Archive

Archive for the ‘Christian Living’ Category

Shoot Christians Say

January 27th, 2014 Comments off

I just came across this funny video which is a collection of the terms that Christians say. It’s funny to hear them back-to-back.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

I Am Still Here

October 1st, 2013 Comments off

Im-still-here-bigI have become a regular listener of the Moth podcast where people get up in front of a microphone and share a personal story about their life. It is interesting to hear the various stories of people that range from humorous to very serious and/or emotional. Either way, these people are making themselves vulnerable in front of strangers in order to share something that they feel may be beneficial to other.

One particular story that I recently listened to was about a school teacher that had an anonymous group of people try to use things that he had written on his blog to try to get him fired. He ended up keeping his job but never found out who was behind the movement to have him fired. In his story he explains that there is not a day that goes by that he does not think about what those people tried to do.

Instead of focusing on what those people almost accomplished he makes an effort to remember what really happened – he won.  Now when he walks into his classroom each day he remembers – I am still here. Despite that group’s best efforts he was still doing what he loved.

Am I Still Here?

Over the last few weeks I have been silently asking God what is it that He would like me to do in light of my current physical limitations. I don’t have the energy to be apart of any active ministry, in fact getting to church each Sunday is proving to be difficult. I feel that my spiritual life could use some work but at the same time I know that God can and will use you no matter where you are in your life.

That being said I have not been doing anything that I would consider ministry or beneficial to others. I have a tendency to get down on myself like this at times not taking into account the past several years of debilitating health issues I have had. For me I am and have not been satisfied with taking those things into account. I feel that if I do “then the terrorist (satan) has won”. At the same time I am realizing that I need to be realistic and recover properly so that I do not put myself in that situation again.

But still, I have that yearning to be in the game for God.

Can God use me where I am right now?

“God. Can you use me the way I am? I mean I can barely take care of myself let alone take care of others”

I felt God’s answer to me was to look around and see what would take the least amount of effort yet have the most impact for Him. For me it is this website. The problem with that was the fact that I didn’t feel that I was exactly the best Christian role model at the moment.

I mean I am not in sin or anything like that, but I am not “active” spiritually like I have been taught to be. When I say active I mean having a daily/regular/deliberate relationship with God through reading and prayer. I have felt that I needed to have that in order so that I could minister here (or anywhere).

It’s funny, as I read that previous paragraph I had an ah-ha moment. When I was asking God about ministering, He did not say “Boy, get your reading and prayer life right, and then we will talk about it”. No, I felt that He said “look around to see what you can do now”.

I realize now that the little bit of ministering I have been doing at this website has been pulling me into a more frequent and deeper times of prayer and reading. I had it backwards.

If They Can Do It, Then So Can I

In going back to the Moth podcast, I admire the people who share their stories. I do not expect perfection from them. In fact it is their flaws, their mixups, their embarrassing moments that enables me to connect with them. They are not perfect and neither am I, that is why we connect.

In looking at myself and at what I have that I could share with others, I have something that is valuable, something that can help other people. Why would I want to keep that to myself? After all, if these other people can share their intimate life moments for entertainment purposes, why can’t I share my experiences where God has helped me through difficult situations. I don’t have to travel very far to do it. I just have to sit down at my keyboard.

I am still here.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

The Next Chapter

September 29th, 2013 Comments off

Celebration-Church-TX-logoI don’t write specifically about the church that I go to on purpose as I have never want to be confused as a representative of the church in an official capacity. I am breaking from that tradition today after viewing this morning’s message concerning the future vision of Celebration Church. I will sum up how I feel in these few words:

I am so proud to be a part of Celebration Church.

I believe that Pastor Joe is a true man of God who is willing to put everything on the line for the will of God for his life, his family, and for the church. As fast and big as the church has grown in the last 13 years God is still wanting to do more through Pastor Joe and Celebration Church and they are open to God doing it. Through the vision that Pastor Joe shared this morning he demonstrates his faith and determination in God’s will for Celebration Church. I believe that God is just getting started with Celebration and am excited to see the vision manifest.

My Next Chapter

Seeing Pastor Joe this morning ignited something on the inside of me concerning God’s vision for me and ultimately my family. Just as Pastor Joe is the leader of the church and his family I am the leader of my family. It is my responsibility to seek the vision/plan of God for my life and for my family, build my faith in regard to that vision, then communicate the vision to my family in order to allow God to manifest it.

In Pastor Joe’s message he mentioned all the great things that God has done in the church over the last 13 years. It included the different buildings and areas they moved to as they grew. Each time God would call them to stretch a little further, to take another step even though they had just finished taking one.

In my life I have been through a lot of different things over the last few years. It is tempting to say “I need to rest, I have been through so much” but no, God is only getting started in my life as well. It is weird but everything up until now feels like it was just preparation for this time in my life. Just like Celebration Church – I’m just getting started.

Where Do We Go From Here?

For Celebration Church we are taking the hill. Pastor Joe spoke about how someone before us made room for us at Celebration, now it is time for us to make room for someone to come after us. This calls for a new building that can accommodate more people and have better facilities for our kids. This is being done through the Forward campaign at the church.

In my life it is about spending some more time in prayer and in the word in order to bring clarity to the vision for my life. I know that I am not supposed to return to the life I had before. That chapter is over. This part of my life is a new and is barely getting started. I believe that God has vision for each of the different parts on my life such as family, finances, and ministry. I look forward to hearing the vision and seeing it manifest.

An Exciting Time to Be Alive

I love being a part of things that are alive and active such as Celebration Church. My life is also transforming and is becoming exciting once again. I look forward to the coming months and years as God’s plans unfold at Celebration Church and in my life as well.

Here’s a video of what the Forward campaign is about - For more room, for more children, and for more connections.

 

Doing Things God’s Way

January 9th, 2013 Comments off

farside-midvale-gifted-push-pull-doorAs human beings we can get comfortable in certain situations or routines. This can happen in good or bad routines. I know for me going to the doctor, getting treatments, and generally not feeling well were just everyday life and I was used to it. I got comfortable in it which sounds weird but it happens.

It has been a little over 3 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. In that time I got really used to being sick, going to the doctor, and getting treatments. It has been a year since my last major treatment and since then I have been feeling better and my doctor’s appointments have been tapering off.  I have resting a lot and have been working towards getting my energy back. That chapter of my life is coming to an end.

God saw me through that chapter and I am so thankful for bringing my family and I through it. I have been healed from cancer.

A New Chapter In My Life

So hear I am at the beginning of a new year with a blank slate for my life. I have been praying for God to show me what to do with this new life that He has given me. A month or 2 ago I had felt that God had said for me to spend time with the kids as my wife went back to work during the tax season. This sounded great as I knew that I did not have the strength to return to work full-time myself.

This is when things got difficult.

For whatever reason things shifted for us financially to where money got really tight and I got really uncomfortable. My first reaction was to look for a job in order to solve of financial issues even though I knew that was probably not up to it physically. I talked with my wife about this and she voiced her concern about my physical limitations as well.

In the course of that conversation things shifted from me working to me staying home with the kids. As my wife started sharing some of her insight from when she was at home with the kids I was reminded of what God had previously showed me. It was not time for me to start working but time for me to spend with the kids. Things had come full circle.

