We are now in Florida. Lupron side effects. Marie and I are now permanently re-located to Punta Gorda, Florida. We thoroughly enjoy having warm sunshine nearly every day. We do not regret our move from Maryland except we sorely miss grandchildren, church and friends. I do not miss my job but remain in contact with my former NCI/NIH colleagues. We are so busy in retirement that we wonder how we ever had time to work. New relationships need to be created here but that is quite easy in Florida because nearly everyone is a transplant from somewhere else. Hormone therapy (Lupron) is on-going. There are significant expected side effects such as hot flashes, weight gain, some breast enlargement in men, and depression. I am told that hormonal therapy for prostate cancer is similar to a woman’s menopause. I thank God that I experience minimal side effects. Hot flashes occur only 2-3 times daily and I have gained about ten pounds in all. All in all, the side effects are quite tolerable.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007:
God verifies His messages to me through contacts in Florida. For the last several weeks, I had been going through a real crisis of faith. I observe so many cancer patients around me who are much more spiritually mature than I am. My pastor-friend from Maryland, Tom Crogan, is one such person. He has colon cancer which has spread to his liver, lungs and lymph nodes but he continues to preach and pastor a church with minimal side effects from his chemotherapy. Why should I expect God to deal any differently with me when He doesn’t heal others? The only difference I can see is that Jesus had spoken directly to me and had not to them for some reason known only to Jesus. But the real nagging question is did He really speak to me or was it my own sub-conscious? I had dealt with this question before but I seem to need constant reminders from the Lord. Therefore, I prayed that God would reveal to me somehow by the Holy Spirit whether He had indeed spoken to me or not and that someone contact me about this issue. Two-three days went by. I had said nothing to anyone. Just before going to the Wednesday prayer meeting at the First Baptist Church of Port Charlotte, I called Pastor Ed because he claimed that he was convinced that God had indeed spoken to me and I needed again to hear the circumstances of this revelation to Ed. Pastor Ed told me that in the last 2 days, he had been reminded to pray for me specifically and was convinced that Jesus had indeed spoken to me. He had been skeptical at first seeing so many cancer deaths in his pastoral care but several months ago, God had revealed it to him and he was indeed ‘standing with me on this’. His basis was that Jesus’ ‘sheep hear my voice’. Since I am a child of God and Jesus is my shepherd, then I should be able to hear His voice. If I could not hear His voice, then the Bible should state that ‘they (sheep) read my book’, namely the Bible. Pastor Ed is convinced that I heard from the Lord directly. At a recent Faith Baptist Church (Maryland) Wednesday prayer meeting, the participants had prayed for me. Upon leaving one lady shared that she had been impressed by the Holy Spirit to pray for me on Tuesday the day before. Now on this Wednesday evening, seeking additional confirmation that God’s hands were directing my prostate cancer, I went to the men’s prayer meeting at our church in Port Charlotte. There were only two of us there early, myself and an elderly man named John Consolo, the Deacon Chairman. I had mentioned nothing to him about me and my cancer but he spontaneously shared his testimony with me. Seventeen (17) years earlier, John had been self-diagnosed (by the Lord) with prostate cancer with a PSA of 104. Upon seeing two different physicians he was told to go home and enjoy the last 3 months of his life. The cancer had spread throughout his whole body including lymph nodes. They did not recommend surgery for this reason. He refused to accept this death sentence but summoned his family and friends to pray. Subsequent lymph nodes biopsies showed absolutely no cancer. He then had his prostate removed and is alive today 17 years later. He has a ministry to people in hospitals and nursing homes. All this was told to me as a witness without me disclosing anything to him about my cancer. I then told him my dilemma and we both realized that his experience was an answer for me and that God was indeed still taking care of my situation. God’s healing or evidence of His care was still to be revealed. I feel I should continue to allow God to reveal Himself to the physicians with whom I come in contact. That is my ministry. I am standing on God’s spoken and written word to me. I feel that I could speak to men about prostate cancer, my experience, medical aspects, implications, spiritual issues, possible causes, etc. Meanwhile my former colleagues at the National Cancer Institute had recommended I follow up at the Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Moffitt is designated as an NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center. I am getting ready for my first visit to Moffitt in February.
Friday, January 19th, 2007:
The battle is the Lord’s. I read today’s entry from Frederick Wisloff’s devotional, Rest a While. For January 19th, the Bible verse was Exodus 14:14, “the Lord will fight for you, you have only to be still.” This reinforced the message I had received earlier about seeing God’s deliverance just as King Jehoshaphat had witnessed in 2 Chronicles 20.
Monday-Tuesday, January 21-22, 2007:
Blood in my urine- a scare. Right after hearing conformation on January 17th of Jesus’ speaking to me, I discovered that I had blood in my urine. This might be an indication of bladder cancer along with frequency of urination and low back pain. I immediately became troubled. Even my former family physician in Maryland cited a risk of bladder cancer. I tried to get to see a urologist in Punta Gorda but could not get an appointment until Feb. 22nd . I was advised not to hurry but I feel that I want to resolve this. All the faith I had in the end of the previous week was replaced by worry and skepticism. I contacted my urologist at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore who said they could see me on Feb. 2nd for a CT scan and cystoscopy. Marie and I can fly to Baltimore from Ft. Myers for only $178 round trip. It seems that God wants me to see my Hopkins urologist again.
