A Divine Encounter to Remember

When it comes to spiritual issues, my rational and scientific background often predominates and I am not usually an emotional man though I have experienced God’s presence (through the Holy Spirit) many times since becoming a Christian.  However, on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015, I experienced Jesus’ specific presence and message to me as I had on only 2-3 previous occasions.  Yesterday, I was feeling mentally and physically overwhelmed dealing with prostate issues, an infected leg, bursitis and muscle pains. I was hurrying preparing for a 2 PM appointment with a physician and realized that I had not spent any time that morning reading God’s Word in short devotionals which was my regular habit.  As I finished brushing my teeth, I strongly sensed the need to simply bow down and ask the Lord’s guidance in the upcoming medical appointments.  I had only five minutes or so before I had to leave so I bowed down exactly where I was.  As I started to verbalize my situation to the Lord, His presence intensely enveloped that little room.  Immediately a picture appeared to me of several men lowering a paralyzed man through the tiles of a roof in order to lay him at the feet of Jesus since the room itself was too crowded. This scene is described in Mark 2:1-12 where Jesus manifested His divinity by forgiving the man’s sins and then healing him.  This was especially relevant because several friends and family were praying for me.  As I was on my knees, Jesus specifically reminded me of previous “instructions” I had received from Him, namely that I was to minister to medical personnel whom I would encounter and in turn, He would take care of my body as I yielded myself to Him (see Romans 12:1).  All this was accompanied by such a feeling of intense joy, peace, and especially thanksgiving and praise to the Lord that I had rarely experienced.  I began to weep with joy, lifting my face and hands upward.  I continuously uttered thanks and praise for several minutes.  Words were insufficient to thank and praise Jesus for his specific message of encouragement to me.  When I read in the Old Testament how God delivered His people Israel again and again, He told them always to remember the specific times of their deliverances as the details would be easily forgotten with time.  I write this for my own remembrance as well as an encouragement to any of you who may be in a similar situation. I had experienced similar direct messages from the Lord on few occasions.  For specifics, see the My Story section of this website, 2004-2005, specific entries dated Sunday, January 11, 2004 and March, 2005.  If any of you are not sure of your own personal relationship with God, please see this linked website section.  I offer my sincere thanks to you all for allowing me to share this encouragement.

MRI-Ultrasound-Guided Biopsies Diagnose More High-Risk Prostate Cancers.

Prostate biopsies that combine MRI technology with ultrasound appear to give men better information regarding the seriousness of their cancer, a new study suggests.  The new technology, which uses MRI scans to help doctors biopsy very specific portions of the prostate, diagnosed 30 percent more high-risk cancers than standard prostate biopsies in men suspected of prostate cancer, as reported by the senior author, Dr. Peter Pinto, head of the prostate cancer section at the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, MD.  These MRI-targeted biopsies also were better at weeding out low-risk prostate cancers that would not lead to a man’s death, diagnosing 17 percent fewer low-grade tumors than standard biopsy. In a targeted biopsy, MRIs of the suspected cancer are fused with real-time ultrasound images, creating a map of the prostate that enables doctors to pinpoint and test suspicious areas.  To test the effectiveness of MRI-targeted biopsy, researchers examined just over 1,000 men who were suspected of prostate cancer because of an abnormal blood screening or rectal exam.  The researchers performed both an MRI-targeted and a standard biopsy on all of the men, and then compared results.  Both targeted and standard biopsy diagnosed a similar number of cancer cases, and 69 percent of the time both types of biopsy came to exact agreement regarding a patient’s risk of death due to prostate cancer.  However, the two approaches differed in that targeted biopsy found 30 percent more high-risk cancers, and 17 percent fewer low-risk cancers, the type of cancer where this person certainly would have lived their whole life and died of something else.  An MRI is great for guiding doctors to serious cancers, but is not able to detect lesions smaller than 5 millimeters.  While this MRI – ultrasound technique is being widely publicized in medical circles, questions remain.  For example, would the new technology, which requires an MRI for each suspected case of prostate cancer and new equipment to fuse the MRI with an ultrasound scan, be worth the extra expense?  Dr. Pinto believes the new technology might actually save money in the long run, by reducing over-treatment.  See the following link for additional details.

The Peace That Passes All Understanding.

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Grande, Florida; BJ Gabrielsen photo.
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Grande, Florida; BJ Gabrielsen photo.

I recently learned that I may be becoming resistant to the treatments that have kept my cancer under control for nearly nine years.  I was also informed that in such a condition, I could possibly expect 3-5 “good” years of life remaining even with newly approved, available prostate cancer treatments.  My initial feelings of despair and disappointment lasted a few days during which I candidly poured out my broken expectations and concerns to God much as David did in many of the Psalms.  As a result, I have learned some valuable lessons some of which I share below.

Time is a precious gift. As Moses reminds us in Psalm 90:12, it is a matter of eternal significance how we spend the time apportioned to us in this world. “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

John 14:27 has become a promise from Jesus to which I tenaciously cling. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be afraid.”  To see us through rough times of life, God provides His protection and peace.  But protection does not mean that troubles won’t occur.  Jesus allowed the disciples to experience the fear and anxiety of being in a boat on a turbulent sea.  He permitted them to suffer because He had something far more important in mind. He wanted to teach them to recognize their own helplessness, His sufficiency and their need of Him.  The peace that God provides is not dependent upon the quieting of our circumstances or the removal of external pressures e.g. physical conditions.  The promised peace comes in two ways.  First, Jesus Himself becomes our peace. Through His death, He has reconciled us to God the Father and we are no longer estranged from Him. “Therefore being justified” (declared innocent) “by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”, Romans 5:1.  In addition, having a right relationship with God is accompanied by the inward presence of the Holy Spirit who enables us to experience an increasing sense of inner tranquility.  If we are experiencing prostate cancer at its various stages and impacts, are we using all that God has provided?  Following God in a right relationship leads to a deepening relationship with Him. He chooses to reveal Himself to those who seek Him and obey His instructions.  And when we see that God always keeps His promises, our confidence in His faithfulness will soar.  Hebrews 10:23 states ” let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful.” Whatever our situation, we know we can trust Him. Then He will transform our worries into joyful anticipation about what He is going to do next in our life. Even if hard times await, we’ll be convinced that God will work them out for good (Romans 8:28).

To ensure you have a relationship with God, see the website link.  Some of the above was cited from the Feb.6th, 2015 In Touch Devotional by Dr. Charles Stanley.