A bad back

My accident

In 1945, when I was a freshman in high school, I suffered a severe fall in a gymnastic practice in the gym after school. It knocked the wind out of me, but I was able to stand up and move around without any severe discomfort or limitations. When I went to a orthopedic physician to be checked for my condition, he put me in a girdle for several weeks just to give my back some support. I was able to return to my gymnastic team and to engage in their practices and displays and contests for the remainder of my high school years.

My early years of life and Christian service

I was able to proceed with a normal daily life of further education and work after I graduated from high school. In 1950 I chose to enlist in the navy, after I had completed a year of college, and was able to pass their physical examination, excepted that it was noted that I had asthma, but no other problems were noted. I persuaded the examine board to accept me, which they did. When I arrived in boot camp, I had at usual attack of asthma, which I had often had in the course of my childhood and youth, but they hadn’t kept me from being very active in swimming and other athletic activities. Anyway, I was discharged from the navy in two weeks and was free to pursue other interests in my life at the age of 19. Before I returned home to continue my education in athletics for a career in aquatic management and safety, I received a call from God to become a Christian minister and my asthmatic disease was miraculously removed from me. I returned home to complete my education with a new emphasis on preparing to become a minister. I got married in 1953 and began preaching in a local Baptist center that year after my local Baptist church had licensed me. I graduated from college in 1960. During these years of further education and work I had not experienced any severe discomfort in my back or limitations on my mobility in my daily activities. I was puzzled that my right leg appeared to be shorter than my left leg when I was dressed in pants, but I didn’t know why. I graduated from seminary in 1960, was ordained by the American Baptist Convention of churches for service in their agencies until in retired in 1996 from my professional ministries. I then developed a personal ministry of service through a website of Christian resources for other ministers and children of God and those who seek to relate to Him, which I continue to manage every day on the internet through the Spirit’s enabling power and guidance.

Discovery of my severe spinal injury and its early treatment.

Years later when I started having some pain in my lower back, I went to a chiropractor for some treatments for this discomfort. The X ray of my back discovered a severe dislocation of the lumbar vertebra that was causing the pinching of some nerves. I continued with his regular adjustments for several years, getting relief from the minor pain in my back with the help of some minor pain pills from time to time, as necessary. Eventually I was able to discontinue the treatments and even able to stop with the pills through some supplements that kept the nerve damage under control so that I could move around every day without any severe discomfort or limitations.

Recent increase in pain and immobility in my left leg and lower back.

About the beginning of August 2020, I began to experience pain in my lower back, so I decided that it might be helpful to resume the chiropractic treatments to get some relief. But before I could arrange to start them, a new pain was experienced from the tighten muscles in my left leg that was now being caused by the damaged nerves in my dislocated lumbar vertebra. So in addition the chiropractic treatments I am getting, I am now getting some medicine from a orthopedic specialist in the treatment of joint pain.

Current condition and concern

As of the middle of September, 2020, my pain levels are less as long as I don’t try to move around very much or walk without a walker. The medicine is helping to reduce the swelling and inflammation in the tissue in the lumbar area of my back to relieve some of the irritation on these nerves which should enable me to resume some normal mobile activities for my daily responsibilities. But I’m not sure that these present course of treatments and medicines are going to be able to give me the relief that I need in order to take care of my severely handicapped wife and myself in our home and to continue to operate my personal website with its spiritual resources and guides for Christian ministers and God’s children and seekers around the world. I don’t think that I could manage my website from a small room in a long term assisted living care facility. I can operate my laptop from a small table, but I need more resources of books and files of papers to assist me in this service that would have to be moved into my our living space. I don’t have a personal partner who is able to take over the management of my website and this special ministry, so unless I get sufficient relieve from these physical problems in my back and leg to allow me some range of normal mobility in my daily life, I will probably have to close down this website and remove these resources from the internet. I know that the Lord can heal individual cripples from their particular problems, but I’m not sure if He through His Spirit is ready to give me the relief that I need in order to continue with this ministry. Your prayers for the Spirit’s guidance in my ongoing efforts to treat these problems in my back and leg and to continue with my website ministry will be greatly appreciated. I will keep you posted regarding the Spirit’s work in my life and ministry regarding these matters. I know that God is good and that God has called and gifted me to conduct a very special ministry, and I’m willing to trust His Spirit for the enabling strength that I need to continue to serve Him from day to day. Amen