Wednesday-Saturday, January 23-27, 2007:
I re-connect with Johns Hopkins. Walk by faith not by sight. I feel much more confident and peaceful. The bleeding has stopped. I sense that it is God’s plan that I re-connect with my Hopkins urologist. I plan to tell him that I am standing on what Jesus told me and what is written in His Word. I don’t know how and when but I know that God is going to do something that only He can do and that physicians cannot perform. God showed me from the Daily Bread devotional (Friday, January 26) that I am so much like the Jews in Exodus 15:22-27. After witnessing their deliverance from the Red Sea which God parted, they were three days in the wilderness without water. The Israelites grumbled just like me. This showed by their actions that they and I were living by sight and not by faith. I am to simply trust God no matter what. Walk by faith and not by sight. I am so much like the old Israelites. But God will always let us sense our need before He sends His cooling rain. A Florida friend gave me a word on Friday, saying “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” God’s plan is for me to see my Hopkins urologist and I am looking forward to seeing him.
February 9th, 2007:
My bleeding explained. Johns Hopkins re-visited. God is still on my case. Last weekend (Friday, Feb 2, 2007), I saw my urologist at Johns Hopkins. The CT scan showed no abnormalities only those due to arthritic particle disease in my right hip which had been replaced in 1991. The cystoscopy went well; virtually no pain only initially on insertion. My urologist concluded that the bleeding had been due to radiation damage. I shared with him that Jesus was to do something at some time that only Jesus could do. I did not know when or how or what but that Jesus would manifest Himself somewhere down the line. My urologist agreed and said that in his recollection of the gospels, when people were healed it was their faith that made them whole. He also said that when my PSA starts rising again, I am not to heed the doctors’ prognosis. He said basically that there was another operating principle in my life (God and Jesus) that precluded the usual prognoses and outcomes. He basically acknowledges Jesus in my case. It was definitely God’s plan to have me meet with my urologist in Baltimore this past week and re-establish that connection for which I am grateful.
February 22nd, 2007:
Passive vs. active faith. Today’s “Streams in the Desert” devotional addresses the issue of ‘passive faith’ versus ‘active faith’. Mark 9:23 says, “If you can, all things are possible for him who believes.” Do I believe that my healing was accomplished after Jesus spoke it? It is hard to believe this when I don’t see the medical evidence. Faith says ‘it is’ and then takes my hands off to allow God to finish His work. “Active faith gives thanks for a promise even though it is not yet performed, knowing that God’s contracts are as good as cash” (Matthew Henry). Passive faith accepts the word as true but never moves or acts on it. Passive faith praises in the sunshine or the light when times are good, while active faith praises in the darkest night. I must exercise an active faith in accordance with God’s sovereign will for me.
March 1st, 2007:
God never contradicts or questions His words. Over the past week, in addition to the preceding February 22nd message, I received a second specific message from the Lord through His Word. In Genesis, when the serpent (Satan) was tempting Eve, Satan said “Did God truly say that you should not eat of the forbidden fruit?” In other words, Satan was challenging the fact that God had indeed spoken this command to Eve. So when I am in doubt as to whether or not Jesus had spoken to me when He said “reach out and touch the hem of His garment”, or whether the message came from my own sub-conscious, who is it who is really challenging me? It is Satan and not God. So I should consider the source and set my faith to believe it was really Jesus who spoke to me.
March 24th, 2007:
Take God at His Word. The devotional Streams in the Desert, quoted Genesis 32:9,11 which deal with Jacob’s prayer to God. “Then Jacob prayed, ‘O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O’Lord, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and relatives and I will make you prosper’……..Save me, I pray.” Jacob quotes God’s promise and reminds God of what He said when he used the phrase “who said to me”. I must likewise stand firmly on the promise of God. Jesus wants me to be very specific and earnest in my requests. For example, He asked people in the New Testament “what do you want Me to do for you?” It is like cashing a check signed by Jesus. I must take God at His Word when He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.
March 30th, 2007:
Winning the struggle with doubt. From In Touch devotionals, entitled “Winning the Struggle with Doubt.” James 1:5-8 says that if I lack wisdom (e.g. did Jesus speak to me and if so, what did He say and what did He mean?), I should ask God in faith who will provide wisdom generously. But James warns that I should not doubt or be double-minded. Doubt leads to anxiety, frustration and fear all of which short-circuit faith. Uncertainties can develop from a lack of knowledge about God’s character, confusion regarding His promises or misunderstanding of His plans. Doubts are also a tool of the enemy who will often add his own words to increase my negative thinking. Satan’s age-old technique of “Did God really say?” makes us wonder if we truly know God’s will. So when I question if Jesus did really speak to me, it is probably the devil putting those thoughts in my mind. When doubts surface, confess them as sin, recall past instances of trusting God and His faithfulness and meditate on His promises.
