02/27/09

Diabetes is God’s best

 Diabetes is God’s best

“Cancer drugs halt type 1 diabetes in mice.” My heart jumped at the article headline. But even after 11 years have passed since I was first diagnosed as a near-death seven year old diabetic, I still forget if I am type 1 or type 2. I rushed upstairs to my laptop to google diabetes and confirm that I am, in fact, type 1. Turns out, there are a couple of drugs that have shown to send diabetes into remission in 80% of mice with type 1 diabetes. I hope you never know how much lab tests on mice can make your heart rush and eyes tear up when you stare at a potential cure that could change your life.

Diabetes was my Valentine’s Day gift in 1997. I do believe it was a gift, because it has made me who I am. It has been a physical and spiritual battle often, and I think it has deepened my faith in a way I would have likely missed otherwise. It is a physical struggle when for the ten-thousandth time, my blood sugar is whacked out and I feel horrible and would give the world to have a day to be “normal” again and not deal with diabetes. It is a spiritual struggle when I wonder what in the world God is doing, because whatever He’s doing, it is just hurting now.

But I see the positives. I think diabetes has taken away my fear of death. My blood sugar has crashed in the middle of the night so many times, and the only way I’d live to see the morning is if God sends an angel to wake me so I can bring my blood sugar up. I know my days are numbered, and evidently God doesn’t want me dead yet. I can see He is in control of life and death, so I have no fear.

Diabetes has also given me a passion to live the life I do have. Multiple times a day I have a reminder of how fragile my life is as I test my blood sugar and calculate my insulin dosage. When life’s fragility is so plainly held before your eyes, it would seem foolish to waste the life you do have. I don’t want to waste mine.

Diabetes’s weakness has brought humility when I would have otherwise boasted, and its demands have forced self-discipline on me when I would have been lazy. God touched my life and gave me His best for me when He gave me diabetes. My Father knew that the very best He could give me to make me more like His Son and glorify His name was diabetes.

Do I want a cure? Yeah. In all honesty, yes. I can’t deny it, I want out. It is His best for me, but if He gave us the cure for it I’d gladly move on to something else and let Him sanctify me some other way. Maybe that experiment with the mice will work out. Maybe, like every other article that has made my heart jump, this latest mouse test will fail. Regardless of the outcome, I want one thing to be clear: God is faithful. This much He has shown me. His plan is bigger than mine, His will is better than mine. I’ll rest peacefully in that, and let the presence of peace declare faith in the realness of God and His faithfulness.

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE4AG78H20081117?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews


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02/25/09

The Enemy's Open Shame

shapeimage 1 3 The Enemy's Open ShameCol 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

What a Savior, praise His name. The enemy was disarmed, death has no power. The enemy’s lie has been exposed to those in the light, bringing open shame on the exposed enemy. This shame belongs to the one who has been discovered as a complete sham in utter weakness, unable to prevail against Jesus Christ on the cross.



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02/21/09

What effect has the economy had on you? Time to rethink what we thought we knew

 What effect has the economy had on you? Time to rethink what we thought we knewThis was written by a fellow blogger, and it hit home with me. With his permission, I am posting this because I think brings up an important point dealing with the economy and where our trust is.

Ben writes,
“I don’t remember being this busy in years… College and the part time job I have at the local grocery store is just eating up all of my time but I am fulfilled and moving on in life. Because of this tight schedule I have not been able to post anything lately. Even as I type this, I am just back from work and find myself extremely tired and sleepy. I am writing this post so that I don’t have to feel bad about not posting anything. Every day at work I see a lot of interesting people ranging from good old grandmas to hip youngsters. Today, however I saw a very touching scene as a couple was unable to pay for all the stuff they bought. The guy was mightily embarrassed when he found out that he was well short of the total. He then had to return some items and go out with only the bare necessities… this sight made me feel really bad inside. It just hit me that lots and lots of people are struggling out there to make both ends meet. All of us who are pretty well off should stop complaining about all the little things and be thankful to God.. If you are also feeling the effects of our pathetic economy.. there is only one thing to do. Take it one day at a time and move on. You will see that God is more than enough to take care of you and your family. The one thing I have learned in my life is that God can give me anything, anywhere and at anytime. All we need to do is have faith in Him. He who takes care of the birds of the sky knows how to take care of you too. God does not need a stimulus package to save you… Our Father owns the whole world. This is the time for us to stop trusting in man (Government) and start trusting in God again.”

