a lot of what the treatment themselves are creating. 
She also reminded me to focus on what if anything might be getting better.

I paused and thought and have a list now:
I can breath
I can eat some real food ( this is HUGE!!!)
My pain is managed
I can eat as much ice cream as I want and am fact encouraged to!!

I encourage you to try this. Whatever that cloud of hopelessness looks like that is trying to darken your flower bed, think of 2- 3 things that are actually getting better in an aspect of your life. As your garden grows there will be blooms that fade, but others are just waiting to push through the soil and make their glorious appearance. Look for them.

3.Love will Save the Day

When I first met with the Radiation Oncologist to come up with a plan, because I was having such a hard time swallowing food, he suggested I have a PEG tube put in my stomach to receive nutrition through. Though definitely not thrilled with the prospect of this, I went forward with plans of having it done last Friday the 19th. As I lay in the pre-op, an interesting series of events occurred, My nurse, who was dealing with me and room full of other patients came to the foot of my bed and said ”you know this is a really painful procedure.” Never heard a nurse do that! Usually they are like “you are going o be fine.” :) She went on to tell me about a nurse there (a tough guy) who had had it and says it was really hard and that it definitely requires an overnight stay just to deal with pain. I guess that is manageable most of the time, but she went on to say that she could tell my pain was not managed and that this would be intense pain on top of intense pain. She called my doctor in and he agreed and set off on a plan to get my pain managed, saying if I did need the procedure I could do it in a couple of weeks and they could schedule it rather quickly.

I learned that I tend to try to tough out the pain and those around me are not completely aware at how bad it is, as I just kinda go inward.
I told the nurse thank you and she said ”I’ve been a nurse for 25 years and I know how to read people.”

I see this as a total Divine intervention.
I believe my Father’s hand was all over that incident and He stepped in knowing I could not handle it. It is so comforting to know that His hand is on the thermostat of our lives, not allowing things to get too hot for us to bear in the furnace of affliction.

“For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:11-14

A Father’s love is strong and secure, maybe not often not dealt with sappy emotion, but stable and protective. I love how He loves His children.

Truth, Hope and Love Divine. A beautiful bouquet I’d say. And the best thing? These flowers will never fade.

Current song in my head these days! Enjoy...:)
Rise by Shawn McDonald

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's Your Pain Level?

A routine part of the cancer experience is having the nurses at the doctor’s office ask you what your pain level is when you go for an appointment.
For the last year I have been able to usually say zero. On occasion I have had my spikes, but for the most part it has been manageable.

Until last Friday when the pain in my chest became so crushing I simply could not handle it. After a visit to the ER they admitted me to try to find out exactly what was happening and manage the pain. I was consistently choosing 9 and the very unhappy face on the pain charts and Robert asked what it would take to get to a 10.  
Hmm.. good question.

After many tests, the results showed that the tumors around my esophagus and behind my heart have increased even in just a week and they are squeezing that area terribly.
Monday I will start radiation in conjunction with the chemo to try to shrink these hot spots down.

As for the current pain, I have some pain management meds that work pretty good,
but it’s usually never really gone. 

Pain is a symptom that something is not right. It can be short lived or long term, but in any case, it’s sudden shooting signals are a warning sign.

Pain is also a symptom of being human. It begins at that very first shock of light and temperature change we experience at birth and continues to show up as these temporary bodies we live in get bumped, bruised or besieged.
Traveling through the plains of time, our experiences can leave the raw nerve endings of our emotions shocked and wounded as well. Not to mention the strain living in a fallen world takes on our souls and minds.

Some become numb to the pain over time, others approach it like a badge of honor while still others begin to slowly disappear behind it
In my observation, everyone tries to escape it. Some last longer than others before their search for relief takes center stage; but pain is misplaced, it is a foreign enemy we simply cannot coexist with forever.

I find it so inviting that God is referred to as the God of all Comfort.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort...” 2 Cor. 1;3

Jesus experienced all the same sorts of difficulties we have when He was His physical body, so that He can relate to each of us in whatever situation we are going through. And certainly He knows how to aid and comfort those who share this frail frame.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

That’s probably why I find that people who seek to comfort others remind me the most of Jesus. Those who use their time and resources, gifts and personality and anything else they can find to help soften the jagged edges of pain.

