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A Stroll At Leisure With God

Day T+3: A Little Better

I’m getting to the point where I am sorry to write these blogs. They are all the same. I still feel bad.

Yesterday, I literally could not keep anything including water down—very disheartening.

Today, I’m finding I can keep water and some Ensure down. I’m thankful.

Another Sunday where I will miss worship. I pray that all your services go well. I’m lifting up Dan and Connor and the services at First Southern.

Please pray that it is a better day. Thanks so much. Love you all. Amen.
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Day T + 2: Sicker

Yesterday was absolutely the sickest, most miserable day I have spent in a long time.

I’m doing a little better right now so I thought I would jump online and write a brief note.

Back to yesterday, even the nurses were concerned. One of them opined, “We usually don’t see people get this sick this early in the process. It usually comes on days T + 5 or following.” Great. It would be hard to imagine feeling worse, but I will take it as it comes. Maybe the Lord will allow me to have an easier time as the days go on.

I want to thank all of you for praying for me. Please keep it up.

Well, I am fading so I had better close. I love you all. Amen.
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Day T + 1: Sick

To be honest, I slept through most of the transplant and don’t even remember it. My first memory is waking up in the night to get out of bed and hearing Marilyn say, “Be careful. Just sit there a moment. Are you all right?” She stayed the night, and I really appreciate the fact that she did. I am queasy and unsteady on my feet, so everyone is making sure I don’t fall. That could be disastrous at this point.

So, not much else to share. My headache seems to be returning. I’d better sign off.

Again, I cannot begin to thank all of you enough for praying for me.

Marilyn just returned. She said that the doc told her that I was doing really well! Praise God! More tomorrow! I love you all.
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Day T-0: Transplant Day!

Yesterday, Chris, one of the nurses, paused, looking at Marilyn and me. “Just think: tomorrow is your new birthday!” Humm. I guess so!

I honestly thought this day would never arrive, especially during the middle of the night when I was so sick I could barely stay still in the bed. I felt just as bad or worse when I got out of bed to go down the hall to get some coffee. I threw up in the sink in the little nutrition area! I tried to be quiet and discreet about it, but it happened nonetheless. Now, I feel better all of a sudden, at least well enough to write this blog.

So, here is the schedule this morning: at 11:45, they are taking me to a lab for a full-body radiation treatment. All in all, this should last an hour. Then, it is back here for a couple of hours of rest before they hook me up to a bunch of IV fluids and medications. This will last two hours.

And then … around 4:00 or 5:00 I will get the transplant. It will occur here in my room. It will take about an hour to an hour and a half. Then, there is about an hour’s worth of recovery, and that is it. As someone here as she was explaining it to us, the whole process of transplant is rather anti-climactic—a very simple, straightforward process: someone else’s marrow is in a bag and drip, drip, drip, it goes into me and miraculously, these new cells find their place in the body and hopefully take over.

So, prayer warriors and friends, please pray. This is such a drastic procedure. Please pray that I will make it through with little or no side-effects to begin the process of healing.

Paul’s testimony is what I pray occurs through all of this: “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too” (2 Corinthians
1:3-5 MSG).

Lord, thank You for this day. I thank You for everyone who is reading this and is praying. I believe You are a prayer-answering God. Take care of the radiation treatment and transplant today. I place both procedures in Your capable hands, Dr. Jesus. Bless everyone who is praying. Thank You for this technology. You are Lord of all. Amen.


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Day T-1: Headache

Sorry to be so late to get the blog out today. Last night, after my chemo treatment, I developed a very severe headache that last into the morning. I am just now starting to feel a little bit better.

I tried to eat some breakfast, but I couldn’t. I tried to get out of bed my usual early time, but I couldn’t. Eventually, I did eat a little and got up. However, the only thing I have been able to do is sit in this chair.

The doc has designated today as a day of rest. Good thing. That is literally all I want to do.

Tomorrow is going to be very busy with a full body radiation scan in the morning and hopefully the transplant in the afternoon. I say “hopefully” on the transplant part because again, as I have mentioned before, since the marrow is coming from overseas, it might be delayed in which case Friday becomes Day T-0b.

I’m not sure will be able to write in the morning but I will at some point. Please keep praying. These are very difficult and long days. Without the Lord and His grace, I know I wouldn’t make it. I love you all. Dr. Jesus, it is in Your hands. Amen.
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Day T-2: A Temporary Set-Back

Yesterday, Dr. Thomas and one of his assistants, Brandon, came into the room.

As a part of orientation on the first day, Bob told us that I would receive a visit from one of the docs at CBCI each day. The nine doctors rotate shifts so it is likely that during my stay I could meet all of them.

Again, this really does give me a lot of assurance from the human angle. I don’t have just one doctor; I have nine doctors who consult together on what is best for me, and all of them know or at least have access to my information.

Of course, having nine doctors or 9999 working with me is no substitute for the Big Doctor, Dr. Jesus.

Marilyn shared that with Bob the other day. She said something like, “We are Christians. We believe in the Lord, but we also believe that He uses doctors and nurses like yourself, so we really appreciate you and your work.” I agree with her totally.

Anyway, back to Dr. Thomas’ visit yesterday mid-day. As he entered the room, he jumped right in, “Well, John, we talked about discharge yesterday. Unfortunately, I was a little premature on that because after visiting with Dr. Alie, I learned that you have a lot of construction going on at your house. We just can’t let you be exposed to all the potentially dangerous issues associated with that. So, we are going to keep you here for the full three weeks just to make sure that, when you are discharged, your body is in a good place to be able to deal with everything. Sorry. But we are just watching out for you.”

This is the gist of what he said between inquiries that Marilyn and I had. We had made many provisions for me to be able to come home early and were hopeful that could occur, but I guess not …

I have to be honest at this point: this was rather devastating news for me. I realized that I had put a lot of hope in going home in the next few days after the doctor mentioned it that first day. I wrestled with disappointment for most of the day.

