Ugh … Broken Nails

I realized lately it has been over a year since I did any blogging. Not that anything hasn’t happened in the last year. Isn’t it amazing how life comes at you fast, steals your time away, exhausts you, and suddenly you find yourself asking, “Where did the time go?”

If you already know me, you know that little things can irritate me. So, when my fingernails started breaking apart a few months ago, it frustrated me to say the least.

Come to find out, the weak and broken nails are a side effect of the new medication I have been taking for about a year. Over time, my nails have grown weaker and weaker to the point that they break extremely easy, get snagged on everything and are not useful for anything at all. I didn’t realize how much I used them to do simple things like open a box, open an energy drink, coke, etc. Even something as simple as putting my hand in my pocket for keys/wallet/etc can be a pain and break off part of my nail.

But, before I get to my point about whining about my nails, let me catch you up on my health.

A year and a half ago, my previous oncologist stopped practicing here in town and I needed to find a new oncologist. Through the advice and referral of Jim Bradford, a man who has been a constant source of Godly wisdom, I went to Dr. Beck at Highland’s Oncology. It was there that I heard of a medicine called Everilomus. It is a drug used primarily for transplant patients. However, it has shown some success with Neuroendocrine Cancer. I also found out I was a candidate for a procedure called Y-90. This is a procedure that implants glass vials of radiation directly on the liver tumors. The radiation then goes right to the tumor and shrinks it, or at least keeps it from growing any more than it already has.

November of 2021 and January of 2022 I had two different Y-90 procedures on my liver. This procedure can be repeated as needed over time. However, this procedure is not able to be done on the tumor on my pancreas. That is where the Everilomus comes into play. The hope is that it will keep the tumor on my pancreas from increasing in size.

In the last year and a half, none of the 3 tumors on my liver and pancreas have grown. In contrast, the two on my liver have slightly shrunk over time.

4 years ago this past week I was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer. By God’s grace, 4 years later, I am still able to do all the things I want to do and spend time with the family/friends God has given me. I don’t know what God’s plan is for me. However, I do know that each day is a gift from Him. I do know that these last 4 years have been a gift from Him. I do know that I can trust Him with whatever the future holds. I do know that whatever happens, it will always be for His best.

Back to the fingernails. Does it frustrate me? To no end. Every day. Every time I try and do something with my hands.

However, if that is part of what I have to deal with along my cancer journey, then I will TAKE it! In the big picture of life, broken nails are not that big of a deal.

In life, there will be things that frustrate us, take away our joy, depress us, etc. There will be days that seem like they will never end. It’s during those times that we need to remind ourselves that what God has given us already is far greater than what we are going through right now. What God will give us eternally is far greater than what we are going through right now. With that in mind, I will do my best to accept my broken nails and thank God continuously for all He continues to do.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Be Not Afraid

Tonight we attended our Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. We sang Christmas songs, heard the Christmas Story read from the Bible, heard a devotion from our Pastor and enjoyed worshiping God for the birth of His Son.

Now look; having grown up in a Pastor’s home, I have read, heard, watched, etc the “Christmas Story” thousands of time … if you want I can read it/tell it to you upside down, right side up, from the left, from the right, etc. Suffice it to say … I KNOW the Christmas Story.

When Matthew 1:20 was read, the phrase “do not fear” struck a chord and a thought arose in my mind … as God always does no matter how many times His Word is read. I always hear something new I hadn’t thought of before.

Matthew 1:20

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:13

13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

Luke 1:30

30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Luke 2:10

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Now, I searched how many times this phrase, or type of phrase, occurs in the Bible. I got a plethora of answers. However, I can safely say, it occurs around a 100 times throughout scripture.

I can’t tell you about every single mention of that phrase in God’s Word and what it means. However, I can tell you what struck me tonight about the four passages above.

Everyone time, the Angel said “Do not be afraid” something big was getting ready to happen. Some event was going to take place. There was going to be a chance that the person receiving the message could be afraid. I couldn’t help but think of my own life over the last 4 years:

  1. Heart valve replacement at age 49
  2. Emergency diaphragmatic hernia surgery at age 51
  3. Diagnosis of Neuroendocrine Cancer at age 51

When I think of my health, what the future might or might not bring, I can hear His Angel say: “Do Not be Afraid.”

Then I thought of other challenges in life:

  1. Financial challenges
  2. Marital challenges
  3. Child challenges
  4. Parental challenges
  5. Career challenges
  6. I didn’t list yours? Then fill in the blank with what yours might be …
  7. __________________ challenges

When you think of those challenges, what the future might or might not bring, listen to His Angel say: “Do Not Be Afraid.”

Isaiah 41:10

10 fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I don’t know where you are in your life currently. I don’t know what fear or fears you may be facing. I don’t know what unknowns you are struggling with at this moment. I don’t know what challenges and adversity you are going through right now.

However; I CAN tell you this … God, Jesus, His Angel, God’s Word all say … DO NOT BE AFRAID. God is in control. God will carry us through. God will provide. God will heal relationships. God will provide finances, careers, etc. God WILL keep us from being afraid.

We must simply trust him and “Do Not Be Afraid” …

Merry Christmas!

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What’s Next?

That’s all I want to know. Good, bad, indifferent, just tell me what’s next. What’s next tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, etc. Just tell me what’s next. If you have read any of my blogs, you know this is a repeat topic. If you have listened to me talk for longer than 5 minutes, you know this is a repeat topic. I am a planner. I like to plan everything. And I mean everything. So, one of my many struggles is letting God be in control. Putting my faith and trust in God. Knowing that He has a plan and that plan will be executed and will be perfect.

For me, every day is a lesson to trust in God. I am thankful that God never gives up on me. My daily hope and prayer is that God will continue to take control and never allow me to decide what I think is best. Because I know, with my sin nature, my plan will never be the right one.

Isaiah 12:2

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 26:4

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.”

Psalm 20:7

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God, please let me trust and follow you daily …

Life update:

About 3 months ago, my current oncologist abruptly quit practicing. Still don’t know where he went or what happened. Through a referral, I found a new one quickly. He recommended a new procedure. It’s called Y-90 procedure. It takes miniature beads of glass filled with radiation and places them directly on the tumor. Ideally, this procedure keeps the tumor from growing ever again. If it does start growing again, the process can be repeated. I had my first procedure on the tumor on the right side of my liver today. In about 4-6 weeks, I will have a second procedure on the tumor on the left side of my liver. Once both of those procedures are complete, then I will start a new treatment on the tumor on my pancreas. As always, God is in control and I trust in Him for the results. I am thankful for Him and His leadership in my life.

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Who are my heroes? That’s Easy!

Captain America … Ironman … Thor … Black Panther …

wait, what? Oh!

Denzel Washington … Harrison Ford … Sean Connery … Sandra Bullock …

wait, what? Oh!

Roger Staubach … Tony Dorsett … Drew Pearson … Troy Aikman … Emmitt Smith …

wait, what? Oh!

Ronald Reagan … George H. Bush … George W. Bush …

wait, what? Oh!

