Thursday, August 31, 2017

URGENT Prayer Request for Young Mother

I am adding this post (it's now March 23, 2018) because I have an urgent prayer request.  I am asking fellow believers to please say a prayer for my brother and sister-in-law, Brad and Jessica.

She is 29 years old and was pregnant with their third child (they have a four-year-old and two-year-old).  On Monday, March 19, she had blood pressure problems due to preeclampsia (she also has type 1 diabetes and they just found out she has cardiomyopathy and an enlarged heart).  They delivered the baby by C-section on Monday, three weeks early.

The baby is doing fine now (was on a feeding tube for awhile because she refused her food).  But Jessica's body was so wrecked that they put her in a medically-induced coma on Tuesday to keep her stable.  She has been under since then.  Everytime they try to wake her a little, her oxygen drops and blood pressure shoots up.  She also picked up double pneumonia and is on a breathing tube right now.  She is not breathing on her own; it's all by machine.  And she has a catheter in her neck to put oxygen right in her blood.  And she was given a blood transfusion to make up for blood loss from the C-section.  

They won't wake her up yet because they don't want her heart and lungs to get too strained.  They are trying to give them time to heal.  

Neither she nor my brother is a believer.  But I did give him some faith books to read while he sits in the hospital, visiting his baby in one room and his unconscious wife in another.

God truly is their only/biggest hope right now.  And she needs all the miracles that she can get.  (When I gave my brother the books, I told him, "I believe in turning to God in times like these.  If God is your biggest and only hope, you really should get to know Him.")

Please say a prayer for them, the new baby and other kids, their salvation, etc.  I know prayer matters.  And they could really use it.  

We worship a big God who can do big things.  With God, there's always the possibility for miracles, even if things look hopeless to everyone else.  And that's what I am clinging to right now.  I am choosing to not look with my eyes but with my heart, my faith.  

Remember that even when all signs look bad, it ain't over till God says it's over.  And if God says "It ain't over" then nothin' gonna make it over.  (And remember that God doesn't operate according to the "signs" we think we see.  He doesn't care about the odds.  He does His own thing.  In His own time.  In His own way.  Far above our understanding.)

I don't know what God will do, but I do know that we are to pray, to trust that He can do the impossible, the incredible, if He so chooses.  That if we pray anything according to His Will, He will hear us and answer.  

It is my prayer that His Will is to let her live, to give her another chance at life - to raise her babies and love her husband and find God.  Would you please pray for her too?

Thank you.  And I will post an update when there's more to know.

Update 3/24/18:  My mother reported that the pneumonia got worse yesterday, but doesn't know how it is today.  And they had to drain some fluid from around her lungs, which apparently is rather common for her condition.  She is still knocked out, but shows signs of being feisty when she's awakened a bit.  So that's good.  And another positive: the doctors said her heart has gotten stronger.  Over the last week, it was functioning at 25 when it came to some sort of "pumping blood out of the heart" process.  The doctors say it should be at 60.  So it was dangerously low.  But today it's at 40.  A big improvement.  

3/25/18:  A bit of a scare this morning when she stopped getting oxygen.  They thought they might have to remove the catheter in her neck and put it in the large blood vessel in her upper thigh, but they just ended up moving it around in her neck a bit and her oxygen level went back up.  She is still on a breathing tube and still deeply unconscious.  Not sure how the pneumonia is going, but hope to find out soon.

3/29/18: There's been some more improvement.  She's still knocked out, but her heart is now pumping blood out at 50 (should be 60, so getting closer) and her lungs have finally begun to fill with air.  Two days ago, she had zero "lung volume" (my mother, a nurse, said it should be 600).  Then overnight it went to 20.  And today it's at 65.  Slow progress, but at least they're steps in the right direction.  The baby is being released tomorrow and my brother will finally spend the night in a house.  Keep the prayers coming.  Thank you.

4/1/18: Still slowly improving.  They plan to start weening her off of the paralytics and sedatives this week so that she can wake up a bit.  We'll know more once she's awake.  