It’s a good time to

  1. Avoid any personal close association with any possible sources of infection from the coronavirus or sinful attitudes and choices of behavior.
  2. Give your serious attention to any symptoms of a physical disease or a spiritual condition of personal sin.
  3. Repent of your poor choices and seek immediate help from health professionals or the Lord Jesus, who has secured the resources for your spiritual salvation.
  4. Make your home where you and your wife can protect you and your dependents safe from this virus by daily habits of cleanliness and spiritual righteousness through the enabling guidance and transforming power of the Lord’s Spirit who can radically change your daily lives.
  5. Begin to have your wife and the mother of your children to home school your children in the basic courses of personal knowledge and skills for them to be able to effectively function as independent persons in this world. I’m sure that the resources for this educational service are readily available from appropriate publishers after decades of such service in thousands of homes.
  6. Make your home a center for the worship of God and the encouragement of your relatives and neighbors and friends in healthy living and spiritual faithful daily living. You don’t need a professional “pastor” to do this for you in some distant facility.
  7. Tune into the wise and loving guidance and instructions of the Lord’s Spirit through a personal discipline of daily prayer and meditation upon the goodness of God in your life rather than upon your fears and confusing personal opinions and foolish choices. Turn off your TVs and cell phones and open your Bibles.

Let’s talk about this, particularly how we should respond to the deadly effects of sin in our world. The coronavirus is giving all human beings a wake up call regarding the possible deadly effect of a single unhealthy organism, which is very similar to that of sin in our communities and jobs and schools and homes in this world. And it is not too late to make some radical changes in how you respond to this disease of sin.

Good help

What it is

Good help is providing practical assistance to someone who is requesting your help in order for them to meet a current need or want in their life. You may be a relative or a friend or a stranger to the person requesting the help, but you seek to provide the requested assistance as soon as possible with sincere compassion for the person making the request.

What it is not

Good help is not a request by someone to evaluate the cause of their need or them in regard to their situation. Regardless of who you are in your relationship with the person, you will probably not know them well enough to really understand what is causing them to request some immediate help from you. If someone comes to you on the street of a city and asks you for directions to a local site, good help will not be provided by you seeking to evaluate what has caused them to get “lost” or disoriented in regard to where they are and where they want to go. Good practical help cannot be provided to another person by seeking to evaluate or to make judgments about the cause of that request or the person making it.

Summary

Good help is seeking to provide someone else with immediate practical assistance without making any judgments about their current situation or person. It would be OK to ask them questions in order to clarify exactly what they feel that they want in their current situation. Once the specifics of the help that they are requesting has been clarified, it would also be OK for you to indicate that you cannot provide them with any guidance or resources that you feel would not help them in their current situation without making any judgement about their situation or them as you sincerely care for them in their situation.

Let’s talk about this

When have you requested some practical help from someone else? How was your request handled? How do you usually respond to such requests? How do you define “good help” to others in our daily lives in this world?

Feeling good

The basics

You have been designed by God, your creator, to feel good all of the time. All of the systems in your body and spirit have been designed to function in harmony with each other in order to enable you to be comfortable and to feel good in the circumstances in which you live.

Your nerves are equipped with sensors that will create feelings of pain to alert you to the fact that some of the cells in specific parts of your body are not working in harmony with other related cells. You are then faced with some options to take steps to enable your body to fix the problem. If something in your situation doesn’t seem to be working in a way that contributes to your comfort and sense of well being, sensors in your emotional center will alert you to this condition by creating feelings of stress or worry or frustration or depression or sadness or even hopelessness in order to motivate you to take steps to take some course of action that might be good for you.

How these systems work

As you grow up your mind is programmed with pathways of learned skills and mental abilities that give you various levels of control over what you subject your body and your mind to that you have learned produces various levels of comfort and pleasure and satisfaction from what you are experiencing. The basic tool in your mind for starting your learned steps of action in your body and spirit is your thoughts. Your thoughts are the basic “links” to your choices that you have “tagged” with various adjectives of priority for the benefits that you have come to expect from the course of action that is implemented in your body and spirit. These “tags” will indicate in your range of thoughts what choices are apt to be most “helpful” or “wise” or “loving” or “right” or what ones are your “favorites” or “easy” or what ones are “momentary” or what ones are “risky” or “expensive” depending upon the condition that they produce in your situation and your resulting feelings about it. So you are confronted every day or even moment by moment with a series of choices that you must make to determine what you do in your body and spirit in order to remain comfortable and safe and at “peace” in your situation, and the “link” or trigger to your range of choices is in your thoughts. And you have a lot of control and freedom over those thoughts. You have not been designed as a robot, even for your own good.

Wise choices for feeling good

Since it is not always easy to know confidently what is going to make you feel good in your situation, and some previous choices have proven to produce less than comforting and good results in the experiences in which they place you, you are faced with the frequent challenge of trying to figure out which thought (link) to activate to take you to the experience that you hope will be comforting and good for you.

