Thursday, September 23, 2010


We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Romans 7:14-24

Sigh. I so feel like I am living out this passage of scripture right now. It's as though there is this great battle going on inside a boxing ring. And the problem is, it is. And I am the boxing ring.

The core of this battle (currently) is in my eating. Along with a friend of mine I am going through a book called Thin Within. It's a biblically principled plan for "weight release." They call it "release" instead of loss, because the idea behind it is something you lose you might be apt to find again, whereas releasing indicates a more permanent "letting go." It is based on the principle that overeating is sin. And the fact of the matter is, it is sin. Albeit a highly acceptable form on sin among the people, when we are brutally honest with ourselves, overeating, and the reasons behind it are sinful.

But this post isn't really about my attempts to lose weight, or to "release" it. It's just the current venue for the battle. Even if I finally got my act together and truly became "Spirit led" or better yet, "Spirit dependant" in the area of my eating, another battle would rear it's ugly head.

The flesh is relentless, you see. Although my case of it is no longer terminal, it is still chronic. And it's such a horrendous battle. The more you try, or at least the more I try, to depend on the Holy Spirit and abide in Him, the more the flesh rises against it.

The hard thing to is once the flesh is battling in one area, it seems to rise in even more areas. First it's not saying no to the gluttonous desires within me. Then the temper flares, the mouth slips. It may be a different pattern for you, but still I know the formula is constant for us all. The flesh rages.

I had such an amazing experience during the week of prayer and fasting at my church, but since then it seems as though the flesh has battled back in spades. And I'm tired.

I know the answer, to abide again. I need to draw close, but it seems the the front lines of the battle between flesh and spirit are always drawn intensely at the efforts to sit before the Lord. At least that's the way it is for me.

I am thankful that the Lord is relentless too. I am grateful that this "work" in my life, is in the end, His work. The Bible says "HE is faithful to complete the good work" He has begun in me (Phil 1:6). I'm so grateful for that fall back truth. In the end, the Bible says, He is faithful even when I am faithless (2 Tim 2:13), which is often, far more than I care to admit. And yet, there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1).

I think sometimes though, despite all these biblical truths that we can hold, knowing God will not let is slip completely in our stumbles (Psalm 37:24) it does not mean we will not get beat up and bruised along the way. But I think it is very much like when my own children were growing. If I had picked them up and carried them every time they fell, they would never have learned to walk, much less ever learn to run.

He has called us to "Run the race"

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Lay off the things that hinder us, the entangling sin. Ahh yes, hindrance and entanglement, chief among those things is just little old me, the body of death, the flesh from which I cannot ever completely separate myself. But God... He is not only able, but willing to relentlessly see me through the process.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

Oh Lord, help me not to lose heart. I am weary, the battle is relentless, my flesh is far stronger than I care to confess, but You already know.

Maybe your areas of struggle are different than mine. Perhaps no piece of chocolate cake has ever taunted you, and maybe you control your words quite nicely, but I know, something is your struggle, something is your battle of flesh versus spirit. Somewhere God says "My way" and you chose your own, and you battle and struggle through the consequences of it. I know because the Bible says we all fall short - and the grace of God is our only hope.

I am thankful for a relentless God, who has a stubborn streak in Him that will outlast my flesh and it's every attempt to rail against Him.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cancer Sucks

I hate cancer. It is an unbiased evil that will attack and seek to destroy anyone. It has attacked my aunt and my grandmother. It killed my great-grandma, and took my grandpa away from me. The process of battling it weakened my mom-in-law's heart to the point we lost her too. It's ugly and it's awful.

Right now if I think about it, I know of a little girl not much older than my Victoria who has been battling brain cancer for years. I get regular email updates about a horrible difficult battle this little girl faces and so Victoria and I pray for her.

I have a friend who I knew in high school but connected and built a friendship in the last year or so on Facebook. She's my age, just 40, and she had to have a huge cancerous tumor removed and she is still fighting for the victory over the disease.

This summer, two amazing women of God that I know both lost their battles to cancer. The first was a woman I have known for many years, she was the mom to one of the "kids" in youth group when Neal and I worked in the ministry back in the 90s. She lost her second battle to cancer. A breast cancer survivor from many years ago, she was struck with the disease a 2nd time a couple of years ago. Her battle was long and painful, and she fought to the end, but in the end, cancer ended her life.

