December 3 update: Spent 8 days in the hospital with breathing/oxygen issues. Extremely weak from the lack of activity, but glad to be home and feeling better.
And some very good news: The cancer is in complete remission! They are delaying the last couple infusions because of the breathing issues, but if the hospital stay cured the latter then I just need to focus on regaining use of my right foot and getting through the final treatments.
Had a few good witness opportunities in the hospital, so that was a blessing.
November 15 update: Some good news — spent 5 days in the hospital with Covid (which they originally thought was pneumonia) and feel much better. And my foot showed some signs of motion, which is huge! Hopefully, the nerves are slowly healing. If they ever come all the way back, I will never stop dancing with my wife.
This song captures our sentiments well, although by the grace of Jesus our faith has always stayed strong.
November 2 update: Had 4th infusion. Feeling lousy all the time. Trying new nausea meds. Leg isn’t in pain, and I’ve been able to dial back the number of pain meds a bit, so that’s good. Hope you all are well!
October 15 update: Plodding along. Appetite and eating are a constant challenge. Just had third infusion (out of 6). No improvement in the leg (still completely immobile), but glad that the pain is under control. Will get scan in 6 weeks or so.
I often think of this when people ask us why our faith stays the same throughout trials. It is because we trust in the real Jesus and what He has done for us, and not because of religiosity.
September 26 update: Finally, we have the pain relatively under control. It only took four months! Very grateful for that. Nerve pain is such a mystery. Very few medicines work on the searing/throbbing/burning. The first two rounds of immunotherapy seem to be working. New rounds every 3 weeks, then a scan later in October. The lower right leg is still completely paralyzed. Praying for the day when it has any movement at all. As a bonus, I had Covid in late June and got a root canal last month.
This situation led to a great witness conversation with my neighbor last night. He’s not there yet, but hopefully, some seeds were planted.
September 11 update: Started treatments and have had no major side effects, which is a good sign. Pain management is under control, but still a long ways to go. They are front-loading the treatments, so I’ll get a couple more in the next two weeks. We are very grateful to be at this stage!
August 27, 2022 update:
Lots of pain in the last couple of days in my leg, despite all the meds. And back is starting to hurt as it has in the past when the tumors press on the kidney or something else. So glad to be starting chemo and immunotherapy in a few days. Prayer requests: Healing, of course, opportunities to witness and to regain the use of my paralyzed right lower leg.
I was meditating on Job 1:20-22 when it came up when reviewing memory verses. Every day is a great day to fall on the ground and worship.
Job 1:20–22 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
August 20, 2022 update: Good news – looks like I’m in the clinical trial, and I start chemo later this month. Excited about that, though it will be a long journey to recover feeling and strength in my leg. I am so eager to get off the pain meds, but it could still be a while. But good news overall.
August 16, 2022 update: Got official surgical biopsy results, so today, we started the process to get into a clinical trial. I hope everything moves quickly from here so I can start chemo immediately. Lost a lot of weight because pain meds kill my appetite and cause nausea. I’ve been trying to navigate through that the last few months.
Yes, it is back. For the fourth time. I finished the T-cell transplant process in early January, and it was already coming back as early as April/May. I have three spots where it returned – by my kidney, my mid-section, and my right thigh. The last one is extremely rare and was tough to diagnose. It is pressing on my sciatic nerve and has caused great pain for a couple months. My right foot is immobile for now. I was actually glad that a tumor was causing this because the MRI had already shown that it wasn’t my back. If it hadn’t been this tumor causing it, then it would have been quite the mystery. We’ve tried many pain control options for the leg, but most have failed.
Next step: Biopsy to confirm the type of cancer, and then hopefully I’ll qualify for a clinical trial that looks promising. If that doesn’t work, then options are limited.
We are blessed at being good at enjoying whatever time we have. Even though we only had a few months in the first half of the year when I was feeling healthy and energetic, we had a great time doing normal things and getting back to dancing together. We were even able to do a dance competition. God willing, we’ll get some remission and healing soon.
As always, we completely trust in Jesus and pray that He will use all this for his glory.
I probably won’t be blogging for a while. These things take a lot of time and focus. But I’ll still try to read your blogs. And I want to finally finish a book I’ve been working on called Manage Your Mission. It is about the approach I’ve taken to life the last few decades with respect to the “7 Fs” (Faith, Family, Fitness, Field (vocation), Friends, Fun (entertainment), and Finance) that has worked spectacularly well. The idea is to ensure you have your priorities straight for the categories and that you have concrete ways to excel in each of them. I couldn’t control the cancers, but I controlled what I could and have no regrets about that course.