My Mom!

My mom is what I call a prayer warrior. I grew up waking in the morning to her praying over her Bible reading. I know for a fact that she consistently prays at night, in the morning and throughout the day. If it wasn’t for the consistent and persistent prayer of my mom, there’s no way I would still be alive today. Her prayers brought me through so much as I grew from a child into an adult. Even today, I know that my mom consistently and persistently prays for me. Both mom and dad consistently invest in our little man. They watch him, love him, pray for him, teach him, lead him and enjoy him.

My Dad!

My dad is what I would call a preacher never afraid of sharing his opinion or giving his advice. I am so thankful for that. Even as a 52 year old son, I still find myself asking him for advice. And if I don’t ask for his advice, he’ll tell me anyway … Lol. He is very quick to share with me what he would do in certain situations. He has been overwhelmingly loyal to me throughout my life, no matter how many times I tried to mess it up.

My Uncle Leroy and Aunt Sally!

As we have renewed our relationship with them over the last 4 years, they have been nothing but a blessing! The way they invest in our little man. The way they invest in us. The way they are always quick to send a note, card, text or all 3 at every single special moment in our lives and in the life of little man. As Uncle Leroy recently told me, “this is just what family does for family”. What an example, what a testimony. He gets up at 4:30 in the morning just to pray for me as I head to my doctors’ appointment. Aunt Sally always has a cheerful heart; a loving text and a encouraging message for me and for my family. What a blessing these two have been to us.

My only hope and prayer is that maybe; just maybe I can be a hero to my family the way God has blessed me with so many heroes in my life. God has blessed us all with Heroes … it’s our responsibility to be heroes to those God brings across our paths. Notice I didn’t say perfect … I just said heroes.

Ultimately, Jesus Christ is my highest and best Hero! He is my Savior; He is my Counselor; He is my Forgiver; He is my Friend; He is my God.

Be a Hero to Someone Today!

Life Update:

I was blessed enough to get an appointment at MDAnderson Neuroendocrine Cancer Center in Houston, TX after a year an a half of effort. Dr. Yao, the specialist there, told me to keep taking the same medication I am taking, Sutent, until the point it is no longer effective. It was a blessing to hear from an “expert” that I am on the right medical path for me currently. As long as the medication continues to shrink and/or stall the tumors, as it has thus far, we won’t make any changes. At the point Sutent proves to be no longer effective, then he would recommend other therapies that are available.

Ultimately, as always, God is in control. He has His plan. I am grateful for all He has given me and continues to give me. My responsiblity is to live for Him. My hope and prayer is that I am able to do that on a consistent and persistent basis.

Can you tell Consistent and Persistent has been on my mind today???

Enjoy your week!

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He Makes All Things New

I am a 52 year old man and one of the many things that has never happened is … I have never owned a house. What??? Are you kidding me??? Nope … I have never owned a house. All that changed a few weeks ago.

If you know me, once I get a thought in my head, things advance rapidly … sometimes too rapidly.

The process began with me just thinking it might be a good idea to start praying about buying a house. I told Arlyn, “let’s start praying and thinking about buying a house next year.”

That led to me looking through Zillow at homes; then deciding to look for a mortgage company just for fun; then deciding to find a realtor just for fun; then we found ourselves looking at houses.

We went from buying one “in a year” to actively looking immediately. I would find one in our “financial range” that matched our desires, then send it to our realtor. I am not sure about your market, but in our market, homes are being sold within 24-48 hours. It is crazy how fast they are moving. It is most definitely a sellers market currently.

We bid on 3 different houses and didn’t get a single one. We bid on a 4th house and God gave us our first home as a family. It is a little nerve wracking; we have already had our first plumbing “leak”; I still have to remind myself that I can no longer call our landlord; and it will take awhile to get used too. However, I am grateful to God that He opened this exact house in our price range, met our “requirements”, and gave Benjamin a little blessing as well(play set left in the backyard by the previous homeowners).

When things have been up and down this past year; when different struggles have happened over the past 4 years; when life as been as it has over the last 20+ years; when days like today can be challenging; it’s a blessing to remember that God has already given me so much more than I deserve and so much more than I could have ever expected.

God does answer dreams. God does provide blessings. God does go above and beyond in all.

A very short message to remind myself that God is always in control and that God will bless you when you least expect it.

Thank you Lord for being so good to me!

P.S. When you’re ready to buy a home, use for your mortgage. If you live in NWA, use as your Realtor. Both of them made the purchase seamless, painless and enjoyable!

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It’s the Little Things

Let’s start out by making a long story short.

House catches on fire Sunday night and again Monday morning. Good news is no one was in the house both times and everyone is safe. The house won’t be liveable for several months. There is a lot of smoke damage. But all collectibles, photos, memorabilia, irreplaceable things and most of our furniture are all okay. The insurance company has us in a motel until we decide whether to move back into our old house once it’s able to be lived in again or to find a new place to live. That decision will determine whether or not we live in temporary housing for a few months.

That ☝🏻is the “big thing”

Now let’s talk about the little things.

1. Insurance company has us in a hotel Sunday night.

2. Jim Daniel, the Bowers, the Pastor, etc arrive within 60 minutes of the fire happening to help, be a blessing, encouragement, etc.

3. Anonymous person gives us a Walmart gift card

4. Benjamin’s teacher gives us a restaurant gift card

5. Parents, the Pastor, Jim, Luke all pitch in and help second day as well.

6. Landlord doesn’t charge us April’s rent and gives us plenty of time to get everything out of the house.

7. Hotel gives Benjamin a bag of gifts, bottled juices and a card.

8. Hotel offers free breakfast daily and free dinner Monday through Wednesday.

9. A friend of Arlyn’s drops off new toys, books, and stuffed animals for Benjamin.

10. Texts, phone calls, messages, emails of encouragement and prayer these last 3 days.

11. Parents and Johnson’s offer garage as storage.

12. So far we’re able to get the smoke out of most our clothes. Thank you Mrs. Lawrence for the “Simply Green” suggestion.

That’s ☝🏻 the little things.

Or do I have things mixed up?

Yes, I most definitely have things mixed up.

God uses the small things to share with us the big things. The small thing for us is the fire. It could have been so much worse. It was just a few hours ordeal. The big thing is the outpouring of encouragement from all of you. And that’s gone on for 3 days now. Much longer than the fire.

Isn’t it amazing how God brings things into our lives to remind us of how blessed we are, how much He loves us, and how our friends, loved ones and relatives encourage us.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you! My prayer is one day I may be a blessing to you all as you have been a blessing to us.

Have a safe, healthy and blessed week!

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Steady Eddie

Today God reminded me I need to be a Steady Eddie. What is a Steady Eddie? Well, there’s several different meanings, synonyms, etc out there. For this blog, I’m going to say it means to be easy going; not rattled easily; accepts conflict and hurdles easily; etc. It’s someone who doesn’t get overly excited and it’s someone who doesn’t get overly angry. Across the board of emotions and actions they stay “steady”.

Today I had my quarterly visit with my oncologist. The results from this CT scan were not what I was hoping for. This time around it appears my main tumor has grown by about the size of a grain of rice. Three months ago my CT scan showed that my tumor had shrunk by about the same amount.

Now, I’m fully aware that there is no cure for neuroendocrine cancer. It’s a slower growing cancer. Slower growing than most other forms of cancer. The medication I’m currently taking just helps to slow down the tumor growth. Unless God intervenes(which I believe He can), there is no cure.

However when you hear the word “shrink” when discussing a tumor, you can’t help but get excited and a little optimistic. It must mean God is going to miraculously heal me right?

Then to hear the news today was slightly disheartening. “I thought God was going to cure me”. “I thought the tumors would continue to shrink”. I thought my life expectancy would continue to be lengthened by leaps and bounds”. Those are all thoughts that ran through my head.

Then God reminded me today of what a good friend of mine, who has walked down this path I’m on, said to me after the last CT scan. When it showed the tumor had shrunk. He said, “that’s great news. But don’t get caught up in the highs and lows of every result. Trust God, stay positive, and fight any way you can. There’s going to be highs. And there’s going to be lows. Put your faith and hope in God and rely on Him.”

Now, I understand why he said that. Now I understand that I need to continue to trust God no matter the test results. God has a plan. I’m His vessel. I need to live for Him and be a “Steady Eddie”.

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Thoughts While Riding The Natchez Parkway

We just got back from vacation this past week. We had the pleasure of going to Tennessee where I rode parts of the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville to Natchez, MS. I rode through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. When you’re on a bike ride by yourself for any length of time, you have plenty of time for random thoughts. Below are some(if I gave you every thought you’d be reading a never ending blog. My mind never stops. At all. I’m a watered down version of Monk. If you don’t know too what I’m referring to then you’re too young and I’ll pray for you.) of those thoughts:

  • I can’t tell you how many men I saw out working in their yards to make their yards look fantastic. Now there’s nothing wrong with a great looking yard. I know yard work along w sports are common topics of men. “Who did your lawn? What kind of weed killer do you use? Your yard looks fantastic! Etc.”
  • I couldn’t help but wonder why we as Christian men don’t do that? “Can’t help but notice the great relationship you have with your son. What’s your secret? How do you handle your spousal disagreements? What process do you have for daily devotions?” Etc.
  • Maybe we should spend more of our conversations around God and His Word and less about our lawns and sports.
  • I had this brilliant idea to ride 50-87 miles daily to ride the entire 440 mile length of the parkway. The problem was I haven’t ridden back to back days since last summer. I haven’t ridden that many miles per day since last summer. I did no training to speak of for preparation. Needless to say, I ended up doing only 175 miles of the parkway. No matter how strong my mind was my flesh was too weak.
  • We must have a consistent walk with God through prayer and time spent in His word. We must surround ourselves with Godly men and women at all times. We never know when a time of “faith testing” or “faith stretching” will happen. If we aren’t “training” for our Christian walk through life we will fall apart during those difficult times.
  • The other reason I didn’t ride as many daily miles is that it provided more time with my family. When your 4 yr old asks you why you’re going bike riding and not spending time with him and mommy, your heart wilts and you give in immediately. I’ll take time with him and mommy anytime over bike riding. Not even a discussion.
  • Why did it take a “life event” for me to realize how precious I should take time spent with my wife and my son? When I stand before God and give account of what I’ve done or haven’t done, what’s going to matter? That I rode 440 miles in 6 days? Or that I spent every minute I could with my family? We need to be intentional with family time. That should always be a priority before anything we “like to do”. The family God has given us should always be a priority.
  • The scenery along the way was beautiful and at times breathtaking. It was such a good reminder of the blessing of God’s creation that He’s allowing us to enjoy.
  • Each morning we wake up, we should look outside at the sunrise, listen to the birds, breathe in the air and thank God for the blessing of His creation that He’s given us.

Life update:

I had my first injection 3 weeks ago. There was a few side effects for the first couple of days but nothing real serious. They told me those side effects will go away as my body adjusts to having the injections. I’ll be taking the injections monthly. My next CT Scan is next month. I’ll have them every other month to monitor the growth of the tumor. In the last two months it’s grown 1 cm. Now that I’m taking the injections monthly the thought process is the growth will start slowing down. It continues to be in God’s hands. Please pray with us that His name will be glorified and His will accomplished as we continue to walk down the path He has for us.

Have a great rest of your week!


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Life Update – He Leadeth Me

With all that’s gone on this past year and a half and especially these last two months this site may become more of a life update. I’ll try to post here monthly to update my condition. Most importantly though, I still want this to be a blessing and a challenge to someone.

I don’t do “public” easy. I’m the introvert. My career requires me to speak to people all day long. However, once I’m “off the clock” I don’t speak to those around me much at all. That’s one of my many weaknesses. I come across as arrogant unintentionally. The fact of the matter is I don’t like to talk about myself. I’d much rather talk about you. However with any type of relationship, friendship, acquaintance, etc. there has to be two way communication. So, along with many other things I’m learning, being more public with what’s going on is one of the biggest.

Another big learning topic for me is control and trust. In my career, I’m responsible for everything that happens. I lead, control, make the final decision, help the people I work with grow and get promoted or reach their goals. Too often I want to bring that self management to my life. I want to control my life. I’m responsible for the choices I make, so I want God to bless the decisions I make. I want God to bless my plans. I want God to give me what I want, basically. When you get to the bottom of the matter, I’m telling God I know better so go ahead and give me control. I just want to make sure God blesses me along the way. I’ll be sure and give Him the glory. Because at the end of the day He is a much better decision maker … as long as those decisions meet my expectations.

Yes, I’ve got a long way to go to be the Christian God wants me to be. It’s an ongoing process and sometimes more of a struggle than a process. Just being honest.

So … here’s where I am:

Heart valve replacement surgery at age 48

Diaphragmatic hernia surgery at age 50

Diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer at age 50

And there’s nothing about that I can control.

This last Sunday night our church met to hear our Pastors’ vision(given by God) for our church for 2019 and beyond. One of the songs sung by the choir was an arrangement of “He Leadeth Me”. I’d love to share the arrangement they sang but it was a choir arrangement and thus copyrighted. Our best bet is that someone will say something to Bro. Jim and he’ll have the choir sing it on a Sunday morning. Hint hint hint …

God used that song to speak to me in a powerful way.

Through tears during the song He reminded me of this:

He’s in control

I can trust in Him

He knows better

He has a plan

He’ll use me if I’ll let Him

I need to let Him lead

I need to follow Him as He leads

Here’s the update I promised at the beginning:

I had a CT scan today. This will be a regular occurrence every 3 months. These scans will monitor the growth to ensure the injections are working.

On Tuesday, April 16th I have my first injection. From there on it’s a monitoring phase.

How can you pray?

Pray that God’s will is done no matter what that will may be. I mean that completely.

Pray that if it’s God’s will that the injections will be effective at slowing down the growth of the cancer.

Pray that God will use my walk through this as a testimony and encouragement in some form or fashion.

Most importantly pray for Arlyn as she walks through this with me and Benjamin as he grows. At some point I’ll need to have “that conversation” with him. I’ll need God to show me when and how.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Get Me Out of Here!

You’ll learn the reason for the title later on in this blog.  My first thought was to use the word “cancer” but that was too much of a “shock” word and really isn’t the topic of this blog.  The topic of this blog is once again another example of God working in my life unbeknownst to me.  If you’re tired of those topics from me, you better skip this one as well.  As a matter of fact, if you haven’t noticed, my blogs all sound the same and all have the same theme.  I’m not much of a writer.  Just a guy who seems to go through the same challenges.  Probably for the same reason … that being that God knows I need help in the same area(s) of life.  That is always trusting Him.

On Friday, February 22, 2019 I started experiencing severe abdominal pain.  Like nothing I have ever felt before.  Arlyn was having a girls weekend trip to St. Louis(don’t I have great timing).  I tried eating, not eating, sleeping in every position available, not sleeping, sitting, whatever, to get the pain to stop.  Finally, about 11:10 p.m. I called my dad, asked him and mom to come out so mom could watch Benjamin and dad could take me to the ER.  Not ideal for many reasons, but this was unusual pain and I wanted it stopped.  After an entire night of tests and CT scans, it was determined I had a diaphragmatic hernia(the terms you learn in the hospital.  Even my phone has now memorized that phrase(among others)).  My colon had worked a big part of itself up into my chest cavity and was pressing itself against my diaphragm.  Needless to say Saturday morning, I had emergency surgery that lasted 3 hours.  While the two doctors that worked on me told me it was a very difficult surgery, it was successful.  They were able to put a piece of synthetic tissue back in my diaphragmatic wall so I will never have that problem again.  Oh … and by the way … one of the doctors on call that weekend who helped in the surgery just “happened” to be the same doctor who performed my heart valve surgery.  “Lucky”, huh??  I call it God.  I came home Thursday(more on that later) and hope to slowly get back to work tomorrow.

So, why the word “cancer” mentioned?  Glad you asked.  That CT scan they took early Saturday morning?  It also revealed that I have spots on my pancreas and my liver.  They did a biopsy the Monday after my surgery and determined it was cancer.  However; it is the slowest moving cancer type there is.  It is called Neuroendocrine Cancer(another new term my phone now knows).  As my two doctors mentioned along with the cancer dr I spoke with, “if there is a good cancer to have, this is it.”  It moves very slow and is very treatable.  As a matter of fact, a procedure was developed about 5 years ago specifically for this type of cancer.  So, what’s the next step?  Glad you asked.  I go to the doctor for a complete followup and more training as to this type of cancer.  Then about every 10-12 weeks, they will run a series of tests to monitor the growth.  The growth rate will dictate the treatment.  The most important question I wanted to know was life time frame.  With typical pancreatic or liver cancer it can be days/weeks/months.  With this type, we are talking in multiple decades.  A large percentage of patients with this type caught this early on live 15-20-30 years.

Don’t we serve an amazing God?  A year and a half ago, a bump on my head led to the discovery of a failing heart valve.  A year and a half later, a diaphragmatic hernia led to the discovery of cancer.  Without this CT scan, who knows when the cancer would have been found. It humbles me over and over how much He oversees every step of our lives.  How dare I(we) try to control our lives ourselves.

All I can say is I’m so blessed by God to have what I have; to have been where I have been; and to be saved by such a gentle, loving God.  I have no idea what God has in store for me over the rest of my life;  I really don’t.  But it doesn’t matter.  I’m going to just keep doing my best to serve Him, trust Him, speak His name and share God’s provision with those I have that chance.

Oh … and the title?  I was supposed to be released Wednesday night.  The doctor told me that.  Her nurse told me that.  I was unhooked by everything and ready to go.  But somehow the release orders fell out and they had to keep me there one more night.  I wasn’t happy.  Don’t tell me I can go, then come back and tell me there’s no paperwork reflecting that.  I ended up spending one more night(no use fighting the system).  The next morning I had doctors and nurses all apologizing to me for their error.  I left at 8:30 a.m.  I have no idea why I couldn’t go home.   God never revealed the reason to me.  However, He has dictated every step of my life.  Maybe He needed to teach me patience.  I wanted out of there.  But, if God has other plans, I need to be patient and wait on His timing.  I probably won’t ever know the reason.  God doesn’t ever promise us the reasons he enacts things in our lives.  He doesn’t have an obligation to us.  He loves us and has given us so much.  We just need to TRUST HIS WORD and TRUST HIS LEADING.

I don’t know what you’re going through.  I don’t have to know what you’re going through.  All I can tell you is He knows exactly what you’re going through, and He will take you through it.  All the Way.  Step by Step. His hand in Yours.  We have nothing to fear.  He is an amazing God.

Enjoy your week!



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One Year Anniversary

One year ago today I was wheeled into the operating room for heart valve replacement surgery. It was a occasion in my life that I wasn’t prepared to face and yet with God’s strength He pulled me through. It was a shock and definitely a time of turmoil. Especially for my wife and parents. As I looked out our window this morning at the rain I couldn’t help but compare it to a year ago. It was a downpour of events for which we were not prepared.

And yet, even during that time of turmoil I felt calm. I felt the Lord’s presence. I felt the prayers of my family and friends. I felt the love of God from those who visited.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As a family we are currently memorizing Psalm 23. We quote it each night before we pray over dinner. As Benjamin learns the verses and we learn and say them with him, I’m reminded again that without Christ I am nothing. I cannot go through this life without Him. I cannot survive the storms of life without Him. He is my everything and I must live my life exemplifying that He is my everything. My family and those with whom I come into contact with must know that He’s my everything.

I woke up this morning with the intention of celebrating my anniversary by going on a long bike ride. Since it rained I couldn’t ride and had more time to reflect. Reflect on where God has brought me from. Reflect on where’s He’s leading me. Reflect on how my life should reflect His expectation of me.

I have no idea what you’re going through or what you have been through or what you will go through. But please don’t miss the powerful message in a very familiar passage that God Is For Us. All He asks is that we follow and trust Him.

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Back In The Saddle

A couple of years ago, I had the fun experience of a week long bike ride. You can read about it here.

I had plans to go back again last summer and had to cancel due to us moving unexpectedly.  That was part of God looking out for my health, which you can read about here and here.

I’ve signed up for another week long bike ride in June of this year. I’m really looking forward to spending a week on my bike visiting places I’ve never seen before and meeting other bikers that I have never met before.  Up until two weeks ago, I hadn’t been on a bike for more than 30 minutes since Thanksgiving(24 mile ride).  Two weeks ago, I rode my bike outdoors for two days in a row. On Monday, I rode 30 miles and on Tuesday, I rode 46 miles. It was the first time in over a year that I rode back to back days. The rest of the week I spent about two hours daily on the bike trainer.

