Merry Christmas

Prayers for the Week – Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post!  Since this is the last Sunday before Christmas, let me stop and say Merry Christmas to all of you!  The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year — it feels like the world is full of promise, of hope, and it’s all because of the birth of one little child…

Our Scripture verse this week comes from the book of Isaiah, Chapter 9, verse 6:

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

Christmas is a time of hope, a time of joy, a time for looking at all that we have been given.  For most of us, our blessings far outweigh our deficiencies, and I hope this is the case for you as well.  I don’t have much to write this week, mainly just a plea for you to take a moment, consider your life, and realize all of the things you have been given — all of the blessings you have received.  Now, please pray with me these prayer requests and praises, and once again, Merry Christmas!

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • My friend Amanda has an update on her husband Daniel. Here is what she wrote:Merry Christmas! We had a lot of things happen in the past few weeks and needed to get an idea of direction before we could send an update. First, it looks like we are staying off the CPT-11 (irinotecan) indefinitely. Daniel’s liver enzymes came back into normal range after a few weeks off the CPT-11. His Alkaline Phosphatase is still high but is lower than it has been since it went up shortly after surgery. His platelets are still struggling to stay above the level to get chemo so we have had a delay and started round 6 last Wednesday. This round should have started last Monday but he has developed a spot of osteonecrosis of the jaw in his mouth. This is basically an area of trauma that has developed an infection and eaten at the gum so the bone is exposed. As horrible as that sounds, after a consult with an oral surgeon, they determined the infection hadn’t spread to the bone and we are treating with 2 types of antibiotics a total of 5 times a day for 30 days. We go back in a few weeks so they can check progress and determine if the antibiotics are working. We really need the antibiotics to work because as it spreads, the outcomes get worse.
    Because of the osteonecrosis, they have also taken him off of Avastin indefinitely. This means that he is only receiving the 5FU chemo drug. Because we are down to only 1 drug, they are thinking he will need to extend his chemotherapy through February. Not what we were hoping for but we can find the silver lining! Because he is off the Avastin, we can look at getting the hernia repair done as early and mid-January. We meet with the surgeon to discuss the fluctuation in liver enzymes and hernia repair on Wednesday. He should also get a PET Scan sometime the next few weeks to make sure there are no new areas of cancer developing.
    Specific prayers for the next few weeks are for the osteonecrosis to heal as or better than expected, any scans we have to come back with no issues or cancer, a clear plan for the hernia repair and for mental, physical and emotional strength to Daniel to help him weather this additional treatment.
    Thank you all so much for walking on this journey with us! May you all have a blessed and happy Christmas and a safe holiday season!Please continue to pray boldly for Daniel, Amanda, and all of their family. Thank you!
  • Please pray for the family of my friend Dee — we’ve been praying for Jim, her father-in-law.  Sadly, Jim was called home.  Please pray for them all, for their strength, courage, Peace, and comfort, and please also give Praise to God for Jim’s life.  The service is today, so particularly be prayerful for them this day.
  • Please also pray for the family of my friend Carey.  Carey’s Dad passed away last week.  Please be with them during their time of sorrow, but also give praise to God for his life as well.
  • One of my ministers at Edenton Street left this on Facebook.  Please pray for all involved in this:
    52 years old, alone and homeless, he started weeping there on the sidewalk when I asked if there’s anything I could pray for him this Christmas. He said, “I’d like to find my son and tell him I love him.” He spent years trying, to no avail. He was leaving town that day so after 50 minutes of talking I had him record what may be the most heartfelt 50 second message I’ve ever heard and told him I would try and get it to his son. I located his son today and ask for your prayers that I would be led by God in sharing this. His name is Michael.

Now, please pray the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.

Philippians 4:7

Prayers for the Week – Philippians 4:7

Philippians 4:7

Last night my friend Maureen left a quote from her Study Bible that is a paraphrase of Philippians 4:7.  Here is what she wrote on her Facebook page:

“True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing God is in control”

For a lot of people, they feel that they are in control of their lives — that the reason they are doing well is all because of their doing.  Of course, for a lot of people, the reason they aren’t doing well is not their fault — it is, inevitably, someone else to blame for their misfortune.