One of my irritations with the “Christian” Left and their theology is that it pretends to be slightly different from orthodox Christianity while it is usually 180 degrees off when it comes to the essentials of the faith and any current hot topics. Please note that by “Leftist theology” I don’t mean the theology of political liberals. I am referring to people who call themselves Christians but deny the essentials of the historic faith (i.e., the kinds of things countless martyrs died for — Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity, the authority of scripture, etc.) and are indistinguishable from the world on sexual ethics. If you want to debate the disputable matters, go right ahead. I’m flexible on those. But words mean things, and far too many people use the term Christian in error.
For example, claiming that Jesus is one of many paths to God isn’t a little different than saying He is the only way, it is the opposite. There is either one way or there is not one way. The Bible has over 100 passages teaching directly or indirectly that Jesus is the only way to salvation. If you don’t agree that it is your prerogative, but please don’t claim to be a Christian.
Claiming that Jesus isn’t God isn’t a little different than saying He is God, it is the opposite. He is either God or He is not God.
Claiming that the original writings of the Bible were not inspired by God isn’t just a little different than saying they were inspired by God, it is the opposite. The Bible is God’s Word or it is not God’s Word. It includes roughly 3,000 claims to speak for God, so if liberal theologians think those are all false then why do they bother with the Book at all? Their claim is that the authors of the Bible were blasphemous pathological liars because they falsely claimed to speak for God countless times. Here’s an example:
Claiming that miracles never happen (Virgin birth, loaves & fishes, healings, the physical resurrection, etc.) isn’t just a little different than saying they did happen, it is the opposite. The first chapter of the first book of the New Testament clearly teaches the virgin birth. If you refuse to believe that, then put the book down and stop calling yourself a Christian.
Claiming that marriage can be for two men or two women isn’t a little different than saying it is between a man and a woman, it is the opposite. It is claiming that marriage is not just between a man and a woman and that “marriage” is now whatever we want to define it to be. The Bible couldn’t be more clear about God’s ideal for marriage and sexuality.
The “Christian” Left claims the opposite of what historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity does regarding the essentials of the faith. They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but it is disingenuous and misleading for them to call themselves Christians while espousing those beliefs.
They have invented their own religion, which is their right. It would just be less confusing if they would give it a new name. And it would be more intellectually honest to stop taking money from people who do believe in the essentials that those denominations were founded upon.
They appear to worship a fictional Gandhi-Christ. The most accurate description would be that of a Hindu sect (nothing personal, Hindus!).
Run, don’t walk, from the wolves of the “Christian” Left. They are the opposite of Christianity.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Cancer is a challenge for the patient and for caregivers. I’ve been through extensive treatments for three different cancers (though the third came up shortly after I made this video) and have some things to share. I pray that this will encourage you and help you navigate through challenging times, whether cancer-related or not. Don’t waste your cancer or any other challenge.
Your mileage may vary
Processing the news
Research, but not too much
Find joy where you can
Loving your neighbors when they have cancer
Loving your neighbors when you have cancer
Redeem the time
What is your biggest problem — cancer, or needing forgiveness for your sins?
Note 1: I misspoke around the 46-minute mark. I was thinking of how we don’t have an entitlement to get medical care and the doctors and staff don’t have an obligation to provide it, but accidentally said that I don’t have an obligation to it. Hopefully, everyone could see past my conflation!
Note 2: I forgot to mention that “Chemo Brain” is a real thing, where you become forgetful at times and can have trouble thinking clearly. I’ll blame it on the chemo brain.
Here’s a linkto the Story of Reality book that I mentioned.
P.S. Feel free to leave comments if you want me to pray for you.
I originally wrote this in 2017 but it seems even more relevant this year.
Race had nothing to do with why I got involved in those ministries. I’ll share the Gospel with anyone, whether you are a black convicted murderer or the best-behaved white pagan in the free world. And I want to help save unborn children from murder regardless of their skin color.
But the nature of these ministries is such that it is mostly whites serving mostly minorities. And as a fantastic by-product of sharing the love and truth of Christ with these folks it does marvelous things for race relations. It pushes a giant reset button on those who have been wounded because of their race and/or steeped in their own racism.
It has changed countless prison environments, where skinheads and Black Panther-types have become friends and led their respective gangs to change.
I’ve seen countless inmates and even volunteers note how the ministries radically changed how they view others, and how they repented of their racism.
