And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Where are we now?

Well, we have held off on any posts for a while so that we could truly see the effects of the medicine and God's hand in healing!!!

After just one seizure the docs say that Princess should be dead or in a vegetative state.  In the month of May alone, she had 497 seizures.  As our neighbor shared today, "and how do people not believe that God still performs miracles?"  It is so true!  Thank you, Lord for being a God of miracles!!!!

We have seen a huge increase in her seizures this year, she had 574 in all of 2014 and is already over 750 seizures in the first six months of the year.  However, since Princess started the new medication, we have seen a decrease in her seizures.  Remember that in the hospital the docs said there was nothing left to do, they had used every rescue medication they had.  They removed all IV lines, EEG leads, etc., as they were only monitoring her because they weren't able to release her when she was so likely to die!  Yes, likely to die.  As Princess shared with me, "I am not afraid of dying, but I am so afraid of living!"  But, as you know, we asked to be discharged...

The week before starting the new medication, she was averaging over 21 seizures per day.  On the new medication, she is averaging close to three per day.

However, we are still taking it very slow as Princess still has a long way to go in the healing process.  Walking is still a challenge.  Reading and writing are still triggers.  Standing for too long has her so exhausted. We still see the extreme tachycardia and are quite puzzled by this.

Since our return we have been able to take a few shorts trips out of the house to "experience" life.  Many will see her at the grocery store and state that she looks great and so she must be feeling great.  This is pretty far from the truth.  It is important to her to get to the grocery store each week for our family.  Thus, I get her to the grocery store.  She is having to ride in one of those little motorized carts due to physical activity being a trigger for her seizures.  Despite all that we are doing to avoid the seizures, she still feels "gross."  We learned from speaking to some other families with epilepsy that these feelings are possibly still seizures.  However, they just aren't something she is going to take the time to record.

One of the meds that the docs have had her on for a few years, interferes with just about every other medication available.  So, we have to be very careful with the dosing of all of her meds.  When we left the hospital, she was taking 26 pills/day.  Now that we are on the new medication, she has been able to decrease the med that interferes with so much by one pill.  She has also been able to decrease one of the meds to treat her tachycardia and she's been able to decrease her thyroid dose for the first time in 11 years!  We learned that the new med is an immune-modulator, which means that it is also working to heal her thyroid which is also an autoimmune condition!  Thus, she is down to 24 pills!!

Prior to this uptick in seizures, Princess was getting to the point that she would have a certain number of days each month that she wouldn't record any seizures, Yet, she still averaged about 1.5-2/day.

And so where are we now.  While the above has stated a little bit about where we are prior to today, we must confess that this day's post is just part of the story of the beginning of the story.

So for the continuation of God's glory, it is in all humility and praise that we want to share that today, (YES TODAY!!!) we have a huge praise to record! Princess has gone THREE days without a seizure!!!!!  Praise the Lord!!!!  To God be the Glory!!!!

Does this mean that she feels great and can go conquer the world?  Not completely....she still isn't able to walk or stand for very long without being completely out of breath   She still struggles to find the right words.  She still feels gross.   However, we are definitely rejoicing!!!!  As I have been able to share with some, Princess looks a lot better.  You can see the physical effects of the seizures have somewhat dissipated.  But we are strong to caution that it doesn't mean all is over.  I truly am proud of Princess and her patience level.  Moreover, she is listening to God.  And why not listen to HIM?  What He has accomplished now in two months is amazing.  We were, again, at our lowest.  Physically, financially, emotionally and even spiritually....BROKE.

Maybe you have been there.  Maybe you can relate.  Seek the Kingdom of God first, and His righteousness.  Oh, how true!  When we get this statement and balance in our lives correct, God is able to do amazing things!  He is able to bring about order, change, and even healing!

Please take a moment to read Psalm 42 in it's entirety.  Don't rush through it.  Take a moment to ponder and meditate on David's words in his crying out to God!

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall [h]again praise [i]Him
For the [j]help of His presence.
 O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.
 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

And so, we are back home and taking some time to regroup and venture about.  While we are still picking up the pieces, we are at rest knowing and trusting God for His provision.  My God is faithful.  A supplier of all our needs!  Praise the Lord for His everlasting loving kindness.


A Journey Home

Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the apostles answered, We must obey God rather than men.”

Many of you might recall the story of Joseph from the Bible.  While the story may take a moment to recall, it is the end of the story that ties everything together.  My brother is an avid reader.  While that statement isn't even just to describe his affinity for reading, I recall numerous times his guilty pleasure was to stand in the bookstore, open a book, read the last chapter to see how the book/story would end.  Once he finished, if the ending garnered his approval he would then literally begin reading the entire book in the store and in about 15 minutes or so would have read through the entire thing!  Literally!

