Friday, May 27, 2011

Week of May 28 - June 3

May 28
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.
     James 5:13

When we feel lousy it’s very hard to be cheerful. When we are in pain it’s very hard to find much to praise. But when we are suffering a foundational action we can take is to pray. To get in close touch and intimate contact with the source of our lives, with the creator of all goodness, is to make a connection with a power greater than pain, greater than suffering, greater than fear and despair. It is in making that connection that we will begin to be lifted from our distress and will begin to find relief and hope and joy once again.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name over all the earth! We praise you this day because when we call to you, you answer us, bringing hope, joy and relief. Amen.

May 29
Each one helps the other, saying to one another, “Take courage!”
     Isaiah 41:6

When we are able to connect with others who have experienced the face of cancer too, we can find an understanding that is immediate and knowing. Such connections cut deeply beneath the surface and take us to places we desperately need to go. It is a rich blessing when we find those who know the path we are taking and can truly walk with us along the way. Be open to those who have been on the journey too, especially those who are traveling with peace, hope and grace. They are surely God’s messengers, offering us the courage we need to face the future unafraid.
Open my eyes to your messengers in my midst, dear God. I know they are all around. I know they are sent my way to help show me the better way. Amen.

May 30
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
     Ephesians 4:26

There is no doubt that there is much to be angry about when cancer invades our lives. We need to acknowledge it, vent it healthily and resolve the issues that give rise to anger within us. If we do not, and allow anger to consume us and fester within us, it will destroy us in many ways. Anger can be a blessing when it propels us to positive action. Anger can be a curse when it takes root in us and we do not let it go.
When I do not resolve my angry feelings, I am not whole, O God. Instead I am weakened and divided. Grant me the grace to deal with my anger and find the peace and tranquility I need. Amen.

May 31
I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.
     Isaiah 42:16

God is always in front of us to show us a new way when we do not know the way to go. God is always above us to pierce the darkness so that we may see what we need to see. God is always around us to help us walk with confidence when we find ourselves going in directions completely unknown and uncertain to us. God will always see us through whatever we encounter day by day. We have this everlasting and eternal assurance from ancient days to now. 

Remind us that you do not forget us, O God. Remind us that you do not forget our fear and our pain. Remind us that you remember our needs and meet us where we are, to show us where we need to be. Amen.

June 1
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
     2 Corinthians 4:7-9

What extraordinary words! What a powerful promise from God! We need not be shattered, anguished, forgotten or defeated by the cancer in our lives. We can think of all the negative possibilities we want. But because God is on our side we can be lifted and carried through all the trials that confront us. God will make us victorious in infinite, profound and eternal ways.
I will focus on these promises today, O God. I will rest on your outstretched arm and hold onto your stabilizing hand. I will look to you to see me through. Amen.

June 2

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
     2 Corinthians 11:30

Cancer makes us very vulnerable. It opens us to thoughts, feelings and emotions we may never have had before. It confronts us with mortality. It strips away our defenses and our strength. Cancer rudely threatens us in constant ways. But in our weakness, cancer is also an opportunity to grow, to reprioritize and to change the way we look at life. Cancer can defeat us or it can empower us. It is our choice.
It often seems easier to choose defeat with this cancer I’m living with. Dear God, help me to choose triumph instead. Help me to use this time to discover who I have really been created to be. Amen.

June 3

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
     Philippians 4:4

We have a choice between looking at all that is wrong and bad in our lives or between seeking what is right and good. Where will we put our focus? Of course, we must confront the things that are hurting us and find ways to correct them. But we must also, even more importantly, choose to be open to actively recognizing the countless blessings and benefits we are given every day. They are all around. Start counting them. See how your life takes on a brand new, refreshing perspective.
Dear Lord, giver of all that is good. Help us to recognize the many gifts of joy, love, hope and peace in our lives. May we be transformed by them in untold ways. Amen

Friday, May 20, 2011

Week of May 21 - 27

May 21

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
     Romans 8:31

It can seem as if the entire force of our world is against us when we face cancer. Our lives become one appointment, one test, one result, one surgery, one treatment, and one anxious moment after another. Everything is upended. We feel as if we have lost control. Our world is no longer what it once was. But … all is not against us. The scriptures constantly remind us that God is always with us, always on our side. God is the one unmovable constant in our lives, the one who is eternally here to make the world right again.

Thank you, dear God, for sticking with us when everything else seems to be against us. We know when we walk with you we are blessed with a constant source of help. Amen.

May 22

In you, O Lord, I take refuge …
     Psalm 71:1a

We are quick to take refuge in many other places rather than in God …in medicine alone, in “quick fixes” or in answers that don’t really deal with the root of our problems. No one solution is enough to care for all our needs. But placing our trust and our lives in God will offer us a foundation that is eternally steady and strong, even when all the other solutions let us down. God’s refuge offers us a peace and a security that no other refuge can.

Help me to take refuge in you, O Lord. Help me to see that you are the eternal source of all my strength and peace. I need you as the foundation for everything else in my life. Amen.

