Thursday, December 19, 2013

Keeping Yourself in Check

By Brenda Boen
December 19, 2013

Recently I read a post by someone responding to a comment she didn’t like.  She made reference to people politely expressing their views and keeping themselves in check.  What does that really mean to keep yourself in check?

In the game of chess the object of the game is to checkmate the opponent, which happens when one player makes a move on the board that limits their opponent from making any other moves, thereby ending the game.  So in reference to the statement I read, this lady meant that people should keep themselves in check without getting themselves in trouble or in a bind by expressing their views on particular subjects.  That would be defined as being politically correct.  What does that mean?  Wikipedia defines it this way:
Political correctness is a term that refers to language, ideas, or policies that address perceived or actual discrimination against or alienation of politically, socially or economically disadvantaged groups.  The term usually implies that these social considerations are excessive or of a purely "political" nature.  These groups most prominently include those defined by gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.

So if you have ideas and beliefs, in order to be politically correct, you must keep them to yourself because you certainly don’t want to offend someone by trying to influence them with what you believe.  Now, if someone is way off base and coming out of left field, I don’t want someone trying to cram it down my throat either.  So, it is understandable why people would prefer everyone be politically correct.  But what if someone is right and trying to convince you of the truth?  How do you discern what is true and what isn’t?

God is truth.  His Word, the Bible, is truth.  Truth is that God created us and wants a relationship with us.  But because we are sinful we cannot get to God.  But He loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ in the flesh to save us.  (John 3:16)  Jesus willingly died on a cross to bridge the gap between sinful man and God.  Because of His death we are made right with God.  But we have to accept His free gift of salvation in order to get to Him.  That is the truth that the world must hear.
If I am trying to spread the truth from God, I can’t just be politically correct and avoid the issue for fear of offending someone.  How else is the world going to be changed if we don’t tell the truth?  Sure, many will reject the truth because they don’t want to accept it.  And many will have blinders on.  But are we to keep it to ourselves?  I think not.  God has commanded us and Jesus Christ said……

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  Mark 16:15-16

So if I am spreading the gospel and trying to help others from being condemned, should I keep myself in check?  I think not.  I’d rather be politically incorrect.  Hate me if you must but consider how your life will end.  You can only end up in one of two places, either heaven or hell.  I’d much rather be hated if I can help someone else avoid hell.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

God Still Performs Miracles!

Brenda Boen
January 31, 2013

Last week my husband went in the hospital to have his fourth major surgery to remove cancer spots from his body.  This would be the third time on his liver.  Prior to the surgery I prayed and had several other people pray that God would guide the surgeon's hands and that when he opened him open on the operating table that all the cancer would be gone and it would be a testimony to the doctors, nurses and everyone else of God's power.

Let me give you some background.  My husband was diagnosed with colon cancer after a routine colonoscopy.  And after the initial procedure the tests came back that he was in Stage 4 and that the cancer was not only in his colon but also in his liver and lungs.  Immediately he underwent radiation to shrink the tumor in his colon so it could be removed.  He also went through chemo as well.  The tumor in his colon was removed and then he resumed chemo.  A PET Scan was done and it revealed that the spots were gone in his lungs but remained in his liver.  The decision was made to remove the spots from his liver.  After the surgery, the oncologist then declared my husband cancer free, however, he wanted to give him more chemo, just in case it was to pop back up.  So chemo was resumed and afterward the doctor ordered a PET Scan to see if any cancer lingered.  The PET Scan revealed more spots on his liver so the surgeon went back in and cut one out and burned a couple more.  So my husband then resumed a 6 month regimen of chemo.  Thinking all would be well, my husband was given another PET Scan which revealed more spots on his liver.  So the decision was to go in for the third time and take care of the spots.  In the meantime chemo was continued because it was probably keeping the chemo at bay.  So we went to see the surgeon who ordered a Cat Scan which revealed even more spots.

Let me explain scans to you, as best as I understand them.  During a full body PET Scan a liquid is injected which the cancer consumes.  Basically it's some kind of sugar substance that the cancer eats and it is radioactive and shows up, or lights up, on the film.  This makes it easier to see just where the cancer is in the body. A CAT Scan, on the other hand, is more precise and shows more detail although you have to scan particular parts of the body to find it.  So a PET Scan is beneficial to see where the cancer is and a CAT Scan gives much more detail.

