Wednesday, July 23, 2008
For some reason the credit for the article on Tony Snow didn't fully print. Therefore, to be sure that the credit is given to whom it belongs, which is Craig Bell of the World Net Group, I'll post it here. His email address : email@example.com. Yes, I did try to edit the bigger post but for some reason it wouldn't respond to my attempts. What can I say?
This is a bit long but well worth the read.....excellent testimony!!
Tony Snow 1955--2008
TONY SNOW'S TESTIMONY
This is the outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, President Bush's Press Secretary, and his fight with cancer. Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush Administration in April, 2006, as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23, 2007, Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced that the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen, leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 3, and later resigned since, 'for economic reasons,' and to pursue 'other interests.' It needs little intro . . . it speaks for itself.
'Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in
to declare with confidence 'What It All Means,' Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.
The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the 'why' questions:
Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.
I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths began to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.
But, despite this, - or because of it, - God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.
Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.
To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life - and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non-believing hearts - an institution that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter how their days may be numbered.
Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease, - smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, - but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension - and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.
'You Have Been Called'. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at the side. 'It's cancer,' the healer announces.
The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. 'Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler.' But another voice whispers: 'You have been called.'
Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter, - and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our 'normal time.'
There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived, an inexplicable shudder of excitement as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.
The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes ( Spain ), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.
There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, - for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.
Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for
We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquired purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples' worries and fears.
'Learning How to Live'. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of live.
I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy,
someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He restrained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. 'I'm going to try to beat [this cancer],' he told me several months before he died. 'But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side.'
His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity - filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, - and that one can, in the throes of sickness, point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.
Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?
When our faith flags, He throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, - to speak of us!
This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.
What is man that Thou are mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God's hand.'
---- T. Snow
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Contact, Book 1 in the Sarah's Landing Series after many delays and hair-pulling has finally been released in print and is up on Amazon.com. This is a re-release of the first book in the series with a new publisher Write Words, Inc.'s , imprint Cambridge Books, Cambridge, Maryland. The new isbn for this edition is 1-59431-497-7. I am now looking forward to seeing the second book in this series to be released in print in the coming weeks. The following is a brief excerpt from Chapter One:
Chapter 1 : Excerpt
Three years is not a long time but when you're trying to erase a memory it can seem forever. Sometimes, while walking across the base, the noise of a machine would startle Joshua. He would stop as if waiting for something. Other times, someone's laughter would bother him, anger him, and cause him to remember the violent churning static, the endless silence. What did happen out there in space? How could the starship disappear so completely? Joshua remembered sitting in that stark white hospital room three years earlier listening, waiting throughout the night pounding the video monitor with his fists, but there were no answers, no human voices. Now, more than ever, reports upset him, especially reports of disappearances. Why, he wondered, did it bother him so much when people, he did not know, mysteriously disappeared just because they happened to be in the right place at the wrong time?
His memories of EARTH STAR-I were bad enough, but his reassignment was worse. He was told his ear problem, a result of a viral infection, made it impossible for him to remain an astronaut. He could help, he said, training a new crew or being part of a design team for the next mission. After all, could SICOM afford to throw away a trained astro-biologist?"Use me, damn it," he demanded. "Let me be a part of all of this."
For more of the First Chapter, and reviews, check out my website: http://elenadb.home.comcast.net.