A God-Ordained Cancer Journey, Now Over

Last evening, our brother in Christ, fellow-discipler, and faithful servant of Jesus Christ, Tom Craig, left the night here to enter into that eternal day.  He left behind the weeping and entered into morning joy (Psalm 30:5).  He exchanged the crushing pain of cancer for the cheerful presence of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:1,6-8).  And, not too very long from now, we too will join him and the millions in the presence of our Lord (Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  In the meantime, please intercede for his wife, Kim, his daughters, Aimee, Allie and Anna, and the dear folks of Oak Ridge Baptist Church.

Tom, we praise God for you.  Soon, we will once again praise God with you.

A God-Ordained Cancer Journey

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To hear the diagnosis of cancer is like trying to hold on in the midst of an 8.0 earthquake.  The sounds of that word sends rippling emotional effects through your mind and body as well on upon all those around you.  Imagine what effect it would have on a congregation when they find out that their relatively young pastor has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Such is the case of Oak Ridge Baptist Church, Oak Ridge, TN.  Pastor Tom Craig is weakening physically day-by-day, yet in the midst of it all, ORBC, along with the Craig family are being strengthened moment-by-moment by the awesome grace of God.

One the members of ORBC, Brad Zockoll, has been giving us a very transparent glimpse into this church’s journey with their dear, beloved pastor.  Today, I share with you the link, august-week-5-the-hollowness-of-cancerPlease take the time to read Brad’s comments from Week 5 as well as the prior posts.

Intercede for Tom & Kim and the congregation of ORBC.  Learn from them as you read these posts.  Praise God for them and with them.

Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life (Psalm 119:49-50).

Why? – Part 2

FoxNews reported the following about Robin Williams:

The beloved “Mork and Mindy” star had been battling severe depression recently, said his rep Mara Buxbaum. Just last month, he announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program he said he needed after 18 months of nonstop work. He had sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse following 20 years of sobriety.

He had a complicated personal life and often seemed driven by demons. He did a few lines of cocaine with John Belushi on the last night of that comic’s life.

A darkness seeped in during an interview with comedian Marc Maron in 2010, where Williams seemingly dismissed what would be a career highlight for many actors. “People say you’re an Academy Award winner,” he said. “The Academy Award lasted about a week and then one week later, people went, ‘Hey Mork!'”

Depression, alcohol, cocaine, demons, and darkness; these are the words that stood out to me as I read the report.  Why would anyone take their own life?  Yesterday, I shared two important thoughts in reference to suicide.  Today, two more.  May I quickly add that my heart is saddened when I hear of anyone coming to this point because there is a remedy for ALL of life’s trials and disappointments.  His name is Jesus (John 10:9-11)

  1. No matter what the situation or circumstance of life may be, you must begin with God.
  2. Never overestimate the condition of man’s heart.
  3. Suicide is NOT the unpardonable sin. When you study Matthew 12:31-32, where the unpardonable sin is mentioned, you find no mention of suicide in that passage.  The unpardonable sin as verse 32 says, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  For a more in-depth study of this passage, see the following link, The Unforgivable Sin.
  4. Recognize the full deception of Satan. Jesus said of the religious, hypocritical Pharisees, You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44).  Satan is a complete, absolute liar who cannot speak the truth because there is no truth in him (Genesis 3:4-5).  He has been engaged in an all-out assault on the truth, on men coming to the Truth (John 14:6), and seeking to defraud the truth from the time of Adam and Eve.  He hates Jesus Christ, Who is Truth. He will do all he can to hinder someone from coming to know the Truth. When a distraught individual considers suicide, Satan will place thoughts of revenge, selfishness, bitterness, despair, and/or utter hopelessness and helplessness in the minds of individuals.  Satan is a destroyer who is always on the prowl waiting to lick his chops over another soul he has devoured (1 Peter 5:8).

Now, there is no way any of us can know all that goes through a man or woman’s mind who considers and then completes the act of suicide.  I only offer these truths in light of recent events to maybe help someone who is thinking of taking their life as well as to shed some light on this dreadful subject.

For anyone you know who may be dealing with thoughts of suicide or even yourself, I recommend you turn this website and check out the list of resources counselingoneanother- resources-suicide

My friend, for every issue of life, for sin, for sorrow, for despair, for the agonies of life, the answer is Jesus Christ. Turn to Him today. Receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior. (Isaiah 53:1-12; Romans 3:19-26; 5:1-11; 8:28-39; Philippians 2:1-11)

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:14-16

Laughter Gone

He made thousands and thousands of people laugh.  His quick wit, ability to play many roles, and stand-up comedy endeared him to the world of entertainment.  Sadly, his humor was often crass and ungodly. Today, the laughter is gone.

Robin Williams broke on the entertainment scene as an alien, Mork, in the 1978 TV series, Mork & Mindy with what became a household phrase of “Nanu-nanu.”  I remember my daughters loving his role as the comedic genie in the famous Disney film, Alladin.  He even appeared in the happy tune by Bobby McFarrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  As of yesterday, Williams will no longer be making people laugh; he has passed away.  The tragedy of this death is that it is being considered an apparent suicide.  Fox411 reported, “A representative for Williams said in a statement the actor had been battling ‘severe depression of late’.”

No matter what you thought of Robin Williams, death by suicide is oh so sad.  Tragic.  Bewildering.  Selfish. Sinful.  Wrong.

There are many things that I would love to say from a burdened heart, but suffice it to say that we as believers need to realize afresh and anew, we are living in a world of hopeless people!!  For a successful man to take his life when he had everything earthly he would need says that he lacked hope.

Hope is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ! Read the following with an attentive heart:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.— Jeremiah 29:11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead—1 Peter 1:3

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.—Romans 5:1-11

Hope (assurance, confidence) that is eternal, persevering, faithful, not disappointing, productive, and full of grace is found only in a personal relationship with the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the foundation, giver and sustainer of hope.  He is hope. A man without Jesus Christ is hopeless . . . forever.

For those of us secure in Christ because of the aforementioned truths of Scripture, we must share the good news of hope to a hopeless world!  We have the Truth that liberates (John 8:32).  Christ in us is the hope of glory, and He resides in us giving us hope for all of our earthly days (Colossians 1:27).

For those of you who are searching for hope in a world of empty happiness, I ask that you read the Scripture passages given in this post and turn to Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  Today you can repent which means to turn away from all you have been trusting in to get you to Heaven, and receive Jesus Christ as Your Savior today (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 10:9-13).  For the believer, no matter what his circumstances may be, each day is getting better because he is closer to his eternal home, Heaven.  Hope gets brighter each day!

Laughter produced by Robin Williams is gone.  Hope is not.

 

For further help in finding and understanding this everlasting hope, watch this 11 minute film: The Gospel