Monday, July 6, 2015

Outrageous Love

The idea of "outrageous love" has followed me around for months now. It started when I heard a guy in a documentary mention that Christians are not known for their outrageous love. I was offended for a moment, before realizing he was right...

Given the timing of this post aligning with the recent Supreme Court ruling, I just have to clarify that I am not in any way talking about the world's definition of love. I wish that type had a different name so I could draw a better distinction. There are several types of love in the New Testament, but I'm reflecting on deep, heartfelt passion for God and for the people God created. That is not the same as giving people what they want to make them happy. If those things lead them to sin or there is a reason God wants to withhold those things from them, it's not at all loving to lead them astray in that way.

I think it's human nature to desire to be outrageously loved. Pretty much all the mainstream movies I can think of involve someone selflessly--courageously-- putting oneself at risk for the well-being of another. Yet I also remember the disillusionment I faced when I was younger, when I concluded that we all wish for others to take big risks for us, yet it's rare that we are willing to do it for others. In real life, we're afraid to fight for others, or sometimes don't love them enough to leave our comfort zones to do so.

We have a perfect example of one human who did love us outrageously. The work of the One we follow could be summed up with the term, "outrageous love". I daresay John 3:16 is one of the most famous truths from the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life". It's outrageous, but true. Maybe that's why it's so hard for some people to believe.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8.

So, if we were saved--delivered from the certainty of eternal damnation, and released from our chains of slavery--by an act of outrageous love, how could we consider not sharing that love in an outrageous way?

God plays the beautiful Veggie Tales version of "His Banner over Me is Love" through my mind frequently. The words are true, His banner over me IS love, and I have the precious memory of watching Abigail dance in her first recital to that song, right after I was healed. Everything about it casts the cares of this world away and reminds me of the truth of His outrageous love for me.

Some people go through life not experiencing or receiving the outrageous love of God or from His people, but it seems like time and time again God has called others to share His love for me in powerful ways. They aren't always huge gestures. Sometimes it's the little things, timed perfectly. And sometimes the experiences seem so minor that if we aren't paying attention we miss the magnitude. I usually am very general on here so I don't accidentally miss anyone and leave them feeling unappreciated. But, I will make an exception in this case. I have a friend who loved me really well through our journey with cancer, and I'm sad because she just moved away. So, I thought I'd give her the attention I should have given her while she lived in town.

As I type I recognize that these acts don't seem that significant, but they are and were very important to me. Something about this outrageous love is the personalized experience, knowing that God knows what we need and when we need it. It can also assure us that we don't need to sail around the world to love others well. Just stay close to the Lord and He will reveal the opportunities.

Shannon was the first non-relative to ever watch baby Naomi. She took her when I had surgical appointments two days in a row, and Naomi cried the whole time. Naomi was inconsolable (still hadn't taken a bottle or anything), but Shannon didn't act like it was any burden at all. She made it seem easy and I can't tell you the relief I felt with being able to leave her and not feel guilty about it. Better yet, while I was still in my "I won't let cancer break me!" phase, Shannon was the first person I saw shed a tear over it. I had known her less than a year and received her vulnerability as a precious gift that inspired me to embrace the broken heartedness I felt. It is okay to be sad, it's okay to care for others. In fact, Jesus wept for His friends, and that was the example Shannon followed. Lastly, when I started this blog I was literally terrified to be put to shame. Sharing my feelings in a public forum--literally inviting others to reject my innermost, hidden self--was indescribably frightening. Not only did she follow it immediately, but before I had even memorized the web address, she had shared it with everyone she saw. She followed the Holy Spirit to fight through outreach and prayer for my family and for me, and she does things like that for others every single day. Houston is so fortunate that she and her whole family are on their way to share God's love with them!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Trials of Terror

You might have seen that I dared to post good news about the Good News of Jesus on Wednesday. I spent a few minutes extolling the Lord and some of the great things He has done in supernaturally healing me of incurable cancer. So, of course, the following day it looked like everything had changed...

