Monthly Archives: August 2013

You Oughta Write a Book

I’ve heard this several times from blog readers, so I thought why not? Unfortunately, the material just isn’t rolling in. Maybe it’s the titles. What do you think? 🙂

The Funny Thing About Leukemia

Lose Weight the Chemo Way

Loving The People Who Bring You Poison

Wake Up and Take Your Sleeping Pill

Five Types of Bowel Movements and Other Things Nurses Want To Know

From Bed to Recliner: Defining Your Daily Goal With Leukemia

…And my very personal favorite…

I Laughed So Hard My Hair Fell Out

– – – – – –

“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

“I Own You!”

My sister sent me an interesting article written by a person with Meniere’s Disease. The comment that grabbed my attention in the article was the author’s observation that her disability sometimes screams to her, “I own you!”

Have you ever felt that way? That something in your life, your health, your personal relationships, your job, your debt, perhaps a destructive self habit…something cries out to you, “I own you.” Marcia and I were tempted by this thought at the very beginning of our journey with Leukemia. Even now we are periodically attacked with this thought. The ongoing demands of the very real symptoms insist on being attended to. They will not be ignored and we cannot escape them. But do these challenging realities really OWN us? Just because thieves continue to survey your house, that is not the same as breaking in and stealing from you or taking you hostage. And certainly you don’t leave the house unprotected.

A servant cannot serve two masters. We cannot be owned simultaneously by peace and fear. In an earlier post we looked at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which tells us “You are not your own. You were bought at a price.” (This may be an affront to those who think they can give part of their life to God and have the right to call all their own shots.) If you are a devoted follower of Jesus, your body (and mind) belongs to Him and His care. It is a temporary dwelling for an eternal and divine purpose. That is why we are able to persevere in faith through difficult trials (and you can too). We know to whom we belong. “We have this faith as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

We are not owned by our troubles unless we willingly surrender to them. What is the antidote for this? Developing an attitude of gratitude, praising God, for who He is, for what He has done, what He will do, and what He is now doing on your behalf. I would be glad to be healed of Leukemia, and believe I will be one day. At the same time, I am thankful I do not carry a heavier cross. I am thankful I do not bear this alone. I am thankful for a loving God who never abandons me. Even for a sense of humor that sometimes gives me a break from becoming too serious.

When the devil tells you about your troubles, you tell him about your Great God! Your troubles, whatever they are, do not have to own you. Say it out loud. “You (name the affliction) do NOT own me.” Draw close to God and He WILL draw close to you. It’s a promise.

Finally an answer (maybe) – med update

Nearly five months after Stem cell Transplant: Now that I’ve lost 30 pounds to reach my junior high school weight, they’ve diagnosed me with Failure to Thrive and I’ll be starting on a double steroid regime. Their primary suspect is GVHD (graft versus host disease). To be sure they were going to have me swallow a camera-pill that takes pictures all the way down the GI tract. (Isn’t that wild?!) But whatever they found, I would have to do the steroids anyway, so we decided to go the steroid route. That means going back to blood sugar readings twice a day. But hopefully we’ll skip another round of temporary diabetes. I’ve not been happy with the side effects to steroids so far, but if it allows me to eat I will have more energy. Blood counts are all up if not normal. So if we can resolve the nutrition problem, all should be well…or at least better!

Thanks to God for His sustaining power and for the medical solutions He grants. Thanks to everyone for ongoing prayers.

Live Abundantly

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

When I ask people if they’ve ever felt their joy, passion, and sense of purpose has been lost or taken from them, nearly all reply ‘yes’ to some aspect of their life. When I ask them would they reclaim it if they could the answer is always a resounding ‘yes!’ That is the message of John 10:10, a message of promise and hope.

We have an enemy and he wants to kill, steal, and destroy us and our families. He wants us to live hopeless defeated lives. And sometimes we willingly let him. But Jesus wants us to have an abundant life, full of joy, love, and peace. Even when life takes away physical things: health, finances, relationships, property it doesn’t have to steal away our heart in the midst of these trials. That is what Jesus offers, the ability to endure and the real and lasting hope of restoration.

Do you think your light will shine more brightly into the world when you are held captive by despair over all that is lost, or when you maintain an abundant life by focusing on what you have: a victorious and loving God who protects and provides for you?

I’m not talking about being a bobble-head Christian with a pasted smile and prerecorded message that says, “I love Jesus and nothing bothers me.” I’m talking about real people who face real and sometimes immense problems and yet respond with the real persevering power of a risen Savior. None of us do this perfectly. All of us get drug down. And all of us need each other during those times. But living the abundant life is pursued by doing what Jesus said. Claim the promise of abundant life in the midst of everything else around you; the abundant life that is filled with compassion for others. Then watch your light glow brighter. It all starts with a daily conversation with God asking Him to draw you close and help you live life abundantly.

Your Life As A Movie


Have you ever thought of your life as a movie? Really, a movie starring YOU. Actually a documentary of all your real priorities throughout life, your actions as well as your private thoughts and ambitions. The real you. Hmmm, I wonder if that sounds more exciting or frightening?

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3 that we should build our lives on a firm foundation. What we say and do is one thing. But the foundation reflects what we really believe. It is the footprint of our lives. Verse 13 says that there will be a Day when it will all be brought to light and revealed with fire and the fire will test the quality of our work, our life.

But what does get burnt up? I don’t think it is the bad stuff we do because that was already paid for by Christ on the cross. But rather it will be all our non eternal works…the ways we wasted our lives with complaining, nagging, worrying, selfish ambition, meaningless hobbies, etc. I think this is the wood, hay and straw of our lives that “the Day will bring to light.”