Thankfully, however, Marilyn was there so that both of us could process this change of plan. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I certainly do not want to risk getting a hint of infection. A couple of extra weeks is nothing compared to a lifetime of feeling better. Plus, I’m just not sure I would have been emotionally ready to go home in a few days anyway. There is just so much to keep track of and be aware of. During this learning and adjusting process, I think it is better to be in the hospital and just allow my counts to go back up.

The bottom line that I had to keep coming back to is that the Big Doctor is looking out for me. He is right now taking care of me and using all circumstances to see that it occurs. This sounds a lot like Romans 8:28 to me!

After the doctor visit, the rest of the day went extremely slowly. I’m still trying to adjust to being in here. I took a couple of walks up and down the hall. I dealt with some weird side-effects of the chemo and/or drugs they are giving me. Thus, it was a tough day overall.

But I am looking forward to a new day. I have my third and final chemo treatment today. Tomorrow is a day of rest, according to the schedule. Thursday is the full body radiation treatment and the transplant, if the marrow arrives in time. If not, T-0 continues on Friday. (This is how Dr. Thomas described it. If my marrow arrives too late on July 28
th, I will essentially have two T-0’s—Thursday and Friday.) Whatever. I’m ready to get on the plus side of the ledger.

One rather long passage from my reading this morning stands out to me: “Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. Would you do me a favor, friends, and give special recognition to the family of Stephanas? You know, they were among the first converts in Greece, and they’ve put themselves out, serving Christians ever since then. I want you to honor and look up to people like that: companions and workers who show us how to do it, giving us something to aspire to” (1 Corinthians
16:13-16 MSG).

In vv. 13-14, Paul gives some “shotgun” commands urging the church to “keep your eyes open.” I believe this is a command to be alert and vigilant, not only to satanic activity, but also to the work of God. This is what I have to believe is going on with this change of plan with the doctor. It is a work of God.

Then, vv. 15-16, I love this commendation of a family in the church. Where would any of us be without “special” families, families who serve with distinction and love the Lord and stand out as an example. I’m going to spend some time this morning thanking the Lord for such families that I know.

Lord, thank You for working through disappointment and using circumstances to put us where You want us to be. Thank You for all the special families I have met through the years. God, give all of us stamina and endurance and grace “to keep on keeping on.” I love You. Amen.
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Day T-3: Made it Through T-4

One of the great things about the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute is that it is made up of nine doctors. Even though I have one doctor essentially—Dr. Alie—all of the doctors work together and consult for each patient.

So, yesterday, as Marilyn and I were here, in the room, getting orientation from Bryan—the nurse who was working with us, Dr. Tees (one of the nine docs at CBCI) and two assistants came into the room. He looked me in the eye and said, “Okay, John, so are you ready for this?”

Gulp. “Yes.”

He went on, “We are going to give you a chemo treatment late afternoon the next three days. Then, after a day of rest on Wednesday, you will receive one full body radiation treatment and then, later that day, the transplant. Since you have an international donor, sometimes things get delayed, so your T-0 may actually be two days!”

Then, as the conversation was nearing a conclusion, one of the assistants with him asked, “Has Dr. Alie talked with you about discharge dates?”

Ah, not really.

“Well, we are looking at a T+2 date of discharge.”

“Huh? What? You mean two days after the transplant, I am going home?”

Dr. Tees jumped in at this point, “Well, let’s not get carried away. If you are doing well, yes, but let’s just take it one step at a time. If you want to get out of here early, you need to do three things. First, you have to keep moving. Walk up and down the hall. Do what you can do. Second, keep eating even if you don’t feel like it. Third, tell us when you have any problem.”

Okay, doc. Will do.

But I still can’t get over that. Two days after transplant, go home? I’ve been telling all of you that I would be in here 30 days. I’m going to take the doc’s advice and not get ahead of myself. Just one day at a time. But I guarantee you that I am going to take the doctor’s advice.

So, I did have my first chemo treatment about 5:00 yesterday. It seemed to go well without many issues. I’m a little queasy this morning, but I seem to be doing okay.

Thanks again for praying.

This morning, in the Solid Life Plan, I read 1 Corinthians 15. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is at the end of this great chapter on the resurrection of Jesus: “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort”
(1 Corinthians
15:58 MSG).

Lord, I’m grateful that You got me through day one here at the hospital. Thank You for the resurrection. Thank You that it means that Jesus is now my life. Jesus, live Your life through this vessel today. One more day. I will leave the rest of the days to you, including when I get out of here. Up to You. I love You and all my dear friends reading the blog this morning. Amen.
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Day T-4: Heading to the Hospital and First Chemo Treatment

Well, after waiting weeks and weeks, the day is finally here for us to head to the hospital and get things moving.

I do have an overwhelming sense of the peace of God this morning, and I know that it is a result of the prayers of God’s army—all of you—lifting Marilyn and me up.

We have to be at the hospital at 9:00. We were pre-admitted on Friday when they put the catheter in—a good thing since no one is at the front desk on Sunday. Thus, when we get there, we will proceed immediately to the third floor’s nursing station. One of the nurses will direct us to my room, and things will begin.

Even as I wrote all of that, my nerves spiked a bit. There are still a lot of unknowns in all of this.

I know all of the side-effects of this chemo, but I am asking you to pray that the impact of these side effects will be minimal or even eliminated. How about that? Thanks so much.

Also, as I indicated yesterday, I will continue to write this blog if that is possible, depending on how I feel. Maybe if I am not up to it, I might ask Marilyn to jot down a few words on Facebook as an update. Who knows? We will see.

The other day, a good friend shared a verse with me that his whole family is memorizing. It has been very heavily on my mind and heart as this day has been approaching: “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2, NASB).

The juxtaposition of those two statements: God is my salvation and God has become my salvation. My friend and I talked about this. One is a declaration that comes from the head; the other is a testimony that is borne out of experience. How about that?