I was struggling because I wasn’t doing things God’s way.

My Way is Wrong

In the Bible God is very clear that He does things differently then we do.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the  Lord .    “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

To me it does not make fiscal sense to not work and to stay home with the kids. But I believe God sees things different. I think that He thinks that having a parent home for our kids is more important then some extra money. Yes, things are tight financially. But that tightness often causes us to evaluate how we are spending and to make whatever adjustments that are necessary.

I also believe that there is another side to me staying home with the kids as well.

The  Lord  is my shepherd, I lack nothing.    He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, – Psalms 23:1-2

In these verses God is causing making the sheep to rest yet He is providing everything they need and want. They are complete, not lacking in anything. God’s provision is based on obedience as opposed to direct work. He is another verse that demonstrates that:

But Samuel replied: “Does the  Lord  delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the  Lord ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

Doing whatever God wants you to do is always better then doing things your way and they having to ask forgiveness when it doesn’t work out God’s way.

Conclusion

Sometimes in life God calls us to do things that seem contrary to what we think is the answer or solution. We forget that God’s resources are more then we ever need and that he can get them to us in any way that he pleases. When we try to do things on our own even if they do work out then we are talking the glory (credit) for it as opposed to giving it to God.

In my life I know that for this season in my life that I am supposed to stay home with the kids and work on increasing my energy. This does not directly bring money into our house, but it does put me in the place of obedience to God’s will so in return I can expect Him to meet our needs. It is tempting to just try to work anyway but in the long run I know that God’s way is better.

Additional Resources

Books

Scriptures

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. - Proverbs 14:12

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. - 1 Corinthians 1:25

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” ; - 1 Corinthians 3:18-19

 

 

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

The Power of Keeping a Journal

November 13th, 2012 Comments off

I have been a blogger going on 7 years now. I started with a simple person website where I took some pictures and posted them online in a type of photo-blog. This turned into a family website as the kids were born and from there several other blogs were started to post info on various subjects and topics.

Along the way I felt the need to express some feeling on some personal issues that I was facing. I wanted to have a place where I could say anything that I wanted but did not ever want that to get out. I needed a place to unload so that I did not unload inappropriately towards anyone.

Thus my personal journal was born.

I setup a personal password protected website online. This was so that I could access it anywhere I had an internet connection but at the same time if someone accidentally stumbled upon it they would not be able to access it. I didn’t feel comfortable with keeping a hand written journal because that could easily be opened and read and because I prefer to type as opposed to write with a pen.

What do I write in my journal?

Anything and everything except people’s names. If by the slim chance that someone did find my journal they would really need to know me and the people I know in order to really know who or what I was talking about. My journal is not for others to read anyway. It is a place for me to empty and collect my thoughts so that when I do interact with other people I can do so more effectively.

For instance, today before I wrote this post I wrote a post in my journal. The post was about a disagreement that I had with someone. When I started the post I was extremely upset at this person. But as I wrote the post and saw the reason that I had stated that I was upset I realized that it was not such a big deal after all. I ended the post writing about how thankful I was that this person was in my life and how thankful I was that I knew God was going to resolve this issue. I went from anger to thankfulness in 500 words or less.

The God Factor

The other thing that I write about a lot is my relationship with God. I actually type/write prayers to God in my journal. There are even times where I express my anger or frustration with God because I either don’t like a situation that I am in or I don’t understand it. By doing this it helps me to work through my feelings and I feel it has really help my relationship with God grow.

I think writing to God is very similar to the psalms where David and the other authors expressed their wide array of feelings about and towards God. Here are some examples:

Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
- Psalm 10:1
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
- Psalm 22:1

I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
- Psalm 42:9

I heard a message where the pastor spoke about how it is actually healthy to express our anger towards God. He mentioned that God can handle our anger and that when we open up to God in that way it can actually strengthen our relationship with Him. Now I am not saying that you should just open your journal everyday and yell at God. I believe that dialogue with God should be a two-way street. We talk – He listens, He talks – we listen. Communication is at the root of any good relationship.

The public journal

Just as I believe that it is healthy to have a personal and private journal I think having a public journal (or blog) is also a good idea. With a public journal it forces you to take what you have worked out privately and share it with others. Just as I shared here about how I worked through a disagreement in my personal journal, it shows the human side of me. It allows me to show people that I am not perfect and that I do have disagreements and make mistakes.

I also believe that a public journal can be a form of accountability as well. When you post something on your public journal you are opening yourself up to be scrutinized and judged by others. Other people can and will be quick to point out when your may be a little off in your views and/or thinking.

Due to the high probability of people judging your written words a lot of people opt not to be public with their thoughts and views, and I think that is a very wise decision. People have a tendency to be mean and cruel to each other especially when they are masked by a computer screen.

I have had my fair share of negative comments on this site. I have a choice to either approve or delete each comment but 99.9% of the time I opt to approve the comment for all to see. I am aware of the risks of posting my thoughts on religion for anyone in the world to see but I believe that when you allow people to express their feelings without censorship that you will gain their respect. This website is not about me forcing my opinion on others, but to share my experiences in walking with God so that others can see that I am human and do make mistakes. But even when my life is broken and in need of repair, God is still their to pick me up, dust me off, heal me, and send me on my way. I want people to know that if God can do it for me then He will do it for them too.

The wrap up

I believe that with any good blog post or journal entry you need to have a wrap up. The wrap up is a summary of all the things discussed in the entry and what the lesson that has been learned is. For this post, the wrap up is, that I believe that journalling is a healthy and productive way for a person to work through their own thoughts and issues in a non-judgmental arena. It is a place where they can talk with God and get perspective on things.

With a public-facing journal people can share what they have worked through in their personal journal for others to benefit from. It is a place where a person can spawn a discussion around something they feel is important that they want other people’s input on. It is also a place where a person can show their human side so that others can have a reasonable expectation of them.

I believe that the happiest and most productive times in my life have been when I have journalled both privately and publicly on a consistent basis. In the times that I have dropped off journalling is when I feel that issues and problems seem more overwhelming and difficult. For me journalling helps me to keep the perspective that I believe God wants me to have.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

Getting Back on the Horse

November 13th, 2012 Comments off

In life we all have times when certain life events can through us off the back of the proverbial “horse”. It can be embarrassing to be tossed from the horse because as humans we always want to portray that we are in control no matter what life throws at us. The truth is life has a way of unseating us seeming at will. It is not a matter of whether you will every get bucked from life, but when.

In the book of Proverbs there is a verse that says:

For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. Proverbs 24:16

In my own life I have fallen several times, sometimes by my own hand, but other times through no fault of my own. Either way, the majority of times I get back on the horse quickly and try not to get into the same situation again.

How did I fall?

This time around my “fall” as I would put it was my cancer diagnosis. As far as the doctors tell me I did not cause this to happen to me but I have been doing everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The good news is that I have been cancer free for 2 1/2 years now. Praise God! The not as good news is that I am not fully recovered from the extensive treatment that I went through to help me to be cancer free. 3 years later, I am still dealing with side effects of treatment and am only about at 60% of my old self that I was before I got sick.