Recalling this, brings to mind the account of Joseph.  To be a spoiler, or to at least share with you the end of the story, you have to turn to your Bible to Genesis 50:20.  Joseph having experienced many trials in his young life: had been abused by his brothers, sold into slavery, and wrongly imprisoned.  Where did it all begin?  From his brothers and there extreme jealousy and hatred of him.  However, Joseph provides for us this statement at the very end of his experience,

" meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."

This journey for Princess...this journey for our family... has certainly brought us through many trials.  The heartache, the emotional and physical pain.  The letdowns and the highs and lows...All of this over the last 9 years has been more than we can handle.  but God....

Joseph has an amazing faith and important statement...but God!!!  In our own little world we see this today.  During our journey out of state, we now clearly see this as part of God's plan.  Just a few weeks ago when literally all hope was dim, Princess and I were at our lowest of lows. We were desperate for God's leading and direction.  But God, had it under His control the whole time.  While we thought we were supposed to be in New York.  While we thought we were supposed to be working with specific doctors.  While we thought we were to be back in Houston.  While we thought.... But God.

God has led us in the exact opposite direction.  While we thought we were to head Eastward, God said to us and as well made a way for us to go West.  Hmmm, have you ever heard that before, go West young man?  And so, we did.  

Now on our journey back home having completed a lot in a very short amount of time, we cannot fathom or even begin to describe what God pulled off in just literally 3 days.  Though we cannot fathom it, it is also a great reminder of what God did in just 3 days about 2000 years ago.  Jesus, the Son of God, was put to death on a cross.  Died and was buried.  But God...on day 3 raised Jesus from the dead and Jesus appeared to many proclaiming His victory over death.  Do you realize what God accomplished in just 3 days?  And while our meager 3 days can't compare, we are floored and in awe of what God was able to put together for us and now we head home.  We praise God for His goodness and timing.  For the opportunity to visit with two fantastic specialists.  To be able to spend multiple days with an incredible organization that has a true heart for God and the mindset to be used by Him for His glory.  And, for the first time in well over a month to experience fewer than 20 seizures in a day.  Oh how we have longed for this day!  

Oh how good it is to obey God rather than man!  

We look forward to sharing much more and continue to seek your prayer!    

Spring of Life

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, 
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."
 -Proverbs 13:12

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
-Hebrews 11:1

Once we left this doc's office, she sent us to get the medicine she was recommending.  Very similar to the day prior, but a different company.  This company was very impressive.  When we went to pick up the medication, not only did they take the time to get to know us, they prayed with us!!!!!  We spent a few hours there learning so much from them!!

The special surprise of the day was getting to see Princess' Maid of Honor.  They were in the process of moving to the same city where we met this new specialist and picked up the meds.  She just happened to be in town meeting some contractors and so M and Critter were able to get some long overdue hugs.

As for this day's progress for Princess is continuing to show a good decline in her seizure total!  PRAISE GOD!  The results are truly staggering and it is really difficult to not be overly cautious with the turbulence that we are coming through.  That said, we still see the effects of physical activity bringing about her seizures.  Additionally, we are still concerned over the extreme tachycardia that is taking place as Princess heart rate is hovering around 165 beats per minute.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What is the greatest sin?

While we have taken the opportunity to use this blog as an update on our lives and as an opportunity to more recently share with you updates regarding Princess' health.  I am taking this moment to put out a much stronger message.

For nearly twelve years, Princess and I have worked continually on becoming One Flesh as it states in the Bible.  If you have followed our story and our blog, you will find that very rarely do we ever do much apart.  Our desire is for one another. A common theme for our marriage is that "the two become one."  This connection couldn't be made possible without God.  And so therefore, I feel it is necessary and I feel compelled to put a message out there in the wake of our Supreme Court's decision to radically defame the sacred institution of marriage that God Himself created.

The greatest sin in all the world.....

Within the last couple of moments people all over the world...literally, all over the world, are experiencing a rash of emotions.  That rash is spreading rapidly.  And like a rash, it can be indicative of a problem.  If not addressed early enough the rash can linger, get worse, and if never addressed lead to death.

Our nation today took a stand.  Our nation today made a proclamation.  Hence, the rash is now only getting worse.

It is by no accident that what I am about to share made its way to me.  Unfortunately, the following message has not been delivered to many.  And while chaos is going to ensue, perhaps at an even greater level, the following needs to be heeded by ALL.

In wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling, please take some time to read this.

So what is the greatest sin?  Please take a moment to read the following:

The Greatest Sin in All the World
By Dr. J. Vernon McGee

      The accusation is often made that the present-day pulpit is weak and uncertain. Furthermore, it is charged that instead of being "a voice in the wilderness," the modern pulpit has settled down comfortably to become a sounding board for the whims and wishes of the multitudes with itching ears. If the charge is true (and it is), it is because the pulpit is reluctant to grapple with the great issues of life. This hesitancy is born of a desire to escape criticism, and it is a dread of becoming offensive to the finer sensibilities. More often it is due to a cowardly fear to face the raw realities of life and to wrestle with the leviathan of living issues. Instead, the pulpit quotes poetry and sprinkles rose water.

