Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two More to Go!

Yesterday's treatment went quite well. It was not busy at BTHC/CC and so the process did not take long. Praise the Lord for it all being so smooth. Once we got home I even enjoyed a large, healthy supper. Eating pleasures come and go for me, so when it is a pleasure to eat then I usually try to eat well. I was quite concerned about the itch, however, as the itchy skin seemed to be coming back in the evening. I pleaded with God for a night of no itch, and eventually after watching Vancouver beat the Hawks in overtime, I finally feel asleep, AND NO ITCH! Praise Jesus!
The concern still remains with my butt/back muscle spasms. I would ask for prayer that that situation would be healed. It flares up when I sit for too long, and too long has a relative time period. I can sit best in church. Our church pews sit very comfortably- maybe I will have to get a pew into our house. Anways...
Yesterday we had a real answer to prayer. My mother-in-law (MIL) was going to join Julia and her sister from Landmark and together we would all go to Winkler. The ladies were going to visit some relatives, shop and coffee around town while I had the treatment. Well, Monday evening MIL calls and says she is not feeling good at all. We prayed God would take away her pain, and praise the Lord, Tuesday (yesterday) she felt good and had a great time in Winkler with her daughters.
Thanks to all of you for praying for us.
Thanks so very much.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Towel

I have a wonderful friend with whom I have gone of several trucking-type bike trips. By this I mean that miles is what it was all about. Stopping at tourist attractions was not our style of touring. It was gettting here to there STP (Sooner Than Possible). And we drove, and drove and saw much ditch pass by. And trees. All a blur really. But we had fun and saw lots of country side, and the odometer turning over at a fast rpm.
The mother of all bike trips happened in January of 2005. We toured through Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay. How it began will have to be saved for another time, but let me tell you about Brian.
Brian is maeyklich (Low German for "fussy"). He would tend to favor cooked meals coming out of his house. It had to be done his way, or he would sniff at it in curious criticism. I tried to serve him tapioca pudding one time, but it was not made the way he made it so it was not applauded with unreserved delight. Brian was a tad maeyklich. Fussy. Peculiar to detail.
Which brings me to the towel incident.
This is a true story, by the way, with no exagerrations.
Where in South America we were at this time I am not sure. I think it was in Brazil, but not sure. What I am sure of is that it was around lunch time and we needed two things: a shipping department and recieving station. We found a road side diner (that's the recieving station) where we would eat, but first Brian and I had to do some shipping, or unloading (ok, have a bowel movement, for those who can't read between the lines). Brian went first. Then I went. Or at least that was my intention. What greeted me at the toilet was not making me comfortable. There was the toilet, a be-day (rear end washer unit in plain words) and a towel (it think it was blue- at least I knew I was in the boy's washroom!). No toilet paper to be seen. Just a towel hanging over the cement dividing wall of the two privacy stalls. I assessed the situation and wondered how Brian had done it. Two things I had clearly etched in my mind: the towel was not for drying hands, and that towel was not coming in contact with my anal orfice. And besides I was not  touching that towel with my hands. If there is one thing I can't stand in Canada or US is when a public facility has a towel to dry one's hands on, and here in this public toilet I was to wipe the valley between my two butt cheeks with this public towel? Not in a million years! Not for the love of a woman! Not for anything was I to risk contracting feces-activated-rare-terminal-sicknesses- FARTS for short! I could imagine all the rectums this towel had met on a personal basis and mine was not signing that service record. I went back to the diner still needing very much to accomplish this shipping order. I asked Brian what he had done. Well, remember, this is fussy Brian! There is no way I thought he would have employed that towel to clean his rectal area. Yet I had not seen him retreat to get some tissue, and I for sure did not think he would not wipe, and I did not see a pair of Fruit of the Looms anywhere which meant he had decided to drive commando style, and there was not old Sears catalog in sight either. So I went to him to retrieve his method of finishing the job. Well, he had used the car wash to clean off his rear, and then yes he had taken the towel and dried off. Unbelievable! He said he had looked for a clean spot of the towel and used that area. Brian, it may have looked clean, but did it ever occur to you that it has just dried? How many paramecium, and other microscopic parasites were not just waiting for another victim to invade his privates? I could not believe Brian had done that. His butt was now listed as one of the who-knows-how-many-other-butts that had used that towel- which was, might I remind you- still prodominately blue. Folks, I was not going to do that. I find it traumatic to have to wipe my hands with a public towel, how was I going to use public toilet towels for wiping my precious dear rear. I grabbed a big hand full of those light weight table napkins from the diner and proceeded to the toilet, dropped what needed to be, and then using virgin paper I cleaned up the way it was meant to be. To theis day I still cannot believe dear buddy Brian used that towel for wiping his colon exit portal. More power to you, Brian.
Remember, Brian, there is a comment section on this blog that enables you to reply and get me back. Go for it. I look forward to it.
Thanks for not throwing in the towel, Brian.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scripture and the Resurrection of Jesus

