September 5th, 2008 “On our way…”

I am so very excited about this trip with my kids. Jordan and Marci are already there. Probably having a great time two days before we get there!

I am excited to get to Masada and Hezekiah’s tunnel and our hotel overlooking the old city of Jerusalem.

Hoping this trip will be an eye opener for my kids and me.

The place we are staying (Kari Deshe) on the sea of Galilee looks fabulous.

We are on our way to Denver with a 3 hour layover, then on to Atlanta. Hope to see Steven (Chelsea’s boyfriend) for a few minutes.

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September 3rd, 2008 “The Battle”

The church put on a benefit dinner for us last week, initiated and headed up by my brother-in-law, Gregg and sister-in-law, Cori. It was so wonderful. Over 350 people showed up. People I hadn’t seen for years. Even some guys I used to party with in high school were there. I had hoped that my brother and sister would be there but they did not make it.

Branden and myself got to share. I think my “4th son” (my Timothy) did a marvelous job. One man, that we know of, came to Christ. God’s word never goes void.

Enough money was raised that night to send us, as a family, to Israel. WOW! Thank the Lord for the body of Christ. We also were able to give to others out of that.

Now, we are on our way to Seattle to the ALS center and hope to get to a few questions answered. Like, “Do they know the progression of this in my body type?” Or, the medications that might help…new research…my prognosis…how long until I won’t be able to take myself to the bathroom…when I can no longer go on my own. I have questions about the the saliva issues, quinine and also the bladder issue, social security, etc..

My arms ache. The tremors are getting worse.

We will head for Israel the day we get back. Very excited. My family is so special to me.

Read Jeremiah 31, “The Lord will turn mourning into dancing. There is hope for the future, declares the Lord…”. Without hope we can’t even live. You can live 40 days or more without food, 8 days without water, 8 minutes without air but not one second without hope. Jesus, You are my only hope. Heaven is my hope. Salvation through Christ is my hope. One day my whole family will be in heaven, that is my hope. This Israel trip is my hope of lasting memories with my family. A cure or God’s healing is my hope.

My hope is that all my grandkids will come to know Jesus Christ and serve Him with all their hearts and souls.

I had a dream last night that I was on my death bed and the family was there. I could hear them but I didn’t open my eyes. There were all at a distance. It was too vivid for me. Wow! I am ready to go “home”. I have been preparing for that day for a long time now but I’v stepped it up, some. I wonder why : ). Not that I am being morbid about it or consumed by it. It is just reality.

I still want God to heal me but sometimes I wonder if He wants me healed….’there is a sickness that leads to death (1 John 5) but there is also a sickness for healing…to the glory of God. I am praying for that one.

…..flying home from Seattle…we just flew over Mt. Rainier. Wow! It is awesome! God is so incredible. This is just earth – wait till we get to heaven!

Sept. 4, 2008
We are back from Seattle. Very expensive trip to hear the same news…that I have ALS. The doctor was very nice and very apologetic that there hasn’t been much done to help ALS patients. I knew that, too.

I did get a kind of time line from when I first noticed I was getting weaker to where I am now. I think it was either January or February of 2007. Then, in March, 2008 Mike Tweedy mentioned that the “twitching” in my right tri-cep was weird. I had been noticing it for about 3 weeks to a month before that but from that time on it became more and more noticeable.

One of the things the neurologist told me was that I have a certain amount of energy everyday. It won’t restore itself like in other people. So, I need to pace myself, he said, because I can’t “bank” it. Can’t overdo it. That’s hard for me.

1 1/2 months into living with ALS

Well, life is a precious gift from God. I believe He wants us to get the most out of it. Jesus came to give us life to the fullest. (John 10:10). He came that we would live our lives abundantly; live them full of purpose, meaning and joy.

With the disease, it’s sometimes hard for me to see purpose and meaning ~ for me to have joy. Ecclesiates 11:9 says, “Let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.” Ultimate joy comes from serving God and serving others. I hope I will do that until I can’t serve others anymore and they will be “serving” me.