      The theater, movies, monthly magazines, weekly periodicals, daily papers, radio, and television all deal with life stripped of its niceties. These instruments for reaching and teaching the masses take the gloves off and wade into the problems faced by men daily. As a result, these agencies are more potent and effective in molding the thoughts of folk.

      For those who have sat under the shadow of such a pulpit and for those who have lived such sheltered lives in our churches, the prophecy of Hosea will be shocking and startling. However, I do not want you to be unduly alarmed, for I will not go beyond what is written. For the sake of some timid souls, I shall pull my punches a wee bit. Nevertheless, I am giving this message in the full consciousness that only those who will be offended are those who should be offended. Years ago when I was a boy living in a little town, I recall hearing a country preacher deliver a very homely illustration that was very much to the point. "You know," he said, "when you throw a rock into a bunch of dogs, it is always the hit dog that hollers."

      The story behind the prophecy of the Old Testament Book of Hosea is the tragedy of a broken home. And to make it worse, it's the home of one of God's prophets. The personal experience of the prophet Hosea is the background of his message. It concerns the intimate affairs of his home.

      The home is always given top priority in God's Word. It is the rock foundation of society, the most important unit in the social structure. It is to society and the state, to the church and to the nation, what the atom is to the physical universe. The atom has been called the building block of the universe, and the home is exactly that. You see homes stretching out in these new subdivisions like beads on a chain as you go up one street and down another. The home is the chain of a nation that runs up and down the streets of every city and every town and the highways and byways of the countryside. No chain is stronger than the links that compose it. Similarly, no nation is stronger than the homes which constitute its total population. The home is where we live, move, and have our being. It is in the home that we are truly ourselves. All of us dress up physically and psychologically when we go out, but within the walls of the place called home we remove our masks and show what we really are. And the home life of Hosea provides the background for his message to the nation of Israel.

      Because of the strategic position of the home, God has thrown about it certain safeguards to protect it. God has surrounded the home with a wall of instruction due to its importance. He has moved into the home to direct its intimate relationships. Actually, marriage is the very backbone of the home and has received more attention from God than any other institution.

      Society never made marriage--it found it. God is the One who made marriage. It was His gift to mankind, and marriage rests upon His direct Word: "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Mark 10:9). God performed the first marriage ceremony. He gave away the first bride. He blessed the first couple. Marriage is more than a legal arrangement, even more than the union of mutual love. It is an act of God. It rests upon His fiat command. Too many young people think that all they need in order to get married is a license and a preacher. But, my friend, they need God. If He doesn't bless the union, it is not what God planned marriage to be. Oh, the love that God can bring to a marriage, the love of the man for the woman and the love of the woman for the man!

      God has given a drive to the human race to reproduce within the framework of marriage and nowhere else: "And the two shall become one flesh" (Mark 10:8); "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). Marriage is a sacred relationship and it is a holy union. The New Testament sums up the mind of God in this matter: "Marriage is honorable among all" (Hebrews 13:4). Therefore, marriage cannot be broken by a legal act, a fit of temper, or self-will. There are only two acts that break marriage--that is, real marriage.

      The first factor that breaks marriage is the death of either the husband or the wife.

      For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. (Romans 7:2)

      This is accepted by all Christians as a legitimate breaking of the marriage relationship. But some zealous Christians use Romans 7:2 as the basis for the extreme viewpoint that a divorced person who has a living mate can never remarry. They forget that under the Law the married person who was guilty of fornication or adultery was stoned to death and was somewhere under a pile of rocks. So the innocent party under the Law did not have a living partner. Southern California would be covered with rock piles were the Mosaic Law enforced today!

      The second act that breaks a marriage is unfaithfulness on the part of either the husband or the wife. This rips the relationship apart and drives a wedge into that which God has made one. Under the Mosaic system, a man or woman who was guilty of adultery was dealt with summarily. Such perfidy merited death, and it was meted out without mercy. Listen to the Law:

      The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

      Under the Mosaic Law when one was unfaithful that spouse was eliminated, and as a result the other one would be free.

      But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house. So you shall put away the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:20, 21)

      Another item concerning the Law that needs amplification is the reference in Deuteronomy which seems to preclude the man from any charge of guilt. The facts are that the analogy is to Christ and the church. Christ is never under suspicion--the church is. Also, it is true that the Law uses the masculine gender when it means either man or woman. The word is used as a generic term. That is, "mankind" means both men and women. Even today a legal document reads, "The party of the first part ... if he" when the party of the first part may actually be a she.

      In spite of this explanation, there is a sense in which the Bible teaches a double standard. This does not mean there is a high standard for women and a low standard for men, but it does mean that they are different. This is an established custom that is under attack in our society. Yet every department store has a women's department and a men's department. This line of demarcation is recognized on every level of the social world. I believe that this is a valid distinction. For this same reason, I take my watch to one repairman and my car to another. The watch is a more delicate mechanism and needs the attention of a different mechanic with a different technique.

