Diligent in Prayer

“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”
children prayer list

Romans 12:11-12

These verses describe my father better than I can. He wasn’t perfect…but he sought to love the Lord with all His heart and ran the race before him with tenacity and zeal. Everything he did was 110%. He was faithful and diligent. One of the many areas I admired his diligence in was his prayer life. He had a page or pages full of scripture he used to pray through for every day of the week. He labored diligently in prayer for his wife, his children, every individual that attended the church body he was an elder of, the men he spent weekly time in the word with, and countless others. Almost every morning of my life, I watched him sitting quietly as he read the scriptures carefully taking notes, reviewing cards with verses written on them, and sipping coffee for a couple hours…and then as time allowed he would often take his notebook and tell us, “I’m going to go talk to the Lord about some things” and would slip away, disappearing in the morning fog as he strolled down the road or through his orchard. And there he spent time crying to the Lord to meet his own needs and the needs of so many others. He would tell us that he never spent enough time in the word or praying, and I know that’s true because he wasn’t perfect, but he spent more time than most, and his life and others were a testament to it. My daddy never got much sleep…selflessly taking care of, loving, and encouraging his wife, 13 children, grandchildren, and only Jesus knows how many other souls. But it didn’t matter to him. He diligently rose early every morning to read and pray before all else. I’m so thankful for his humble example. And the blessings beyond measure that I as his child, have received because of it.

 

Colon Cancer 2000

A series of journal entries regarding daddy’s first battle with cancer. Evidence of God’s goodness and mercy and how He answered our prayers.

Colon Cancer 2000

Early Mornings

Growing up, my daddy was the first thing I usually saw every morning. I loved getting up before the rest of the family trickled in and read my bible next to him at our dinning room table while we drank coffee together. Daddy was always an early riser and his favorite time of day was about 4am, when our home and most of the world lay still and asleep or it least were quiet. His “quiet time” was not a little, religious ritual he did every day, but a time of communion with God, where he, in a solitary place, quieted his heart before the LORD to hear His voice through His written word. He believed “every word of God is pure” (Pro. 30:5) and he read through the bible every six months. He daily acted on Dt.17:19 that commands, “…he shall read therein all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the LORD his God.” Every day of my life, I watched my father sit with Bible open, his humble figure leaned over it as if holding a priceless treasure as he sought earnestly to know the LORD and learn how to apply His word to his life, while we joined him because he taught us to do the same. I was in my teens before I ever beat him to our dinning room table where he and other members of our family would gather to read the scriptures quietly and individually. What a precious gift it was to wake every morning with this example of an obedient man, fearing the LORD and seeking to honor Him in the quietness of his heart and confidence of his home on a daily basis. To describe my daddy in a word, it would be, zealous. He was “fervent in spirit” and ran to obtain the prize. His relationship with the LORD was the most important thing in his life, without seeking His face and His strength continually, he knew he could not love his wife, teach his children, or be fruitful in the kingdom of God by speaking His word to others. He was tenacious and fought to make time to read the scriptures and seek to know Christ when the hectic business of life threatened to prevent it. Often he went with little sleep in order to make time for his Savior and be strengthened by Him, because he believed “man does not live by bread only but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Dt. 8:3) He made time to seek the LORD alone every morning, and read to his wife and children every night.

My most precious memories with him are probably those mornings when I was awake for a couple hours with him before the rest of the house woke up, where we sat at the table together and quietly read the scriptures, where I asked him questions about what I was reading and he patiently answered them, and shared his heart with me. It was a way of life for our family, to watch him set the example of seeking the Lord and to have him diligently teach us, what a priceless treasure it was. Now, his chair at the head of our table sits empty in the early hours of the morning, but his wife and children are still scattered around the living room and dinning table with bibles open every day. I miss my daddy more then I can say. And even though my heart aches with a pain too deep to describe every morning I wake up and he’s not the one that greets me with a “Morning sunshine!” and a hug, I rejoice when I think how he no longer has to sit and read of his Savior that paid the penalty for his sin, but now sits at His feet, face to face! Hearing His voice instead of reading it.