I know a guy from prison ministry who was in the Aryan Brotherhood. I saw him in action many times as a leader of the Christian groups inside prison and in the ways he is giving back now that he’s out of prison. Let’s just say that he wasn’t transformed by the power of virtue-signaling social media posts.
I realize that the race-baiting professionals of the Left — including the “Christian” Left — want to improve race relations as much as McDonald’s wants to sell less hamburgers. If your movement demands tax-funded abortions to the child’s 1st breath that kill blacks at a rate three times that of whites and Hispanics at twice the rate, then you’ll have a tough time convincing me you really care about them. But authentic Christians really do want to see improvements. And ministries like these make it happen.
It is remarkably safe to say “Nazis are bad!” or “racism is bad” on Facebook in 2017 2020 in the U.S. If you really want to do something about race relations — and more importantly, the Gospel — try something more substantial. Look into your local pregnancy resource center or prison ministries, or anything similar that shares the love and truth of Christ with minorities – and non-minorities.
In this post I want to focus on the promises Jesus makes to those who conquer (or, as some translations say, overcome). In other words, if you persevere to the end you get these astounding benefits (they aren’t just for martyrs). Please read closely and be encouraged! And remember the good news that if you are truly among his sheep that you will persevere to the end (John 10:25–30 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”)
Rev. 2 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Jesus is promising you that you’ll get to eat from the tree of life. Whatever the best meal you’ve ever had has been, this will obviously trump that. And you’ll be eating it in the paradise of God, which is Heaven. And you’ll be eating it with countless other joyful believers.
Rev 2 11 The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.
There will be a second death – incredibly and permanently painful for many, but as a believer you won’t be hurt by it at all. All your sins are already forgiven.
Rev 2 17 To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
This section has a double promise. I was just reading through Exodus and wondering what manna tasted like, and this reminds me that we’ll get to know some day. The mystery will be solved! It actually sounds like my kind of food.
And the white stone with a unique name written on it is an interesting gift. I think that some people think we forget other relationships in Heaven or that it is just some mass of humanity, but this is a clear reminder that in addition to joyful, corporate worship we will also have a unique, one-on-one relationship with Jesus and He will give you a special stone and name.
Rev 2 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
It isn’t clear exactly how we’ll rule in the millennium, but it will clearly be an honor and a responsibility. I couldn’t find anything explaining what the morning star is, but if Jesus promised it you know it is good.
Rev 3 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
There wasn’t a lot of good news for Sardis, but Jesus did promise that you would be made perfectly righteous and that He would acknowledge you before Heaven.
Rev 3 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
We won’t be literal pillars, of course, but He promises that we’ll be permanent members with him and be forever aligned with the one true God.
Rev 3 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”
We will actually eat and rule with Jesus for eternity!
There you go! Always look for promises when reading scripture. You can barely go a chapter in the New Testament without finding one. Keep this in mind as you persevere through whatever challenges God, in his perfect sovereignty, is laying before you.
Do not miss this warnings. When Jesus says something, He means it. I firmly believe that they apply to churches and individuals.
To the Church in Ephesus
Rev 2 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
The church in Ephesus did some most excellent things. They sounded like the perfect church. But because they abandoned the love they had Jesus said He would remove their lampstand – i.e., their church. That’s serious. Do you still love the Lord like you used to? If not, heed his warning and repent!
The Church in Smyrna had no warnings — good for them!
To the Church in Pergamum
Rev 2 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
There are so many churches enticing people into sexual immorality these days, either directly by mocking God’s word or indirectly by ignoring the issue and being afraid to preach about divorce and fornication. It is the opposite of loving God and your neighbor. They love the world more than they love God, and they don’t really trust his word, and it will not end well for them.
Jesus wants churches to purge themselves of false teachers. The church was doing so well otherwise, but that wasn’t good enough. The Methodist church we left was like that. The preacher knew the truth but tolerated a guy teaching classes that the preacher himself called a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The church Ephesus in Ephesus didn’t love what God loved, and churches like those in Pergamum and Thyatira didn’t hate what God hated: false teachings and sexual immorality.
This is where knowing the Old Testament comes in handy. Balaam seemed to get off to a good start by not cursing the Israelites, but he ultimately harmed them. This is also referenced in Jude, where it speaks of false teachers abandoning themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error.
To the Church in Thyatira
Rev 2 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.
And here’s another church that was already promoting sexual immorality. Jesus had some serious punishments in mind for them. This has the “Christian” Left written all over it. And what they are doing isn’t insignificant at all. Jesus himself says that those promoting sexual immorality have learned the deep things of Satan. Keep that in mind the next time some “Christian” Leftist says that LGBTQX behavior or heterosexual fornication is acceptable.
