Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Time to Rest – Bryan’s medical update

The doctor appointment on Tuesday went quite sideways to expectation. It’s a bit like a “perfect storm” where we came to the top of the wave thinking we might just make it over the crest, only to have our hopes dashed by yet another crushing wave. Such has been this long journey through cancer.

The bottom line is, because fusarium never actually goes away completely, it rules out the possibility of a second transplant, my only small medical hope for a potential cure. In light of my recent test results the prospects of using hypomethylating agents (“soft chemo”) to hold the leukemia at bay makes the doctor “terrified” for the potential “disastrous” effects it could have on my health. In my complex situation, with two terminal illnesses, there is only a slim chance the treatment would give us a little more time and a very large probability that they could actually shorten life because it would present an environment that is more susceptible to infections, including the existing fusarium which continues to persist after nearly 7 months. Each treatment yields ever diminishing prospects and ever-increasing risks. In light of this, the doctor suggests that we might consider enjoying the time that remains, without treatment. Having discussed this and prayed overnight and into today, we are at peace with this.

imageWe’re not giving up. We’re leaving it up to God.

We have persistently and repeatedly pushed against doors that would not budge. We’ve both endured the devastating effects that 3 1/2 years of “treatment” have wreaked on my body. Together we both have fought the good fight and run the hard race. Now, it seems to us, a time to rest and let God do what is best in the grand scheme of things. It’s been in his hands from the beginning and we’ve endeavored to honor him each step of the way, asking only for his perfect will to be done.

We have no real definitive timeline. It could be “weeks or months”. Or, God could still work a miracle. Thanks to those of you who have been praying and fasting to this effect.

Our intent is, as it has been all along, to celebrate the life God has given us, thankful for so very many blessings, and to live with the great purpose to which he has called us. Death is not defeat. For us, death is a graduation from this phase of life to the one in heaven that lasts forever in peace.

We intend to continue to live life fully with purpose and passion. We encourage you to do the same. Trust God. Ask for his very Spirit to teach, guide, comfort, and strengthen you, to follow Jesus daily. After all is accomplished and all is experienced, all that remains and all that counts, is faith, expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)

Know how very much we appreciate your ongoing prayers and support. They are a treasure to us.
Bryan and Marcia


I love who I really am

Though some deny it, it really is easy to say those three little words that have such profound impact when spoken from your heart:

I love you.

(Or those OTHER three small words one spouse longs to hear from the other, “I was wrong.”)

We talk about loving our spouse and our children in the same context of loving pizza or chocolate or sports. Confusing, isn’t it? But hidden under this fabric of many loves there lies an unspoken, somewhat sinister love. . . the love that hinges on “if” or “as long as.”

I love my job – if it pays well (or provides recognition or…promotion).
I love my spouse – as long as they fulfill my needs.
I love my children – as long as they obey.
I love my friends – as long as they agree with me.
I love my life – as long as I have my health, financial security, family (the list goes on).
I love God – as long as he blesses my life.

When we hinge our happiness and sense of purpose and love on an “if” or “as long as,” we’re admitting to a love for something that is greater than what we profess.

You all know from my 3+ year battle, the road ahead for any patient with acute Leukemia is an extremely difficult one: physically, emotionally, psychologically, relationally, and spiritually. More things are given up than desired and yet some new wonderful things can be picked up in the process. There is always eternal hope for those who love the Lord. The encouragement, prayers, and love of family and friends makes all the difference.

Cancer has a way of stripping away the temporal things that we let become our identity. As I’ve said before, we don’t get to choose what suffering comes knocking at our door but we do get to choose how we answer it. Be it driving, a certain form of communicating, eating and enjoying certain foods, or dealing with pain and sorrow, we get to choose what/who defines who we are. And in the end, our response determines how much we love and trust God above all else.

Cancer is not who I am. It defines my circumstances but it doesn’t define me. It doesn’t define who God is or who I am in his sight. The same can be true for you. Whatever identity you’ve lost through an unexpected and painful turn in the road also provides the opportunity to discover your true identity – what never changes regardless of the difficulty you face. We can choose to see each problem as an opportunity to trust God and to seek his blessing found only on the road of sorrow, never on the fast lane in the highway of a busy and productive life. In losing the world and even the life we know, we gain Jesus.

