Incredible News!

I know many readers are getting email updates — please use my contact page to let me know if you want them and aren’t getting them. But for those who aren’t….

We were originally told the tumour was likely to be inoperable, but Terri had an operation on Wednesday in which they successfully removed 90% of the tumour. They believed, and so far it appears to be true, that this was without any further damage to brain functionality, and that at least some of her symptoms would improve considerably.

Today, just three days after they removed a tumour the size of a small orange from her head, they have told us Terri should be able to come home this afternoon.

It is amazing the skills that God has given these people. We are so thankful for them, for the many who have prayed, for those who have helped in concrete ways, both big and small, but mainly for the God who enables and moves the hearts and minds of people to do these things.

Is this a miracle? Not according to the classic theological definitions of a miracle. Terri is not healed, the cancer is still there and dangerous and, from a medical perspective, incurable. But it is far too much for us to say anything but that God has been working in a wonderful way. To Him be the praise.

UPDATE: Not today after all, not because of any problem, but just that they weren’t able to assess her on the stairs today. It means she gets another day of rest before a long journey home, which isn’t a bad thing.

SECOND UPDATE: Home yesterday afternoon! Very tired, very glad to be home!

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Thank You

Thank you to all who have told us you are singing “Because He Lives” tomorrow, as individuals or together with other believers. It means a lot to us that some churches would bring this into your worship together, even people we’ve never met. Christian brothers and sisters are amazing.

It is very encouraging to the people of our church to hear how many people are praying for Terri and for us, how many people share with us the joy of knowing our Risen Lord.

For those who may not have heard, Terri has been transferred to Edinburgh as the neurosurgeons are “keen to try some sort of operation.” We had been told not to expect this, and do not know what is meant by it. But we thank you for your prayers. She is very tired tonight.

If you wish regular updates, please let me know.

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A Letter From Terri

Dear All 

Please read the letter from Terri, below. It was hard work (this kind of thing is slow and difficult for her right now) but very important to her. We worked on it for two hours this morning.   

We are still waiting to hear what, if any, treatment will be possible.  They are still watching Terri 24/7. They are all very kind. 

Here’s Terri:

Dear Friends and Family 

By now you know about my cancer. It has happened so fast, but the Lord is with us and encouraging us.  I want to ask two favours of you.

First, this song got real. Please, listen to it, it is not long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL7rDeNYwDY. I so want to see you over there. 

Second, can you join us, sometime this Sunday, in singing “Because He Lives”? If you don’t know it, you can play this and sing along: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm2wLKZoGPY  

I know people around the world are receiving this, and it would be an encouragement to know that we are singing it together, because it answers everything. 

It hurts me when people blame God and say He hasn’t been fair. I know people mean well and say it out of love and affection. But please don’t say that, even to yourself. The song answers it.  I don’t want people who care about me to be angry with God on my behalf. I love Him for everything He has done for me, and I want you to love Him, too. 

What is fair? If God were fair, he wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die, and rise again for me. If God were fair, I’d have “crossed that river” long ago, and I would be in Hell. 

But God did send His Son for a sinner like me, and He “bled and died to buy my pardon.” Now He lives and I will, too. I will be with Jesus who loves me so much, in Glory. I’m ok, I’m better than ok. 

I want to be honest with you. I’m afraid of “life’s final war with pain.” But it doesn’t matter if I’m a coward, the lights of Glory will still be there. They are there for me, not because of any good in me, but because He lives. Death will give way to victory, and I’m not going to lose that victory even if I’m afraid of the pain. Jesus guaranteed my victory.  He lives, and so will I.

Isaiah 25:8

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 

John 3:16

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 11:25-26

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 

Do you believe that? I’m asking you if you believe, but do you see that verse? Jesus asked it first, do you believe? We believe it. That is what we count on. You can believe it, and if you do, we will see you over there. Please contact Jon if you need help in understanding. 

It appears I may not see many of you again unless it is “over there.” That only has to be sad if you aren’t going there. Please, come join us. 

Love, 

Terri 

Thank you to those who have sent messages to Terri on www.messagesforterrigleason.wordpress.com. She has read all the messages so far, more than once.  They are deeply appreciated. 

To send private messages that I and all of our kids (and their spouses) will see, but no one else, go to www.messagesforterrisfamily.wordpress.com/.   

If you want to receive updates on Terri’s status, please send me an email using my contact page.

Thank you for all the encouragement, love, and prayers.

In Him 

Jon  

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“For Thou Knowest Not What a Day May Bring Forth”

Proverbs 27:1

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

To my Internet friends, some of you certainly already know this, but perhaps many don’t, yet.

On Thursday, I was informed that my wife, Terri, was diagnosed with a very aggressive and humanly-incurable brain tumour. She was dealing with some confusion, but on Friday I was able to tell her. We do not yet know what, if any, treatment will be possible.

A week earlier, Terri and I went out and walked over two miles. By Saturday, she could not safely get out of bed without falling. That night, before I left, Terri quoted me this from her favourite hymn: 

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure 

Gives unto each day what He deems best – 

Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure 

Mingling toil with peace and rest. 