“He that dwells in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the  Almighty.” Ps 91:1

They Speak to My Soul

daddysgrave

The tall pines that shade him
The flowers blooming about
Reaching earnestly for light
Extend their necks toward the sun
Their faces basking in its warmth
They seek light that enables growth.
I hear birds in song
They raise their voices in humble praise
The wind whispers with them
Commanding the tree tops to sway
To the beat of their tune.
My heart aches. It pains within me.
But all about is joyful.
As I sit at my father’s side
A grave cradling his lifeless temple
I take in my surroundings.
Each beautiful detail
Created by the great Master
Seeks to tell of Himself in all that eyes of men see.
I rejoice.
I feel each reminds me
This is not my home
Pointing to the one that is to come.
All that has life craves light
All that spring forth from roots
Thrust themselves towards it
Reminding me to so the same.
Every sound sings praise in this peaceful wood
Crying “worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”
I am reminded to give thanks.
To offer the sacrifice of praise.
Joy He can restore even amid pain
For though loss I have suffered
Through Christ my father has gained.
I grieve for his widow
For the fatherless youths he left behind
I grieve for myself
But not for him.
For “blessed are the dead…
They shall rest from their labor
Their works following them.”
Yes, this quite place speaks to my soul
“For the invisible things of Him from creation
of the world are seen clearly
Being understood by things that are made
even His eternal power and godhead”
Along with His grace that poured out upon my father
Now allows him to abide in His presence
And experience the fullness of joy
And pleasures forevermore at God’s right hand.

*Rom.1:19-20, Rev.14:13, Ps16:11
-Joy Phillips
November 6, 2013

Starry Night by Joy

Starry Night
(October 2013)

Darkness lay about. The hour was late. The family retired to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. The damp air sent chills down my spine. Beside his coffin I sat. From the light peaking from the window pane I could read “yet shall he live” burned into a cross my brothers nailed to the lid. With arms intertwined with a brother’s who returned to the porch, we wept and held each other tight. Tears fell uncontrollably. Stunned. Confused. Broken. We could only cry for grace. Pain pierced my heart like a sword when I thought of how I had longed to see God’s glory through healing. Now His glory I would only behold by understanding why He deemed my father’s death more fitting then extending his life. Wrestling I cried, “Father you said “If thou canst believe thou shalt see the glory of God.” I believed the words You spoke, even when his condition grew worse with every hour, I yet believed.” But now, I sit beside my father’s lifeless temple, when I was certain he would walk and speak again. You cannot lie, Father, in this I am confident. (Num.23:19) But help Thou mine unbelief! (Mrk 9:24) If I still believe, will I yet see Your glory? Will You grant me understanding of Your will? Oh, I know You are good and doeth good, (Ps.119:68) but remind me of who You are!” With my burden cast on the Lord, I found a glimpse of relief and began searching earnestly for words to console my brother. “Send me light and truth!” (Ps.43:3-4) I cried in my heart to the God of all comfort. (2Cor.1:3-4) Turning my eyes from his tear stained shoulder to the sky above, I noticed the star filled heaven. Each shone bright as if trying to tell me something. (Rom.1:19-20) As I gazed at their beauty the Lord brought a simple truth to exhort me. In a broken voice, I quoted to my brother the profound command, “be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) A short explanation followed, “we’re confused, sweetie, but it’s not our job to understand. We have to be still, trusting He is God and His way is perfect.” And suddenly as I returned my eyes heavenward, the brightest, most glorious star I had ever seen shot across the open sky! The host of stars looked pale in comparison to it…it was beautiful! Magnificent and breathtaking! We both turned to each other in an excited “did you see what I just saw” expression! We both sat almost stunned by His response to our cry and our tears immediately turned to laughter. Remembering I had only moments before asked Him to remind me of Who He was, and allow His glory to help my unbelief, my heart rejoiced in humble praise! And then, the words of one of my father’s favorite Psalms replayed in my mind. A psalm he quoted to us every time we stepped outside when the sun was down. Every camping trip, bon fire, or simple route from the car to the house in the darkness, in an excited, humble tone, he would look up and say aloud, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handy work!” (Ps.19:1) With that beautiful reminder, I returned inside with a joyful heart. The heavens, full of stars too many to be numbered, and larger then the earth itself on which we live, all upheld by the word of His power, shouted praise to it’s Creator! “Behold, The Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world! (Joh.1:29) Christ, Who reconciled us to God by His blood! (Rom.5:10) Glory to be to Father of mercies and the God of all comfort!” I begged Him to show me His glory anew, and He did. Reminding me that the coffin by which I sat held only a shell, and my best friend was as busy as the stars singing praises to his Maker, Who loved him, and washed him from his sin in His own blood! “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth them and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Ps.34:17)
The LORD is faithful to His word. He is worthy to be trusted.