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!!
If you were Jesus, how would you go about proving your resurrection? Today is Easter Sunday. Would you simply come into the presence of the people and declare, “Here I am! I have risen from the dead!” This would be the more empirical approach: the appeal to the five senses! Well, He tried that, but they would not believe the report others were bringing to them (Mark 16:14).
Luke 24 is an interesting chapter on Jesus’ way of proving, or substantiating, or showing Himself to be the risen Lord Who was crucified a few days ago. When Jesus travels down the Emmaus road with those two people, He is asked if He is not the only One Who has not heard what has lately happened in Jerusalem- namely, the crucifixion of Jesus! What bothers these two persons is that the body of Jesus is missing, and they cannot explain it. Jesus could have made short work of it all by simply saying, “Look, here I am. See my hands, see my side. It is I.” But He does not do that!! Jesus uses Scripture to prove His resurrection!
Let that sink in for a while, dear reader. He uses Scripture which for these folks is the Old Testament. Imagine that! Rather than showing Himself, which He does later, He resorts to the ultimate authority- the word of God, the Scriptures. This for me shows that Scripture carries greater weight for the proof of Jesus’ resurrection than His own body which appeals to the empirical proof so many of us would choose over the metaphysical proof of Scripture. We would tend to say, “Who can argue against His resurrection when we have seen His resurrected body?” Jesus seems to be saying, “Who cannot help but believe I have risen because of what the Scriptures say?!”
Later on in Luke 24:36-46 Jesus, when with His disciples, uses both the empirical approach and the more metaphysical, or faith based approach as per the appeal to Scriptures. Jesus has a very, very elevated view of Scripture. For Him I believe Scripture has even more authority than what is gained through empirical means. What we attain through the senses needs interpretation. And we can interpret experiences in very erroneous ways. Scriptures clarify our experiences, and Scriptures for Jesus clarified His resurrection.
John 20:29 is the real thrust of this writing. It’s all about the Scriptures. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe. The only way you and I can believe today is through our faith in the written word- Scripture! It trumps experience.
Today we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection not because we have seen Him with our eyes, but because of what the Scriptures say. And that is exactly where Jesus, I believe, wants us to be at- believe because of the word of God.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Miracle at Gravel Road Church

Yesterday was Good Friday. Those who attended the Pleasant Valley Good Friday service yesterday, April 22, witnessed a miracle. And the recipient was me. Sermon prep involves, for my style of prep anyhow, working on the computer writing down the sermon notes. It involves sitting. I cannot specifically recall when the pain started, but it was somewhat present on Monday of this week, cause I recall wondering how I was going to make it through chemo sitting for that length of time. By Wednesday I knew I needed help. So I called Kim Siemens for a massage appointment. She did stretch out my back nicely, but it was not the ticket yet. On Wednesday I planted myself in front of the computer and sat for a long time working on the prep. I said people are praying, and so I am going to sit and work. God will take care of the pain. By 5:00 pm Wednesday I was in mortal pain, incredible pain. I could not stand, sit, kneel or walk. I managed to get up the stairs and I lay on the hard floor. That was the only way to get relief. I thought there is no way I can stand up in front of the church like this on Friday and preach. Then I called Kaylee, my niece-in-law if she could work on my butt. That is where the pain was and I needed someone who was not ashamed to work on my butt. She said she had seen a lot of butts, and she did not mind coming to help me. She also did a wonderful job, but the pain did not leave- it certainly was less. Still, I could not sit. Thursday came around and with lots of prep left, I sat, knelt, stood, squatted, bent, leaned, and crouched in front of the computer to change my position often and regularly. It did not work. My butt muscle tightened up, and pain sheared through my butt and lower back like a bolt of electricity. And Friday morning was approaching. Friday morning I got up early and worked on the final prep. Again my back and butt just would not cooperate. With mere hours before I was to preach, I wondered how this was all going to pan out. Julia started texting people asking for prayer. We prayed. I called my sister-in-law to bring pills for me to church. (Too bad Melvin does not attend our church, since then I would have called him for more pills.) We got to church, and I had visions of how this was going to look. With laying on a hard floor as my only relief from the pain, Julia wondered if I should preach laying on my back in front of the congregation. I found I could sit in church. That was OK. When it came to preaching (and I went overtime by 10 minutes of so) I found that my back was tightening up a bit as I preached, but I could walk, stand and move about without pain. THAT WAS A MIRACLE SINCE THERE IS NO WAY I COULD HAVE DONE THAT ON THURSDAY OR WEDNESDAY. After Church, we had a Friesen Family gathering, and again I could sit, stand and walk without any pain.I found it very strange that as soon as I was done preaching, the pain issue was also done. That is really interesting.
Thanks for all who prayed for me and Julia. Good Friday was truly a miracle day for me and Julia. Thank God for His answered prayer. Thank God also that the itch is not nearly as bad as it was some days ago. I would say now that itch is not really an issue any more. And with that comes the ability to sleep. I am very grateful for that. Thanks be to God.
And thanks  for your prayers.
Thank-you all very much!
If you are interested in the sermon, I have it posted under "Deeper Readings" section on the blog home page. It's called "the Shame of the Cross."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Night of Rest