Back to my story.  The PET Scan revealed a few spots that remained in his liver and the CAT Scan showed more detail and more spots.  The oncologist was quite perplexed why the extra spots didn't light up on the PET Scan. So off to surgery my husband goes.

The surgery usually lasts about an hour to an hour and a half.  While I was in the waiting room almost 2 hours had passed and frankly I was a little anxious wondering what all the surgeon was having to do.  The first surgery resulted in the removal of 60% of his liver and the second surgery resulted in a small portion cut out and a couple of spots burned off.  Now during this third surgery the task was to possibly cut out the bigger spot and burn off whatever else he could or remove the rest.  Mind you, my husband only had 40% of his liver left.  Although the liver does grow back his was growing slowing due to the chemo chemicals in his body.

When the surgeon finally came out of surgery he approached me with a strange look on his face.  The first thing he said was "Things like this happen."  That didn't sound good at all.  He went on to tell me that several spots showed up on the scans but he only found five spots.  He biopsied all five THREE TIMES and did not find any cancer!  He then said that he "just sewed him back up because there wasn't anything else to do".  He remarked that the spots were possibly scar tissue or something else, he really didn't know and sort of shook his head and left.

Later, when the doctor came to visit my husband in his room, he apologized for the surgery that was obviously unnecessary.   My husband told him it was fine because he didn't have any cancer so he was good with it.  My husband also asked the doctor about where the spots where on his liver.  He told him there was one on the back and four on the front. My husband then told him that those were the fingerprints that God left when he took out the cancer.  The doctor raised his hand and starting making motions where the spots where on the liver and replied "WOW!" and just stood speechless for about 15 seconds and repeated "WOW!" a second time and left.

I am here to tell you today that we know God removed that cancer from my husband.  Spots were apparent on the scans and his blood levels were up also indicating cancer was present.  They were not just scar tissue.  Scar tissue can't eat cancer and light up a PET Scan.  And the scans showed more than the 5 spots that he found.  God answered prayer that day and performed a miracle by reaching in and taking it out.  He left his fingerprints to prove that He was there. 

In reflection, my husband went through unnecessary surgery because God removed the cancer.  But the surgery was not intended for my husband's benefit.  Perhaps it was for the doctor to prove His strength.  Remember, that was also part of the prayer.  And telling this miracle about a miraculous God will impact not only the doctors, nurses and us but everyone that hears it.  I hope that those that read this and hear the story will understand that God is still in the miracle making business.  He has our best interests in mind.  He has a plan even though we don't see it.  Sometimes we even have to go through difficult struggles.  He doesn't promise it will be smooth sailing but that He will be with us through it all.

Luke 8:22-25
"One day Jesus said to His disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake."  So they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, He fell asleep.  A squall came down on the lake, so that he boat was being swamped and they were in great danger.  The disciples went and woke Him, saying "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"  He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  "Where is your faith?" he asked the disciples.  In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

Matthew 21:21-22
"Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you  do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." 

God’s Love Overwhelms Me!

Brenda Boen
January 26, 2013

God never said everything would be perfect but He does promise He will go through everything with us.  He allows us to go through trials to strengthen and deepen our faith and our relationship with Him.  It is not always what we want to happen but He has a purpose.  All along the journey if we keep our eyes focused on Him who is in control we begin to trust that “He’s got this!”  And He sees the bigger picture. Make no mistake.  He has a plan.  We can’t see it but our wise and Holy God does.  And in the end, when the trial is over or perhaps along the journey, God comes along and does something that is just so miraculous that it can overwhelm us.  The sense we get that God is THAT loving and really cares, just makes us want to drop on our knees and cry thanking Him for caring so much.  His unmerited grace is freely given to bless our socks off!  When we ask God for something and it aligns with His will, He is happy to grant them.  He loves us that much.  Oh, that I would love others (and show it) as much as God does.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  James 1:2-3
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12

Stay faithful under pressure!
See my related God Story that inspired this devotion: