There is significant Shrinkage

I have just returned from the CT scan that comes at the conclusion of three months “body rest” (no chemo or radiation). The plan is to have the scan done and then wait until Tuesday to meet with the Oncologist for a reading of the film and a determination of what comes next.

It happens that a doctor friend is a radiologist so he was able to read the reports within minutes after the scan and as Sandy and I sat looking at a computer screen, which was filled with the image of the tumor, we heard him say, “There has been more significant shrinkage.” Several comparisons were made to previous CT scans and it appears that the cancer is now less than half the size it was when it was dicovered. Praise the Lord!

Waiting for the scan was tedious and brought with it some anxious moments But I remember telling the Lord that I had A COMPLETE CONFIDENCE in His healing power and His care.  I still have that confidence and faith that He will see me through.

I am thankful for your support, prayers and unfailing love.

I will give you more updates after I meet with the Oncologist on Tuesday afternoon.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

When is JOY coming?

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

 

I want to believe that… I mean I really want to believe that. I want to be personally persuaded that the flowers of character are watered by the tears of tribulation. But… I have a question, if weeping endures for a night, I want to know, HOW LONG IS THE NIGHT? 

It may sound strange but I want to know, how long is my night?

 

I know that there is a better day coming, but how long is the night?

I know God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform, but how long is the night?

I know, all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, but how long is the night?

I know I need to wait on the Lord and be of good courage, but how long is the night?

I know Jesus is near to comfort and cheer just when I need Him most, but how long is my night?

I know earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal, but how long is my night?

I know He knows just how much we can bear, but how long is my night?

I know there is a bright side somewhere, but I still need to know, how long is the night?

 

I am learning that the longer my night, the less time I have to wait. I can’t run through the night, I can’t avoid the night. I’ve got to endure the night. The Word says, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.

I want to know how long the night is.

I just heard, it’s not long. The same God who closes the curtain of the night also opens the curtain of the morning.

 

No matter how hard it is or how dismal the days or how miserable the nights, somebody else has been where I am. That’s why I like to hear others testify about what the Lord has done for them.

 

I like to hear David say, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor the arrow that flieth by day”.

 

I love to hear Jeremiah say, “His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.

 

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

 

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Can anything good happen when I hurt?

 

I have been challenged in my spirit for the past few days by the sudden death of men with whom I was acquainted.

“Where was God in all of this? How could a good God allow this to happen?”

It’s not a new question. It’s been asked again and again over the centuries by philosophers and theologians, and most passionately by hurting people.

 

Philosophers philosophize and theologians theologize while I HURT… and wonder from the depths of my soul: “Where is God in all of this? If He loves me, how could He let this happen to me?”

The truth is — every one of us experiences unexpected, undeserved pain, heartache and disappointment in this life.

 

And when we do, the question we need to wrestle with is not just “why did God let it happen?” but perhaps more importantly:

What does God DO when we hurt? How does He respond to our pain?

 

Here’s what I have learned:

When I hurt, God doesn’t give me answers, He gives me Himself. That’s what I really need most when I hurt.

What I need is not so much an answer as the Answerer to show up.

He is teaching me how to reach the breaking point and not break.

 

I have this absolute assurance:

•I never suffer alone — God is present

•God will use whatever pain I experience to make me more like Jesus.

•My suffering won’t last for ever — God has an eternity to set right what has gone wrong. He can be trusted.

When I hurt, I really have only two choices —

•I can hurt with God

•I can hurt without Him

Never have I been so aware of my weaknesses and vulnerability; yet never have I been so content and felt so strong…

 

Above all, I have become aware of the power of God’s grace and my need for it. My soul has grown because it has been awakened to the goodness and love of God. God has been present in my life these past six months. God is growing my soul, making it bigger and filling it with Himself. My life is being transformed.

I would not choose to experience hurt — but I was not given that option. But I can choose my response to it.

 

May God give me the grace I need to trust Him more and more and be changed by Him into the image of His Son.

 

In the Bonds of Calvary,

You thought evil but…..

You thought evil against me but God meant it for good,”  are the words that Joseph spoke to his brothers upon their reunion.

Those are the words that I am speaking today, not to my brothers, but to the enemy of my soul.

Six months ago when I was diagnosed I was sure that the devil thought it for evil against me. He should have known that I am not a quitter. He should have known that I have been knocked down before but that I have always gotten back up. He should have known that I am not by myself and that there are those who are continually holding up my arms.

He should have known:

What he thought would be my defeat, God is turning into my victory.

What he thought would be my shame, God is turning into my success.

What he thought would be my way out, God is recycling to make it my way up.

What he thought would be my midnight, God is turning into my morning.

What he thought would have me limping, God has recycled to keep me leaping.

What he thought would be my stumbling block, God has turned into my steppingstone.

Well, I am persuaded that “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”  I  have committed myself to Him. I did that again today.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

I accept the assignment

I  believe that I am not only on an assignment but that I am under assignment. In the secular world I have been given many assigments that I didn’t like. I didn’t like crawling on my belly through a muddy rice paddy while someone was shooting at me. I didn’t like arresting a young mother of three children who had stolen a packet of cheese to feed her hungry children. I had choices that I could make and I made them. I left the Marine Corps affter about ten years and left the police department after about the same length of service.