This is speculation on my part after visiting with my friend. I don’t know, but I do think this upcoming experience is going to teach me a lot from personal experience about the salvation of the Lord. I’m already saved, but I’m grateful He keeps on saving us. Aren’t you?

Lord, we count on you as our salvation as we head to the hospital today. Give Marilyn a special dose of your strength as she cares for my mom and me. I lift up my mom today. Continue to take care of her as well. We trust You and love You, Lord. THIS is the day the Lord has made—yes, even this one—and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.
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The Last Day of Freedom

I thought I would include a picture of the catheter they “installed” in my chest yesterday on Facebook. Check it out. As I indicated before, it is quite different from the chemo port on the other side of my chest. This one, as you can see, has exposed “stuff.” I have to be very careful not to get this wet in the shower. So, I have to use a “shower guard.” And, Marilyn, has to clean this gadget EVERY SINGLE DAY. Quite a chore. In the interest of transparency and honesty, I just wanted you to see. Sorry if it is a little too graphic for some.

Anyway, in the previous plan that Dr. Alie sent me, I would have been admitted into the hospital yesterday and started on my second dose of chemo today but not so. I am glad to have another day of “freedom.”

However, these past several weeks of waiting have been very difficult. Thus, I am really glad to be able to check into the hospital tomorrow and get moving.

There are interesting designations for the next few days. They do sound very NASA-like. They are “T Minus 4, T Minus 3, and so forth” on to the day of the transplant. It has the designation “T Minus 0.” Once I get the transplant, the days carry a positive moniker, “T Plus 1, T Plus 2, and so forth up to 100.” I hope that make sense.

Anyway, Marilyn bought a rather sizable calendar for me to take to the hospital and use through this process. I’m going to note the name of the day on the calendar and then with joy, make a big X through it when it is done. How about that? Each X will be a testimony to the grace and provision of God. How about that?

Another thing that I need to say at this point: I have every intention of continuing to write each day, even if it is only a couple of sentences, but it occurs to me that there will be some days (maybe very soon) in which I will not feel like it at all. Two things: when you don’t see a post, please pray for me. Thanks. OR, I may get Marilyn to put something up.

When I am limited, I probably won’t be able to do my personal blog, pastorjohnsblog.com or Caring Bridge. The post may only be located on Facebook.

So, just wanted to get that out there because I love and appreciate all of you who take the time and make the effort to read my chicken-scratches each day. I love you all.

Here is a verse of impact today from the Message version. I wonder if Peterson carried his translation a bit far in this instance? This is a rather stark verse in the NASB, for example. However, I do believe, given the context, that his translation bears examination given the context in which he is writing. What a mess that church in Corinth was! Before we jump on them too much, we must be careful to examine ourselves.

“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love” (1 Corinthians
13:13 MSG).

Lord, until Your Son returns to this earth, let us exercise hope, faith, and love—the greatest of these is love. Lord, I can’t help but think that there will be someone on that transplant ward who needs an expression of the love of God in Christ. Please use me if you need a vessel to display that love, and on this, the last day of freedom, thank You for bringing us to this point. Help Marilyn and me as we try to get ready for new “digs” these next few weeks. It is all in Your hands, Dr. Jesus. Take it from here. Amen.
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Installation of Triple Lumen Catheter

That is the “official” name of it. This will happen this afternoon at 2:00 at Presbyterian/St Luke’s Hospital. A nurse at the hospital called me yesterday afternoon. She gave me preparation instructions and then went on, “This procedure will take an hour. Then, we want you to recover for about an hour. So, count on leaving about 4:30.” This will make it a rather long day since I cannot eat anything after 6:00 AM this morning. Oh, well. I’m trusting the Lord ONCE AGAIN to take care of that detail and others.

I do also count on your prayers. Yesterday was a very rough day. I’m so glad it is over. I will have Saturday to rest and make final preparation before checking into the hospital at 9:00 AM on Sunday. My understanding is that the chemo treatments will begin Sunday as well.

Therefore, after weeks and weeks, we are not far from “getting this show on the road.”

This morning, one of the chapters I read in the Solid Life Plan was 1 Corinthians 12. You know this chapter. It talks about the church as the body of Christ. There is a phrase that stood out to me in my reading:

“You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then
we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 MSG, emphasis mine).

How about that as a description of the Christian life— “a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything.” Wow. What a statement! How comforting as I begin this transplant process.

Oh, Lord, this whole transplant process seems very intimidating, but You are bigger. Larger. Run the universe. Thank You for allowing us to step into the “largeness.” Thank You that You pull everything together and have the final say. I trust You with that, Lord. Amen.
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Another Day of Preparation

I seemed to do very well yesterday in a lot of ways. I was/am glad about this.

Today, I am really going to work on getting ready to check into the hospital on Sunday. I am going to pack my suitcase. I’m going to get my computer stuff and books together. We will see if can accomplish this.

Somehow over the past few days, and I know this sounds weird, it helps my anxiety just to do very practical things related to my hospital stay, instead of sitting around getting worried

Here are a couple of verses I read this morning that the Spirit put His finger on for me: the story of Balaam in the book of Numbers. God would not let the donkey proceed. He would not let Balaam curse His people. Why? “God said to Balaam, ‘Don’t go with them. And don’t curse the others—they are a blessed people’” (Numbers
22:12 MSG).

Do you remember the story in Mark 5 about Jesus heading to heal Jairus’ daughter? On the way, a woman touched Jesus and the Lord healed her. In the meantime, the girl died, and so the servants were told not to bother Jesus any longer. “Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, ‘Don’t listen to them; just trust me’”
(Mark
5:36 MSG).

A couple of very good reminders for today.