4/7/18:. Apparently she is doing great.  Her lung volume is over 320 and her heart funtion is basically normal.  They took her breathing tube out yesterday and did a tracheotomy (yuck!), which is supposedly typical for the situation.  And they took her off the ECMO machine (don't know what that is, but the fewer machines she's on the better).  And today they are planning to let her wake up.  It will be interesting to see what she thinks after being unconscious for almost three weeks and having a newborn she barely met.

4/14/18:. She is still improving.  They let her wake up this weekend.  She is a bit confused, but basically understands what's happening.  But she is a little sad and frustrated that she can't talk because of the tracheotomy.  She will be moved to a different city/medical center soon where she will be fully weened from the drugs she's been on and will get rehab for the tracheotomy.  And after that, it's on to another hospital for I-don't-know-what.

4/19/18:. According to my brother, she is doing very well, writing messages and being able to see her kids.  They were going to move her to a hospital an hour away, but they decided instead that she can be sent to one five minutes away from their house.  So much closer.  So she is happy.  She is fully off the ventilator now and will spend time in rehab and healing from the tracheotomy.

Sometimes I Wish ...

Sometimes I wish there was a place I could go where I could scream as long and as loud as I want to - a raw, primal scream, maybe even ranting and raving about everything I've ever wanted to scream out loud but held inside instead ... and no one could hear it but God in heaven (but maybe He could cover His ears for a little while, just in case). 

Or I wish I could wake up in one of those places you see in the movies sometimes, that all-white, alternate-universe place with no walls, no ceiling, no floor, no people, no noise ... no anything except whiteness as far as the eye can see.  And I could just sit there awhile in complete stillness and silence and peace.

That would be nice.

All Good Things ... (And "When Things Don't Turn Out The Way You Wanted")

You know what they say - that there's a time for every good thing to end.  Well, I would like to end this blog on these posts, some of my favorites (along with the “How I Broke” post and the series on predestination in April). 

But since I still have more posts from my other blog to break up into smaller pieces for this one, I will be adding new posts in random places throughout the past 8 months.  Just slipping them in anywhere I can.  (And I will be continuing to add posts to one of my other blogs -    

In general, it doesn’t matter when they are dated or where they are placed.  (But if it does, I will note the date that they were actually written.) 

I know this might make it a little inconvenient because it means sifting through the past 8 months for new posts BUT … it doesn’t really matter since no one is reading anyway.  So I am going to do this for me, to have the “ending” that I want yet still being able to add new stuff when I feel like it.

And now ... "When Things Don't Turn Out The Way You Wanted":

Starting Your Own Relationship with Jesus Christ (And Why We Need Him!)

             John 3: 16: “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

            God so loved the world.  He didn’t just love the world; He so loved the world.  He so loved the world that He (Jesus) would die in our place before He would miss out on an eternal relationship with us.  He knew that we would disappoint Him and hurt Him and fail Him, but He still so wanted a relationship with us that He made a way.  He knew that there would be many, many people that would reject His gift of love and salvation, but an eternity spent with those who would choose Him was worth the price of dying on the cross.  That is some amazing love!     

            Let me ask you something:  If you were to die today or if Jesus came back today, would you be ready?  Seriously!   This life, as we know it, isn't going to go on forever.  And we are not invincible.  People die every day, in every kind of way.  Are you ready to face eternity, what comes the moment after you take your last breath?  Have you figured out who Jesus is and why He matters so much? 

            Because this will be what matters most the moment after you die.  And, quite honestly, it's what matters most in this lifetime, too.

Atheism and World Religions (repost)

(Oops, that should be  "my belief," not "by belief".  I hate typos.)

[This is also taken from the Bible study I wrote.  FYI – like the other reposts, it’s very long.]