While that would seem like the “fall” that is the major thing in my life, for me, there is another fall that I am still struggling with. This fall is the testimony that I have been given. For the 1-1 1/2 years of my battle I was avidly blogging about my experience. People would come to my site for encouragement and I would also be encouraged by them.

Along the way the road got hard. I was no longer battling cancer, I was battling recovery. I thought I was going to have some treatment, recover for a couple of months, and then go back to work. Now, I have no set time on when that will happen. I am still believing that I will return to a “normal life” someday but I don’t know when that will be.

This is where my true fall has taken place. for the past year I have not shared about what God has been doing in my life. I have stopped talking to people. I have stopped sharing and being a part of my local church. I died socially. Part of that was because I didn’t have an answer anymore. When I spoke with folks I didn’t have an update as to my status. “Have you gone back to work?” someone would ask, I would reply “no, not yet”. “Are you going back?” they would continue, “the doctor says someday, but they don’t know when”. “Oh” they would reply and the conversation was over. It was awkward and it got old. After 6 months of the say Q & A session I just didn’t want to play anymore so I withdrew.

What do I do now?

This has been the question on my mind for the last year. What do I do now. I am not laid up in the hospital but I am not well enough to return to work either. What do I do? I tried helping out at church but it was too much for me physically and I fizzled out after a couple of months. I graduated from physical therapy which was great but quit the YMCA after 1 week because it was too much for me. The question slowly changed from “what do I do now” to “what CAN I do now?”. That’s the scary question.

This has been the question that I have ben hiding from all this time. I haven’t wanted to talk about it and I have done a pretty good job of eliminating everyone around me that would ask anything close to that. I stopped pushing and challenging myself. I had been knocked off the horse and decided that the ground was a good spot to say. After all, I couldn’t ride the horse – right?

Where I’ve been and where I’m going

So that is where I have been, for a while now. While I didn’t die from cancer, I gave up on life. I gave up on it because I didn’t want to think about being limited in this life. I didn’t want to talk about it and honestly I really still do not want to.

The reason that I am writing this though is that I have to talk about it. I cannot stay where I am. It is not fair to all of those who helped me to make it through cancer only to check out on life because it got hard. I know life is hard without cancer and all those things. To be honest though, life is harder when you are trying to be a husband, father, son, grandson, friend, business man, and all the rest and you are recovering from cancer.

See, I did not know about this recovery thing. I guess the doctors really didn’t talk about it because they weren’t sure that I was going to make it to this point. Well I did. Now I have to fight hard like I did when I was battling for my physical life, only this is more mental, and spiritual.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
But his heart is not with you.
Proverbs 23:7

and

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2

I believe that these truths have not been as much of a focus in my mind as they were when I was battling cancer. After I got victory over it I relaxed but that was not the time to do that, the next battle was just around the corner (it always it).

So what changed?

What changed for me was the death of my grandfather who was 101 years old. I spent time with my father celebrating his life and saw what God was doing in their lives – He was blessing them. I realized that the same blessing that they were experiencing was also waiting for me.

I don’t want to have been saved from cancer only to die spiritually. God turned the thing that satan intended for evil into a glorious testimony. God used faith, prayers, doctors, medicine, surgeries, and a whole host of other things to heal me so i could be here today.

Yes, life is different and harder then I thought it was going to be. This has taken me by surprise but it did not surprise God. He knew that there would be this chapter in my life and His plan is to bring me through this to the next chapter. Everything that I need is available through him. He did not bring me this far to leave me here.

I also know that he has given me a story to tell so that it can give other people hope. Yes, God can heal you from cancer. Yes, God can provide for you even if you haven’t worked for 3 years. Yes, you can fully recover from extensive cancer treatment (this is the one I am working on).

It is my job to tell the story of where God brought me from and also where He is taking me. I cannot shy away from it, that is a disservice to Him and everyone else that put their faith out there for me too. It may be hard to put myself out there and not everyone may receive my message, but that is alright. As long as I know that I am doing what God wants me to I will be alright.

So what happens now?

My intention is to finish the book that I started on this website. I had more then one of my family members tell me that I should write a book about my experience. Yes, I should. I also want to write here more. This site helps me to be accountable to the message that God has placed in side of me. I cannot say when and how often that will happen but I will make a concentrated effort to post here more.

So if you have made it this far congratulations and hopefully you have been inspired by my writing. I am not a perfect person but I do love God and am thankful for what He has done in my life. I believe that I can truly demonstrate my thankfulness by letting others know of the hope that I found in Him and His Son. I hope that is what you see when you read what I have written here.

Until next time…

God’s Continued Faithfulness

July 19th, 2011 Comments off

It has been nearly 8 months since I have posted on this site. Like many Christians I was going really well for a while proclaiming God’s greatness and faithfulness but when things got tough I stopped.

I guess that is the what the emnemy wanted.

For some reason I got it in my mind that if I was going through difficult times then I must not be in right standing with God. After taking a step back I realize that is not true. In fact the opposite seems to be reality. If you are truly being effective for God then the enemy is not going to leave you alone.

The bible says:

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19 NKJV)

The Last 8 Months

I think I have had more affections in the last 8 months then I did in the previous 8 months. That is saying a lot since I battled cancer twice during that time. For me the last 8 months have been filled with tens of medical procedures, ER visits, and hospital stays. In fact as I write this, I have been in the hospital for 3 days after a very scary medical emergency that landed me in the ER, which resulted me being admitted into the hospital.

I won’t go into details because that is not whist this post is about. This post is about God’s faithfulness.

See, even though I have been through so many things in the last 8 months God has delivered me out of each and every one of them. He has done that regardless of how much time I have spent in prayer or read my bible. His faithfulness to me has been consistent regardless of my inconsistency to Him.

Seeing His faithfulness it makes me so grateful to have Him in my life.

Yes, I have been through a lot of trials and tribulation in the last 8 months. But in the same time I have seen God do amazing and wonderful things. I look forward to what the next 8 months have to bring!

A Season of Thankfulness

November 21st, 2010 Comments off

thankfulAs I go into the Thanksgiving season I am overwhelmed by the things that I have to be thankful for. The reason for this is where I was at in my life just one year ago. To be honest I was not very thankful at that time.

A year ago in September I had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. I year ago this week I was in the middle of chemo and radiation treatment. I remember only being able to take one bite of ham for Thanksgiving because I could not swallow. It was a scary and sad time in my life.

This year it is so much different. After a reoccurrence of cancer at the beginning of this year, major surgery, and another regime of chemo I am done and cancer free. Wow, that is the first time I have said that – I am cancer free! It feels good :-).

This year I am looking forward to eating as much ham as I can stuff in my stomach along with all the other Thanksgiving goodies. I have no doctor’s appointments to go to, no treatments, no medications. I am back to a normal life. It feels so good to be here, I am so thankful that I made it through.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

There is no way that I could have made it this far without some key people in my life. For them I give much thanks.


God

He was with me every moment of my battle against cancer. It is not that anyone left me or ran out on me but it is physically impossible for another human being to be there all the time for you. That is not impossible with God.

He said:

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:5 NKJV

And He didn’t. There were times when I honestly would get mad at God and throw fits like a little kid because I did not like what I was going through. That did not matter to Him, He was still there for me, and He still is today.