Things or circumstances don’t have to define who you are. Not bad things. Not even good things. As we discipline ourselves to keep focused, our eyes on the goal, we stay on track, our course unshaken by the life tremors which threaten to knock us down.

It is only in discovering our true identity that we find real peace in life. It’s there we experience peace in the storm, joy in the sorrow, comfort amidst pain, a friend when you are lonely, hope in despair, light in the darkness, and grace – amazing grace – when you realize his grace and power is all you have and all you really need.

Despite the let downs and disappointments and feelings that I could be so much better, more effective and productive, I love who I really am – a redeemed and treasured child of God, heir to his kingdom, and seen without blemish because Jesus alone has covered all my blemishes with his grace.

“I love who I really am. My true and full identify is in my personal relationship with Jesus.”

Is that your pronouncement of faith and joy in light of even your darkest moments?

Who are you?

During a heated political debate Abraham Lincoln was accused of being two-faced and insincere. Lincoln quickly retorted with a touch of humor. Referencing his homely appearance he said, “Honestly, if I were two-faced, would I be showing you this one?”

We chuckle at the witty reply but the truth is, none of us like to be called two-faced. It casks a negative light on our character, suggesting we would easily flow with whatever tide of opinion seems to benefit us at the time. While we’re tempted to think of it as gain or the easy way out of a difficult situation, it’s actually a strategy for defeat. Lincoln borrowed from the wisdom of Jesus when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25) It’s true for a nation; it’s true for an individual.

In his little book of wisdom to business people, Myron Rush reminded us that Satan’s cleverest lie was to convince us we have two lives: one for worship and one for work. Believing the lie sways us to believe we can:

  • act reverently in church and then yell at the kids on the way home
  • talk about world missions at church but neglect telling our neighbors about Jesus
  •  pray for compassion but treating employees and coworkers with contempt
  • build treasures in heaven while heaping  up treasures on earth

We have just one life to live, a life of integrity and consistent character, whose word is true which ever audience receives it. Whether a person is considered particularly spiritual in nature or not, the one whose word is true is respected. And if it’s what we most respect in others, shouldn’t we strive to achieve it as well?

What does an integrated life look like? I think it best to state the obvious up front: it’s not perfect. No one has it all together all the time. None of us own the corner store on truth. Even if we embrace the absolute truth of the one true God whose character and wisdom is always the same – yesterday, today, and tomorrow – our understanding and application of that truth is limited. We wisely seek the mind of Christ, but none of us have it completely, save what the Spirit of God reveals to us and we readily embrace.

An integrated life does not seek balance like the stage performer who tries to keep all the plates spinning on a stick by spending a little time here and there with each one. That’s chaos waiting for disaster. We try to balance work and family, hobbies and devotions, financial security and generosity. But eventually we all run short on energy and the plates come crashing down in our lives.

Rather an integrated life is more like the process of infusion. We all know that if we put some lemons, limes, and oranges into water along with a touch of mint, cucumber, or basil, will result in a tasty and refreshing drink. The water absorbs the vital essence of that which is allowed to steep in it.

We – whose bodies are 2/3 water – likewise are most refreshed and satisfied when we’re infused with the fruit of the Spirit. When we intentionally infuse love, joy, and peace into our daily agendas, everything we think, say or do starts to become flavored by their virtue. When we allow our relationships and interactions with those around us to be bathed in patience, kindness and goodness, we effectively live out God’s singular message of “love your neighbor.” When we pursue the character of God which includes faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we are able to see the world around us, even our troubles, through his eyes.

Of course, what the water tastes like depends on what is infused in it. Replace love, joy, and peace with anger, jealousy and bitterness and our lives take on a very different, unpleasant taste. Infuse self-centered thinking and apathy, and we  will not see others at all. Soak our lives in instant gratification and comfort, we take on the flavor that does not satisfy nor refresh.

The longer the essence is infused, the more it will resemble the original. We were created in God’s image and urged to reflect him in all we do – not just our Sunday prayer lives but our everyday activities and ambitions. When what we seek is to be infused completely by God’s truth and grace, our lives are transformed. Dedication to thankfulness drives away self-pity. Forgiveness (of self and others) banishes bitterness and regret. Generosity dissolves greed.

There’s nothing two-faced about it. Who God is becomes who we are. One life to live with his purpose and passion.



Do you love me? Is it really true?

