Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mom's Battle With Cancer

I would like to take a moment and share with everyone what has been going on over the last year. I have not been writing lately as my mom has been battling cancer over the last year. The last few months took a turn for the worse. She was diagnosed last June with Non-Hodgkin T-Cell Lymphoma cancer. Her mass was near her bowels around the small intestines. It is a very aggressive type of cancer with only about 30% survival rate. She had went through 3 different chemo treatments, the last one (strongest chemo treatment) appeared to have worked. The mass had gone down from 7 inches to 2.25 inches. Within a month the mass started growing again. Her oncologist was going to start her on a clinical trial which was her last option other than a miracle from God. They had to do more tests before the treatments could be done. After all the tests were done, the scan revealed that the mass had grown from 9 inches to 14.5 inches which meant she could not do the clinical trial for the mass was too big. She was given only weeks to live. We had prayed for God's healing but God had other plans for her. My mom was a fighter and she did cry when she heard the news but she accepted it with grace. My mom was at peace and she knew where she would be going. She wanted to go back to Marion, Arkansas where most of our family is at. We took her back to Arkansas and I stayed that week there for I wanted to be with her during her last few weeks not realizing it would be much shorter. We arrived that Saturday, by Monday my mom was showing signs of deteriorating. She had already stopped eating. When she heard the news, she no longer had the fight in her she once had, she simply gave up. My mom had been a fighter but she knew the time had come and she had no more fight in her, she was simply at peace. She was ready to go home. My sister and I saw my mom during her last few days, we saw the pain and the weakness. She slept most of the day, responsive at times. We had prayed that if God wasn't going to heal her here on earth, please go ahead and take her on home. We couldn't bare to see her in pain anymore. I am very thankful to Hospice for helping out and showing us what to do. We were blessed that our mom didn't suffer too long. Mom received the hospital bed on Tuesday, she was alert somewhat but having weird conversations. That night she spoke about seeing a light, my sister and I knew what she was talking about. We knew the way she was progressing it was going to be a matter of days. Mom slept most of the day on Wednesday and was awake on and off most of the day on Thursday. Then later on Thursday evening, she appeared to be in a comatose state. We could not wake her for anything. We checked on her periodically throughout the night but we had a feeling her time had come. My sister went in to check on her at 5:00am and she was not breathing. We called Hospice and when the nurse got there she confirmed what we thought to be true. Apparently it had just happened shortly before we checked on her for she was still warm but by the time the hospice nurse came mom was getting cold already. My mom went on to be with the Lord on Friday morning, July 2nd; she went peacefully in her sleep. I thank God that He blessed us with a wonderful and godly mom. She didn't suffer as long. Her symptoms didn't appear to get worse until the last two months. She passed within 2 weeks of hearing the news that there was nothing else they could do. The last week was the worse, she really declined during that week in fact within a matter of days. She is completely healed now, rejoicing with the Lord. I know I will see her again when God calls us home. Please take a moment to read the next post as it is in memory of my mom. Hope this helps someone who may have lost a loved one.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Love One Another

God gave me this message to speak to our youth back in May and I felt led to share it with you.

1 John 4:20-21:
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: "Whoever loves God must also love his brother."

For God commanded us to love one another. His Word is very clear on that. Love (loved, loves) is mentioned in the Bible 697 times. Why is it that we struggle with loving one another, especially your own brothers and sisters in Christ? Why do we hate the sinner and in some cases even our own family of believers when we should be showering them with the love of Christ and lifting them up in daily prayer. Why do we speak badly about our own fellow Christians? James 3:9-12 speaks about taming the tongue. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and curse men. This should not be!!! Are we really showering them with the love of Christ? It is time we stop the games! Just because we have a relationship with Jesus Christ does not make us any better than the other person! Maybe it's time we refocus! 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keep no record of wrongs."
What have you done lately with your love letter? Have you stepped out in faith and obedience to God's calling? Are you just playing the religious game? Do you really think you are fooling others? NO you are not! You are NOT FOOLING GOD! Jesus in coming, He may be a loving God but He does bring justice. God knows what you are doing and He will not take you to Heaven if you don't repent! (Ezekiel 33:12)
2 Timothy 2:5 "Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules."
God desires you to to love others as he loved you. It is time we start humbling ourselves and realizing that we are not above any other person. It is time we get off the high horse and stop thinking we are all that as a Christian. If you were all that, you would be bringing friends and this youth group would be full! I'm not saying this to hurt you, I'm speaking what God laid upon my heart. If you are harboring any unforgiveness or bitterness you really need to seek the Lord. You have to let it go and give it to the Lord. The longer you harbor bitterness and unforgiveness towards others, the worse it will get. Your spiritual walk with the Lord will be weakened or possibly even ruined by your own selfishness.
Matthew 6:14-15 clearly states "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
How many of us have sinned? How many of us have done something stupid in our life that we wish we had a redo button? We have all done something we wish we could take back. We cannot think we are better than that sinner. We cannot think we are any better than our fellow Christians. What does it take for you to get it? God desires us to love one another. If we can't love our own, how can we really love God?
If you are one of those who are saying you are not growing in Christ, you need to ask yourself "Why?" Have you been spending time in God's Word daily? Have you been spending time in prayer with Him on a daily basis? Have you been telling others about Jesus Christ? Have been inviting others to church? What have you done to grow? Ask the Lord "Why?" Have you done anything or are you being complacent? DO NOT blame others when you are not growing due to you not being obedient to God's calling on your life. Do not place the blame on your youth pastor, your youth sponsors or leaders! The blame falls on you! God is simply saying it is time to WAKE UP!!! It is easy to be friends with people we get along with but what about the people we have differences with. What are you doing to grow closer to them? We MUST shower them with love whether they are our enemy or our own brother and sister in Christ. We have to learn humility. We have to learn that we as children of God are called to be witnesses to the lost. We are to be the light of the world. We cannot be ashamed of Him. We cannot fall into that trap. We must go and tell our friends before it is too late. His Word tells us that if we are ashamed of Him for He will be ashamed of us (Mark 8:38).
How many times has Pastor Bill given an altar call for anyone struggling? For anyone who desired to grow closer to Christ? Think about it. Did you go or were you one of those who sat back thinking he's not speaking to me? What are you doing to show love for one another. It is time we put our petty differences aside and forgive one another. It is time to get right with God. It is time to pray for humility and ask God to give you a heart of love for others. What are we waiting for? We should be lifting each other up in daily prayer. WE should always be lifting our youth pastor, youth sponsors, youth leaders, and youth group up in daily prayer. If you love God, you will obey his command, "Love one another." We must be united in brotherly love. Galatians 6:10 says, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." We should all have each others back. Do you understand what love is all about? Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this, He died on the cross for our sins.
John 15:12-13, 17 "Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. This is my command: Love each other."

I would encourage you to listen to "How Can You Say You Love Me?" by G.L.O. (clips from passion of Christ) on YouTube. Pay attention to the words. I played this during youth service at the end right before altar call.