My Wife

Although I said above that nobody could be there all the time for you my wife could only be beat by God himself. She takes such good care of me. There were times when I had to tell her to go do something for herself because she so attentive to me. She amazed me on how she could continue to love me and be there for me even when I would snap at her because I wasn’t feeling well.

The bible righty says:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord. – Proverbs 18:22 NKJV

All I can say is that I have received a ton of favor from God in the form of my wife. I love you babe!

My Kids

My kids helped me so much through this you have no idea. The did this by making me hopeful for the future. I did not bring them into this world to leave when they are young. No, I want to be here to see them grow up, finish school, get good jobs, marry, and have kids. I want to be apart of their lives every step of the way.

Their smiles, laughter, and questions about how I felt pushed me through every needle stick, treatment, and procedure. My view was if I could push myself and go through this then I could help them get through the hard parts of their lives. That is a part of why I am here.

I had to overcome so much fear in the last year that I feel much more qualified to help them overcome the fears that they will face. Going through what I went through has equipped me to be a better parent now. My hope is that by being a better parent they will have better lives.

Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father. – Proverbs 17:6 NKJV

They truly are my crown.

Other Family, Friends, …

There are countless other people that helped during this time. Family members, friends, ministries, organization, etc that in some way reached out to my family and I and helped. They were instrumental in helping us when we could not help ourselves. Seeing people reach out like that inspires me to want to do the same.

Thank you to all of you that helped during this time.

Conclusion

The things that I have had to go through in the last year have not been pleasant but I made it through them. I truly feel like I have come out better on the other side. I am so thankful to have made it and am thankful for the people that were there that helped my family and I along the way.

My hope is that as I return to normal life that I can take what I have experienced and learned and use it help others that may need a little help themselves.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

A Season of Thankfulness

November 21st, 2010 Comments off

thankfulAs I go into the Thanksgiving season I am overwhelmed by the things that I have to be thankful for. The reason for this is where I was at in my life just one year ago. To be honest I was not very thankful at that time.

A year ago in September I had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. I year ago this week I was in the middle of chemo and radiation treatment. I remember only being able to take one bite of ham for Thanksgiving because I could not swallow. It was a scary and sad time in my life.

This year it is so much different. After a reoccurrence of cancer at the beginning of this year, major surgery, and another regime of chemo I am done and cancer free. Wow, that is the first time I have said that – I am cancer free! It feels good :-) .

This year I am looking forward to eating as much ham as I can stuff in my stomach along with all the other Thanksgiving goodies. I have no doctor’s appointments to go to, no treatments, no medications. I am back to a normal life. It feels so good to be here, I am so thankful that I made it through.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

There is no way that I could have made it this far without some key people in my life. For them I give much thanks.


God

He was with me every moment of my battle against cancer. It is not that anyone left me or ran out on me but it is physically impossible for another human being to be there all the time for you. That is not impossible with God.

He said:

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:5 NKJV

And He didn’t. There were times when I honestly would get mad at God and throw fits like a little kid because I did not like what I was going through. That did not matter to Him, He was still there for me, and He still is today.

My Wife

Although I said above that nobody could be there all the time for you my wife could only be beat by God himself. She takes such good care of me. There were times when I had to tell her to go do something for herself because she so attentive to me. She amazed me on how she could continue to love me and be there for me even when I would snap at her because I wasn’t feeling well.

The bible righty says:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord. – Proverbs 18:22 NKJV

All I can say is that I have received a ton of favor from God in the form of my wife. I love you babe!

My Kids

My kids helped me so much through this you have no idea. The did this by making me hopeful for the future. I did not bring them into this world to leave when they are young. No, I want to be here to see them grow up, finish school, get good jobs, marry, and have kids. I want to be apart of their lives every step of the way.

Their smiles, laughter, and questions about how I felt pushed me through every needle stick, treatment, and procedure. My view was if I could push myself and go through this then I could help them get through the hard parts of their lives. That is a part of why I am here.

I had to overcome so much fear in the last year that I feel much more qualified to help them overcome the fears that they will face. Going through what I went through has equipped me to be a better parent now. My hope is that by being a better parent they will have better lives.

Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father. – Proverbs 17:6 NKJV

They truly are my crown.

Other Family, Friends, …

There are countless other people that helped during this time. Family members, friends, ministries, organization, etc that in some way reached out to my family and I and helped. They were instrumental in helping us when we could not help ourselves. Seeing people reach out like that inspires me to want to do the same.

Thank you to all of you that helped during this time.

Conclusion

The things that I have had to go through in the last year have not been pleasant but I made it through them. I truly feel like I have come out better on the other side. I am so thankful to have made it and am thankful for the people that were there that helped my family and I along the way.

My hope is that as I return to normal life that I can take what I have experienced and learned and use it help others that may need a little help themselves.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

Speaking to Your Mountains

November 5th, 2010 Comments off

It has been a while since I posted on this site. The reason for that is that I have been going through a lot personally especially with going through chemo. As bad as the chemo has been at times I will admit that the emotional and spiritual battles have also been very difficult. During these times the feelings of loneliness and dispair were quite great. It is by God’s grace and the people that He has had around me that I believe allowed me to persevere through these times. There is one other thing that happened during this time that I believe allowed me to push through to victory.

I learned to speak to my mountains.

I am sure that if you have been in church for any amount of time you have heard the scripture that references this phrase. As a recap here it is again:

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. – Mark 11:23

I was reminded of this verse while listening to Joel Osteen recently. In that message he explained that a lot of us when we get into trouble pray about the mountain that is front of us. We talk about the mountain. We even get others to pray about the mountain for us. What we don’t do is speak to the mountain.

How is Speaking to the Mountain Different then Praying About It?

It is the is the difference between someone talking to you and talking about you – there is a difference.

If someone is talking about you and not to you it is usually because they are afraid of you. It is the bold people who don’t beat around the bush and go directly to the source in order to get a result. These people may seem rude at times for being so direct but these are the people that usually get results.

We need to be direct when a mountain is staring us down.

For me I had a whole host of mountains that were trying to stop me from getting better. The biggest mountain was nausea which was a direct result of chemo treatment. A byproduct of the nausea was depression in that I was starting to feel disconnect and like I didn’t care any more. On top of that our finances were looking the worst that they ever had through our entire battle with cancer. Things were not looking good. These mountains were the biggest that I had ever seen.

With God’s grace I realized that focusing on the mountains was not a good path to go down. After listen to Pastor Joel’s message I knew what I needed to do – speak to the mountains and get them out of my way. Don’t get me wrong, I had prayed about the mountains and even asked others to pray for me as well. Unfortunately the mountains didn’t seem to care that they were being prayed or “talked” about. As long as no one was addressing them directly they weren’t going anywhere.

I Spoke to Directly to My Mountains

So I spoke to my mountains… and they didn’t go anywhere, at first. But, by speaking to the mountains I did begin to feel better. I felt better because I knew that I was acting in faith according to God’s word. I was doing this on a couple different levels. By me talking to the mountains I was acknowledging that God had the power to change my situation and that He had given me His power to do so. The bible says:

…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

I was also acknowledging God in the fact that it was not His will for me to be sick, depressed, or broke.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills;8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:7-10

My mountains did eventually fall into the sea. My nausea went away, finances started to come to dig us out, and depression started to lift. In speaking to the mountains that were in front of me I believe it gave me the faith to overcome those mountains. Initially I thought that the mountains were impassable but with God’s help I overcame them. I overcame them by speaking directly to them.

