Archive for May, 2016

I know you must think you are important.  You seem to have so much power.  While yes there are times that you lose a battle, it seems so often that you are still winning the war.  You claim the lives of both princes and paupers, young and old, white, black, olive, human, and animal.  You leave behind a wake of hurt and pain for the loved ones, and I think I speak for all when I say, “I really hate you.”  My family has not escaped your grasp either, and I do not assume you are finished with my loved ones, or even me for that matter.  You are good at what you do, but I wanted to write and let you know a few things, at least from a Christian’s perspective.

Cancer, your pain is only temporary:

There is, no doubt, a lot of pain involved in trying to beat you.  There is often associated with this battle treatments like chemo, radiation, surgery, and other uncomfortable and hurtful procedures that we do to combat you, but this pain is only short lived.  Sometimes we beat you, and you never return.  Yes, scars may stay, but you are not the giver and taker of life, Cancer . . . there is Someone higher than you.  Even if this life on earth ends for the Christian, eternity in Heaven where there is no more cancer is just beginning.  You see, the pain you give is only temporary, and there is really nothing you can do to change that.  Temporary pain is real pain no doubt, but it is not eternal.

Cancer, you have no real power:

Oh yes, you may believe yourself to be a powerful foe, but just like Pontius Pilate, 2000 years ago, you have no power unless it be given to you (John 19:11).  You didn’t start the process of pain, hurt, or power over people.  You are simply a bi-product of sin, Cancer.  You have no power except that which is allowed for you to have through our good and gracious sovereign Lord.  Does the Lord take delight in the death of someone though your diseased tentacles?  No, but He is sovereign over it.  For in His book it is written, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).  While it may seem as if you are omnipotent in your spreading of such a dreadful illness, you have no real power except what the Lord allows for His own glory through it.

Cancer, your ultimate defeat is imminent:

Lastly, I would like you to know that your day is coming.  You have done some great damage in your time here.  You have no doubt won some battles, but the end of you and the end of this sinful and disease filled life is coming to an end very soon.  Your ultimate defeat has already been accomplished.  When Jesus came and lived a perfect life, and went to the cross to satisfy the rightful wrath from the Father . . . this is when you died.  He defeated death on the cross.  He defeated sin there, and He defeated you there as well.  See, there is coming a day where all will be made right.  All will be made new.  Yes, you can take a life, but through Christ there can be new life.  There can be eternal life.  You sir, are only temporary.  You will be no more.  You will cause no more tears, no more pain, no more feelings of “they are gone to soon.”  You will be swallowed up in victory because of what Christ has done.  You are done, Cancer. You are done.

Yes, you may very well take from us those we love.  You may very well continue for a short time to ravage our bodies and those whom we care so dearly for, but you will not have the last word.  The last Word comes from The Word made flesh, and He said “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16b).  Cancer, you cannot take that away.  So, while you may devastate us and try to stomp us out, I want you to remember that I very much do hate you, and while you may rob me or my loved one of life here on earth, you will never be able to rob us of our eternal life.  Your time is coming, Cancer.  There is nothing you can do to stop it.  Oh, and in case you have not heard our mantra, just let these words echo in your ears, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).  Death may come to us, but our life will be eternal.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

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Mother’s Day is just one of those man-made holidays that seem hard to just pass over.  I mean, who does not love their mother, right?  God really gave you a great gift if you had a godly mother.  As I was trying to think through what I could do to honor my mother this year I started thinking about all the things she passed on to me.  While I could name a myriad of godly qualities, there are five lessons that I learned by example through her life that stick out more than others.

Have a Love for the Lord:

There is nothing more important in my mother’s life than her relationship with the Lord.  She loves Him so.  She would often speak of Him, when I was a child, with such reverence but also intimacy.  She loves him so much, that she knew it to be her chief duty to pass it on to her children.  No matter what has happened in her life, even in great tragedy, her resolve and love for the Lord has never waned.  This is the most important lesson she passed on to my brother and I; to always love the Lord and have Him preeminent in our lives.

Have a Love for Your Family:

Second only to her love for the Lord is her love for her family.  She and my father decided it was best for her to stay home with my brother and me until we were old enough to go to school.  After we started our formal education she went to work so as to help provide for the family economy.  No matter how hard she worked, she (and my father) was always there for all of me and my brother’s sporting events, which were many since I played 3 sports.  Not only was she there for sporting events, but for everything else in my life as well.  She always took a deep interest in the things of my life.  She would deny things that she might want to do so as to be able to provide for my brother, father, and I.  She loves her family, and she would do anything for us.  She is a beautiful example of what it means to love your family.

Have a Love for Your Local Church:

I cannot remember a time in my life when my parents were not active in serving within the church.  My mother taught Sunday school, directed the youth, taught the youngest of children in Mission Friends class, and as a family we would clean the church each week.  She believes in serving the Lord through serving the church.  Any time the doors of the church were open, our family was there.  This is something that she and my father have passed down to me as well.  I don’t just love the church because I am paid by it, but because it was instilled into me at a young age that if I was part of the bride of Christ, then I was to also serve her.  To this day my Mom serves her church faithfully, and I thank her for helping to place that desire in me.

Have a Sacrificial Heart:

As is true for many godly women, my mother is one who is willing to sacrifice her time, talent, and treasures for the sake of the Lord and her family.  Almost to a fault at times, my mother didn’t (and still does not) know how to say “no” when it came to helping others.  I have seen her out to all hours of the night preparing the church for a special service, or helping a person who was in need.  While she never neglected my father or us boys, she was always willing to sacrifice whatever was needed to bring glory to God and build the Kingdom.  Her sacrifice hasn’t gone unnoticed.  It is like her heart is simply shaped with this disposition, and for that I am grateful.

Have a Love for Godly Music:

The Lord blessed my family with a love for music.  All four of us enjoy(ed) singing and playing instruments.  Now while The Eagles or the Credence Clearwater Revival could sometimes be heard blaring from our windows, more often than not it was some type of Christian music.  One of my earliest memories is traveling with my parents and their Christian quartet, The Woodlandairs, to different churches on the weekends playing Southern Gospel Music.  While my taste for Southern Gospel Music has never been too great, singing some of the great hymns of our faith that my mother would often sing around the house and at church is deeply rooted in my being.  Both my father and my mother established in me a love for godly music, and while I strayed from it through much of my teen years, the memories of it never left me, and would once again captivate me in my 20’s and do still today.  A love for music, but more importantly music that honored God, is a gift and a life lesson my mother passed on to me that is invaluable.

While Mother’s Day is a special day when we remember our Moms, it is also a day to look back on the lessons that they have taught us.  I hope the Lord blesses me with another 30 years with my mother, however, if the Lord was to take her home today, she would leave me with enough of a legacy to last two life-times.  This list of lessons is not unique to my mother only I am sure, but how thankful I am that it is true of this woman that I will always simply just call “Mom”.  I thank the Lord for mothers who love the Lord so much that they have no greater job on earth than to pass that love on to their children.  Thank you mom for doing so with your children.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell