Plan Be

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea… “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. -Psalm 46:1-2; 10-11

When we feel out of control, we tend to scramble in every direction to regain our grip. When my world was rocked in 2002 by Stage IV metastatic melanoma with a prognosis of days to live, my greatest struggle was feeling so out of control. I thought I already knew I was out of control, and honestly, I did not welcome the proof.

Yet the Psalmist says in Psalm 46, that when our world is crashing down around us, the Lord is a stronghold. We can “be still and know He is God.”  We might call this our “Plan Be.” When our Plan A falls apart, we can just “be,” resting in His powerful abilities, not our frantic efforts.

I believe in being proactive while navigating a crisis. Still, there is a difference between activity driven by fear, and the restful steps of one who knows the “Lord of Hosts” is on his or her side. “Hosts” are the legions of angels that are sent out to help the Lord’s children. John said in Revelation 5:11 that he saw ten thousand times ten thousand or one hundred million angels gathered around God’s throne ready to do His bidding. One thing the Lord does not lack is resources, and mark His word, He “will be exalted.”

The Lord does not guarantee our circumstances will be pleasant on the earth – in fact He promises tribulations. Yet He guarantees that He will always BE there for us during hard times.

In the end, we will look back in amazement at temporary earthly tragedies; His control will be shown to have always been perfectly good and right. For now, we can save ourselves needless stress and grief and just be still.

Lord, open our eyes to Your awesome power and abilities that we might rest in You.

Pure Love on Valentine’s Day

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. –1 Peter 1:6-8

I once read about a man who found two cocoons on his windowsill. Both were wiggling – the caterpillars had begun the struggle to break out. He decided to help. He cut the fibers of one cocoon to free the larvae, and left it there. He later returned to find the larvae lying lifeless. The other cocoon was empty – that butterfly launched into the world. He concluded that a larvae’s struggle and stress was a critical step in their transformation into an amazing butterfly.

If you could magically remove all struggles from the earth, would you? Then why doesn’t the One who is able to remove all struggles do so? The reason is because He knows how to deliver life’s best – He uses trials to steer us into a deep love relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. In Him, the love and joy we seek is to be found.

The Lord knows trials hurt – a lot, but if we stick to Him during our trials, we are purified from the earthly distractions that rob us of true joy. Keep meditating on the verses in 1 Peter above. Let Him build your faith to trust in Him and love Him in the midst of your trials.

Lord, show us how You use trials to transform us to new levels in life!

Fear Is a Choice

Fear’s greatest deception may be that it carries an air of inevitability – as if fear is the only appropriate response to a very troubling circumstance. Yet the phrase, “Do not fear,” appears 57 times in the Bible. The Lord is not only encouraging us not to fear, but clearly indicating we don’t have to fear. Fear is, after all, a choice. Does the Lord make it too easy? Perhaps we just make it too hard.

The Bible and history provide a long list of those who scoffed at fear in the midst of the most daunting dilemmas. You can join this list. Still have some doubts? Honestly, I still struggle with fears and insecurities. I’ve been thinking recently about root beliefs that bring me freedom from fear. The Lord wants to be our Stronghold, not fear.

1) God is on your side.

The God and King of the universe adopts those who receive Jesus’ free gift of righteousness into His royal family. (more on how here). To make this possible, He gave us His very best – Jesus. All other needs are minor and He willingly meets those needs FOR FREE. Freedom from fear is one of the “all things” that He freely guarantees in Romans 8.

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? – Romans 8:31b-32

 2) God guarantees victory over any fear.

Think about it – can anything be stronger or more powerful than God or His love? No possible way! So we can be totally victorious over fear in any situation – including sickness.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. – Romans 8:35 & 37

 Please note: the ability and power to overcome fear does not come from you – it comes from Him!

 3) God is not punishing you.

Sometimes we believe that we deserve something bad to happen to us. So the Lord will certainly not deliver us or even help us – we are on our own. This would certainly be cause to fear – if it were true. We must shake all guilt and shame through the work and shed blood of Christ on the cross. If you have trusted in Him and Him alone as your personal Savior, realize He has taken away all of your sins at the cross, even sins for which you’re struggling to forgive yourself.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18 

Don’t ask for freedom from fear. Based on these passages, you already have it! So just claim your freedom now. Just thank Him now for granting it to you freely!

For a related devotional – check out “Panic Is A Choice.”

Lord, we fear NOTHING with You on our side!

