Wednesday, April 28, 2010

People ask if I am "healed?"

4/2/ 2010

The news was better than I even expected. There is virtually no sign of my leukemia and yet I can not call my self healed. My type of cancer is incurable, that is a strange thought. Much like sin itself. Jesus takes my sins away, all of them, past, present and future and yet the incurable sin remains. Sometimes it is not even recognizable sometimes it is eating through my whole being.

I seemingly have been spared for another length of time. I asked my doctor if the aggressiveness of my type of CLL would affect the length of the remission and he said that is shouldn't at all. It had been almost three years exactly from the time I was diagnosed until I needed my first treatment. Dr. Gross, (my doctor) said he didn't think it should effect it at all. I asked if he thought I could have at least three more years before my next treatment and he said it could even be more. Those of us that have incurable diseases know the Russian Roulette type feeling that comes with medical check ups i.e. "will this be the time that the numbers are growing too fast or too aggressively.

I am very grateful and yet there are parts of me that wonder. What do I really need to be doing with this time. What is good stewardship of my time. How far have I missed what God had in mind when he created me. Pray for direction and be thankful..

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When questions come?

I haven't written much lately and this will not be long but I feel like I must keep you in-the-loop as they say. I have a big day tomorrow 3/31, I am going to Fargo for a bone marrow biopsy. This test will tell my doctor if the treatments I have taken have worked as effectively in my bone marrow as in my blood and blood organs. I am allowing myself to believe that this test will also be positive and if so I will only have one more round of chemo instead of three.

Surely I am not much different than most when it comes to wanting less of the chemo than first suggested but it does cause me to think about it. My life has been blessed in most ways and the problems in my life are nearly all self initiated. I think about healing and why, and why me though not in the negative sense but more like why am I being spared. Tomorrow will be one of those days.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is Heaven Really Going to Be Worth It

The following is basically taken from Lacado's book 3:16. He talks about heaven and gives this analagy from a true story. John Todd was orphaned at a young age and his aunt agreed to take him in, love him and raise him. This is John Todd's account of his approaching his new homef, he wondered if someone would be up and waiting for him. A servant had gone to pick him up and take him to his aunts house .... "Sure enough, as they neared the house, John saw the lighted window and his aunt standing in the doorway. When he reached the porch, she kissed him and said, "Welcome home!"

John Todd grew up in his aunt's care and became a pastor. Years later, she sent news of her impending death. Here's his reply: My Dear Aunt,Years ago, I left a house of death, not knowing where I was going. The ride was long, but the servant encouraged me. Finally I arrived to a new home and your embrace. I was expected; I felt safe.Now your turn has come. I'm writing to tell you Someone's waiting up, your room's all ready, the light's on, the door's open, and you're expected!

As are you. Jesus is preparing for you a place. A perfect place of perfected people with the perfect Lord. And at the right time he'll come and take you home.

I want to live as long as I can on earth, as I said I pray for length of days but there is something that makes me look heaven ward. If we are Christians, this is really not our home, heaven is our home. Lucado goes on to describe heaven like this.... "The gates will never be closed (21:25). For the enemies of God will be banished (21:27). Satan won't lurk in heaven's gardens as he did in the Garden of Eden (22:3). Just think what he's taken from you, even in the last few hours. You worried about a decision, dreaded a conversation, and resented an interruption.
But in heaven, you'll be you at your best forever. You catch occasional glimpses of your heavenly self when you change your baby's diaper, forgive your boss's temper, tolerate your spouse's moodiness. Others will be at their prime, too. Now bad moods infect the best of families. Complaints shadow the clearest of days. But in heaven, all gossip excised and jealousy extracted, no one will doubt your word or speak evil behind your back. Christ's completed redemptive work will discontinue all strife.