Lord, thank You that I am blessed, not because of my family background or social status or religious deeds but because of You and what You did for me on the cross. And today, Jesus, I choose once again to trust You. Amen.
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Shifting Gears

Yesterday morning, I received a call from Nicole, Dr. Alie’s assistant. She said, “Hi John. The doctor has ordered a change in your treatment prior to transplant. Instead of taking two chemo drugs for five days, you will be taking one chemo drug for three and one whole body radiation treatment. He made this choice because it will be less toxic on your system.”

Okay, what next?

She had set up an appointment for me to meet with a radiation oncologist at Rose Medical Center prior to our already-scheduled appointment yesterday at the cancer center.

So, Marilyn and I jumped in the car and headed out. At first, to be honest, I was upset with this change until Marilyn said, “John, the doctor feels this would be best for you. I believe the Lord is at work in and through stuff like this. Let’s just roll with it.”

We met the radiation doc. He explained what is involved in radiation therapy. In all the years I have had cancer, I’ve never had a radiation treatment. For many cancer patients, it is common.

After finishing up at Rose, we came home for a bit before heading to the cancer center where we met with Nicole and Dr. Alie. The doctor went through the results of each of the tests I have taken over the past couple of weeks. Praise God! Every one of them checked out. The Lord enabled me to do well.

One thing came out that I need to share. In point of fact, the 23-year old man that I assumed was my number one donor did NOT check out, so #2 is a 45-year old man. That is one thing. The second thing that I learned is that all of my potential 20 matches live overseas—not one of them was American. Humm. Interesting.

We talked about a lot in this meeting, including the anxiety I am experiencing. The doctor replied, “John, in all the years I have done this, I have never met anyone who was not anxious about this.” Somehow, this helped me to hear it and continue to turn things over to God. The doctor also prescribed some medication to help me because part of the reason for my anxiousness is all the medicine I am taking.

To be honest, I was against this at first, but now, I am open to the help to even things out emotionally for me as I enter this rigorous process.

Oh, the other thing that changed yesterday is my admission date into the hospital. Instead of going in Friday, I check in Sunday—two days later. I still do have to go in on Friday to get my new transplant port surgically inserted in my chest, but that is it for that day.

So, what an adventure, huh? Would I expect anything less from the Lord?

“Really!
There’s no such thing as self-rescue, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The cost of rescue is beyond our means, and even then it doesn’t guarantee Life forever, or insurance against the Black Hole” (Psalm 49:7-9 MSG, emphasis mine).

Lord, as I have already shared, I would be less than honest with You and others if I didn’t say that this whole process that seems to shift daily, is very intimidating, but I do know this: I can’t handle it on my own. As each day passes, I recognize that I need You more and more and more. What will happen today? Who knows, for any of us? I love You Jesus. Amen.
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Mind Officially Blown

This is unusual for me. I am writing or starting to write (as the case may be) this blog THE NIGHT BEFORE I actually plan to send it out. Why am I doing this? I have no idea! Ha.

Anyway, today, Marilyn and I attended a class at the hospital for caregivers in the transplant process. I actually debated whether or not to go. It is not as if I won’t be spending a lot of time at that hospital starting only in a couple of days, but I went to support Marilyn and see what I could learn because the truth is: I have intentionally kept myself away from a lot of detailed and gory information about what lies ahead of me. I know. That sounds crazy. Many, most people would like to know. Not me. Less is more.

Be that as if may, I attended along with Marilyn, and I am glad I did.

Callee (I’ve mentioned her before; she was Dr. Alie’s transplant assistant before passing the baton to Nicole) taught the class. She basically talked about everything from all the pre-transplant stuff I have been involved with over the past few weeks, to the inpatient part of the process (the actual hospital stay that starts Friday for me, Lord willing), to the transplant, to all the potential “issues,” to the outpatient portion, and to everything else one could possibly think about wanting to know.

It was one of the most “mind-blowing” experiences of my life. It was as if I was in that room at the hospital listening to all of this, and I was watching myself listen, and I was thinking, “Man, that guy has no idea what he is getting ready to do. Poor guy.” Although, I did not feel that way ONCE through the whole presentation.

I had this overwhelming sense of the peace of God that passes all human understanding. You know—that passage in Philippians 4 about NOT being anxious but praying about everything instead. That one. It was glorious.

Now, let me hasten to say that this is BIG. It is a huge deal. It will undoubtedly be the most difficult thing I have ever done. And I am nervous bordering on anxiety. That battle is not done yet, and I am sure I will struggle over the next few days and weeks and months. This won’t stop when I get there on Friday, BUT for today’s hurdle, the Lord took care of me.

And, as Marilyn and I left, she expressed some of the same things, indicating that she did not feel overwhelmed, but, as she put it, “We can do this.”

That sounds an awful lot like ANOTHER VERSE in Philippians 4: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (4:13, KJV).

This evening, it is dawning on me that Philippians 4:6-7 and 4:13 are organically related. When I learn to pray about everything, God gives me peace, but more than that, He shifts things around from worrying about what might happen to me TO what He can do through me. That is a radical shift. And I am praying that the Lord will do this through me as I am identified with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection.

After listening to Callee in that class, a worrier could go insane. There is so much that could go wrong in this transplant. Think about all the “bugs” out there and being a person with NO immune system. Are you kidding me?

Oh, man. It is complicated and difficult and long and arduous and scary. However, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ALL THINGS. That pretty much sums it up, right? Even Bone Marrow Transplants! “We--John and Marilyn and all of you, my dear army of prayer warriors in my church family and beyond—can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Continued on July 19
th—I hope today to start getting things together for my month-long visit to the hospital.

This afternoon, Marilyn and I head back over to the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute. We have a meeting with Dr. Alie who will go over all tests I have taken and answer our questions. Then, we will sign off on a contract about transplant—make the commitment to go forward. Kind of daunting, but as I shared last night, it is completely in the Lord’s hands. Unless He stops us, it is all systems go. Thanks for your prayers.

