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1 January fell like a rock off a mountain top and kept rolling faster and faster towards the valley. Robin finished up radiation, the Jeep was in pieces in the garage, Old man winter was in full swing, I was sick 3 weeks out of the month. I barely had time to catch my breath, much less get caught up on things. But, all beginnings eventually develop ends; Robin had her PET scan to determine if all the chemo, surgery, and radiation worked. The Jeep got put back together, I got better, and Spring is coming on with a vengeance.

Robin’s doctor was very calm when we went to get the results of the PET scan. He looked at Robin and asked if she had any questions. She asked about blood, diet, thyroids, etc. He gave the typical answers, then kept asking if she had any more questions. She finally said, “WHAT ARE MY RESULTS?”. He smiled and did the obligatory login to the computer in front of him and then turned to Robin and smiled and said, “Your scan came back clean. You are normal.”. If there were ever words that had the power to relieve stress, provide hope, those words were it. Robin smiled and started tearing up. She will tell you the Dr. only confirmed what she already knew. God has been so succinct in His plan for Robin this past year, the outcome was no surprise for her, for us. We still celebrated His faithfulness. We still rejoiced in Robin’s healing. God told me last year that His plan was the best plan. I know that, I trusted in that, and to watch His plan unfold in Robin’s life has been nothing short of an amazing, faith building miracle in my life.

I believe Mother Teresa was the one who said, “You will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” He truly is all we need.

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We had a great day of snow, snow, and more snow! The total only ended up being about 7.5″ but it was great to watch it come down. Taz enjoyed playing in it, that’s for sure!snowday It figures that the biggest snow of the new year, my Jeep would be in pieces in the garage. I hope to get the transmission put back together this weekend and get it in the Jeep. I’m looking forward to driving my vehicle with no squeals, screeches, or whines (and that’s not from my passengers) :)

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The “Good News” is HOPE. The “Gospel” is the crux of our faith. John 3:16 puts it SO plainly, that even little children can understand, (paraphrasing) “For God loved the world (you and me) SO much, that He gave His Son (Jesus) as a sacrifice, so that if we  believe that Jesus died in our place on the cross, we will not perish, but have everlasting life!” This message is re-iterated throughout the New Testament, with each iteration bringing more clarity, more enlightenment to that extraordinary act of Love. In Galatians 2:20, Paul adds even more clarity to the implications of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I
who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Paul wrote this at a time where he was refuting Peter’s stance on Gentiles and Jews being equal as believers. Peter was leaning toward the Jewish law concerning Gentiles, which led Paul to make the point that we are no longer under the law. The law had been washed away as it were with the blood from Jesus’ death. When we acknowledge / associate ourselves with Jesus’ act on the cross, we allow our “Self” to suffer the same fate as Jesus: death. In doing so, a transaction takes place where “self” is exchanged for Christ. Self is no longer our center- Jesus is. The implications of this concept is enormous!  Instead of having the confines of the law of Moses dictating how we live, we now have freedom to TRULY live because Christ now lives in us!

As my dad used to put it so eloquently, “What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?”

 Associate yourself with Christ. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior. In doing so, you effectively kill your self, your ego, on the very same cross that Jesus died on. What do you get in return? EVERLASTING life, because the One who conquered death is LIVING in you! Your spirit is reborn under the new covenant, not the old. In 2 Corinthians chapter 3:6-11, Paul talks about the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant:

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the
face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

Death is replaced with Life, Temporary is replaced with Permanence, Condemnation is replaced with Righteousness, and Law is replaced with Love. I want permanence in God’s kingdom, I want His  righteousness to replace my condemnation, and most of all, I want to spend eternity with the One who loves me SO much, that He gave Himself up for me.

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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; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.  God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 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. -Psalms 46

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I got a text Wednesday night that a friend had a stroke and was life flighted to the hospital in the Springs. I immediately changed out of my PJs and headed down to see him and his family. I got to see Jimmy in the ER and he was awake, looking around and acknowledged me being there. I got to hold his hand and tell him that I was praying for him and loved him. His wife was in great spirits, just thankful that her husband was being taken care of.

I met Jimmy on a mission trip to Moore, Oklahoma to help tornado victims back in 2013. Jimmy worked tirelessly, did whatever anyone asked, and we had great conversations in the evenings. Jimmy is one of the first people I met coming to Colorado and he set the bar for everyone else. Although he was dealing with employment issues (like me), and whatever else, I never saw him without a smile, without an encouraging word to me.

That night, after I saw Jimmy, his brain started swelling due to the stroke. The next day, the doctors informed the family that they would have to go to surgery to try and stop the swelling. This morning, the email said that the swelling had put Jimmy into a coma that he would not wake up from.

Life if so precious. It is elusive, like a puff of smoke, just waiting for a wind strong enough to whisk it away. I will miss Jimmy’s smile and his friendship, but I am happy for him. To be absent of the body is to be with Christ. I know without a doubt that my friend will be at Jesus’ feet and I  will see  him again one day.

I am reminded every day that God’s plan IS the best plan. We have plans, we have ideas about what we  want or where we are going, but they are subjective to God’s plans (with or without our cooperation). God is NOT a chess player as some might think, moving us like chess pieces around the board of life; He is a Father, who allows us to grow and make mistakes, always nudging us closer to the truth in order to live a fulfilled life. Does He allow suffering, poverty, and death? Not in a malevolent way as many think. The greatest gift God gave man is also man’s greatest downfall: free will. We are intelligent, we are invincible,  our species is the “Clint Eastwood” of the universe. And yet, there is a soft spot in our spirit, a need that never gets met, an itch that eludes any satisfying scratch. This is our innate, fully designed need for our Creator, just as a child needs its parents.

To reign in all the emotions that are scattered all over this blog, I will say this: Life is precious, Eternal Life is priceless. To fully enjoy the first, you HAVE to address the latter. I immediately thought of my children, my brothers, my sisters, and most of all, my wife. I will miss them when I leave this earth, but that emotion is paled by the excitement of being in the presence of my Creator and knowing that when my family sees me again, I will be FULLY ALIVE!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only son, so that none shall perish, but have eternal life.”