The lack of church discipline is a key problem today. Churches are afraid to call people out who are sinning.
To the Church in Sardis
Rev 3 . . . ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
They sound a little frozen chosen-ish and Jesus is not happy with that. Faith without works is still dead. There are so many ways to serve. Find something and do it, as churches and as individuals.
The Church in Philadelphia also had no issues. Good for them – it can be done!
To the Church in Laodicea
Rev 3 15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Not much good going on in Laodicea. Jesus jumped right into his warnings against them to turn back to him.
Again, I think those were warnings to the real churches at that time but also timeless challenges to every church and individual Christian to stay strong, remember our first love and to never lose sight of our mission. Do we really love and trust God? We’ll hold fast to his word and not apologize for it, and we’ll find ways to love our neighbors.
I’ve been memorizing chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation and truly enjoying it. I believe that all scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit and that the original writings turned just as He and the human authors intended, but it does seem like these chapters don’t get the same weight as, say, Paul’s pastoral epistles. I’m going to write this overview then do separate posts on the warnings and promises threaded throughout these sections. I encourage you to read the Bible passages closely and really meditate on these eternal truths.
One thing I love about memorizing using the Bible Memory app is that it slows me down to notice countless things that I’d otherwise minimize or miss. This has been completely true with these passages.
I think it helps to back up a bit to chapter 1. We find the apostle John, who used to have a much more casual relationship with Jesus, being greatly humbled by the glorified Jesus. And then in v. 20 there is a good lesson about interpreting things in Revelation (not my strong suit, to be sure, especially in later chapters). But note how symbolism is used then John immediately explains what the symbols mean. We don’t need to overthink some of these things.
Revelation 1:17–20 (ESV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
There is a general pattern, with a message to the angel (or possibly church leader . . . I’ve read different views and would appreciate any of your insights) of each church. Then there is usually a positive, a negative with a warning, and a promise, though there are exceptions.
While there are apparently different views on this, I think a few things are obvious: These were seven real churches that Jesus was addressing. His promises and warnings were as serious and true as could be. There have been churches throughout history through today that fit these molds (e.g., the U.S. is probably similar to Laodicea, but others have attributes of us as well). And I think they also apply to us as individuals. I see myself in the good and the bad of many of these.
Revelation 2–3 (ESV) To the Church in Ephesus
2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Each section notes one or more traits of Jesus. In this case, that He is the one who holds angels of the churches in his hand (the seven stars) and walks among the churches (the seven golden lampstands). Jesus is here among our churches!
Again, I’ll cover the warnings and promises more in subsequent posts, but note how Ephesus sounds fantastic (works, toil, endurance, calling out false teachers) until Jesus points out that they have lost their love. Then He threatens to remove their church! We should not get complacent just because we do some things well.
To the Church in Smyrna
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
9 “ ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
V. 8 points to Jesus’ divinity, being first and last, and has a brief but powerful statement of his true resurrection. The “Christian” Leftists like to claim that He was just resurrected in our hearts or some such nonsense, but the Bible never even hints at that.
Jesus had no issues with Smyrna. He promised them the crown of life for enduring to the end, which we will also get. But He also promised them tribulation and noted that despite their poverty they were actually rich.
Trivia fact: Polycarp, a mid-2nd century martyr, was the Bishop of Smyrna.
To the Church in Pergamum
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 “ ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
V. 12 notes that Jesus has a sharp two-edged sword. He isn’t the “how about a hug and a cookie” Jesus that the “Christian” Left portrays him as.
Just a side note: In passing the massive Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Houston once my youngest daughter said, “I’m pretty sure Satan lives there.” That came to mind when Jesus said the Satan dwelt in Pergamum.
To the Church in Thyatira
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
The words about Jesus’ features, including the sword coming out of his mouth in chapter 1, can be confusing if people take them too literally. But they don’t describe what He looks like (He obviously doesn’t have a literally sword coming out of his mouth as He speaks) but as what He is like.
19 “ ‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Again, Jesus is depicted as having eyes of flame and feet of burnished bronze and not some doting grandfather. He is not soft of sexual immorality. He calls it out repeatedly in the strongest possible terms. Yet much of the church ignores and even mocks this today.
To the Church in Sardis
3 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
If Jesus says you are dead or dying, that’s a bad sign.
For believers, Jesus will actually confess your specific name before the Father.
To the Church in Philadelphia
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
8 “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
The part about patient endurance is noted four times in these message, such as in v. 10 above. It is obviously a major issue to Jesus. Will we endure patiently through trials and still hold fast to his word and not deny his name?
