Day 2 of 21 Day Challenge

In case you hadn’t tuned it, we are taking a 21-day challenge of reading the book of John chapter by chapter. It’s not really a “challenge” compared to the difficult things we do every day, it’s more of a commitment to most of us. However, to those who hold the Lord responsible for deep wounds or other difficulties it might be a challenge to open their hearts and see what He has to say each day. So, I hope you are following this or something like it. 

I don’t want to put my own thoughts on the same day as a certain reading, because I don’t want to hamper anyone else’s understanding. But it seems weird to just write the chapter and nothing else, so I’ll put each day’s comments with a delay. From yesterday’s reading I had these thoughts: 1) The Word is Jesus, and it’s confusing but cool to think that He was there before the world, but still came to earth as a child. And I wonder if part of the plan when He came here was that He would only have earthly memories. It’s hard to picture Baby Jesus, unable to talk or crawl, but reminiscing about the days of old. I concluded that it’s all hard for us to understand because heaven/eternity is not on a time frame the way we are, so somehow it’s probably a non-issue. Also, if He was fully man (e.g. John 4:6) he probably had a manly memory set. 2) The bit about the light shining in the darkness is encouraging when times are tough, especially how the darkness has not overcome it. God wins. Always. We just don’t always see it or understand it. Because we don’t have the whole picture! 3) He came to save the jews but most of them didn’t receive Him. But those who did receive Him earned the RIGHT to be His child. That’s cool. We often talk about how we don’t deserve His grace, and we definitely don’t. But our acceptance of His love makes us righteous enough to be adopted into His family. Awesome. 4) We see that the Holy Spirit helped John the Baptist (not the same John who wrote this book!) to recognize the Messiah, but how did the disciples know Him? I can’t imagine anyone I’ve ever met giving off the impression of authority that would convince me to get up and leave everything to follow. 5)

John 2

     On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> Jesus’ mother<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
    “Woman, why do you involve me?”<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> Jesus replied. “My hour<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
    Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing,<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
    They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> through which he revealed his glory;<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> and his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum<span class="crossreference" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> with his mother<span class="crossreference" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> and brothers<span class="crossreference" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

     When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover,<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> Jesus went up to Jerusalem.<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves,<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”>
     The Jews<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> then responded to him, “What sign<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”>
     Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”>
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> Then they believed the scripture<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> and the words that Jesus had spoken. Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival,<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> many people saw the signs<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> he was performing and believed<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind,<span class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> for he knew what was in each person.
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MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I.CAN.NOT.BELIEVE.IT…………………..
He did it again. Her God. My God. Our God. He healed Debora. Her stage 4 cancer is gone. Her doctor is shocked. He didn’t admit that it was a miracle but said he couldn’t find any cancer and never expected that. She went through chemo but eventually stopped as the side effects were worse than the benefits. Since then she’s been on Arimidex and that’s it. Not even a diet change. Lots of chocolate. Lots of prayer. Lots of miracles.

Nehemiah 12:43 “Many sacrifices were offered on that joyous day, for God had given the people cause for great joy. The women and children also participated in the celebration, and the joy of the people of Jerusalem could be heard far away.”

Many thanks to all who prayed. She was diagnosed in May, 2012 and it took this long to see the results. TOTALLY WORTH IT. I prayed a lot throughout, but especially this week, and was moved specifically to pray that God would heal her for the sake of those watching. For those who either don’t believe He is, and thus wouldn’t do it, and for those who don’t believe He can and thus couldn’t do it. He did it for those people. He also did it for all His children who have been praying and needed to see Him work. He did it for those who wrote her illness off as a part of life (and death). He did it for her, even though she would have been content with just being healed in heaven. And He did it for Him, so we would all know He is the Lord. 

Exodus 14:1“The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.”

Dear Tallahassee, God is here. He is still healing, still caring, still weeping and still seeking. Get on board for the ride of your life. It’s scary. It’s hard. But the joy you feel when you seek Him and find Him is incomparable. 

“1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. “

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1”

Don’t give up on praying for your heart’s desires. Don’t give up on your loved ones. Don’t give up on seeking God because He hasn’t given up on you.  

“Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?”

I love you all. 

Psalm 31

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
as for me, I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,b
and my bones grow weak.
Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
For I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.

Surviving

I just saw someone who is dying of cancer. I don’t know how much longer she has. I do know she’s worn out from fighting, trying, and just surviving. I know she might be content with death at this point, but would probably prefer to be completely healed and have many more healthy, painfree years with her children. I know the longer we fight this disease the less we expect to overcome it. And I know that the longer people see us fighting it, the less it matters to them. The less they pray for miracles and expect them to occur. The more they accept that it’s our time to go. And most of all, I know: That Sucks.

These people who struggle for years deserve peace, health, and happiness as much as you do. As much (or as little) as I did. I didn’t deserve to be supernaturally healed, I was just chosen for that path. These other people who are still sick could be chosen too. What would happen if God chose them to be healed too, but no one bothered to pray and believe they would be? We fail to pray for miracles when we don’t believe they will happen. We profess to believe in Christ but we don’t believe He will answer our prayers. So why do we bother praying for anything at all? Some of us are willing to pray that He will bless our finances but not that someone will walk away from her deathbed. We basically are willing to ask for help with things that we could just about do ourselves, but we don’t trust in Him to do things we obviously can’t control. Instead we believe the lies of the enemy, that there is no hope. What an insult to the Creator of the world that we would pick and choose what to believe He will do! That’s not faith in Him, it’s faith in ourselves. And none of us is worthy to make such big decisions.
Once a man named Jairus went to see Jesus. He begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter. The girl ended up dying for a bit and Jesus told Jairus, “Do not be afraid; just believe.” Then He healed the little girl. Back from the dead. He healed her because Jairus asked and believed Jesus would heal his daughter. The daughter was already dead, she certainly wasn’t expecting to be healed. (Mark 5:21-37). Was that girl more special to Jesus than our friends who have cancer today? No. 
It’s hard but necessary to believe in miracles. To expect them. To respond to the opportunity to pray for such miracles as a blessing, not a chore. I’m not sure exactly why it’s so hard or scary, but it is. When I was on my way to see this friend with cancer today I was humbled by the reminder that I haven’t been expecting to hear the great news of her miraculous recovery. I thought I should run up to her and boldly tell her I knew she would be healed. That despite all evidence to the contrary, it was going to happen. Maybe I would pray with her right then…
Instead do you know what I did? I said “hi”, “bye”, and ran off, telling myself I needed to pray more about it before I could really announce that I believed in her healing. You know why? Because it’s hard and scary to look at someone who is close to death and tell her she will live after all. Even though that is exactly what I was wishing for when I was so sick. Because even after receiving my own miracle I don’t expect to see others. Because she doesn’t give the impression of someone who is about to receive one. Oh, right, and because I am a hypocritical jerk. 
This is hard stuff, but am supremely blessed in that I have another day to try again. To try to believe that my mustard seed of faith allows me to say to a mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move (Mtw 17:20). We will rejoice together at the amazing things He will do. And eventually every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10)

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.