It was a good week. It felt good to be back on my bike for that long of a time period.  Training has to be in full session now that I’m only about 6 weeks out from participating on that ride.

I also have started a new Bible Study.  Now, I already read 3 different “daily devotionals” each morning. But those are all very brief and a lot of times read over breakfast while Little Man is watching a little TV.  Not something that is continuously life changing.  At one time, I was always doing some sort of study, but I have gotten away from doing that.  I have missed spending that 30 minutes of Bible Study time either using a book or going through a passage of Scripture.

So … along with being back in the saddle concerning my bike; I’m also back in the saddle concerning having a personal time of Bible Study that is more than a 5 minute window each day.  I personally, need more than that to keep my walk with God where He wants it.

How about you?  Have you gotten lax on a time of Bible reading, study, prayer, etc?  Is there something you used to do in your service to God, that you have slowed down in doing?

If so … time to get back in the saddle …

Have a great week!

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Time for a New Valve


This is what I’ve learned as a 48-year-old man in the last 4-6 weeks:

  1. I have(had) a bad aortic valve
  2. I have a deviated left septum
  3. I have a hernia in my left diaphragm
  4. I have mild coronary heart disease

Here’s what I knew about myself up to 4-6 weeks ago:

  1. I’m in decent shape for my age
  2. I bike ride between 20-50 miles weekly
  3. I don’t smoke
  4. I don’t drink
  5. I don’t drink carbonated beverages, I love and drink a lot of water, 80 ounces daily
  6. I don’t get sick.
  7. I take a lot of vitamins daily … religiously
  8. I don’t take any medications
  9. I get colds 3 times yearly
  10. I don’t get the flu

The question, I keep asking myself is … “how could this happen to me?”  The question I kept getting asked by all of the nurses that assisted me this past week was … “why are you here?”.  I eat right, I exercise, I walk a lot, I drink a lot of water, etc, etc, etc.

So, what did happen? I don’t have an answer.  My doctors don’t have an answer. All they can tell me is over time my valve has gone bad and my arteries are slightly clogged.  I wasn’t born with a bad valve. Over time, one of my leaflets has simply gone bad. Since I’m in decent shape, the doctor told me I would have never had the normal “signs” consistent with a bad valve. I would simply be on my bike, or just walking, driving, etc and my valve would fail and I would immediately go into cardiac arrest. With no one around to assist me, it was a very real possibility that I would have died.  Those are not things I want to hear as a 48-year-old male. The fact that I would be just “rolling along” in my “regular life” and would drop down into immediate cardiac arrest is not something that I would ever want to happen.

I recounted in my last blog how God orchestrated everything so there was never a doubt as to Him being in control and how thankful I am that He is God and that He Controls my life. So, I’m just going to go right to my application

We can be great Christians in our own eyes. We can attend church, sing in the choir, lead a life group, be an usher, be a greeter, be a deacon, be on staff, etc and our heart can be just as far away from God as the guy who is saved, but is running from God and doesn’t spend 5 seconds in a church.

It’s time for me to quit considering myself a “good Christian” and just start serving God. It’s time for me to quit comparing myself to others; time for me to quit being content with my Christian walk; time for me to draw myself closer DAILY to God.  Time for me to quit going through life thinking everything is “okay” and start determining DAILY what God wants from me.  Time for me to quit thinking how others should think of me, and start thinking more of others, regardless how they think of me.  It’s time I recognized that I am a sinner just like everyone else around me. The only difference is that I have God’s Grace in my life. I should be sharing that Grace DAILY for God.

If I don’t do the above, and just a live a life of “christian assumption” then at some point in my life, Satan will bring temptation along the way and I will fall hook, line and sinker into “Spiritual Cardiac Arrest.”  As Christians, we will be used by God or used by Satan. We always have a testimony. We are always a witness. It is up to us what that witness looks like to those around us.

I had no idea how many physical problems I have and it could have taken my life. I took it all for granted. I won’t make that mistake again. Any day that God gives me is precious to me.

I do know the spiritual challenges I have and it can take my life and the lives of those I love. It’s time for me to replace/repair the valve of my heart spiritually and live a life for God and God alone.

How’s your valve?

How’s your heart?

Matthew 6:21(NIV)

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Proverbs 3:5(NIV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

Proverbs 4:23(NIV)

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

Psalm 73:26(NIV)

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.





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Thank God for Warts

Yes, that’s the title of this blog. I apologize upfront for the title, but I think after you’ve read through this particular blog, you’ll understand the reason behind the title. Let’s start off with some verses:

Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11).

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation (Psalm 33:11).

“This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:26-27).

I’ve told you many times before throughout these blogs that I prefer to be in control. I want God’s blessing on my life, but I want Him to follow my plan and bless my plan. Every now and then, He has to remind me through different avenues that He is ALWAYS in control and I must TRUST HIM.

One of those cases is my current life … let me explain …

3 Months ago, our landlord sells our home and we have to move.  Because of that, I have to cancel my week long bike ride.  Obviously I was disappointed. At the same time, Arlyn came to me and felt God wanted her to go back Full Time. We prayed about it; agreed; and she started FT at Mercy.  With Mercy, the insurance options were much better than most, so we switched to her insurance.

2 Months ago, I got this “wart” on the top of my head. Concerned it might be Skin Cancer, I went to the doctor to get a dermatologist referral. When the nurse took my vitals she asked me if anyone had ever told me I have a “heart murmur.”  Of course, I consider myself in decent shape and never go to the doctor. So, the quick answer was … “no”.  She referred me to a Cardiologist who ran a series of tests on me over these last several weeks.

After all of the tests, the cardiologist, the surgeon, and my primary doctor all agree my valve is not in good condition at all and needs to be replaced.  REALLY? AT MY AGE? Where did that come from?  Apparently, I’ve had it over a long period of time. However, because I’m in good shape, it’s never manifested itself the way most defective valves would manifest themselves.

Consequently, on Wednesday, August 9th, I’m having Valve Replacement Surgery. Crazy huh???

If I look back over the last 3-4 months, I can see God’s Hand at work through every single circumstance.  He orchestrated the cancelling of the bike ride(Would my heart have failed if I went?); He orchestrated impressing upon Arlyn the desire to go back FT so we got better insurance coverage; He orchestrated the “wart” so the nurse heard my heart murmur; He ensured the nurse actually checked my vitals and didn’t disregard the heart murmur.

If I would have been in complete control, I would have never known about any of this. Needless to say, God proved to me ONCE AGAIN that HE is ALWAYS in control and HE ALWAYS has a PLAN. I just need to TRUST HIM.

The only advice I can give … is ALWAYS TRUST GOD … NO MATTER WHAT!

Oh … and the “wart” that might be skin cancer??? Turns out it was an “inflamed wart” and not skin cancer and was easily removed …

Isn’t Our God an Amazing God?

Have a great weekend and remember to TRUST HIM!