My nurse (Floyd) in the hospital was like this  Very kind and gentle, even his wording tone, and movements were comforting. He has definitely found his niche.

I am surrounded by so many sweeties in my family that all comfort me on so many levels. A kind word, a store run, a quick trip to the fridge.... again, a warm blanket, a gift, a smile, a long talk, a passionate prayer a heartfelt praise. A long sit in silence, another store run, more ice, driving around to countless appt’s and errands, a phone call, carrying my belongings, looking after a water bottle, making me laugh, holding me up, another store run, fixing the pillows, txting I love you and so on (after another store run..:)

Sometimes our Lord is a mighty Deliverer, but sometimes He is a tender Comforter and we learn different aspects of His personality through both experiences.

If it were not for pain, we wouldn’t know the God of all comfort and the blessings of His army of comforting messengers.

This song goes out to all you “angels” of mercy doing what you do in countless situations. Be encouraged. Your kindness makes it bearable. We feel ya. 
Muah!!! xoxoxo

Angel by Your Side Francesca Battistelli

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Time Management

I admit I don’t I have a good sense of time. I frequently think I can make a 20 minute trip in ten minutes. Go to the grocery store, the car wash and swing by my fave “brands for less” shop all before before meeting home for dinner ( which is in about 30 minutes! oops? Nah, plenty of time right? Just one more sales rack......)

God has a sense of humor and ways of strengthening our weaknesses. I am married to the guy who is always on time, but would prefer to be 10 minutes early. I am serious, I can count on one hand the times in 30 years of marriage that I have waited for him. If he is going to be late for some unforeseen situation, say a 10 pile car up ( that he somehow couldn’t find a way to navigate around and still be on time), or any other emergency, he always calls and apologizes, estimates his arrival time and sure enough, there he is walking through the door ...right on time. 

Through the years I have gotten better at getting ready-er on time and he has learned to be less stressed about it.
Now, he just  good-naturedly shouts out when we need to leave, ( “5 more minutes baby”) instead of telling me all the very good, philosophically true and important reasons we need to go........right now!

While I still despise alarm clocks and written schedules and would much rather go to bed when I feel like it, my grown up responsible self squeezes it’s will into these necessary restraints. In order to function in this world and not make enemies, they are simply a must.
Ahh but one day,, eternity,,,:) No hurry. No worry.

Anyhow, I digress. Until then, we have been given the gift of time. Yes it’s a gift. We each have 24 hours a day given to us to choose to do as we will. If we want to be effective for God’s kingdom, we will wisely seek the Holy Spirit’s direction in how to govern our days. Jesus said this concerning those “born of the Spirit”.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

The wind flows, it moves along as it blown by the breath of God. If we desire to be led by Him, we must remain open to having our sails filled with the wind of HIs Spirit so He can move us along. Allowing The Spirit to orchestrate our steps and not trying to fit him into our preprogrammed phone schedules or text alerts.

Time can seem like and enemy as we try to cram all we want and need to do into those allotted hours. Then,  and on the opposite side of the pendulum swing, there are those times when the clock seems to tick by so slowly, it sounds as if is mocking our existence. Tick, tick, tick.

Focusing on goals helps us organize our time, but having this ONE all important goal adds meaning to our lives and structures our souls, no matter the hour. What is it? Walking with Jesus. Just acknowledging Him throughout our days, by talking to Him, seeking Him, listening to Him. No day is unproductive if we have managed to do that.

Our experience with time falls into the categories of what has happened, what is happening and what will happen, These “time blocks” can produce anxiety if not viewed correctly.
Let’s see what the Creator of time has to say about setting our minds as well as our clock to manage these areas.

 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12-14

To reach our goal ..we must forget the past mistakes or regrets that have tripped us up on our race, lest we become consumed with guilt.
Psalm 103:12 gives us great assurance of what God does with our confessed, repented from sin....

“As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

In his model prayer, Jesus gives us a valuable principle for dealing with everyday needs and concerns.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

Daily dependance and reliance on the Lord for His daily provision helps us enjoy the day without stressing about tomorrow.