To the Church in Laodicea
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”
If Jesus says something once, you ought to obey. But if He says something seven times, such as, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” then perhaps we should really pay close attention.
P.S. After reading the text many times along with study notes from the Bible Knowledge Commentary, I really enjoyed this series of talks from a conference covering this passage.
Note: Page down for the original post. I realize that with a journey like this that people want different degrees of updates: none, acquaintance level, friend level, family level, and mom/wife level. So instead of multiple blog posts, I’ll just put some observations and updates here and anyone interested can check at their convenience. Be blessed, and thanks for all the encouragement and prayers!
OBSERVATIONS AND UPDATES
10/15 – Big update! By the grace of God, the cancer is in complete remission! Will do the high dose chemo / stem cell transplant soon. That will be an adventure but definitely worth it to put it in further remission. Thanks so much for the prayers and encouragement!
9/13 – I’m glad to be home after round 6, the final one for this phase! Hard to believe this part is over. I went in for the first round on Memorial Day and started the last round on Labor Day. What did I do on my summer vacation? I went through 36 bags of IV chemo, 7 Covid tests, 6 spinal taps and a whole lot of pills.
This may be the steroid talking, but I’m feeling pretty good right now. I’ll probably crash for 4-5 days later this week but I’m still working out and walking wherever possible. Then again, they did give me a couple units of blood this time that may help with the recovery, so we’ll see.
Next step is getting a scan next month. If it comes back clean, and we have optimism that it will, then I’ll do the high dose chemo / stem cell transplant later this year or early in 2021. That should put it into further remission. If there is still cancer on the scan then that’s a fairly sizable problem, as they would need to switch me to some other treatment such as a new clinical trial. But we trust in the Lord for all that.
More importantly, this last week in the hospital had one great opportunity after another to encourage fellow believers and to share the Gospel. That was a big answer to one of our main prayers.
Looking forward to a couple months, Lord willing, of being able to work out regularly without taking a week off every three weeks to go to Chemo Camp. Exercise just does so much physically and mentally.
I had lots of spare time in the hospital, so I was able to memorize Revelation chapters 2 and 3 (see blog posts below). That was a blessing. And I binge-listened to about year’s worth of Stand to Reason podcasts, which were edifying as always.
Thanks so much for all the prayers. Please pray for continued witness opportunities as we go through this. I can assure you that we got great answers. So many blessings I can hardly count them!
8/22 — Done with round 5! Hard to believe there is only one more round of this cycle to go. Just need to plow through the first week home, which is the hardest. Then one more cycle, then a couple months off until the really hard high dose regimen late this year or early next year. Had good opportunities to share the truth of Jesus this week – please pray for more of those, especially for the 6th round.
The time in the hospital goes slowly, as most of the time I’m just tethered to the IV pole 24×7. I get totally caught up at work and have been able to redeem the time catching up on Stand to Reason podcasts, reading the Bible, and memorizing Revelation chapters 2 and 3 (what a blessing – just polishing it all off now!).
8/7 – No big news. Slogging through side effects of round 4. Glad the process is working. Hope you all are well!
7/23 – Scan news: Thanks to Jesus and great medical caregivers and technology He has provided for, the results came back well. Some parts were in complete remission and the largest one had reduced considerably and had less activity (whatever that means in cancer terms). The doctor was very pleased, which means we are as well. This means we’ll do these next three rounds of chemo and then the likelihood is high that I’ll do a high dose chemo / stem cell transplant after that. Long road, but it provides the best odds of longer remission. The high dose chemo thing includes a bone marrow biopsy, which was apparently something created by the spinal tap people because they didn’t like having the most painful procedure. Thanks for all the prayers!
7/19 — Finished round 3 and had the predictable week of side effects. Feeling a little better today. Getting another scan late this week so I’ll update again then. Pretty sure the tumor is down quite a bit but will be curious as to how the doctor interprets the status. Good week for work. Nice morning of worship and online community group today. Still doing normal prayer / Bible reading / memorization pattern. Really enjoying Revelation chapters 2 and 3 and will have a few blog posts on those later. Hope you all are well. Feel free to email or text me with any prayer requests. I have time!
7/6/20 – Round 2 side effects much more than expected, but had a few good days. Was able to work out enough that I’m started to get strength back for round 3. Praying for no spinal tap complications again and for witness opportunities. Hope you all are well!
6/21/20 – Made it through round 2 of chemo – 6 full days plus another spinal tap. By the grace of God and many answered prayers there were no side effects from the tap this time, which will make all the difference for this recovery period. I’ll crash for a couple days but will work out hard from there to build back strength. So much to be thankful for! Most of all, had many great conversations in the hospital about Jesus.
