Saturday, October 4, 2008

What a Friend We Have...

I'm doing a new bible study. I can't tell you the title or author, because the author has a little thing on her PC that alerts her when people write about her and she comes over and reads it and possibly even responds to it. It's Saturday night, and I'm just not up for that kind of pressure, but if you want to know the details, Sue J blogged about it here. So you can click over to read Sue's thoughts on the book.

This week the author is challenging us to think of God as a friend. I have to admit, I think of God as ruler, authority, king and judge, but friend? Not so much. Hey, it's just me & God hanging out. We're going to Starbucks and chat.

But really, what are the characteristics of a friend? Someone you want to hang out with? Isn't that exactly what God desires from us, a relationship, that we should want to be with him, hang out with him, spend time with him? How about someone you can talk to about your troubles? Psalm 147 tells us God heals the brokenhearted. Another thing a friend will do, a really good friend, will tell you when you're wrong. God tells us this because he loves us and wants us to do right. He doesn't shame us, or hold grudges. He forgives us.

John 15:13 tells us "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." I don't know how many of my friends who lay down their life for me, but my friend Jesus would and did so that I may spend eternity with him. That isn't just a friend. That is a best friend.

And so today, for Amy's Then Sings My Soul Saturday, the song I am thinking of is Redeemer, Savior, Friend. The chorus says "Redeemer, redeem my heart again. Savior, come and shelter me from sin. You're familiar with my weakness. Devoted to the end. Redeemer, Savior, Friend."

So today, I'm thankful for my friend, Jesus.

John 15:14, 15 -- (Jesus said) You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Joey - Part 2 - What Happens When Satan Attacks

On Monday, you read about Joey. (If not, you can click his name, and go back and read it.) All my friends already know the story of Joey. When I run into someone I haven't seen in years, one of the first questions they often ask is "How's Joey?" Everyone knew all about Joey. He was on everyone's prayer list, the topic of constant conversation. At his school, everyone knew Joey. And everyone loved Joey.

But there is another part to the "Joey Story" that few people know. It is the story of what happens when Satan attacks. You see, my sister ET was the first of the sisters to get Jesus. ADHD-Jo and I were more passive believers at this point. But not ET. She was welcomed in a church that loved her. She joined a bible study. She had been sprinkled as a child, but was immersed to show her personal commitment to Christ. She was living in Florida at the time.

She moved home to Virginia, much to our delight, and planned on finding a new church right away. But then Joey got sick. All of her time was spent on visiting doctors and trying to get her son healthy. Once he was given his diagnosis, ET's faith was shattered. I'd ask her about it and she'd say "God and I aren't on speaking terms right now." Obviously she still believed in God on some level, but her spiritual life ended. Her husband totally renounced God calling him "one mean {expletive deleted}" for what God did to his son. Nothing could convince him otherwise.

It has been 8 years since Joey got sick and ET has not been back to church since. But nothing is impossible with God. ET has a daughter who is 10. And she wants to go to church. She has been to church with us many times and is asking her mom to take her. The bible says "a little child will lead them."

There has to be some fear involved. Imagine if the first time you gave your life to God, Satan attacked you. Would you be able to fight off the attack? Would you be willing to go back to God again? None of us can say for sure what we would do, if we haven't been in that situation. But I know God can turn things meant for evil into good.

Will you pray today for ET & family? Thank you.

Dear Lord, this family has been through so much. And you have been there with them the whole time. You know exactly what they went through, even more so as you did lose your son, who died on the cross. Yet, you have protected them, and you have allowed Joey to be healed. Thank you. Now I ask in your mercy to heal ET as well, that she may open her heart to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One Month to Live

Thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday from 2nd Cup of Coffee. If you're new here - thanks for coming back!

On Monday, I blogged about my nephew Joey who was given five years to live. (To catch up on this story, click HERE.)

What would you do differently if you had only 30 days to live? This is the premise behind the New York Times bestseller One Month to Live by Kerry and Chris Shook. I haven't read the book, but it looks intriguing, and is the subject of a meme hosted by Gerry, that I read about at Mommy Accountability.

When my sister was told her son only had five years to live (when he was 5 yrs old), she originally planned to not send him to school. She didn't see the point, she wanted to spend every second with him. Her husband intervened and insisted that she allow Joey to have as normal a life as possible. Imagine if she hadn't sent him to school? He now goes to a special school for the gifted and is in honors classes at the gifted school! He plans to go to MIT. Luckily, she made a wise decision, with the help of her husband.

