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Glance then Gaze

 

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Last week was a difficult week for Bev with her bone cancer and the side effects from a more powerful chemo treatment taking a toll. It was also emotionally challenging for me as her husband of 45 years and now as her caregiver.

 

During my prayer time, the Lord brought to mind another challenge Bev and I had experienced together 37 years ago. We were in the process of adopting a beautiful new-born son we named Andrew. When he was about three months old the doctors discovered he had been born with only a fraction of his brain because his birth mom had been taking narcotics during her pregnancy.

 

At nine months, Andrew was in unrelenting pain and crying 24×7. Bev was at the end of her emotional rope so we decided to admit Andrew for a couple of months to a wonderful facility that specialized in caring for profoundly handicapped children. In the reception area there was a large picture of Christ. When I looked at Andrew I wept, but when I focused on the picture of Jesus I experienced amazing peace.

 

Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You [Lord] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You.” A friend counseled me, “You should glance at the problem, but gaze on Christ.” He was right. We should glance at the problem by identifying the issue and doing all we can to solve it. But we should gaze and focus most of our attention on the problem solver who loves us like crazy. Jesus Christ!

 

And when we have our minds “stayed on Him” the Lord Himself will give us His peace. Not just regular peace, but perfect peace.

 

Warmly in Christ,

 

Howard Dayton

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Our Challenging Journey With Cancer

Mom and Dad with logo

First, I want to thank the many of you who have been praying for my wife, Bev, in her challenging journey with cancer. It is impossible for us to thank you adequately! Periodically, I will bring you up to date on her progress.

 

A little history for those of you who are not aware of her cancer. About four years ago Bev had a double mastectomy, and six months later we discovered the cancer had spread to her spine and hip. Thankfully, twice she has been in remission. Three weeks ago we went to see her oncologist (who we really like) to learn the results of her recent CAT scan and bone scan. When he came in he said, “I have really bad news. You are no longer in remission. The chemo pill is no longer effective, and the bone cancer has spread to your scapula (shoulder blade) and your skull. The good news is that it hasn’t spread to any soft tissue or the organs.”

 

They immediately installed a port in her chest so that she could begin receiving chemo intravenously. There have been very uncomfortable, even painful, side effects from the chemotherapy. As I’ve said before, she is the most courageous person I’ve ever met. She completely trusts in Christ and His ability to heal. Our family has been overwhelmed with a strong sense of God’s peace, and we are certain it is answer to the prayers of God’s people.

 

Here are our prayer requests: (1) that the Lord would heal Bev of the bone cancer. Specifically, just as in , He healed King Hezekiah from a mortal illness and gave him 15 years of life, that the Lord would give her at least 15 years of life. (2) that Bev would continue to be an encouragement to so many as she shares her faith in Jesus.

 Love in Christ,

 Howard Dayton

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Bev’s Cancer Update (12/8/14)

Dear Friends,

The past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions for my wife, Bev, and me: surprise, concern, tenderness, and faith.

A quick review. In August 2012, Bev was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a double mastectomy was performed. Six months later we discovered that the cancer had spread to her bones, and she experienced excruciating pain a year. Thankfully, seven months ago the cancer went into remission, and she has been largely been pain-free.

Last Monday during a visit to her oncologist, they discovered that the markers in her blood work were elevated – really elevated! This indicates that the cancer could be out of remission. She has a full body scan scheduled for the 10th and a CAT scan on the 14th.

We thank the Lord Jesus Christ that He has proven His consistent, faithful love and care for our family for more than four decades. We love the Lord’s precious promises in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.” We also know that He is able to do anything, As Jeremiah said, “Nothing is too difficult for Thee.” And our God is in complete control of this challenge, “We adore you has being in control of everything” (1 Chronicles 29:11).

I want to thank the many of you’ve prayed for Bev during her journey with cancer. We would be incredibly grateful if you join us in specifically praying that (1) the cancer has not spread, and (2) that the Great Physician would heal her completely.

During this Christmas season, may we all appreciate the time with our family and friends, and focus on Jesus Christ – Emanuel – God who lives in us!

Blessings,

Howard Dayton

 

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Bev Cancer Update & Easter

Dear Friends,

Great news! The doctor was almost giddy in telling us that Bev’s bone scan confirmed that the tumors haven’t grown and the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of her body. He went on to say that the tumors of this type cancer remain, they are not killed, but as long as they are not growing or spreading, it’s in remission.

So, she keeps taking the medication and has a monthly visit to the oncologist for blood work and a shot to strengthen her bones.

It has been wonderful to see her spirits raised the past three months, knowing that the Lord is answering your prayers and the prayers of so many of His people on her behalf. God is good all the time.

Yesterday, I was reading in Matthew 24 and 25 about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He knew that He would be facing the cross in just five days. Imagine the stress that must have had on Him. Yet, He was kind to heal two blind men just before riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. And immediately after chasing the dishonest money changers out of the temple, Matthew 25:14 tells us, “And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.”

Jesus Christ is still in our healer. Sometimes our physical bodies need healing. Other times it may be a relationship or our finances that need healing. As we approach the celebration of Easter, the day that God the Father raised God the Son from the grave, I want you to consider a question. Do you know Jesus Christ personally?

Jesus was willing to die on a cross and take upon Himself the penalty for my sins and your sins so that we could come to know Him personally and become part of His family forever. Do you know Jesus Christ personally?