The economic impacts are very real and impacting very real people. In the midst of it all, our Fortress and Rock is as present as ever, and proving more faithful and trustworthy than the financial “rocks” we thought we could stand securely on. Glory to the Father, who is holy, set apart from this feeble world by His action and character.



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02/20/09

Watch and Pray as the Devil Prowls

shapeimage 1 4 Watch and Pray as the Devil Prowls

1 Peter 5:8-11
8 Be sober-minded; be
watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5 gives the “why” for watchfulness. Who wouldn’t want to watch out for the devil, when he is described as prowling and roaring, seeking to devour?? The devil isn’t just real, he is really waiting for the moment when he can devour someone. “Daniel’s adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour Daniel.” That is how it might as well read. I can’t lose my salvation, but I sure can suffer the devouring effects of falling into sin. Also, we know that the devil is waiting for the perfect moment, not just a random prowling. When the devil left Jesus after tempting Him in the wilderness, it was said that the devil would return at an opportune time (Luke 4:13). He’s waiting for me to close my eyes for a brief moment! Therefore, Peter says to be watchful.

But how? How do I be watchful? Sure, I can attempt to keep my eyes open 24/7, but what happens when I tire, and my personal strength fails?

Matthew 26:39-41
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I find it interesting that being prayerful is connected with being watchful. That is furthered in Ephesians and Colossians:

Ephesians 6:17-20
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Colossians 4:2
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

From these verses, I gather that you have closed your eyes and ceased to resist the devil once you cease to pray. You are inviting temptation to entangle you before you realize what is going on. What are you risking? Sin is destructive. It destroys you and those around you when you fall into sin. Ephesians pointed out that the prayer is for all the saints – we are in this together as a body, and we want none of the soldiers to fall.

Why – we watch because the devil is prowling.
How – by prayer to the One who has the strength we lack.

Lastly, what do I pray? Matthew 6:13 sums that up, and that can be expounded upon at a later time.



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02/18/09

Youth That Shouldn’t Be Doubted

1 Samuel 17:33-37
33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

Jeremiah 1:4-9
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.

1 Timothy 4:11-16
11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Do you see the trend? The youth are doubted.
I hear some young people claim these verses, as if the verses are a blanket statement that all youth are capable of more than they are given credit for. But in the context of each of those verses, the youth’s power and credibility came because of their reliance on God’s supernatural work, not on their own capabilitiy.

There is a lot packed in these verses, I am still unwrapping it. Does anyone know of any other similar verses (“but you are only a youth”)?



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02/17/09

Decietfullness of Sin

This is one of my all time favorite sermons, by Charles Spurgeon:
Deceitfulness of Sin – www.spurgeongems.org/vols34-36/chs2130.pdf

We must grasp that sin is a lie trying to keep us from the best there is, God Himself.



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02/17/09

"Lots of bosses say they value their employees. Some even mean it."

At a time when most bank CEOs are vilified, I think it is worth looking at a man who did right. This man said he had long dreamed of a way to give back to his employees. How much did he give? $60 million to 399 employees, some no longer even working for the bank. Read the rest of the story here: http://bit.ly/ZFSiJ

It offers a refreshing example of looking out for the interest of others in an arena of life where few do.