93 Million Reasons Why

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9

Could the Lord have created a solar system on a smaller scale? Well sure, He can do anything. Is there a message in the vastness of the scale He chose? Definitely! To quote Him: “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Now, do we really believe we could advise the Lord on how to better run His universe? The closest star in the heavens is a mere 93 million miles higher than the earth – quite the “knowledge gap.”cross & sun picture

To get a better grip on this gap, consider the quiz God gave Job after listening to him spout off about the mysteries of His universe. Yet realize God’s list of questions for Job continues on for several chapters.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

Job quickly got the point. To properly evaluate God’s choices, our experience, wisdom and capabilities must match His experience, wisdom and capabilities. Keep in mind, Job’s exchange with God came fresh from the pain of Job’s loss of his ten children, all of his possessions, and last but not least, his health. So even in the agony of the tragic storms of life we have to remind ourselves of the knowledge gap.

Recently Stronghold Ministry has been praying for two young mothers fighting Stage IV metastatic melanoma. No doubt our intensity has been miniscule compared to the wrestling of small armies of friends and family. Still, both mothers passed away this past month… and both had four children. I, along with many others ask, “Why, Lord?”

Let’s suppose the best, most insightful answers to this question forms a tall mountain, the Mt. Everest of human understanding. Still, while comparing our highest mountain peak to the height of the sun, our answers are dwarfed by God’s answers. Someday in heaven we’ll fully explore and grasp the wonders of His ways, but for now, what can bridge this gap?

At the top of our knowledge mountain stands a cross – The Wonderful Cross – which extends through the heavens, touching the outer edges of the universe, and forever declaring God’s good intentions towards us. Once we were totally undeserving, yet He sent Jesus, His Son, to sacrifice Himself on that cross to deliver us sinners from eternal death and punishment.

 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? (Psalm 71:19).

 For me, the cross fully explains all that I don’t yet understand. How about you?

Lord, we struggle – but help us trust your heart.

Born This Way

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. -Habakkuk 3:17-18

When my son and daughter were about 10 & 9 years old, we were walking along the shore of a lake. My son abruptly announced, “I smell Mexican food.” We were two miles from any restaurant, so I thought he might just be hungry. We walked another one hundred yards, and as we got closer to a truck parked along the lake, he said, “It’s in there.” Sure enough, as we looked at the seat of the unoccupied truck, there was a full bag of fast food from a familiar restaurant. I asked him how he could have detected the food from such a long distance, he said, “Dad, I was born to eat Mexican food.”

Now we all have different tastes and callings which we were born to carry out, but there is a common inclination in every human – praise. We are innately and unavoidably drawn to find things awesome. Though we are awe-struck by many things – singers, athletes, a sunset – our Designer intended the primary object of our adoration to be Himself. He certainly is worthy, not only because of His amazing deeds, but because of His incomparable nature. Words fail to describe Him.

Praising God may flow best when circumstances are favorable. Yet when we encounter adversity, our hearts may turn elsewhere. We may be unimpressed with His ability or willingness to spare us of troubles.

Yet one thing I want to practice this year is to praise Him always. Habakkuk grasped the unconditional aspects of true worship. He wanted to praise and exult God even if he had no food! The patriarch, Job, praised God after he lost all of his earthly belongings and all ten of his children.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” -Job 1:20-21.

Some of us are in very difficult physical or spiritual condition because of cancer or some other trial. We don’t feel like praising, but praise lifts us into true joy above worldly suffering into heavenly realms. There, all that matters is that God is good and He always has the last word. So praise Him! Praise becomes you. You were born for this.

Lord, give us a spirit of praise and worship of You – You are worthy!

Tebowing While Chemoing

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The diverse worlds of pro football, religion and cancer treatment have come together in a compelling story that might encourage you. A quarterback named Tim Tebow, who is considered by some to be an overachiever at the professional level, has stunned the football universe by piling up a string of last minute wins, leaving many to wonder if he is “God’s quarterback.” Tebow has been outspoken about his faith in Christ, and during games he often drops to one knee to offer up a prayer of thanks, even while his teammates are jumping and celebrating around him.

This kneel and pray gesture has been given a name – “Tebowing.” Tebow has approved what might be the official definition of Tebowing: “To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” A viral movement to capture photos of people “Tebowing” in various locations has now been launched. Of course it may be easier to give thanks when things are going your way.

Enter 12-year-old Joey Norris, a cancer survivor currently undergoing treatment. He posted a picture of himself in the kneeling position while hooked up to his chemo machine. He called it “Tebowing while chemoing.” You have to love Joey’s fight… and faith.

Several times during my battle with Stage IV melanoma, I felt the sting and blessing of praying alone. Oh there were many caring friends and family surrounding me. Yet they too were crashing against the maddening ceiling of man’s limitations. I also felt the odd benefit of crying out to God, who is often the last resort. At times too weak to kneel, my silent prayers crossed paths with His touch. I was lifted up by an invisible hand.