March 30th, 2007:
It is better to walk in the dark with God than to walk in the light alone. From Streams in the Desert for 3/30/07. I should not try to get out of a dark place except in God’s timing and in His way. This experience may be teaching me lessons I desperately need, such as increasing my faith level. Premature deliverance may circumvent God’s plan. God always sees the bigger picture. Commit to Him and be willing to walk in darkness or the unknown, knowing He is present. It is better to walk in the dark with God than to walk in the light alone. I should not interfere with God’s overall plan. Moving the hands of a clock to suit me does not alter the real time. I should not rush the unfolding of some aspects of God’s overall plan or will. Leave everything to Him, “not my will but Thine be done.” I can force a rosebud to open but I spoil the flower. God may be working in the lives of physicians I know and who will witness His love, power and deliverance.
April 25th, 2007:
Genuine faith and prayer. I am having extreme second thoughts about whether God will heal me or keep me in a chronic condition until I die of some other cause or until Jesus returns. My biggest fear is not dying itself but dying of prostate cancer and its related symptoms. It seems all those Jesus healed, were healed close to the time they saw Him or prayed for healing. For me, it has been over three years since winter, 2004 when Jesus spoke to me. Why hasn’t God healed me yet? Meanwhile, Streams in the Desert for April 24th says: Genuine faith puts the letter in the mailbox and lets it go. My prayers can be tested as follows: After committing something to God, if I can come away with no more sadness, pain or anxiety, I see it as proof I have prayed the prayer of faith. But if I pray and still carry the burden, then I conclude my faith has not been exercised. For April 25th, the devotional states that when we see our tragedy as irreparable, right in the midst of our deepest and worst adversities, Christ is often lying there waiting to be resurrected. The commentary focuses on Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus. The Daily Bread devotional for April 25th was also powerfully spoke about prayer. It said that without prayer we cannot tap into God’s resources. James says that the “effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” [James 5:16.] Also in verse 17, James describes Elijah’s prayer as “he prayed earnestly that it would not rain.” Therefore, to tap into God’s resources for me, my prayers need to be in faith, effective, fervent and earnest. Without that God may not always act. I purpose to spend my 10-15 minutes each day in earnest prayer as I did before in the years prior to my marriage. “Much prayer, much power; little prayer, little power; no prayer, no power.”
April 29th, 2007:
Pray with faith not by sight. Have I ever been confused, felt alone and distant from God? At various times, the prophet Elijah complained bitterly to God, expressed his unbelief, sat under a tree and was basically disillusioned. But Streams in the Desert quotes James 5:17 which states that “Elijah was a man just like us; He prayed earnestly.” This means that in spite of his unbelief, he kept on praying. In spite of hopeless reports received from sight (they saw no rain clouds when praying for rain), Elijah’s faith kept praying the prayer. Six times Elijah asked his servant to go and see if there were any rain clouds and each time the answer was no. But on the 7th trip, they saw a very small rain cloud as big as a man’s hand. Therefore, I am to pay no attention to discouraging reports but instead trust in God’s Word and plan for me. God lives and the delays in answers to our prayers are often part of His goodness.
May 7th, 2007:
The end point of our faith should be “not my will but Thine be done.” Today Marie and I met with Jim McCarty, my long-time friend and pastor of our church in Florida.. I asked Pastor Jim specifically if I could expect God’s healing after He spoke to me three years ago. Did He not usually heal people on the spot? The short answer was yes but I could expect anything from God. I told Pastor Jim that I did not want to die of this disease and in addition, my wish was to live 20 years with Marie in retirement, God willing. I also explained the entire scenario and my past history to him. The entire discussion then focused on my desires. God already knows them. I do not have to keep praying fervently for them. But what I need to do is to get to the point in my faith where I trust God so completely I can say that “not my will but Thine be done.” This is the major lesson for all of us in the Christian maturing process. I am not there yet nor do I know how to get there. Pastor Jim stated that I need only to completely rest in God’s hand and walk in the steps He has for me, allowing Him to be glorified in whatever way He chooses. Personally this means, that I still don’t know what Jesus specifically meant when He said ‘touch the hem of my garment’. I do not know or even anticipate being healed. My mind is blank tonight. I will go to Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa on Monday expecting nothing. I know Jesus can heal and does so today. But since He hasn’t healed me clinically so far, I honestly have come to doubt that He will. My mindset is supposed to be so humble that I only want Jesus to be revealed in me. But I am not there yet. I feel cold and detached.