And for all the “what ifs” in life these words of Jesus, settle our anxious hearts,
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:31-34

I find that when I try to live moment by moment and not project into the future what may happen or not, I am far more settled, relaxed and focused, free to enjoy the moments given me. Now is all we all really have.

So let’s chill out peeps! Take a deep breath. Look at the folks that are with you. Enjoy them. Take every concern from big to small as it comes your way to the Lord in prayer and trust Him.

Take the next 4 and a half minutes you’ve been given and give yourself the gift of this song!

Trust Me by Crystal Lewis

* Day 1 Chemo down! So far so good. I will meet with the medical staff next Monday to assess what my chemo routine will be after they do lab work and all. I so appreciate the prayers. They are indeed lifting me up! Love you all!

Friday, September 28, 2012

How Great is our God

Ahhh fall. In the desert we gladly receive this season with the all the hopeful anticipation that folks on the East coast welcome summer. For us it means cooler weather ( under 100 degrees), breathtakingly bright sunsets and the kids finally back in school.
All my “babies” have graduated from high school now. The youngest was handed that hard earned diploma last May. This semester he began classes at a local college. 
His first week there, after attending each new class, we would talk about whether or not he liked the class and what his overall impressions were.
One day, he phoned after his astronomy class, which I was certain he would love. He’s always been interested in science. 
When I asked him what he thought, he stumbled on his words for while and struggled to find the right ones. Then he said something like this, “ Looking at vastness of the universe, I realize just how insignificant I am. There is so much out there that has yet to be seen, studied or understood. Its God’s realm and I feel like I am trespassing.”

Psalm 97:6 says
“The heavens declare His righteousness, 
And all the peoples see His glory.”

Seeing what is merely a brushstroke on His vast universal canvas is awe-inspiring and indeed humbling.

This reminded me of where the book of Hebrews relates how God the Father describes Jesus:
“...heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ”  Hebrews 1:2-3

Everything belongs to Jesus, everything! He is God, Creator of all things and the One who hold all things together!  Amazing and humbling.

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John got a glimpse of Jesus in all HIs glory. Having walked side by side with the Savior while he was in His earthly body, John is overcome by his heavenly vision of the Resurrected Exalted Christ

 “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;  His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” Revelation 1:12-17

The Presence of Jesus is so powerful and majestic that no man can stand in it.

Upon John the Baptist’s recognition of just exactly WHO Jesus was, he succinctly exclaimed,
 “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

It’s not a theological argument or position John is taking here. Not a decision he is trying to talk himself into making. This is an automatic and genuine response to the realization of  just how great He is. 
There is no other choice when I truly encounter Jesus, the Living God. I must decrease. You and I simply don’t hold a candle to the brightness of His being. He outshines everything and everyone, ever.

After the apostle John falls at the Glorious One’s feet in Revelation, Jesus does the most amazing thing.
Listen! This is the best part:

“ But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.   Rev. 1:17-18

Jesus has the keys! He has overcome the last and final enemy: death. No one can say that but Jesus. He is THE Victor. 
Living a family whose members often are off searching for their misplaced keys, it is completely reassuring to know that the key to eternal life is in Jesus’ powerful and capable hands!
It touches me to know that those same hands reached out to comfort his prostrate disciple John, empowering him with these longed for words,  “Do not be afraid..”
Only Jesus has the ability to truly back that command up.
He is the first and the last. He who lives and was dead and is alive forevermore.

What you and I are going through can never change Who He is. 
And we find out who we are, by looking to Him.
We are His.

Watch below and drink in the lyrics...

“Who am I? Casting Crowns

*It’s been awhile since my last post. We visited the University of Colorado for some further info. In the meantime, I have been back on the targeted gene therapy, re-challenging it with a higher dosage and was rescanned yesterday. The results showed that I have new growth in 9 new lymph sites in my chest/ esophagus area, while some of the previous areas actually shrunk. The doctors here in Arizona and Colorado concur that this gene therapy drug is failing, as cancer often develops resistant pathways to some medications.
Therefore, I will be starting traditional chemo treatments this coming Monday Oct. 1st.
As always I appreciate your prayers. It’s always amazing to see what unfolds as we step on the pathway He has marked out for us.
Praying to trust Him in each step. You trust Him too in whatever you are going through also ok?
Remember, He holds the keys!