September 23, 2006

Last night, after I posted my update on the site, I called my mom and asked her to read it. I felt like everyone needs some encouragement, and I was encouraged, knowing that God is still speaking. My mom and dad have been staying at the hospice house since Wednesday. There is internet access in the playroom there, so I knew my mom could check the site from there. Occasionally, when I would visit Jeff, I would pull up the website on that computer and leave it on the homepage. I thought in a place that has so much discouragement in it, someone might come to that room to get away. If someone read about God's faithfulness to our family, that might be the encouragement they needed that day. Anyhow, I really felt like God was encouraging me to keep praying last night. I played music and read my Bible, praising Him and praying at the same time. My mom and dad both read the update, and then read a few others again. My mom commented how she thought it was neat that Jeff had posted an update on September 18, 2004, and I posted one on the same day in 2006. On the 18th, when I sat down to write what I felt was on my heart that day, I noticed the update from 2004 as well, so I read it again. I was amazed that what was on Jeff's heart in 2004, was on my heart the same day in 2006. Those are things that some would count as coincidence, but I see it as God's hand. 

While still on the phone with my mom last night, I told her that I was going to click on his next update which would be October 2, 2004 to see what Jeff had to say next. I read through all of Jeff's updates when we first posted them, but haven't really gone back to them. I remembered the stories he told, but not on which date. I clicked on the link for October 2, 2004 and read aloud on the phone. I know must of you have read his posts as well, but I want to share part of what he wrote on this date. Keep in mind what I had already posted last night. 

October 2, 2004

The words of Jesus from John 10:10: ďThe thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.Ē It has been more than 2000 years since Jesus walked this earth. Yet there is still a battle raging between the thief and the giver of life. I have been especially aware of that battle over the past month or so. My life is not my own; I live for Christ. I am aware that Satan would love for me to give up the fight so that my fruitfulness for Christ will come to an end. The battle has been very intense. It is impacting not only me, but also my family.

As we were getting ready for bed yesterday, Kaylee said, ďSatan sure is attacking our family.Ē It is a very accurate statement of spiritual awareness from an eight-year-old. We all got our Bibles and read about putting on the full armor of God from Ephesians 6. As we read, we acted out putting on each piece of the armor: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, feet fitted with the readiness from the gospel of peace, and the sword of the Spirit. The passage also instructs us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions. The battle is the Lordís, but we must be equipped because we are the targets of the enemy. He is trying to steal, kill, and destroy in our family. We have taken our stand. The battle is more intense than Iíve ever experienced. Satanís fiery darts are coming in the form of fears, doubts, stress, and emotional overload. Even though Iím the one fighting disease in my body, Iím not the only one being attacked by Satan. I see the effects of the battle in every member of my family. As the head of the household, it makes me angry to see the attacks of Satan against them. Please pray not only for my physical healing, but also for emotional and spiritual stamina for my entire family as we do our best to stand firm against the devilís schemes. Our family is very weary from the battle, yet God remains faithful.

Iíve been reading in the Gospel of John lately. One of my favorite stories of all time has been when Jesus raised Lazarus back to life. It must have been absolutely amazing to be an eye-witness to this event. What a tremendous display of the power of Jesus. If he can do that, he can do anything! But as I read the story this time, I noticed something Iíd never seen before. Lazarus was brought to life in John chapter 11. Many Jews followed Jesus as a result of this miracle. The chief priests were angered by this and made plans to arrest Jesus. They wanted to put an end to His miracles and the life-changing effects those miracles were having on the Jews. As I read further into John 12, I found that Jesus was not the only one the chief priests wanted to arrest and kill. They made plans to kill Lazarus, as well. The chief priests targeted both the miracle worker and the miracle receiver. This made me aware that when God does heal me, the spiritual battle will not be over. In fact, the battle may become more intense. I believe that God is working in the lives of many people through my struggle with this disease. I anticipate that His healing touch in my body will impact many people for Christ, as well. Either way, Iím in this battle for the long haul. Iím thankful that his strength is made perfect in my weakness. I need all of His strength that He can give; for my healing, for my family, for our emotional and spiritual strength.

I could not believe the similarities between what Jeff wrote and what I wrote. The first part of his post talked about putting on the full armor of God, and the attack he knew we were under. I wrote about the same. Those lyrics kept playing over in my head. "Throw out my grave clothes, put on the armor of the Lord." Then, just the message in John 11. When I feel like God has spoken to me, it is usually through scripture or songs. I have never been good at recalling scripture, so I know when these things happen, it is only from God.

My mom has mentioned before how strange it is that Jeff is in a place that signifies death.  My mom has feared that eventually, some may just accept that for him since that is what they see on a daily basis there. That is how doctors can be though. I know they see less miracles than death. We are not giving up by him being there, and know there has to be a reason why God has him there. Earlier in the week, my mom turned on the tv and caught the end of a preacher's message. It was from Deuteronomy 30. She got out her Bible and read. Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 says this:  "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

These are all promises that God is still giving us for Jeff and our family. Please continue to claim them with us.

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