Tag Archives: cancer

Unfazed And Unafraid


This year, I’ve had both a family member and a coworker get diagnosed with breast cancer. Their stories of sitting in the doctor’s office and hearing the news were very similar. They described getting tunnel vision. Sound seemed to go away. Fear immediately brought tears as it showed them a world where their child would grow up motherless. Then both immediately asked for prayer from those who know God.

One shared with me how after prayer they had clarity of how to fight, and they were no longer reeling from the news. The other shared with me about the peace that came over her. She said, “After people started praying, I haven’t been able to shed a tear. This peace won’t let me.” Both received news that no one ever wants to get, but both knew where to turn when they got it. While they still have treatments to go through, knowing God is in control has made the difference. 

In Psalm 112, the writer discusses the blessings of the man (or woman) who fears the Lord with reverence and worships Him with obedience. Each verse pronounces blessings or discusses the outcome for such people. In verses 7-8, it says, “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly” (NLT). This verse perfectly describes what both of these women shared with me.

This verse doesn’t just apply to cancer though. It applies to any bad news that may come your way. You don’t have to fear the outcome when you get it. Just like these ladies, you can give the news to God through prayer, and His peace, which passes all understanding, will guard your thoughts. Fear does not come from God, but peace does. Whatever you’re facing today, you can face it with confidence because you are a child of the King of Kings. He is in control, and will work out His plan for you.

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When It Rains

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


A friend of mine, Jonas Woods, recently put out an independent CD called “Tales of the Bittersweet”. It chronicles his faith and struggles over the past couple of years as his wife battled cancer. As I’ve listened to it a couple of times now, I find there’s a lot of honesty in the lyrics he’s written. It’s very relatable to anyone who’s walking through difficult times. In the song “Walking The Line,” it starts off, “I’m trying to connect, trying to make sense of all this mess, trying to get back to a sense of harmony.” It’s normal for each of us to try to make sense of a mess when we are in it. I think it gives us hope if we feel we know the purpose, but rarely do we find out the purpose while we are in a struggle. 

God’s design for our lives is that we walk by faith. If we knew the purpose behind the struggle, we wouldn’t be walking by faith. God expects us to trust Him in the mess and to rely on Him for our strength and hope. However trusting in His plan when we can’t see the outcome is so hard. It’s very much like the way Jonas’ song “When It Rains” puts it, “When you’re running a million miles straight into nothingness, and you only find out the truth when you arrive.” The journey seems long and pointless. It’s hard to keep running when you won’t find the answers until later. It’s hard to keep your head up when it’s raining and few seem to care. 

The chorus of that song is how we should respond. It says, “If you lead me I will follow, you’ve been faithful and true, through all my fear and sorrow, I’ll fight through all the pain, to figure out the reasons that it rains.” God has been faithful throughout each of our lives. When you stop and reflect on the goodness of God, you will see how far He has brought you. You will see that He has never left you in a mess. He has been your sustainer, your provider, your healer, and your guide. It’s not in Him to abandon you in a struggle. It’s not in Him to allow rain in your life without purpose. 

He has given you the tools you need to survive any rain that comes into your life. He has given you the ability to trust Him. When you get more than you can handle (and that happens), it’s your opportunity to rely on His strength. If He only allowed things to come into your life that you could handle, you would never have an opportunity to trust Him. If you had the strength to face each struggle, you would never know what it’s like to fully trust His strength. God allows each of us to experience more than we can handle, and He closes doors without opening windows so that we can grow our faith and trust in Him.

We have to learn to trust in the sufficiency of His grace. The only way we learn that is when we come to the end of our rope and let go. When we give up trying to face struggles and situations in our own strength, we learn how strong He truly is. When we quit relying on our abilities to guide us through problems, we learn what walking by faith is. When you look into the future and can’t see the end to your struggle, learn to look at it from His perspective. There is a purpose to what you’re going through, but it may take years to get the perspective to see it. In the mean time, trust His strength in your weakness when it rains. 

To hear Jonas’ song “When it Rains”, click here

You can also check out more of his music here

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How To Fight Impossible Battles


In II Chronicles 20, a huge army invaded southern Israel. The king and all the people were terrified because they defeated several strongholds easily. He begged God for help and asked others to pray with him. It sounds a lot like any one of us when we are facing something that seems impossible to beat. Fear is our first response, then we beg God for help. I believe what follows in this story is something we can all learn from in these moments in life. 

The first thing that happened was King Jehoshaphat got like minded people together, fasted and prayed. We are not to fight these battles alone. Fear’s goal is to intimidate you and to push you into seclusion. Don’t let it! There is strength in numbers and in fasting. Get a group of people around you who can fight on their knees and touch God for you. This first step is critical if you’re going to win an impossible battle.

In verses 15-17, God answered those praying. The Word of the Lord came back saying, “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (NLT). Things only seem impossible when God is not in the equation. The battles we face are not our own, but they are God’s. We don’t have to be afraid or discouraged at the sheer impossibility of anything that comes our way because God goes before us.

As the army of Israel approached the battlefield, Jehoshaphat spoke in verse 20 and reminded them, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets and you will succeed.” Faith will help us to stand firm when standing is all we can do. We can trust in God, and in His Word, to get the courage to keep standing in the face of impossibilities. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to continue to trust God and His Word so we can see the victory.

Finally, the king appointed singers to praise God and he sent them out in front. At the very moment they began to sing, the Lord gave victory. We need to be able to praise God in advance of victory. We need to honor Him when all else seems to be going wrong. Praise is powerful. It activates our faith and moves our God. If you can’t find it in you to praise, play praise music until you do. Victory is dependent on God, not us. We can praise Him for that. Our impossible battles are no match for a God who says all things are possible. 

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Believing Is Seeing

I was recently asked the question, “Do you believe what you see or do you see what you believe?” I know you may have to read that again to catch it. It took me a minute. When I see a wall, I believe what I see so I don’t walk into it. It’s usually strong enough that I can’t walk through it. When I see an impossible situation, I have to be careful not to use my physical eyes to look at it because it’s actually spiritual. When the doctors say it’s a 99% chance that something is cancerous, I use my spiritual eyes to see what I believe. They just gave God one percent to work with. I’ve seen Him do more with less.

Each of us have a choice in how we see things. We can choose to look at physical situations like that and believe what we see or we can see what we believe. I have to constantly check myself and ask God, “Am I looking at this situation through the right eyes? How do you see this?” I want to make sure I’m on God’s side and that I see what He does. I want to make sure that if there is a chance for Him to act, I give it to Him. The last thing I want to do is act on what I see because I believe it. Does God believe it?

In Joshua 9, the Israelites were going through the Promised Land and fighting against every city. They were moving in and kicking the others out as God commanded. God spoke to Joshua and gave him battle strategies. Joshua would consult Him for everything. When the other army out numbered him, he chose to see what he believed and it led to victory each time. The people of nearby Gibeon heard what the Israelites were doing and wanted to make peace in order to live. They knew that the Israelites were not making treaties with anyone so they decided to trick them.

They sent a convoy of people with stale bread, old wine and worn out clothes. They asked for peace and the Israelites asked, “How do we know you aren’t from around here?” They pointed to the bread, wine and clothes and said they were all fresh and new when they left. Verse 14 says, “The men of Israel looked them over and accepted the evidence. But they didn’t ask God about it.” They looked with their physical eyes and believed what they saw. Had they asked God, they would have seen what it really was. They would have seen what they believed and acted accordingly.

What situation are you faced with today? What eyes have you been looking at it with? I want to encourage you to pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see it as He does. Ask Him to help you see what you believe rather than to believe what you see. There is no situation that is impossible for God. There’s nothing you are going to face today that He can’t make a way out of. There’s no report that can be given to you that He can’t refute or change. It’s all in how you choose to see it. So I now ask you, “Do you believe what you see or do you see what you believe?”

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Love With Your Mind

And you must love The Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. – Mark 12:30

I believe most of the battles you and I face are fought in the mind. It’s in our mind that doubts are raised, fears are born and self defeating thoughts dwell. It is a crucial battlefield that many of us fail to admit what’s going on in. We say we’re fine, when really we’re entrenched in a battle for our mind. In order to be victorious in those battles, it is critical that we learn to love God with our mind.

Loving God with our mind is about making the choice to continue to love when our passion fades and our psyche doesn’t feel like it. It’s about remembering those feelings of gracefulness that came along when you were rescued from the gates of hell and have since gone away in the day to day routine of being a Christian. Lamentations 3:21-22 says, “But this I recall and therefore have hope and expectation: it is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed.” The writer knew that when his hope was fading, he had to recall where he came from and therefore had hope.

Hope is a hard thing to keep up when you experience physical trials and pray to an invisible God. Doubt comes in and let’s you know the trials are real, but asks, “Where is God in all of this?” If we don’t learn to love God with our minds and have the ability to recall what He’s done, it will be easy to fall in such a situation. I remember when my mom was dying of cancer 15 years ago. One of the days that I went into ICU to visit her a M. D. Anderson in Houston, she could see the worry on my face. She did something that I’ll never forget.

She sat me down and started from when she was a child until that very day and recalled every time that God had met her needs. She told of childhood struggles, her doubts, miracles she had seen God perform for her and our family. For hours she talked to me about it. In the end, she looked at me and said, “Chris, I have peace with what will happen here because I know God has always done what’s best for me.” She loved God with her mind as well as with her passion and psyche. When she was tired from the chemo, when her psyche was worn out from the fight with cancer and her body couldn’t move, she showed me what it meant to love God with her mind.

Her body didn’t survive what cancer had done to it, but her soul did because cancer could not touch her love for God. It was hard not to be angry with God about losing her, but before she passed, my dad sat us down and told us to purpose in our minds that no matter what happened, we wouldn’t get angry with God. We needed to remember He is a good God even when things don’t go the way we want them to. We needed to love Him with our minds instead of losing the battle to anger and doubt.