In God’s creation of your initial parents (Adam and Eve) He warned them not to seek the knowledge of what was “good and evil” in their own mental abilities, because to do so would produce results in their nature and physical situations that would be fatal, not good at all, and would severely corrupt their natures with “evil” influences and severely break their direct and personal relationship with God. They refused to heed God’s warning, and they claimed this knowledge for themselves and they and all of us human beings since them have inherited the deadly consequences of their rebellious choice (the account of this episode in our history is recorded in Genesis 2:16-3:24). Part of those deadly consequences is experienced in our inability to really know what is basically “good” for us and to be wise enough in our mental options to make choices by our thoughts that will be free of the “evil” influences of the devil in our hearts and minds and our own self-serving passions and rebellious attitudes against God and His authority in our lives.

Paul, and early apostle of Jesus and teacher of God’s loving redemption for us rebels and the wisdom of His will in our lives, has taught us that in order for us to live in daily experiences in which we are really comfortable and feeling good that we need to give our attention in the thoughts of our minds to choosing those courses of action in our lives that are in keeping with God’s almighty powers to supply us with desirable comforts and eternally lasting good gifts in our daily lives. We can make these choices by activating thoughts that are “true” and “honorable” and “just” and “pure” and “lovely” and “commendable”, trusting God to provide us with what is “good” rather than depending on ourselves or the devil to do so (see Philippians 4:7-8 in the New Testament for Paul’s teaching and citation regarding these thoughts).

Securing these choices

Like learning any new challenging skill or sets of new bits of information that you can activate with new thoughts and choices of actions, learning to trust God and the guiding wisdom of His Spirit in the challenging moments of your daily life will not be easy. The process will require that you spend concentrated moments in the repeated mental exercise of these good thoughts and healthy choices of trusting God with Bible study and prayer so that your mind will become programmed to enable you to harvest the “fruit of God’s Spirit” throughout the days of your life. The devil is going to persist in trying to distract you with thoughts of previous sinful pleasures and “bad” choices of conduct and remind you of all the times that you fail in your efforts to trust God, but part of your efforts of exercise in this process is to trust God and His Spirit to engage the devil in these spiritual battles so that you can continue to live and to function with His blessings of “peace” and “self-control” in your daily life. Changing your thoughts and choices through this process of trusting God will give you many experiences of feeling good in your daily life.

Distractions

General problem
It is probably good for you to endeavor to start each day with a somewhat specific agenda in mind for what you want to accomplish during that day. If that is your habit, then any distraction from that specific list of intended efforts will be a general problem that hampers your accomplishments for the day. During the days of work, you probably have an established routine that you, and probably your spouse, follow that enable you to move from responsibility to responsibility in a somewhat satisfactory manner. But any unexpected problem at work or in your home can interrupt your habitual agenda and probably create some stress or frustration in your mind. Such stress or frustration may be quickly relieved if the problem can be easily solved, but if that isn’t possible, your agenda for the whole day may be disrupted.

Special problem
But special problems to your daily agenda are generated when you allow your mind to be distracted from your responsible agenda by some personal wants that are basically secondary in importance to what you need to accomplish during the day. These distracting thoughts may just be your desire to indulge in some activity of entertainment that could break the ordeal of some hard work that you are facing. And the source for such entertainment may just be a few clicks away on the computer that you are working on. Or you may have some pills in your pocket or purse or cabinet that could give you some relief from the uncomfortable pressure that you encounter from time to time in your regular agenda and you haven’t yet learned how to handle. If you often cultivate such distracting thoughts in your daily agenda, they can become severe threats to your ability to carry out your personal adult responsibilities as a productive worker and probably a parent of some dependents in your family. And if you continue to indulge in such distractions by the choices that you make for your conduct during the day, you may experience some very severe and disruptive consequences in your personal life that are almost impossible to fix.

Solutions to these problems of distractions
There are no easy or quick solutions to these problems in entertainment or drugs or even in sex. And it is good to set time aside to relax and to share moments of tender affection with those whom you love each day, but these times should not be regarded as disruptions. The best solution to these problems will be implemented in your daily life when you are able to focus your mind and your daily agenda on whatever is lovely and pure and commendable and worthy of praise, whatever is honorable and just and right and loving in your life. You are probably not locked into the harness of your daily responsibilities as it may seem, so you have choices that you can make during the day as you seek to effectively manage your agenda. What have you discovered in your life that helps you to avoid these problems of distractions? Let’s talk about this.