Tevye, the colorful character from Fiddler on the Roof, leans over quietly and asks his wife, “Do you love me?” She screams in reply, “Do I WHAT?!” “Do you love me?” he asks again with genuine concern. She goes into an indignant tirade of how she bore his children, cooked his meals, washed his clothes, and so many other chores she’s done in 25 years. Acknowledging her many expressions of love, he gently repeated, “But do you love me?” Quietly she admitted, “I guess I do love you.” Teasingly, he replied, “Then I guess I love you too.” Together they sigh saying, “After 25 years. it’s nice to know.”

How do you know love is true? Is it by the repetition of those three little words, “I love you?” (Or perhaps those other three: “I was wrong!”) Or is it in the consistent demonstration of loving acts? We could say “both” and be closest to the truth. But neither words alone nor actions by themselves are the true test of live, are they? We can, and sometimes do, speak idle words and perform repeated acts of service more in response to duty than true love.

But somehow, our hearts are able to confirm what eyes have seen and lips have spoken. Here comes a time when the heart knows for sure what the mind has only acknowledged to be true.

“In sickness and in health” has a way of testing true love. Marcia and I have experienced this to be true through this long and unexpected journey brought cancer. In face of adversity, true love finds both gentleness and strength. It learns the value in f commitment and persevering and also humble surrender. Whatever we knew as star struck lovers 44 years ago has been positively confirmed to be true in a much deeper sense than we ever could have imagined.

The same is true about God’s Word which is his love letter to you and me. At some point we come to acknowledge that God IS God and his Word is inherently true. we know it in our minds, confirm it with our lips, and believe it in our heart. And yet there is a deeper sense of knowing God’s true love that comes only by experiencing it through difficult trials. I’ve commented before that I would t have chosen this journey through cancer, BUT I’ve discovered along its path blessings I would never have discovered on a more comfortable road. Whereas once I “knew” God’s live and Word to be true in my mind and heart, now I know it to be true through the experience of his grace, his power to persevere, the comfort of his promise and the real hope in his faithful promises. That he loves me – and you – is undeniably evidenced both in times of rejoicing and times of sorrow and pain. Even if I had none of this, the price his Son Jesus paid for the forgiveness of my sins was evidence enough of his great love. Our God is a good God. His banner over me is mercy and love.

But is the “flip side” also true? How should we reply when Jesus asks us what he asked his disciple Peter, “Do you love me?” Is it sufficient to go about dutiful good deeds like Tevye’s wife Golde? Or is it sufficient to say the words in prayer and song? Deep down we know true love is expressed not only by simple words or sacrificial deeds. It’s known by all that flows from a humble heart that gives a sacrifice of praise and a life yielded completely to him, no holds barred, no distractions.

He’s asking, “Do you really love me? Is it really true?” How will you respond today?

If you had just one

It is an astounding time in which we live. In some parts of the world that are far remote to our way of thinking, life goes on day by day as it has for generations without change and little access to potentially life changing information and innovation. In our world of technology, change is what’s on the menu. The world is literally available at our fingertips. Need a recipe, instructions for how to fix nearly anything, or need to make a reservation for a destination across the world? Presto, your answer is dished up right away.

My grandmother, when she wanted to read a passage of scripture, would go to the table where the old family bible sat and carefully undo the brass clasps that protected it’s pages.

In contrast, we can access the bible “online” wherever we go. Don’t remember where to find a verse? No problem. Just “Google” a word or partial phrase and multiple results will appear. Click on one and you are immediately taken directly to the passage, available in whatever version or language you want.

I sometimes wonder what effect such readily available information will have on our abilities to remember things for ourselves. Whether it’s a phone number or a bible verse, a machine remembers it for us.

I’ve recently been asking people to imagine a life where such abundance of information was not readily available; where political pressures prohibit access to certain books, or that place in your life where a sudden stroke or gradual onset of Alzheimer’s robbed you of your ability to access information. If, in that terrible situation, you were somehow able to remember just one name, whose name would it be? If you could remember only one short passage of scripture, which one would you want to always be emblazoned in your mind and heart?

I find it a nearly impossible task. The thought of summarizing all of God’s Word onto a scrap of forbidden paper or having mental capacity to remember only one verse is daunting to say the least. Jesus summed up all the law and the prophets with these few words:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39

We could shorten that to a simple yet profound challenge to each of our daily activities: Love God – love others. If you remembered nothing else, how might this simple ‘code’ guide your every day? Galatians 5:6 similarly summarizes my daily and life purpose: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” It reminds me that whatever else is taken away, faith and love remain the essence of life.