He shows up for those who cry out to Him. He doesn’t guarantee that we’ll win every game, but He lets us know He is watching. He is truly engaged, and is surely rooting for us. He gives us the poise, grace and peace to endure adversity. Little Joey Norris reminds us that we are all famous to God.

Lord, bless all of Your followers everywhere, in every situation; and bless our fellow warriors in their fight against cancer.

 

Coping with Insensitivity

It’s just a fact of life – people say careless things. From infancy people have been saying careless things to you. One of your parents probably serenaded you with the lullaby, “Rock-a-Bye Baby.” Have you ever considered the lyrics of that song? It’s about placing a baby in a cradle at the top of a tree. The wind rocks the cradle causing the tree limb to break. The baby in this sweet song is not rescued, however, but falls unceremoniously to the ground! Sweet dreams, little one. It’s a good thing babies can’t understand us!

Some of you are right in the middle of a cancer battle. You’re expecting understanding and sympathy, but well-meaning people keep saying careless things. Please understand – this is common – you are not being singled out for this torture! So today I offer a few thoughts on coping with the insensitivity of others.

1) Focus on people’s intentions, not their words.
People generally mean well. They might want you to laugh when you really need to cry, but they’re sincerely meaning to take away your pain. Can you cut them some slack and realize they just hate to see you hurting?

2) Remember your own insensitivities.
I’ve been guilty of every misguided attempt to encourage the hurting, including being overly positive, bad timing, being trite, and the old fallback, “I don’t know what to say so I won’t say anything.” It’s inconsistent for me to be too hard on others when I’ve made the exact same blunders!

3) Focus on the Lord not people.
Psalm 62:2 says, “He only is my rock.” Some people may never, ever let you down, but they represent an exception and are certainly not the rule. Only God is totally dependable. We may feel like He has left or forsaken us, but He never, ever does (Hebrews 13:5).

Lord, grant us the grace to extend grace to others when they don’t understand what we are going through.

Giving Thanks ALWAYS!

This week we asked our patients and caretakers to share their reasons for giving thanks.

Linda McKee-Cervantes, caregiver & Manuel Cervantes, cancer patient:
I am so thankful for my husband’s life and am so proud to be his caregiver. I praise God for each day we remain together on this earth. We will never surrender to this cancer and I believe Almighty God is graciously giving us more time to share His Divine love with others.

Jodi Hightower, Breast Cancer Stage IV patient:
I am thankful for the opportunity that having cancer has given me to reconnect with family, friends, and high school classmates. I’ve been able to share the gospel message through my CaringBridge blog.

Darlene Lindgard:
I am thankful to the Lord that I am still in remission, but much more importantly, I am thankful that the Lord still holds me in His grip. I love You, Lord, more and more each day.

The Tommy Lane Lowry Family, Waco, Texas:
We are thankful for the courageous battle of Tommy Lowry against lung cancer and the beautiful smile on his face as he was met by our Savior. That smile and the knowledge that He really is waiting for us has sustained this family.

Peggy Hadricky – Uterine Stage II:
There is too much to give thanks for. I thank our God that I found your website when I cried out, and you reached out your heart and hand to me. The devotional Streams in the Desert is a constant companion to me. I am thankful that God has increased my days. His promise that I would see His goodness in the land of the living is all around. For this I know the life I am living is for His Glory – I now know my purpose. And when He takes me home I have His peace that He knows me. I am living a thankful life through His grace and mercy one day at a time.

Bobby Martin, Stage IV metastatic melanoma:
I am thankful for the opportunity of a deeper walk… for family that prays… friends that support… the assurance that God’s word is true… the certainty of His promises… knowing His presence… the continued favor He gives me with men… and my new friend Joe Fornear. Praise be to God. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Lord, there are always so many reasons to be grateful! Help us to count our blessings – always.

Knowing God in a Crisis

I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. -Jesus in John 10:10

Nothing tests our knowledge of God like a major life crisis. Fortunately, nothing has the potential to improve our knowledge of Him like a major crisis. A little desperation goes a long way.

We can know God on several different levels. The following categories of knowing Him can help us identify new areas for growth.