Thoughts from Joy

DadandI

Hours after my last post over a week ago, the LORD saw fit to take my daddy home. As I held my father close, I cried out with all that was within me for mercy, reminding the LORD of all He had promised. I prayed aloud scripture after scripture, boldly holding the LORD to the simple truths He spoke to me, reminding myself to trust Him, and endeavoring to console my mother and siblings that looked on as we all cried for deliverance from the tragic nightmare we all waited to wake from. I am forever changed after watching the man I love most in this world pass into eternity. The picture of his lifeless body; the temple that the Spirit no longer resided in will never be lifted from my mind, but as I shudder every time I close my eyes and see that image, hoping I will forget it, I find myself afraid I will. Afraid I will forget the gentle voice that spoke to me, “Fear not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed; for I am thy God,” (Is.41:10) as I held my daddy close and waited for him to just sit up. I long to remember the nearness of the LORD and His presence in those painful hours. I was in utter disbelief that daddy’s soul had departed because of all that I so confidently believed from God’s word, but because it was words, I had something to cling to in those hours as I waited for the LORD to wake him. What I believed from the word of God and saw with my eyes seemed to contradict each other, but He somehow allowed me to rest in the words of truth, knowing they were yet true. Even in a state of shock, disbelief, and horror as daddy grew cold, the LORD was a present help in trouble. He never left me and continued to bring to my remembrance things that He had spoken to me. Assuring me even then, that “God is not a man that He should lie, (Num.23:19) and “He is faithful that promised.” (Heb10:23) Reminding the LORD that His name was at stake and that many would say He was not faithful by allowing daddy to depart this life, He continued to say, “Be still, and know that I am God. I WILL be exalted among the nations, I WILL be exalted in the earth.” (Ps.46:10) “…If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God.” (Joh11:40) I never saw the glory of the LORD in the way that I expected to that night, but because it was in His word that I so confidently hoped, He has graciously granted understanding and given me joy and rest through the same word that I previously misunderstood.

Not able to sleep, I pleaded with the Lord all night for grace to make sense of all that He allowed over the last month. I cried for wisdom to know how to hear His voice from His word again and be willing to trust it when I had so miserably misunderstood concerning how He would deliver daddy, the greatest test yet of my faith. How could I get it so wrong? I walked by faith, by the word of God, the words He so clearly had given me to cling to, and NOT by sight, even when daddy’s condition grew steadily worse over a period of weeks. Even when he took his last breath, I still believed. How could I have been so far from the mark the LORD intended? After a period of wrestling with the LORD, He graciously granted through the same truth I was so convinced of before and others, this glimpse of understanding that has restored the joy of His salvation to my heart.

We asked for long life and He granted life eternal. We asked for healing and He granted it complete. We asked for restoration of his voice that he might give praise to God and daddy now sings aloud the praises of the Lamb to His glorious face. Daddy has been delivered. Delivered not in the earthly joy we could perceive but in joy much greater, more abundant, much more full, and long lasting. My heart aches from the bitter disappointment of his departure when I trusted the Lord so expectantly for his healing, but the Lord knowing my heart, granted my request, in a way that brings Him glory beyond what I am able to understand. He granted exceedingly, abundantly above all we asked or thought (Ep.3:20) Yes, “He is faithful that promised.” We now are commanded to continue to “trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding” (Pro.3:5) with a childlike faith. The LORD has not changed. He cannot lie. His word is truth. He can be trusted.
“He is good, and doeth good.”
“He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Ps23:2)

Update from Joy

lightofchrist

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”(2 Corinthians 4:7-11 KJV)

Dear friends…daddy’s condition continues to worsen but the Lord in His great mercy continues to cause us to hope in His word and His promised deliverance despite it. Daddy hasn’t eaten for over a week, can swallow very little liquid, is extremely weak, hardly moves, sleeps constantly, and we rarely see his eyes open. His heart rate was 180 this morning and was somewhat irregular. Yesterday we realized he has pneumonia. All human indicators point to the end being very near BUT the LORD continues to affirm to us through His word that we “shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of The Lord…” 2Chron20:17
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:15, 16″
“Behold the eyes of the LORD is upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:18-20

Please continue to pray with us, that the LORD will make His mighty power to be known and that our faith in Him would not fail, despite the shadow of death that surrounds us. As Paul said, “we are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,” as we eagerly await His salvation from this trial.