Lord, I thank You for yesterday and the strength You provided. I trust You for another day. Please guide us today in our visit with the doctor and in moving forward with the transplant. Thank You for Marilyn. Thank You for everyone who is praying. I love each and every one of you and Jesus for saving you. Amen.
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Another Police Shooting

One of the things that has been really hard for me these past few months is just to keep up with news of ANY KIND. I don’t say this to sound super-spiritual (I certainly am NOT) but the fact is that I have not watched much television since April.

Why? Not sure really except that I just have no interest. My mind and heart have been so focused on all this health stuff that I just haven’t done it.

At night, Marilyn and I just sit together and read or talk or do work on the computer. On a couple of occasions, we tried to watch movies but again, it just didn’t seem interesting to either one of us.

This is coming from someone who, since the earliest days of his childhood, watched television every single night of the week. Up until late March, when my mom had her stroke, we still did it—watch TV together every night of the week. But that ended when my mom left our home and she hasn’t been back.

It just hit me—maybe that is why we don’t watch TV any more: it reminds us of Mother. Humm. Interesting theory.

Anyway, all of that to say that I’m not “up” on the latest news. It was a shock when I received a text from a friend about the latest police shooting in Baton Rouge. Please pray for the families of the three deceased officers.

Back to me—some might say, “John, you are way too selfish. You need to be up on the news and know what is going on.” Others may commend me pointing out all the evil that is on television these days (they are right about that). For now, this is where I am. That may change; it may not. The truth is that I don’t miss it all that much.

Lord, so much has changed in our lives. It is overwhelming really. We miss Mother around here BIG TIME. There is such an empty space where she was. Give her a good day in the memory care unit. Give grace to Marilyn as she takes care of both of us and this house and everything in it, especially as I go into the hospital at the end of the week—a lot on her plate. Help her, Lord.

“He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles.
The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word and give them authority to banish demons. These are the Twelve: Simon (Jesus later named him Peter, meaning “Rock”), James, son of Zebedee, John, brother of James (Jesus nicknamed the Zebedee brothers Boanerges, meaning “Sons of Thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot (who betrayed him).” (Mark 3:13-19 MSG, emphasis mine)

Thank You for the Plan—that we are with You. Amen.
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A Whale of a Hail Storm

The day before yesterday, I got to watch the whole thing from the room in our house where I sit and stay most of the day. Actually, it is the master bedroom.

It blew it, and it was so severe that I could not see our back fence. All of a sudden, one heard the pelting sound of hail. It was loud.

While I was sitting, Marilyn came in to show me a sample of the hail. I would call it “pack of three golf ball” size. It was sort of elongated and large. When I saw the “sample,” I resigned myself to the fact that the cars would be severely damaged. I was right. We had just moved both our cars out to the driveway to make room for the storage of some construction material for our house.

Yesterday morning, as I ventured out to our front yard to assess the damage, my heart sunk. Both cars got pelted with dents all over. The street looked like a war zone, with leaves and branches lying there. It was crazy.

Then, yesterday, throughout the day, the “vultures” descended on our neighborhood, roofers trying to get folks to get new roofs. It was crazy.

I am so thankful for the stability and the grace to keep plugging along.

Notice these words from one of my favorite chapters: “Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others” (1 Corinthians
7:7 MSG).

This chapter is a plea just to be content in whatever “state” one is in—single, married, hailed on, not hailed on, et cetera. It is a challenge at times because now there is work to be done on the cars and on our house to repair damage—this is the last thing that Marilyn needs as I check into the hospital this week.

Lord, thank You for that hail storm and for Your purpose behind it. Thank You for bringing us to this day. Strengthen and encourage Marilyn today. I lift up the special services at First Southern today. Bring the folks You want to be there. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
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Another Day of Feeling Bad

Yesterday was a rough day. I just did not feel well from start to finish. I hope today is better.

I really don’t know what to say … In some ways, I am really looking forward to the transplant—just get things moving. In other ways, as I try to prepare myself, I discover a lot of anxiety as well. It is both/and.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get what I will need for a one-month stay in the hospital AND just trying to rest. Resting was not hard yesterday. That is all I felt like doing.

Here is an interesting reminder that I came across in my reading in the Solid Life Plan this morning: “GOD spoke to Moses: ‘Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them that from now on they are to make tassels on the corners of their garments and to mark each corner tassel with a blue thread. When you look at these tassels you’ll remember and keep all the commandments of GOD, and not get distracted by everything you feel or see that seduces you into infidelities. The tassels will signal remembrance and observance of all my commandments, to live a holy life to GOD. I am your GOD who rescued you from the land of Egypt to be your personal God. Yes, I am GOD, your God’” (Numbers
15:37-41 MSG).

What occurs to me as I read about the tassels is that I need to be reminded as I prepare to go to the hospital that I am responsible to be obedient to God, no matter where I am and no matter what is going on with me, even a Bone Marrow Transplant.

Lord, it is easy to get caught up in all the preparations and anxieties and fears on actually going into the hospital to get this started and to miss the necessity of spiritual preparation for obedience and witness. Lord, give me the chance to share even when I am throwing up. I thank You that I don’t need any tassels; I have You, Holy Spirit of God. Thanks for speaking through Your Word to remind us of it. Amen.
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Didn't Make It

Two of the chapters to be read this morning in the Solid Life Bible Plan are Numbers 13 and 14—a terrible saga of unbelief.

Remember? Moses sent twelve “spies” into the Promised Land to scout it out and bring back a report. Ten came back crying; two returned emboldened in their faith that God would enable them to defeat the enemies and take what God had promised.

It was a very tragic day in the history of Israel. Had it not been for the intercessory ministry of Moses on behalf of the people, God would have wiped all of them out.

As the days tick down for me before I head to the hospital for transplant, I know the challenge is the same—will I continue to trust God? The giants and obstacles are large—but our God is bigger. This is what Joshua tries to tell the people:

“Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Israel: ‘The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land—very good indeed. If GOD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against GOD! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and GOD is on our side. Don’t be afraid of them!’” (Numbers
14:6-9 MSG).