May 23

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
     Romans 8:37

When God’s people break under the burden of illness and human limitation, over and over again, God reaches out to revive and renew us. In all these ways and countless more, God intercedes, over and over again, to help, to save, to restore and revive us – making us more than conquerors over all that rises up to bring us down. In God cancer cannot, will not, destroy us. It may threaten. But it shall not break us because God is stronger than any disease we can know.

We are deeply blessed, O Lord, by your love in our lives. It is infinitely more powerful than anything this world throws in our way. For that we give you thanks. Amen.

May 24

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy.
     James 1:2

Don’t mistake what this passage means. No one expects you to be happy about your difficulties. The word happy comes from the word “happenstance”, meaning our feelings depend on what happens to us. But we are expected to strive for joy. Joy is a sense of well-being, a sense of security, a sense of peace, no matter what happens to us. Joy is the feeling we want to achieve. Joy is feeling secure and content in every situation, in every challenge and in every way, knowing that God is taking care of us even in the most difficult of days.

God of joy, help me to know your peace which passes understanding. Help me to feel your security beyond compare. Help me to be well within my spirit no matter what challenges come my way. Amen.

May 25

My soul yearns for you in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
     Isaiah 26: 9a

Often times it’s in the stillness of the night when our fears and worries prey on us the most. When we lie in the dark, our minds begin to work overtime. It’s in the quietest of hours when we open to thoughts we would rather not have and possibilities we would prefer not to realize. It is in those hours when we need God the most. It is in those hours that we need to call out for God’s peaceful and tranquil voice to whisper reassurances in our ears. It is then when we need to hear the reassurances of a God whose voice can call us back into the dawn of a new light once again.

God of tranquility, God of peace, whisper to us when the night overwhelms us. Whisper to us the words of hope and reassurance we need to hear. Amen.

May 26

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.
     Colossians 4:2


Prayer is connecting with God. Prayer is opening up our minds, hearts and spirits, listening for what God has in store for us. When we connect with and listen to God we will undoubtedly see that God has been acting in our lives in many more wonderful ways than we could ever have imagined. God is good. God wants only goodness for us. By taking the time on a regular basis, a constant basis, to connect to that goodness, we find the wonder in our lives.

We need to be reminded about the goodness around us. Thank you for giving it to us, God. Thank you for helping us to see it today. Amen.

May 27

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
     Isaiah 40:4

There are many deep valleys on this journey called cancer. There are many steep mountains to climb. The path we walk is often not smooth. And the ground we trod is littered with obstacles all along the way. But the path doesn’t always have to be so difficult to traverse. These prophetic words promise us it can change. They promise us that when God is allowed to lead us on the journey we can begin to find ourselves guided every step of the way. It also means that God will carry us through when the trek is too hard for us to walk it on our own.

We are up and we are down. We stumble and we fall. We seek, O God, an easier path to take. We ask that we can see you before us smoothing out the way. Amen

Friday, May 13, 2011

Week of May 14 - 20

May 14

The night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
     Romans 13:12

It’s very easy to look at all that is going wrong in our lives, to count the disappointments and to remember the pain.  We tend to dwell on the dark moments. We are slow to number the moments of light. But we must make a concerted effort to name the good that surrounds us. It’s always there in spite of the deep challenges that confront us … more than we realize. Until we take the time to see how much light there is, we will only see the darkness. Today, look not for the darkness, but instead for the light.

Dear God, you are the light. Help us to allow your brightness to pierce the darkness in our lives, especially the darkness within us, this day. Amen.

May 15

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
     Psalm 22:1

There is no one who at one time or another hasn’t felt utterly alone and abandoned by God. In times of intense pain, in days of incredible sorrow or in moments of indescribable fear, it can seem as if no one – including God – knows or cares. Those feelings are natural. They give meaning to our human need to search for a power greater than us, a power that can and will care for us when we cannot care for ourselves.

Dear God, in those times when I feel lost and alone, remind me that you are always with me. Help me to feel your presence in every way, especially in my moments of doubt and despair. Amen.

May 16

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
     Romans 15:13

Hope means many things. Some of hope’s synonyms are: to expect, to trust, to anticipate, to look forward to. In facing cancer we have to expect to overcome cancer. We have to trust in our plan to grow well. We need to anticipate the wholeness we seek. We need to look forward to the journey’s healing destination. To have hope is not an idle wish. It is an active, proactive, statement of survival.

Dear Lord, we abound in hope because of you. We ask for our hope to grow ever stronger and to empower us to life anew. Amen.

May 17

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair.
     2 Corinthians 4:8

Indeed, there are moments, days, on this journey that serve to bend our resolve and break our determination. Those times are often more difficult than we can begin to say. But those times do not serve as the final word on our lives. They must not be where we stay - mired in despair and self-pity. We do not have to be crushed by our circumstances. But instead we, with God’s spirit under girding us, can turn the tables and rise above the affliction that has invaded our lives.

Nothing can destroy us when we walk with you, O God.  Though we are threatened in many ways, we have a strength from you that can make us victorious today. Amen.