Given the challenge, a friend quickly replied with this verse: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25-26 If he could remember just one short promise, he wants it to be the one of eternal life offered freely to him by his Lord Jesus.

What about you? Maybe you have a “life verse” you’ve committed to memory that encourages you and continually points you toward your prized goal. Thankfully, we don’t have to choose just one. And while there’s no guarantee we won’t fall victim to some debilitating condition which limits our ability to remember and process the valuable truths and promises, committing one or more of those to memory now will continue to guard your heart and mind even in those days.

God’s Word is the antidote to our woes. It’s how Jesus answered every temptation. Commit it to memory now. Apply it to your daily life and watch how it helps you in times of trouble.

One door away from heaven

I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven in recent weeks, wondering what it will be like to step through the door from this life I know, to my new and forever life in heaven. Will I take one last look at this world I’ve enjoyed and then turn away to the welcoming arms of Jesus? Or will my eyes remain fixed on loved ones I’m pained to leave, bidding them to follow as I simply fall backward into the arms of my Lord and Savior?

What will it be like to walk through heaven’s door?

Of course, you realize there are also many doors between us and heaven’s gates. There is the door of realizing that there is a God, and we’re not him! There’s the door of realizing we need the saving grace of Jesus who paid the price for our sins. There’s the door of baptism, the public profession of our faith, not something hidden in the shadows of our life. There are doorways we cross over to learn patience, kindness, faithfulness, and other qualities we want to mark our lives. We walk through these doors once and continually evaluate the purpose and passions of our life as identified by that passage. Having passed through the door of salvation, how do I now live this “new life in Christ”? How is my life transformationally different because of this?!” After all, what is the point of passing through a door if I don’t intend to enjoy and participate in what’s on the other side?

There are doors of friendships that bring us closer to heaven. They open to reveal God’s grace and truth. In these relationships, we share life as it really is, without pretense. We encourage each other to seek the best, God’s best, and to live purposeful and rewarding lives as we wait for heaven. Chit-chat easily gives way to meaningful and cherished sharing of what’s most important to us. Who knows, the door of one friendship might be “One Door Away From Heaven.” Dean Koontz, author of the book by that name describes it like this:

“What will you find behind the door that is one door away from Heaven? If your heart is closed, then you will find behind that door nothing to light your way. But if your heart is open, you will find behind that door people, who, like you, are searching and you will find the right door together with them. None of use can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another’s salvation, and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into the light.”

I see it actually as God’s hand of grace and forgiveness that leads us out of the darkness, not our own doing. The gift of heaven comes only by faith in Jesus who offers it. But isn’t it also true that we all play a part in opening doors for those around us by our encouragement and daring to be real with them? Don’t these deepest of friendships open the door that is one door from heaven? I think it’s how God designed us to belong to each other as a community of caring people.

No doubt, we all have lots of speculation about what heaven will be like. While the bible doesn’t tell us everything, reading it reveals much about heaven that should appeal greatly to each of us. No more sorrow, no more pain. Sharing forever with the one who loves us most. Reuniting with loved ones who’ve gone before us. Beauty quite literally beyond our imagination – life as it was designed to be from the beginning.

More and more, I am discovering these truths from God’s Word bless my day in the most practical ways. Focusing my energies and passions on relationships that open doors to heaven keeps me from wasting my life on so much meaningless chit-chat and activity. I hope this for you too. Live with hearts open to the purpose and passion God speaks to you. Be intentional about the doors you open for others.

Bryan medical update 5/11/16

Consultation went well at the U of I Wednesday. I had a blood infusion which should give me a bit more energy for awhile. The doctor agreed the best option is to proceed with hypomethylating agents (“soft” chemo) which I should be able to do outpatient at Skiff in Newton, maybe starting as early as next week. From what we understand, it will be a series of 5-7 infusions (or injections, depending on drug that is approved) over the course of a week. Wait 4-6 weeks and then reassess. Repeat if progress indicates. We’re told side effects may be minimal and that a return to Mayo Clinic is not expected. My Mercy oncologist will supervise the treatment and the U of I cancer center will continue to be my care coordinator.