Because He cannot lie nor disgrace the throne of His glory, Joy

Thoughts From Jesse, One of Randy’s Sons

bibleandhands
Do we walk by faith or by sight? Do we look at the terrifying circumstances, or the Words he has given us? Did David take notice of Goliath’s massive size or the quality of his armor and weapons? Yes, he was not naive, he knew what he was getting into, but he trusted God more than he feared the giant. He had no doubt in his mind that what God had made clear to him, he would surely do. David ran at the giant, he did not zig nor zag and wonder if God would be with him. He trusted God fully (1Sam 17).  Heb 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Numbers 23:19 says,  “God is not a man that he should lie…” He also says, “If any man ask for wisdom he will give it” and “If any man be willing, he will show you if it is of man or God.” We have been crying out for wisdom on which treatments to use or what surgeries to have, and God made it clear to my father that we were not to do radiation or chemo because of what he showed us while we were crying out for wisdom like he said. “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still and see the salvation of the Lord…Fear not, nor be dismayed for tomorrow the Lord will be with you,”( 2 Chron 20:17.) The Lord has led my father to this place by his Word, just as he led the children of Israel up against the Red Sea with the cloud and pillar of fire. The cancer is closing in to kill my Dad just as the Egyptians were closing in to kill Moses and God’s people…. Just as Moses and the people were in the center of God’s will, so my father is in the exact place the Lord led him. “Moses said, Fear not, stand ye still and see the salvation of the Lord,” (Exodus 14:13.) As I look into His Word, crying out for wisdom and understanding, he continues to show me hope and promises of salvation from earthly troubles and to stand still, and watch the salvation of the Lord. I believe that my father will be healed fully from this cancer, that everyone watching may know that the Lord is the one true God. I am human, and when I see my big, strong Daddy, that two months ago could out squat me, not even able to feed himself or walk down the road without two of his sons holding his hands, or to even say, “I love you” to my sweet mother, when I see his right arm is completely out of use and his right leg is dragging like an old man my heart hurts, my flesh wants to dwell on the things my eyes can see rather than Words he has given us. I am of little faith. In Mark 11 Jesus curses a fig tree and tells it it will never bear fruit. The next morning Peter says, “Jesus look! That fig tree you cursed is dead!” Jesus said, “Have faith in God” “…Whatever you desire when you pray, believe that you shall receive them and you shall receive them.” Jesus does not want us to be surprised, shocked or pleasantly surprised when what he said would happen, happens. He says to have faith in God and believe. I am believing that God will be the same God for Daddy as he was for Moses at the Red Sea. He told us that we would not need to fight this battle, that all we had to do is stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. I believe, and in my weakness I ask our heavenly father to forgive my unbelief. “We have no might against this great company (Cancer) that comes against us, neither know we what to do: but our eyes are on thee.” (2 Chron 20:12)
        “All things work together for good to those who love God.”
I understand that good people die, I understand that good people die young. I am not saying that because my Dad is a good person I believe that he will live. I am saying that what God has said WILL happen. Do I know exactly how it will look? No. However, God has made certain things clear to myself, my father, and many other brothers and sisters through His Word during a time of crying out for wisdom and mercy and asking God to give us wisdom through His Word as he promised. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” James 1:5. “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or  I speak from Myself” (John 7:17.) He says if we are willing to see his will, he will show us. I have been willing to let my Dad go, in some ways it would be easier knowing that he is on his way out……… But, God through his Word has made it clear to us that we are not to fight this battle, but that the Lord will fight this enemy and all we must do is believe and watch the salvation of the Lord. Now, we have two choices, believe that what God has said and shown us from his Word will happen, or not. No ifs, ands, or buts. Either we take God at His Word fully, or not at all. To be honest, my father, myself, and others have been seeing much wisdom and light from His Word on this matter the past months. So why am I just now coming out and saying what God has shown me on this? Because I am weak, my faith is small, I was walking by sight and fear rather than faith in the Words he has given us. The Lord convicted me that if I am afraid to tell the world what I believe with my whole heart, if I am not willing to climb out on a limb, hang my hat on it, bet the farm, and my very faith on what He has said and made clear to me, then I don’t believe at all. Christ says “…Whatever you desire when you pray, believe that you shall receive them and you shall receive them.” Believing does not mean you think it will most likely happen, It means you have no doubt in your mind that what He has SAID He will surly DO. My Lord showed me through His Word that my Daddy was not to fight this battle and to stand and see the salvation of the Lord. I am believing that just as I believe that, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” If believing God at His Word is crazy, then I pray the Lord makes me a crazier man each and everyday. “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 8:11)

