Update September 25 “Using our Time”

Colossians 4:5-6

 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. [1]

 I thought I would give everyone a quick update on my health.   I am beginning to feel somewhat normal again.  I am starting to talk again, I have been eating and drinking a little bit more each day.  I still struggle with breads and meats.  However, soup goes down great.  My taste buds haven’t come back yet.  I had my first cup of coffee today!  It didn’t taste great, but I was able to get about ¾ of the cup down.   I still have a feeding tube and I still supplement my eating with liquids four times a day.  The good news is that I am able to keep my weight stable.

I have been able to mow the lawn two weeks in a row now.  My energy level is still low, so it really wears me out, but it feels good to get a few things accomplished.

Please pray for the results of the CAT scan on Oct. 15 and the PET scan in November.  Pray that there will be no signs of the cancer.

I feel like it has been forever since I have been engaged in ministry.  Please pray that I would hear from God on how I can make “the best use of the time”.  I know I’m not quite ready to jump back into a lot of things, but I do want to be used by God whatever way He wants me to be used so that my speech would be seasoned with salt and able to share the gospel with those who need to hear about the hope we have in Christ.  I am just grateful that I am beginning to speak again.  I think it will only improve.   I have learned that is easy to take so many things for granted.   My Lord has blessed me. I am so thankful for the moments he gives me to acknowledge Him and to give Him praise for everything.  Through the good and through the bad He alone is worthy of our praise.

I want to express my joy and appreciation to everyone that continues to pray for Janette and me.   The journey is not over, but things are starting to feel much better. Also, thanks to everyone that has read my blog and encourages me to continue to write it.

[1]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Col 4:5–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

September 14 “He has heard my voice”

Psalms 116:1-5

1I love the Lord, because he has heard

my voice and my pleas for mercy.

Because he inclined his ear to me,

therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

The snares of death encompassed me;

the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;

I suffered distress and anguish.

Then I called on the name of the Lord:

“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;

our God is merciful.[1]

 

I had four appointments with four different doctors this week.  The good news is that all of them were pleased with my healing process.  The most exuberant was my ENT doctor yesterday. He looked down my throat with an instrument and he was very pleased with the healing and he said that all looked good. At least from the visible eye there were no signs of the cancer.  However, I will have a cat scan in October and then a pet scan in November and that will give us a clearer picture as to where we are.

Please pray for my voice.  Most of the time I can only whisper but there are moments where I have a stronger voice.  Also, I am eating a little bit, but there are still issues with swallowing, so I can only eat small bites but I am progressing in that area.

Psalms 116 is one of my favorites.  God has heard my prayers.  The truth is they started a long time ago before I found out about my cancer.  Most of you know that I have struggled with my voice for over the past four years or so. When my dad was so sick I had a special moment of prayer during the middle of the night.  Dad was in a lot of discomfort and I was praying for healing.  I asked God to give dad healing one way or another, either give him strength to go back home or give him eternal healing.  It was just a few days after that God healed my dad perfectly for eternity.   No longer would he struggle to breathe or to get out of bed.

During that time of prayer I asked God for my own healing.  God whispered a soft reply that He would hear and answer my prayer.   He didn’t tell me how He would do it but that He would heal me.   I must admit that there were times over the past months when I felt like the psalmist:

The snares of death encompassed me;

the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;

I suffered distress and anguish.

This year has been one big blur since last March. I have seen death, disease, hurt, pain, tears and lost hope for many.  But I have also seen the love of Christ from those who have been walking the same journey that I am walking. I will continue to call upon the Lord as long as I live.  With out him there is no hope.   He has given me a new understanding of pain and a new compassion for those who are hurting and struggling to live day to day.

I love the Lord.  He has heard my voice; He will always hear my voice.   He will always give us understanding, even when the news may not be what we want.   Even when He hears us doesn’t mean that we don’t have a big long path of pain to walk through.

He loves us, He cares for us and He has given us purpose here on earth.  The world is full of chaos, but only the love of God and the hope of eternal life give us hope.  We are to proclaim it proudly.

[1]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 116:1–5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Update September 3 “Abundant Life”

John 10:10

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.[1]

I am beginning to feel a little better, but I am somewhat disappointed that that the healing process is going slower that I thought it would.  I am able to take small drinks of water and small amounts of liquid or soft food. Both of my doctors last week told me that I am in a marathon right now and it could take up to six months before I could get rid of the feeding tube.

My Bible study today in James 5:7-11 reminded me that I need to have patience and remain steadfast with compassion and mercy.

I was hoping to travel this past weekend to see our grandson play football and spend time with my mother.  I was unable to accomplish either of those.  I have had to get IV fluids every day since last Thursday, as I am unable to get enough liquids down me to combat dehydration.

