Living in the Shadow


"Funny" - Really?

Shadows of Evening

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…  (Psalm 23: 4)

Death is a scary thing isn’t it? I mean, we all know we are going to die someday right? Every human dies. Every living thing dies. Some die young and some live to a ripe old age, but death is no respecter of persons. There are no exceptions. When thoughts of death creep into our consciousness, we tend to push them aside as something to deal with later. We tell ourselves that death is in the far off future for us. We don’t need to think about it right now. But that isn’t always the case. This life we live here on earth can be over in an instant. We can be here one day and gone tomorrow. It is something we have no control over.

Our bodies are tough, but also fragile. We can be perfectly healthy and be killed in a car accident instantly. We can think we are healthy and strong only to find out that we have a hidden illness which has not yet manifested symptoms. These are constant reminders to believers and unbelievers alike that this physical life is temporary. It is only a baby step away from eternity.

  I think it safe to say that all of us have had the false misconception at times that tragic accidents which cause fatal injuries, and/or illnesses that cause death, happen to others not to us or to our family. As we travel through life we eventually learn that death touches every family sooner or later.

It has touched my own family in recent months. My husband passed away this past February after being ill for over 3 years. He was diagnosed with a terminal illness in October of 2012. At that time the doctors told us he had months, but God had a different plan. He lived for 3 ½ years after his diagnosis. During that time we always felt a shadow above our heads. It followed us everywhere.

At first I cried every day. But at some point I realized that I couldn’t live life that way. It wasn’t healthy for me or for the rest of the family and especially for my husband. So instead of crying I made up my mind to go on with life, keep it as normal as possible and enjoy our time together. I continued to work, and on my off days we did normal, and often fun things together as long as he was able. The last year of his life wasn’t so much fun, especially for him, but we made the best of it. We lived life.

My husband passed away February 2, 2016. As difficult as it was and still is, it was a relief that his suffering was over. In Jesus we have a living hope for eternity. He promises; I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11: 25, 26) I am sure that Bob is now experiencing the joys of heaven. I miss him terribly, but am confident that I will see him again when the Lord calls me home.

After his death my life settled back into a “new” normal…until April of 2016. God wasn’t done with us yet. The evening of April 9, 2016, I received a text from my 40-year-old son informing me that he was in the ER. It read; “I am in the ER, but don’t worry mom, I am okay.” That was it – that’s all it said. I immediately dialed his number. He answered and informed me that he had a severe headache and that they were giving him what is known as an IV cocktail for migraines, then he would hopefully be sent home. “ok”, I said; “just keep me posted”.

I hung up the phone and thought to myself; “That’s strange. He has never had a migraine before that I can remember.” I set that thought aside however and decided it best to just wait and see. I talked to him several times throughout the following week and he seemed to be doing somewhat better, but still had a headache. On Friday, although his head still hurt, he felt he should try going back to work.

Robert

Robert “Cruise”

That evening I called to see how his day had gone. He said; “My head is still hurting really bad and every time I move I get sick. I must have been sick at least six times at work today.” I replied; “Robert, something is seriously wrong. You need to go back and get checked out again. He replied; “I will if I’m not better tomorrow. The kids will be here soon for the weekend.” He hung up and when I tried to call him back, I got no answer. I texted Sean and informed him that his dad was feeling really bad and waiting for them to arrive. He texted back that he was waiting for his sisters to get their things together. They would be on their way soon.

When I called again later Sean and the kids were with him. His Dr. had prescribed him something for the upset stomach, so at least the vomiting had stopped. My granddaughter Toree said to me; “don’t worry grandma. We are taking good care of dad.  He isn’t throwing up anymore.” Bless her heart…I love her for being so brave.

They made it through Saturday, but on Sunday as soon as I got home from church. I texted Sean to find out how things were going. He replied; “We are in the ER again grandma. They are doing a CT scan of his head to see what is going on.” The next text read; “He has a mass.” I immediately called and asked; “do I need to come?” The answer of course was “yes”.