What about you? How have you learned to love God with your mind when everything else seems to be failing? Maybe you’re struggling with your love for God today as you read this because of circumstances that you don’t understand. Let me encourage you to do what my mom taught me. Go back and recall all that God has done for you, write it down so you can see it and then have hope and expectation as Lamentations put it. Loving God with your mind is hard work, but critical to surviving difficult times.

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Stories of Healing

I’m going to brag on God today. A couple of weeks ago my sister in law was experiencing problems. The doctors looked and didn’t like what they saw. They did a biopsy and it came back positive. The doctors said there was a 95% chance it was cancer and immediate surgery would be needed to remove it. When they told us about the situation, I made the comment, “They just gave God 5%. I’ve seen Him do a lot more with a lot less.” After surgery, they sent off another biopsy. When it came back, the doctors said they were confused. There was no cancer.

Scripture tells us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. What He’s done in the past, we can expect Him to do today. Jesus went around healing people in towns and villages. He healed those who had faith that He had the power to do it. He still has not changed and has the ability to heal us. I don’t know why everyone who has faith isn’t healed, but I do know that it takes faith to be healed.

I believe that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God as Romans 10:17 says. I believe it also comes when we hear stories of other people who have been healed. There is something about hearing someone else’ verifiable healing that causes our faith to rise. When our faith rises, anything is possible. Jesus Himself said, “Anything is possible if a person believes,” in Mark 9:23.

When all hope is lost and when it doesn’t look like there is a way, that’s when God loves to move. Isaiah 35:5-6 says, “And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.” God can make a way where there is no way. He can make streams in the desert and He can heal the deaf, the blind and those who are lame.

If we go back to the scripture in Mark that we read earlier where Jesus said that anything was possible, it was Jesus’ response to a man who brought his son to be healed. When Jesus asked him if he believed, he replied, “Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief.” That’s what a lot of us need to pray when our faith is waning due to circumstances. God can help our unbelief and grow our faith. We just need to ask. If you need healing today, I encourage you to continue to believe for your healing. God is still working. He’s still in the healing business.

If you’ve been healed, please let me and others know by commenting below. Your testimony will help build the faith in others. If you’re believing for healing, I want to hear from you too. That way, we can all join together and bind our faith to believe with you for your healing.

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Becky’s Struggle

This a guest post from Becky Woods. She is a mother of young children and is fighting Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She and her husband are blogging through their journey of faith, family and fighting cancer. You can find their blog here. This is an excerpt from today’s post.

I don’t know what it is about the past week, but I’ll admit I’ve struggled. I’ve felt a little more nausea this time around, although I wasn’t sick or anything. I just had that constant gross feeling in my chest that made me JUST miserable enough to not enjoy my day. But honestly, when I think of how small that side affect is compared to what so many people experience with their chemo, I feel like a fool for complaining. But since this is my blog 🙂 I’m going to be honest with what’s been hard for me, regardless of how minor it probably is. And I’ll be honest, I’ve had a tough week with not feeling great and then feeling almost depressed for no apparent reason.

Here’s the thing. I KNOW that in order to keep the doubts away, in order to keep my mind from feeling anxiety, in order for me to avoid allowing depression sneak in, and in order for me to feel close to God and to be reminded of his purpose for me through all of this I NEED to be in His WORD! I need to be spending time with Him! But am I? Not like I need to be. I will try to dwell on the encouraging scripture that friends and family pass on to me but that’s not enough. If I want to know Jesus better each day and feel his presence and feel like my focus is in the right spot and feel His peace, I need to stop giving my silly excuses (like being too tired, like being too busy with kids and babies) and start disciplining my time better and prioritizing my relationship with God! How interesting it is when a “tragedy” first happens to you how quickly you run to God and know exactly what you need to do, but then as time passes and things ease up and seem a little more normal, God starts taking a back seat again to life. I get so mad at myself every day for allowing this pattern to continue when I KNOW BETTER! It reminds me of one of the most confusing verses in the bible 🙂 I’ll just recap some of it:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do………As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no , the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing……” (Rom 7:15-20) And so on!!

I don’t want to waste this time and this journey that I”m on. I want to grow and learn more about God and how good He is and what higher purpose He has for us through this. I want to be transformed and taken past my fears and doubts. I want to be an example to my kids of a GODLY parent that is always modeling for them a passion for Christ, even in my quiet moments at home and with how I choose to spend my time. So you can pray for that for Jonas and I. And please pray for my emotions to KNOCK IT OFF and return to normalcy 🙂 so that I don’t struggle with moments of numbness or moodiness. I want and need the joy of the Lord to fill me and I could use prayers for me getting my priorities on the right track again concerning spending time with THE SOURCE of joy.

I thought once I reached the half way point of my treatment I’d feel thrilled but instead I almost feel overwhelmed that I still have all that time left to go before I’m done. And, I’m still trying to pray against the fear of it coming back. I KNOW people have encouraged me with how they had their cancer come back but fought it again and are now cancer free, but I DO NOT want to hear the word cancer again in my future EVER! I’m trying to give this worry up to God completely but it’s hard for me.

Thank you again for praying. I need it. This time might be more of an emotional struggle for me but I so appreciate your prayers for me feeling great and staying happy and positive.

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