The image that comes to mind is a somber one of the wasted moments I spent focusing on this world being thrown on a big screen…light that reveals and destroys darkness. And it will be burnt up. We will all pass through a fire and something will be burnt up. I hope mine is a small “poof” and not a large bonfire that causes others to say, “there goes Bryan!”

The good news is that you and I can CHOOSE each day how our life is built and what will be revealed in the end.

1 Corinthians 3:10-17
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.


The book of Acts describes an account where Paul and others were shipwrecked. I’ve been in some scary situations, this battle with Leukemia being one of them. But to be shipwrecked has to be one of the worst. Furthermore, the situation doesn’t unfold with an orderly line up to get on the comfortable life boats. Nor is there a miraculous intervention by God where He suddenly transports them to a warm dry beach. No, the survivors are left clinging for their lives to a ship’s mast, a piece of timber and whatever they could grab onto.

Maybe there has been a time in your life when you have felt ‘shipwrecked,’ when your very footing washed away from under you; a time when in one moment everything was well to the next where you were tossed into the depths of a dark sea, unsure of your future. All resources to save yourself or even cope are lost and unavailable. Is your faith strong enough to keep you afloat during times like these? The time to build your faith is now, when your ship is still afloat. Start right now and give thanks for how God has already blessed you AND for how He will continue to bless you even in perilous situations.

Every Day Faith

I remember flying back to our former home of Australia a few years back. It was 14 hours nonstop from LA to Sydney. Isn’t that crazy that you can fly 500 miles per hour anywhere without stopping?! The in-flight movie screens would flash a map on the screen every 2-3 hours showing where the plane was with respect to the whole journey. I remember waking up in my cramped coach seat thinking, “This is about all I can take of this. I hope we’re getting close.” Then the map appeared showing we were almost HALF way there! Of course, we passengers had no clue where we really were. There was no reference point visible from the windows, just clouds and ocean. And there was no way to change the situation. But the captain knew precisely where we were; using the instrument panel s/he skillfully kept us on course and brought us safely to our destination. That’s how faith works. You put your trust in the one who has power to keep you on course.

Have you ever been tempted by a desire to see the future? Especially in a troubling and uncertain position, have you ever asked, “How is this going to work out?” When is this going to resolve? But in the end, no one has figured out how to live two days at once, so we resolve to live one day at a time…by faith.

We all live by faith everyday. We live by faith that it won’t be the bridge WE drive across that fails, that our health will not falter, that our children will be well. Even the nonbeliever lives in tremendous faith that their beliefs will somehow reward them in the end. One of my favorite lines from the Facing the Giants movie is when the disappointed coach’s wife learns she still is NOT pregnant. Standing in the clinic parking lot, she lifts her eyes to heaven and says, “Even now I put my trust in you!”

How does your trust meter read these days? Especially in those areas of your life where you are not the captain of your fate, when you are powerless to change your course? Kirk Cameron is coming out with a movie late September called “Unstoppable” to examine how faith leads us through unthinkable situations. I hope you take opportunity to view it with a friend.

2 Corinthians 5:7 we walk by faith, not by sight.


This last three months of lack of appetite has worn me down. I don’t feel bad until I eat a few bites. After 3-4 hours of stomach upset I start to feel better until it’s time to eat a few more bites or a nutrition shake. Marcia is always looking for something that will settle. She bought me a Cliff Bar. It’s one of those survival energy bars packed with protein (and chocolate chips!). I thought it ironic that I just barely had the energy to open the “tear here” energy bar. 🙂

Do you ever find yourself grasping to “fix” a problem, especially when it is your broken body? Sometimes, there is no ‘fixing’ within our power. All we can do is rest (16-20 hours per day in my case). I think it helps to realize that this body is not mine to fix. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

The bible teaches us that we are primarily spiritual beings with a physical ‘tent’, not physical beings with a small spiritual component. We don’t own our bodies or have rights over them. How does realizing and accepting that truth change your view of life, especially suffering? Romans 12:1-2 pleads with us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. THEN we will understand His perfect will.

Offering money, time reading the bible, doing good…these are all fine. But it is when we offer our bodies, our very life to God that we start to engage in spiritual worship.

Who Can Stand Against You?

Struggle, pain, sorrow, opposition. We try to escape them but they are part of our life…for a purpose. But you are not alone. Our God IS with us. Watch your faith grow as you affirm His truth and light throughout the day. As you fix your eyes on God, consider the lyrics from Chris Tomlin’s song, Our God:

Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind –
there’s no one like you, none like You!
Into the darkness you shine, out of the ashes we rise
there’s no one like you, none like You!

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
What could stand against.

Coming to the end of ourselves and finding God

“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.”
― A.W. Tozer

In John 19:10-11, Jesus is standing before Pontius Pilate who pleaded, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus replied, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”

We think we have control over our life. We think we can give the orders, but in the end (and in the beginning) God is the one who is in control. We see that when we finally come to the end of our efforts, to the end of ourselves. For ten weeks I have been trying to find a solution to this loss of appetite and constant stomach distress and weakness. The doctors have also tried to no avail. But I have to leave it up to God because I am literally out of breath trying to give the orders. We all have to live one day at a time because none of us have discovered how to live two days at a time.

What is it that you are facing that’s well beyond your striving to control? Admit it to God, all of it, the problem AND your solution, and see what God is ready to do.