            In this lesson, I combined parts of several posts from  This lesson in not really an academic “study” of atheism and world religions, but it’s a very personal account of why I could never give up my faith in Jesus, why those other options are not for me, and how I would explain salvation and faith in Jesus to a non-believer. 

            Christianity isn’t a squeaky clean, “everything goes smoothly and life is always what I want it to be” kind of faith.  It can be messy and painful and difficult. 

            Due to many trials which have caused me to struggle deeply with my faith, I’ve become a little less polished and a lot more real over the years.  This is why I included this lesson and the depression one.  Because I really wanted to show the very real, human side of being a believer in Jesus, how we can struggle enormously with heartache and pain and doubt and fear . . . and yet still cling to Him.

            This will be a long lesson (I tried to cut it down as much as I could) because I will be looking at several different things which all relate to what we choose to believe and why: atheism, world religions, evidence to support the Bible and Jesus, and how I would describe salvation and faith in Jesus to someone.  

Why I Could Never be an Atheist

            “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”  (Psalm 14:1)

             “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  (Romans 1:20)

The End Times (repost)

            (Reposted directly from a post about the End Times in the Bible Study I wrote.  I don’t know, but something about all the hurricanes and earthquakes and solar flares and society going more “cash-less” and the terrorism and the martyring of Christians and the disease epidemics and the technology to put little radio transmitters into people’s hands containing their information and the various celestial events and a fast-approaching “one-world system” and a brewing civil war and a brewing world war, etc. … I don’t know, but something about all that makes it seems worthwhile to repost this post at this time.
            And to all those scoffers who say "None of this has anything to do with the end of the world" or "There is no 'end of the world' and Jesus isn't coming back again," I would like to ask you ... "Are you so sure!?!  Are you so sure that there isn't a supernatural world out there?  That there isn't a God who will someday do exactly what He said He'd do in His Word?  That He isn't moving and working in this world and about to bring this time to an end?  Are you so sure!?!  Even if the end doesn't come in our lifetime, it will come someday - in our own lives and for the world as we know it.  Are you prepared to face the truth?  Will you find the truth before it's too late?"     
            FYI, I didn’t repost all the questions at the end of Bible study here, just the main content.  Warning:  Don’t read this unless you are ready for a headache, ‘cuz your head will be spinning.)


            No study on the “less clear” things of Scripture would be complete without a look into the End Times.  There are many different ideas about how the world will end.  Of course, most Christians believe that it will end when Christ returns and God makes all things new.  But what isn’t clear is the timing of everything.  And the biggest “unclear” thing: Will there be a rapture?  Will it come before, during, or after the tribulation?

            I have studied this really intensely at different times over the years.  Reading every book on the topic that I could find, studying the Bible, checking the original Greek meaning of the words, etc.   To me, it is a huge, complex, wonderfully-frustrating puzzle.  And I could never really understand it . . . until this last time that I studied it.  And I was finally able to settle this issue in my mind once and for all. 

Is the Rapture taught in the Bible?

             I believe there’s going to be rapture of the true believers before the tribulation starts (which I looked at in "The End Times" post, so some of this will be review of that).  

             In this post, I’m going to list which significant passages I think refer to the Rapture and which refer to the Visible Second Coming, which will happen at the 6th seal, during the tribulation.  This is all just my opinion.  I do not claim to have any special revelation from God.  It’s just the best way I make sense of Scripture.

             Before I get into the verses, keep this in mind:
          1.  All “coming of the Lord” passages that include something about Jesus coming in power and great glory and with angels pertain to the visible second coming of Jesus at the 6th seal during the tribulation.  (However, there are some passages that refer to the visible coming which don’t use those words, but you can tell by the context, by the fact that they were already talking about the big “end of time” visible second coming.  And He also comes again visibly at the end of the trib for the battle of Armageddon, so that coming is referred to at times.  But neither of these "visible comings" are the rapture.)
          2.  None of the passages that pertain to the rapture have the words “in power and great glory and with angels.” 

             This helps clear up a lot of confusion about which “coming” the passage is referring to.