A couple of weeks ago my favorite show (House) had its season premier. I'd had it on my calendar for weeks - Tuesday night at 9 on Fox. On that Tuesday night, I turned on the TV five minutes early so I wouldn't miss one second...except the network had moved the show to 8, so I only saw the last five minutes. I was so upset. Somehow I think if I had only 30 days to live, I wouldn't have cared. I wouldn't even be watching TV!

How would your life and mine be different if we only had one month to live? What would you do? Who would you reconcile with? How would you act differently?

I know that I'd hug my husband goodbye each morning as he left for work, holding him just a bit longer, rather than calling out "have a nice day!" over my shoulder as he walks out the door. It I'd spend more time with my kids, less time on the computer.

The bible tells us we don't know what hour the end times will arrive. We could all be called home tomorrow. We could have a tragic accident two weeks from now. We could live to be an elderly person.

It's something to think about, isn't it? What would you do in your life differently if you only had one month to live? And why don't you start doing it today?

James 4:14 -- Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Matthew 24:42-44 -- Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 -- Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

See What I'm Saying?

Thanks for visiting! A special welcome to new visitors coming over from 2nd Cup of Coffee, so you can SEE WHAT I'M SAYING.

A couple of things you should know before viewing. First, Linda (2nd Cup) loves musicals. So this is for her. Second, I take no responsibility for breaking glass or ear drums as a result of my singing.

So without further ado, please SEE WHAT I'M SAYING...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Joey - Nothing is Impossible With God

"He only has 5 years to live...he'll need a double lung transplant."

This photo is of my nephew Joey & me, 10 years ago when he was 3. Joey was my baby. Not by birth, but I didn't have any children yet, and my sister (ET) was very generous in letting me keep him. He'd spend the night at my house and I'd do all the things you'd never do with your own kids, like feed him too much sugar, buy him too many toys and let him stay up late and watch TV.

When Joey was 4, he started getting easily winded. Just walking from his home to the car in the driveway, he'd need to stop and rest. He started to wake up nights, crying "My belly hurts!" and then collapsing into what appeared to be a seizure. My sister, ET, began visiting doctor after doctor. Each time she'd return to her primary care for another referral, only to be told "we can't find anything wrong with your son." Joey continued to get worse.

Finally one day the primary physician said "Perhaps you should take him to see a psychiatrist." My sister refused. She knew something was physically wrong with her son. She requested to visit a specialty hospital and got yet another referral.

At the specialty hospital, the dr examined Joey and said they needed to immediately go to another hospital that had a better Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). My sister, having been put off for 8 months now asked if they could go home first and pack a bag. The dr looked her in the eye and said "Your son is very sick. We are going to medi-flight him to the hospital, because we don't know if he can survive an ambulance ride." Probably first the relief hit my sister "Finally someone realizes there is something wrong with my son." Then immediately and swiftly "Oh God, no, don't let anything be wrong with my son."

Joey was taken to another hospital where he spent 3 weeks in PICU. His diagnosis was Pulmonary Hypertension, a lung disease that effects the heart. He would need a lung transplant and probably had 5 years to live. He was 5 yrs old by now, that would mean he might make it to age 10.

Our lives were changed forever during that time. There were many near death experiences for Joey, who lived on a portable life support system. Many times he inadvertently ripped out the line to the cath port in his chest by mistake. Once around age 7 when he did it, he cried "please just let me die." He knew he was facing another surgery, another hospital stay, and he didn't want to do it. We all cried, and as usual we prayed, and prayed, and prayed.

Medical advances occurred. Joey was able to go off of his life support system and onto breathing treatments that provided the same medication. With that his quality of life improved, as well as his health. Doctors now suggested his life expectancy was 20 years. A relief...until you think he'd still only be 25. Still too young.

More medical and drug advances. Now the drs tell us Joey will probably life to be an old man. You see, drs originally gave Joey 5 years to live... but nothing is impossible for God. I am so thankful for the gift of life for Joey. He is now 13 and doing great. He is in all honors gifted classes at school, and plays soccer. I thank my friends who all prayed ceaselessly for him, and I thank my God the healer. Amen!

Luke 1:37 -- For nothing is impossible with God.

Psalm 30:2 -- O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Jeremiah 17:14 -- Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.