May 8th, 2007:
Seek Jesus and not just the healing. In my devotions, the message I received strongly today was to simply seek the Healer and not necessarily the healing. I had been too focused on the potential healing, when, where, how? etc. I need to focus on Jesus and give up everything here on earth as Pastor Jim said. Nothing else really matters. Homes, health, retirement etc. The key is to focus on Jesus and let Him live through me. “Seek first His Kingdom and all else will be added.” I have to be able to pray “not my will but Thine be done.” This may be harder to do but I must remember my experience in my earlier career. I had an intermediate position which was not very scientifically stimulating. God gave me a glimpse of a new, highly interesting position at the National Cancer Institute which I desired but it took seemingly an eternity before I received the actual job offer. God had to get me to the place where I would willingly say “not my will but Thine be done” regarding my career positions. Only then did God open the door to my position at NCI. Likewise, when I surrendered my will about God’s choice of a wife for me, He gave me Marie. Now I have to surrender my health issues, and trust Him to give me His best. I should not even worry about the outcome of any lab work or results. But remember what my urologist at Johns Hopkins said when he told me to ignore any medical prognoses given by physicians. SEEK JESUS AND NOT JUST THE HEALING.
May 10th, 2007:
Be still and know that I am God, From Streams in the Desert. When I get to the point where I am totally helpless in a situation, and have anguished over it mentally, spiritually and/or physically, I find I cannot then “be strong and courageous.” But at those times, God says “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I am then to simply rest in Him knowing He will sustain me and bring me through the fire.
May 13th, 2007:
The purpose of trials. I pray for more faith and God answers by sending me more problems and insecurity and fear in order to cause me to trust Him more. That’s often the way God answers. I pray to be more Christ-like, then God says “can you say ‘not my will but Thine be done’?” The way to peace and victory in every circumstance is to see every trial as coming straight from the hand of a loving Father who lovingly looks down on our circumstance as being divinely appointed. (From the new Streams in the Desert). For me, the purpose of my health ordeal may be according to 1 Peter 1:6,7 which says, “you have been distressed by various trials that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire may be found to result in the praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
May 14th, 2007:
Discouragement sets in. John 4:46-54 cites a royal official who asks Jesus to heal his son. Jesus said that unless these people see signs and wonders they will not believe. (Is this me?) The official then asks Jesus to heal his son before the son dies. Jesus says for him to go his way for his son lives. When the official gets home, he finds his son healed. He asks what time he was healed and it was the time when Jesus spoke those words. This makes it seem to me that Jesus has not or will not heal me since when He spoke the words to me, nothing happened. This has created in me a deep depression. I do not know how to get out of it. I called my former pastor in Maryland and asked him simply to pray for me.
May 22nd, 2007:
Lay my burden down. From Streams on the Desert. Psalm 37:5 says ‘Commit your way unto the Lord, trust in Him and He will do this.” This literally means to ‘roll’ my way onto Jehovah and trust upon Him and His works. I must transfer my burden from my hands to His. He works as we commit. When someone sees no results, pay him no mind. God works if I have rolled my burden onto Him and if I am looking unto Jesus to do it. I must be careful not to infer that this guarantees healing here and now. But I must rest in Jesus by rolling everything onto Him. Whatever Jesus takes and holds in His hands, He will accomplish. His past mercies are guarantees for the future and worthy reasons to continuing to cry out to Him.
May 28th, 2007:
“Not my will but Thine be done.” From “Streams in the Desert” devotional. Genesis 32:26, 29 says “I will not let you go until you bless me….Then He blessed him there.” Jacob won the blessing not by wrestling but by clinging. He could struggle no longer due to his hip but he would not let go. We too will not win the victory in prayer until we cease struggling. I must give up my own will and throw my weight about God’s neck in clinging faith. It is not by applying pressure or insisting on my own will that brings victory. It is won when humility and trust combine in saying “not my will but Thine be done.”
June 2nd, 2007:
My faith is not in ‘faith’. From “Streams in the Desert”, Romans 4:18-19. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed……without weakening in his faith.” My faith must be in God’s perfect will for me and not having faith in faith. The only way to know strong faith is to endure great trials. I must stand firm through severe testings. God will teach me during the dark hours to have the most powerful bond to His throne if only I will submit. Don’t be afraid. But instead I have to look up and say with Psalm 56:3, “when I am afraid I will trust in You.”
June 3rd, 2007:
Strong faith is generated in storms. Also from “Streams in the Desert”, Mark 4:35, “Let us go over to the other side.” Christ may delay coming to me during times of distress but it is only to test and strengthen my faith. It is easier to trust God in the sunshine than in the storm. But I will never know genuine faith until tested in the storm. That is why Jesus is on board with me. If I am ever to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, as in Eph. 6:10, my strength will be born in a storm. Remember Christ said let’s go to the other side, not to the middle of the lake to be drowned.
June 10th, 2007:
Faith = peace and rest; unbelief = anxiety, restlessness and nervousness, A famous Norwegian theologian, Fredrik Wisloff’s devotional cited Isaiah 28:16 which says “He who believes will not be in haste.” He states that faith gives poise, peace of mind and rest. Unbelief causes restlessness, anxiety and nervousness. Impatience in prayer shows a lack of submission to God. Is my prayer only a selfish way of trying to get my own way with God? A restless mind gives evidence of little faith. The source of much nervousness and anxiety is unbelief. To be anxious is to doubt God. I need to apply this to my own anxieties, nerves and lack of trust.