Pancreatic cancer

My physical challenge
The CAT scan that my doctors have used to examine my abdomen in response to some pains that I was experiencing there have revealed that I have a tumor on my pancreas that they assume to be cancerous. Although there are no other signs of other tumors on the other organs of my abdomen and the pain was due to an over secretion of acid in my stomach that has now been reduced, they have ordered more scans to test for visible tumors throughout the chest portion of my body. My expert cancer surgeon has assumed that this initial tumor has spread, so he is planning on starting a series of chemotherapy treatments to shrink it and begin to kill other cancerous cells that it has probably planted throughout my body. If no other cancerous tumors are spotted, then my doctor will remove this initial cancerous tissue and my spleen to end their threat to my health and continue with the chemotherapy treatments to kill any other remaining cancerous cells in my body. I understand that the chance of being cured from this form of cancer is very slight, but these treatments could extend my life for several more years.

My spiritual challenge
The presence of this cancerous tumor in my body also presents me with a spiritual challenge regarding my personal relationship with God and Jesus, my savior, that has been a major source of blessed ministry in my life. God has been and is very good to me, although I have not always been as obedient and faithful as I know that I should have been in my life and efforts to serve him with the special Spirit anointed gifts that he has given to me. I recognize this cancerous tumor as a spiritual source of discipline to implement more of the Spirit’s transforming and redemptive work in my heart and mind to bring me into a closer relationship with God and Jesus through a greater degree of self sacrifice in my efforts to serve God. I don’t know exactly what the course of this discipline is going to include in my body, but I do know that it will be good for my heart and mind and my soul’s relationship with God, my Father. I’m trusting Jesus and his Spirit to complete their good transforming and redemptive work in my life before they are through with my physical body.

Let’s talk about this
If you have some experience with pancreatic cancer, please share some of the details with me and the readers of this post. What are your recommendations regarding how I should face the challenges of this pancreatic cancer? How have you experienced the goodness of God in the face of such severe challenges in your life? Your comments regarding these experiences would be appreciated in this post.

Thankful Living

Thankful Living

During this Thanksgiving time it can be easy to express thanks to others as well as thanks to God.  Certainly it is a tradition in America, and as in most holidays, there is a purpose to the holiday – it is to remember.  Remembering is good – it helps us to keep connected to our family or our culture or God.

In ancient times, they would remember by building a pile of loose rocks.  The loose rocks would stand for many years.  When people would pass by, they would remember and tell the next generation the story and reason for the pile of rocks.  These early monuments helped people to recall how God had worked in their lives.  We so easily forget the good things that have happened and focus on current problems.  Reminders are good.

Holidays serve the same function; they help us to remember the good things and recall the stories of the past.  Hopefully these are good memories of happy times.

But whatever the past, we can choose to remember and be Thankful.  As the Young Frankenstein movie noted, “could be worse… could be raining” – and then it starts raining.  Its easy to think of current circumstances and focus on what’s missing or disappointments. It can take effort to change the focus of our thoughts to being positive and appreciative.  We can also choose to be Thankful and express appreciation.

Appreciation is a muscle that can atrophy with lack of use and build strength with effort.  Expressing appreciation to those who serve you such as wait staff, host staff, grocery store staff, etc.  The daily interactions we have with people throughout the day can be expressions of gratitude. People will notice.  People will appreciate the smile and the thank yous.  Verbal expressions of honest praise and appreciation can be just as valuable as a raise.  Such is the case for me at work.  When my manager notices accomplishments and says “good job, thank you”, it is a motivation that can last for weeks.  As Mark Twain said, “I can live for 3 months on a good compliment.”  I can still remember some compliments from years back.

And then expressions of gratitude toward God works the same way.  It helps to reduce our pride and thinking that I have attained everything I have by my own strength and will and might.  When in reality, it can all change very quickly with a car accident or serious medical report, or betrayal from a financial partner or other relationship.  So much of life circumstances is not in our control.  HOW WE RESPOND to these circumstance is TOTALLY in our control.  So being able to recognize the positive and express gratitude helps is to overcome difficult times and live with a fulfilling focus on others.

It is so ironic that when we focus on ourselves, we tend to never be content or satisfied.  However, when we give to others, we find meaning, purpose and fulfillment… which translates into contentment.  Showing gratitude and thanksgiving as a way of live takes the emphasis off myself and gives the focus to others – to caring for them, to serving them, to appreciating them.

While we cannot control how they respond, we are still giving to them.  Just as giving someone a gift can be rewarding, we cannot control how they receive the gift.  We cannot control their response, their use of the gift, or even if they re-gift or sell it on ebay.  Yet, it does not matter how they respond if the gift is given from the heart.

So it is with giving Thanks.  Give the gift of thanks to others and to God this Thanksgiving.  But not just 1 day, but all year. And you will find a new perspective on life.

Thank you for taking time to read this blog.  God’s best Blessings to you today and all year long.

Dana

 

 

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