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02/16/09

Deeper

Father, in Your faithfulness, teach me Your statues. Expand my narrow horizons so that I can filled with the all the fullness of God. Please give me a faith that is deeper, stronger, and battle tested. I ask that you bless me with a mind that constantly has an unanswered question, causing me to seek a deeper understanding when I would have otherwise settled for less.



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02/14/09

Would you have made the same decision?

NOTE: This is a story in the same vein as the one about the football team I posted on January 11. It communicates a similar message. I find it challenging.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’
Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’
Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.
Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.
The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.
As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.
Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates.
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’
Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.
He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.
By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.
Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.
All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!
Shay, run to third!’
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’
Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team
‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.
Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day.



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02/14/09

New eyes

Hell. Can I say I believe in its reality, if I can walk by someone headed for it and not say a thing? Hell, a place of torture like we have never experienced on earth, where God’s presence is completely withdrawn from them. The coming withdrawal of God’s presence  caused Jesus to sweat blood in the garden and to cry out on the cross, “Why have You forsaken Me?” I think if I am honest, I would have to say that I am not living like hell is real. I saw a short video clip at church recently where an atheist asked the basic question, “How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about hell?” His point was that if you truly believe in God and hell, then how much do you have to hate other people to keep from warning them about hell and sharing the news of salvation with them?

Christ. How real is He to me? Yes, I am His child. But when I look at what He says…

John 14:15, 21, 23-24
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

…I am left with a sickening conclusion: I don’t love Him enough obey. He told me to go make disciples, He didn’t ask me. He directly commanded us all to go make disciples of all nations (Mat 28:18-20). How did I find an exception for me in that command? How did I fall for the, “Evangelism is not my gift,” lie of the devil? Sure, some are gifted for it better than others, but is that any excuse for me to watch someone walk through hell’s gates? Those demons must be gleefully propagating such a lie, finding great mirth in the idea that Christians think that they can decide not to proclaim the single message of salvation to all men. We act like we know better than our Lord, we have something more important than our God-given mission to make disciples. How arrogant and destructive!

I have lived like evangelism is optional. No, evangelizing is not an option, for anyone. Both of Old and New Testament makes it clear that the one who has the message of salvation, but declines to declare it (or keeps someone else from declaring it!) is responsible for the blood of those he didn’t tell.

Jeremiah 26:12-15
12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. 13 Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you. 14 But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. 15 Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Ezekiel 33:1-9
33:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, 3 and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
7 “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Acts 20:24-26
24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

I come to a clear conclusion that I can not say I love my Jesus unless I am obeying. He has given me commands that I am completely ignoring. I can not say I am following Him, if I am not doing what He gave His entire life up to do: bring men to God. What part of Christ’s life am I imitating if I am not imitating His love for men in bringing salvation to them? What a mockery of love to say, “I love You, but I won’t follow You. I don’t have enough love for you to give my life to Your mission.”

This is not a works-based salvation. I don’t evangelize to my own salvation. However, it is a clear barometer of my love for Him. I don’t love Him much if I won’t obey Him, and following Him in loving others by telling them the only thing that matters. I can tell someone anything I want, but if I didn’t proclaim the gospel, then I have only told them things that will be ultimately worthless if they are in hell. I have failed if I have refrained from boldly proclaiming the gospel.

It’s time to step out and forget about the results of my evangelism effort, and focus on just making the effort. What an amazing idea faith is! I can do something, trust the results to God, and just have faith that He will do His part (saving someone) if I do my part (telling someone). What a statement of faith it is to evangelize.

Father, I need to see the reality of hell and Christ. Through Your Holy Spirit, Make it so real that I see how clearly the eternal things are to be valued above the earthly. Open my eyes to the comfortable lie that there is a value in pouring my life into “worthy” things that have nothing to do with the gospel. Please forgive me for living life practically ashamed of the gospel, even if not outright saying so. Let me live in this reality, so that my whole life is dedicated to “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”

“Give me Your eyes” – Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere,
Why have I never cared?

Chorus:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Chorus
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

I’ve Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all along

Chorus (x2)
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see



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