Tag Archives: faith

PET Scan Musings

At this moment I am sitting in a dimly-lit room, my feet up in a recliner, a curtain surrounding me to lend privacy, with my iPhone 7 in my hands.

There’s a noticeable, but calming mechanical noise … maybe it’s electrical … in the background. Maybe it’s the AC system? Regardless, it’s relaxing, especially considering the surroundings.

A few moments ago a technician inserted an IV into my right arm, then he injected a radioactive substance into my vein. After that, while sitting here, I drank about 16 ounces of a “contrast.” In a little less than an hour from now, once all the stuff inside me filters through my body, I’ll receive a PET CT scan to determine whether or not I’ve got cancer. More specifically, whether or not the mass (lymph node) in my chest above my heart is malignant.

What does one think about during times like these? Do I worry, think about what may or may not happen, or write about my experience in real time? I choose the latter.

Why?

Because I believe that God is real. I believe that there are times when we believers in Jesus Christ need to be transparent, letting our experiences and how we handle them be a testimony to others of the grace of God on our lives.

There’s an old cliche that goes, “I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.” It’s in the uncertain moments like these that Christians need to shine, not only voicing the cliche, but demonstrating a genuine hope and trust in Christ.

This afternoon I will receive a diagnosis from the surgeon scheduled to review the tests. I’m not scared. Honestly, I am barely nervous. God has me in the palm of His hand, and nothing about to happen will change the plans He has for me.

If it’s cancer, so be it. If it’s not, then great! Nevertheless, I am not alone…not in this dark little room, the CT chamber, or anywhere the Lord leads me. And the promise He gives to me is the same for you, if your faith is in Him – “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Those are my thoughts at this time. I’ll update you, later, with the results.

Anthony

UPDATE: No cancer šŸ™‚

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“Cut it!”

Proverbs 8:1-2

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.”

“Cut it! Cut it!”

The thought of losing a child is one that no parent ever wants to entertain. Having more than one die is almost unthinkable. But to have them die in front of your eyes while you’re helpless to intervene is the stuff of nightmares.

In February of 2012, in the little town of Altamont, TN, the nightmare came true. Below are excerpts from the news story written by reporter Joy Lukachick:

Calvin and Nicholas had driven their go-kart down a short, grassy slope near the side of their home on Northcutts Cove Road, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report. As the go-kart reached the two-lane county road — only a short way from their house — and the boys started to drive across it, an Oldsmobile was coming up a small hill in their direction. Neither the boys nor the driver of the car, a 30-year-old woman, saw each other, the report shows. The Keeners were standing outside their house and could see the car coming, said Joyce Myers, a neighbor who lives across the street. The parents began screaming, “Cut it! Cut it!” trying to get the boys to turn the wheel before reaching the road, but the boys couldn’t hear over the noise of the go-kart’s engine…

[When neighbors came to the scene]Ā Wanda Keener was cradling her 4-year-old son, Calvin, in her arms. He was bloody and not moving. Keener’s husband, Wesley, was lying on the road next to his 11-year-old son, Nicholas, who was trapped inside the go-kart.

Wisdom Cries Out

Can you not sense a little of the helpless terror that swept over those two parents as they watched their children drive down that hill? Can you feel the pain in your throat as you imagine how hard they screamed? On a hill they cried out, but to no avail. Two young lives had no idea what was about to happen.

Yet, Wisdom stands upon the high places and cries out to us. Wisdom says “Turn! Turn!Turn from your wicked ways!” But too many can’t hear (or won’t listen) over the noise of their own entertainment.

Oh, that we would listen; oh, that we would “cut it” before it’s too late.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. – Pro. 3:6


Old Tactics Still Work

Proverbs 7:21-23Ā 

“With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.”
“The Devil Made Me Do It!”

Back in the 1960’s Flip Wilson made that saying famous. Whenever he was caught doing wrong, he would always try to shift the blame off of himself and onto the Devil. In reality, it was, as you can imagine, just an excuse. The Devil didn’t make him do anything.

However, if you were to hear it from most liars, cheats, thieves, adulterers, haters, gossipers, etc., the Devil is responsible for it all. If not the Devil, then there is always someĀ extenuatingĀ circumstance, not personal choice, to blame. If not the Devil, somebody else is always responsible.

She Made Me Do It!”

In the book of Genesis we read of a man who blamed someone besides himself for his sin. Adam blamed his wife, Eve, for making him eat of the forbidden fruit. He said, “The womanĀ whom thou gavest to be with me, sheĀ gaveĀ meĀ ofĀ theĀ tree, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:12). Did he not have a mind of his own? Did he not know any better?

It is true that Eve gave the fruit to Adam, but it was Adam’s choice to listen to her offer to sin. She didn’t make him sin; he did it of his own free will. But even though she didn’t make him do it, look who was working behind the scenes – Satan. He worked through Eve, the most beautiful woman in the world (the only woman in the world) to snare Adam. Her convincing words were motivated by the Enemy.