Lord, thank You for being on our side. No task is too hard for us to handle if we depend on You and continue to believe. May that be so for me today. Amen.
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Taking Care of Us

Unfortunately, I can really relate to the people of Israel once they arrived for their wanderings in the wilderness. They immediately started whining and complaining. And they directed it to their leader, Moses.

As you know, Moses went to the Lord and at one point said, “God, I can’t take this any longer. Just kill me. Even death is better than dealing with this.”

Here is how God answered Moses:
“GOD answered Moses, ‘So, do you think I can’t take care of you? You’ll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not’” (Numbers 11:23 MSG).

The Lord had other plans for his servant and to appease the whining. He sent quail into the camp, a lot of quail.

Back to Moses, the Lord did take care of him as He had promised. This is a very appropriate word for me to read this morning. God is asking a question. All of us must answered it at

I’m over a week out before I go into the hospital to begin the transplant process, and I am experiencing more anxiety. Please pray for me.

Lord, I know You are able to take care of Your people in the wilderness (if only they had really believed that) and You continue to be able to take care of me as well. I give You today and make the decision to trust You. Amen.
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More Waiting

As these days go by, it seems more and more difficult to wait for the Bone Marrow Transplant. I observe people going about their healthy ways and the question begin to descend on me like a flock of geese, “Why, Lord? What is going on?”

Now, I have quoted Al before who rightly contends that those kinds of questions (especially the first one) lead to speculation that is not healthy or good for anyone.

As I have already indicated, I’m trying to use these days for preparation for my time in the hospital and when I get out, if the Lord wills.

Since we now know that I am coming home when they release me, we are starting to work on the room in our house where I will be “living” for a couple of months. We are trying not to neglect the more immediate concern—getting ready for the hospital stay as well.

I don’t think I mentioned this before, but when I get there a week from Friday, the first order of business will be surgery. They will install what amounts to a transplant port in my chest on the right side, and then, if all goes well with that installation, I will get my first chemo treatment the very first day. It will be challenging.

I love the reminder of our true relationship with the Lord and each other that Paul affirms at the end of chapter three of 1 Corinthians 3: “I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God” (1 Corinthians
3:21-23 MSG).

This passage is a good corrective this morning. Instead of speculating as to what is going to happen in the future and asking “why,” this is a good time to affirm my relationship with the Lord and my relationship to others—each has his or her own role in the body—nothing more, nothing less.

Lord, thank You again for these days. Thank You for the privilege of having a relationship with You and Your church. May I continue to follow You. May I continue to bask in my union with You. I love You, Lord. Again I affirm it. Amen.
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Like Clockwork

When I finally got over being overwhelmed by the number of tests yesterday, I got impressed very quickly. Things moved very quickly and efficiently yesterday through all the tests at the hospital. They moved so well that Marilyn and I ended up being done an hour early and out of there—DONE. So glad.

Now, what is in store? Well, basically, I have six days off. This gives the folks at CBCI time to process all the results of these tests and make the final recommendation as to whether or not I am ready from a medical, physical, and psychological standpoint for this transplant.

Apparently, the donor has/is going through the same battery of tests. As Nicole put it the other day, “We want to make sure that we are not transplanting disease into you. So we will check out the donor very thoroughly as well.” Good point and I appreciate it a lot.

In fact, when I get over being overwhelmed through this whole process, I do appreciate how thorough CBCI is in this transplant.

Back to the process—when all the results of all the tests are compiled, in their weekly meeting, all nine doctors including mine—Dr. Alie—will examine the data and collaboratively make a recommendation about my ability in their perspective for me to move forward. This is another great thing about CBCI—all nine doctors are involved in every case.

And, Nicole reminded Marilyn and me that, when and if I go the hospital, I will get to meet just about every doctor who takes his turn on call and actually visits patients. Very good.

Anyway, when all the docs have met and made a decision, I will meet with Dr. Alie next Tuesday to see the results of the tests and sign on the dotted line to make the commitment to transplant. That will be next Tuesday afternoon.

The only other thing on the schedule is a class for caregivers next Monday afternoon. Marilyn and I both will attend this class. Marilyn will learn more about what it will take to care for me through transplant and I will get a chance to meet the nurse who will take over my case during the transplant process. Nicole will hand the baton to Tina and she will work with the doctor to be in charge of my case.

This is the only other thing I have to do prior to a week from Friday when I go into the hospital to get started, if the Lord wills.

What to do between now and then? I really feel impressed of the Lord that I need to spend these days preparing myself, not just in logistical terms, but also on a spiritual level. And even as I write these words, I’m not sure what that means, but I depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me, and prayer army, I ask you to pray for wisdom for me.

This is what Paul talks about in one of the chapters I read this morning: “The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, ‘Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?’ has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit” (1 Corinthians
2:14-16 MSG).

Holy Spirit, thank You for giving us access to everything the Father is doing. I count on You. I trust You. I depend on You in answer to the prayers of Your people to give me wisdom now as I face the biggest challenge of my entire life. I certainly can’t do it alone. Thanks for CBCI and the thoroughness of their process. Thanks for getting me through yesterday. I love You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Long Full Day of Tests

I am up even early because I cannot eat within six hours of the PET scan, so I grabbed a bite to eat this morning.

In addition to the PET scan this morning, I have five or six other tests to take today. Nicole told me that someone from the hospital just takes me from one test to another.

As Marilyn and I were talking about this last night, we realized that this is a good thing. Otherwise, this week before heading to the hospital would be completely taken up with tests if I just did one at a time. This way, I get them done in a day and then have a relatively free week.

I guess that is good … ha!

Thanks for your prayers for today. I will certainly be glad when it is over. Back to your prayers, I can tell all of you have been praying for me because my anxiety is greatly reduced. But it seems to be emerging a bit this morning, so please keep them up. Thanks.

Lord, I’m grateful for this, the last day of testing. Thank You for the thoroughness of this process. I put the results of these tests into Your hands RIGHT NOW. Please bless everyone who is reading this blog because they care and who is praying. Amen.
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PET Scan Tomorrow

My final full day of tests is tomorrow. I start off the day with a PET scan. The doctor wants to make sure that my cancer is still in remission before starting the transplant. I would just like to ask you to pray that it is. Thanks.

In the meantime, another Sunday is upon us—a very difficult day. I can’t believe how much I miss church and worship and fellowship. Please pray for Connor as he preaches today.

One thing that the church has been doing is sending desserts for Marilyn and me. We just received the latest “batch” just the other day. This is a huge blessing for us both and helps in the accomplishment of another objective—hopefully it is helping to put some extra weight on me. I believe so! To all the dessert cooks reading this blog this morning, thanks a lot!

The other day, someone wrote me. I can’t remember if it was an email or not, but they said something like, “I didn’t know what to write so I am just going to write this.” And they penned the following verses from Numbers 6, one of the chapters I read this morning in the Solid Life Plan. It is called “the Priestly Blessing.”

“GOD bless you and keep you, GOD smile on you and gift you, GOD look you full in the face and make you prosper” (Numbers
6:24-26 MSG).

Lord, thank You for this pronouncement of blessing. I pray that You would shower this blessing down on everyone reading the blog today. Shower this blessing down tomorrow and in these final days of preparation. I love You, Lord. Amen.
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Odds and Ends Learned

Yesterday, before the Bone Marrow Biopsy, Marilyn and I spent a couple of hours talking with folks at CBCI—a nutritionist, the person in charge of resourcing patients, the finance person, and Nicole, Dr. Alie’s assistant working with transplants. In these meetings, we learned some significant things about what is ahead for me.

First, I’ve been talking about the fact that we must live in an apartment for two months after being released from the hospital. This is NOT the case. Since I live less than 20 miles from the hospital, I get to go home. Whoopee!

Second, finances are a real issue. One case in point: through the process of this transplant, I will be taking from ten to twenty different medications at a time. There are so many other expenses related to this procedure Marilyn and I never dreamed of.

Third, we had thought that once released from the hospital, we would have to come to CBCI every day. Not the case. Only three times per week.

Fourth, when I am admitted to the hospital on July 22
nd, I will have another gadget like a port surgically implanted in my chest. This will be for medication, but the main purpose of it will be to receive the transplant. I will get it through this gadget and those cells “know” exactly where to go in the body to begin the process of taking over my immune system.

Fifth, speaking of the immune system, I will not have one prior to the transplant. The chemo I take will totally destroy mine. The side effects of this strong chemo (I asked) are nausea, diarrhea, stomach problems, et cetera. So, it is going to be a rough go.

Those days will be here before you know it …

Lord, thank You for getting me through everything yesterday, including the Bone Marrow Biopsy. All I can do is to reaffirm your grace and mercy to come alongside to help through this very long and arduous process. I trust You in and through it RIGHT NOW. Amen.
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Trip to Cancer Center and Hospital Today

Thanks to all of you for praying for me. Please continue to do so. Marilyn and I are headed to the cancer center this morning. We have to be there about 9:30. The first part of the day will be dedicated to talk to various folks are Colorado Blood Cancer Institute—the nutritionist, the resource specialist, the finance person, and finally Nicole, Dr. Alie’s assistant. The purpose of this part of the day is just to get as much information as possible about the transplant and everything involved with it. Please pray that Marilyn and I won’t be overwhelmed but that we will have clear minds to ask the right questions and learn what we need to learn.

Following this, I have to check into the hospital for a Bone Marrow biopsy procedure that is slated to start at 1:00. I don’t anticipate it lasting very long but they are going to put me under sedation for the procedure.

Many of you have been praying for anxiety for me. Please add Marilyn’s name to your prayers for that. As we talked last night, she shared that she was anxious as well, about everything, including my mom. We both are.

But the resurrected Christ is here. Thomas learned that when Jesus appeared a second time in the upper room. “Jesus said, ‘So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing’” (John
20:29 MSG).

Lord, I’m glad You are here this morning. You are in me and I am in You. Thanks for letting me see Pat yesterday. Thanks for today and the deliverance from anxiety that comes from You, Jesus. Give Marilyn and me peace. Please help us both. Amen.
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Be Still

One of the chapters to read this morning in the Solid Life Plan is Psalm 46. One of the verses is one of my favorites. Here is the translation in the NASB: “"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalms 46:10 NASB) or as the KJV puts it, “Be still and know that I am God.”

A few years ago, the Lord laid this verse on my heart as a key component of worship in our church. We are very good at singing, talking, preaching, et cetera. We don’t seem to be as good at NOT doing those things and offering silence to God.

I believe that silence is a key component to worship. How can we hear what He is saying otherwise?

Now, this morning, I am reminded that silence is a key component in trusting God. Sometimes, all I can do is just sit here in silence.

Tomorrow, one of the tests that I need to take is a Bone Marrow Biopsy—another one of those “not so fun” tests. As this process moves toward transplant, I just have to confess to all of you that I struggle with anxiety more and more. If you think of it, please pray for me in that regard.

Lord, I have applied the principle of silence in worship. Now, help me understand its significance as I step out daily to trust You. Help me Lord to learn to cease striving, to be still, and to know You and You alone are God. I love You Lord. Amen.
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Getting Ready for Friday

Well, I’ve had a few days of reprieve, but I have to go back to the cancer center on Friday. Apparently, Marilyn and I will be speaking with a number of folks about issues such as nutrition, procedures with the transplant, and so forth. Then, I have to check back into the hospital for another procedure—the bone marrow biopsy. I’ve had two of those in the past. What is different about this one is that they will actually sedate me. That’s it, if I am reading the note correctly that Nicole sent me. So, it should be interesting.

In the reading today, just two chapters: Numbers 1 and John 18.