June 12th, 2007:
My PSA becomes undetectable! I have now been on Lupron (hormonal therapy) for 10 months since August, 2006 when my PSA was 51.7. Today I went to the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa for a PSA test and 4 month Lupron injection. My oncologist’s nurse called me at 6:30 PM at home to inform me the PSA result was less than 0.1 or undetectable. I fell on my face on the front lawn and thanked God for this value. I do not know if God has healed me, or if it is the Lupron, or if He will simply keep me chronic, or whatever, but I have to thank and trust Him completely. I can now go to Norway this summer to see my family with a peaceful, un-apprehensive heart.
July 11th, 2007:
How things change! An unexpected health crisis. Norway postponed. How things can change quickly. In 1991, I had my right hip replaced at Johns Hopkins as a result of a near-fatal auto accident. Since then, I have had an annual hip exam at Johns Hopkins orthopedics in Baltimore. This year in anticipation of traveling to Norway, I went to Johns Hopkins on June 28th to have my hip replacement checked. The Hopkins physicians determined that my hip and pelvis were dangerously arthritic and I needed to have surgery ASAP. I was told to use a walker or crutches. A bone scan did not reveal anything specific (thankfully) but a CT scan showed two large masses, one on my right pelvis and one on my femur. These masses could be due to either metastatic prostate cancer or arthritis. On Monday July 7th, when I read the report from the CT scan radiologist, he suggested prostate cancer as his first choice, followed by arthritis. My worst fears surfaced again. Had the cancer already spread to the pelvis where I know it goes? I got very depressed. Marie tried to cheer me by telling me tearfully that I have to trust God completely and say ‘not my will but Thine be done.’ I said it reluctantly but my faith was virtually non-existent. Had God failed me or was this just a test to demonstrate the low level of my faith? The very next day I received an e mail from the Hopkins hip surgeon who said that such masses are often observed in patients such as I and they are usually non-cancerous but arthritic in origin. Only a biopsy would tell completely which I will have. But my faith went up again. It seems God tests me one day with negative news, then I falter and He shows me that my faith is still weak, then the next day a positive answer comes to bolster my faith again. This is an on-going lesson for me to be learned. God gave me the verse from 2 Timothy 2:13 that says “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” My negative outlook had been enhanced by my stay with my family physician and friend who seemed to think cancer was the cause of these masses but didn’t use the “cancer” word specifically. The trip to Norway has to be postponed but we can get a full refund. Praise God.
On July 4th, 2007, after my Hopkins examination, Marie and I were driving back to Florida. En route we read an excellent commentary from “Streams in the Desert”. The Bible verse was Habakkuk 2:3, “The revelation awaits an appointed time…..Though it lingers, wait for it. It will certainly come and not delay.” The comments stated that for some who pray expecting an answer, it takes a long time to learn that delays of answers are not denials. We tend to want to pick our blessings from the tree while they are still green, yet God wants us to wait until they are fully ripe. The deliverance is on its way to me, o’ man of little faith. I am to press on.
July 17th, 2007:
God’s promises are revealed again. I am now facing revision of a hip replacement, biopsies of tissue masses on my pelvis and femur (hopefully arthritic and not cancer) and the usual prostate cancer / PSA checks at Moffitt. But this time, I am not nearly as nervous. I have a deeper peace and trust that all will be well. The devotional “Rest a While” from Fredrik Wisloff was encouraging today. It quoted Deuteronomy 31:8, “And the Lord is the one who a) goes ahead of you; b) He will be with you; c) He will not fail you or forsake you; and, d) do not fear or be dismayed.” In summary, these verses tell me the following.
a) The Lord removes obstacles allowing me to continue my life unhindered.
b) He is going before me and also at my side. He will support me when I grow weary and raise me up when I fall.
c) He comes to me not just occasionally but always. Even though He may appear to be far away, He is right beside me whether I feel Him or not. He is faithful even when I am faithless. He only waits for me to place my hand in His and let Him lead me.
d) I need not fear with such a strong and faithful friend at my side.
July 21st, 2007:
Trust God without relying on feelings. My orthopedic surgeons at Baltimore, Maryland’s Johns Hopkins had recommended that my surgery be performed by a talented surgeon they had met from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. This would be only a 5-hour driving distance from our home. My appointment there is scheduled for August. Meanwhile, “Streams in the Desert” discussed three levels of faith. The first level of faith believes when our emotions are favorable or in sync; the second believes when all feelings are absent. But the third level of faith transcends the other two, it is faith that believes God and His Word, when circumstances, emotions, people, appearances and human reason all seem to urge something to the contrary. We have taken a great step toward Christian maturity when we trust God without relying on our feelings. Paul exercised this faith in Acts 27:20-25 when he wrote that after all hope had been given up to be rescued, he said “Keep up your courage men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me.”
When I go to the Mayo Clinic and they perform a biopsy on my pelvis and femur, do I tell them ahead of time that they will find no cancer there? Am I that confident and trusting?
