Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Amazing Cancer Say So!

On the first wednesday night of May our men's group(about 20 guys) at church prayed for a gentleman, an unbeliever, who had stage 4 throat cancer. A couple of days ago he went to the doctor.. all of the tumors on his throat have disappeared!!!

What makes an unbeliever a believer? MIRACLES!!
This is why we are to worship God!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another Pet Say So!

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; (Ps.138:8)

This morning Francis the dog woke up to a harrowing experience. Or should I say, I did.The dog was curled up all night beside my bed. As soon as my alarm went off at 5 a.m., naturally he woke up as well. When he stood up on all fours he plopped right back down. He had trouble standing. He literally crawled on all fours to me. He was persistent in trying to stand, so when he did, I noticed it was one of his hind legs that was giving him the trouble,as he plopped back down again. I naturally kind of freaked out at first, and began thinking the worst. I even had a flashback to last week when I met a 3 legged dog on my usual after work run. I ended up carrying the dog into the living room. It kind of came to me that maybe his foot fell asleep or he pulled something in his leg. So I tried getting him to try to walk it off. I am, talking to the dog at 5 am, "Come on boy, try to walk it off."

It didn't work. So I layed him on the couch. He laid down like he was perfectly normal, like he was maybe playing one of those attention games. So, I went ahead and got ready for work.

Before leaving we tried it again, no luck. I left a note for my brother and his wife to check on him . On my ride to work I prayed for him. I usually pray anyways, but first time for a dog!

A couple hours later I called the house to see how he was doing. They said he was walking with a limp, but was able to go outside to do his business. So just 2 hours after praying, he went from crawling to limping. When I got home after work, sure enough, there he was, the same old Francis: walking, running, jumping, ready for his walk through the neighborhood.

Doesn't matter who it is, or what it is, God cares about every little detail of our lives. Even our pets!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A New View

This is a picture of Isis, the new lioness at Brookfield Zoo. She loves her new view by the window.

The last couple of months I've succeeded at viewing less television (especially the news!). One of the big reasons why is the media has always liked to filter our minds with about 20 minutes of nothing but bleak, depressing news. The media wants us to feel like all is lost, there is no hope in the world.

Well, I want a new view, a more positive one, one that says that God still exists and is still in the moving and shaking business. Well, I definitely got that at church on Sunday. Eddie James ( visited our church with about 30 youth. His ministry has a recovery program that rehabilitates troubled youth and college age students. These young people were on fire for God! Why? Because God freed them from drug addictions, alcohol, rape, and even homosexuality. God is Great!

Sometimes we forget that we have control of what we fill our minds with. We can easily turn off that negative energy we get from the news, the talk radio, the political commentary shows. We can have peace, we just need to make that choice.

Take in a different view!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Final Excerpts of Rev. Ray's Say So!

When I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer my bladder completely shut down with over a liter of backed up urine. My PSA which should have been about 2 was reading 437 which indicated that the cancer had spread. The doctor was very grave and gave me little hope that the cancer had not metastasized. He really had little hope for me. My wife and I prayed and gave it to the Lord. After taking a bone scan and MRI there was found to be no spread of the cancer. Within 2 months after being cauterized my bladder was functioning again and after one more month my PSA was down to 18. I prayed for the Lord to add His supernatural annointing to my Lupron hormone injections and radiation treatments and let there be no side effects to my body. God honored that prayer and I had no side effects. Today my PSA is .5 and I am off all treatment!! To God be the glory!

It would be wonderful if we all could immediately stand in faith for our healing. It would be wonderful if every time we allowed God to flow through us in the laying on of hands for healing that the answer would be forthcoming. It took me quite awhile to understand that God only instructed us to be willing to lay hands on a person and He would do the impartation of healing . It took my illness to understand that the willingness for someone to lay hands on me and believe for my healing was very positive no matter what the outcome of the situation. It didn't matter if someone thought it may or may not work, the ministry was always welcomed.

If I am going to die, I am still going to appreciate the ministry.

There are times when God blesses and supernaturally imparts healing through medical intervention. I believe God has provided doctors, medicine, and treatment for our benefit.These things have restored many of our families to health. God has provided this knowledge of medicine to allow mankind to use these abilities. God will meet us at the point of our ability to believe, whether for total miraculous healing, or recovery through medical methods.