Here is the message from Joel Olsteen that reminded me to speak to my mountains. I hope you find it helpful as well.

Joel Osteen – Mountain Moving Faith

Photo By ecstaticist via flickr.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

Speaking to Your Mountains

November 5th, 2010 Comments off

It has been a while since I posted on this site. The reason for that is that I have been going through a lot personally especially with going through chemo. As bad as the chemo has been at times I will admit that the emotional and spiritual battles have also been very difficult. During these times the feelings of loneliness and dispair were quite great. It is by God’s grace and the people that He has had around me that I believe allowed me to persevere through these times. There is one other thing that happened during this time that I believe allowed me to push through to victory.

I learned to speak to my mountains.

I am sure that if you have been in church for any amount of time you have heard the scripture that references this phrase. As a recap here it is again:

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. – Mark 11:23

I was reminded of this verse while listening to Joel Osteen recently. In that message he explained that a lot of us when we get into trouble pray about the mountain that is front of us. We talk about the mountain. We even get others to pray about the mountain for us. What we don’t do is speak to the mountain.

How is Speaking to the Mountain Different then Praying About It?

It is the is the difference between someone talking to you and talking about you – there is a difference.

If someone is talking about you and not to you it is usually because they are afraid of you. It is the bold people who don’t beat around the bush and go directly to the source in order to get a result. These people may seem rude at times for being so direct but these are the people that usually get results.

We need to be direct when a mountain is staring us down.

For me I had a whole host of mountains that were trying to stop me from getting better. The biggest mountain was nausea which was a direct result of chemo treatment. A byproduct of the nausea was depression in that I was starting to feel disconnect and like I didn’t care any more. On top of that our finances were looking the worst that they ever had through our entire battle with cancer. Things were not looking good. These mountains were the biggest that I had ever seen.

With God’s grace I realized that focusing on the mountains was not a good path to go down. After listen to Pastor Joel’s message I knew what I needed to do – speak to the mountains and get them out of my way. Don’t get me wrong, I had prayed about the mountains and even asked others to pray for me as well. Unfortunately the mountains didn’t seem to care that they were being prayed or “talked” about. As long as no one was addressing them directly they weren’t going anywhere.

I Spoke to Directly to My Mountains

So I spoke to my mountains… and they didn’t go anywhere, at first. But, by speaking to the mountains I did begin to feel better. I felt better because I knew that I was acting in faith according to God’s word. I was doing this on a couple different levels. By me talking to the mountains I was acknowledging that God had the power to change my situation and that He had given me His power to do so. The bible says:

…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

I was also acknowledging God in the fact that it was not His will for me to be sick, depressed, or broke.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills;8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:7-10

My mountains did eventually fall into the sea. My nausea went away, finances started to come to dig us out, and depression started to lift. In speaking to the mountains that were in front of me I believe it gave me the faith to overcome those mountains. Initially I thought that the mountains were impassable but with God’s help I overcame them. I overcame them by speaking directly to them.

Here is the message from Joel Olsteen that reminded me to speak to my mountains. I hope you find it helpful as well.

Joel Osteen – Mountain Moving Faith

Photo By ecstaticist via flickr.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

Learning to Live in the Moment

July 15th, 2010 Comments off

It has been a while since I posted here. The reason for that is that so much has happened in my life in the last few months. Literally my life was going one direction and from one moment to the next it went another direction.

What happened was that I found out that the cancer I thought I had beat had come back. Finding out that news caused my wife and I to make some pretty big decisions in a pretty short time. One of those decisions was to have surgery to remove the parts of my stomach and esophagus that had been cancerous.

I ended up having the surgery two weeks later. The surgery went well and the doctor got all the known cancer out. During the weeks following the surgery I would have my good days and not so good days. I learned to understand that this was apart of recovery. Overall though the first few weeks of my recovery went well.

Unfortunately in the 4th and 5th weeks of recovery I ended up in the emergency room 3 times for various things related to the surgery. None of the items ended up being to serious and I thank God for that. Unfortunately during that time it was hard for me to deal with these medical conditions from day to day.

It was during this time that I began to realize that I needed to learn how to live moment to moment as opposed to day to day.

The reason for this is that I would have good things and not so good things all happen in the same day. It would seem at one moment I was on top of the world and the next I was in the lowest pit. As I started having more and more of these days I realized that I needed to cherish the good moments and not dwell on the bad when they came. By doing this it made the not so good moments more bearable.

Paul said it like this:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:11-12 NIV

I think that is what I am learning through all of this. I am learning to not let the bad out-shadow the good. Everyday we have on this earth is going to be filled with good and bad. It is up to us what we choose to look at and dwell on. We cannot control the bad news that comes our way but we can control how we react to it.

Learning to Live in the Moment

July 15th, 2010 Comments off

It has been a while since I posted here. The reason for that is that so much has happened in my life in the last few months. Literally my life was going one direction and from one moment to the next it went another direction.

What happened was that I found out that the cancer I thought I had beat had come back. Finding out that news caused my wife and I to make some pretty big decisions in a pretty short time. One of those decisions was to have surgery to remove the parts of my stomach and esophagus that had been cancerous.

I ended up having the surgery two weeks later. The surgery went well and the doctor got all the known cancer out. During the weeks following the surgery I would have my good days and not so good days. I learned to understand that this was apart of recovery. Overall though the first few weeks of my recovery went well.

Unfortunately in the 4th and 5th weeks of recovery I ended up in the emergency room 3 times for various things related to the surgery. None of the items ended up being to serious and I thank God for that. Unfortunately during that time it was hard for me to deal with these medical conditions from day to day.

It was during this time that I began to realize that I needed to learn how to live moment to moment as opposed to day to day.

The reason for this is that I would have good things and not so good things all happen in the same day. It would seem at one moment I was on top of the world and the next I was in the lowest pit. As I started having more and more of these days I realized that I needed to cherish the good moments and not dwell on the bad when they came. By doing this it made the not so good moments more bearable.

Paul said it like this:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:11-12 NIV

I think that is what I am learning through all of this. I am learning to not let the bad out-shadow the good. Everyday we have on this earth is going to be filled with good and bad. It is up to us what we choose to look at and dwell on. We cannot control the bad news that comes our way but we can control how we react to it.

When Your Faith is Shaken, Turn Your Eyes to God

May 12th, 2010 Comments off

In life it is hard to not be swayed by circumstances. Sometimes in life you are on top of the faith mountain one moment and find yourself at the bottom of it the next.

I recently found myself in this situation.

In my previous post a talked about visiting my friend in the hospital who had been diagnosed with cancer a month after I had been. He and I talked about faith and God’s ability to heal him. We also talked about how life and death were in the power of the tongue and how through that power we have the power to stay or leave this life.

He chose to leave.

It was barely a week after I wrote that last post. I can’t say that I blame him. I guess in that week from when I had seen him to when he passed away he had not eaten and was extremely weak. I believe that he got the point where being with God looked like a better alternative then being here on earth. I don’t hold it against him but my heart hurts for him and his family. In my opinion his life was cut short.