Then, she said, “Today, we’ve had what He kindly deemed best.”  

If you want to receive updates on Terri’s status, please send me an email using my contact page and I will tell you how.

If you want to send messages to Terri, please go to https://messagesforterrigleason.wordpress.com/ and add a comment on the post for the day. Please keep the messages short, concentration is difficult.

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Obeying God, Obeying Man — Some Key Principles

In my previous post (Obeying God, Obeying Man — Some Key Scriptures), I listed some key Scriptures dealing with obedience to government, as well as a list of cases in which disobedience to government is either clearly approved, or appears to be approved, by God.

In this post, I’d like to draw some principles that appear to be well-supported by the Scriptural evidence.  The specific text of most of the passages cited below can be seen in my prior post.

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Obeying God, Obeying Man — Some Key Scriptures

Churches around the world are being faced with government authorities which are handing down restrictions, often with little explanation or defence of their rules.  Some of these rules impinge on freedom of worship or how we worship.  Many churches are faced with the question, “What does a church (or a Christian individual) do when the commands of government authorities conflict, or appear to conflict, with the commands of God?  When is it right to disobey government?”

The following Scriptures will be the main ones we will seek to apply as we also face these decisions.

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Why I’m Wearing a Mask Tomorrow

The last two Sundays, I’ve worn a face shield, but tomorrow I’ll be wearing a mask.  I don’t want to waste our time discussing it tomorrow, so I’m putting it out there tonight.

Not These Reasons

It’s none of these reasons:

A. It’s not because the Scottish government guidelines require it.  The guidelines still permit those leading worship to use face shields if they are sufficiently distanced.

B. It’s not because I think the government should have changed the guidelines for churches just because people in Aberdeen spread the virus on a pub crawl.  The government should be ashamed of this.

C. It’s not because the government has any credibility.  The same people who told us not to wear masks now order us to do so.  The advisor who told everyone to stay home traveled to her second home.

D. It’s not even that I believe the government has any legitimate authority to dictate what we do in the normal order of worship in this circumstance.

E. It’s not because I believe we are in an emergency.  There have been seven new cases in Fife in the last week.  That is less than 1 for every 50,000 people.

F. It’s not because I believe it would be dangerous to skip the mask.  The likelihood that I have the virus is vanishingly small.  The likelihood that I both have it, and would pass it on, if I keep my distance, is even smaller.  The likelihood that I would pass it on if I keep my distance and wear a shield is so small that it is silly to talk about it.

It’s These Reasons

Unity

Ephesians 4

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Galatians 6

2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

The government has now made it a legal requirement to wear a mask in church.  I am not going to stand in front of brothers and sisters who may not wish to wear a mask, but are doing so because they believe they must obey the law, and not wear one with them.

Love for My Brothers and Sisters

I John 4

21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Believers should not be afraid of the virus, but some may be.  For those who are struggling with fear, I’m not going to make it harder on them.  Now that the government has said what it has said, it’s possible that some would prefer I wear a mask.  I’ll do so.

Evidence of True Discipleship

John 13

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Jesus said in this verse that how we demonstrate our love for one another before the world is an evidence of true discipleship.  If they see love, they will know we are truly His followers.  If they don’t, they will doubt it.

There is greater risk of a car accident on the way to church than of catching the virus during our service, even if no one wore masks — but that’s not the way the world sees it.  If they see us in a church service together without masks, they’ll think we don’t care about one another.  In I Corinthians 9, Paul said he gave up his freedoms for the sake of the Gospel.  He gave up a lot more than I have to give up by wearing a mask.  If the world sees a mask as a sign of love, I can wear it.

Loving Our Neighbours

James 2

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

In a recent survey by KEKST CNC, they found that on average the British people think that 7% of Brits have died from coronavirus.  This would mean 4 1/2 million deaths, one in every 14 people!  In reality, it’s closer to 0.07%.  The media and politicians have so scared the British people that they think it is 100 times worse than it is.  The tragic fact is that we live among terrified people who are scared of death and so scared to death.

I won’t let their fear keep me from honouring God and obeying His command to worship together — but I’ll do what I can to keep from stoking their fears.  I don’t like to wear a mask, but my God tells me to love my neighbours.

So, I’ll Wear a Mask

When you see me tomorrow, those are the reasons.  I’m not afraid of not wearing it.  I’m not wearing it because the government says I must, or even advises it.  I’m not afraid of catching or passing on the virus.

The government gives exemptions from the mask for certain health conditions.  Perhaps, given the lung problems I’ve had in the past, I could get an exemption, but I won’t.  I’m able to wear masks, I’ve done it before without trouble, and will do it again.  I don’t believe Christians should fear masks anymore than I think they should fear the coronavirus.

I may take the mask off briefly, when well distanced or outside, so the children can see me and see me smile.  It can be scary for very young children to see everyone wearing masks — they need some normalcy.  For the service, I’ll be wearing it.

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