After many nights of seemingly endless itching and fighting for a wink of sleep, last night I was blessed with no itch issues. What a relief, what a joy, what a blessing. Thank-you Jesus, thank-you Lord for that relief. Today is the 5th treatment of 8 in this once-a-week-cycle of cetexamub treatment. The past few days have been quite good, but there were indeed some rather dark days and nights before that. Friday we had friends come over in a supportive visit, but I was simply zonked and could not contribute much to the evening. I thank God so much for Julia who is so understanding, so kind, so patient, and so loving. Where would I be without her?
A night like last night gives one hope that there are more days coming like that. It gives me the notion that perhaps this fight is being won. It gives me the strength to go into today’s treatment with renewed courage. With Jesus, I can do this again.
The challenges, however, do not stop. Eating is still a hassle. My back is often in pain. That is part of the side-effects of the treatments, but I need to have a sermon ready by Good Friday, and sitting tends to irritate the lower back, but you know, God will give me the strength to do the prep work for that sermon, and He will give the power, stamina and energy to speak up for Him.
Thank-you so much for praying for us. God is listening to and hearing your prayers. The last few days have actually been quite good. And I thank God for each of you. Thanks so much for your prayers. I never take them fore granted.
One night when I could not sleep, I took my Bible and asked God to show me something. I thought of reading about the Passion Week, and so I read from Matthew 26. My eye caught something in verse 6: “now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper…” Mark writes of the same account but he says, “and while He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table…(14:3)” Luke also mentions this incident where Jesus is at a Pharisee’s home, who is called Simon, but Luke does not mention anything about him being a leper (7:36-50).
What’s my point in all this? We never read anywhere (that I know of) that Jesus healed this man of the leprosy. A lady pouring rich perfume over Jesus’ head steals the show. And we never read of what happened to Simon’s physical well-being. Why did Jesus not heal Simon? Maybe He did, but we just don’t read of it.
But you see what Jesus did? He reclined with him at the table. He gave Simon his desired audience. Jesus may not always heal as we would define being healed, but I know that He always is ready to recline with us. And perhaps there is more healing in Him reclining with us than if He took away our infirmities.
I trust you will invite Jesus into your home today, and take time to recline with Him. Get a cup of coffee, or tea, or whatever; take your Bible and just recline with Jesus for a while. You will find His healing presence to give you strength for the day.
Thanks again for your prayers!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Still Looking for What I Have Not Found in Looking for It