This likely will not kill the cancer but hopefully will keep it at bay and give us additional time for the fusarium infection to be completely (?) knocked down. IF repeated courses of the hypomethylating agents are successful, it *might* open the door to a future induction chemo and transplant, IF my body is able to tolerate additional heavy chemo. We are cautioned that the risks continue to be high. But we are comfortable with this treatment approach and trust God will continue to direct our paths in the coming weeks/months.

Thank you for your prayers and support! We’ll keep you posted of any changes in plans. We are reminded daily how fragile this life is. As with any goal, it’s best we begin with the end in mind, pursue God, and enjoy the blessing of his promises and grace. This is what has sustained us through this unexpected journey. We hope he is the one who also sustains you through your every trial.


The cure we all need

Patient- “So Doctor, how long do I have to live?”

The great physician pondered the question, not searching for an answer, because the solution was obvious from the beginning. No, he was reflecting sadly on how his patient had allowed himself to be overcome by such a condition that was increasingly destroying his quality of life and now had become a contagion to others.

Doctor- “You will live as long as intended. My personal concern is for what quality of life you will be afforded if your condition continues untreated.

P- But Doctor, I’ve been following your orders and taking my medicine for many years. Still my condition worsens. Sometimes it seems unbearable. And lately, I’ve been seeing signs that my family and coworkers are getting this too.

D- Have you really been taking your medicine as prescribed? Have you consistently and persistently massaged the salve into all the afflicted areas? Or have you merely sprinkled it about here and there, now and then when it seemed convenient? Have you really been consistent and diligent in the exercises I gave you? Your muscles won’t grow and strengthen unless you gently stretch them. It’s only when their very fibers are gently broken that they can regrow even stronger. Remember, this isn’t a do it once and forget it process. It’s a lifetime application.

P- But it hurts. And besides, you know how busy I am and how many responsibilities I have.

D- To become fully well requires diligence, commitment, sacrifice, and even pain. Remember the first rule of airplane safety? First apply your own oxygen mask and then help others. Your condition is sucking the air out of your life. Often you don’t consider it too bad because you’ve become so accustomed to living this way. You think you have it under control but it’s an illusion. You’re not dying but one by one the most critical areas of your life will fall victim to the disease you refuse to properly treat.

P- Is there still hope for a cure? Or am I doomed?

D- Certainly, the damage has taken its toll. But the cure is now as it has always been and will always be, most effective in restoring the fullness of life you really desire. You DO want to o have a truly full and abundant life, don’t you?

P- Yes, of course. But how long will I need treatment? Sometimes it seems to cost more than it’s worth.

D- You’ll need the treatment for your entire life. It may seem costly from one perspective. But compared to the time and energy and money you fritter away on things that don’t really benefit you, it’s not costly at all.

P- Will it really be a cure? No more symptoms, sorrow, or pain?

D- It will take time but yes, it is definitely the perfect cure. It takes time and you may notice that your symptoms flare up I occasionally. Don’t let it worry you. Just keep applying the healing salve generously and vigorously and you will see remarkable improvement – and finally, a complete cure, as if you had a new body.

P- Oh Doctor, I’m sorry for being so negligent in neglecting your instructions. I really want to be well and commit my life to what you’ve said. How can I ever thank you?

D- I’ve given you enough healing salve to share with others. Help them to apply it to the destructive conditions of their lives. Share in their suffering and celebrate their victories. Seeing you live well and helping others to do the same is the thanks I desire.

As you reflect on this Doctor-patient parable, consider the cancerous effect harmful thinking that invades your own life. A little worry builds up to become a mountain of anxiety that seems insurmountable. Bitterness , anger, envy and greed grow and multiply like cancerous cells that rob the oxygen from us and smother our ability to breathe clearly and enjoy life fully. Unchecked, this condition becomes contagious and infects those around us. The solution is to consistently, persistently, and diligently apply the healing salve of God’s truth and grace so that it reaches every aspect of our lives. It’s sometimes painful, but it’s not too late. Let his truth and grace pour over you until even your unconscious thoughts bear the mark of his unending love.

Lord, take my destructive thoughts and replace them with the healing salve of your peace, patience, goodness, love and joy.