      Woman is made finer than man. Therefore, it is more tragic when she goes wrong than when a man does. It is not that sin in one is worse than in another, but the results are far more detrimental. In my limited ministry, I have seen children overcome the handicap of a ne'er-do-well father, even a drunkard, but I have never seen children turn out right with that kind of mother. The poor performance of a father is a serious handicap for a child, but a good mother can more than compensate. Mother is the center of the home. A godly mother said some time ago, when she refused to accept an office in a church organization, "I am a missionary to the nursery, and there are three pairs of eyes watching me. I want to direct them to God." It is more tragic when a woman goes wrong than when a man goes wrong.

      Alan Beck's definition of a little girl will, I believe, give a fitting and intrinsic estimation of what I mean:

      Little girls are the nicest things that can happen to people. They are born with a bit of angel-shine about them, and, though it wears thin sometimes, there is always enough left to lasso your heart--even when they are sitting in the mud, or crying temperamental tears, or parading up the street in mother's best clothes.

      A little girl can be sweeter (and badder) oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises and frazzle your nerves, yet just when you open your mouth, she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot.

      God borrows from many creatures to make a little girl. He uses the song of a bird, the squeal of a pig, the stubbornness of a mule, the antics of a monkey, the spryness of a grasshopper, the curiosity of a cat, the speed of a gazelle, the slyness of a fox, the softness of a kitten. And to top it off, He adds the mysterious mind of a woman.

      A little girl likes new shoes, party dresses, small animals, first grade, noisemakers, the girl next door, dolls, make-believe, dancing lessons, ice cream, kitchens, coloring books, make-up, cans of water, going visiting, tea parties, and one boy. She doesn't care so much for visitors, boys in general, large dogs, hand-me-downs, straight chairs, vegetables, snowsuits, or staying in the front yard.

      She is loudest when you are thinking, the prettiest when she has provoked you, the busiest at bedtime, the quietest when you want to show her off, and the most flirtatious when she absolutely must not get the best of you again. Who else can cause you more grief, joy, irritation, satisfaction, embarrassment, and genuine delight than this combination of Eve, Salome, and Florence Nightingale.

      She can muss up your home, your hair, and your dignity--spend your money, your time, and your patience--and just when your temper is ready to crack, her sunshine peeks through and you've lost again. Yes, she is a nerve-racking nuisance, just a noisy bundle of mischief. But when your dreams tumble down and the world is a mess--when it seems you are pretty much of a fool after all--she can make you a king when she climbs on your knee and whispers, "I love you best of all!"

      May I say to you, friends, what a tragedy it is when that precious little girl becomes a woman who goes wrong. It is the worst thing that can happen in a home.

      The prophecy of Hosea must be contrasted with God's ideal of marriage and of womanhood. God's revelation of marriage and His controls for it must be written in letters of light over the sordid story of Hosea's experience. Light on dark is the most effective method of contrast. Some years ago, many of our freeway markers and street signs were changed and enlarged. Instead of black letters on a white background, the new signs used white letters on a dark background. This is God's method also. He writes His revelation and salvation on the black background of man's sin. God's high standard must be written over Hosea's home; only then will we catch the message.

      Hosea's Home

      Now we are prepared to examine the story behind the headlines in Hosea. In the hill country of Ephraim, in one of the many little towns not found on the maps of the world, lived two young people. One was a boy by the name of Hosea, the other was a girl by the name of Gomer. I would guess that they fell in love--the same story which has been repeated millions of times, but never grows old. Then the girl went bad for some unexplained reason. To suggest any explanation is to speculate. She even resorted to the oldest profession known to mankind. Hosea was brokenhearted, and shame filled his soul. He must have thought about his recourse to the Mosaic Law. He could have brought her before the elders of the town and demanded the Law be enforced. In that case she would have been stoned, for she had betrayed him. He would have been justified.

      Does this remind you of another story that occurred in these same hills seven hundred years later? Another young man by the name of Joseph was engaged to a young lady named Mary. He thought of putting her away privately instead of publicly stoning her. But Mary was innocent of any wrongdoing. Gomer was not. There was no question of Gomer's guilt as far as the record is concerned.

      The Book of Hosea opens at this juncture of the story. It opens with the most startling and shocking statement in the entire Bible:

      When the LORD began to speak by Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea: "Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the LORD." (Hosea 1:2)

      Some have not been willing to concede this as the actual experience of the prophet and have dismissed this strong language by calling it all an allegory. Such trifling with the Word of God waters it down to a harmless solution that is more sickening than stimulating. Let's face it--God commanded Hosea to break the Mosaic Law! The Law said to stone her, but God said, "Go, marry her." The thing God commanded Hosea to do must have caused him to revolt in every fiber of his being. Where would God find a godly man today who would go that far with Him?