It is, in my opinion, the ultimate form of denial to look at the world — all of the incredible things that we take for granted, such as air, lungs, the ability to breath, the ability to have children, to witness those children being born and growing up — and not acknowledge that God is at work in our lives.  For many of these people, they don’t even acknowledge the existence of God — to them, it’s all because of science, that the evolution of the human race is all because of some big bang that caused all of this to come into being.

The way I see it, the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian isn’t really all that much — in my case, I make a lot of the same mistakes that many other people make.  I sin, I think of myself more often than I should, I don’t give God thanks enough for all that He has given to me, and I don’t turn to him to help me out as much as I should.  In short, I view things from my “self” perspective, thinking that I can take care of it all.  Many non-Christians are much the same.  The difference, though, is that eventually I realize that I haven’t been turning to God like I should, and I do just that — I bow my head, I pray to my God, I confess to Him the sins I have committed, I ask him to forgive me, I tell him how grateful I am for all He does for me, and I ask for the things I need help with.

As soon as I do that, the greatest gift in the world is given to me — God’s Peace descends upon me, into me, into every essence of my being, and immediately my worry is gone, my anxiety is gone, my cares are lifted away.

Now, I’m not saying that my problems are totally taken care of for me — that is not the case.  I still need to deal with the problems.  But, I’m able to do so because God is on my side, and He helps me take care of those problems.  Most of my problems are because of my sins — and while those sins are forgiven, the one thing you need to remember is that all sin has consequences — the greater the sin, the greater the consequence.

Now, please read along with our prayer requests, and pray for those.

Prayer Requests…

  • Please pray for my sister-in-law Nancy’s Mom Sherry. Here is what Nancy wrote on Facebook:My mom is in ICU — long story short — yesterday a cyst on her kidney burst and now they’ve discovered that she’s got a fatty tumor on the same kidney that will be removed. (Monday? ) Please keep her in your prayers.
  • Please pray for my friend Frances and her family. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:Please say a prayer for my family. We have buried three loved ones in the last week and half. We just got news that an Amazing Aunt is in the hospital after attending my grandma’s funeral. She is currently in Chattanooga and has fluid on her lungs and her liver plus additional complications. She was in the hospital a few days ago and they took off 2 liters of fluid off her stomach and her lungs. Her kidneys are functioning at 23%. Thank you in advance.
  • Please keep my friend Dee’s father-in-law in your prayers.  Jim is being transferred to Hospice care, so please lift him, his wife Margaret, and his children up in your prayers.

And now, please pray with us the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.

Thanksgiving

Prayers for the Week – Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! ~ Psalm 100:4

What better way to cap off Thanksgiving weekend in the US than by giving thanks to God!  While many of us had just Thanksgiving day to enjoy being with their family — and some not even that — we still have a lot to be thankful for!  As for me, I’m thankful for the following things:

  • I’m thankful that God put Cindy in my life, and that He gave Sophie to us to raise into a loving young woman.
  • I’m thankful for being able to enjoy time with my family, for being able to create a meal with them, and to give thanks to God for our many blessings.
  • I’m thankful for my family, both near and far, and for all of the memories that I’ve had in the past, and all of the future memories we will have later on.
  • I’m thankful for my Mom and Dad, and for their love that shines forth these past 50 years.
  • I’m thankful for my sister Robin and her family, for Jim her husband, for Brett, Leslie, and Stephanie, and for Tara, Matt, and Shane.
  • I’m thankful for baby Kennedy, and for the opportunity to meet her in the near future.
  • I’m thankful for Regan, our wonderful Old Soul, who is a little slow at times, but who then takes off in a sprint of youth in the blink of an eye!
  • I’m thankful for Bettie, Mike, and Hannah, who loved Regan before we had him, and who are now our friends because of him.
  • I’m thankful for all of my friends, those that I’ve had for decades, and those I haven’t even met yet.
  • I’m thankful for my Brothers at the Men’s Study Bible Study, for all of the support and love and fellowship they give me.
  • I’m thankful for my Sister Monica, her husband Doug, and their child Maddie, and for all of the love they have shown Cindy, Sophie and me over the years.
  • Lastly, I’m thankful for God, for loving me as only He can, for sending His Son Jesus to this earth, to die for me, as payment for my sins.  It is the ultimate gift that Jesus gave me, and you, and everyone, and there is no way I could ever repay it except by living as Jesus did.

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • This week we are praying for my friend Doug and his family. Here is what he wrote on Facebook:This past Wednesday, November 26th, Millie Carman lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. While we always wish we had more time with those we love, I’m grateful for the time we had, especially over the past year.
  • Please also keep my friend Dee’s father-in-law Jim in your prayers.  He is reaching the point of no return, and the fear is that he is going to be transferred to Hospice.  Please pray for healing, for peace, for strength, but also for comfort in their time of need.
  • We have a new update from my friend Amanda about her husband Daniel and his treatments. Here is what she wrote:Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope everyone will be able to take time to relax and enjoy family and friends this week!We haven’t sent out an update because there hasn’t been much to update, fortunately! Daniel has been through 5 rounds of 8 rounds of chemo. We have been having trouble with his platelets being too low and have been delayed several times. To try to keep the platelets up, they reduced his dose to 80% of what we were getting. Round 5 started last Monday. His liver enzymes (ALT, AST and Alkaline Phosphatase for those that want the technical details) were on the rise which caused them to remove the CPT-11 (irinotecan) from his regimen. We don’t know if this is just for 1-2 cycles or if it will be for the rest of the cycles. CPT-11 is very hard on the body and they removed it hoping to bring his enzymes back in line. We had labs today and his AST was coming down but his ALT and Alk. Phos. were slightly higher and this time his platelets had dropped lower and his neutrophils were low too. There isn’t much we can do to bring these back in line except time and prayer.We are supposed to start round 6 on Monday. We’ll see the oncologist before and discuss our options. They could lower the dose again, remove another drug, tell us to take more time off or decide his body has taken all it can take and cancel the remaining rounds. Obviously, it’s bittersweet – the thought of being done with chemo is tempting but we also want him to get every ounce of prevention he can get. But we know God is in charge and will guide the clinicians where we need to be. So if you can please pray for wisdom for those treating Daniel, healing for his liver and body in general and that his labs come back to where they should be, we would be very appreciative!Praise to God that we have made it this far, are in the preventative mode and have Daniel with us to celebrate the season! We have heard and seen of several cancer patients that have not had the same journey in the past few weeks and know we are blessed. Thank you all for your prayers, positive thoughts and support! Please have a happy and safe week!Please keep praying for them through the season, for Daniel’s medical team and all that they do for him. For the family, pray for Peace and Strength, and for Daniel, pray for healing, Peace, Strength, and Comfort. Thanks everyone!

Now, please pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.

Anxiety

Prayers for the Week – Anxiety

Anxiety

Welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post!  Over the past week, I’ve seen examples of people being scared and angry, and I think that it best that I let our Lord and Savior Jesus tell us about anxiety in His own words:

22And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek hiskingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • Please pray for my friends Monica and Doug, and their daughter Maddie. Monica and Doug have two separate business trips this week, so will both be away from home, and Maddie will be staying with friends and family for a couple of nights. Please pray for safe journeys, happy reunions, and no anxiety or stress for Maddie. Thanks everyone!
  • My friend Alan has a prayer request. Here is what he wrote on Facebook:Heading to Florida. Mom is in intensive care and on a ventilator.
    Should arrive in Jupiter, FL by late afternoon tomorrow.
    Thanks in advance for prayers and thoughts.Please pray for his Mom’s health, for safe journeys for him, for Peace and Strength for all of them. Thanks everyone!
  • Praise and congratulations are in order for my friend Pete, who recently got married to his wife Mimi! Congratulations to the two of them, please pray for them that they would have a lifetime of great memories together!
  • My friend Stephan wrote a prayer request on Facebook.  Here is what he wrote:

    Hey friends please pray for our friend Rob Frolk. He had a heart attack and is at Wake Med tonight. They put a stint in today and he’s doing well. Many of you know him as he’s blessed many.

Now, please join us in praying the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.