Let's remember that we have the hope! The hope that this life is not all there is available. We are dealing in terms of eternal life with God the Father and His Son Jesus. We are dealing with the hope that in this life He has provided for us the means to be all we can be. We are dealing with the hope that whatever the situation we are going through, Jesus is there to go through it with us.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Of Rev. Ray (part two)

After the initial shock and coming to understand that this indeed was happening to me, I had to pose the questions:
"Where does God fit into this picture?"
"Why is this happening to me?"
"What have I done wrong?"

So many times in life the question is asked of us, "Why has God allowed this to happen?Why would a good God not have prevented this tragedy?" We have to go through this flow chart:
1.Do I believe there is a God?
This is more than just head knowledge or theoretical assent, but a firm belief that you can stand on in the midst of trial.
2.Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
We need to believe that every word can be relied upon. We need to believe that the answer may be found within the Word.
3.Do you believe God loves you?
It's easy to believe that God loves someone else, but can you believe it for yourself? Can you believe that God sees you worthy of His love?
4.Do you believe God wants to help you out of your situation?

We need to answer these questions in the affirmative to stand on the answer to our situation. If we are stopped by unbelief, we have nowhere to turn except to natural means. We must put the Word of God in us until we can believe. A person can't wrongly believe that it is God who brought the problem in their life if they don't even believe in God or His Word. If we say yes to our belief in God and the Bible, we can ask,

"Why did God allow this to happen to me or to others?"
God does not cause these situations in our life. God has done all He can do,allowing free will in mankind, to prevent and help us to fight the situations that occur in our life.

First: He provided for our relationship with Himself, our healing and provision and our eternal life through His Son Jesus.
Secondly: He has provided His Word to instruct us in how to live our lives in such a way as to prevent and resolve most situations. God wants us to live our lives abundantly.

Many say, "God doesn't speak to me, He doesn't give me answers." The truth is that God has spoken through His Word the Bible, and your solution may often be found there if it is sought.

When we remove ourselves from a relationship with God and go our own separate way, it removes the protection against the enemy. Does this mean we are always in sin when bad things happen? No. The natural world's effect on our bodies and the attempts of the enemy to illegally effect our life and ministries also causes these problems.

We have to know God is real; we have to know His word is real; we have to know He is concerned with us; and we have to know He has provided a way out for us. God puts a hedge around us when we are walking out His Word.

will conclude with part three on my weekend post!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rev. Ray's Say So! (part one)

the following are excerpts from his testimony: In March 2002, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Up to this point I had never been in a hospital or had to deal with anything much larger than the flu. Here I was, a minister of God having made plans for the future, and now I had to face the reality that it all could end.

Scripture states: "Man makes his plans, but God sets his path."I had to wonder what kind of path I was now going to have to travel. I did not know now if I had the next day, month, or year.

It would be wonderful to say as a minister that I stood in faith at the diagnosis of a potentially terminal prostate cancer. That was just not the case. It is often so much easier to deal with someone else's serious problem than when it is your own! I had prayed for the healing of many others and stood in faith for their recovery, but I had never experienced being on the receiving side of it for myself.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, or any other form of fatal illness, your normal pattern in life stops. A loss of control and fear hits you with the knowledge that you are not in control and things may never quite be the same. It stops you cold, dead in your tracks. You hit a wall in your life. The temptation is to lean to natural means and search for all the facts and statistics concerning your problem. Most suggestions are in the natural and point to this book, that pill or a certain person. Because of this I started searching the internet and various references to this type of cancer. I was beginning to allow a spirit of fear to take over. But then the Lord reminded me, " I am not a fact, I am not a statistic, I am a child of God."

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


The word fear has been described as the opposite of faith. Fear is the natural body's reaction to sudden or unknown events. It is not wrong to initially fear, but we are responsible for how we handle fear. Fear should never control us. Our natural response is to wonder what effect is this change going to have on our life, in my case: how long I had to live, what about my family?, what about my ministry? am I prepared spiritually, emotionally and physically? You know that God is in control, but you still have these thoughts. Quickly one finds that what was once a high priority is made insignificant.

What quickly becomes important is your relationship and need of God, your family and the prayers of your friends. Those relationships you have built up to this time are what's going to help you make it through the trial.