      Hosea did not demur--he obeyed explicitly. He took Gomer in holy wedlock, and he gave her his name. She came into his home as his wife. In the New Testament we read:

      Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh." (1 Corinthians 6:16)

      You may be sure that the tempo of gossip was stepped up in their hometown. Someone has said that God made the country, man made the city, but the devil made the little town. The gossip of folk in a little town is cruel and brutal, although they don't mean it to be. The mistake of an individual is known by all and forgotten by none. Hosea's home became a desert island in a sea of criticism such as, "Can you imagine Hosea as God's man--and look whom he has married!" What a tragic and awful thing took place there. It was segregation with a vengeance, for that man and his wife were shut off from society in that little town. A case of leprosy in the home would not have broken off contact with the outside world more effectively. Poor Hosea!

      Into that home children were born. There were three, two boys and one girl. God named each of them, and the meaning of their names tells the awful story. And there is also the larger meaning and message for the nation Israel.

      Jezreel was the oldest. His name means, "God will scatter." The reference is directly to a brutality in the life of Jehu for which there was no repentance (see 2 Kings 10). God is saying through this child Jezreel, "God will scatter Israel." But there will be mercy in His judgment, for there always is.

      The second child was Lo-Ruhamah, which means "unpitied," implying that she never knew a father's pity. It was not that she was an orphan, but there was a question about who her father was. What a scandal in the home of Hosea. But I want to say to you, it was a message for the nation! That generation of Israel would not know the pity of God, but God would remember to be gracious to a later generation that He could call His own.

      The last child was Lo-Ammi, which means "not my people." There is something very insinuating here that I feel should be mentioned. If you put this in the singular, it would mean "not my child." Hosea here is frankly revealing the scandal of his home. Oh, God was speaking to the nation, that nation which had apostatized and departed from Him. He was saying to them, as when the Pharisees came to the Lord Jesus and said, "We are Abraham's descendants," our Lord replied, "You are of your father the devil"--you are illegitimate (see John 8:39-44).

      Oh, how many church members are saying, "We are the children of God," but they are illegitimate! They are not His children at all. People say today that there is the "universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man." That is the biggest lie and the most damnable heresy that has ever been turned loose in this world. Our Lord said to the religious leaders, "You are of your father the devil." God says, "But as many as received Him [the Lord Jesus Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God"--even to those who don't do any more or less than simply "believe in His name" (John 1:12). It is when you believe and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior that you become a child of God. And until you have come to Him as a sinner and have accepted Him as your Savior who paid the penalty for your sins, you are an illegitimate child. You are Lo-Ammi, "not My child." How tragic it is to be deceived!

      In the home of Hosea these three children tell its sad story, and in the larger sphere they depict the declension of the northern kingdom of Israel, which is called Ephraim in the Book of Hosea.

      This does not end the record. Gomer ran away from home. She returned to her former profession and became a common prostitute. You would think that now God would say, "Hosea, you have given her a chance, and obviously she is not going to be a faithful wife to you. You loved her and she betrayed you. Now I'll permit you to give her up." But God didn't say that.

      Then the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans." (Hosea 3:1)

      As women of this sort did in those days, she had sold herself into slavery:

      So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. (Hosea 3:2)

      It would indeed be gratifying to be able to say that she became a good wife and mother and they lived happily ever after. Certainly, by inference, that is the conclusion that I drew, since the analogy is to Israel:

      For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:4, 5)

      Finally God will triumph with the nation. The victory of love is the theme of the Book of Hosea.

      Prepared to Preach

      This concludes the personal history of Hosea. It is a sordid and sorry account of the domestic affairs of God's prophet. For the sake of poetic justice, perhaps we should say that Hosea saved his home. This, however, is not the purpose of recording his experience. God was disciplining this man to speak on His behalf to a nation that was guilty of spiritual adultery. Out of a home scarred by shame, this man stepped before the nation with a message of fire! He stood before his people with a heartbreak that was intolerable, with scalding tears coursing down his cheeks, an ache of soul and a shame of spirit, to denounce a people who were guilty of religious harlotry! He walked out of a home broken by sin and scandal; a home saddened, soiled, and sullied by the ugliness of sin. And I like what Dean Plumptre wrote years ago--as though Hosea were speaking:

                        Now I sit
      All lonely, homeless, weary of my life,
      Thick darkness round me, and the stars all dumb
      That erst had sung their wondrous tale of joy.
      And thou hadst done it all, O faithless one!
      O Gomer! Whom I loved as never wife
      Was loved in Israel, all the wrong is thine!
      Thy hand hath spoiled all my tender vines,
      Thy foot hath trampled all my pleasant fruits,
      Thy sin hath laid my honor in the dust.

      Hosea was God's man who denounced the nation and declared a verdict of guilty for the crime of crimes. He said simply but specifically that sin is as black as can be and that God will punish sin wherever He finds it.

      Yet God loves the sinner. When a nation acknowledges God and turns to Him, is blessed of Him and experiences His love, then subsequently turns from Him to idols, the sin of that nation is labeled spiritual harlotry.