July 24th, 2007:
God desires that I walk by faith and not by sight. “Streams in the Desert” devotional quotes Psalms 106:12-15 which describes Israel who praised God when they witnessed His deliverance with their eyes but doubted Him when they couldn’t see. They did not believe until after they saw. This is like me. Once they saw God work, then they believed. This up-and-down existence is not what God wants. Their up-and-down faith (like mine) was totally dependent on their circumstances. This is not the kind of faith God wants me to have. “Seeing is not believing. God wants me to believe in order to see. St. Augustine says “Faith is believing what we do not see and the reward for this kind of faith is to see what we believe.” God desires that I grow in my ability to see Him in everything. Romans 8:28 is indeed true; God does work all things for my good; but He is the only one who sees the overall master plan. But I have to be careful not to have “faith in faith” but faith in what Jesus has written, spoken and said to me.
Saturday August 11, 2007:
Trust His Word. I am about to go to the Mayo Clinic about my hip and masses on my pelvis and femur. I am somewhat apprehensive, pleading with God that there be no cancer in these tissue masses and that their nature be arthritic. The “Rest Awhile” devotional verse for today states: “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever” (Ephesians 3:20-21). It goes on to say that only my unbelief can set limits to His power. Give God a chance and I will experience that He is able to do more than ‘all’. Indeed to Him be glory. Do I really put my trust in this word? Remember it is His Word wherein I should put my trust, not my feelings, revelations etc.
Friday. August 17th, 2007:
Good news / bad news from Mayo Clinic. In preparation for my pelvic and hip surgery, hip aspiration and biopsies were performed at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL on the tissue masses seen on the Hopkins CT scan. All tests revealed no cancer or infection in the tissues. The masses were indeed due to arthritis. Marie and I are praising the Lord. On my initial visit to Mayo on August 13th, the orthopedic and oncology surgeon told me I was in imminent danger and could bleed to death if my acetabulum is punctured by the ball of the hip. She immediately restricted me to a walker and crutches and told me to avoid placing weight on my right leg. When I mentioned that Jesus had orchestrated my visit to Mayo and her choice as my surgeon, she said Jesus should have sent me there two years earlier. However I respectfully told her Jesus was never too late and said that Lazarus was dead for three days before Jesus appeared on the scene to raise him from the dead. She smiled approvingly.
Monday-Tuesday, August 20-21, 2007:
God calms my fears from King Jehoshaphat’s example. I was most concerned about my prostate cancer. The hip can be replaced and will probably be non-life threatening. But the prostate cancer is still my biggest concern. On Monday afternoon while watering my plants outside, I pleaded with God to heal me and not to allow me to die of this disease. On Tuesday morning, just before my devotional time, I again prayed fervently not to let me die of prostate cancer. Then I opened to Wisloff’s “Rest A While” devotional for this day. The verse was 2 Chronicles 20:17, “You will not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf.” This was the exact verse given to me a couple of years ago from Jehoshaphat’s prayer (Spiritual Medicines below). God answered with this verse again. Is this all a coincidence? I think not.
2 Chronicles 20:12, 15, 17: Jehosaphat’s prayer: “For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee. Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude for the battle is not yours but God’s. You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.’
August 22, 2007:
Any un-confessed sin? Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional for today was from James 5:16-18 especially verse 16 which states “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” I asked God if there were any un-confessed sins in my life which might hinder His healing or His working in my prostate situation? I will be sensitive for His answer, then repenting of them and asking forgiveness.
August 31, 2007:
Do we trust God only when results are positive? From “Streams in the Desert: devotional; John 20:29 states “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” God had to bring Abraham to the end of his own strength and let him see that with his aging body, he could do nothing. He had to consider his own body “as good as dead” and then trust God to do all the work. When he looked away from himself and his problem, and trusted only God, he became “fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.” Thus God may keep potentially encouraging results away from us until we learn to trust Him without them. I cannot just trust God when my PSA is low. I have to trust Him no matter what the result. Then He loves to make His Word as real to us in actuality as it is in our faith.
September 4th, 2007:
My hip-pelvic surgery at Mayo Clinic-God’s unique provision. On Sept. 4th, my orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville performed an operation (revision) on my right hip, femur and acetabulum (pelvis). The entire surgery was very successful. In retrospect, the hip I received in 1991 from the late Dr. Lee Riley at Johns Hopkins was a God-send. At that time, I had no referral to Dr. Riley but God in His providence provided him as my surgeon, giving me a masterful hip. Looking back, I thank God for providing such wonderful care. During today’s surgery at Mayo Clinic, my surgeon evaluated the hip I had been given in 1991. She concluded it was in such good condition it might last me the rest of my life. Prior to today’s revision surgery, she had warned me that it would be major surgery to rebuild my acetabulum, replace the hip etc. and would last 3-4 hours. For a couple of weeks prior to the surgery, a still, small, inner voice had told me to tell my surgeon that she would not be needing all the tools and resources being readied for the surgery. Thinking that this thought had its origins in my own sub-conscious wishful thinking, I dismissed it but it was persistent. In the pre-op room, my wife Marie and I prayed with the surgeon that God’s spirit would be present in the operating room in a unique and powerful fashion. I also shared with her about not needing everything she anticipated. After only 90 minutes (not 3-4 hours), the surgeon met with my wife Marie. Her first words to Marie were that the “Holy Spirit was indeed present in the operating room and that the hip that Dr. Riley had implanted in 1991 was in such good shape, she couldn’t move it.” She had used lots of bone graft to rebuild my acetabulum and had inserted a newer, larger plastic cup around the hip prosthesis and had removed lots of debris from my pelvis, femur etc. This debris was caused primarily by “particle disease”. Over the years, I had chipped away small pieces of polyethylene from my prosthetic hip. My body had recognized these pieces as foreign and mounted an immune attack against them resulting in an accumulation of dead cells and tissues. She said that Dr. Riley’s 1991 hip could very well serve me my lifetime. I required no blood transfusions. The entire experience was very positive. I am now recovering at home but would enthusiastically recommend the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. A major lesson I learned was that I should keep acknowledging God in all my physical battles. He will be glorified through them.