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Lack of Trust and Thanks

It’s been almost 10 months since I’ve blogged … so let’s just jump right out of the gate with this:

“I don’t trust easily” … as a matter of fact, “I trust barely at all.” Now, that may seem rude, rough, and completely stupid to you. And you would be right; however, if I’m honest with you and honest with me, the statement, “I don’t trust easily” applies 100% to me. Why not trust do you ask? Pride; desire to be in control; feeling that I don’t need anyone else; been lied to by people in the past and yes, I’ve lied to people as well. For all of those reasons and more, I just don’t trust easily.

God knows that I don’t trust easily; so recently He ran me through a series of tests to see how much I would rely on Him. Well, to be honest; I failed. 6 Weeks ago, my wife felt led of God to go back to a FT position. We prayed about it and felt that was what God wanted us to do. Unbeknownst to us, our Landlord was in the process of selling our house at that same time. 4 weeks ago, he came to me and said he had sold the house and we had 30 days to move. Within a week, we had found a house, signed the lease and started the process of moving.

Clearly to anyone, God was in complete control the entire time and all I had to do was trust Him and follow His direction. However, because I don’t trust; and even though I could see God’s hand at work the entire time, I found the time to complain to God; get frustrated with God; get frustrated with the process; etc. Thankfully, God didn’t punish me for my lack of trust. He provided in spite of my lack of trust.

In the middle of all of this, He provided even more blessings than a house so quickly. 

He provided a brother-in-law, sister-in-law and mother-in-law to come down here and help us move. He provided my parents to help us move. He provided 6 more men to help load and unload the truck the day we moved. I must also mention it was Memorial Day Weekend. 

So, these families took time off of their holiday with their families to help us move. He also provided 3 women to help unpack and set up our kitchen and living room. Finally, He provided a family that came in, unpacked and set up our Guest Room and Benjamin’s Room. Then yesterday, He wasn’t through and provided a meal for us from a family in our Encounter Class.

What an amazing God we serve that He would reach down and bless us where we were completely moved out and almost completely moved in our new house within 2 weeks of finding out we had to move.

Like all of my blogs, this one is for me. I needed to write these things out as a reminder to trust God in ALL circumstances. To Let Him LEAD me throughout HIS plan for my life. Along the way, I need to ensure that I live a life of Thanksgiving; verbal Thanksgiving and active Thanksgiving.

I’m going to end this particular blog with two things:

#1 – I can’t thank enough the following people for being such a blessing to us:

Robert & Alice Fleshman

Janet Howard

Russell & Dana Howard

David & Jesse Barrett

Jim & Jacob Daniel

Jesse Berry

Edgar & Stephanie Cabrera

Luke & Erin Bowers

Jenifer & Dwight Siemens

I can’t thank them enough for reminding me what the love of Christ constrains us to do; for reminding me what a blessing our Church continues to be to us; for reminding me how I am to follow through in the same manner helping my fellow christian brothers and sisters. Thank you for the Christ-like example you are to me.

#2 – Lyrics from one of my favorite hymns:

1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.

o Refrain:

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

2. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, Can abide while we trust and obey.

3. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross, But is blessed if we trust and obey.

4. But we never can prove the delights of His love, Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.

5. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, Or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.

Let me be the reminder for you … 

God wants us to simply put our trust in Him and show thanksgiving to those around us. God uses others to be a blessing. We must be willing to be that blessing to others just as others have blessed us.

Have a great weekend!

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The Touch of the Master’s Hand

As you already know, I am an 80’s child. Yes, I love 80’s music. Chicago, Genesis, Huey Lewis & the News, REO Speedwagon, etc. Pretty much I enjoyed it all. Honestly, the 80’s in general(not just the music) was the best decade by far(in my opinion)(yes, I’m biased). So, it stands to reason that I enjoy Contemporary Christian from the 80’s as well.

One song that has been in my mind for quite some time is “Touch of the Master’s Hand”. Now, before you yell at me that I’m wrong(yes, the song was released by Wayne Watson in 1992), however, since I was still in college, I count the early 90’s as the 80’s. Hey … this is my blog … I’ll write it how I want to write it …

Anyway … that’s not the point … the point is that song has been on my mind for a solid month now. I hope by now you’ve listened to it all the way through. Or, you’ve heard it before and now it’s stuck in your head also. If that’s the case … mission accomplished.

I was someone who ran from God as much as I could, for as long as I could. I did whatever I could to make myself be someone that God didn’t want …. that God couldn’t save … that God would decide to give up on. However, God had a plan and continued to pursue me. I’m so grateful that He never gave up. I’m so grateful that He did want … He did save … He didn’t give up on and He does have a plan. I’m so grateful to be a part of that plan.

It gets overwhelming at times when it hits me again how much He loves me and that He never gave up on me and that He saved me. I still don’t understand why. I still know I don’t deserve it. However, one thing I do know …

Because He did save me, I’m a member of God’s family.  I have an eternal home. I can have confidence in Him. I can rest in Him. I can trust Him. I get the opportunity to live for Him. I get the chance to show my thanks by living for Him. Do I make mistakes? ALL DAY LONG … I could start telling you my mistakes now and NEVER finish covering all I do wrong. However, I know that I can live a life of gratefulness because He gave His life for me. I am someone because of the “Touch of the Master’s Hand.”

Feeling down? Feeling depressed? Feeling un-loved? Feeling un-used? Feeling God doesn’t care?

He does care … He does love … He does want to encourage you … He does want to uplift you … He does want to love you … He does want to use you … He does care …

Just be willing for Him to come into your life … save you … and “touch you”

Short blog tonight …

Have a great week knowing God loves you!


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My #KTRide Experience

FullSizeRender (3)

About a year ago, Jerry and I begun to train for the Katy Trail Ride across the state of Missouri. Neither of us had ever performed a long ride before. This was hopefully the first of many that we would do starting with this year and continuing every year hereafter. Below is a synopsis of each days’ ride. Of course, if you know me, I always think of an application. Every day this past week translated to an application for me and my Christian walk. So; along with the synopsis, I will give you how God used it to speak to me.

Monday(St. Charles to Hermann):

The high was 98 with a heat index of 105 or more. We rode 64 miles that day. I had not eaten enough carbs the night before nor had I eaten enough carbs for breakfast that next morning. Plus, we didn’t really find a place to eat until around 1 p.m. that afternoon. Needless to say, I was tired and weak as the day progressed.  I ate a couple of bananas between our ride that started at 6 a.m. but that was all until we ate lunch at 1 p.m. It was a hot ride. Our bikes had an extreme amount of dust on them. There was no amount of training that could have prepared us for the dust and the heat that day. However, we finished. With the intent of this week being the last week-long ride we did on the Katy Trail.

Application for me:

Too many times, when the Christian walk gets difficult, it’s easy to want to quit serving God. It’s easy to question why God is allowing some things to happen. The Christian walk isn’t promised by God to be an easy one. It can be a hot, dry, lonely and difficult walk at times. The only way to make it through is to ensure that we are properly grounded in God’s Word; to ensure that we have a daily walk with Him. If we are not grounded in scripture, if we don’t have a close walk with God continuously, then we won’t make it through those difficult times in life.