If you want to know Him and aren’t certain whether you have this relationship, I encourage you to receive Jesus Christ right now. Pray a prayer similar to the one I prayed four decades ago:

“God, I need You. I’m sorry for my sin. I invite Jesus to come into my life as my Savior and Lord, and to make me the person you want me to be. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life.”

If you asked Christ into your life, you have made the most important decision anyone could ever make. I urge you to find a church that teaches the Bible, one where you can begin to learn what it means to follow Jesus Christ.

Warmly in Christ,
Howard Dayton

 

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Remission

We finally heard the words we and many others have been praying for: It’s in remission!

More than a year ago, we discovered that Bev’s breast cancer had spread, and that my dear wife had stage four cancer of her bones. Today we learned that her blood markers were normal . . . and according to her blood work, the cancer, only by God’s grace, was in remission. She will have a bone scan scheduled soon to confirm the blood work.

Bev and I find it impossible to adequately thank you who have been praying for her healing. But we’d like to try: THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!

The medical protocol is for Bev to continue to take this medication and the doctor will test her blood each month. If the drugs become no longer effective, they would prescribe another one.

We remain fully trusting that the Lord Jesus Christ is our healer. Although we are thankful for the medication, we are ultimately placing our faith in His ability to heal.

As I’ve mentioned before, when Larry Burkett was in the middle of his fight with cancer, he was fond of saying, “If I could, I would give every follower of Christ a terminal disease and then put it in remission because it changes everything.” It has for us. We are much more careful to spend my time, money and influence on eternally important things . . . things that will last forever . . . people.

Come to think of it, we already have a terminal disease! We’ll live until we are 65, 75, 85 or whatever age the Lord calls us home. So, let’s be about making a difference for Christ in the lives of people.

Gratefully in Christ,
Howard Dayton

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Perseverance & Bev’s Cancer Update

Dear Friends,

We received the best news in more than a year when we met with Bev’s oncologist yesterday. He knew Bev had been dealing with dealing with some challenging side effects from the new medication for her breast can that had metastasized to her bones. But he walked in said, “Finally, after a year, I have some good news. The cancer markers in your blood have gone down from 98 to 50! You’re not out of the woods, but this is good news.”

All we could think about was the many prayers from God’s people on Bev’s behalf. Perseverance on Bev’s part and perseverance on the part of those who have stood by her in prayer. James 1:2-4 says it this way: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Saturday mornings I walk the neighborhood with Jordan, a great friend who lives next door. Jordan was training to run the Disney marathon. His training was going well until about a month before the race. Knee problems and then a bad cold threatened to derail all his hard work . . . but he persevered! And finished the 26.2 miles in his best time ever!

What challenge is facing you today? Bev and I are learning to pray, trust in Christ alone, and persevere.

Warmly in Christ,

Howard Dayton

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Christmas & Bev Update

Dear Friends,

I hope that Christmas was a very special time for you.

It was for us. Bev’s bone cancer is a consistent reminder of something we should all be aware of each day: Life is short, eternity is long, and what we do during this brief time on planet earth has eternal consequences. I light of this reality, what are we doing each day that is really going to matter a couple of million years from now?

Time with family and friends over Christmas is a great investment of time to encourage one another to remember what Christmas is all about. The day the Son of God came to earth as a baby boy to sacrificially die for us so that we will be with Him and all those who know Jesus Christ – forever.

For us, the most precious time during the Christmas holiday was when we were exchanging gifts and our 4-year old granddaughter opened her presents. She was super excited and Continue reading Christmas & Bev Update

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Preparing for Christmas

Dear Friends,

For the first couple of weeks after my wife, Bev, started her new and more powerful medication to treat her bone cancer, she had practically no side effects. All that changed last week. She broke out in a rash that is irritating. She vacillates between hot flashes and cold flashes. And I am writing this blog from the hospital where Bev is undergoing a sonogram to determine if she has a blood clot in her ankle.

News Flash: We just learned that she does not have a blood clot – thank our Lord!

We remain deeply grateful for your prayers for her healing. The Lord is completely able to completely heal her of cancer.

This is my favorite time of the year.

It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Times with family and friends are precious. However, many around us have tried to take Christ out of Continue reading Preparing for Christmas

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Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

Bev and I were thankful for scheduling a second option on Bev’s breast/bone cancer at MD Anderson. The oncologist has specialized in breast cancer for years and has assembled a very capable team around her. She was caring and took a great deal of time in explaining Bev’s cancer and gave us some very help suggestions.

Bottom line: The doctor confirmed that the medication Bev has been taking is not working, and she agreed with the choice of the new medication. In many patients, the new medication has more serious side effects. Bev started it three days ago, and thankfully, so far the Lord has been kind to spare her from bad side effects.

We remain totally trusting in the Lord’s absolute ability to heal, and in His Continue reading Thanksgiving

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Bev Cancer Update 11.18.13

Dear Friends,

Our appointment for MD Anderson for a second option on Bev’s breast/bone cancer has been rescheduled for this week. She continues to feel great, although is more easily fatigued than normal.

We have received soooooo many kind prayers for us and her healing. We were especially touched by the prayer that a long time friend, Pat Morley, sent us. I hope you are moved as much as Bev and me when we first read it.

Our Dearest Father, Patsy and I join the throng of believers around the world who are praying for Bev and Howard. Grant them the wisdom of Solomon, the faith of Abraham, the perseverance of Joseph, the courage of Joshua, and the healing of Job. Lord, we implore YOU defeat this disease in such a striking way that you alone can get the glory.

We pray as Asa prayed when he called upon you in 2 Chronicles 14:11, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O Lord, Continue reading Bev Cancer Update 11.18.13