Catch Me When I Fall

dad and I
*Dad and I on my birthday, May 7th, 2013

Last night, I was playing my guitar and singing for daddy…Momma said, “I would ask you to sing Catch Me When I Fall, but I know it’ll make me cry…I do wish you would post the lyrics on your daddy’s blog though.” Trying to refrain from breaking down in front of daddy again I didn’t sing what he calls is his favorite song, but I would like to share the lyrics with you. This song is my daddy’s favorite that I have written. It tells a simple story of time spent with him when I was a youngster and the powerful lesson of what it means to walk by faith that he taught me. Through such a simple game, my daddy gave me the precious visual of walking by faith and not by sight, as I would hear my father’s voice, and he would command me to blindly, with eyes closed and fists at my side, fall into the arms I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, would catch me, even though I couldn’t see them because of the darkness. As life rolls on, and the pain of trials that test this faith is indescribable, how thankful I am for the lesson learned that I have a heavenly Father Who catches me and upholds me with His everlasting arms, (Dt.33:27)through the love and devotion of my earthly one whose heart was to teach me to love the LORD with all my heart and walk by the light of His word and not the shadows of death that would surround me.

Today, abiding in the shadow of death, as I watch my sweet daddy wasting away, his condition worsening, I am reminded of what it looks like to walk by faith, begging God to strengthen mine and protect me from my own unbelief as all that I can see defies what God had said. My father is weaker then ever, and my hearts breaks as I see his body so broken, but should it cause my faith to falter?

What is faith and how can I walk by it?
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing BY THE WORD OF GOD.” (Rom.10:17)
Faith is simply believing what God has said. My favorite example and simple definition of faith:
“…according to that which was spoken…(Abraham) staggered not at the PROMISE OF GOD through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded that what He had promised, HE WAS ABLE ALSO TO PERFORM.” (Rom.4:18-21) Abraham was strong in faith and able to bring glory to his maker because he simply believed the promise of God that was given to him and refrained from focusing on the circumstances that seemed impossible to the human eye.

I know that my thoughts are not His thoughts and neither are my ways His, but I do KNOW, that God cannot lie and that He will perform all that He has promised. (Tit.1:2,Heb.10:23) I do not know exactly how He will deliver but I am confident He will deliver my daddy. When prayerfully seeking His will, asking that He reveal from His word which is alive and powerful, if it was time to prepare for my daddy’s early departure or that He would grant him length of days and long life (Pro.3:1-2) He revealed day after day, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps.46:10) “thus saith the LORD unto you, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s…ye have no need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD…” (2Chron.20:15,17) “Fear not, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD which He will show to you today…the LORD shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” (Ex.14:13-14)

On the basis of God’s written word (not what I see with my eyes and certainty not the ache that my heart feels) but according to what He has spoken, I eagerly await the salvation of the LORD that He has promised! And now, just as I fell blindly into my daddy’s arms, I fall into those of my Savior Who is, “faithful that promised,” (Heb.10:23) fully expecting that He will deliver us as He promised.

Catch Me When I Fall

We’d stand in a line round the living room
As we watched and waited for our turn to play
Dad sat on the floor with arms open wide
As we stood up strait an tall, fists at our side
The rules were very simple you had to close your eyes
And trust that daddy would catch us

Ch: Daddy catch me when I fall
When I trust you I’m not scared at all
‘Cause I know when I look up
I’ll find myself safe in my fathers arms

We named the game trust an exercise of faith (Heb.5:18)
As we fell into the arms we couldn’t see
But with a sure promise from our daddy (Rom.4:20-21)
We could trust though we couldn’t see (2 Cor. 5:7)
But every now and then fear would enter in
And doubt would get in the way of trust
Our knees might buckle as we tried to catch ourselves
And daddy would remind us

Ch: Dad will catch you when you fall
When you trust me you won’t be scared at all
You should know when you look up
You’ll find yourself safe in your fathers arms

Now that I am older and my Savior reveals
Who He is and who I’m to be
My faith like a child is tested with trials
And I often become afraid
Knowing that I am weak (Joh.15:15)
His grace I boldly seek (Heb.4:16)
And this becomes my prayer

Ch: Father catch me when I fall
When I trust You I’m not scared at all
‘Cause I know, when I look up
I’ll find myself, safe in my Father’s arms

