Illnesses, Hardships and Victories
My first cold in 18 months seems to be ramping up, while the right knee that I hurt in the gym by either a full extension or a hyper extension is much better. The most recent hurt to get over though, is the passing of a good friend - Jim Blake.
This wonderful Christian man passed away suddenly, leaving behind many grieving souls. He passed away Saturday night, 10/18/08. There were over 650 people at the funeral - which was wonderfully managed like a celebration and tribute the life of a Godly Christian man. Jim served as a deacon, manager at Pepsi, Washakie Medical Center hospital board, member of Big Brothers / Big Sisters for many years, precious husband, father, good friend to many and served as an executive member (President / Vice-President) of the Pepsi Wyoming BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival. Oh how I miss him. Do check out the Bar-B-Que Championship web site though. This was something Jim was heavily involved in:
Never having had someone this close pass away means that the pain is uncommon, unaccustomed. With the death of grand-parents or others far away in space or age - the pain was much less. But when someone close "crosses over the Jordan" unexpectedly, there remains a space that refuses to be filled.
On top of all of this - something so difficult to write about - is that our precious Grandson Emmanuel Neil has been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia. He was born the end of August. We knew there was a 1 in 4 (25%) chance he would be born with this genetic disease. So much prayer went up during our daughter Sarah's pregnancy - nevertheless God chose for this event to happen, and we trust Him.
We are learning so much about SCD, as are the medical professionals here in Worland, Wyoming. The medical staff including doctors, nurses and administrators have shown their interest, stayed in contact, and made themselves available. So far, all is well. Those with SCD (Sickle Cell Disease) are protected by their fetal hemoglobin (baby red-blood cells) for the first 6 to 12 months of their lives. After that, you have to be on the lookout for various crises to occur. It is hard to not feel tragic over this precious, beautiful, perfect baby - who appears destined to suffer difficulties his whole life. We ask for prayer, that he will have a light case, rather than one that is more severe.
In other news, Samuel James Keys was born to Jessica and Jason at the end of October, in their home in Hampton, Virginia. You can check out Jessica's Blog, "Intense Blessings" via a link in my links section. Samuel is a precious baby. If you are counting, this makes nine (9) grandchildren. Seems unimaginable! Amazing blessings.
But what an opportunity for conflict to arise on one's heart! There are so many things happening, both positive and negative, that it is hard to fathom. Thankfully, the days are filled with activities and responsibilities. There are many people in the congregation who seek counseling and assistance - which is enjoyable - makes one feel needed and useful.
Some scriptures that I am using to stay focused on God are:
Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, And I will do all my pleasure.
Can I doubt the one who lit the stars? If he created all of this, can I not trust him to mange all the things that I cannot manage? I must trust him, surrender to him, have faith in His ability to master each and every element and consequence of life and living. I proclaim the beauty of Holiness, bless His name and exclaim my love for Jehovah God, father of Jesus, sender of the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever thought about the idea that God is not concerned with many of the things you are concerned about? Money, health, your next breath, the condition of your car or the condition of your marriage - God does not suffer personally with these things. However, he has guaranteed us that he will take upon himself our burdens:
I Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
I hereby cast my cares on God. Even though he has no personal suffering, he has made it clear that he is concerned over our pain, from the least care to our greatest pain - he will take it on, if we will give it up. Hallelujah our elder brother, Jesus Christ, Son of God, came here to help us have a better understanding of things above and things holy.
Also, check out some my podcasts. Special thanks to Israel Bentch, my oldest son, for the technical aspects required for setup. I need to put more sermons out there - but would love to hear your feedback. The link is below. However, you can just search for "Kevin's Pulpit" in http://www.itunes.com/ if you want. Here's the link:
Typical sermons are 20 or so minutes long. Hopefully keeping it brief is helpful :).
In the mean time - May God's blessings fall upon you and yours in every way as you work to serve our Holy Father, and expand the borders of the kingdom.
Thanks for reading!