I was able to attend the celebration service for Roy Savage and what a wonderful tribute his family shared. Greg did such a wonderful job of preaching and Tyler led us in worship that brought us into the presence of the Lord. The testimonies of the family were outstanding.   I was overwhelmed when I saw some of my favorite pastors, leaders and friends in Kansas.  The words of encouragement were much appreciated.  Three of those were Roy Moody, Bob Mills and Randy Cadell.  All three of these men have invested a lot time, energy and prayer into my life.  I would not of been able to serve as a director of missions without their input and their encouragement.

We live in a broken world full of sickness and disease.  We all agree that death entered into this world because of sin.  That does not mean that my personal sin caused my cancer. It does mean that living in this world brings with it the inevitable reality that we will all die.   The word cancer is so scary because it brings death to a lot of its victims. Along side of cancer comes nasty treatment that burns away and poisons those cancer cells with violence that makes the body yearn for better days.

Jesus gives us a promise of abundant life.   Satan wants to destroy and separate us from the glory of God.  Jesus wants us to have eternal life.  So, in the midst of a broken world I can live an abundant life because I have the promise of eternal life.

In spite of difficult circumstances I can claim that promise as one who has received God’s wonderful gift of grace through his son Jesus Christ.

[1]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 10:10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Update August 23 “I will give you rest”

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Today is the best I have felt in several weeks.  It has been over three weeks since my last Chemo and over 16 days since my last radiation treatment.  Even though it has been a while since completing my treatment, I have not healed as quickly as I had hoped I would.

Last week included a visit to the hospital ER on Saturday night.  I tried some medicine for constipation and it ended causing me to be nauseated and vomited for over an hour and a half.  I am so blessed for a loving and caring wife.  She insisted on calling our oncologist.  I am so grateful to have such a doctor who shows personal interest in my needs and care.  He encouraged us to go to the ER and make sure that there were no blockages anywhere.  After receiving the necessary treatment we were allowed to go home around midnight.  My  doctor insisted that we call him the next day and tell him how I was doing.

The visit to the hospital was a very painful visit.  However, I must confess that since that day things have slowly improved.  My throat is still sore but I am talking a little bit and I’m drinking small amounts of water.  It will be a while before I can begin to eat food again, but I am anxious to start.  I will not be able to remove my feeding tube until I maintain my weight and am eating completely by mouth.   My weight when I started was 228; I weighed in at 194 this week.

Please continue to pray for healing in my throat area.  I still have a lot of phlegm as a result of the radiation burns in that area. Please pray that I can drink more water and begin to eat soft foods in the next week or so.

I am so grateful for all of the cards and all of the prayers we have received.  Your love and support has been felt and sincerely welcomed.

I have been reading a book by Max Lucado called “You’ll Get Through This”.  I would recommend this for anyone who is going through any kind of turbulence in your life.  One of the things that I am keenly aware of is the amount of cancer patients there are. Just recently I found out that my cousin in Oklahoma has cancer in the neck area and his treatment plan sounds much like mine has been.  Just this week Janette’s cousin’s husband was going to an oncologist.  I talked to him for a few minutes this week and his journey has been very similar to mine.  Needless to say we are all have a heavy burden going on in our lives.  Listen to these words of Max Lucado:

You’ll get through this.

It won’t be painless.

It won’t be quick.

But God will use this mess for good.

Don’t be foolish or naïve.

But don’t despair either

With God’s help, you’ll get through this.

 God’s promise to us is that he will give us rest when we deal with  tremendous burdens in our lives.  This Saturday I will try to attend the celebration memorial for my friend Roy Savage.  He is now celebrating the eternal rest and eternal promise that God has for every believer.  I had mentioned Roy in several of my post before.  When told that his illness was terminal, it did not change his disposition at all because he knew that God has eternal rest for his soul.

The truth is that we cannot deal with our burdens if we do not know that God has good things in store for us.  We are not in control of the time we have, but we can know for certain that the time we do have on this earth that God has a plan and He will get us through it.

My nightly prayers include a number of people who are going through serious health issues.  Friends in my hometown where one family has not just one family member ill but three in one family all dealing with major health issues.  My relatives are included in my prayers.  Church family members who have been praying for me are now going through cancer issues. God is making me keenly aware of those who have heavy burdens in their life.  My heartbreaks for those I see in the cancer center on a daily basis.

Jesus implores us to come to Him with our burdens.  He will give us rest and He will get us through it.

Update August 15 “A Time for every matter under heaven”

I am sorry for the lack of updates on my blog.  The last two weeks have been a bit difficult for me.  This last chemo and the end of radiation really hit me hard.  I have been nauseated and vomited almost every day since completing my treatments.  I had a visit with the Doctor today and he says that the next two weeks should bring a bit of improvement.

Please pray for the pain in my throat to go away.  The burn in that area creates a lot of phlegm and as that collects in the throat area it causes me to gag and I begin to get sick to my stomach.  I am constantly coughing up phlegm and would encourage any of you to invest in Kleenex products as I am going through boxes of tissue on a daily basis.