  • Savior – If we don’t know Him as Savior, we don’t know Him at all. Our relationship with Him must begin with acknowledgement of the sin that has separated us from Him. When we trust in Jesus Christ to cleanse us from our sin and guilt, we become “saved” from our sin. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). So the key to knowing Him as Savior is faith. More here.
  • Lord – This means we closely follow Him as our leader. We want to know and do what He asks. Jesus said, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I ask?” The key to knowing Him as Lord is faithfulness. Keep in mind in moments of indecision – He always has our greatest benefit in view.
  • Master – Serving Him is crucial to knowing Him. We follow Christ’s example in using our God-given gifts and talents to be a blessing to others. The key to knowing Him as Master is maintaining a servant attitude to God and people.
  • Life – Knowing Him as Life means we are drawing power and resources from Him. It means His peace and joy become ours as we lean on Him. Paul had so developed his reliance on the Lord during fiery trials that he could say, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in Me” (Galatians 2:20). The key to knowing Him as Life is dependence. And Jesus said He wants to give us an “abundant” life, which means a fulfilled life.

Paul said knowing Him better was the most rewarding goal of his life. He considered all other pursuits to be like cow manure (Philippians 3). What do you think?

Lord, reveal Your sheer beauty and awesome power to us; we want to know You better!

The Ultimate Workout

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved [or enlarged] me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1

A friend who is battling cancer sent me a devotional on King David’s struggles which I’d like to expand on here today.

Why did David seem so desperate for God throughout the Psalms? Let’s face it; it was because he was so often in distress. He had many enemies and many struggles in his family. In fact, David wrote Psalm 4 when he was running from one of his enemies – his own son, Absalom.

There is a wonderful upside, however, to this distress that God allowed in David’s life. He was “enlarged.” This Hebrew word was used of expanding borders and territories. The Lord makes us bigger in our character and in our ability to endure. We are purified from the petty pursuits of this world. We are also able to handle more of His blessings, and in turn, give out more as well!

Our faith is just like a muscle. If we want to enlarge our muscles, we place them under the distress of additional weight. The fibers of the muscles tear and often hurt for a time, but they also grow larger and stronger! In the same way, the faith that connects us with Him is able to be strengthened by distress. We can hold on to Him during the toughest times.

Does it seem like the weight of your health battle is too much for you to bear? Try not to get discouraged. With His help you will stand up under it and grow stronger as a result! You will be a blessing even as you hurt.

Lord, we don’t like distress, but we see how You use it to strengthen our connection to You, and to increase our blessings and ability to bless others.

No Exceptions for an Exceptional God

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Carefree living may seem a distant fantasy in your life right now, yet these verses make no exceptions for troubling thoughts and feelings. Keep in mind that during biblical times people experienced every type of life crisis as well. And because of modern medicine and technology, we surely have a more comfortable existence today. The bottom line is being in turmoil in the face of crisis is not inevitable!

On some intellectual level, we may acknowledge the Lord’s ability to handle our troubles, yet we suppose that our particular situation is somehow an exception. Can the Lord really handle all of the struggles of advanced-stage cancers? Well, sure He can! Does agonizing over each step of our journeys accomplish anything? Definitely not!

Where we see extenuating reasons to fret, God sees opportunities to reveal Himself strong on our behalf. With His supernatural grace and help we can be free from anxiety and full of thanksgiving. He never intended us to handle life without His help.

So shift the burden of coping with your struggles onto Him. The issue is not “Is the Lord strong enough to handle my situation?” but, “Am I trusting enough to let Him take over?” These verses encourage us to bring “everything” to Him because “nothing” is too hard for Him to handle in us or for us – including cancer. Entrust everything – your finances, future, children and pain level to Him. We have an exceptional God who is Master of “all things,” so cast down each and every troubling exception that comes to mind.

The Lord doesn’t promise pain-free living. He does promise encouragement and comfort so that pain and struggles are manageable. So be thankful to Him – for He truly cares. He promises to carry us through anything! No exceptions!

Lord, we can’t handle our troubles on our own, so please grant us grace to cast our anxiety into Your capable hands.

Star Maker

To whom then will you liken Me that I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing. – Isaiah 40:25-26

When Isaiah recorded these words of God, he knew the stars were numerous and beautiful. Little did he know the true scale of the vastness of the heavens. Astronomers tell us there are 200 billion stars residing in just one of the smaller galaxies, the Milky Way. The universe holds a mere 3,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! That’s three thousand million billion stars, each of which God has assigned a name. I suppose remembering so many names is easy compared to creating them in the first place. (Oh and all of those movie stars – He created them too).

The sheer volume of stars boggles the brain, but their beauty is equally astounding. We are just beginning to capture images of what God has fashioned in the far corners of the universe. We call cloud formations of clouds of gas, dust and stars – nebulae. Do yourself a favor and take a moment to view these images of nebulae, allowing “the greatness of His might and the strength of His power” to sink in.