      God took Israel out of Egypt. He led its people through the wilderness, and His own explanation was:

      "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself." (Exodus 19:4)

      Yet this people made themselves a golden calf to worship and turned away from the God who loved them. At that time, God brought them back to Himself.

      Many years later after the kingdom of Israel divided, the northern kingdom--to whom Hosea was speaking--made two golden calves and again turned to calf worship. And again God attempted to woo them back to Himself, but they would not. The charge made repeatedly against them was that they went whoring after other gods. Candidly stated, the charge was that Israel was playing the harlot. This is sin at its worst. However, I don't want to be misunderstood. I am not suggesting the sensational idea that the breaking of the seventh commandment is the chief sin--that's not it.

      What is the Greatest Sin?

      I am now ready to ask the question and attempt to answer it: "What is the greatest sin in all the world?" Well, in the past, two have been suggested which are worth consideration as the greatest. One is unbelief. Many say that unbelief is absolutely the greatest sin. It is true that there is no remedy for unbelief. God has a remedy for all sin, but unbelief means to reject the remedy. Nevertheless, multitudes are in unbelief because they have never heard that the Son of God has paid the penalty for their sins. When they hear, they will believe. Others have honest doubts. The honest doubter is a rare specimen, but I myself came that route, and I believe that all who have an honest doubt will eventually come to faith in Christ. God is prepared to deal with them. It is the dishonest doubter who gives one excuse when he has a different one in his heart--God will not deal with him. Unbelief is not the greatest sin.

      Others hold that sin against light is the chief sin. This is coming close, but it misses the mark. Surely the people of Israel had light, and light does add to the exceeding sinfulness of sin--God dealt with them on that basis. In the economy of God, it is difficult to say that there is one sin that is worse than any other when God says:

      For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

      Our Lord Himself said that when the Holy Spirit comes, "He will convict the world of sin ... because they do not believe in Me" (John 16:8, 9). And if a man or nation has had the light of God and then rejects it, that makes their sin worse. The sin of America is worse than the sin of China. I would much rather be an idolater in the darkness of some tropical jungle, bowing down in fear before an idol, than to be a cynic who sits within the sound of the gospel in any Bible-believing church from Sunday to Sunday without responding to God's invitation and without receiving the light of heaven. Yes, sin against light is heinous. There is, however, a sin that is even greater.

      The greatest sin in all the world is sin against love. This is sin at its worst, and this is the revelation of Hosea. Gomer was not only guilty of breaking the marriage vow, but she sinned against the one who loved her. That is unspeakable. That is worse than the animism and animalism of the heathen world. It is deeper and darker than the immorality of the underworld and the demonism of the overworld. Hosea knew what sin was, and he knew what love was. He knew what the greatest sin in all the world was from personal experience.

      Hosea walked out before the nation of Israel to give them God's message and could say in substance, "I know how God feels. God's heart is broken. I know because my heart is broken. I have loved this woman, but she betrayed me. And God loves you, and you have betrayed Him." That is sin at its worst. You can't get any lower than that, my beloved. Sin against love aggravates sin. Israel had known the love of God. She had experienced His deliverance, His redemption, His protection, His forgiveness, His revelation, and His unconditional love. Israel turned to dumb idols and gave herself to them. This was sin against love, and nothing was worse. But God would not give her up; love will triumph!

      God says, that He will get the victory. The story is told in three verses in the Book of Hosea.

      Here is the charge:

      "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone." (Hosea 4:17)

      God says to Hosea, "Let them alone. They've gone after idols," but Hosea could say, "O Lord, You sent me out to get Gomer and bring her back; what are You going to do with these people?" God says, "I'll go get them."

      Here is the pulsating passion of our God:

      "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred." (Hosea 11:8)

      In essence God says, "My thought was to judge you and to scatter you, even now," but He says, "I love you too much, and I am sending Hosea to you again. He knows how I feel because I've let him feel the same way. He will tell you that I love you in spite of all your failure, in spite of committing the worst sin of all, sinning against My love."

      Here is victory:

      "Ephraim shall say, 'What have I to do anymore with idols?' I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in Me." (Hosea 14:8)

      In other words, "I'll no longer play the harlot, I'm through with idols. I'll be faithful to God." There will come a day when Israel will turn from idols back to God. And may I say, this has a message for our day.

      When a young couple has made shipwreck of their marriage and then comes to me, my first inquiry concerns their personal relationship. Recently a young couple came to me with their problem. I asked them if they still loved each other. Tears filled their eyes, and they confessed eagerly that they did. It is unnecessary to say that they are working out their problem. When love is gone, it looks hopeless, but with love there is hope.