September 11, 2007:
Trust in and believe Jesus’ words. Dr. Wisloff’s “Rest A While” devotional cited John 4:50, wherein “Jesus said to him, ‘Go thy way, thy son liveth’. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him and went his way”. This is the key for me over and over again. Believe the word that Jesus has spoken to me. What has He spoken to me? Reach out and touch His garment, go and show myself to physicians, only trust Him, the book of James’ anointing with oil, Jehoshaphat’s prayer and deliverance. I trust only in the word. I have no clinical evidence of healing from prostate cancer but nonetheless I will trust Jesus’ words that He will care for me. The man in John gospel had only Jesus’ word to go on. Even when doubts come, remember Jesus’ distinct words. Nothing is more certain. Feelings are changeable. Jesus’ word will come to pass as He desires.
September 20th, 2007:
A conversation God may be having with me as written by a friend. God says, “I know exactly what I’m doing in your life. I see and know the things you are going through, but if you will begin to see your life from a different perspective you will notice there is beauty even in the midst of these difficult days.” I reply, “Oh Lord, you’re right, I’ve been focused on the discomfort of my life’s difficulties and I’ve forgotten about Your sovereign hand allowing everything I’m experiencing for my good and Your glory. Someone said it best, “we should put our problems into perspective by saying ‘Problem, here is my God!'” because there is no problem You cannot handle in our lives.”
By making my problems my focus, I was easily discouraged and forgot I have a God who sustains me. When I changed my perspective, and made God the object and the focus of my life, I again experienced the peace that comes through a life of trust. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).
October 13th, 2007:
Lessons from Philippians 4:6-7. I again face another visit to my oncologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida.. Will my PSA result come back as undetectable (less tan 0.1) or will there be a positive PSA value meaning the cancer has returned, this time for good? I could spend my life in fear about this but must remember that Jesus actually spoke to me and to Marie, and I am to take Him “at His Word”. What are those words? They are in the Bible and that’s why I have to daily pray some of the words in the verses found in the Spiritual Medicines link back to God. In addition, today’s Streams in the Desert devotional described four truths from Philippians 4:6 which I should remember every day. They are:
1) “Be anxious for nothing but in ‘everything’”; meaning just that, everything, i.e. all my concerns, be they small or large and those that my keep me awake.
2) “By prayer and petition” means earnestly pleading, persevering and enduring and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.
3) “With thanksgiving” means giving God thanks for being saved from hell, receiving eternal life with Him in a new heaven and new earth, and receiving His Holy Spirit, His Son and His Word. I must also thank God for all the times He has delivered me in the past.
4) Finally, I must truly experience (not merely learn about), the “peace of God that passes all understanding (that) will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” To know it means to experience it.
October 15th, 2007:
Good news. No faith in “faith” alone. I had my 4-month evaluation today with my oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. My PSA was again undetectable (<0.1) after 14 months of hormonal therapy with Lupron. Side effects are minimal; hot flashes are very tolerable but I have gained about 10 pounds which I should try to lose.
On Sunday, Jan. 11th, 2004, Jesus spoke to my spirit with the words, “reach out and touch the hem of my garment.” I have often speculated in my heart whether this was truly God speaking or my own psyche. Over the last year, I have become convinced that it was indeed Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) speaking to me. But I did not have the 100% faith of the woman in the Bible passage below to whom Jesus spoke those words. This is changing in me. My faith is not placed in “faith”itself but in God’s spoken and written Word. It is all I have in which to place my faith and trust.
Matthew 9:20-22: “And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak (hem of His garment). For she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.’ But Jesus turning and seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’”
By the way, my Moffitt oncologist is very pleasant and courteous. I pray that God will reveal Himself to him through my situation. Does this mean I mean get worse before I get better and that I have to get to a point where the drugs don’t work and only God can? Not necessarily.