It's 1:30 am Wednesday.
Sleepless in Rosenort.
This is what I took before bedtime tonight: 2 Tylenol Pain Manager pills, one to take away the pain on the rught side of my lower back, and the other for any other pain (I should have taken the third for the pain in the donkey that the sleeplessness in giving me). I have no pain this night- Praise the Lord for that! I also inhaled 5 10mg Apo-Hydroxyzine pills to help manage itchiness and to enhance the study of the interior walls of my eye lids. In addition I swallowed half of a Pms-Zopiclone 7.5 mg pill which is a basic sleeping pill. Then I applied an external steriod lotion called Betamethasone which is a powerful itch fighter. And the cocktail to toast a good night of sleep was 1000mg of Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C mixed in a glass of Rosenort Coop Filtered Water.
None of these are Melvin pills.
The results?
It's now 1:42 am, and I am pretty much on schedule to catch the annual Wednesday Owl Business Meeting.
So I decided to get up and eat Puff Wheat with some protein powder from New Zealand. I bought the powder, and when I got home I read the fine print and part of the revenue they make from that protein goes to the David Sizuki Fund to help save the world from the stuff you and exhale every day. That will be the last time I will buy that stuff. It's probably a protein powder that would not cause human anal emissions.
Part of the reason for this itchiness this night is- at least this is my belief- my lack of adequate water intake. I think this is rather very important.
We did start juicing vegetables again, so I am enjoying that lovely taste again, but I believe this is critically important since my love for eating veggies is on the same level as eating headcheese and klik luncheon meats at supper.
Today, which is yesterday, the treatment went very well. I actually left chemo room feeling better than when I came in there. Not sure why.
I have forgotten what a good night feels like.
I have forgotten what it feels like to not have itch.
I have forgotten what a really good day is like.
I have forgotten what living without cancer was like.
I have forgotten what a joyful anticipation of going to bed is like.
But I have come to anticipate with greater anticipation Jesus' second coming.
But I have come to envy people like Liz Friesen who went home to Jesus yesterday afternoon.
But I have come to view this world as not my final home, but that being in heaven.
But I have grown to appreciate how wonderful it will be to move into that place Jesus is building for me.
But I have come to understand better what the Bible says to us about hope, and it's not in this earth.
But I have come to the point that I know God is using this cancer to accomplish His will in me.
I would rather spend 30 minutes with a dying saint, than a day with a rich man.
I would rather spend a day visitng with saints in persecution, than a week by the lake in some ritzy cottage.
I would rather spend a day in a house of mourning than a week in the house of pleasure.
In all cases, the former have life while the latter are trying to find life.
Life begins when it sees death.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Better Days Ahead

Today was not one of those days. Fatigue set in today. I hardy even have ambition to do this. But I have to do something. I feel like deleting this already. I lay around most of the day, just too tired to do anything. And I have a paper to write for my Seminary class. One more paper. I suppose it will get done. My life is currently characterized by trying to be comfortable. If it's not the itch, the skin rash, the sore back, the bulging liver, it's just trying to keep the head up and the spirits high.
Maybe I should not have written anything today, but here is how I felt today.
Thanks for your prayers.
Thanks for your interest.
Thanks for being there for us.
Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Some Hope (Rev Ed)

There was some hope expressed today at the Cancer Care Center Post (CCCP) in Winkler. The CCCP said that the facial blotches of ache and sores is an indication that the Cetexamub treatment is working. That is what Cancer Care Cemtral Prescriptions (CCCP) in Winnipeg has said is the case. So the zits on my face are a good thing. Nothing that a nice Scheck 5 blader razor can't scrape off.
Treatment went well, except for some moments of really bad itchyness. I am hoping my body will adjust and be able to fight off that itchyness. Doc Bob gave me a prescription to assist in dealing with itch. Julia looked up itch remedies on the internet, and while there are no posted prescriptions she found that involved sitting on dung heap with a broken piece of pottery to scrape myself. Well, we are going to try sitting in the bath tub with oatmeal.
Wonder if Melvin Friesen has any pills that would work?
However, all seriousness aside, I have a renewed sense of optimism in that if it really takes a face like mine to indicate that the Cetexamub is working then bring on the zits en leben on der gezecht (the zits in life on the face)!
To complicate matters, Julia and I went to the Gingerwood Tea House in Winkler and we each had a dessert. That tasted good. Yes, I am eating sweets again. I want to live with joy. I am disillusioned with the health kicks. But I shall be careful.
Anyhow, I thank you for your prayers.
Oh, did you know anyhow was Gordie Howe's sister?
Thanks Al.