His passing shook my faith.It was a couple days later that I found myself at my Oncologist for a follow up appointment and the question of surgery came up again. Fear had crept in to both my wife’s and my hearts to where we considered but quickly dismissed it after prayer and seeking God.

My faith was shaken again.

About a week later I visited the GI doctor and found out that I have celiac disease. It is an autoimmune disorder that basically tells my body to attack my small intestines when I eat wheat products that contain gluten. I found out that this could have been a large contributor to the cancer I had.

More shaking.

The treatment for celiac disease is a gluten free diet. Literally from one day to the next 80% of the food that I was used to eating was now off limits. It was a huge change for me.

Yet more shaking.

So here I am 3 weeks after the celiac disease diagnoses and I feel that I have plateaued. I am getting used to the gluten free diet and things are good. Unfortunately I start to feel really dry in my throat and schedule an appointment with the GI doctor. He is not sure what is going on but thinks we should take a look. Therefore I have another EDG scheduled for next week.

Shaken to the core.

All the same questions start to swirl in my mind – is the cancer back? Is it something else? Is it nothing. What if this, what if that? I just become numb.

Fortunately God is there.

I spent time with Him yesterday and told him how I felt. I told him how I was scared. I asked Him if I made the wrong decision not to get surgery. I question him about what is going to happen to my business and my family.

He reminds me of His promise – He has healed me.

At first those words did not comfort me, I couldn’t hear that. As the day went on though it started to sink in – either God is who He says He is or He isn’t. Either I trust Him or I don’t. Again I am questioned about what I really believe. What do I believe? Do I really trust Him?

Yes, I trust God.

That realization brought so much hope to me. With that realization it does not matter what happens – good or bad – He is with me and He will help me. On top of that He did promise me healing and I receive that promise. I don’t need to play the “what if” game because He has that covered. He would not have brought me this far if He was going to let me perish. Life or death is my decision – He has given me that choice and I choose life.

In 1 Kings 18:25-40 we see the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. In that story he has great faith to have God consume his enemies which were the prophets of Baal. But as soon as that Jezebel hears of what Elijah did and tells him that she is going to kill him. Instead of remembering the great victory that God had just given him he cowards away in a cave.

His faith was shaken.

While in the cave the Lord came to Elijah and spoke to him in a gentle whisper. In that whisper He told Elijah that He had the provision in place to overcome his enemies. Elijah listened to God and followed His direction and had victory.

It is in those times that our faith is shaken that we need to stop and listen for the voice of the Lord. It is that voice that brings us peace as He reminds us of His promises. We just have to get still enough to listen.

My circumstances have not changed – I still have the EDG on Monday – but I have peace. I know I am not alone. I know that God is with me. His promise of healing is fresh in my heart and my expectation is that I will see it come to pass. That is all I need to know.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

When Your Faith is Shaken, Turn Your Eyes to God

May 12th, 2010 Comments off

In life it is hard to not be swayed by circumstances. Sometimes in life you are on top of the faith mountain one moment and find yourself at the bottom of it the next.

I recently found myself in this situation.

In my previous post a talked about visiting my friend in the hospital who had been diagnosed with cancer a month after I had been. He and I talked about faith and God’s ability to heal him. We also talked about how life and death were in the power of the tongue and how through that power we have the power to stay or leave this life.

He chose to leave.

It was barely a week after I wrote that last post. I can’t say that I blame him. I guess in that week from when I had seen him to when he passed away he had not eaten and was extremely weak. I believe that he got the point where being with God looked like a better alternative then being here on earth. I don’t hold it against him but my heart hurts for him and his family. In my opinion his life was cut short.

His passing shook my faith.It was a couple days later that I found myself at my Oncologist for a follow up appointment and the question of surgery came up again. Fear had crept in to both my wife’s and my hearts to where we considered but quickly dismissed it after prayer and seeking God.

My faith was shaken again.

About a week later I visited the GI doctor and found out that I have celiac disease. It is an autoimmune disorder that basically tells my body to attack my small intestines when I eat wheat products that contain gluten. I found out that this could have been a large contributor to the cancer I had.

More shaking.

The treatment for celiac disease is a gluten free diet. Literally from one day to the next 80% of the food that I was used to eating was now off limits. It was a huge change for me.

Yet more shaking.

So here I am 3 weeks after the celiac disease diagnoses and I feel that I have plateaued. I am getting used to the gluten free diet and things are good. Unfortunately I start to feel really dry in my throat and schedule an appointment with the GI doctor. He is not sure what is going on but thinks we should take a look. Therefore I have another EDG scheduled for next week.

Shaken to the core.

All the same questions start to swirl in my mind – is the cancer back? Is it something else? Is it nothing. What if this, what if that? I just become numb.

Fortunately God is there.

I spent time with Him yesterday and told him how I felt. I told him how I was scared. I asked Him if I made the wrong decision not to get surgery. I question him about what is going to happen to my business and my family.

He reminds me of His promise – He has healed me.

At first those words did not comfort me, I couldn’t hear that. As the day went on though it started to sink in – either God is who He says He is or He isn’t. Either I trust Him or I don’t. Again I am questioned about what I really believe. What do I believe? Do I really trust Him?

Yes, I trust God.

That realization brought so much hope to me. With that realization it does not matter what happens – good or bad – He is with me and He will help me. On top of that He did promise me healing and I receive that promise. I don’t need to play the “what if” game because He has that covered. He would not have brought me this far if He was going to let me perish. Life or death is my decision – He has given me that choice and I choose life.

In 1 Kings 18:25-40 we see the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. In that story he has great faith to have God consume his enemies which were the prophets of Baal. But as soon as that Jezebel hears of what Elijah did and tells him that she is going to kill him. Instead of remembering the great victory that God had just given him he cowards away in a cave.

His faith was shaken.

While in the cave the Lord came to Elijah and spoke to him in a gentle whisper. In that whisper He told Elijah that He had the provision in place to overcome his enemies. Elijah listened to God and followed His direction and had victory.

It is in those times that our faith is shaken that we need to stop and listen for the voice of the Lord. It is that voice that brings us peace as He reminds us of His promises. We just have to get still enough to listen.

My circumstances have not changed – I still have the EDG on Monday – but I have peace. I know I am not alone. I know that God is with me. His promise of healing is fresh in my heart and my expectation is that I will see it come to pass. That is all I need to know.

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

When Tragedy Hits, Turn to the Next Chapter

March 30th, 2010 Comments off

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit a very good friend of mine. This friend was diagnosed with cancer a month after I was. He went through treatment similar to me – chemotherapy but no radiation. The unfortunate part is that the cancer did not respond to the chemo he received, it got worse.

The day before I went to see my friend he was given the news that cancer had spread and now there was nothing that they could do for him. That is a devastating thing to be told. The doctor said that they could make him comfortable for the rest of his time. Tragic.

When I heard this it threw me for a loop. He had been believing for healing and so was everyone else for him. It was not the news that anyone expected to hear.

When I went to see him yesterday I was already determined that I was going to pray for him. The focus of my prayer I felt was for wisdom and not necessarily healing. I didn’t quite understand why this was but that is what I knew I was going to pray for.