I went to my routine bi-annual appointment with Dr. Crooms, my awesome surgeon. I would remind you how completely amazing he is, but the best nurse in the world, Nurse Karen, asked that I stop advertising for them--the list of patients waiting to get in with him is just too long! Anyway, I had a lump of scar tissue that Dr. Rassam hasn't been concerned about, but Dr. Crooms was interested in it and wanted a closer look. He gave me an ultrasound then had me come back today for a biopsy. 

I don't know if this event arose from some sort of interchange between the devil and the Lord,  like what happened in Job. Maybe God wanted me to see what I would do in a situation like this. Either way, I've entitled it, "Trial of Terror: Will They or Won't They?" Because it was so clear that it was an opportunity to put our money where our mouths were--would we allow terror to set in, and embrace the panic of having the cancer return (or another cancer discovered)? Or would we stand firm in the faith of who God is? Yaacov told me a few times that it was our chance for a do-over from how we handled cancer the first time around. To which I (obviously) thought, "But I rocked the first diagnosis, no need for a do-over..."

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11:13

I think most cancer survivors have a bit of PTSD related to their diagnosis, and in my case, sometimes my world sort of revolves around the fact that God healed me of it when there was nothing else men could do to help me. Not only do I remember every detail of my original diagnosis, but so much of it was the same yesterday. He used the same ultrasound machine and gave me the same news, "I can do a biopsy today and get the permanent section results back in a few days, or you can come back in the morning and we could get the preliminary results in an hour". This is because it was after business hours both times he decided to give me a biopsy. The first time around we got a false negative result with the preliminary, frozen section, yet I went for that option again this time.

God gives me so much freedom that I could have reacted the same way I did three years ago and it would have been okay. Back then I clung to Jesus but was simultaneously completely panicked. My inner voice spoke as loudly and quickly as the real people I spoke to, resulting in an influx of turmoil and stress. My mind jumped rapidly between "what ifs", self-pity, and planning for the future. This time, though, my faith is stronger. Peace is more thorough, my foundation sturdier. This time, my heart didn't even skip a beat. God helped me control my thinking, and I slept soundly. He assured me that what He does is complete, nothing can be added or taken from it (Ecc 3:14). More importantly, He reminded me that I honestly prefer His plan to my own, and He will carry me wherever I need to go. There's no room for self-pity or doubts in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 12:20 Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

We have total peace in God's plan and I am certain that I am cancer-free. But mostly, I am encouraged to be able to see some of the tangible growth that both Yaacov and I have made in our walks with Christ over the past few years. The biopsy experiences were so similar they were like pre- and post- tests. Hopefully our scores improved! I had a pretty strong faith and a perfectly healthy, easy life at the time of the pre-test. But I am so grateful that in His sovereignty He had bigger plans for me--an intervention! He pre-planned the journey to make me a better person by teaching me about fear, healing, faith, prayer, compassion, perseverance, and love. He used suffering to enlighten me and I wouldn't reject that blessing if given the choice.

The frozen section biopsy came back negative, like we expected. We should get the permanent section results early next week. 

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36

UPDATE: The permanent section biopsy came back negative, too! We are so thankful to this God we serve, through whom all things are possible!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More answers to prayer

I've been healed for so long now that cancer is no longer a conscious part of each day. I remember before I was healed, recognizing how many people can't get "past" it. I saw how it really is impossible to not fear future recurrences, an underlying condition that might cause an ache or pain, or to blame all your problems on the trauma they went through with it. And that was just for people without a terminal diagnosis. For those of us with incurable cancer, just the physical healing is an intangible pipe dream, so we are more willing to leverage the standard of perfect future health with just not dying from the cancer. But there is one who has a long history of delivering His people. He breaks the ties we have to fear, physical and emotional diseases, and to all sin.

I have been cancer free for more than three years now. No one had any expectation of that except God and some of His faithful followers. There was no reason to hope for such a thing, other than for the hope we have in our Savior, who died for my own sins, and is able to do more than we could ever imagine (Eph 3:20). He did it. To Him be the glory! No matter how great doctors, medicine, and people are, their value could never compare to the One who "gives more grace" (James 4:6).