By the way, the current plan of the treatment calls for 8 weeks of weekly treatment. This is, according to the Winkler oncologist, the loading phase of this regime. After the 8 weeks of loading are completed, the treatment is reduced to either every  two weeks or perhaps even every three weeks. So again, there is some hope and something to shoot for. I did not take a single anti-nausea pill last treatment cycle, and I had virtually no nausea to deal with at all. If there are any side effects of this treatment, it would be the zits on my face, a little more likely to get sore muscles (especially in my lower back), itchy skin, and that's about it. Anyways, I thank God that He is blessing us with His love, His hope, His joy, and His comfort.
I really do feel quite good. My sleep is not what it used to be, but neither is my clean and jerk. Gordie Howe's sister, have a good day.
Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, April 4, 2011


"And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he wa sitting among the ashes." Job 2:8 (NASB)

καὶ ἔλαβεν ὄστρακον ἵνα τὸν ἰχῶρα ξύῃ καὶ ἐκάθητο ἐπὶ τῆς κοπρίας ἔξω τῆς πόλεως (Job 2:* LXX) This translates as "and he took a potsherd to scrape away the discharge, and sat upon a dung-heap outside the city." The ESB translates "potsherd" as "a piece of broken pottery."
Well, that's about how I have felt the past few days. I would like to take a piece of broken pottery and scrape and scratch away the bumps and the itch. It has been quite the challenge dealing with this itch. If it would help sitting on top of a dung heap, I would be there already.
Otherwise, not much new to report.
Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Advancing the Limits

This is how I think about God.
"Aided by my intelligence, I make up my mind about him. I know how God must act, in order to be really God. He must, for instance, be wise (wise in a way I can understand). He must act in a way that makes sense and is best for me. He must enrich my life with happiness and perhaps also with suffering (we clever human beings also know something about the uses of suffering!). He must preserve our nation, for our nation knows it is called to a mission in the world, and that God and providence can only exist when this mission reaches fulfilment. [After all, our anthem of unholy worship bows at the shrine of FREEDOM!!!] God must do all kinds of things if he is to be acclaimed as the true God. God must turn stones into bread. God must be able to leap from the pinnacle of the Temple, if he is to be acclaimed as God. [God must heal me of cancer in order for him to be worthy of my bended knee. God must take away this itch so I can sleep at night before he is to be acclaimed as God. God must do what I want him to do for my benefit and then I will bow before him.] It would appear, therefore, that is is we ourselves who set the conditions which God must satisfy in order that we may proclaim him God. We are God's masters." (Helmut Thielicke in Between God and Satan.)
I ask God for things, and they don't happen. I am not yet healed of cancer. I can feel the cancer lump in my abdominal region. I ask God to take away the itch so I can sleep at night. I itch and don't sleep. I ask God to heal me of cancer. I still have cancer.
God is not answering my prayers and so why pray!
If only God would leap off the blasted pinnacle of the temple already!
And then what? And then what?
And there comes Satan. "Chuck, you have been asking for physical intervention in your life, and it's not happening. You still itch. Chuck, forget asking God to take away the itch. It's not going to happen. Chuck, God has abandoned you. You are getting worse, you still itch, you still have cancer. Chuck, forget praying cause God ain't answering your prayers."
You know what, Satan has at times almost convinced me he is speaking the truth.
And my prayers stumble.
Back to Satan's lines: "Chuck, you know God can do anything. You know he could easily just snap his fingers and the itch and cancer would be gone. He could have jumped off the pinnacle of the temple. He didn't and he is not going to take away your itch. He is not doing it. He does not care."
Those are the lines I deal with. God can, but isn't. God could jump off the stupid pinnacle already. He could turn the lousy stone into bread. Why don't you just do it already? What's the silly idea of having stones around when they could be loaves of soft, fresh delicious seven grain bread?
Are my prayers treating God like a magician? Are my prayers asking God to jump off the pinnacle of the temple? Are my prayers- "Lord, please take away this itch." "Lord, please heal me of cancer." "Lord, please help my sex to be good tonight." "Lord, please give me a good crop this year." "Lord, give me a good job." "Lord, give me, give me, give me, give me... Lord, just jump already!"- are my prayers basically reduced to trying to get God to make bread out of stones?
Do you get what I am trying to say?

The Church of the Ecclesiastes

Yes, I am well aware that Ecclesiastes is in the OLD testament. Yes, yes, I know we live in the age of the NEW Testament. Ok, so how often do you turn to the OLD Testament Psalms for your comfort? Ever entertained the idea of pausing at Ecclesiastes as you turn backwards from the NEW to the OLD?

