Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mission Impossible!

Long before the movie series came out, Mission Impossible was a TV show.
I loved watching!  Every week it began with the main character receiving a small cassette tape. (For those born in the post record/ current CD era- I’ve include a definition and pic. Cassette: a container that holds a magnetic tape used for recording or playing sound or video) :-)

Anyway, he would place the tape in a cassette player (usually while on a plane for some reason) press play and it would begin... “ Good morning Mr. Phelps ..." Then, the mysterious voice on the tape would explains the grave situation at hand for the IMF  ( Impossible Missions Force). After a clear understanding of the situation at hand  (complete with a folder of the villains pics to peruse while listening to the scenario).
The voice would say, “your mission Jim, should you choose to accept it is” ...and then a super high secret, dangerous plan of espionage and intelligence was laid out to catch the bad guys.
After a warning of being disavowed if caught or killed, the tape would self destruct in 5 seconds...poof! Smoke would rise as Mr. Phelps once again accepted his impossible mission and headed out to perform acts of sheer coolness against the enemy.

Yesterday and the day before and the day before that, oh and last week ...- This verse kept coming my direction.

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26

The context of this verse is a conversation Jesus is having with his disciples. You see, a very rich young man approached Jesus and asked Him what he was lacking to gain eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. Perfect. The young man  convincingly states that he has done so much! Why, even since his youth!

Impossible! No one has kept God’s commandments perfectly.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Matthew records Jesus’ response to the young man like this, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matt. 10:21

When the young man heard Jesus’ perfect offer the text says,“..he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matt. 10:22

Impossible! He receives the answer to his question and then he rejects it? 
Too much! .....Indeed.

Jesus turns to His disciples and says:
“Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mat. 19:23-24

 A bit overwhelmed at the difficulty of entering the kingdom of heaven, the disciples ask the question of all questions..

 “Who then can be saved?”  Matt. 10:25

To which, Jesus says the words we began with...“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26

Jesus truly set out on an impossible mission according to man’s perspective and resources.
Who can save a soul from hell? Who can pay the exorbitant price to redeem a life from the penalty of inherent sin ?

We certainly can’t save ourselves. The young man proved that. Perfection is needed to enter heaven.

The only One who ever perfectly kept the commandments completely by His perfect life is Jesus.

And following Him is the only way to perfection:
Laying down our lives for His, resulting in His perfection placed on us and life, eternal. 
An impossibly perfect trade!

“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

If Jesus’ victory over death made it possible for you and I to enter heaven, then what is impossible for Him?

What seemingly impossibility is before you today?
What nail biting, teeth grinding, pit in your stomach scenario has you in its grips?

Who you are looking at will make all the difference.

Man? Impossible!
WIth God? Mission accomplished!

*Prayer peeps! ( or  IMF (Impossible Missions Force) I am back on my targeted gene therapy medication with instructions to dose increase to maximum dosage over the next few weeks.
Last time the side effects were pretty severe, so praying the Lord will keep them at bay.

“Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.
And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”  Matthew 21:18-21

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Like most children I always wanted a pet growing up. My Mom tells me that I used to often ask about it and I can assure you that I never got what I wanted. Not because of any lack of kindness or generosity on my parent’s part, certainly not! No, my request was just impractically inconsistent with urban living. You see, I really really wanted a lamb. I used to read books and look at pictures of these delightful creatures and think about how wonderful it would be to have my own fuzzy little white lamb.

Surely, if I had one I would carry it around with me and never let it down!

Years later, as a new Christian, the symbolism of lambs, sheep and a Shepherd struck a chord with me, as it has many a believer.

Often when I lay down to go to sleep at night, a song that fills my thoughts is a worship chorus taken from Is. 40:11 which says:

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.”

How caring, our God!
Feeding us the truth of His word and providing physical food to nourish both our souls and bodies.
How attentive is He!
Noticing each lamb that may wander willfully or aimlessly from the flock, His gaze is fixed as He goes.... and graciously gathers His own.
How strong His love!
Any burden we hold is not too heavy for Him. He picks us up and safely carries us: in His arms, close to His heart.
How gentle His touch!
He doesn’t drive or prod us while we try to manage our own lives and those entrusted to our care. He tenderly leads us by guiding our way, encouraging our hearts, and supporting our steps. 