In the course of visiting with him he and I talked about several things. One of those things was what I went through in my treatment for cancer.In my treatment I had reached a point with one of my doctors where I felt that he was no longer effective in my treatment. That is not to say anything bad about him but I felt that I could be getting better information about my individual situation from a doctor who was more familiar with my type of cancer. I told him how I had then gone to another cancer doctor and had gotten better information which led to better treatment.

In telling him this story it dawned on me – his situation was not an end, it was just another chapter in his life, and not the last chapter.

As I brought this up to him I explained that maybe this doctor wasn’t too familiar with his type of cancer and so that was all that he could do for him. Maybe someone who was more familiar with my friends type of cancer could do more. He agreed.

As we talked about this I could see the difference in him as he went from despair to hope. The doctor had given up on him but God had not. I explained to my friend that it was up to him as to whether he was going to receive the word of the doctor and die or the word of God and live.

As the bible says:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. – Proverbs 18:21 NKJ

As far as God is considered it is up to my friend as to when he checks out of this life. If he wants to stay then God will give him everything that he needs in order to do so. I am happy to say that my friend agreed with me.

The rest of my time with him in the hospital we talked about different places that he had heard of that could possibly help him. We were also blessed to be able to talk about non-cancer items as well. In all we had a good time together.

When it was time for me to leave I told him how I had felt the need to pray for wisdom before I had come. In my prayer I prayed that God would direct him in this next chapter of his life. I prayed that God would direct him to the people that would know how to fix his situation. I also prayed that he would continue to choose life, and not death, and complete the purpose that God has for him in this life.

He agreed with me in those prayers and we both believe that they will come to pass. I can’t wait to see God do it.

When Tragedy Hits, Turn to the Next Chapter

March 30th, 2010 Comments off

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit a very good friend of mine. This friend was diagnosed with cancer a month after I was. He went through treatment similar to me – chemotherapy but no radiation. The unfortunate part is that the cancer did not respond to the chemo he received, it got worse.

The day before I went to see my friend he was given the news that cancer had spread and now there was nothing that they could do for him. That is a devastating thing to be told. The doctor said that they could make him comfortable for the rest of his time. Tragic.

When I heard this it threw me for a loop. He had been believing for healing and so was everyone else for him. It was not the news that anyone expected to hear.

When I went to see him yesterday I was already determined that I was going to pray for him. The focus of my prayer I felt was for wisdom and not necessarily healing. I didn’t quite understand why this was but that is what I knew I was going to pray for.

In the course of visiting with him he and I talked about several things. One of those things was what I went through in my treatment for cancer.In my treatment I had reached a point with one of my doctors where I felt that he was no longer effective in my treatment. That is not to say anything bad about him but I felt that I could be getting better information about my individual situation from a doctor who was more familiar with my type of cancer. I told him how I had then gone to another cancer doctor and had gotten better information which led to better treatment.

In telling him this story it dawned on me – his situation was not an end, it was just another chapter in his life, and not the last chapter.

As I brought this up to him I explained that maybe this doctor wasn’t too familiar with his type of cancer and so that was all that he could do for him. Maybe someone who was more familiar with my friends type of cancer could do more. He agreed.

As we talked about this I could see the difference in him as he went from despair to hope. The doctor had given up on him but God had not. I explained to my friend that it was up to him as to whether he was going to receive the word of the doctor and die or the word of God and live.

As the bible says:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. – Proverbs 18:21 NKJ

As far as God is considered it is up to my friend as to when he checks out of this life. If he wants to stay then God will give him everything that he needs in order to do so. I am happy to say that my friend agreed with me.

The rest of my time with him in the hospital we talked about different places that he had heard of that could possibly help him. We were also blessed to be able to talk about non-cancer items as well. In all we had a good time together.

When it was time for me to leave I told him how I had felt the need to pray for wisdom before I had come. In my prayer I prayed that God would direct him in this next chapter of his life. I prayed that God would direct him to the people that would know how to fix his situation. I also prayed that he would continue to choose life, and not death, and complete the purpose that God has for him in this life.

He agreed with me in those prayers and we both believe that they will come to pass. I can’t wait to see God do it.

He is the God of the Little Things Too

January 26th, 2010 Comments off

I spent a good portion of yesterday crunching on this task for a project that I am working on for a client. It seemed that no matter which angle I tried to attack this task that I could never get it completed in an easy way. I ended yesterday with a plan on how to complete it that was less then desirable.

This morning I woke up and had the oppertunity to spend some time with God. While I was with Him I felt him tell me that it was easier then I thought. While that made me feel a little better I wasn’t convinced because I still did not know exactly what I was going to do.

After that I checked my email and read the daily message sent to me by Joel Osteen. The title of the email was "The Great I Am" and started off with the scripture:

"God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you’ " - Exodus 3:14

The email went of to talk about how big God is and how He is on our side. It explained that God is saying "I am everything you need. I am your strength. I am your wisdom. I am your protection. I am your provider. I am your way maker. I am your problem solver."

He backed this up with the scripture:

"Though I am surrounded by troubles, You will bring me safely through. Your fist is clenched against my enemies. Your power will save me." – Psalm 138:7

God is our problem solver no matter how big or small.

It does not matter whether we are battling cancer, debt, or how to figure out a smaller issue for a project at work – God is there to help us out.

So I start today optimistic that I will be able to solve this issue for my project and that it will be easier then I thought it would be yesterday. This is all because I have the creator of the universe on my side and He is willing to help me out if I ask him.

Update 2/2/10

I did start that day out with the right attitude and I was able to get the task done that I needed to get with relative ease. It is amazing how things work out so much better when you have God helping you out. All the glory to Him!

Categories: Christian Living, From the Network Tags:

Growing in God by Getting Involved

June 29th, 2009 Comments off

growingOver 2 years ago I wrote a post on this blog on how I was stepping out and getting involved in church again. The ministry that I had volunteered for was the media ministry. I went to a meeting and even sat up in the media booth during a service to see how to operate their system for the projector.

I thought I was ready but it just wasn’t time.

The service that I sat in was the first and only service that I did anything in regard to the media ministry. I am not exactly sure why things did not work out, but I think there were still some areas in my life that God still needed to work on. It was kind of weird not being involved but I think you need to learn how to receive as a Christian and walk the walk before you can minster. So that is what I did. During that time my wife and I attended a couple of small groups so we still had fellowship and got to know people in the church. We are still involved with the small groups today.

Over the last six months due to some personal circumstances I saw the need to spend more time with God personally and began to do so. During that time I read the book Caught Between A Dream and A Job and am currently reading The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? In both of these books they talk about how God has a plan for your life and how you were created for a purpose. I believe both of these things and set out to see what it is that God has to do for me here on earth.

There are a couple of ways that I am seeking God in order to find out my purpose.

The first is that I am trying to spend time with Him daily and work on the areas that He shows me to work on. The bible says that if I draw close to Him that He will draw close to me. I figure the closer that I am to Him the more likely I am going to get a glimpse of what He has created me for.

The second thing that I am doing is opening myself to be used by Him at church. Before it was difficult with the kids and having to sit through services by myself and/or have my wife be by herself. This time around the church is a little more flexible in that you can tell them when you are available to work. My wife and I chose the same schedule for availability for Wednesdays every other week. We may be working in different ministries but we will still be able to be in service together in the weeks that we are not working. That works much better for us.