Tuesday(Hermann to Jefferson City):

Tuesday it rained on us all day long. It wasn’t a downpour, but a steady rain nonetheless. About the time it would lighten up a little and the skies looked as if they were opening up, the rain would start back up again. We only rode 50 miles that day so that helped the day go by quicker. With the rain it was also a little cooler, so that was a blessing. However, the rain made it a muddy muddy trip. By the end of the day we were covered in mud and so were our bikes. However, Big O Tires in Jefferson City provided us a free lunch so that was a blessing. Plus by the time we made it to camp, the rain had subsided and we had clear skies the rest of the day.

Application for me:

Just when you think it can’t get worse, it starts to rain. You think you can’t take anymore and you’re hoping God will start changing your circumstances and it doesn’t happen. However, even in the middle of that rain storm, God provides some extra “shelter” or extra “blessings” to help you make it through this difficult time in your life. He gives us those to help us remember that He still cares and He’s still in control and we CAN trust Him. Then, at the end of that time period in your life, you can see the skies starting to open up.

Wednesday(Jefferson City to Booneville, MO):

This was by far the best day of the week. The rain cooled some things down a little(a little). I had learned my lesson and ate better portions of carbs and protein to keep me energized for a good ride. The rain had also settled the dust on the trail so we didn’t have that to contend with. We saw beautiful bluffs along the way and rode right next to the Missouri River. We were even able to get off; walk right up to the edge of the river and take some pictures. We rode that day for 53 miles. It was a great day and a great ride.

Application for me:

What a blessing for me that after those difficult times in my life, God always gives me those days/weeks/etc. that it is clear that He is in control; that He has already provided; and that my trust in Him is the correct thing needed. God DOES give us those “rose gardens” at times to relax and rest in Him. When those times happen, enjoy them, thank God for them, continue to praise Him, and continue to serve Him.

Thursday(Boonville to Sedalia, MO):

With the first 3 longest days of the trip complete, the worse was over. This trip was only a 37 mile ride. However, it was a constant incline 80% of the time. Not a huge incline(4%), but still a gradual incline out in the open sunny area. This made the ride a little warmer. Much like the day we had Monday. We still finished in good time, and we still felt good after the ride. However, it was definitely a hot, dusty day.

Application for me:

The “rose garden” won’t be around continuously. There will be times again where we struggle with some of the same things we struggled with before. There will once again be times of “dusty, dry, and thirsty” Christian living where we find ourselves fighting to win the same fights we’ve fought before.

Friday(Sedalia to Clinton, MO):

This was the last day of the week. It was a 39 mile ride. Little more dry and a little more dusty. But it was only 39 miles and it was the last day. We were full of adrenaline and averaged the fastest we had averaged all week. We felt like we had accomplished a great goal. We set out a year ago to do a bike ride such as this and we had completed it without anything major happening. Although we had questioned whether or not we wanted to do it again, by the end of the week, we decided there wasn’t any doubt; we did want to do this ride or something like it next year. Let the training for next year begin …

Application for me:

Once we’ve gone through those difficult times multiple times; Once, we’ve seen how God works in our lives; once He’s brought us through those times; it’s always a blessing to see how God takes care of us. Where at the beginning, we wanted to quit God, by the end we see how much He cares and how much He provides and we agree that our life is better with Him in control. So, when those times come again, it’s seems easier. Why? Because God has taken care of us before; He’s provided for us before; and now we can just go along serving Him and He provides. It’s almost routine for us. We just come to the point where we trust Him completely. Now, I’m not there yet. But, I hope one day to have enough faith and trust to completely let go and completely let God control my life. That is hard for me. But, it’s what God requires.

Where do you stand in your walk with Him?

Are you in the dry, dusty times? Stay faithful … He will bring you through.

Are you in the downpour of difficult times? Walk close to God … He will provide.

Are you experiencing the blessings God has for you? Be grateful and thankful to Him … He is your all in all.

Wherever you may be in your walk; stay close to Him and let go and let God. That is what He requires.

If you’re curious about more details of our ride, go to my twitter page and search #ktride. Plenty of pics and videos.

In the meantime … have  a great week!

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Happy Mother’s Day Mom


We have some friends from church whose young son recently broke his arm. This morning he sat with his parents. He sat on his mother’s lap. You could tell he was totally content and totally at peace.

That’s the way I am around my mom. I am very blessed to have  an amazing mom. She raised me in a Godly house; with Godly principles; and Godly attributes.  She is what many call “A Prayer Warrior.”  From the moment I can remember anything as a child, I remember always seeing my mom pray. Whether it is daily devotions and prayer each morning(which she still does to this day), or a constant state of prayer throughout the day, or a time for prayer set aside throughout the day to pray for a need(or someone’s need), my mom consistently prays.

I tried my hardest to make my mom’s life miserable. I lied to her; I ran from God; I disobeyed her; I argued with her; I disrespected her; I made fun of her; etc. You name it and I did it, either as a child, teenager, college student, or an adult.  If it would upset my mother, mark it down … I did it.

However, that never took away the fact that she still loved me and still does love me. It never took away the fact that she always went above and beyond in meeting any need I might have. I still remember as a child that she cooked every meal; always served me and dad before herself; always cleaned up the kitchen; always did the laundry; always kept the house clean; etc. She worked tirelessly to make sure her house was always kept in order.

Yes, I’m an only child … yes, I’m spoiled … yes, I’m a mama’s boy … but I’m loved and that is ultimately all that matters. All that matters in life is that a son is loved by his mom; prayed for by his mom; given an example by his mom; and directed to God by his mom. We may not always follow that direction, but it is important that our moms lead us towards God.

As this Mother’s Day winds down, I just wanted one more time to wish my mom a VERY HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. I also wanted to thank for never-ceasing to pray for me(please don’t stop). I wanted to thank her for being such a Godly example to me.  I wanted to thank her for her wisdom, guidance, love and care.

You may argue with me, but it is my firm belief(and I am right), that I have the best mom in the world. Hands down. Not even a contest.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 [a] An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[b] with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[c]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom …


Your Son,

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I Want to Be a Big Baby


Did the title catch your eye?  It was intended too …

Have you ever held a baby in your arms or watched someone hold a baby in their arms? When you do, have you ever watched their reaction?  If they’re upset, they usually calm down. Why is that?  Because you give them comfort.  Here is what some of the “experts” say:

If you think your crying baby calms down when you pick him or her up is because of the warm embrace of your loving arms, think again: there is a more scientific reason.

In fact, what happens is that their heart rate slows and they ‘automatically and deeply’ relax.

Japanese scientists say their study is the first to demonstrate that a baby’s response to being carried is a coordinated set of nervous, motor and cardiac regulations.

The researchers, from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, say that picking up and carrying might be an evolutionarily(right … we know it’s a God Given Gift), and essential, component of mother-baby interaction.

In experiments involving ECG machines, which measure electrical activity of the heart, they found that babies’ heart rates slow down greatly as soon as they are picked up and carried.