Milwaukee is a 6½ hour drive from Grand Blanc, MI and I had never done it alone before, but I had a good car. I called it my “smart” car because it had turn by turn navigation through OnStar. What a blessing! I packed my clothes, made arrangements for family members to care for my menagerie of pets and by 3:00 pm I was on the road.

I arrived at the hospital at 9:45 pm (10:45 Michigan time). At that time, he was finally resting comfortably in NICU (Neuro Intensive Care Unit). He had been given medication to relieve his pain and steroids to reduce the swelling in his brain.

We were told the next day that he would need surgery. He had 2 masses in his brain, both on the right side. One was on his right temporal lobe and was displacing his brain, which was what had been causing the excruciating pain. It would have to be removed. The other mass was deeper and a little more to the left, but still in the right lobe. They would not remove the second mass. Because of its location they would not touch it unless they absolutely had to, in order to prevent further injury to the brain.

In spite of the seriousness of it, we were told he was fortunate he hadn’t had a seizure – and also that it was a good thing the masses were on the right side of his brain. Had they been on his left side it would have been much more debilitating. His motor skills would have been affected. He may not have been able to walk or even stand.

In all of this, I was thinking to myself; “This can’t be real!” I just lost my husband, now my son too?” I asked the Dr.; “Is this cancer for sure? Could it possibly be benign tumors?” He said; “This is cancer. We just don’t know for sure what kind until the biopsy comes back.

th

There is Hope

The cancer turned out to be Glioblastoma stage 4. It is the worst kind of brain cancer. It is fast growing, (which the Dr. said is good, in the sense that it will respond well to treatment), but it is terminal. We were told; it is not a matter of “if” but “when” it will return. Statistics give him 14 months to 5 years. It seems the “shadow” has returned.

We are encouraged because Robert has done very well since his surgery. He just finished his first round of treatment (Radiation and Chemo) on Friday July 1, 2016. He has a month off now to rest and regain his strength and then he will go on a maintenance dose of Chemotherapy for a year. He hopes to be able to go back to work during that time.

Scan_20160629

Five good reasons

He has five good reasons to live. They are Sean (age 17), Kevin (age 15), Bailey and Caitlyn (twins age 13), and Toree (age 11). He loves them so much and they need their dad. At the same time, we must remember that God knows what is best and we must trust Him.

So the Pocza family is living in the “shadow” once again. But we all live in that shadow from the moment we are born and before. We hope to live a long life here on earth, but no matter how long we live, physical death will always be the end result. God did not create us to die, but because of sin it is certain.

Death is not something we should dwell on and be worried about every day. God gives life and it is a blessing. He wants us to serve Him joyfully each day and enjoy our life. But He also wants us to be prepared at all times for the day He will call us home to eternal life. Being prepared means loving Jesus and living to glorify Him. He died in our place and paid our debt to God for our sins. Through faith we are covered in robes of righteousness and are holy in God’s eyes and fit for heaven.

Without faith in Jesus, our physical death means we will live eternally separated from God. That is a big deal because eternity is forever. Here on earth believers and unbelievers alike receive blessings from God. Being completely separated from God means there will be no light, laughter and love. Without His presence there will only be darkness, pain and sadness for eternity.

God has perfect timing and we trust His timing knowing He loves His children with an unconditional and perfect love. He will always do what is best for us. Knowing that however, shouldn’t keep us from asking, even begging Him for a miracle. I pray each day, for God to heal Roberts brain and extend his life. But at the same time Robert, through faith in Jesus is sure of where he is going. He said to me one day shortly after his diagnosis; “Mom, I am not afraid to die”. My mother’s heart however does not want to let him go. May the LORD’S will be done.

Jesus promises to never leave us (And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20), and He promises to carry our burdens for us. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30) We must let go of the things in life which are out of our control and trust Him.

Robert feels it an honor to be disciplined by the Lord in this way. My son do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son (Hebrews 12:6). He is using his illness to reach out to those who don’t know the Lord and is setting an example of faith and trust in his God. His strong faith and love for the Lord are his strength.