The second lady, Becky, was spared the long battle, but was also not afforded the luxury of time. More importantly, he friends and loved ones were not afforded time. It was too quick.

I don't know exactly how long ago I met Becky, I would say two years ago at the longest, but I think even more recent than that. Becky and her sister Debbie were the kind of people that when you met them, you just knew you wanted to get to know them better.

Their love for God, and their passion for ministry and prayer were infectious. Debbie struck me as the nurturer, the one who would hug you and cry with you and Becky seemed liked the Sword bearer. She was a woman of the Word, and she would speak it with authority, not only to you, but into you and your life. They were this amazing team. They have been best friends for along time, and somewhere along the line, in her adult life, Debbie was formally adopted by Becky's family. Single moms, they loved together since the early 80s raising their children together. They were prayer partners, ministry partners and even business partners, sisters in every sense of the word.

I saw them in the parking lot of my church back in June. Becky hadn't been feeling well and had had some medical issues going on, but the reality of what was happening to her was completely hidden at that time. I'll let Debbie tell you more specifics:

"Becky really struggled with feeling tired alot for a long time but since we both have been going through menopause we just thought that was what it was from. We both went to a holistic doctor/chiropractor and were given different supplements and patches but they didn't seem to work for her. In March she complained of her back hurting and was in pain but thought she was out of alignment. We went to the holistic guy and he diagnosed her with kidney stones. She started drinking alot of water which made the pain worse. Our brother told her of a kidney stone breaker called Renevive. We ordered it off the internet and she started taking that. She took that for 3 weeks and was in such pain all the time, but (she) did pass some kidney stones.

We then heard of another kidney stone breaker called Chanca Piedra and (so) she took that. That also broke up the stones and she did pass more. (But) it seemed the pain never gave up. She also started having stomach problems and couldn't eat and had pain with that. The holistic guy said she had an ulcer. (So) he treated her for that and she seemed to get worse.

This went on into July. After July 4th she started to fill up with fluid in her stomach area. On July 15th we went to an MD. He had a hunch it may be cancer. He ordered tests and by the 23rd we were in St Joesph's ER and (found) she had a lesion on the pancreas and her liver was "compromised". She was in the hospital for 5 days and although they drained the fluid from her stomach and it tested negative of any cancer cells they suggested more tests. We went to visit the doctor in the doctor's office and they gave a number to a doctor who would do a biopsy. That appointment was 2 weeks out from that day that Becky called for an appointment."
(I will refrain from climbing on a soap box here about where medical care will be headed when the government takes it over. Diana)

"In the meantime we were referred to a (doctor in) Virginia Beach who works with cancer patients naturally. He worked with Becky but she just could not eat and I believe her body just couldn't fight because it was malnourished. Her sodium level dropped so much that she could not (even) get up on her own... I had to help her. She (also) wasn't getting much sleep and always took the pain pills which was not like Becky.

On Sunday morning August 15th Becky tried to get up to go to the bathroom without me and I heard a thud and found her flat on her face on the floor. It took me 30 minutes to get her up because she was so limp. All I did was hold her and cry.
I called our brother and he came and helped me take her to the ER at St Joesph's. She was in the ICU for 2 days and met with kidney doctors, the doc who wanted to do the biopsy and the cancer doctor."

Eventually the diagnosis was made, it was pancreatic cancer. As cruel as all cancer seems to be, this cancer seems to be the most cruel of all, it's labeled as a death sentence, the stories of victory over it are rare. It took Michael Landon, it took Patrick Swayze, and then it took Becky Bailey, and for me, that was one person too many, and it's made me want to do something about it.

On November 13th, along with Becky's sister Debbie, and 23 other people she hopes to recruit, we will be walking in a 5K fundraiser to raise money for research for a cure for pancreatic cancer and money to help those suffering from the disease. This is where you come in.

Would you be willing to support me or the team as we raise money? My challenge to my friends and family, and now to you is this, skip a trip or two to Starbucks, or a lunch out, and take that $5-10 (or however much you might have on your heart) and donate it to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

I set an original goal of just $100, but with it met, I have now raised it to $300, and you can help me reach that goal. But I have to warn you, if I do, I plan to up it again.

This is a horrible awful disease, and I want to be part of the fight against it. Won't you help?

Click below or on the "thermometer" to the left on this page, and make a donation to help.

Click Here to Donate

Thanks in advance for your help!