I saw Dr. Rassam on Monday, and he gave me the great news that he wants to take me off Xgeva, a bone density shot that I have received for the past 36 months. The drug doesn't have longterm studies for people like me because...people like me aren't supposed to be cancer-free. So, every month I've spent 1-2 hours, kids in tow, getting bloodwork taken, waiting on results, then getting the shot. He always told me I'd be on it forever, and it didn't occur to me until this week to pray to get off it. Within minutes of that prayer I found myself in his office, and he told me he wants to confirm with a bone scan (not until September), and then I'll go off that drug!

When we were praying for the first clear PET scans, I prayed specifically to be told one day that I have "no evidence of disease". I got the clear scan, which was better, but those weren't words I heard. For three years there have been no setbacks, no substantial hints of a problem. I forgot that prayer, because of the truth that there was no evidence. But on Monday as I was leaving, Dr. Rassam had a talk with the chemo nurse about stopping the Xgeva. That's when I heard those words I longed for--"She has no evidence of disease...there has been no evidence for several years...". Nothing could compare to the first time he told me I was healed, but it was an unexpected treasure to hear those words, and to remember the urgency with which I prayed it three years ago. His timing is perfect, His memory awesome. I was extraordinarily blessed by not having to wait the three years to be healed--I've been healthy for longer than I ever could deserve. But it's still a great reminder that He hears our prayers and He does answer. His timing is always better than ours. His word is true, the promises real, His love is thorough.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Say Something

I'm having trouble with Blogger and am ready to upgrade this blog, so please send me any suggestions (or sites/things to NOT do!)

I'm suddenly unable to respond to comments on here and there are a few I can't bear to ignore--the negative ones. People who send stuff like that probably don't expect an answer, or might think I'll argue. But I believe there are real inquiries hidden behind the sarcasm, and pain is also wrapped in there. So, I read through a comment left on a post called, "More" from before I was healed. Instead of feeling led to respond to the comment I have decided to add more detail...

It was when we were leaving Texas, completely broken and devastated. I had been told time after time that I was dying but there were always more experts to ask, more leads to follow. Until Texas. My throat is drying up now as I think back to that day. I feel dizzy and weak, and somehow filled with shame, just remembering. This is cheesy, but since then I've noticed this lovely song reminds me of that time. 

I have shared these details in public but not necessarily all on here: I was all alone at MD Anderson when the doctors dashed my hopes. It wasn't what they said, I'd heard that before. It was how they said it, like I was stupid for caring that I was about to die. That I was too dense to understand that my days were numbered, and that I was unworthy of the effort it would take them to try help me. Yaacov and the girls were waiting for me at an apartment we had rented, because it was just supposed to be the introductory meeting, the time set aside for paperwork and scheduling. Dr. Litton was literally my last earthly hope, and we were so sure that the Lord had sent us to her. So, not only were all my hopes dashed, but I also had to go tell Yaacov and my daughters that all our hopes were dashed. This time there was no silver lining to add a positive spin. I had yet to shed a tear in front of any of my doctors, but with the finality of this news I couldn't hold them back. I ran through the hospital, followed by a trail of tears...hunted for our rented minivan for what felt like hours, in the dark parking structure of the hospital. There was a huge thunderstorm blasting outside, and it echoed through my whole body. By the time I locked myself into the van I was convulsing with emotional agony. I screamed and sobbed to the Lord with desperation and loss until I was choking on my own vomit. I begged this God for help, for a lifeline...I listened for His voice but heard nothing but the deafening storm. I felt abandoned and alone, foolish and beaten. For me this was the most tragic of  days, the most hopeless of hours. 

The Lord did not answer me in a way that I could hear. 

Not only was my petition almost identical to the lyrics I have since heard of Say Something, but whenever I hear that song it brings me back to that moment. When I was searching for a link to it I stumbled across a solo saxophone version of it--where the video is staged in a dark parking structure like the one I cried to the Lord in. Finding that feels like an extra boost of affection from the Lord for me. He knows how I felt then, and how I feel now. He had mercy on me by healing me, which changes the outcome, but doesn't affect the memory. I thought I needed to hear from Him, but He had already equipped me with everything I needed.