So my new normal now is living in Oak Creek, WI with my son. I am happy to be here and we are enjoying this time together. I am enjoying seeing and spending time, with my 5 grandchildren who have always lived so far from me. I am learning to find my way around Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. I have connected with an old friend from my high school and college days. I am spending time with my dear cousin and her husband who have been wonderful support for not only myself, but for Robert also. My sister, who was alone in California has also come to live nearby which is a true blessing.

I was lonely in Michigan. I missed my husband so much and life was just not the same. I still miss him, but I have other things to think about and other people who need me. Although I wish I would have come here under happier circumstances, I feel blessed to be here. I would have never made the decision to come here on my own, but this is where God wants me and He knew how to get me here. He just keeps me moving and I am willing to go wherever He sends me. I don’t know what the future holds but God does, so there is no reason for me to worry about it. The shadow still follows us closely, but we are ignoring it and enjoying this time God has given us.  When/if tears and sadness come, the Lord will be right there by our side.

…for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me…surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:4, 6)

 

Gloria Dei!

by Christine

Categories: Eternity, Faith, Family, Heaven/Hell, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WISDOM’S CALL


Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies and nothing you desire can compare with her. (Proverbs 8: 10)

The topic of transgender bathrooms came up recently in our weekly Bible Study. Many of our WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) schools in Wisconsin are schools of choice. This means that they are government funded. This is a wonderful blessing in most instances, but it can also cause serious problems.

The blessings are manifold. The most significant blessing is that the children who attend our Lutheran schools receive food for their souls. They receive the bread of life when they are exposed to God’s Word on a daily basis. This earthly life is not the end. It is only a journey that we must travel to reach the goal of eternal life with Jesus. Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matthew 28: 19, 20).

Secondly, the blessing of supplemental support from the government makes our schools affordable for all children no matter what walk of life they come from. The cost of operating a school is immense. Without government funding students must pay tuition which is not affordable for many families.

The problem with government funding is that when our federal government provides money for operation, they expect us to follow their rules and guidelines regarding all aspects of life. For the most part they have the best interests of the children in mind, but when our government’s rules and regulations go against God’s Word, this becomes a serious issue.

Our federal government just passed a law stating that a transgender person should be able to use the bathroom of his/her choice. Transgender and gay life styles go completely against God’s Word. So while we are teaching our children the truth from God’s Word, our government is telling us to allow/promote this kind of lifestyle in our schools, which totally against what God teaches us in His Word.

Aside from it going against God’s Word, it is also a privacy issue, not only in schools, but in all public restrooms. Should a 5-year-old little girl witness a grown man using a urinal? What about the teen girl, or any woman for that matter, who is having her menstrual period? And of course there will always be those who will take advantage of the situation in inappropriate ways.

The lingering question for all Christians out there is; what if we refuse to comply? Will the government then take away our funding? Every Christian School or organization that receives funding from the government will be severely impacted when/if they refuse to comply and then lose government funding.

The answer is really quite simple. The apostle Peter gives us the answer in Acts 5: 29, We ought to obey God rather than human beings! We must refuse to obey the authorities when they go against God’s Word. “But what if we lose the funding?”, you ask. If we lose the funding, we must trust in the Lord. He knows the needs of each child and will provide an answer.

It is easy to spread the Word to children and families by teaching it in our schools. But couldn’t we work a little harder at spreading the good news in our neighborhoods, by inviting families to church and building a bridge of friendship to them? We are God’s instruments. There are many ways we can shine the light of His grace in our lives to help lead others to Him.

In the end the only decision we can make as true followers of Christ is to refuse to accept the funding if, or when that becomes our only option. Allowing our children to accept this lifestyle as appropriate, will harm their souls and possibly lead them into sin.