6/12/20 – Good news! Chemo is working. Eating better, working out and starting to gain back a little weight for the next round. Very long road ahead but extremely grateful for the progress and all of your prayers. Alternative treatments exist had this chemo combo not worked, but I’m not sure I would have had time. Thanking Jesus for this progress.
6/7/20 — Apologies for the lack of updates. It turns out that while the spinal tap procedure itself isn’t that bad, it is a problem when it doesn’t seal properly and you get headaches and are somewhat immobilized for a week until they decide to fix the patch. Long story, but it made for a darker week. I’m pleased to say that it seems to be better now.
#1 prayer request: I need to be able to eat more. Seriously. I’ve lost 23 lbs., and nearly a pound a day since being in the hospital for chemo. I think we’ve stopped the slide but that obviously can’t continue. My focus for the next week is to regain some weight and strength before the next round of chemo in the hospital.
Enjoying being at home. Mrs. Eternity Matters is being her usual amazing self and taking care of every little thing. I’ve learned to listen better and let her do things for me. Win-win. She is great at researching things (retired librarian + excellent discernment) and has helped immensely when looking into drug interactions, side effects, questions for the doctor I hadn’t thought of, etc.
And we continue to be blessed by all the family and friends supporting us and praying for us. Blessings to you all!
5/29/20 – One thing I’ve been trying to thank people about for their prayers is that they are already getting answered. Yes, we obviously want complete and permanent remission, but it’ll be a long time until we know if and how that was answered! But we’ve had a lot of very specific prayers answered already: very clear decisions, rapid progress in getting tests and treatment started, great caregiving teams and more. I want people to know that the prayers are working and deeply appreciated. And let us know how we can pray for you. It isn’t a one way street!
5/28/20 – It is humbling when you think about the millions of things that had to take place to end up with the medical personnel having and knowing how to use all these different machines, chemicals and preventatives and so many other things to make all this work. The amount of trial and error and suffering had to be staggering, and here I sit getting to benefit from it. Feeling blessed. Was there a profit motive for some of it or most of it? Sure, and I’m OK with that. Yea for capitalism! But I never forget that these people could be doing a lot of different jobs. Oncology must be extra demanding because of the technology and how you can often lose patients despite your best efforts.
5/27/20 – I have found that my habit to respond to “How are you” with “I’m blessed” is a good conversation starter / “faith flag.” I don’t say it in a dramatic way, just matter of factly and sincerely. As I like to say, it has the added value of being true. But when saying it in settings like the oncology floor people do notice and appreciate it. It usually brings a smile and an “amen” from Christians. It works in regular settings, too. And it is an easy segue to explain how in the midst of things like this that I really am blessed beyond measure.
5/26/20 — I had my first spinal tap, so I can take that off my bucket list . . . right after I put it on. One nurse said, “Some people get very anxious about them.” I wanted to say – but fortunately didn’t – that maybe if she didn’t cringe the whole time she talked about them that it might help. She’s actually a wonderful nurse, just not a poker face :-). But it was way better than I expected. Just a couple numbing shots and a little pressure. Nothing to fear. They must have come a long way with those, because I know they used to be much more painful. And yes, the Dr. had seen and enjoyed This is Spinal Tap. He noted the “this goes up to 11” line and I said my second favorite was, “There is a fine line between stupid and clever.”
5/25/20 – I just heard from a dear friend who has suffered mightily for years but has served the Lord wholeheartedly during that time. He just found out that he has leukemia and only has 2 to 3 months to live, but he’s still sharing the gospel and led to people to Jesus last week. A lot of people would like to have my problems.
It is always a good day to be a Christian. In good times or bad, his salvation, peace, truth and more are priceless.
That is even more true on the day when your oncologist tells you that not only has your cancer returned much more quickly than expected but that it transformed to a very aggressive form. I’m really hoping that this sequel is the last in the franchise.
Random thoughts . . .
As before, by his grace alone we are at complete spiritual peace with this. We are task-completers and are always eager to know the next steps and to get on with the program, but with respect to matters of eternity things are as solid as could be. Praise God for that, because it is absolutely not my nature. It is purely a supernatural thing provided by his grace.
We pray that it leads to many opportunities to glorify his name and share his truths with others. We’ve already had several significant opportunities. Our outlook is pretty much the same as with the first cancer plot twist.
