Don’t let anyone ever tell you that the Word of God is not living and active. It is. I can testify to it’s power in my life. Thousands of times in my life I’ve seen it at work in my heart and seen the power of it’s words and truth in my daily life. But none so powerful as last week. Last week as we prepared to let mom go be with Jesus, our students and I were working through Matthew 6-11.
 
Monday, September 18th before I road to Charleston to meet with the palliative care team about mom’s condition I read Matthew 6. DO NOT WORRY…our hope is in you Lord (Matt 6:25-34). How can worry add one day to your life? What I love about this passage is that the Lord says do not worry twice within the same paragraph. He knew that before I could even get to the next section of scripture I would worry about mom again. He needed to say it to me twice.
 
Tuesday, September 19th the day we let mom go be with Jesus the Lord had laid before me the beautiful chapter of Matthew 7 that includes these words. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  On that day… my mom… Rose Neighbors… walked through that narrow gate to the welcoming arms of her Savior.
 
I read both of these passages over her on Tuesday morning and I talked to her about how gracious the Lord was in showing me these words.  Of course mom couldn’t respond, but I believe she could hear me speaking His Word over her.  I told her how awesome it was that she got to meet Jesus that day.
 
Then…came her death, the wave of funeral plans and I got distracted from my Bible reading.  Wednesday and Thursday I should have read Matthew 8 & 9. But on Friday, the day of her funeral I caught up and read all three of the final chapters for the week (Matt 8-10).  But even though I didn’t read them on the right days – they were still just as true for me on Friday.  The hardest verse in this section was in chapter 8 where Jesus says, “let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matt 8:22) It’s not as a slap in the face, but a reminder that this life is not the end. There is hope. And there is still work to do for the living – to proclaim the Gospel to the living.
 
Then just a few hours before her funeral I read Matthew 9:22. “Take heart daughter…your faith has healed you.” That has never been more true for my mom. Mom is forever healed and with the King now and forever more!
 
So, the next time you wonder IF. The next time you worry about tomorrow. The next time you think, “does He really hear my prayers.” Remember, the Word of the Lord is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).  God gave it to us to speak clearly to us.  Read it.  Love it.  Live it. Soak it in and let it be the refreshment for your soul each day.  He’s waiting for you.  Open the Bible and read it today.
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Even If

24.  That’s the number of days it’s been since mom’s surgery.  On August 15th we took mom to MUSC in Charleston, SC to have a tumor called a SNUC removed from her head.  It was the size of a golf ball.  Two fantastic surgeons worked together for over 8 hours to do the procedure.  It was a success and she made it through the ordeal.  But recovery has been much longer than expected and she still faces weeks of radiation and chemo to kill off this cancer that they classify as stage 4.

24.  That’s how many days it’s been since mom was home sleeping in her own bed.  She spent 11 days at MUSC recovering from surgery then moved to Health South in Columbia for rehab.  After a week she began to have seizures which the doctors thought was a stoke.  So, she spent the night in the ER at Richland in Columbia.  Then back to Health South.  But then just a few days later the seizures became more than they could handle and she was transferred three days ago back to Charleston.  This is our third night sleeping on waiting room couches.  Praying, hoping and waiting.  They placed mom in a coma to help calm her brain and keep the seizures from doing damage.  Now we wait.  This won’t be a short stay.  In fact, the doctors say it could be weeks.  

24 days.  These days have been filled with sorrow, joy, gratitude, fear, frustration, worry and hope.  We want mom to be ok.  We want her to wake up, get well and come home.  But I also wonder – what if.  What if she doesn’t?  What if her days are few?  

Tonight I sat by her side and quietly sang a few of her favorite hymns.  She’s the one who taught them to me.  She taught me about my Savior and she raised me to know, love and serve Him.  She has modeled for me what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  It’s been easy most of my life to say yes to Jesus.  Some would say my life has been almost perfect.  A great family, a wonderful education, an amazing wife, three awesome sons and a great ministry.  So, yes…it’s easy in the good times to praise Him.  But what about now?  What about in the middle of mom’s cancer?   Watching her lay there with a breathing tube, feeding tube, and wires everywhere?  What now?  Will I still praise Him EVEN IF this doesn’t turn out the way we hope?

24.  That’s not just the number of days mom has been here fighting this cancer.  24 is also the number of hours everyday that I vow to give glory to the Lord.  EVEN IF he doesn’t save us from this fire.

Read the words of this song from Mercy Me.  If you’re going through a fire of you’re own, may it bring hope to you too.  Know that He’s with you.  Just like he was there in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. 

——

Even If:

They say sometimes you win some Sometimes you lose some. And right now, right now I’m losing bad. I’ve stood on this stage night after night Reminding the broken it’ll be alright But right now, oh right now I just can’t.

It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down. But what will I say when I’m held to the flame like I am right now.

I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand.

But even if You don’t – My hope is You alone!

They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Well good thing a little faith is all I have, right now. But God, when You choose to leave mountains unmovable oh give me the strength to be able to sing…

It is well with my soul!

I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t – My hope is You alone!

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt would all go away if You’d just say the word.

But even if You don’t – My hope is You alone

You’ve been faithful, you’ve been good all of my days.  Jesus, I will cling to You come what may. ‘Cause I know You’re able I know You can Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t – My hope is You alone!

I know the sorrow, I know the hurt would all go away if You’d just say the word.

But even if You don’t – My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul It is well, it is well with my soul 

——–

Thank you for praying for my mom and our family.  No matter what – as for me, my house and the Neighbors & Begg families…We will praise the Lord!  He is here…standing in this fire with her.

The Gospel is for all.  Good News isn’t something we hide, keep to ourselves or cover up.  It’s intended to be shared with everyone.  Sometimes that happens in large worship services with high-end technology, powerful music and dynamic preaching.  And other times, it happens on street corners, in restaurants and even in dorm rooms.

This week we’ve seen how God runs after the 1.  He is not hesitant to leave behind the 99 who love Him to search out the ones who needs Him.  We’ve seen over and over this week in New Orleans how God is extremely personal.  He is just as interested in the homeless man on the street as he is the people on our buses.  He’s just as interested in the lady with cancer sitting on her porch as she is the students across the street eating lunch who decided to share their meal with her.  God is just as interested in the Crash as He is in the one youth who needs Him.

Today was a great day at our ministry sites.  We had tons of kids at the two Bible clubs in the parks.  We also sorted tons of food at the Hope Food Bank.  In addition to all that, we also began work on painting a church.

On a day that has been filled with tragedy back home, it’s been filled with life in New Orleans.  One of our own students, Ross asked a student to sit down in the dorm this afternoon and help him follow Christ.  Ross decided in that dorm room to give his heart to Jesus and be sold out totally to the Lord from now on.  Amen!! This day needed some great new… and this my friends, is the BEST news we could share today.  

Pray for us as we begin our final day of ministry on Thursday.  We didn’t have a chance to pass the cross tonight, but will do so in the morning.  And a special thanks to our pastor, David Wike for being here these past few days serving along side our students.