In the end do not fear to make the right decision. Doing the right thing is never wrong. Stand strong in the Lord. He has promised; And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20 b). Trust in Him, not the pockets of the government. Satan has crept in with his lying deceiving tongue to desensitize and corrupt our Christian morals and beliefs in order to try and tear us from our heavenly Father’s loving arms and weaken our faith. We must take hold of the Lord’s knowledge and wisdom in the matter and make the decision to refuse funding. We may lose financial assistance, but our children will gain so much more. The Lord promises and He keeps his promises.

Gloria Dei!

by Robert Pocza

Edited by Christine Pocza

Wisdom’s Call (Proverbs 8)

8 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[a]
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.
7 My mouth speaks what is true,
for my lips detest wickedness.
8 All the words of my mouth are just;
none of them is crooked or perverse.
9 To the discerning all of them are right;
they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,
    knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion.
13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have insight, I have power.
15 By me kings reign
and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
and nobles—all who rule on earth.[b]
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.
22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,[c][d]
before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30     Then I was constantly[e] at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”

Categories: Beliefs, Faith, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fairy Tale?


Jesus

God’s gift of love

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. Philip said, Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. Jesus answered: Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.  (John 14: 6-9)

What is a fairy tale? One could say that a fairy tale is an imaginary story of good versus evil with an, everyone lived happily ever after, ending. Stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, etc. would be considered fairy tales.

Recently a discussion came up between me and a friend regarding religious beliefs. I realized that we do not share the same beliefs regarding The Triune God, life and death, heaven and hell, Satan and Demons. She explained that she believes in God the Father (or at least that there is a “higher” power ruling the universe) and the Holy Spirit, but she doesn’t feel that Jesus is true God along with them. She feels that the accounts in the Bible (His-Story) are fairy tales – too good to be true.

We remain good friends, and in the end we agreed to disagree. We respect and accept each other for who we are regardless of beliefs. But every day I pray that the Holy Spirit will touch her heart and soften it, so that she will be able to experience the gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus, and share in the hope that I have for eternity.

In actuality “His Story” is the “History” of the world from Creation through the life and death of Jesus and up until about 90 years or so after he ascended into heaven. It is God’s revelation of who we are as humans, where we came from, and where we are going when we die. Much of ancient history coincides with the accounts recorded in the inspired Word of God.

Many times in life we do find that when things seem too good to be true, they more than likely are. But, is that true with the Word of God and His wonderful grace, mercy and love? It really does seem almost too good to be true.

We each ask ourselves, why would God love me? No matter how hard I try I am not able to be the person He expects me to be. Or we may think to ourselves; there are so many people in this world. How can He know and love each of us personally? It is difficult for our human mind to comprehend, but it is true. You can believe it. He does love each and every one of us as if we were His only child.

There are many things in Scripture that we as humans are not able to understand, but we simply believe with our eyes of faith. Everything we need to know for this life and for our salvation however, is clearly written so that even a child is able to understand it.

In the verses above from the book of John, Jesus is expressing that He and God the Father are one and the same. In other words, if we don’t believe in Jesus, we are also rejecting God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Without Jesus’ perfect life, innocent death, and resurrection, there would be no hope for humanity.

God expects holiness and perfection. Because of our sinful human nature we are unable to be good enough to spend our eternity with God. But through Jesus’ perfect life and his suffering and death, all who have faith in Him are washed in His blood and covered in His holiness. He paid the debt we owe to God for our sin, when He took our place on the cross. By God’s never ending grace (undeserved love), the sacrifice of His Son, and the gift of faith ignited in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we are assured of a place in heaven when we die. It’s a gift offered free to all who believe.

Do I believe in fairy tales? No, but I believe in Jesus and what He did for me. It’s not a fairy tale. It’s the truth. It’s faith. It’s a wonderful release from the bondage of sin and the shadow of death that hangs over each of us from the day of our birth. If you happen to be a doubter, stop a minute and set aside your human reason. Pick up your Bible and let the Holy Spirit work in your heart through the Word. You will be blessed.

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25)

“Yes, Lord. I believe.”

Gloria Dei!

By Christine

Categories: Beliefs, Eternity, Faith, Fellowship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 166 other followers

%d bloggers like this: