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Thursday, October 27, 2005
God's Daily Gift
"...seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things...For in Him we live, and move, and have our being..." Acts 17:25, 28

Yesterday the doctor's office called with a preliminary report on the CT scan. They said it was a "stable exam, no new bleeding." We will have to wait until next Monday (chemo day) to discuss it further with the doctor. We were both a little frustrated at not having a more clear answer to why he is having pain. Then a friend reminded us of something that really should give everyone cause for praise: in spite of the unknowns, Malcom is doing pretty good! He's living, breathing, walking around. Indeed, every day that any one of us has life and breath is a good day! For it is the Lord who ordains that this day is another day of life for me or you. Ah! When we begin to count our blessing of THIS DAY we find that not only can we rejoice in that we have life and breath, but we have an abundance of other things in which to say "Thank you, Lord!" A simple, yet powerful lesson. Lord, may I awake every day with praise on my lips to You who graciously gifts all things.

posted at 11:53 PM  

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
A Prepared Heart
"For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it..." Ezra 7:10

Living by faith doesn't just happen. It isn't about putting my heart and mind in neutral and then just "go with the flow." No, it takes preparation. One does not accidentally trust God. Instead, like Ezra, I must make a conscious decision to prepare my heart to seek Him. Not only that but also to act upon those things He teaches me. This is especially difficult since I don't see the whole picture as He does. I do see pieces of the picture, though.

As I contemplate this idea, I am reminded of the jigsaw puzzle that lays on the table in the reception area at the doctor's office. This morning while Malcom was having some blood drawn for lab work, I sat down and looked over the puzzle. So far, only the frame and a few scattered areas have been assembled. Because of past experience working this type of puzzle, I'm sure all the pieces fit somewhere, even though it appears chaotic now. By concentrating on one area, within just a few minutes I had joined together 8 or 10 pieces. My walk of faith is similar. With a prepared, determined heart, I will focus on the pieces of the puzzle God gives me to work with. By faith I trust God to complete the picture in His time.

Malcom needs your prayer this week. He is experiencing pain in his abdomen. The doctor has ordered a CT scan to be done tomorrow. Though our hearts naturally tend to fear, we want to trust the Lord no matter the outcome.

Praise the Lord Mike and his friend, Paul, attended church with us last night. Today Mike had a chemo treatment. The doctor says while his leukemia is not in remission yet, he has improved a lot. Thanks for praying for his physical and spiritual healing too.

posted at 12:06 AM  

Friday, October 21, 2005
Stand and Fight!
Ps 68:11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

At my first reading of this verse I thought I had found a great missions text for a new sermon. As I started an in depth study of the verse I discovered the historical context and the meaning of a key Hebrew word, the word translated “company.” Here is what I learned.

During the Wilderness Wanderings and the Conquest of Canaan, when the enemies of Israel approached the camp of God’s people, the people would prepare for battle. God is directing his army, so the army awaits his word! Finally, God gives the word, “Now! The time to fight has arrived!” How would this word be passed to the hundreds of thousands of warriors? The “company” was called to duty. This “company” in the Hebrew is actually the choir. The choir of Israel was made up of Miriam and the singing women of Israel. They would rush through the camp to roust out the warriors, calling them to battle!

In our battle, my first knowledge of the enemy (cancer) brought dread, confusion, fear and at times even terror. I did what I could to prepare for the battle even though I understood little about it. Then the word came from the Lord, “Now is the time to stand up and fight.” This word did not first come to me, but to my singer, my choir member, my wife, Carol. She began to publish the word, first to me, then to others. Each day she would write a verse on the white board in my hospital room. Each new verse was written to me, to encourage me to stand and fight!

Then our daughter Amy suggested publishing these daily verses on a blog, so that others could see my progress and needs and could join in the fight. You know the result, you are reading it!

Today, I am recovering from the latest round of chemo. I am dealing with the mouth and throat sores, fatigue and neuropathy. I am so glad that I have not suffered from the nausea and other side-effects.

We thank God for each one of you warriors who stand with us in this fight. Most of all, I thank God for Carol, my singer, who daily calls me to courage and faith and helps me to stand and fight.

posted at 11:59 AM  

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Deliverance from fear
"I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4

Recently I filled out one of those "getting to know me" questionnaires that circulates from time to time among email friends. Most of the questions are silly superficial information, but there was one question that really made me stop and think. It asked, "What one thing do you fear the most?" I've heard it said that most of the things one fears or worries about never happens. Even though that is probably true, it doesn't negate the fact that there are things that cause great fear to rise up in the heart. Oh how Satan likes to take advantage of the thing we fear the most, use that thing to paralyze us spiritually! Truly, sometimes I need to be delivered from my fears. It's another piece in the puzzle of "learning to trust." I praise God that when I am able to identify my fear, I can seek Him in prayer, He will hear me and deliver me.

The 5th chemotherapy treatment is done now and Malcom is feeling the typical fatigue. We continually praise God, though, because he keeps improving. His CEA level (tumor marker) is down to 75. The doctor is optimistic that perhaps in another month of so he may be able to add a drug that is part of a clinical trial. Please pray with us that God's hand will guide in this decision.

posted at 11:45 PM  

Sunday, October 16, 2005
Another good thing
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High." Psalm 92:1

We are joyful for the blessings of the Lord and answered prayer. While searching for a verse to use, I found another "good" thing...and this one isn't hard to do today! It's a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord. An early morning email brought news of a successful "Friend Day" in our Taiwan church. Attendance was doubled, there were many visitors, and best of all 2 souls saved! Praise God!! What an encouragement that must be to our people there. I know it encourages us here to see God's work moving forward. This same Psalm in verse 4 expresses my feelings exactly: "For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands."