*You can hear Catch Me When I Fall on iTunes

Update On Daddy

The last few weeks have been quite a challenge as we’ve watched a slow decline in daddy’s health. His ability to speak and communicate has dwindled over the last few weeks, and now after he suffered a seizure Tuesday, his ability to communicate is none existent. As our hearts break watching him in this state, we praise the LORD his mind is sharp and he has been able to relay to us that he is at perfect peace. He is unable to read the scriptures or write, but what comfort I find in knowing, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom.10:17) Through hearing God’s word as we read it to him, the word which is alive and powerful, daddy’s faith can continue to be strengthened in our LORD. We have enjoyed precious family time as my married siblings are constantly in and out helping in every way they can. My married brothers have been such a blessing as they take leadership and encourage us all with the word while daddy cannot. My heart has never ached as much, as I see my strong daddy now weak, and how I miss hearing his sweet voice and the truth from God’s word that before was always ready on his lips. For a few weeks, when his speech became more laborious and his words became few, by the LORD’s grace he was able to sing without skipping a beat, or stumbling over his words. I saw this mercy from the LORD to be a great, precious gift to our family. While he could sing, he reminded our family often that regardless of what happened in this trial or how bad things may soon become, we knew God’s will was clear, we were to “in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1Thes.5:18) He would say, “We are going to give thanks and sing praises to our God.” It hurts my heart that he is now unable to sing praises verbally to his God, but I am confident his heart has been faithful to praise Him just the same. We gather up often as a family, read the scriptures, and sing. We love to sing songs that are verses put to a simple tune, asking the LORD to use these tunes to bring truth to his mind more often. It is often difficult to choke back the tears and sing especially as his voice, the one that was before always the loudest and strongest, is silent, but I never fail to smile and give thanks to the LORD when I see him sway his head slowly from side to side, affirming his heart is singing with us.

Daddy has lost some coordination and though slow and a little off balance, we praise the LORD he is still able to walk. The right side of his body is having trouble due to a tumor on that side of his brain, he has lost most of the use in his right arm, and has trouble eating with the right side of his mouth. I now have the privilege of caring for him in ways I never have before and enjoy sitting with him as I feed him his meals bite for bite, quoting scripture or singing to him as we sit together. And though he cannot respond verbally, he often nods as an “amen” to scripture we share with him.

My precious mother is doing exceptional under the circumstances…the LORD’s grace is so evident in her as He gives her broken heart joy and peace. Needless to say, it is harder on her then any of us as she watches and cares for her precious husband in this season, but as I see the ache of her heart and hold her when she cries, I watch amazed when she is tending to my daddy and when her strength is needed for him, how she radiates the grace of our LORD. He is truly “a very present help in trouble.” His grace, promised to be sufficient, has been proven to be such moment by moment. It does not take away the pain, but it enables us to bare it.

As things worsened over the last several months and we received nothing but bad reports from scans, etc, we were encouraged to do a number of medical procedures, but we believed the LORD’s will for us was to “be still, and see the salvation of the LORD which He will show to you today…He shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace” as He commanded the children of Israel. (Ex.14:13-14) We felt like we have been at the Red Sea since February…the sea was before and the Egyptians were over the horizon as we could hear the thunder of their horses hooves coming our direction. Now, we feel as if our feet our wet and our enemy is in arms length, but we still trust our Heavenly Father to be our deliver, and rest assured that He will be in whatever way He deems best…He has promised to fight for us and we trust He will.

I know that I can safely say on behalf of my entire family, that this is the most painful trial we have yet to endure, but as the LORD draws near to our broken hearts, it is one of the most precious at the same time. And though our flesh and our heart fail, God is the strength of our lives and our portion forever. (Ps.73:25) The LORD has been such a present help in trouble, has been our stronghold, rock, and haven of rest in this storm, His grace is sufficient, His peace is sweet, and His joy is full.

We are each humbled by the constant out pour of love, prayers, encouragement, and help by so many.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! We are thankful beyond words for Christ’s abounding love shown to us through His body.

Please continue to pray with us that the LORD will be glorified and make His mighty power to be known! Pray He strengthens our heart and does not allow our faith in this trial to fail and grants grace to walk by the promises of God He has proven to be true all our lives, and not the circumstances that can often cause us to doubt Him.
We are confident that “The angel of the LORD encamps round about them that fear Him, and DELIVERETH them.” (Ps. 34:9)

Because He abides faithful that promised, Joy Phillips