Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I can do all things?

20170328_101648 (768x1024)When we were back on Guam, my son Mike and I preached and discussed a series of sermons on the most misunderstood verses of scripture. We were pretty much in agreement that the most misunderstood verse in scripture is Philippians 4:13. As with most misunderstood versus, it's often divorced from its context, especially verse 12. I call it “the Tim Tebow verse” (I don’t know whether Tim Tebow actually interprets at this way. He just had it written on his face while he was playing NFL football.) This is not an “I Believe I Can Fly” verse that says I can do anything I want and God will give me the strength to do it. In context, the verse means that I can handle anything, that God allows to come my way, with the strength of Christ, applied by the Spirit. When Paul wrote this verse he was incarcerated by the Romans. He was guarded by Roman soldiers and may have even been chained to them or chained to a table. (That's something I can relate to a little bit as I feel a bit chained to a nephrostomy bag.) Basically what Paul is saying is that he can handle the good things in life and the bad things in life, because God promises that the Holy Spirit will provide Christ’s strength to accomplish what God wants to do in my life through these situations. It may not look like “health, wealth, and success” but it will accomplish God’s plan to produce His image in us.

What I've been thinking about lately is how God applies strength in these situations. I'm definitely going through one of the most difficult times of my life over the last 4-5 months, and I have seen God apply his strength to me in a lot of different ways. One of the primary ways that God has applied strength to me is through his people that are surrounding me and praying for me all over the world..I don't know how many times I've received a perfect email, text, or a card that meant so much to me and picked me up just at the right time.I often find my devotional times “jump off the page” and speak exactly to what I'm facing. The word of God has taken on a very precious meaning to me and been a tremendous encouragement.Sometimes it's a feeling that's hard to define. God's presence surrounds me in a way that I just know that he's going to get me through it. I know that seems very subjective, but sometimes that's the way life is. I pray for healing every day and I know people everywhere have been praying for me for the same thing. God continues to tell me to wait and be patient, but I'm confident that he has a good plan for this whole situation. And, hey, that confidence itself comes from God and is part of the fulfillment of this promise of strength in all situations.

Just a little update on my situation: I'm in the second day after my third round of chemotherapy. Again, thank God, the side effects have been pretty minimal. I got a few hot flashes and one sleepless night, but overall I'm feeling pretty good for somebody in chemotherapy. Joyce and I met with a lymphedema massage therapist yesterday. We learned a lot about how to mitigate edema symptoms and I'm hoping to get an edema massage soon. Hopefully, that will help bring the swelling down.We are scheduled to get a PET scan around May 12th to see how things are going reducing the swelling in the lymph nodes and killing off the T cell lymphoma cancer. We appreciate your prayers. We know God is working in our lives. Thank you and we will keep you updated as we continue to move through this adventure

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