Passover Hope

Naomi turned three last week. THREE! She wasn’t even a year old when I was diagnosed with, and then miraculously healed from, stage 4 cancer. Since then she learned to crawl, walk, run and talk. She’s so much fun I can’t help but smile when I look at her, and the days that I do so with sadness because of what is coming for us are long gone. God has restored our family and allowed us to move on, with a stronger faith and love than we had before it all began. But I will admit that as the time has passed I am farther removed from cancer, and more focused on normal daily struggles. I am giving my testimony next week and realized that is the very first time since it all began that I haven’t had another opportunity to do so on my calendar. I have become less of a cancer survivor and more of a woman and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.

I passionately promised God that I would never forget, never stop bragging about His awesomeness. Not in an attempt to “make a deal” with Him, but because I truly don’t want to. I don’t want to become the person I was before. To move back to my old definition of hope, which was more like “accept and except that bad things will happen but really want good ones” and back to the biblical definition that I learned, “the urgent expectation” that we all need. That we should all cling to.

I just read about the four different ways the word and concept of hope is used in the Bible. They are all awesome, so check it out here. The most interesting one to me is with Rahab in the Old Testament. In Joshua 2 we saw that Rahab was a prostitute who hid God’s men for Him. When they destroyed the city later, they had her hang a scarlet cord out the window to show they should pass over her place. That scarlet cord is a tiqvah, which is actually an unbreakable cord, symbolizing our unbreakable hope in God. And I’m sure it’s not coincidence that of course, during passover, God had His people put scarlet blood over their doorposts so the angel of death would pass over those homes…and that Jesus was celebrating the Seder meal from passover during the last supper, when He demonstrated how He would actually bear all our scarlet sins on the cross. And when it comes to judgment, our sins are passed over if we put our hope in Him.

Now that I’ve so smoothly brought this post about hope around to passover and Easter, I would like to invite all of you locals to a teaching Yaacov is doing about passover on Thursday, April 17 from 6-8 pm at Four Oaks Community Church. It will have elements of a traditional Seder meal that Jesus and the disciples were celebrating for the Last Supper (Lk 22, Mth 26, etc), and he will show how the things He said were explaining how His actions fulfilled the rituals his predecessors hadn’t understood. It is always a good time and this one will be shorter than many. You don’t have to be a Four Oaks member or have any idea what passover is about to attend. You might be able to see a description here, and if not email me to RSVP or for more info.

1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> In his great mercy<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> he has given us new birth<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> into a living hope<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> that can never perish, spoil or fade.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> until the coming of the salvation<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> that is ready to be revealed<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> though now for a little while<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”>—may result in praise, glory and honor<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

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Emergency Prayer!!!

We’ll finish up that 21-day challenge another time…

I have a friend who prayed diligently for my healing and Satan has been attacking her health. Now it’s really bad. She is very faithful and seeks Him first, doesn’t panic or fear. But this one is a true emergency. I know, without a doubt, that the Lord will use it for His glory and He will fix it.

Anyway, she has four young children and has lost vision in one of her eyes. After various tests they realized today that it is a brain tumor, the size of a thumbnail, sitting on her optic nerve. We don’t know if it’s malignant or benign, either way it’s a huge problem. We will not worry, we will not doubt, we will declare the name of the Lord and praise Him in advance for his sovereignty over this situation. I’ve heard stories like this, good and bad. But I’m not going to speculate. I’m going to pray. And believe. And then start it over again. 
She has another test tomorrow at 11am. Please pray fervently for her. I can’t tell you how urgent and odd I feel about it. I know He is going to fix it. I know it’s going to be for His name. So we can all rejoice together about it. But it’s a lot easier for me to believe and expect that than for her and her family to do so. I’m sure her kids don’t know much and she’s going to have all those same fears and problems that we do. You want to assure them that the Lord will heal you because you are trying to claim it. But you don’t want to lie to them! And again, you want them to be prepared for the worst but that’s sort of undoing the faith that you’re stretching to believe you’ll be healed. And on. And on. These are lies from the enemy but in the midst of all this it’s hard to discern.
Faith is hard. Pray for hers. Brain tumors are hard. Pray for that (I won’t say “hers” because it is a foreign, demonic object). We rebuke Satan and his demons from the role they are playing in her destruction. We bow down to allow the Lord to rise up above us and reign supreme in her body. Pray that, even if her vision doesn’t come back suddenly to show she’s been healed, He just does it. I will go so far as to pray that the tumor disappears and is gone for tomorrow’s test. None of this enduring through it all. Let’s just clear her brain now and there is nothing problematic or cancerous in her body. Pray He fully restores her sight and relieves any other symptoms she struggles with. Pray the Holy Spirit takes over her brain and her body so there is no room for the demons to return (Mth 12:43)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Is anything too hard for God? (duh)

I told you at least once on here about a sweet woman named Barbara. She lives in Tallahassee and in February was admitted to the hospital for pain only to discover she had extensive cancer all over. Last I knew her treatments (and God…mostly God) helped remove it from her lungs but it was still in her liver. Her whole family is devoted to Christ and longs to see Him magnified through this situation. They’ve all rallied to be by her side and have prayed for her healing for 10 long months. I noticed that her first PET scan was scheduled at 2:30 back then and now it will be at that same time tomorrow. I imagine how scared and overwhelmed she was the first time around and pray that this time she will be filled with peace, love, hope and confidence. Confidence that there is no cancer, that Satan and all her cancer were cast out and the Holy Spirit created new, fresh, revived cells in their place. Join me now, and at 2:30 tomorrow (Thursday) in praying that the test will be performed accurately, and that it will show conclusively that every cell of cancer is gone (Like in Lk 8:43). We are not asking for the status quo. We are not “hoping for an improvement but settling for it not worsening”. No. God is in charge of this woman’s body and we are asking for and expecting complete and total healing (Mark 11:24).