Now, it doesn’t take an “expert” or a “study” for us to know that is exactly the truth. God created us as children to calm down in the arms of our parents.

So … next question … why do babies always feel secure when their parents are around? Again … let’s check in with the “experts”:

The attachment bond is the unique emotional relationship between your baby and you as his or her primary caretaker. This wordless interactive emotional exchange draws the two of you together, ensuring that your infant will feel safe and be calm enough to experience optimal development of their nervous system. The attachment bond is a key factor in the way your infant’s brain organizes itself and influences your child’s social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.

The quality of the attachment bond varies. A secure bond provides your baby with an optimal foundation for life: eagerness to learn, healthy self-awareness, trust, and consideration for others. An insecure attachment bond, one that fails to meet your infant’s need for safety and understanding, can lead to confusion about his or her own identity and difficulties in learning and relating to others in later life.

Now … I haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know.  I’m sure by now IF you’re still reading, you’re asking yourself, “What is the purpose of all this Brent?”  I’m glad you asked.

What happens?  Why does that behavior change as we grow older?  Now, I’ve jumped perspective on you. I’ve gone straight to a spiritual perspective.  When we first accepted Christ we wanted to be around Him all the time.  We wanted to learn about Him all the time.  We wanted to be in His Word; in His Church; worshiping Him; etc.  We spent time in prayer.  When things happened, we went to His Word for answers, or we asked other Christians for advice.

But as we grew “older” in the faith, we stopped doing that.  It’s like we decided we don’t need God anymore. We can handle everything that comes our way.  If that’s our perspective we will not have a fruitful Christian life.  We will not have a content Christian life.  We will struggle with anger, depression, frustration, lack of faith, etc.

Casting Crowns has a song out called “Just Be Held“.  That’s what God wants from us in our relationship with Him.  We feel the most secure when we have that close walk with Him. We make it through difficult times; unhappy times; maddening times; depressing times; frustrating times; etc. when(and only when) we have that close walk with Him.  We need to be close to Him to feel that security we feel when He “holds” us.

Psalm 122:7ESV

Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”

Jeremiah 33:6ESV

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.

Psalm 16:8ESV 

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Psalm 40:2ESV

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, …

1 John 4:18ESV

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Job 11:18ESV

And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.

Psalm 46:1ESV

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 9:10ESV

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Now, those are just a few of MANY verses in the Bible about God providing Security for us. What are you currently facing that makes you feel insecure?

Who the next president might be?

What our religious freedoms might look like in the upcoming months/years?

What type of society our children might grow up in?

How we will meet all of our bills each month?

How we will face upcoming medical costs?

Can we salvage this relationship?

While I don’t know the answers to the questions above I do know this: God IS IN CONTROL. He WILL take care of those He calls HIS OWN.  I just need to ensure two simple things:

  1. Do I have a close walk with Him?
  2. Do I strive daily to live for Him and serve Him?

Not rocket science. Not deep theology(if you know me by now, you know you’ll never find “deep theology” in my blogs).

Just a simple ….

Are you living for Him?

Is your walk Close with Him?

Be a Big Baby for Christ and “Just Be Held”.


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Lessons From Bike Riding Part II

As previously mentioned in almost every Blog I write, I get my “inspiration”(if that’s what you call it), from my day-to-day activities.  I’ve continued the bike riding I started more than 2 years ago. I only ride about once a week, but I have worked up to 50+ miles a day most of the time when I go.  If you’re looking for a fun way to keep in shape let me suggest bike riding.  Reward for effort; less strenuous on your body and just plain fun most of the time.  But that’s not the reason for this blog.

Today I had the privilege to bike with Jim Daniel, our music director from First Baptist Church Centerton. It was the first time we had ridden together. He mostly does mountain biking(Which automatically means he is a better man than I am. I wimp out when it comes to mountain biking). Since he hadn’t been on the trail as much, I felt obligated to keep him informed as to the bike trails’ difficulty as it occurred. However, feeling obligated and actually doing something about it are two different things as you well know.

Consequently, I found myself letting him know extremely too late … as in once we started up the hill … once we went around the corner and there it was … once we went through the tight curve. Thankfully, he is an experienced mountain biker(did I mention a better man than I am) and didn’t have any issues in spite of my “best intentions.”

As I drove home I couldn’t help but once again(as you should be used to by now) compare that experience with real life. How many times do we do that with each other?  How many times are we that friend who actually warns someone of impending dangers; impending sin; impending temptation; etc?

But, Brent, I don’t want to:

Rock the boat

Lose the friendship

Look like an idiot

Sound like a prude

Sound like I’m no fun

Be the only one

Mention something that blows up out of proportion

Mention something that I misunderstood

I can understand and have felt all of those emotions when someone I knew was walking down the wrong path and/or potentially making a wrong decision. But, here’s what we are faced with … what does the Bible say about friendships/counselors and how to handle them?

Proverbs 18:24
 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 13:20
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 27:5-6
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-0
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

John 15:12-15
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 12:26
A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Job 16:20-21
My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.

Proverbs 11:14

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 15:22

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Now, that’s just a few of the MANY verses in scripture about how we are to befriend one another and be counselors for one another. So … besides those takeaways what else is there?

  1. Men, find a man(or men) for you to be accountable too … who you can “do life with”.  Each of us need that … whether we admit it or not.

  2. Women, find a woman(or women) for you to be accountable too … who you can “do life with”. Each of us need that … whether we admit it or not.

  3. Be intentional about finding someone. Don’t wait for “God to bring someone.” Put yourself “out there” and God will show you who that is. You’ll probably be surprised over time that it becomes more than one. 

  4. Be willing to challenge one another when we are involved in bad habits; bad decision-making; etc. God placed us in that person’s life to help them walk through life. Be willing to speak up. That’s what being a true friend is all about. It’s telling them what God wants us to say … not necessarily what they want to hear. 

  5. Be open to criticism. If someone God placed in our life challenges us on our bad habits; bad decision-making; etc. then be open to the fact they may be right. God might be using them to speak to us.  Don’t attack them … accept what they are saying with an open mind and seek God’s face to see how He might be using them to help us “wake up” and stop the negative direction we are headed.

  6. Be thankful to that person for being in your life … tell them … often

  7. Be thankful to God for bringing that person in your life.

  8. Stay in consistent communication with that person throughout your life … you never know when God will use them to be a blessing; challenge; etc. in His timing.

That being said … I can’t finish this without thanking my good friends(just to name two)

Paul Hayden(also Paul Hayden Photography)


Chad Coker

God placed these two men in my life at different times for different reasons. To this day we are great friends. We text occasionally or often(depending on the need). They challenge me to stay in the Word; to be the Godly man I need to be; to be the Godly father/husband God requires. They pray for me. They give me Godly advice. I wouldn’t be able to walk through this life without their friendships.

If you don’t have someone like a Paul or a Chad … find someone … be intentional about it and God will bring that man or woman into your life and will bless you for it.

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