Isaiah 49:23, "Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame."

Hebrews 13:20;21 May the God of peace...equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen!"

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Responding to The Resurrection

We went to a Third Day concert the other day and there was this awesome singer named Harvest Parker there who stole the show. She told a story about the Moravian missionaries (who were so awesome that this doesn't do them justice, btw) who sold themselves into slavery to reach a group in the West Indies who would not allow preachers or missionaries in. As they were heading out, with no hope to ever return, someone passionately yelled, "May the lamb receive the reward of His suffering", which seems to be a summation of Revelation 5 and is also the summation of our celebration of the resurrection, and of Jesus in general. We are unworthy to receive His sacrifice, but He gave it to us anyway. He did it because He loves us and it's the only way to cleanse us in preparation of eternal life with Him. But our job is not just to receive from Him. It's to glorify Him in all that we do! Here's a link to her song, which is very moving (the one in Tallahassee was even better but I didn't get the whole thing on my phone).

The Lord was already working on my boldness when I heard that, and it was reinforced there. This verse below was also so important to me that I couldn't let it go:

"My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or death." Phil 1:20

Lord, do not let us be put to shame. Our faith is weak, our evil desires are strong, and the pull of the world is powerful. But You are mighty. When we are yoked with you we can do all things through you, and we ask that you will show this to your enemies. Do not let our humanness put us to shame, but guide us and go before us so all men see your power through our testimonies.

Our pastor at Four Oaks, Paul Gilbert, said, "if your conscience isn't clear you don't make a good witness". Lord, thank-you for forgiving our sins, for dying on the cross, and for returning from the grave three days later--thereby fulfilling the prophesies and completing the transactions of submitting your righteousness and bearing our sin. By your stripes we are healed, we are fully forgiven, clear our consciences and guide our steps away from the sin we so readily return to. Help us to be bold for you, to be strong and courageous, and to share your love with meaning and truth!

Lord, help us to trust you with our lives, and with our deaths. Help us to recognize that we are not our own, and to earnestly desire to be used for your glory, whether your plan takes us to the cross or to the mall. Help us to be real, living sacrifices for you, and to go wherever you send us, with perfect peace and profound love. Your way is the only way we desire.

Because, "my eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or death." 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sin and Sovereignty

Well, the Holy Spirit has used this blog to share His story, His word, and His love to many people throughout the world. And in order to use me as the typist, He found me in my hard, roly poly shell and convinced me to uncurl it. It was scary to show my belly, but He brought so much love, joy, and encouragement from that exposure that I covet the memory as one of my lifelong bests. Yet, over time as the crises and attention were diverted; I rolled back up. Whether it was intentional or not, I have struggled with being open and vulnerable toward God, not just on the blog. I realize now that I blamed receiving the terminal diagnosis, especially that last time, from Dr. Litton, for killing off part of me. But now I recognize that it wasn't what was done to me--I'm not the victim, I'm the villain, but if I cling to Christ now, He will mold me into the victor.

It began a few years ago when I realized, and boasted, that everyone I had heartily prayed for had been healed. Please recognize that my stomach aches as I recognize the pride in that statement. I was on a faith "high", and all five of the terminal people I had prayed for had been healed. All cancer gone. No cancer here. Total remission. Cancer free. No evidence of disease. He healed those people! I should never have claimed some sort of credit for that by attaching my prayers to His work. I desperately want to defend my arrogance, to sugar-coat and explain it away. But, I belittled the God I serve when I took credit for such healings (He had me pray for them, He answered those prayers. It is about Him, not me.). Like when God told Moses to speak to the rock for it to yield water, and instead Moses (pasted below, Numbers 20:8-13) said to the congregation, "shall we bring water for you?" and struck the rock. Moses had the same end game as God's plan, which was to get the water to the people. But he took the credit with his statement and took the glory. For someone who desires to live in order to give God glory, stealing it from Him is the worst sin I can imagine. And, yup, I do believe He rescued me from certain death specifically so I can glorify Him in word and deed. In other words, Mission: Failed.