We are extremely grateful for the health care available to us, especially in light of the Covid-19 restrictions and pent-up demand for services. I went from initial scan to treatment in three weeks. I’m really glad we don’t have socialized medicine.
This will be a big burden on Mrs. Eternity Matters, the best of wives and best of women. This treatment is much more severe – 6 cycles, 21 days each. The first 5 days of the cycle are 5 different chemotherapies, then a spinal tap of a different chemo in between each cycle. Oh, and another Covid-19 test each time. If all that puts it into remission – and it should – then I may do a high intensity chemo series where they take my stem cells out and then put them back in and re-do my childhood vaccinations. That would increase the odds of eradicating it.
So we both have to be super-isolated as much as possible, and for quite a while. Covid-19 makes it worse. I think my body can fight Covid-19 or cancer, but not both.
But it is good that as aggressive as this type is, it is also well known with a distinct – albeit challenging – treatment plan. One of my goals in life is not to have a disease named after me, so I’m glad to keep that streak going.
The outpouring from friends and family has been amazing once again. We are blessed beyond measure. Such a blessing to be close to the girls and their husbands and their families.
The work situation is great. I already worked from home, and now much of the rest of the company has joined me in that. My supervisor and my team are phenomenal. I obviously won’t be going anywhere this year, so I have plenty of vacation days to cover anything. What are you doing for vacation this year? Trying to stay alive :-).
I got a comment from someone I really like and respect, but who said something that wouldn’t have occurred to me: He said it is OK to be angry at God. Believe me, I’m the chief of sinners (with apologies to Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15), but I can honestly say it never occurred to me to be angry at God. He has blessed me mightily for so long that it is laughable to me to question him now. It isn’t like He did it all to set me up and pull up the drawbridge on me. Live or die, I’m his. Him forgiving my sins was more than I would have dared ask for and all I really needed, but He has done so much more.
Like I’ve said, the end of the book of Job is in the Bible for a reason, in that we don’t get all the answers to everything in this life and God is fine with that. But the rest of the Bible is there for a reason as well, so that we can learn everything God does want us to know, such as how Jesus is the only way to salvation.
I often think of what Pastor Kevin DeYoung said about how Christians should think: Jesus loves me and He knows what He is doing. In tough times we can rest in that simple, timeless truth. He is sovereign and we can trust him completely.
It was a blessing to have already been in a great relationship with God when this came up. I was already in the habit of My favorite Bible reading / prayer / memorization routine, so it wasn’t like I had to say, “Oh no! Cancer has returned! Better get back to God!” I wouldn’t fault anyone who turns to the real Jesus for any reason at any time, but it was so nice to already be there.
Everything is already shut down for a while, but even as things open it will probably be a year before I can go to church or do prison ministry. Our favorite hobby, ballroom dancing, is out – except for dancing in the dining room when we move the table and when I’m physically able. So no more of this for a bit . . . but our goal is to get healthy again and be able to compete in late 2021, God willing.
I found that it helps to have things to aim at when working your way back into shape. Last time I’d lift a lot between cycles. The first few days were really tough, having to give myself pep talks for every brief set. The warm up sets felt like heavy sets, just like they do these days. But it gets better quickly and really helps long-term. Dancing helped as well as it was a great for energy and a nice mental diversion.
I’ll probably blog quite a bit less but hope to still follow all of you. Dialing back on the news cycles probably won’t hurt, either.
The odds of survival seem good, but it was a good catalyst to update my screen capture videos and other documentation of all of our financial, insurance, etc. matters in case I die. You really do your loved ones a great service if you line things out for them. Things are miserable enough when someone dies without having to go through lots of extra high stress searching and paperwork. My Dad was very organized and things like being able to export information from his password software to mine saved countless hours when I was setting things up for my Mom. If you don’t have a will, get one right away.
The chemos I had last time didn’t cause me to lose my hair, but this batch definitely comes with a free haircut. A wonderful follically-challenged friend/relative already sent some lightweight headwear and we have some bandanas ready to go. I think the world will get by just fine for a while without my chronic bed head. And the doctor already prescribed three anti-nausea options, so I think she is hinting at something there. And there are a “few” others meds to take . . . the doctor basically said, “Go to Walgreens and get one of everything.”
Prayers for healing are appreciated, of course, and I covet prayers for the peace and comfort of Mrs. Eternity Matters, and also for my 85 yr. old Mom. She’s a very committed believer but this really worries her.