But….I might as well face this fact: when God gives me an assignment I best find myself doing it. If you knew of a physician who had all the tools to help someone, and didn’t do it, he might be charged with malpractice. By the same standard, could it be possible that if I am called to an assigment and refuse do it that I might also be charged with malpractice.

Well, I won’t quit. I am just going to complete the assignment that He has given me. I can’t outrun evil. I can’t turn back the clock. I can’t change history.

There are many things that I can’t do. But I know one thing that I can do. I can Take my burden to the Lord and leave it there.

He knows when to say, “Enough is enough!”

He knows when to say, “You’ve fought a good fight.”

He knows when to say, “Well done!”

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Real Close to Being Arrested

When I was on the police department many years ago I recall that from time to time I would be asked to respond to a call of a “trespasser”.  What that generally meant, in the simplest terms, is that someone had entered onto (or into) someone else’s property and the person who owned the property didn’t want them there. If they felt threatened enough they would call the authorities……I would respond…….and after determining that it was indeed a “trespasser”….I would arrest them, handcuff them, and then escort them to jail. (just in case you are wondering, I did read them their rights)

I remember some of those arrests and almost always the arrested person would try to make the case that he had a right to be there. And sometimes, when the judge heard the case she would agree and let the arrested person go free.

Six months ago a trespasser entered a property that does not belong to him. He knows it is not his and that this property is owned by God Himself and the price for that property has been paid in full. He knows that he is trespassing and much like the criminals that I faced during my law enforcement days he doesn’t want to leave.

I have notified the Owner who is also the Authority and He is on the way to arrest this perpetrator. I am waiting for the trespasser to be removed and transported away so that this property can be cared for and be free of the intruder.

And by the way, the judge who hears this case is the same one who owns the property….cares for the property…..and will Himself make the arrest.

Wait….I hear something. It sounds metalic….like handcuffs. Yep, the trespasser is about to be arrested.

In The Bonds of Calvary,

First the Storm, Then What?

Even though six months doesn’t sound like a long time….the journey through this storm has been demanding and most certainly offered its share of struggles. I am confident, however, that I will be stronger and a more viable Christian because of it.

I was just thinking; there is nothing that matches the sweetness of the air than that moment after a refreshing rain has swept through and washed the earth. I love the smell of a fresh rain on a recently mowed lawn. In like manner, I doubt that there is anything that will compare to the odor of the genuine joy which promises to engulf us after the storm.

I want to experience the sweetness of that joy and I wonder…when will it come? I don’t  ever wonder if, but quite often “when?”

I think that in order to experience the “sweetness” of that healing joy I have to acknowledge that I am not the captain of this ship. At the very best, I can be the first officer, and the guidance of the ship is left in surer, safer hands than mine.

I have learned to trust Him more with each passing day and continue to look forward to the sweet odor of that healing joy. 

In The Bonds of Calvary,

Surprise, Surprise

 My biological father died when I was just a little boy. About five or six years after his death my mother met a man, courted him, and then they married. I was part of that package as was my younger brother. Imagine my surprise when he decided that he loved my mother enough, as well as my brother and me, that he wanted to adopt us and give us his name. 

Then, at age thirty-four, I heard about Jesus. I thought I was just fine without Him. I didn’t know He already loved me so much that the price for my redemption had  been paid. Imagine my surprise when I learned that He wanted to accept me into His family. I don’t think that I need to tell you this…I accepted!

At this point I need to tell you that I am NOT often surprised. I keep my eyes open and observe people and therefore I anticipate events. Wednesday was my Birthday. Imagine my surprise when I responded to a knock on my office door and found the entire High School  student body and their teachers, cake in hand with candles burning, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.

Good! It’s over. Let’s move on.

Saturday evening we are on the way to Joe’s Place for dinner but had to stop by the church to drop something off and for some reason everybody had to go inside. Imagine my surprise  when I heard dozens of people who were hiding (or being held hostage) in the sanctuay shout  “S U R P R I S E” .

O.K. You got me.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that my brother and his wife had come  from West Palm Beach. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that Sandy’s sisters’ had come from Boca Raton. Imagine my surprise when I saw the video with photos of me from a long, long time ago. Imagine my surprise when I realized that several people fabricated stories so that this big surprise could be pulled off.

I am blessed and I thank you.

In the Bonds of Calvary,

Some Things I have Learned Since April 14th, 2008

That was the day the doctor in the urgent care unit came out and said, rather matter of factly, “you have cancer”.

I have learned that this type of diagnosis doesn’t just happen to other people. I have learned that doctors and nurses and technicians are very proficient and YOUNG. I have learned that I have a loving and caring family…including in-laws. I have learned that the church I serve loves me. I have learned that the Church of God (the only denomination that I have been affiliated with) is not just there in name but has cared for me, loved me, and prayed for me. I have learned that even really busy people take time out of their schedule to offer comforting  thoughts and words of encouragement. I have learned that some people are surprised by “great Faith”. I have learned that I have many friends.

There are so many things that I have learned. I was challenged to write them but I am sure that I haven’t scratched the surface and will have to come back and make additions.

I have learned that Jesus has been with me every day (and night) through these six months and that I have the promise of His constant presence as we continue the journey together.

I have learned to become a better, more compassionate person toward those who are hurting and I thank God every day for what I have learned.

 

In the Bonds of Calvary,

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