Back before Barbara even had the official diagnosis, someone told one of her sons that he was in denial if he had any hope for her. Guess what? That person was right. There is no hope for her here on earth. No doctor can heal her entirely. No scientist can develop a drug in time to save her. But–thank the Lord–we do not put our hope in our powerful people, there is no hope for us there (Ps 146:3). And we wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.(Ps 33:20).

Adrian Rogers broadcast a sermon this week called Is anything too hard for God? It’s good, follow the link to listen to the first part (second part can be found on his website). The answer, of course, is “NO!” Nothing is too hard for Him. Adrian recounts a story about praying for a really evil person who later accepted the Lord. God was in charge of having those men pray for that man’s salvation. The victory is not just that the man accepted Jesus, it’s that those people who prayed were emboldened to ask for more, more, and more, in His name. Because their faith was bolstered by each answer. God planned it that way because He wants to see such great faith. Look how thrilled He was with Abraham’s faith. He blessed Abe because he believed in God’s promises, NOT because he was such a sinless superstar (Gen 22, etc.).

God doesn’t need us to ask Him for things. He is the boss, He is in charge. He doesn’t do it for His own pride–He could get accolades in other ways. He does it for our own good. So we can see Him move. So we can see that the only limits on His goodness are the ones we arbitrarily set. Remember the time in your life where He did something so big that it could only be from Him? (If you don’t, pray for one!) If He did that for you, why couldn’t/wouldn’t He answer the other prayers you have? Why couldn’t He have Barbara’s PET scan tomorrow come back completely clear? Why couldn’t He have her doctor choke on his coffee when he sees the results and call all his colleagues to try to identify the Real Healer? Why couldn’t He have revival break out in the Cancer Center with such a strong presence of the Lord that people can feel the Holy Spirit from outside the building (Acts 2)?

This is a great opportunity for us all to be more involved in the kingdom. Pray for Barbara, pray for your lost loved ones, pray for your faith to grow, and then wait with the urgent expectation that He will do it (Ps 65:5). He will do it so we are not put to shame (Ps 25:2; Romans 8:28). He will do it so you can understand Him more. He will do it so others hear His name. And He will do it because He is God (Isa 40:14).

Results!

Well, well, well!

When it was finally time for my appointment I was called back to the nurse’s station to get my vitals. Dr. Rassam walked by and said, “Your PET scan! It’s all gone, your cancer is gone and I can’t explain it!” I jumped up and asked him to repeat it and he said, “well, there’s a little in your lungs still.”

We waited in the room for quite awhile and while we did, we prayed that he was wrong about it being in my lungs. I prayed that his eyes would be opened to what the PET scan results actually said. Finally, he walked in and that’s exactly what happened! All the metastases are gone–it’s gone from my spine (“impossible”, they’d said!), GONE from my lungs (5 minutes earlier he’d said it was there, but I saw it in writing), lyphnodes are cancer-free, and just a tiny bit is left in my breast. He felt and said it’s primarily fibrous tissue in that.

Yaacov was with me and we both said, “it’s a miracle!” to which Rassam agreed.

He said there is no such thing as restaging me, I will just always have the diagnosis of Stage 4. But I know I don’t have it. As of now, I will continue to follow the doctor’s directions, but if God leads me to stopping the medications I will. So the plan is the same as before–12 weeks of this easy type of chemo, then discuss surgery, and be on a hormone forever. One step at a time though and that’s praising God for being awesome, amazing, wonderful, wonderous, perfect and perfect and perfect and perfect.

For once I am actualy speechless. What He did for me is so unfathomable I’m still awestruck. Despite all my prayers I didn’t exactly expect this to be the best day of my life. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Why did He do this for me? How could He love me this much?

“Sing to the Lord, all the erth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Decare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” 1 Chron 16:23-29

“Give thaks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us,  God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.” 1 Chron 16: 34-36

“I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be ver all the earth.” Ps 57:9-11

“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sancturary; praise him in his mighty heavns. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for hs surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing ,praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150

And by the way, God is good.

Still Waiting

Can’t sleep. Suspense is killing me. I was just telling God I’ve never prayed so much in my life. Not that He didn’t know. Then I realized if there was ever a time, this is it. So I guess I’ll just read and pray all night.

A lot of good things happened today. The early morning was crummy so I was praying about some things and feeling lonely and discouraged. Then I got to my AM bible study and a woman there (who has been miraculously healed herself) pulled me aside and told me exactly what to do and pray. She had no idea that’s exactly what I’d done this AM. That was nice encouragement, and a great reminder that I’m not alone, no matter how it feels sometimes.

Later I was still feeling a little down and opened my devotional. It happened to be incredibly encouraging and reassuring. It included Galatians 6:9, “for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”, and 2 Cor 4:1, “do not lose heart”.

Finally, at my PM bible study (yes, Wednesdays are filled with God times!), we are studying James and learned that the original Greek term for 1:1’s “Greetings” is “Joy to you”, and that we all have joy as a birthright. I don’t feel a lot of joy right now, except when I imagine telling everyone I’m officially healed. That will be a great day and I sure hope it’s tomorrow. But if not, my joy is actually in the Lord no matter what, and I have to remember that.

If the results are bad tomorrow it’s okay, because I will still be healed in His time. God is good no matter what, and we’re going to have a little celebration in His honor tomorrow, regardless of the circumstances.

So…that’s it. I feel like I’ve been waiting years to get these stinking results. It’s definitely time.