May 18

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer, from the ends of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint.
     Psalm 61:1-2

There may be many times when it seems as if God is not listening. When the answers we seek do not appear to us to be immediately evident or forthcoming, our confidence is shaken and our hope is diminished. The ancient psalmist felt this way too. The psalmist didn’t give up; but continued to call to God for help. Even when weak, the cry went forth to the One who can perfectly strengthen our weak spirits.

Spirit of strength, when we falter within, inspire us with your energy and power. In our moments of weakness, infuse us with new resolve and confidence. Amen.

May 19

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
     2 Corinthians 4:16

It’s tempting to give up. When we see nothing ahead but more of the same uncertainties and threats to our lives, it’s easy to believe it will never get better – and in fact will only grow worse. But even though our physical selves may be weakened and diminished, our spirits do not have to do the same. It is the resolve within that determines who we are and who we will grow and continue to be.

While much around me may be compromised and while I may be constantly challenged, I know you are renewing my spirit in incredible ways. Thank you for lifting me up, O God. Amen.

May 20

God, the Lord, is my strength; God makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.
     Habakkuk 3:19

With God’s help we are able to do far more than we ever could do on our own. When we connect with the transcendent power of God and allow that power to lift us up, we can rise higher than we’ve ever risen before. God’s power in our lives enables us to harness more ability, more energy and more stamina than we could ever imagine harnessing under our own power. God’s power – the power of forgiveness, the power of hope and the power of peace – has a profound impact, far beyond our understanding.

O Lord, you lift me up to heights I could never reach on my own. I pray that I may allow your power to take me to new places in my healing and in my life. Amen.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week of May 7 - 13

May 7
“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”
     Matthew 7:7

It is essential for us to take an active part in our survival and healing. God certainly reaches out to us to offer all that we need. But we have to make a dynamic effort to work with God in understanding what we need, in looking for solutions and answers and in taking the initiative to walk into the new opportunities God provides for us along the way.

Dear God, I realize that I have a significant role to play in my own well-being. Remind me that I am your partner and that when I work actively with you I can find all I need. Amen.


May 8

“I called to the Lord out of my distress, and God answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.”
     Jonah 2:2


Distress is a familiar partner to cancer. We often feel as if we have fallen into a bottomless pit, the Sheol about which the author of Jonah writes. But no matter how deep the pit is or no matter how long we feel we have been swallowed up by it, we can never fall out of God’s earshot or sight. God knows our every high and our every low, our every moment of joy and our every moment of despair. Let us hold onto this truth, especially in times of deepest distress. For God is able to reach out to help us no matter where we find ourselves.

Just as you delivered Jonah when he was swallowed up, deliver us, O Lord, from the pit of despair. Help us to hear your voice no matter where are. Amen.


May 9

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
     Luke 6:21


God promises that we will be given everything we need. Even though we may crave for relief or fulfillment and even though we may mourn and lament our circumstances, these words reveal to us these circumstances are only temporary. While our pain and distress may seem endless, we are assured an end will come to them. These words are given to share with us the hope of relief and release that will surely be ours.

Sometimes I can’t see the end of my dis-ease in sight. But you reassure me, O God, that there is an end in store. Give me strength to hold on to greet that day. Amen.


May 10

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
     Philippians 4: 8


The impact of our thoughts is of deep significance to our well-being. When we put our focus and energy on what is wrong in our lives we do nothing but stand against something. But when we put our attention on all that is good, on all that is right, we change our attitude and our lives. An attitude of joy and gratitude will always enable us to do so much more than one of opposition and defiance.

I thank you, Lord, for the infinite ways in which my life is good. When I focus on them I see my life in a more positive and triumphant way. Amen.

May 11

On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.
     Psalm 138:3


Just by reaching out to God in prayer, we open our hearts, minds, spirits and souls to a connection that offers us hope and help beyond our deepest understandings. When we call to God, we immediately unite with a divine purpose. We instantly transcend the limitations of our human nature and join with an eternal nature that rises above our every concern and fear.

God, in this moment when I call to you, I know you are already at work answering and guiding me. Help me to be open to your responses. Help me to know and to listen to your eternal voice. Amen.


May 12

“For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Mark 10:27


Our human understandings cannot conceive of many things. They limit us when thinking of possibilities for healing and for peace. Yet … God understands what we do not. Yet … God sees far beyond our limits. We need to allow ourselves the gift of believing not in our impossibilities, but in God’s possibilities for us instead.

O God, open my eyes, open my mind, open my heart to know the infinite possibilities that come through you, for I need to hear your voice and to know your plans for me. Amen.


May 13
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
     Hebrews 11:1

Faith can be a difficult thing to have when your life is threatened. When you cannot see the outcome of your disease or you fear the worst for that outcome, your mind can take you to some very dark places. Yet … faith is just what we need in these kinds of times. We need to hold onto a hope that surpasses all human understanding, which believes in an outcome beyond all we know now. We have to believe in what is possible and we have to do everything in our power to work with God to have it be so.

There is so much I don’t know, God. There are so many outcomes I cannot predict. But I put my faith in you to help me find all I need. Amen.