Proverbs 16:18 is true--pride and a haughty attitude come before a fall, and I guess that was where I tripped big time. I'm sure there were little things leading up to it that I've forgotten about. But after my boasting He stopped answering my prayers. People started suffering more and dying all around me. In fact, two of the people I had believed were healed have since passed away. Of course, my faith wavered, the truths He taught me seemed confounded, the deadness within me grew and I felt unable to control it, but too distracted to care.

Until yesterday that would have been the end of the story. I had deep questions for God and had been praying for Him to help me "feel" again, but I didn't think there was any unrecognized awesome thing He had done. But now He is showing me this and I'm really, really grateful that the Holy Spirit blocked me from trekking further down the dark road I was on... Proverbs 2:13 says wicked men "have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways". He saved me from straying toward a life away from Him, where I would lead His sheep astray. He cares so much for His flock that He protected them from me. And me from me!

God showed me all this in the last hour. It probably doesn't seem like a big deal to outsiders, but He has been preparing me, cultivating this revelation for a long time coming, yet I had no hint of what was going on. I never thought about my pride in that context, just felt like He had abandoned me. And since then I couldn't really "feel" anymore. And I didn't always mind. I was wrong. I was wrong to be prideful. Wrong to embrace the ensuing numbness. Wrong to refuse to face my feelings of abandonment. And in all those wrongs, there was One who was right. All along, God was right! How many times do we tell ourselves, "He has a reason for everything...maybe one day in heaven I'll understand", with no expectation of ever "getting" it? He reveals Himself to us on EARTH, if we just ask, and keep asking, and keep asking, then ask again! He did not abandon me, He protected me! He didn't do it just as a discipline or a test, but for the good of His people. Don't get me wrong, God didn't let sick people die to teach me a lesson, He aligned the timing of all that would happen for the sake of all those touched by it. Every one of us is learning, struggling, being challenged, and growing, simultaneously. He put those people into my life and heart to pray for so I could experience the blessings and lessons from unanswered prayers. And He blessed countless others in praying for the exact same people with the lessons and experiences individualized for them.

THAT is our God. He will not ever leave us nor forsake us. He is closer than a brother. He knows your name and the hairs on your head. He loves you. He loves me. Not in a distant, bored, "dead-inside" type of way. He loves you with the raw and jagged emotion that is sensitive enough to want better for you. And to not overlook your sins and struggles because it would be easier in the short run. Hallelujah to Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lived the perfect life, suffered more than we can ever understand, and carried our burdens and shame. He dragged my pride along with the cross and I was forgiven for it at Calvary. Because after He rose from the grave He ascended into heaven where He intercedes for me. He was already punished for every one of my sins, and loves me anyway! He accepts me, even though it's hard to accept myself these days. I am not worthy of His love, His sacrifice, His forgiveness, or His company. Even if I finally get it together and become closer to perfect, I will need a living sacrifice for when I fall short. Before Jesus came, the priests who atoned for the sins of the people walked back and forth all day, offering the sacrifices to the Lord, because the sins were endless. Jesus did it once, and nothing can be added or taken from that. All we can do is accept it. No matter how awful or great you are, you need a living sacrifice, and He is waiting for your prayer! The angels rejoice when a sinner turns to Him (Luke 15:10). If you aren't sure that you've ever made those angels sing, do it now--ask Him to be your true Lord and to dwell within you. And ask Him to alert the angels!

Numbers 20:8-13 (referenced in second paragraph)
“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”,  And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.  And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”  These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Heart of My Heart

The Lord is teaching me about my heart and Holy Spirit. The lesson is so deep, yet perfectly simple, and it touches me to the core. I've said many times that part of me has felt dead inside since my diagnosis. It's not a depression, just something I wrestle with, and sometimes it's helpful. In fact, Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life", and whatever I unconsciously do to keep from really feeling things can protect my heart. But, He has shown me how special it is to deeply care for people, which can't be done when we are too guarded. And when we're talking about letting our guards down to share God's love with them, we're really opening our hearts to Him. He is the only One it's totally safe to trust. He said, "My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep my ways." Proverbs 23:26

There is so much pain in the world; brokenness underlies every sin, it's hidden behind welcoming smiles, exudes from those lying at the foot of the cross and also from the worshipping at the feet of idols. We have to harden our hearts sometimes just to make it through our own day, let alone to stay standing in the midst of so much sorrow. It's easier to put our heads down and keep trucking...the phrase "herd immunity" takes on another meaning to me upon this reflection.