When I was in the doctor's office and the pain was intense, I did not need "things", I needed God to give me a reassurance and my wife to hold my hand and give me strength. Your priorities refocus to the need for relationships.

more from Rev. Ray tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not a Survivor But an Overcomer

I am not a big fan of numbers, especially odds and statistics. It certainly has it's place in sports but for life in general, nope, don't care for it. Whether it's war, diseases, or natural disasters, everything is related to numbers. When things happen in our world, everyone looks to the total number, those that survived and those that didn't. Thankfully God doesn't view us that way!
When it comes to diseases like cancer, I don't like to use the word survivor because it places you in a statistical category. I prefer to use an overcomer.And there is an extreme difference in the two. Survivor means: continue in existence. Where as an overcomer means:conquer, defeat, to prevail over.
Breast cancer kills more women in the U.S. than any other cancer except lung cancer. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common among American men. Unfortunately I have had to deal with cancer within my friends and family. One of my best friend's died of breast cancer when she was at the young age of 32. Shortly thereafter, my mom was stricken with the disease. My mom overcame it not once, but twice!

One of the first things we seem to want to ask God is "Why?"

My next 3 blog posts will be excerpts of a testimony by my good buddy Rev. Ray Hendrickson, who overcame prostate cancer. His was so extreme he should not be here today, but God had a different plan for him. Along with Rev. Ray, there are a handful of men at our church who are overcomers of this disease. And I am totally honored and blessed to be around these great men of God. Rev. Ray's testimony also provides great insight on the questions we approach God with , such as: Why is this happening to me?,What have I done wrong? how do I deal with doctors, medicine, treatment, healing?

I ask that if you know anyone who is dealing with cancer of any form, or someone in their family,that you may direct them to my blog ( Rev. Ray's testimony will not only impact you,but encourage you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Identity Crisis

In the Disney classic The Ugly Dachshund, Brutus, a Great Dane, is having a major identity crisis. He thinks he's a dachshund! That's because he's been raised since a pup with some lovable but mischievous weener dogs. A Great Dane is considered to be a strong and graceful breed. Brutus follows the dachshunds around in the yard by lying low and crawling on all fours. His owner goes to great lengths to convince Brutus of who he really is, even shows him a picture of a Great Dane in a dog book. Still, Brutus doesn't get it.

Sometimes we have an identity crisis of our own, forgetting who we really are. Do we see ourselves as a child of our Heavenly Father? Or are we just going through the motions? Sometimes we live in fear and wonder "why isn't God moving on my behalf?" But God says,

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1Jn.4:18)

If we are living in fear we are not walking in Him. To be made perfect in love we need to start over by renewing our mind with His word, His presence, His love.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Ps.34:8)

Our relationship with the Lord has to be a reciprocal one. God says He will bless and fill those who have a hunger and a desire for Him. It is then when our mind, heart, and soul begins it's transformation into that perfect love that casts out fear.

A.W. Tozer once said, "We must never rest until everything inside of us worships God."

I think that plays an important role in our thinking of God as our Heavenly Father.Though we may never fully grasp or understand God's ways or thinking, we do know that He loves us as a father loves His child.

My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways. (Prov.23:26)

In some texts the word observe is replaced with the word delight. So in order to delight ourselves in His way of doing things,we need to change our perception of Him. God wants us to think of ourselves as who we really are: sons and daughters, heirs to the throne.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

A couple of weeks ago I got my niece some really cool, rocking gym shoes for her 7th birthday.

Her first words after saying "thank you" were: "I don't know how to tie my shoes yet." What would these kids do without velcro!! A few days later she came up to me and asked for a book on how to tie shoes .(she knows I work at a place with books, Intervarsity Press, but somehow I don't think we have anything in the spiritual category of how to tie your shoes) Her reasoning for wanting a book was: once she did learn, she could look back at the book whenever she forgets how to tie her shoes. (cute kid!)

Sounds like us in some ways doesn't it? We go through something and we start thinking too much and we forget what God's Word says and we need to go back to the Bible to remind ourselves. That happened to me last Wednesday night at church as I had one of those destined to be there moments. It only took the first five minutes of my Pastor's teaching to know God had something to say to me right there and then. I felt as small as a mustard seed. I am so thankful God does things like that to remind me that I need to read His Word daily, lest I forget His promises. The Bible is our great how-to-book. Our instruction manual for life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Things My Mother Taught Me.