Malcom begins his 5th chemotherapy treatment in the morning (October 17). It will last about 50 hours. Thanks for your prayers for him.

posted at 4:41 PM  

Friday, October 14, 2005
Bold faith
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Last night I was encouraged by a pastor's prayer. He said something like this: "God, I come to you with a bold request, that you will heal Bro. Malcom completely and restore him to the ministry you've called him to do."

I wonder why it is that some people are afraid to ask such a thing of God? Many times we take our requests to Him, go through the motions of asking for something all the while deep down inside we aren't really sure God will do that thing we request. And just in case He doesn't, we tag on "...if it's Your will" in order to cover all the bases. Okay, don't get me wrong...I know we are to pray according to God's will and for His will to be accomplished. But let's not use that as an excuse to pray with anything less than bold faith! It's absolutely acceptable to take a risk and believe God will do something specific. After all, we are encouraged by God Himself to go boldly to the throne of grace. In this manner, we will find mercy and grace in our time of need.

Here are a few requests to exercise bold faith on:
---Complete healing for Malcom. He is doing very well. Next chemo, Oct. 17.
---Salvation of our friend, Mike.
---This coming Sunday, Oct. 16, is "Friend Day" at our church in Taiwan (Dali Faith Baptist). Pray for the attendance to double and for someone to be saved.

posted at 12:10 AM  

Monday, October 10, 2005
Drawing near to God
"But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works." Psalm 73:28

Sometimes I am amused by Malcom's reaction to taking his supplements. He's never been one to take much medicine, so it is a chore for him to daily submit to all the pills, powders, teas, etc. that I give him. His good sense of humor is a help. He has funny names for every thing he takes. At times, when he is weary of it all, I remind him "just take it, it's good for you!" Even the dreaded chemotherapy is good for him, because it is killing the cancer cells.

In an earlier entry (August 12) I considered a verse that said it is good for me to both hope and wait patiently for the Lord. Tonight, I find another verse that shows me something else that is good for me: to draw near to God. I have read this before and said to myself, "I know it is good for me and I am willing to do so." Little did I realize the way to draw near to God is not always simple and painless. The path is sometimes hard going, I falter at times and I question God's purposes. At times it seems too painful, but other times the way eases. I am able to rest, look back at where I began and how far I've come and I see clearly that indeed, it has been good for me to draw near to God.

I really feel sometimes that I am on a journey of sorts. I do not know where it will lead me or when it will end. But this I know: I have put my trust in the Lord God.

We have enjoyed a weekend with most of our family around us...all but our oldest daughter were here. It was one of those times that God just put together and we have thoroughly enjoyed the children and grandchildren. Malcom is doing well. He has a week "break" from the chemo. Continue to pray for our friend, Michael, who is not doing so well right now.

posted at 1:24 AM  

Friday, October 07, 2005
It's not fair!
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

This is a wonderful verse full of promise and often quoted. I wonder how many people realize that it follows a whole section of verses on the subject of suffering? Peruse chapter eight of Romans and you'll find samplings like this: "...if so be that we suffer with him..." (vs 17) "...the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (vs 18) "For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now." (vs. 23) ...the Spirit helpeth our infirmities..." (vs. 26)

It seems that pain and suffering are really just a given. Is it fair that we should suffer? The human side of us wants to say, "No! it's not fair! I deserve better." But what I see here causes me to realize that it would be unfair not to suffer. The whole of God's creation inherited the consequences of sin. God in His fairness offers a glimmer of hope--to cause ALL things to result in good. Asking "Why me?" accuses God of being unfair because I perceive myself to be special. "Why not me?" recognizes that I am the same as others and I must trust God to work out His perfect purpose through it. God lets the sun rise on the good and evil, sends rain on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) None of us is guaranteed to be exempt from trials, but we are assured of His help in time of need.

Please continue to pray for Malcom as he tries to rebound from the chemo treatment this week. The typical side affects are there, but bearable and hopefully will diminish in the next couple of days.

Our friend, Michael, made it through the port insertion procedure just fine. Thank you so much for your prayers. As you continue to pray, we will continue to demonstrate Christ's love to him.

posted at 12:27 AM  

Monday, October 03, 2005
In Awe of His Love
"And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians 3:19

I am in awe of God's love. Reading through His Word searching for nuggets of truth and encouragement, I am almost overwhelmed once again at His love for me and His desire to draw me into a more intimate relationship with Himself. Sometimes I'm so "busy" that I don't take time to just reflect on the greatness of His love. Then I read a passage such as Ephesians 3:16-19. Here I find God is most concerned about the inner me. Vs. 16 speaks of being strengthend with might by His Spirit in the inner man. Vs. 17 speaks of being rooted and grounded in love through Christ who dwells in me by faith and then verses 18-19 draws it altogether by exhorting me (with all saints--that's you!) to search out the magnitude of Christ's love for us in order to know Him better. Meditating on God's love fills my entire being with a sweet fragrance of thankfulness and adoration.

A couple of weeks ago a dear friend sent a postcard with this poem:

I take Thy hand and fears grow still;
Behold Thy face, and doubts remove;
Who would not yield his wavering will
To perfect Truth and boundless Love?

A quick update: Malcom is starting his 4th round of chemotherapy this morning. We are encouraged by his weekly progress. This morning's blood work levels were all excellent. Your prayers are working.

Our friend, Michael, is having a port put in his head today. This is a dangerous procedure. Understandably, he is anxious. Please pray for God's protection and that Mike will recognize God's working on his behalf.

posted at 11:48 AM