Join the ranks of people like myself. It took dear friend to get me to pause and listen to the words of the Preacher, the son of King David.

Pull up a chair! Fertilize your cognitive powers with a hot cup of coffee, or whatever.

Here we really go.

Eccl 7:1 TEV
“A good reputation is better than expensive perfume; and the day you die is better than the day your are born.” (emphasis mine)

I can tell why we don’t stop at this book as we turn backwards from the Old to the New on our way to the Psalms.

We rejoice, hoot and holler and buy cigars and have baby showers and parties and live it up and celebrate the birth of an innocent child into a world of sin, evil, pain, heartache, deadlines, pressures, making ends meet at the middle of the month and seeing met ends apart by the end of the month, credit card debt, sickness, pain, sorrows and the like (and yes some joyful times- touch on that in the next verse), and yet when it comes to the passing of a saint into the joys, bliss, peace, pain-free, tear-free, heartache-free, care-free, FREEDOM FROM THIS WHAT IS HERE to the REALIZATION of WHAT IS TO COME IN HEAVEN, we mourn. How backwards is that?

Quite backwards, according to the Preacher, King Solomon, the wisest man on earth.

Still with me? I hope I don’t lose you on the next verse, or rather, I hope the Preacher does not lose us on the next topic.
Verse 2 TEV

It is better to go to a home where there is mourning than to one where there is a party, because the living should always remind themselves that death is waiting for us all.” (emphasis mine)

Morbid? No, REALITY!!

Why do people go to bars, parties, movies and paperbacks? To enter a different world that for a short season gets them out of their world, thinking the other world is better than there own.

I know what some are thinking. Yep, parties have their place, but read the line again. There is nothing wrong with a party! Read the line again. It is BETTER….than….!!
Where would we sooner go: to the home of a bereaved person, or to the home south of town that is throwing a big party? Here is the difference. In one home there is life; in the other place there is the ATTEMPT at an escape of life. In one home there is the realization of reality; in the other, an ATTEMPT at a temporary escape of reality. In the former there is honesty; in the latter there is repression of the honesty. In one there is healing of the pain; in the latter the icing over of the pain.

It gets better in verse 14, so just hand in there.

Verse 3 NASB
Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy.”  (emphasis mine)


Here is what the TEV says: “Sorrow is better than laughter; it may sadden your face, but it sharpens your understanding.” Parties dull one’s understanding; sorrow sharpens one’s understanding. Parties and cigars seek refuge from sorrow, while sorrow finds refuge in understanding.

Yes, yes, I hear you! I know that laughter is the best medicine, but that is not a verse from Scripture, not even in the Apocrypha. It’s comes from the Reader’s Digest, not the Holy Bible. I know. Laughter is good at times. I know that, but the verse never says that laughter is bad. It says, “Sorrow is BETTER than laughter.” (emphasis mine)

Verse 4 NASB
“The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.”

TEV says, “Someone who is always thinking about happiness is a fool. A wise person thinks about death.”

Chuck, what’s gotten into you? Did the Doctor just inform you that you have x number of months or weeks to live? Wake up, dear reader, we all just have x number of months, days or years to live. Has it ever occurred to you that I could outlive you? I certainly have thought hard about you outliving me. And, no, the doctor has not told me anything about my life expectancy.

The fool is a fool cause he/she does not think about death. That’s the definition of a fool. In other words, a fool has lost touch with reality. Death is reality, and the fool is in the house of pleasure seeking to escape reality, but ending up making a reality that is worse than he really wants it to be. Next morning he/she realizes their present reality needs to be escaped by the same method that never worked in the first place, and the repetition of failed attempts is the definition of psychosis. The wise guy/gal faces the giant of reality and gets wise. Death is a real part of his/her reality, and they find wisdom.

So far the Preacher, king Solomon, has nothing great to say about the place everyone wants to be at- the party house- and has everything good to say about the home nobody wants to visit- the home of mourning.

I know, I know, I hear you! It’s just the OLD Testament.

So is Psalms!!!!!! And Isaiah 40:27-31 and Jeremiah 29:11!! Oh, we love those verses from the OLD Testament.

Let’s skip to verse 10 in Ecclesiastes 7.

NASB v 10
Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these? For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.”

TEV v10
Never ask, “Oh, why were things so much better in the old days?” It’s not an intelligent question.