1. my mother taught me religion-
"You better pray that comes out of the carpet!"
2. my mother taught me time travel-
"If you don't straighten up, I"m going to knock you into the middle of next week!" mother taught me logic-
"Because I said so, that's why!" mother taught me about stamina-
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone!" mother taught me about receiving
"You are going to get it when we get home!"

My mom really taught me to stand in faith, do good to others, and live a holy life. It took me a while to get it, but I finally got it. Thanks, mom!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Say So!

This one comes from one of the Elders and his wife at my church:

Last week one of their cats became sick, they took it to the vet, who couldn't find anything wrong. Then late in evening the cat got progressively worse so they found a 24 hour emergency animal hospital in Aurora (good to know for all of us pet owners!). The hospital ran some tests and said the cat would need to stay and have surgery. As they drove home they did what any Christian pet lover would do, they prayed. That next morning they get a call.. the surgery went well, the cat will be fine. Miracle one.

Happy ending huh? Until they get the bill for 4 thousand dollars! Again, they took their request to the Lord. A couple days later the Elder's wife gets a phone call from her brother. Their mother, who had just recently passed away, had some money in her checking account and the brother didn't want the money to disappear, so he offered the money to his sister. It was only 5 thousand dollars! Miracle two.

So what happened here was their faith triumphed over the situation they were in. God gives us peace in every circumstance because we are able to access His grace through our faith.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jesus Take the Wheel

So..the song that's been stuck in my head lately (happens to us all!!) is Jesus Take the Wheel.

It's the story about a girl on the road to visit her parents on Christmas Eve, she's been running low on faith and had a long, hard year(yeah, it's a country song). Her car skids on some black ice and both her lives flash before her eyes, she then throws her hands in the air and cries out:

Jesus take the wheel, take it from my hands,cause I can't make it on my own, I'm letting go,

so give me one more chance, save me from this road I'm on, Jesus take the wheel..

I think it's one of those songs we can all relate to at one time or another in our life. And the hard part is to let go and let God take control of the wheel. When we do take a detour and try to fix things on our own we will mess it up big time.

When walking the dog one day, I came across some signs posted throughout the neighborhood for a missing dog, the signs read:

Lost dog
ate my shoes, the kids toys, peed on the couch, and dug up the yard.
Still want him back!

In a somewhat similar fashion, God is the same as that family,
no matter what awful things we have done, God still loves us and will welcome us back with open arms. Now that's what I call grace!

When we do feel like moving ahead of God as if He doesn't know what He's doing, or think He's moving way too slow, we need to remind ourselves that God's plan is a perfect plan all the way to completion.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

In Your Eyes

In the mornings at my job at Intervarsity Press I work in a room where, adjacent to the windows is the sidewalk that leads to doggie dog paradise, the park. I already have down pat which dog follows the next:2 terriers in sweaters(aw,how cute), then the schnauzer, then the white bulldog who loves to roll in the grass, then comes the big dogs, the retriever and the boxer.

A couple of weeks ago I saw "Marley and Me" even after being warned of it's painful ending. It wasn't quite as painful as Old Yeller, but yes, it got me good. The movie is based on the books of the same name,the true story of a dog with reckless abandon and the family who owned him. In the end, with the dog lying on the vet's table ready to take his last breaths, the director has the camera concentrating on the dog's eyes. You not only see the old age in his eyes, but learn from his owner that he lived as long and rich a life as a dog could. So lately I've been taking in a more visual glance at the eyes of the dogs I cross paths with day to day. It's funny that you can instantly tell an old dog just by looking at his eyes.

When people look into your eyes, what do they see? Do they see wisdom and understanding? Old, tired eyes? Honesty? Love? More importantly, do they see Christ?

How do we perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror? It is only natural for each of us to first look for our imperfections: blemishes, tangled hair, sideburns even, are my eyebrows okay?

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in the mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (James 1:23,24)

What we need to do is see ourselves as God sees us, not for our imperfections, but for the perfections of Christ that are within us. And to see ourselves that way throughout each and every day.

So, what do you see in your eyes?