I want to enjoy the life He has blessed me with, and to reserve the pain and misery for the sad parts of daily life. But, that's not His plan. And His plan is better. His plan includes opening our hearts for more risk, more pain, but more reward. He has aligned my heart with the hearts of others, and my spirit mourns and delights along with them. 

It's clear that He puts certain people and situations in our paths to pray for and meditate on more than others. I am so fortunate that He put my story on many of your hearts, and that you were obedient to pray for us. I've heard so many stories of how special it was to you all when I was healed, because it made it such a special answer to your own prayer to hear the news Dr. Rassam shared, "It's gone, your cancer is all gone! I have never seen anything like it!". 

When I prayed for Debora's healing, my spirit deeply interceded for her. It was hard and exhausting and terrifying. But when we received the confirmation of her healing it was the most special news I could imagine. In many ways I was more moved than with my own healing. The joy of the Lord was so powerful I couldn't sleep or even carry on a conversation about anything else. It is an incomparable memory of the Lord and me that I thoroughly cherish. Even in my guarded heart I would daresay that experience alone is worth being brokenhearted the rest of my days. I long for others to experience that, not to try to strongarm the Lord into doing more miracles, but to give all the chance to witness that side of Him. His love and power are incomprehensible, but more obvious when our hearts are open and watching for these things. 

"And these signs will accompany those who believe...they will lay their hands on the sic, and they will recover." Mark 16: 17;18

We all have many opportunities to pray and care for others every day. I don't know how or why He opens our hearts toward certain people and not others. I do know that He is the God of our hearts and opens and hardens them as He sees fit. So, I want to make sure to include some of the problems people contact me about on here, in case He opens your heart to pray for them. If you haven't had the blessing of interceding deeply for someone who sort of "shares" your heart, dare to ask for such an opportunity. Dare to care. 

Some of these people already share my own heart. I imagine I know the depth of their despair, but all I actually know is Ps 34:18, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit".

Lyn received PET scan results, thanks to all for praying! Sadly, the scan showed no improvement with the medication she's been taking, and a slight increase in the spread stage 4 breast cancer. This is totally devastating and confusing, they don't know what treatment to do next, or what doctor's recommendations to follow. Let's pray that He shows Himself to be Lyn's Great Physician and reminds the whole family of His sovereignty. Pray boldly that He fully heals Lyn, so His great name will be exalted throughout the land, and that many come to faith because of it.
A friend is having a PET scan today. We are believing in and expecting a perfect report of no cancer at all. Pray for peace, love, joy, and truth to reign!!!
Julie, Karen, Mila and Kelly are all fighting breast cancer. Daniel has malignant mesothelioma and his sons are 1 and 3 years old. Amanda and Meredith are young and are bravely battling different cancers. Pray the Lord will be close to them and that they grow in their faith and assurance of who He is. Pray for their hearts, souls, and bodies!

Alison needs total and permanent physical relief from the severe facial pain she's been facing, it's torturous. My friends Betsy and Natalie have been struggling with lyme disease and all it's effects.  
Cheri needs prayer to be overcome by God's goodness, that He nourishes the parched land with His living water, and that her soul finds rest and peace in His arms.

I'm sorry for the lack of details with all of these, but God knows everything about each of these people. He knows His plans to bless them all with abundant, everlasting life, and to lead them beside still streams. Every one of them faces agony in different ways, and has done so for many days. I pray they would persevere and never lose hope. That the glory of God will fill their lives and that they would reflect it back to our Savior.

Matthew 4:23, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."