I also requested information on another ministry that is outside of regular services times. I will have to see what the commitment for that one is before I can say whether I can be involved in it.

I think things are different this time around because I do not feel compelled to get involved out of habit. I am getting involved because I desire to. I want to do my part no matter how small to make my church a better place so that hopefully others can get closer to God. We will see how it goes.

Christian Perspective on the Financial Crisis

December 10th, 2008 Comments off

image description I feel that it is time that I chimed in on the current financial crisis that is gripping the world. I think that I am not alone in my concern about the future and while I have not been directly affected at this point sometimes not knowing is as bad as something actually happening. Hopefully my personal experience in dealing with this will help others that may be struggling during this time.

The Last Financial Crisis

Before tackling the current financial crisis let’s look at the one that just happened seven short years ago. Back in 2001 it was the golden age of the internet. Billion dollar valuations of companies grew on trees and we were all going to be millionaires by 25 and retire billionaires by 30. It was a time of extravagance and money flowed freely.

During this time I was a couple of year into my Christianity and was newly married. I had gotten it into my head that God wanted to bless me and thought that these blessing were flowing through credit. I had gone wild and bought anything and everything that they would let me buy on credit including a house. Three weeks after buying the house I was laid off from my job due to the economy. I hadn’t even made the first payment on the house.

For the next 2 years my wife and I struggled along as she worked full time and I tried to start/run a business in the technology field. After 2 years we were stripped of just about everything (including the house) and found ourselves renting from her dad once again. I struggled another couple of years with the business until we started having kids. A couple of events happened and I found myself hitting rock bottom.

The Turning Point

The turning point for me was when I got into a business financial dispute with a really good friend that cost me our friendship. I remember sitting in my car with my wife looking at her knowing that if I didn’t change things that I could very well lose her next. It was at that point that I decided to quit the business and go get a job and try to take care of my family the way that a real man of God should.

Since that time my wife and I have been extremely blessed. I believe that choosing to make my family’s needs a priority as opposed to mine allowed God to come into our situation and allowed His blessing and provision to flow. We are more blessed today then we every have been in order lives.

(You can read my perspective on Christian priorities in my post – Priorities as a Christian)

The 2008 and Beyond Financial Crisis

Today’s financial crisis isn’t much different then the one that happened seven years ago. There was money flowing and people were looking to get rich quick and retire young. This time around though it was real estate that was the catalyst for what we are facing. The only difference this time around is that the housing sector is far larger then the technology sector and therefore is and will impact far more people. I do not remember any government bailouts for technology companies seven years ago but we have already had one for the Financial sector and now the auto industry is asking for one as well.

Last time there were several factors that I personally contributed to that allowed the financial downturn to affect me. I had far more debt then I should of. I also had switched jobs not long before getting laid off to a newly created position that was easily expendable (so I found out later). The position I transferred from was one of the few positions that actually remained when all was said and done and hindsight shows me that God was trying to protect me from what was coming. In the last financial crisis I contributed a lot to my anguish and I know and understand that now.

This time around I feel that I am in the right place with God and in the job that He wants me to be in. We have a little debt (still more then I would want) that is easily manageable. I have been tempted at times to fly the coop at my job but have stuck it out and am glad that I did. This time around I should be in a much better place to ride this storm out.

So why do I still get scared as if I am going to lose it all?

Who’s in Control?

I get scared at times because I listen to the news a little too much. I hear the unemployment reports and hear of people getting laid off. At first I was really into the watching and reading the news as it was happening and was finding myself getting more and more depressed. I was easily losing my temper around my wife and kids and had little motivation to do anything. I was down trodden because I felt like I was not in control and my destiny was uncertain. I felt like at any moment I could get that call into my boss’s office to be told that today would be my last day. It was terrible.

Things got to the point that my wife noticed and we started talking about it. She looked at me in unbelief as I quoted her statistics of layoffs and other end of the world jargon that the news channels and internet had been spewing for weeks. Her look of unbelief was not at the actual information that I was saying but at the fact that it was coming out of me. She was pretty quick to remind me that whatever you feed grows and whatever you starve dies. She told me that it was pretty evident that I had been listen to the news more then God.

Her wake up call was the equivalent of getting a smack on the face.

For the previous weeks we had not been to church hardly at all and I had been consumed with all of the bad news floating around. The next day I downloaded several podcasts from various ministers that I know have good Word. I spent the next week listening to them during the day at work and by the end of the week things were looking much better from my perspective.

See, the world is going to tell you that this thing is going to hit you and take you down with it. If you listen to it you are giving the world control of your life and there is a very good possibility that it will do exactly that. But if you stop listening to what the world has to say and listen to God, you will find out that He has a plan ready and waiting for you and is eager to share it with you. His plan is that this financial crisis will have a minimum impact on you. In fact it is His will for you to prosper during this time so you can help other through it. What we have to do though is to make a conscious decision of who we are going to listen to – the world or God.

Fighting the Good Fight

After having the conversation with my wife I made the decision to make God’s Word the authority in my life. At first I was consumed with the Word and I was taken out of depression and was actually a pretty happy camper. Bad news would come but would go as quickly as it came. In my mind even if I got called into the office to be laid off I knew that it would be apart of God’s plan and therefore had nothing to fear. Things were going great.

After that first week I tapered off in listening without realizing it. By the end of the second week I was starting to slip back into listening to the news and into being depressed. Over the weekend I realized what was happening and hit the Word again that following Monday. Since then I have been pretty consistent with listening to the Word and have been doing pretty good.

Another thing that I noticed is that even when I am in the Word if I get really tired then I become more vulnerable. When overly tired I struggle a little more in fighting back the news of world. I now realize that as I continue to take in the Word that I need to make a conscious effort to catch up on my rest as well. The devil always looks for the weak or tired to go after so we need to makes sure we stay up on both.

Conclusion

Bad things are going to come an go. The Bible says that it rains on the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45). I believe that God always has a plan to cushion the blow though. You may have been living it up and now this financial crisis has or is about to catch up with you. You may have done everything right and did not get caught up in what was happening but still are now effected. Either way God has a plan to bring you out. Sometimes it is hard to understand or except that but He is our father, our dad.

Jeremiah 29:11 says:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The thing that always helps me in situations like this is to think of how I would be if my son was in the same situation.

If my son came to me and said “Dad, I played the real estate game and messed up, can you help me and my family out?” how would I react? Would I say “Well, that’s too bad, I hope you figure something out.”. No, I would help him. He might get a lecture from me but I am not going to leave my son and his family out in the cold because he made a mistake. I would do everything in my power to take care of him and help him get on his feet.

There is nothing that I would not do for my son.

I believe that God is the same way. There is nothing that He would not do for us. We just need to come to him. When we come to Him He will reassures us that He is in control and that he is going to take care of us (Deu 31:6). Anytime I get scared or concerned about something that has come my way there He is to let me us that everything it going to be alright. He is such a good dad.

Jobs come and go, houses, cars, etc the same. But God is always there, constant, never changing. He loves us and is more then willing to take us in and take care of us and our families. We just need to give Him the chance.