I don't know about you but there are times I think about "life-after-life" and wonder how good it can be. Will it be a eternally long church service (I hope not) I have already been through a couple of those or will it really be something that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart (or mind) of those who truly love Me." And I have a really good imaginatioin.... More from Lucado on heaven. "No sin also means no boredom. You won't be bored in heaven because you won't be the same you in heaven. Boredom emerges from soils that heaven disallows. The soil of weariness (your eyes tire), mental limitations (information overload dulls you), tedium (meaningless activity siphons your vigor). But Satan will take these weedy soils to hell, leaving you with a keen mind, endless focus, and God-honoring assignments.
Yes, you'll have assignments in heaven. God gave Adam and Eve garden responsibilities (
Genesis 1:26). He mantled the couple with leadership over the earth (v. 26) and placed Adam in the garden "to tend and keep it" (2:15, NKJV). Adam and his descendants will serve God again (Revelation 22:3). And what is service if not responsible activity?
You might serve in the capacity you serve now. Couldn't earthly assignments hint at heavenly ones? You may be a chef on Saturn or a mural designer for the New Jerusalem. God might fill heaven with plants and animals and entrust you with the care and feeding of an Africa or two.
Increase will mark this new world. You might oversee the orbit of a distant planetary system or monitor the expansion of a new species. "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end" (
Isaiah 9:7, NKJV). Increased planets? Colors? Music? Seems likely.
And the attributes of God will increasingly stun. His grace and wisdom will progressively astound. God is so rapt with wonders that their viewing requires an eternity. And this is his invitation: "When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am" (
John 14:3, NLT).

Just reminding you as I remind myself that we have a great wonderment to look forward to. We have more to look forward to than we can imagine. Thanks be to God for his grace, mercy and his building me a heavenly home.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Do We Do With Good News.

2/8/2010 – (This could be a little lengthy) What do we do with good news? Before I knew that I was going to start treatments, Jan and I had planned to go on a week-long Caribbean cruise that Jan had earned through her work. We were looking forward to it mostly because in our 25 years of marriage Jan has wanted to do this as a life quest and goal. I was very happy for her and for myself as a “significant other.”

I knew the cruise was going to take away a full week of school and I had saved up most of the trip in personal days but then the news came at Christmas that I would have to start treatments it meant three days of treatments a month for six months. These days would always be during school, in Fargo, which meant missing a lot of school which I am not used to doing. I felt like I needed to tell my administration immediately and without hesitation they said, “Now you defiantly need to go.” I was indeed gratified.

We wrapped the treatments around our cruise and so the week we were cruising, was the final week before my second treatment. We did this so that I had the best chance of feeling as good as possible and it indeed worked well. I felt great, ate well, enjoyed the Caribbean and had pretty good energy, all without knowing how affective my first round of chemo had been. I was suppose to have done some blood work in between treatments to monitor the effectiveness but I just didn’t do them. Knowing or not knowing didn’t seem to be important; I felt good and was looking forward to our time away.

We left mounds of white sand and arrived in mounds of white snow, about an 85 degree swing in a period of six hours. We arrived back in Fargo on Sunday night and I had to be at the Roger Maris Cancer Center at 7:30 in the morning for blood work prior to my second round of treatment and to see my oncologist, Dr. Gross. The temperature swing would not be the biggest turnaround.

Not knowing over what time period and how exactly the chemo works I was hoping for a significant drop in the numbers that were giving all of us the greatest concern, such as white blood count (WBC). Most normal readings would be in the 4000-9000 range. WBC’s are the cells that fight disease and a heightened WBC count would indicate a immune system reaction. When I started treatments my WBC was 92,000, my body was at full war with my cancer and not keeping up.

As I sat down with my cancer doctor her looked at me and smiled slightly and said, “This treatment really worked, all of your numbers are back in the normal range. If a doctor were to look at these numbers he would never know that you had cancer.” I was stunned, my WBC was back to 5000, my platelet counts were normal, liver, kidney, spleen size and function are seemingly back to normal. I teared a little and muttered to my doctor, “this is a thank you Jesus moment” and he agreed.

My tears and thoughts were out of gratitude and wonder. This was the first time since I was diagnosed with cancer that I said, “Why me?” I truly wondered why God had shown his great mercy to me with the effectiveness of the treatment. Now this was no pronouncement of a “cure” but it was indeed the best news I could have gotten. Since the treatment had worked so seemingly well I asked him why I needed five more sets of treatment and he said, “the treatment seemingly has worked very well on the blood and the blood organs but reaching the bone marrow will take more treatments.” But he did go on to say that he felt like I had a better than 50-50 chance of being able to stop chemo after just four treatments. This depending on a bone marrow biopsy following my third treatment, if the bone marrow shows the same kind of reduced WBC numbers I will only have four treatments.

Back to the why me, I truly yet have never had a sense that my cancer was somehow unfair. As a matter of fact I have felt like more often that I have probably been living on borrowed time to some degree. When I was younger I kind of lived my life with the “I’d rather burn out than rust” mentality. As I have often said with both pleasure and regret, “I have done just about anything you can imagine, and some things you can’t imagine.” And here out of God’s graciousness He has seemingly granted me more “length of days.”

My father was truly one of the Godliest men I have ever known. He was saved early in life and never deviated from his walk with the Lord. I never heard him swear, he never drank, smoked, played cards, and only danced unrythemicly with my mother when in an intimate embrace, he read his Bible daily with my mother, he was active in church, he was truly by my standards “a man of God.”

One time after disappointing him with some under-age celebrating he said to me, “I just don’t see what you get out of that. I smoked just once in my life and I never had a drink.” Wow I thought in my youthfulness, is that possible or even healthy and it certainly was not living life to the fullest. I have fought against the feelings of legalism my whole life, sometimes while in great sin and sometimes in periods of great spiritual depth. But my father never struggled with that, it’s just what the Lord wanted him to do and he did it without question and to be a good testimony to his neighbors and friends that having Jesus in your life really does make a difference.

What should my response be? Reading the Acts of the Apostles chapter 3 gave me a little insight. In this chapter Peter and John have been empowered by the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ ascension as He had promised. While heading to the temple to speak with power they encounter a 40 year old cripple beggar who they heal who then starts praising Jesus and these men. Of course this causes the religious to be threatened and demand to know under whose authority these men speak and heal and their response is simple and powerful and needs to be the letterhead for all thoughts about who or how people can be saved.

They were jailed that night because 5000 people had heard their message and been saved. Peter and John were brought before the Jewish Council and some of the same men who had questioned Jesus were again leading the questions, Annas the High Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander and other relative (Acts 4:5) and they were asked this question, “By what power, or by whose authority have you done this?” Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit said “… v10 let me clearly state to you and to all that this was done in the name of Jesus…….. even though you yourselves tried to kill Him (Jesus)…. Let it be stated again (the greatest and most powerful statement of fact in world history) Acts 4:11-12 For Jesus the Messiah is a stone discarded by the builders which became the capstone of the arch.12: There is salvation in no one else! Under all heaven there is NO other name for men to call upon to save them.” (physically or spiritually) Oh He heals indeed but even more so He saves eternally.

Just like the chemo mentioned earlier, Jesus has entered my life and continues to kill the spiritual cancer cells in my life, it is a life-long quest of the Holy Spirit to get those sins out of my very marrow but Praise be to Jesus, I'm healed whether He heals me of cancer or not for I have cried out to Him and he has saved me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Afraid of Believing

1/27/2010 I was reading the end of John. chapter 19: 38-end and something struck me, two seemingly unlikely people took care of Jesus' body when He was crucified. There had been thousands of believers who had followed Jesus as he taught them. The Bible is full of accounts of passionate conversions and yet where were they? His discples had seen Him calm seas, healed the lame, the deaf, the dumb, tele-transport from a shore to a boat in the middle of a sea, raise others from the dead,where were they? If Jesus ever wanted someone to believe in Him it was when He had fulfilled His own prophecy and died. I don't see His disciples stepping up to claim Jesus, who steps up to claim Jesus?

Jesus is dead, the resurrection has not yet happened, the great miracle giving teacher who had given literal life to literal dead was now Himself dead. Yet who steps up to claim the body of the most controversial person on the face of the earth, in spite of knowing they would probably be shunned or even killed for stepping up to claim the dead body of Jesus? Was it John, or Matthew, or Simon Peter no it was Joseph of Arimathea a secret believer and Nicodemus, the one who came to Him in the darkness and also believed. Two run to the tomb and one waits outside afraid to go in but once he went in he too believed. These are people that God chose to mention by name in the holy scriptures to be remembered and read by all of mankind until He indeed comes again.