Is it any wonder that in hard times, God asks us to look away from our earthly dilemmas and look up to Him and His stellar handiwork? Still, how does this help if we’re sick and laying flat on our backs?

In May of 2003, when I was battling Stage IV metastatic melanoma, I remember lying in a hospital bed, shaken by doubts and fears which had broad-sided me in the wee hours of the night. As the Lord began redirecting my focus, He reminded me of the complexity and vastness of His creation, and how amazingly awesome He is. Out of nothing, He designed and launched this entire cosmos. Yet Psalm 139:17-18 tell us He thinks of you and me constantly AND with great fondness. Romans 8:28 says He works ALL things to the good for those who love Him.

So what is there to fear? The Star Maker loves us!

Lord, give us just a glimpse of your true nature and we will be lifted out of our troubles.

Hope Trumps Despair

The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but as for a broken spirit, who can bear it? – Proverbs 18:14

When you’re reeling from sickness, hope is essential. This verse states we can indeed endure sickness. A greater issue is not our physical condition, but our emotional and spiritual state. There are Stage IV cancer patients who are happier than wildly successful celebrities. Circumstances don’t have to dictate our sense of well-being. In fact, I spoke just this morning with a Stage IV patient, Itai Mhuriro, who made this amazing statement, “This cancer is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has caused me to live each day the way it’s supposed to be lived!”

So how do we maintain hope when our body is being torn down by disease? How do we avoid despair? During my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma, I had moments, even days of slipping into despair. So I learned from my mistakes and from God-ordained breakthroughs. If I had to boil down the lessons to one core truth, it is this:

 We must believe that through God’s power we can handle anything
the disease throws at us.

Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). The burden is not on my ability or your ability to cope, but on Christ’s. Let Him hold you up.

Lord, let Your strength and love fill us with hope right now.

Walk On!

And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”- Matthew 14:29-31

Is it possible to always keep your head above water, even when you’re fighting cancer? Is it possible to be free of fear’s tentacles? Just as Peter literally walked on water, this passage implies we can rise above the storms of our lives. But how?

Peter’s experience is a parable of walking with Jesus through the storms of our lives. Peter was walking well, rising above the situation… as long as He focused on Jesus. He was buoyed by His Master’s confidence and serenity. As soon as he focused on the storm, he began slipping down into the deep. So the key is focus – not on our capabilities, problems or human prognoses, but on Jesus’ powers and abilities.

Fears leverage lies about God. So we should face them head on. Let them surface so we can smack them down. One by one they’ll lose their grip as every angle of their deceptions are held up to the light of God’s love and power. Romans 8:35 & 37 encourages us, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Go ahead and add cancer to Paul’s list. Through Christ’s love, we can overwhelmingly conquer cancer as well.

Now, admittedly, there were several times during my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma that I sunk well below the surface of the water. Thank God I discovered Peter’s backup plan as I was learning to walk above my circumstances. Whenever I began slipping down into despair, I called out to Him, and His outstretched hand took hold of mine and lifted me back up. Walk on!

Lord, teach us to keep our eyes fixed on you and not our problems; we know You’ll catch us when we slip.

Can You Help Us?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The beauty of God’s comfort is that it is transferable! Stronghold Ministry thrives on spreading the comfort we received during our cancer battle. As a non-profit organization, Stronghold relies on donations to operate. So in this edition of In His Grip, we are asking for a favor from you. Our financial supporters are encouraged when they see how the Lord has used us to encourage people fighting cancer. If you are a cancer patient or a caretaker, and have been touched by Stronghold Ministry, we would love to know how.

We are putting together a montage of short comments and pictures from the people we’ve served. We also want to encourage those who do not know us yet to contact Stronghold Ministry for support. But we need your permission to include your comments or image.

Here is how to help us spread His comfort:

1) Send us a brief note describing the impact Stronghold has had in your life.

One or two sentences is the perfect length. Simply share how Stronghold has lifted you. In today’s world, testimonials of third parties are often used to motivate people to participation and action. If you have already sent us comments, you could help by granting us permission to use portions of anything you’ve already sent. Just send us an email granting your permission.

2) Send us your picture of you and your family.

To add a more personal touch, we prefer to include your image with your comments. Could you send us recent pictures, or pictures from before you were diagnosed? If your pictures are not digital, please mail to: Stronghold Ministry PO Box 38478 Dallas, TX  75238. We’re sorry; we will not be able to mail them back, so please send a copy. Perhaps a tech-savvy friend could scan and email them for you.

Send your comments and pictures via email to: [email protected] Thank you so much! We could really use your help.