Oh how we love to say, “Oh for the good ole days.”

Ya, oh, for the good ole days when I did not have cancer and could truck with joy and gladness.  Oh for the good ole days when I lived in the house of gladness, parties and pleasure. Oh for the good ole days when I had much less of a burden for hurting people. Oh for the good ole days when I was not so in tune with those who had cancer. Oh for the good ole days when I did not have to spend so much wasted time on my knees seeking God’s help because, after all, I could do it alone. Oh, for the good ole days when we had plans of trucking together, Julia and me, and take our Hog along and just LIVE IT UP IN THE HOUSE OF PLEASURE!!!!!!! Oh for the good ole days!!!!!

Oh, for the good ole days when I was a fool????? When Church plans were on the back of the truck, not on my hood?

Oh for the good ole days when your kids were more obedient. Oh for the good ole days when you had more money. Oh for the good ole days when this was not and that was so.

Let’s stop that foolishness. The Preacher says that that’s not intelligence on display.

Let me share briefly from the true story of Brother Yun, a house-church pastor in China. He was 4 years in prison, and suffered incredibly. How can I describe it? We yawn and shrug it off. It’s to far removed from the reality of those residing in the house of pleasure. It’s too far from the reality of the fools who believe laughter and mirth is the way of wisdom. Brother Yun was tortured beyond our comprehension. His torture reviles our pleasure. Go imagine your methods of torture, and it most likely happened to Brother Yun. Cold and hungry, he was given a blanket. Somebody in the prison took his precious blanket and soaked in human feces and urine and gave it to him. Cold and shivering, he had the comfort of a pathetic blanket that smelled like you know what. Long needles stuck up his fingernails. Electric shock bars stuck up his mouth. Whippings. Beatings. Kicking. Guards and prisoners urinating on his face. You name, Brother Yun probably experienced it.

I know. It’s just to far from our reality of pleasure.

Then he was miraculously freed. What do you think he said? Yep, you’re right. Oh for the good ole days. Actually he said this, and it’s a quote from the book The Heavenly Man, “In a way, even thought I was now free, I found it difficult to leave the prison. Inside, the spiritual fellowship with my fellow Christians had been very deep and sweet. The bonds we made were very strong. We served one another in love and shared our whole lives with each other. In the outside world people are busy and have many things to do. Most of our relationships are little more than skin-deep (p. 188).”

I can relate, my friends. I can relate. Cancer has awakened me. Cancer has brought me much closer to my loving God and Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Cancer can be a curse, but it can also be a blessing. It depends if one exists in the house of pleasure, or lives in the home of mourning.

Thinking back to the good ole days of not having cancer is not an intelligent exercise. Like my dear wife said sometime ago, “We cannot wish ourselves out of our situation.” My wife could have been a Preacher. I think the Preacher would like her.

Ok, now for what we have all been waiting for- verse 14.

Prosperity, wealth, riches, ease, glee, party time!!!! Hang on!

NASB- “In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider- God has made the one as well as the other so that man may not discover anything that will be after him”
TEV- When things are going well for you, be glad, and when trouble comes, just remember: God sends both happiness and trouble; you never know what is going to happen next.”

A dear brother and long time mentor friend told us recently that learning does not just happen in trouble times of life. We probably learn better in those times because we tend to study a little harder, but he challenged me to not poo-poo the good times of life. God is even trying to teach us in the pleasant times of our life.

Dear reader (if anyone made it this far), cherish the good times. Don’t be consumed with my world, or your neighbor’s life. You have your life to live, and if you are living “in the day of prosperity, be happy.” For myself the challenge comes from Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” See, that’s good ole New Testament stuff. But when trouble comes, then realize that both come from God. Both have a place. I know, we don’t hear much about that anymore in our churches of pleasure. Therein lies the monster; we have become fools because even our churches have leaned toward the existence of the pleasure principle.

Oh for a Church of the Mourning. No church I know calls itself that.

Oh, but wait! There was such a church back in the OLD Testament. And its pastor was the Preacher. How do I know that? I just went over one of his sermons.

Next time you turn backwards from the New Testament on your ways to Psalms in the OLD TESTAMENT, try not to trip over Ecclesiastes. Spend some time in The Church of the Mourning and listen to some of the Preacher’s other sermons.

And thanks, my dear Brother Cameron, for the trip into Ecclesiastes.