As the people stood in the wilderness preparing to cross into the Promised Land, God asked Moses to number the people, everyone accept the tribe of Levi.

As Jesus stood before Pontus Pilate and the mob that wanted to crucify Him, Jesus spoke to Pilate a few replies here and there, but mainly He was silent.

This is a curious combination of passages. What they tell me is that our hope is in the One Man who went all the way through with the plan and purpose of God. We never should rely on numbers. I’m actually not sure why God asked Moses to number the people. Who knows? But I do know that the sheer numbers did nothing to help them when it came time for the nation to decide whether or not they were going to believe God or not.

Jesus, thank You for everything You did on my behalf. Thank You for giving the good testimony before Pilate and the crowd. Thank You for being my Savior. I choose to place my faith completely in You this morning. I love You. Amen.
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Not One Detail Lost

“Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendor of your Son So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor. You put him in charge of everything human So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth By completing down to the last detail What you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor, The very splendor I had in your presence Before there was a world” (John 17:1-5 MSG, emphasis mine).

I love this prayer that Jesus prays, right before going to Calvary. It is a prayer for His disciples, a pray for us. What a testimony to the fact that He is God!

As I prepare for a test or procedure, it is very difficult for me to think about anyone but myself. I have confessed this to the Lord over and over.

I do believe, however, that it is a “natural” part of what it means to be human, and so, in that sense, there is nothing wrong with it, per se, but Jesus is radically different. He prays for His disciples and for those who are going to persecute Him.

Here is the point for today: there is not one detail about my life that He is not aware of AND that He hasn’t appealed to the Father about.

Lord, once again, I feel very drowsy this morning. Only You know all the reasons why. I just pray for another good day of rest as I prepare to return to the cancer center again on Friday. Thank You for your excellent knowledge of every aspect of our lives. I love you, Jesus. Amen.
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The Residual Effect

Yesterday, I think I finally figured out why I have been so tired over the past couple of days—I believe it is the residual effect of the Lumbar Puncture. In spite of the fact that I have wanted to be up and around, I just haven’t had the energy. So, I have just laid around, dozing, for most of the past couple of days.

I seem to feel a little better today and for that, I am thankful. But I am not going to go crazy. I’m still going to lay low on this holiday.

One of the chapters I read this morning in the Solid Life Plan seems appropriate also for our nation on this 4
th of July. It is Leviticus 26—a list of blessings and curses that God gives the nation of Israel.

There is one that stands out to me this morning in my reading. I’m going to quote from the NASB first: “So I will turn toward you” (Leviticus 26:9). What on earth is that talking about?

Here is the Amplified Bible: “For I will be leaning toward you with favor.” The Message: “I’ll give you my full attention.”

Humm. I believe I need to ponder this a bit further …

Somehow, what the Lord seems to be saying is a reflection of the old covenant. IF the people obey, THEN God will bless them. IF NOT, then there is a list of consequences.

We need to continue to pray for our nation. As I read this chapter, I cannot help but think that we are in big trouble.

On an individual level, I’m so thankful that in the new covenant, God is always turned toward me with favor ready and willing to give me His full attention whether I deserve it or not (and of course, I never do).

One of the other chapters I read is John 16. Jesus promises to send the Counselor who will be with us forever, guiding us into all truth. I’m so thankful for the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

Lord, I’m so grateful for the Holy Spirit today. Thank You for His continuing presence. I pray that my life would be characterized by obedience today and that this nation would turn back to You. Spare the USA before it is too late. I love You today, Lord. Amen.
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Drowsy Morning

Hey Everyone,

One of those mornings … I did not sleep well last night. It is hard to keep my eyes open this morning. I will have to essentially go back to bed here in a few minutes, but I will be up and at ‘em tomorrow.

Lord, I pray for the services at First Southern today. I lift up Al as he preaches and Jim as he leads worship today in Connor’s absence. I pray also for Connor and Jess who are out of town. Thanks for taking care of us as You do. Amen.
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Source of Information

Shortly after they showed us to the waiting room, Donna* came in. She could tell that both of us were nervous about the Lumbar Puncture.

Before we were able to share how we were feeling, she said, “You know, it is unfortunate that many people get their information about this procedure from the Internet. The thing is: unless you have had a bad experience, you are not going to write on the web, right? The doctor who will be performing your procedure today has done hundreds of them. He uses a smaller needle and it goes well. Plus, there is no need to hang around a long time after it is done. Many “testimonies” online say that people must do that. Not today. John, it is going to go well.”

All these comments made me feel better IMMEDIATELY, and she was right. The procedure was relatively painless. I made it through well, and had a good rest of yesterday.

Thank you so much for praying. I’m just glad the whole thing is now over, and I have a few days of reprieve before I have to go back and get more rather scary stuff done to me.

John 15 is a good reminder about what I need to do in the meantime, both and forever more, regardless of what is ahead.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John
15:4-5 NASB).

The Greek word meno translated abide in the NASB literally means to settle down and make oneself at home. This is our task for every day: “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me” (John
15:4 MSG).

Lord, thank You for bringing us into contact with Donna* yesterday—a very timely encounter, a very timely meeting. Help us to be careful where we look for information for everything. I choose today to abide in You, Jesus. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
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Getting Started

Well, today, several weeks after the good PET scan, I am starting my pre-transplant testing and preparation. When I think about it THAT WAY, the Lord gives me a measure of peace. It is out of my hands.

Thanks to all of you as well for your prayers this morning. This is a large reason for the peace as well.

I keep coming back to a verse that is giving me a lot of comfort. I am memorizing it from the Message. Here it is: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. But you need to remember that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be passed past your limit; he always be there to help you come through IT” (1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG, emphasis mine).

IT today equals the Lumbar Puncture and the blood tests.

Lord, I count on you as never before. Thank You that you will not EVER let me down. Thank You for everyone who is praying this morning. I love them all. I love You. Amen.
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