      Does this shocking description of spiritual adultery fit the church? The church is described as the bride of Christ: "I have betrothed you ... that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). To the Ephesian church our Lord said, "I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (Revelation 2:4). It is also interesting to note that the Hebrew name Hosea means "salvation" and is another form of the name Joshua. The Hebrew name Joshua in the Old Testament is in the Greek form Jesus in the New Testament:

      "You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

      Therefore, Jesus is the modern Hosea and the church is the bride of Christ. But is she faithful to Him today? Playing and toying with the world even now, she is being molded into its lifestyle and has become lukewarm in her relationship with Christ. Our Lord Jesus said to the church of Laodicea, which I'm convinced represents the church of the present hour:

      "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." (Revelation 3:15, 16)

      In other words, He says, "You are playing the harlot." Does that disturb you? The harlotry of worldliness is the besetting sin of the church today.

      Now let us bring this down to the individual. What is your personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Has a cloud come between you and Him? Has some sin eclipsed His presence? Are you indifferent? Are you trying to compensate by criticizing or turning to some feverish service? Before the Lord Jesus put Simon Peter in harness, He asked the heart-searching question, "Do you love Me?" This is just as poignant and pertinent now as it was that early dawn by the Sea of Galilee, for He calls you by name today. He is not interested in your service or the outward testimony you are giving. He is asking you in your heart of hearts, "Do you love Me?"

      Published and distributed by Thru the Bible Radio Network

Wow! "Do you love me?"  We have to recognize God for who He is and be openly honest.

This morning as I spent time in my Bible, I combed through 1 John chapter 3.  Therein it discussed that sin is lawlessness.  We grapple with sin.  Daily, if not even minute by minute, we try to apply a weight or measure to either our sin or someone else's.  And the truth is, if you go back to the question of what is sin, there is not a weight or measure.  But rather, sin is lawlessness.  Our lives are engulfed in a world of chaos.  We ourselves are utterly incapable of never sinning. We can't do it!  No one can!  Yet, many fail to even recognize this and must face eternal consequence.  The United States is hurting.  And with the Supreme Court's recent decision and stance to change the definition of marriage and sign the definition into law, the door to chaos is being swung wide open, and just like a flood will lead to ruin, we are on a crash course to destruction.

Second, our individual lives have to change.  Our nation has to change.  Our world has to change.  It is time for everyone to take a stand drive a stake into the ground and repent of our sin and accept that 1) God exists.  2) He is Holy- perfectly without sin 3)While God wants us to have a relationship with Him, it is not possible because of our sin 4)But GOD, made a way for us to have that relationship with Him through His son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus, who lived a perfect life without sin, fulfilled prophecies in the Bible that were spoken millenia before He ever entered this world, lived a perfect and blameless life and was killed on a cross, a sacrifice, according to God's Word, and because of Jesus' obedient death on a cross, and even more important His resurrection (coming back to life), made a way for everyone to now have access to God (who wants to have a relationship with us) based upon His own life and sacrifice 4) And our sin is now forgiven.  That's it!

However, the only way that we can even begin to experience God and His forgiveness to to 1)acknowledge our sin, 2)accept Jesus and His perfect life and death as our sacrifice 3) Confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that Jesus is Lord and allow Jesus to take control of your life.

Until we do this....Until our nation does this....Until our world does this we are subject to chaos.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Round Two

Praise report is that Princess seemed to have fewer seizures after one day on the new meds!   However, please continue to pray for her as we are seeing some extreme tachycardia as her heart is beating incredibly out of control. 

The next day was truly a God-given day.  We were incredibly exhausted, but it was for very good reason.  While still doing some research regarding Princess’ new medication and trying to get back in with her first doctor to ask some more questions, we made several calls to try to get in sooner with the second specialist (her appt. was scheduled for the first part of July).  Being assured of no openings for the day, we did elect to at least drive to the office to find out where it was located as they were successful in getting an evening appointment for the following night.  While this was not desirable, it was a step closer to getting in with this specialist. 

We drove to the clinic and I went inside and ironically (or ALL God), at that particular time the current patient had not shown, the appointment was a time slot for a new patient, and they were going to see us right away since we were there!  Praise the Lord!  While we were not able to spend as much time with this specialist as we had the day before, she was able to confirm a lot of things for us and even put down some phone appointments for us for the future that would allow for us to come back home and be assured that we would still get good attention and care from her and her clinic.  Truly it was a long and exhausting day, but a blessed assurance that God is in control.  He opened multiple doors and opportunities and we feel confident about the direction we’re going. 

Please continue to pray for God’s guidance and ultimately Princess’ healing! Thank you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A New Specialist....New Med

Please continue to pray for our direction and for Princess’ healing! We saw our first specialist last Tuesday.  While the appointment was good, Princess was not.  She was so incredibly weak and tired, and while in the office was having seizure after seizure. Her illness is so peculiar and heart breaking.  Praise the Lord though for this particular specialist.  Recognizing that the current appointment time was not long enough, he asked us to see him in his conference room as he went back and forth to other patients and then would come back to us in between appointments.  We are very thankful for his thoughtful approach and listening ear.  He was amazing in bringing up thoughts and ideas regarding Princess’ condition and even spent a considerable amount of time focusing in on Princess’ 9 year history.  By the end of the appointment and nearly 4 hours later he prescribed a new medicine for us and then it was off to the pharmacy to give the new med a try.  Truly, the day was overwhelming.  Princess had 22 seizures for the day up until 4:00, and seemingly good news came with the new medicine as she only added two more seizures to her daily total.   Praise the Lord for a break!

