January 21, 2016

To God be ALL Glory

Thomas Ken was orphaned as a young child when both of his parents passed away. His sister took him into her care, eventually enrolling him in an all-boy’s school called Winchester College. Several years later he ended up returning to the same school as a chaplain to the students there. In an effort to motivate his students in their devotions, Thomas wrote a three-part hymn - one verse was to be sung when the students woke up in the morning. One verse was to be sung at night before going to bed. The third verse was to be sung at midnight if for whatever reason the boy was having trouble sleeping.

One of the verses of this song has come to be known in church history as the Doxology. It is possibly one of the most well known choruses in recent church history.

I can remember singing this chorus in church from the time I was a young boy. Some churches would sing it every week. Every time I’ve heard it sung, everyone would stand in tribute and recognition to the glory of God. It is a simple yet absolute reminder that God and God alone deserves all the glory.
"Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
1 Corinthians 10:31 says
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 
There is so much we can learn from reading our Bibles about how to live our lives to the glory of God. We need to first understand what it means to glorify God. Glory is that which makes something impressive, radiant with splendor. Our God certainly is impressive. He is certainly radiant with splendor!

There are three things to keep in mind when it comes to glorifying God:

1. We were created to glorify God

In Genesis 1 we read the creation account. God created everything - out of nothing. He arranged the oceans, He placed the stars and the planets, and on the sixth day He created man.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” So God created man in his own image, ... And it was so. ... And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:26-31
To say that we were created in God’s image doesn’t mean that we look like God physically...God is spirit. It means that we were created to reflect the attributes and characteristics of God. We were created to glorify God.

God created you - just the way you are - with a perfect plan and purpose for your life. That plan and purpose primarily has to do with the way you live your life - not with the job you have or the school you go to or even the person you marry. God is Primarily concerned that we reflect His glory. He certainly does care about those other things - whom we marry, what job we get - but God is primarily concerned with our holiness, with our desire to obey and follow Him.

First and foremost we were created to glorify God in all things.

2. We have a responsibility to glorify God

Having been created in the image of God, we have been entrusted with a tremendous responsibility. We’ve been given the great responsibility of representing God to the world around us. We have a responsibility to glorify God in all things.

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:20 that “you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you are not our own. You weren’t created for your own personal gain. You weren’t created for your own personal enjoyment. Your life is not your own. You were bought with a price, you belong to God. As a result we are responsible to live our lives in the way that God our Creator intended for us to live our lives - for His glory!

We have a responsibility to God, and we also have a responsibility to those around us.

We have a responsibility to ensure that we protect our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ, in everything we do and say. We are all at various stages of spiritual growth and maturity There are non-essentials in life that are not clearly or directly prohibited in the Bible. There are some activities that are considered questionable by some, yet are non-issues for others.

Warren Wiersbe said:
“We cannot glorify God by causing another Christian to stumble. To be sure, our own conscience may be strong enough for us to participate in some activity and not be harmed. But we dare not use our freedom in Christ in any way that will injure a fellow Christian.” (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 597)
We have a responsibility to protect our fellow brothers and sisters.

3. We are destined to glorify God

One of the characteristics we receive as those who are created in the image of God is that we will continue to exist for all eternity. Our physical bodies will die, but our souls will continue to exist forever. We were created to glorify God in all things, and we must realize that we are destined to glorify God in all things for all of eternity.

There are some who will do this gladly and willingly. There are others who will refuse to glorify God, yet the Bible tells us that
“at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9–11)
It was C.S. Lewis who said
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce)
Some will bow the knee willingly. Some will not. But in the end every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. We choose our final destination. No matter where we end up, we share the same destiny. We are destined to give God the glory.

We were created to glorify God; we have a responsibility to glorify God; and it is our destiny to glorify God.

Are you faithfully fulfilling your purpose? Are you living your life to the glory of God the Father? Pray right now that God would help you to remember to give Him the glory in all things.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)

July 07, 2015

Treatment #40

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment has been a long and steady journey. Each day, 5 days a week, Garren and either I or Nancy have been sitting in that chamber for 90 minutes, while Garren breathes 100% oxygen. We have had lots of time for reading, napping, and watching the minutes tick by. We are often asked "How's Garren's treatments going?" I'd love to have a definite answer, but the truth is, we don't really know for sure.

Originally the doctor recommended 40 treatments, followed by a reassessment to determine whether or not to continue. As treatment #40 approached, we were able to discuss things with the doctor. He relies very much on our observation of Garren. Has anything change? Do we notice anything new? What does Garren think?

We have seen some improvements, small but profound. I mentioned earlier the healed lip which had been unable to heal for almost 2 years. The left side of Garren's face has lifted, making his smile more symmetrical. Garren says he feels more energy, and that he can tell a difference in his balance. Small things like this tell us that something is happening. But it is difficult to determine how much.

Our biggest prayer for Garren is that he would regain the ability to swallow. A close second is the ability to balance and walk by himself. We are setting up an appointment with Garren's speech therapist to perform a swallow test. It's been over a year since we've had this done. The last time we did this, his therapist had seen some small changes over the previous swallow test. We are hopeful that there will be more improvement this time.

Garren 40th treatment was today.  We have decided at this point, per the doctor's recommendation to take 3-4 weeks off from the oxygen therapy. This will give Garren's body a chance to "catch up" to the treatments and continue to heal. After that we will probably continue with 20 more treatments.

We want to thank you all so much for your continued support, prayers and encouragement. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you!

June 12, 2015

Garren's Walk

Yesterday Garren took the walk he's been waiting to take for 18 years: high school graduation! We are so proud of him! We are so thankful that we were able to witness what we saw yesterday.

There was a time when we didn't know if it would even be possible. Garren has spent his 4 years of high school in a wheelchair. Freshman year it was a motor chair, controlled by moving a joystick with his right hand. By his senior year Garren was able to move himself around in his manual chair. In class he often transferred from his wheelchair into a desk like everyone else. He even took weightlifting, bench pressing up to 200 lbs by the end of the year!

Garren has been using his walker more and more around the house. He has really seen improvement recently. We are certain that the hyperbaric oxygen treatments are having a positive effect. Garren even said that he can tell that he has better balance.

A couple of months ago when we had a conversation with the school about how to get Garren across the stage for graduation, we told them that Garren wanted to walk. Of course they were elated at the idea. The staff at Piedmont High School has gone above and beyond to make sure Garren has had everything he needed to complete his high school career. They wanted to see him finish big.

As the graduates lined up to receive their diplomas, Garren rolled his chair to the bottom of the stairs. With the help of Mr. Capers (Garren's assistant throughout high school) he made his way to the top of the stairs where his walker was waiting. Garren grabbed ahold of his walker and paused while the vice-principal announced his name - "Garren Michael Janes." Then he started his walk, one step at a time, until he reached Mr. Tyson, the principal. After about 3 steps, people began clapping. Then more joined in. One of the seniors sitting on the front row stood to his feet. Then several more joined him. By the time Garren reached the center of the stage where he would shake hands with Mr. Tyson and receive his diploma, every person in the arena was on their feet!

It was an amazing moment, a moment that could not have happened apart from the generous grace of our God in heaven.

Thank you for all your continued prayers and support. We would not be where we are without you.