I cannot express my gratitude for all of the prayers and all of the cards I have received over the past months.  I know there are hundreds if not thousands of people praying for Janette and me.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

   a time to be born, and a time to die;

       a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

   a time to kill, and a time to heal;

       a time to break down, and a time to build up;

   a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

       a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

   a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

       a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

   a time to seek, and a time to lose;

       a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

   a time to tear, and a time to sew;

       a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

   a time to love, and a time to hate;

       a time for war, and a time for peace. [1]

I know that I am going through a season in my life.  My Doctor and I talked about how God still has a purpose for me and that there is much that God wants me to accomplish.  I am grateful for a Doctor that is unashamed of his faith.

We are born on purpose and God has purpose for all of us.  I celebrate the life of Roy Savage today.  He has entered into the promise of eternity.  That is our ultimate destination, but while on this Earth, Roy fulfilled his God-called purpose. He was such a great friend and mentor for me. I will miss him but I know that he is in the wonderful presence of God.

Today I broke down in the Doctors office as we talked about Roy. The Doctor also knew him and was touched by his humble spirit.   The Doctor was so encouraging to me and we would end our discussion talking about the joy of serving our Lord even through our mourning.

There has been a time to kill the cancer cells in my throat and now it is a time for healing.

Indeed, there is a time for everything.  I do not understand why I have been going through this season, but I am.  The healing is not as quick as I would like for it to happen.  But in the end, I know that God is sovereign and that He is in control and He has a divine purpose for my life.  Time will help me to discern what God would have me to learn.  For there is a “time for every matter under heaven.”

[1]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ec 3:1–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

July 9th Update from Janette

I asked my wife to write this update for me.

Update on my Love:
“Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me! My lips are full of perpetual praise. I’m boasting of you and all your works, so let all who are discouraged take heart.” Psalm 34: 1-2

Keith has finished his LAST round of chemo, and today he had his LAST (35th) day of radiation treatment (you can see from the picture some precious friends from church brought a plant and balloons)!! Praise the Lord!

When Keith was first diagnosed with Stage 4 larynx cancer three months ago, the oncologist told us that this particular cancer treatment was one of the toughest to endure, and he was certainly right. Keith is still weak from the chemo and radiation, but we are rejoicing that it’s behind him. He continues to need fluids, magnesium, and nausea medicine for at least a couple more weeks. Our oncologist, radiology oncologist, and ENT will continue to closely monitor him the next weeks and months. He will have a CAT scan in six weeks and a PET scan in 12 weeks in order to give his throat time to heal.
We cannot even begin to thank you for your love, encouraging words, support, and prayers through this difficult journey. Please pray that his throat will heal completely and his voice will be restored (he still wants to preach!), and the mass will be completely gone.

Psalm 34: 3 goes on to say, “Join me everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.”
With a grateful heart and much love,
Janette

July 28 Update: “Beyond the Beyond”

Ephesians 3:20-21

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Another week has passed and I did end up taking a break from radiation.  I have not had radiation since last Wednesday.  I have been nauseated almost every day this past week. While the break has been good I have been at the cancer center or the hospital every day for something.  This weekend I continue to take fluids and shots to bring my white blood count up. I have also been receiving additional nausea medicine.  I am hoping that by Monday to feel better and ready to go into the last phase of my treatment.

I will take my last chemo next Tuesday.  I will also start back on radiation that day.  I have seven days of radiation to complete.

Prayer needs:

  1. Pray that the pain in my throat might get better before starting back radiation.
  2. Pray that my nausea would go away.
  3. Pray that I might heal quickly once all of my treatment is complete.
  4. Pray for Janette, she has battled an infection in her arm this week.
  5. Pray for Wes and his family as they travel to Missouri for a funeral.

 

In the book “Kisses from My King” the author Debbie Jackson quotes Ephesians 3:20 several times and used a term she got from Priscilla Shirer to define the word “immeasurably”.  God is able to do  “beyond the beyond”.  Those words really stuck with me.

I memorized this verse of scriptures many years ago and often I will use it as a benediction to a closing prayer just as Paul did.  But there is a lot of power and helpful information in these two verses.

  1. God is able to do “beyond the beyond”, more than we can imagine or think!   I try to take measurable and calculated decisions.  In other words I often trust in my own wisdom rather than trust in the immeasurable power of God.  That does not glorify God.  But when I trust God “beyond the beyond” that will always glorify him.
  2. If you are a believer, that power is already at work in you through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Regardless of the circumstance the glory is in God.But look a little closer at that closing verse.  The power is given to the church. Our pastor always asks us “who is the church”?   We are!  Therefore in every circumstance God is to be glorified.  Christ came to glorify the father; we are an extension of Christ and his mission.
  4. We have a responsibility to the generations to come to glorify God.World governments will come and go, but the power of God will go on beyond the beyond.

 

We love all of you and we appreciate your prayers.