We are incredibly blessed with some great friends that generously opened their home to us and it made things so easy and gave Critter a chance to hangout and be a big sister to their sweet 1 year old.  We still weren’t sure about how long we’d be there because the specialist asked us to stay so that he could monitor her response.  However, he remembered that he was about to head out of town for over a week.  So, we began trying to reach one of the other specialist that was in the area and might be able to help.

More to come.

A New Journey...

And so wait we tried.  We are still waiting to hear from NYU and in the interim we began exploring all other options still trying to get answers.  Princess’ doc in Houston put her on a “rescue” med that should have broken the cycle of the seizures.  However, they only increased.  Thus, he stopped that treatment and wanted her to come to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit after Memorial Weekend.  Again, we waited…for the scheduler to call and set up the admission.  In the meantime, we continued to reach out to other specialists across the nation.
I am thinking about the first settlers who settled the US.  An unknown territory, not a clue of what was in front of them across the great big watery abyss. And yet, there had to be some sort of driving force of something new, untried, God-focused ability that pushed them.  As I shared our encouragement that God poured down on us, God used the moment to open up some doors not in New York, but elsewhere.  Though not exactly in our backyard, a physician that we reached out to 2 years prior suddenly had an opening the following week and we rapidly made plans to leave and begin work with him.  The future suddenly had a new light, a new direction, a new hope, and a new opportunity.  While we didn't quite know or understand all that would take place, we geared up for what could possibly be a long trip.  We didn't know if we would be gone three days, three weeks, or even three months.  

While we were rapidly getting all the necessities together and even making plans for Critter to come with us as she was beginning to show the stress of Mommy being gone, we received the call from the scheduler that they could see Princess the same day that we had Princess’ new doc appt. scheduled.  We asked the doc here if we could postpone and he agreed.  So, off we all went, yet still waiting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Overdue Update- Post Hospital

Our last update had us going to New York through a hospital to hospital transfer.  While our desire was to get there to begin getting care, God apparently had other plans.  The plan changed to be discharged from the hospital and await an outpatient admission to NYU as insurance was making the medical transport difficult and due to the time and distance involved an actual bed was not able to be kept open long enough for Princess and I to get to NYU.  We were discharged from the hospital and received no return calls from NYU.  As our weekend bore on us and we were now out of the hospital, we literally could not have even scripted what was to happen.  
Princess and I are richly blessed to attend an amazing Bible church in the Metroplex.  The teaching, the worship, the family…are so amazing and we cannot even do our Church home any justice in what I am about to say.  As many of you have read through our journey, you have recently asked us how do we have the strength to keep enduring this 9+ year trial?  Honestly, it comes from the Lord!  Yet, that Sunday we were stretched thin and quite frankly we were broken.  We truly were at our lowest point.  There truly was nothing left in us.  And despite the 20+ seizures per day that Princess was experiencing, we somehow were able to muster the strength to get to our “family.”  One of the constants for Princess in this 9 year journey has been the fact that physical activity (i.e., walking) can trigger seizures.  Obviously, in the state and condition that she is in, she was just physically unable to even walk into church.  Therefore, we did take her wheelchair to church.  We were running late and so we were escorted to seats in the front of the church.  It was announcement time and just before the announcements would begin our Pastor saw us getting to our seats.  Knowing the severity of our circumstance he came over to get an update.  What would then happen was humbling.  Call it a break from routine, he then shared with the entire congregation that he would like the congregation as a whole to go before us in prayer as I was asked to share our testimony and update.  Broken, tired, and weak, I tried to get out the words and the tears and sobs are all that could come.
But God spoke.

Ironically, the message for the day was how to deal with a crisis.  By the end of the message all those in the church that were dealing with a crisis were asked to come up front.  I imagine that probably half of the 3,500 in attendance came forward.  Thereafter, the remaining were asked to come and pray with each individual by name and for their crisis.  Like many others, we were quickly embraced by prayers and encouragement.  And as the service ended, many were lined up to offer individual encouragement for Princess and many handwritten notes of encouragement were placed in our hands!  What a body!  What a family!   What a humbling experience!!
One of the benefits that we got with being out of the hospital was having the blessing to be a Critter's last day of school.  With that we got to see her class' "Creation Story" and witness the cutest-ever fish/mermaid!!!

The class as a whole did a great job with each one having their own speaking part!  Great job by both the class and the teachers!

Lastly, we do especially want to thank again, our church family, but as well our sweet friends that were by our side in the hospital.  Several of you came by to visit and just sit and for this we are so grateful to have your encouragement, prayers, support, and even provision!