I see it differently now

In the Canadian Murdoch Mysteries, young detective Murdoch solves murder mysteries by using his keen interest in science and also relying on his devout faith in God. His success as an investigator almost always involves applying what he already knows to a situation that is new. For example, in one episode he needed a photograph of the victim right away but the only known photograph of the lady was in France. The fax machine had not yet been invented and it would take weeks to send the photo by boat. However, he knew that electronic communication was possible by converting a series of numbers into letters: 1=a, 2=b, etc. Looking at that in a different way, he realized those numbers could represent not just letters but also shades of gray. So by constructing a rubric where 1=white, 9=black, and the numbers in between representing the various shades, he had the photograph in France converted to a chart of numbers and had this sent electronically by wire. Once received in Toronto, the numbers were painstakingly conveyed back into the grayscale correspondents. The result was of course a facsimile of the original photograph.

Isn’t this how all inventions are given birth? A problem presents itself, like a deep chasm separating a person on one side from someone on the other side. Always seeing the expansive gap between them, the only solution to come together was to walk for miles, through great effort, to find a possible crossing. And so it always was this way – until someone looked at the problem differently and built a bridge to cross the gap.

I don’t know if you are particularly inventive or engineering-minded when it comes to creating new solutions to nagging problems. But don’t we all have the ability to look at a problem from a different angle, a new light, and build a bridge of our own to cross the gap from frustration and woe to victory and celebration? That’s exactly what happens when we encourage each other to see problems as opportunities, stumbling blocks as stepping-stones, and even a wide gap of understanding of disagreement as the opportunity to construct a bridge built with respect, compassion, forgiveness, humility, and genuine love.

Right now you see someone who hurts others with brazen words and actions. But looking differently at them, you see someone who is hurt themselves and needing someone to befriend them. You’re in a heated discussion where no consensus can be found and you just want to escape. Looking differently, you realize that HOW we make a decision is sometimes more important than the actual decision. You think of someone who disagrees vehemently with your political or spiritual views and quickly a wide gulf appears to prevent even a civil conversation from happening. Looking differently, you see your own views, firm as they may be, are not the only way of seeing things. Respecting the other person’s right to their own opinion changes how we see them.

That’s what God’s Word does. It shines light, the great symbol of truth and understanding and wisdom onto dark and problematic situations. God gives us the perspective we need to have hundreds of times a day in order to see our problems, our life, and others through his eyes.

Confounded by seeing the your problems always the same and never-changing? Read God’s Word and ask him to see things differently – though his eyes.

Would you like MORE?

Charles Dickens’ Oliver, still hungry after his meager portion of cruel, boldly approaches the workhouse master and asks, “Please sir, could I have more?” In a world where the majority of people face a similar situation every day, even those of us with full bellies still ask for more. More bang for the buck, more miles per gallon, more value added features, more happiness, more fulfillment, more time! Even when we simplify our lives and focus our energies and discover that “less is more,” it’s still “more” we’re after. More peace, more balance, more of everything good.

But what happens when you actually get more of what you’re seeking? Does it lead to more contentment and satisfaction? Or does getting more make us want even more yet? Many of our appetites for things like food, fitness, and life festivities leave us saying, “That was great! Let’s do it again!” Whether we are “addicted” to something good or something bad, our appetites easily become satiated and yet left wanting more.

Consider facing a terminal illness or any other situation that leaves you pleading for “a second chance.” If your life circumstance was redeemed and restored, how would you respond? We’ve heard “there are no atheists in foxholes,” and we know that many desperate “negotiations” are made in desperate times. “If only you do this, I’ll certainly do that.” But would we follow through? If faced with a month to live, you were granted many more months or even years, would it forever change the way you spend your remaining time? Or would you continue to fritter it away on meaningless activities? If the court gavel came down with the verdict of guilty, and yet someone stepped in and paid the price for your wrongdoing, would it change the way you lived your life each day after?

That’s the picture of God’s gift of grace. He gives us life with so many second chances. He gave his Son to not only pay the price for our rebellious ways but also to provide an inheritance into his kingdom. And more yet, he gave us his very Spirit to guide, comfort, strengthen, and teach us everything we need.

Whether you have good reason to believe your days are very short or whether you think you have many years left, why not live each and every day with a thankful and generous spirit as if you were miraculously redeemed? If you’re sure you’d rejoice if the darkness of your worries were wiped away tomorrow, why not let the light of that hope shine brightly in the midst of your pain today?

Today is called the present because it is a gift. Look for and celebrate the goodness that remains in your life today and share it with others. I think you’ll find more of everything you really wanted.