“With her much fairĀ speech…”

The key to today’s passage can be found in those simple words, “With her much fair speechĀ she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.”

If one were to only look on the surface of this passage, one might come away with the notion that this poor young man would have been just fine, had he not been forced into sin. But it must be noted that the “forcing” came after the “yielding.”

Before this young man became an animal led to slaughter, a bird caught in cage, he was free to walk away. It was only when he “yielded” that heĀ becameĀ a sacrifice on the altar of sin. But what caused him to yield? The beautiful, promising words of a woman influenced by the Serpent.

Nothing Changes

As David Welford mention previously, “The rocks are charted.” God has warned us of the dangers. He has warned us of the consequences. There is no excuse to be dashed upon the rocks, led to the slaughter, or caught in a snare. Yet, many will play with the Serpent’s lure, and yield.

Is it any wonder why the wisdom of Proverbs is still applicable in this day and age? It shouldn’t be. The same tactics employed in Garden of Eden are still being used today. Why? Because they still work.

A Prayer

Lord, David said, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Help us, help ME, to desire the sweetness of Word over all else. When presented with any other option, may we be repulsed by the bait, and never yield.Ā 


Brazen Church Girl

Proverbs 7:13-15

“So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.”

One of the greatest myths is that all church-going girls are “good” girls. These verses are a good example. Not only has this woman been waiting in the dark for her prey, she is openly religious, and uses her surface piety to lure the fool. But let’s break down these verses one at a time.

“So she caught him, and kissed him..”

Look who is the aggressor; it’s not the man. Conventional wisdom (not godly wisdom) has taught us that men are always the aggressor and that women should be wary. However, there are plenty of young women, as young as middle school, who know exactly what they want, and how to get it. Consider the words of this mother…

“I have a very outgoing, charming, attractive 15-year-old son. I have literally been chasing the girls away from the door ever since the seventh grade. …Ā The aggressiveness and promiscuity of young girls nowadays is beyond words. Their dress is so alluring and inviting to a young man, what’s a guy to do? Moreover, what’s a mom to do?” (source, Family Life Today)

“Impudent face…”

It is amazing how people can look you right in the eye and tell a bold-face lie. That is what this woman was doing. The Hebrew word translated here as “impudent” could also be translated as brazen. She just looked this naive boy in the face and told him what he wanted to hear.

“Peace offerings…vows…found thee.”Ā 

It is obvious in verses 14 and 15 that something doesn’t add up. Why is it that a woman of the night would be telling this young man about how she went to church? Oh, it’s pretty simple, really. She was just saying what a good Jewish boy wanted to hear.

Here was the total,Ā irresistibleĀ package: a young, gorgeous and religious woman calling out to be rescued from breaking the Law. “I am so glad I found you! You’re the answer to my prayers! This must be God’s will,” she essentially said.

In the Old Testament, when a peace offering was made, the leftover meat was to be eaten that night, and no later (Lev. 7:15). She presented her case in such a way that said, “We have to do this now!” She played to his religious chivalry.

When this woman grabbed the man, kissed him, lied to him, and trapped him, she did it with everything that said: “This must be a good girl – she’s only trying to do the right thing – and she likes me!” I can almost imagine him repeating the words of an old Debbie Boone song, “This can’t be wrong when it feels so right.”

A Prayer

Oh, Lord God, open our eyes to the tricks of the Enemy! Give us the wisdom we need to discern between a treasure far above rubies (Prov. 31:10) and a trap. Help us to teach our sons and daughters to be godly. Help us to be parents who set the example.


The Heartless Thief

Proverbs 6:32-33

“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.”

In verses 30 and 31 Solomon talked about a starving man. He said, “Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry.” But there is a huge difference between a man who will steal food and a man who will steal another’s wife.

Difficult Words

I have lost track of how many times I have written and deleted words, sentences, and whole paragraphs. Finding the right words for today’s “thought” has proven quite difficult. Why is that?Ā Could it be because it’s late as I write this? Could it be that I am in a writer’s slump? Should I have let Jason Sneed write this post, instead?

Maybe the real reason I am having a hard time finding the right words is linked to verse 33. My disgust for the sin of adultery is making it hard for me to remain calm. Thinking about the excuses so many give for this crime makes me sick. Unlike the man who steals food to survive (v. 30), men do despise the adulterer.

No Heart

What kind of man commits adultery? Many do it because they say they couldn’t help themselves. Many blame others for their sin. But if the truth be known, an intriging word in verse 32 may hold a vital clue. That word is “understanding.”

When I asked my wife to describe for me what she thought “lacketh understanding” meant, she said, “An adulterer is a person who doesn’t understand what he is doing – he doesn’t comprehend the consequences – he’s clueless.” Yet, when I went to the original languages I found something else.

The word translated “understanding” in verse 32 is the Hebrew word leb (Strong’s H3820). More often than not, this word is used to describe the “inner part” of man, such as his heart, his soul, or his conscience. As a matter of fact, out of the 593 times this word is found in the Authorized Version, it is translated “understanding” only 10 times. It is translated “heart” 508 times.

What my wife suggested may be true, but it may also be true that an adulterer, a man that takes another man’s wife, is a man that has no “heart.” In other words, he doesn’t care who he hurts. All he cares about is getting what he wants – not what he needs.

Is it any wonder this man is worthy of dishonor and reproach?

Final Thought

Not all crimes deserve the same punishment. And even thought sin is sin, the consequences are not all the same.Ā Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Stealing bread and stealing sex are totally different seeds.


Swift to Mischief

Proverbs 6:18b

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,”
Thinking of Nugget

I was sitting and thinking about the above verse, the one about “swift feet” running to mischief, and one thing came to mind – our little dog, Nugget.

Nugget is a little Chorkie (Chihuahua/Yorkie) with a desire to run, and run, and run. Not only does he like to run, but he likes to run away! Any time he can get out of the house without a leash, Katie bar the door (which is ironic, because if Katie had barred the door, he wouldn’t have gotten out).

Normally, when we let Nug out on a long string, even though he has 50 ft., it’s not enough. As a matter of fact, he could run all over our front yard, but he doesn’t. Usually, he just looks sad and depressed. He knows what lies just out of reach – freedom.

“I’m Free!”

When Nugget gets loose, his little feet turn into a blur as he tears up the grass. Like a little streak of furry lightning he takes off for the back yard, to the same place, right where there’s a hole in the neighbor’s fence. Believe me, he knows he’s not supposed to go out of our yard, but the temptation to play with bigger dogs is too much.

When he does get loose, a tiny smile becomes visible, exposing his tiny little underbite, as his feet run swiftly to mischief. Freedom from restraint causes him to bark, “I’m free!” as I begin to chase him through the neighborhood (in our car).

Yard Dogs

My dad used to have a saying. Whenever he talked about people who had no moral restraint, especially in the area of promiscuity, he would say, “They’re no different than a bunch of yard dogs.” In his mind he equated people who run to sin with dogs having no restraint, no morals, and an animalistic desire to fulfill the flesh.

Surely the above verse applies to those who, like Nugget, like a dog, are immediately drawn to cross every boundary. Like “yard dogs,” people with feet that are “swift in running to mischief” do so no matter how much the Master calls. Is it any wonder why He gets disgusted?

“I’m Constrained”

The difference between an unbeliever who runs to evil, and a Christian who doesn’t, can be found in the words of the Apostle Paul: “the love of Christ constrains me” (2 Cor. 5:14).

When a person truly makes Jesus Christ Lord of his life, he no longer needs to be tied down by external restraints. He doesn’t need a leash around his neck – there’s a leash in his heart (Jer. 31:33). The Christian, reflecting upon the manifested love of Christ (1 John 4:9), keeps his feet planted on righteous soil.

When the big dogs call; when there’s a hole in the fence; when we are tempted to run to mischief; the love of God within our hearts cries, “I’m constrained! I’m constrained!” Without a leash, we play with our Master in fields of grace.

He loves that.

UPDATE: Nugget disappeared in August of 2017. He is still greatly missed by all.Ā 


Thoughts On Co-signing

Proverbs 6:1-5

1My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
2Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
3Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
4Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Practical Wisdom

When it comes to the wisdom of Proverbs, some think it’s all spiritual. Much like the person who thinks faith should be kept out of everything secular, such as politics or the workplace, these people assume biblical wisdom is incompatible with everyday life. How wrong they are!

Today’s passage is a lesson in financial wisdom. Here, Solomon is addressing the dangers of unwisely obligating one’s self to a creditor (stranger) on behalf of a friend.

Unsure Surety

There is nothing wrong with helping a friend. As a matter of fact, it was Paul who told Philemon that if Onesimus owed him anything to “put that on my account…I will repay” (Phil. 1:18-19). Helping someone out when they are truly in need, especially when you have the ability, is the right thing to do.

“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.” – Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NIV

However, Solomon is warning that we should be very careful when entering agreements (striking hands) on behalf of others, even our friends. You see, to be a “surety” for someone means guaranteeing the lender your friend will pay his debt. The problem comes when you end up owing what you cannot pay, therefore putting your family and your self at risk.

“Can You Co-Sign for Me?”

How many times have you been asked to co-sign on a loan? How many times have you had a brother-in-law ask for help starting a business that “can’t fail?” How many times have you felt sorry for someone, only to get burned in the end?

Many times we want to help our friends and loved ones, but end up snared by people we don’t even know. “I’ll help you this time,” we say. Then, a few months later, Hunter Loan CompanyĀ is tracking us like deer.

Spiritual Application

There is a practical, yet spiritual principle to be found in the following verse: “[If] any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). The principle is “if you can barely afford to take care of your own family, don’t make financial commitments you can’t keep.”

Solomon says that even if you have become surety for a friend, prove his friendship – get him to relieve you of your obligation. Otherwise, when the rubber check hits the road, you risk losing not only your money, but your good name, your friend, and even your faith.