What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's Next, Lord?

Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you."

For those of you who have been following the progress of our son Matthew over the past six months or so, you know that we have been anxiously awaiting the results of his latest Pet Scan to determine whether or not he is finished with chemotherapy and if his cancer is finally under control.  Well...the good news is, the cancer is definitely in retreat...but not totally eradicated...he has one more scheduled chemo treatment this coming week, and then he will go back to the specialist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to determine the next step. 

Matthew was able to view his previous two Pet Scans alongside this latest one, and he was definitely able to see the progress that has been made.  He said that the original Pet Scan was extremely scary...it was full of bright red zones...active cancer cells that were glowing like red hot coals throughout his abdominal cavity.  The second scan done after about three months of chemotherapy showed marked improvement...much fewer "hot spots" than before.  And now, after six months of chemo, the most recent scan is more like a burned out campfire, with dying embers disentegrating into ashes.  However, the danger is, if a little wind bellowed up it could reignite those embers back into a raging inferno, so the fire pit must be fully extinguished before it can be abandoned.

The verse quoted above is very comforting...especially the part that states, "When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you."  Even though in this life we often find ourselves in the midst of the fire... and sometimes a raging inferno...we are reminded about Daniel's three companions who were thrown into the belly of the burning fiery furnace because they refused to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar's false god.  The fire was fired up seven times hotter than it was normally heated (Daniel 3:8-30), and they were cast into it bound in their clothing...and even though it was hot enough to totally destroy the men who threw them in there...these three young men were protected and sheltered in the midst of the furnace by the actual presence of the Son of God.  They were brought back out of the fire alive, without even the smell of smoke on their bodies...totally free from any evidence of any flame upon their bodies!

Am I being too literally optimistic to pray and expect that our Matthew will be brought through this fiery trial without a singed spot on his body? Is it even reasonable to expect that he can be completely healed of this rare and deadly disease that has already ravaged and destroyed so many precious children and adults before him?  You may think that I am getting my hopes up way too high and that I will only be hurt in the end.  Well, first of all let me say that I know my Lord and Savior...and I know what He is able to do... just as Shadrach, Meshach and AbedNego answered old King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 16-17 of Daniel Chapter 3 when Nebuchadnezzar had asked them "Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"  They replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But, if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

Yes, I do take God's Word at His Word.  This trial is not only about our son's battle for his physical life, which is precious enough...but it is also about the battle for the soul and spirit of a young man who has stood on the front line of spiritual warfare ever since he was conceived.  His life has been one test after another from day one...those of you who know Matthew know all the battles he has already been through and the victories that God has won on his behalf.  Satan has tried over and over again to quench out his young life and testimony, but GOD has defeated Satan every time.  So what if Matt doesn't survive this battle? Does that mean Satan won and God lost?  No, quite the contrary...whether Matt lives or dies, he belongs to Christ.  His life is secured in the hands of the Almighty...his spirit lives on eternally in victory...so no matter what ...just like those lads in the fiery furnace...our God whom we serve IS able to deliver Matthew from this fiery furnace...but even if He choses not to, his life will go on...and he will be completely healed.  It's a win-win.  He can't lose.

Yes, I pray for Matthew's complete physical healing here on this earth...nothing could make me happier than that.  But I also trust the One Who gave His life for our son...Jesus Christ...our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King.  He will do that which will accomplish His plan in the very best way possible.  Of that I have no doubt or fear.

Photo by Michael Belk, "Journeys With The Messiah" Collection
And that is what gives me complete peace of mind and heart.  I pray that you have that same kind of peace in your heart as well.  If not...ask Jesus to be your deliverer...He will not fail you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I don't know about you, but I am truly glad that the elections are finally over and we are getting back to "normal"...whatever that is! No more obnoxious, negative commercials and seeing who can outdo the other with crass slurs against their opponents. Regardless of your political persuasion and position, I know you have to agree that this pre-election season was a bit of a strain on all of our nerves. Now my hope is that we can agree to pray for our leaders in government and that we can stand united against our common enemies and foes. There is so much more at stake today than worrying about which party has control and who can solve all our country's problems. We need to get on our knees and pray that God will protect and guide all our leaders and give them Godly wisdom so that our nation can continue to exist as One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL! (That's the end of my political speech for today. You may sit back down. :)

I woke up this morning thinking it felt like Christmas since we were getting up so "early" (end of daylight savings time for the winter) and it was so warm and toasty in my bed and so chilly in my house!!

I don't know about you, but I want to celebrate Thanksgiving before I get started on Christmas. In my humble opinion Thanksgiving gets overlooked by too much Christmas commercialism. The stores have already "decked the halls with boughs of holly" and are doing their best to lure us in to buy, buy, buy. I understand that they want to give a "boost" to the economy by giving more pre "black Friday" sales and giving a jumpstart to the Christmas shopping frenzy. And I am certainly in favor of lower prices so I can do my own Christmas shopping...BUT...can we first take some time to pause and be thankful?

Thankful for our health...our own, as well as the health of our family and friends. (Yes! Thank you Lord for Matthew's healing...I claim this by faith today)

  • Thankful for answered prayer on behalf of others.
  • Thankful for our jobs - especially if, like me, you were previously un-employed and God has heard your prayer and given you a job this past year.
  • Thankful for shelter and and clothes and food.
  • Thankful for family, friends, and good neighbors and co-workers
  • Thankful for a year without serious weather problems, i.e., hurricanes, tornadoes, floods...at least for us here in Florida. Others in other parts of the country or world may have had to suffer through some of these things, but are thankful to still be alive and have a place to call home.
  • Thankful for our country...even with all of its problems, it is still the best place to live in the whole world.
  • Thankful for our military...for the sacrifices they are making on our behalf...securing freedom not only for our nation, but for others around the world who would never have had a chance at freedom had it not been for our men and women in uniform giving up their lives for them.
  • Most of all, I am thankful for Jesus, my Lord and Savior, Who made the greatest sacrifice of all for all of humanity...He gave up His life so that we might have eternal life...forever and ever, to live with Him in heaven...there is no greater gift than this. And the best part of this gift is that it is FREE!

Romans 5: 1-8 says,

  • "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.
  •  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
  •  Perseverance - Character
  •  Character - Hope
  • Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
  • For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Yes, I know that I have much for which to be thankful today. Why don't we all start preparing for Thanksgiving by listing these things and giving God the glory due His Name? This kind of holiday preparation doesn't cost a single cent...it only gives back to you the overwhelming sense of joy and thankfulness and peace. Joy in realizing just how much God has done for us...Thankfulness for the gifts we did not deserve, and peace of heart and mind and soul...knowing that just as God has provided and cared for us thus far, He will continue to do so in the future...both now and for eternity! Hallelujah! Praise His Name!!! Amen!

Now...are YOU ready for Thanksgiving? Actually, that even helps me to get really ready for Christmas...the true Christmas...but that is another whole story that we'll talk about a little later...after Thanksgiving...