October 16th, 2007:
After victory come challenges. Just after I experience a victorious day, either Satan or the flesh comes to challenge my faith and ruin my enthusiasm, or God orchestrates a circumstance to show me whether I am truly trusting Him or not. (Another lesson to be learned). Today, I read that the median period of time for hormone suppression therapy such as Lupron to work is 16-24 months. I have now gone 14 months. Immediately the clouds came into my mind. ‘I now have 2-10 months to go. This time next year, hormone therapy will have failed and I am reduced to clinical trials.’ OR am I really believing what I wrote yesterday, that God is truly going to heal me, has healed me or is going to keep me chronic? Shouldn’t I be putting my faith in I Corinthians 2:5: “My faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”? How do I handle those thoughts or do I just dismiss them? If so how? God seems to be getting me to the point where I can truly say “not my will but Thine be done.”
November 11th, 2007:
When faith works best. From Streams in the Desert devotional from 11/10; Romans 4:18 states, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” God generally waits to send His help until the time of greatest need so that His hand will be plainly seen in our deliverance. He chooses this method so that we will not trust anything that we may see or feel but place our trust solely on His Word, upon which we may always depend no matter what the circumstance. (C.H. von Bogatzky). The very time for faith to work is when our sight begins to fail. As long as we can see natural solutions to our problems, we will not have faith. Faith never works as easily as when our natural prospects fail (George Mueller).
November 22nd, 2007:
God deals with impossibilities. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). Two blind men followed Jesus and asked Him to “have mercy on us, Son of David”. Jesus asked them if they believed He was able to do this? They said “yes” and He answered “be it done to you according to your faith.” Note this is just like the woman who touched the hem of His garment. I am not talking about “having faith in faith” but having faith that if Jesus wants to heal us, He can and will. Is it His will? I believe so or why would He have told me to reach out and touch His garment?
The “Streams in the Desert” devotional for today states that God deals with impossibilities. It is never too late for Him to act, as long as that which is impossible is brought to Him in complete faith by the person whose life and circumstances would be impacted if God is so to be glorified. Christianity is the only religion that can deal with a person’s past. God can restore and repay me for the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25). He does it not for what we are but because of who He is. God forgives, heals and restores for He is the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10). We have a God who delights in impossibilities and asks “is anything too hard for me?”
Maybe I don’t have the faith to be healed? Jesus seems to say that a measure of faith is needed coupled with the fact that it would be God’s will that I be healed. As soon as the skies darken, I seem to lose any faith that I have. I then begin living by sight. How do I overcome this? I don’t know.
November 26th, 2007:
To counter anxiety, fall into God’s hand. How do I handle thoughts of depression when they come? See 2 Samuel 24:14. “I am in a great strait; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercy is great.” Fear and anxiety creep in suddenly. The greater the difficulties, the greater the anxiety becomes. David is quoted above. All anxiety must flee from him who has cast himself in the hand of the Lord. Who can be anxious when he knows he is in the hand of the Lord whose hands are strong, gentle, and whose heart is full of understanding, forgiveness and strength. His mercy is great. (From “Rest a While” by Fredrik Wisloff.)
December 22nd, 2007:
Christmas messages. It is nearly Christmas. Because of my urological problems resulting from my pelvic surgery, Marie and I cannot fly to Baltimore for Christmas with the grandchildren. As I was reading the devotional for today, several thoughts came to me.
a) Romans 12:1-2: “…….Present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” I am to lay down my body at the foot of the cross. Jesus can do whatever He wants with and through me. I know that only one touch from Him will heal me from cancer and any other medical condition.
My wife Marie had recently received a verse from God of which she often reminds me. In John 11, the author recounts the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. After perceiving that Lazarus’ family were grieving over his death and sadly were wishing that Jesus had appeared on the scene earlier, Jesus replies in verse 40, “did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”. I must remember that Jesus has allowed this cancer to return to me for a specific purpose known only to Him. His purposes will be made manifest in due time and His name is to be glorified as His will is demonstrated in my life.
b) When we think God has forsaken us or doesn’t hear our prayers, see the following from Streams in the Desert, December 22. When the devil comes and says “God has forgotten or forsaken you” and my unbelieving heart asks (like Gideon in Judges 6:13) “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to you?” God has allowed this to happen so as to bring us closer to Him. It has come not to separate us from Jesus but to cause us to cling more faithfully, firmly and simply to Him. We should abandon ourselves to Him more fully at those times when it seems He has abandoned us. We must enjoy His light and comfort. When He plunges us into the night where pure faith is required, may we still press on through the agonizing darkness. God delights when we walk surrendered in close proximity to Him.
c) In the familiar Christmas story as told in Luke 2:8-20, the angel came to the shepherds and said “today is born ‘for you’ a Savior” etc. Also he said that a sign will be given “for you”. Note the personal message as delivered by God’s messengers. We can fill in our own names under “for you”.
December 27th, 2007:
The “iron” within us. From Streams in the Desert (F.B. Meyer); Never run from suffering but bear it silently, patiently, and submissively with the assurance that it is God’s way of instilling iron into our spiritual lives. Strength of purpose, tenacity, endurance are all qualities which God seeks to put in us and which speak to others. God is looking for ‘iron’ saints and by God allowing suffering, this builds iron into our moral nature. Our iron crown of suffering precedes our golden crown of glory and iron is entering our soul to make it strong and brave.