But please also pray for endless opportunities to glorify God and share Jesus through this. Having something like this always focuses me like a laser on the things of God. I’m comfortable with any discussion about Jesus and his word once it gets started, but I’m terrible at starting conversations. But this disease gives unique opportunities to share with non-believers and to encourage believers. No one seems to mind if the cancer patient brings up Jesus, so I shamelessly exploit that :-). Seriously, I use my usual Stand to Reason tactics in conversations, but the talks do open up much more quickly and easily.
We got Daisy just before my last chemo treatments (she was a rescue dog, 6 years old at the time). She was a great chemo napping buddy, and now she’s back in business. (OK, she never really stopped.)
We will all die someday. I pray that anyone who reads this makes sure he is right with Jesus. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and He is the only Savior. His terms are indescribably generous, but you must come to him based on them and not your own made-up terms. The latter will land you in Hell for eternity.
I praise and thank God for his salvation and his assurance. I am enjoying his word as much as ever.
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
1 John 5:12–13 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
Jude 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
California closes beaches even though outdoors and sunshine are very non-conducive to virus transmission and social distancing is easy even on “crowded” beaches.
New York subways are extremely crowded, poorly ventilated and filthy – in other words, the worst-case scenario for virus transmission– but New York must keep them open, despite being a center of the pandemic. It took them a long time just to close them at night for cleaning. What incompetence! It isn’t a secret that NYC has a wildly disproportionate infection rate. It is obviously Trump’s fault. And racism.
A lot of celebrities seem to imagine (see what I did there) that we want them to shoehorn themselves into this crisis to offer advice or entertainment. But when people are dealing with the loss of jobs, a death in the family, etc. it comes off looking really out of touch. There’s a combination of navel gazing and not-so-subtle humble-bragging about their fabulous wealth and fabulous friends in many of these clips which ought to embarrass them. But somehow it doesn’t.
Overall, you get the sense that for a lot of these people the most important thing is that we not forget about them. No, it’s worse than that. They not only want to be remembered, they want to be important and applauded no matter what else is going on in the world. It’s pretty repulsive.
Good for him, using actual facts and logic. Paying people who haven’t lost jobs was stupid (as was making it more profitable to be unemployed than to be employed). The virus is less lethal than thought. There is no reason to shut down the country and hand out our grandchildren’s money.
But women today reject the idea that they should be bound by any of the traditional promises for women. She expects him to do half the housework. The idea that she should give him sex if she doesn’t feel like it is considered equivalent to rape. She can’t be expected to support his career: she has her own. And of course, if she decides that the relationship no longer meets her needs, she can leave at any time for any reason or no reason. And he is then obligated to pay alimony and child support.
Marriage today is still a huge commitment for a man. Almost as much as it ever was. But it is pretty much zero commitment for a woman. She promises nothing.
The resurfaced CNN clip from 1993 appeared to show Reade’s mother alluding to “problems” her daughter faced while working as a staffer for the then-Delaware senator. Reade later told Fox News it was indeed the voice of her mother on the clip. Biden’s presidential campaign has adamantly denied Reade’s allegations but the video could be cited as evidence supporting Reade’s allegation – even though her late mother, in the clip, does not specifically refer to a sexual assault claim.
CNN did not immediately respond to a series of questions, including whether the network knew the footage existed.
“Larry King may have had the biggest scoop of his CNN career this evening … And it’s an open question whether his former employer will say a word about it,” New York Post reporter Jon Levine tweeted.
And from another article on the topic, fancy this:
The National Organization for Women (NOW) also did not respond to comments from Fox News. The offices of Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., former 2020 hopefuls who have been floated as possible VP picks for Biden, did not respond to requests for comment about the latest development.
Other names floated as possible running mates also did not immediately respond to requests for comment, including: Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham; Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Normally it isn’t safe getting between those ghouls and a microphone, but now they are silent? What hypocrites!
And note that Biden’s denial immediately segues to the pro-woman legislation he has advanced and pretends he doesn’t have a well-documented track record of inappropriate touching. They know they can’t say, “He’s never done anything like that before!”, so they switch the category.
On Tuesday the Whitmer administration terminated a door-to-door pandemic tracing contract awarded to Great Lakes Community Engagement, an organization led by Kolehouse, just one day after its announcement. Within 24 hours of the cancellation, Kolehouse, who was set to take in nearly $200,000 in the deal, took down the website for his consulting firm, K2K strategies, as well as his Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. He did not return multiple requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon and declined to answer questions about the contract, which would have tasked him with collecting sensitive health data, from the Washington Post and Crain’s Detroit.
We’re gonna need a lot of millstones to clean this up . . .
Sexual Abuse in Schools — This site tracks countless examples. One more reason to home school. I think this will just get worse and worse in our porn-driven culture.