Jesus said,My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

What great assurance it brings that Jesus knows me and you.
As His own, His voice is the only One our soul’s surely respond to.
True. Steady and Empowering. Bidding you and I to come and follow Him. 
Showing us the way.

Surely, He will faithfully hold tight His fuzzy flock and never let us down!
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell  in the house of the LORD
Psalm 23

Saturday, August 11, 2012


31 years ago, I was working as a 5 year old ( just kidding) No seriously, I was working as a young adult in a custom drapery shop, when an older woman ventured into the back room where we cut and measured fabric, made valances and steamed beautifully completed window coverings.
She needed assistance of some sort and as I began helping her, she looked at me and  said...”You’re a believer, aren't you? When I responded that, yes I was indeed a Christian, she asked if she could pray with me about anything that I was concerned about. We did and then she looked at me and said “Your Father wants you to know to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding , in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Then she closed with these words, “You are going to need to remember that in the future.”

Certainly this passage from Proverbs 3:5-6 has proven to be a comfort and assurance to me of God’s faithfulness through many of life’s challenges.
But never has it become so tangible to me as it has in the past few days.

My PET scan in June showed minor increase in activity in the site of the original primary tumor (located in the lower lobe of my right lung). All else remained clear,
Because of this, two options were presented. One was radiation, the other, which came as quite an unexpected surprise, was surgery. Surgery usually is not offered to stage 4 cancer patients. But, in light of being progression free and the only visible activity  contained to one area, the surgeon explained that taking the lobe out would be considered curative, as opposed to radiation being more of a palliative solution.
After meeting with both of these excellent physicians, and of course, through prayer, I decided to go forward rather excitedly with surgery. Cure? Why, thats the million dollar word!
In preparation for the surgery, I had to go off my targeted gene therapy drug for three weeks prior, because it presents bleeding issues, incompatible with going under the knife.
I went off the medication July 21. The plan was to have a follow up PET scan August 6th , meet with my regular doctor August 9th. If all was clear, I would be having the lobe removed next week, Somewhere between August 13-17.

I spent the last three weeks preparing for surgery, Getting plans in order for our upcoming Women’s Retreat in early September, arranging schedules and help with my Mom, and tying up loose ends all around the house
As soon as I walked into the Cancer Center this last Thursday I knew things had changed, Expressions were somber and stoic.
The results showed new or regrowth of cancer in 7 lymph nodes and the primary mass also shows a significant increase.
Now.....what do you do when your plans collide with reality? When you don’t fully grasp what is going on?

I absolutely do not understand . To say I know why this happened would be completely presumptuous on my part and well, a lie. I found myself saying things like,”let me wrap my brain around this”,  and ”I need process this info.” Trying to comprehend is not making a dent in this new wall of information.

No, I do not understand, But, this is what I have known by experence.
An undeniable sense of peace. Robert calls it “strange peace” It is. It’s not normal

But then again that is what our Saviour purchased for us, “.... the peace that passes understanding.”( Phil. 4:7) Supernatural peace that comes from His very presence.

Romans 11:33 puts it like this:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”

God’s ways are not our ways. This passage says they are ”past finding out”. Meaning, there are some, if not many, things that God allows that you and I in our limited “created” capacity for understanding, will simply never figure out.

Pastor Chuck Smith has wisely stated,
“Never trade what you know, for what you don't know.”
Good words for unstable times.

What I know is that God is good and that He loves me and you.
Anything He allows or prevents is for our good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

The reality: I cannot deny God’s incredible love, presence and power in my life! And I will, by His grace, continue to proclaim it! 

God has asked us to trust Him even, and especially when, we cannot see.
Faith shines brightest in the dark.

“ For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”  2 Tim. 1:12

  • I am back on the targeted gene therapy and am increasing the dosage.
  • If you feel led, please pray for it’s effectiveness and side effects.
  • Much love to all!