I hope to identify better with these guys that are unsure, afraid, and really don't know what to do but some how seem to do the right thing at the toughest times. They risked it all and God rewarded them with faith and Godly adoration. They weren't perfect, they asked tough questions but like me I hope, when it gets to where the rubber-meets-the-road their riding with Jesus... so am I if He'll will take me and He promised me and everyone else that He will accept all, even me. I too ran up to the tomb and looked in, I wanted to believe, I hesitated, I went in and I believed. Thank you Jesus. (By the way, when I went in He let me know that He was alive)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Healed of Being Healed

1/24/2010 I've never seen anybody "truly" healed. There are many miraculous examples of people being healed of life-long disease and disability and many first-hand accounts of the same, but me personally....

Now if you think for one moment that I don't believe that God can heal or that He still is not providing healing miracles, you are wrong. I just believe that for the most part God has not chosen that avenue to show and declare His Glory. Maybe in this day of parlor-tricks which are so inventive, (disappearing airplanes, the Statue of Liberty, and such and then the possibly demon influenced modern day illusionist's acts of "walking on water, full levitation, floating down the side of multi-story buildings, stepping through a glass door, etc) I and others have become a bit jaded.

My jadedness, or unbelief, is probably not much different than those who will not accept what God the Trinity has done. They want to believe, they know others who believe, they have heard testimony of a "spiritual healing" and yet for them they will not allow themselves to believe that Jesus and Jesus alone "is the way the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the Father BUT BY HIM. Really, we all want to get to heaven, we just want to get there on our own terms.

I pray for my healing and I know there are many of you who pray for my healing, please keep praying... and believe me if I go for a checkup and this incurable disease can not be seen or recognized in my body.. to the glory of God there will be many, maybe thousands who will hear about it, but if not...? I still hope there will be thousands who hear about it because I believe in God and His power, not because he can heal me physically, I trust God and am trusting God because He has "healed me of needing to be healed." My wife Jan is reading a book for the third or fourth time called You Gotta Keep Dancing by Tim Hansel I believe. His book came after a terrible rock climbing fall that spared his life but gave him unimaginable amounts of pain and suffering. He prayed for healing also but finally was "healed of needing to be healed."

Finding depth in the glory of God that he would have never found had he not fallen was now worth every painful and tortured step. He (and I) realize that when God shows you Himself in an intimate way, there is nothing like it. Would I trade physical healing for the uncertainty of an eternal life with God the Trinity... not a chance. God has "healed" me because He has shown me clearly that "Jesus is the way... the only way... and I have been given just glimpses of God's glory and it is enough... I have been "healed" spiritually... so I really am "healed of needing to be healed." A gazillion years of heavenly glory and bliss or a physical life filled with wanton pleasure and spiritual ignorance.... give me Jesus. How do I know? God has shown me just a peak of His Glory and it is enough for me to make that choice freely...To God be the glory.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Praying for Myself

1/20/2010 John 17: says that Jesus prayed for Himself and said, "Glorify your Son so that I can glorify the Father. ... and this is the way to have eternal life... to know you the only true God and Jesus Christ the one you sent to earth." What a glorious thought but what does it mean to know God and to know Jesus well enough to "have eternal life?"

Old example still holds some weight. Most people will say they know God or they might say they know about Him but is that enough, some might even say believe in God... isn't that enough... the Bible says... believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and though shalt be saved... so we have to believe but we must have enough faith to trust what we believe to save us... how much belief how much faith?

Back to old example...... I can watch a tight rope walker pushing a wheel barrel across Niagara Falls. I can watch it, I can see it with my own eyes, I can believe what I saw but faith .....would have me get in the wheel barrel. Don't let satan lie to you don't let him lie to me... get in the wheel barrel and get in often... daily is best but, like Jesus I must pray for myself, I can do nothing on my own.