We need to live for the now because the “somedays” may never come. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say ‘I find no pleasure in them’. Remember Him… before the dust returns to dust to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12:1,6-7)
What I am saying is this: “Use the good china, wear your good clothes ~ whenever”. I’m not saving my good cologne. People, not only my family, need a good smell. : ) …Go see a good friend, Ask forgiveness of someone you have a squabble with, Go eat your favorite food…don’t wait until ‘tomorrow’.

God has told some of us what He wants us to do. Maybe go on a mission trip, serve others in His name, etc.. But, we tell Him “later”…after I am established in my career, [pay all my bills, graduate from school, get married, raise my kids, etc.]. But we all need to live in the ‘now’.

Psalm 112:4-9. Very encouraging passage for me. “A righteous man will be remembered forever, he will have no fear of bad new. His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure. He will have no fear. In the end, he will look in triumph on his enemies.”

testing day…confirming the diagnosis

July 14, 2008

Wow…this morning the doctor confirmed his initial diagnosis of THE disease. Now, I go to see another doc for my second opinion. The doctor said it could be 9 months to 2 years. It all depends on if it goes into my diaphragm which is a muscle. Then it’s very short after that.
I am going to live everyday like it is my last because it really could be.
I went golfing today and shot a 40 for 9 holes. Justin shot a 38. I would have beat him, probably, but on the first hole I shot a triple bogie. I played good and I had a great time being with Justin. He is such a great man. He has grown into a godly, on fire, preacher.
Got to share with the man who did my testing today. His name is Jim. Gave the the gospel…not fully, but for 40 minutes we talked about Christ, the church, etc..
Last night I asked the Lord for even five more years and if He would give me that I would change the world. I felt like He said back to me, “Cliff, I have given you 51 years…:)”. I think it meant we need to be changing the world now and not waiting. I know the Lord has used me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.
It really has gone so fast. My only regret is that I would have wanted to do more. But, I will use the rest of the time I have for His glory.
Lord, we want to see your glory. Let it rain down and open the flood gates of heaven. Let it rain. Open the flood gates of heaven. Let revival happen, Lord. Use whatever you are going to do to me. Create revival. Let the young men sing and the old men dance.
Open up the skies of mercy and hear our cries, Lord. I know there are many prayers of the saints who have been praying for me. Lord, rain down your cleansing flood. It’s your kindness that leads us to repentance. Your favor, Lord, is our desire.
It is my hope to get the family to Israel before I won’t be able to move much. Lord, please help provide for this trip.

10 days in…..

Sunday (my favorite day), July 13, 2008

My disease is moving very quickly.  I notice it every day.

Wow!  What a great day.  I watched Jake with the kids and there is nobody better.  God, You have anointed him with a special gift.  Those young people really love him.  I love him so much.  He is bringing the Word next week.  Can’t wait.

Speaking of the Word…Justin brought it today and it was the best sermon I’ve ever heard.  His tribute to me was awesome. Thanks, God, for the best kids ever. Chelsea is singing Sunday and I’m looking forward to this.  She is the most talented of the girls I had.  Just a joke. : )  She can sing it!

Miss my Jordan.  He is so much like me and he will one day rock the world.  I miss him.  He makes me smile.  There is nobody quite like my Jordan.

Still praying for a miracle.  God needs to do it very soon.  I feel my body being eaten even as I write this.  The tremors are in my other arm now even more fierce than in my right arm.

It is hitting my legs at a tremendous pace.  Well, I’ll rule out a pinched nerve in my neck. : ).  If it was a pinched nerve, I would kiss the doctor.

I’m ready to go home, if that’s God’s call.

I have the tests tomorrow but I know my body and I think, outside of a miracle, it is for sure ALS.  I want faith.  Give me the extra measure.

My brother and sister in law came over to comfort me and Wendy.  My baby had a breakdown and I don’t blame her.  It so saddened me, I had to take a walk.  I pulled up half a rose bush and brought it home to her.  It was rather funny but I wanted her to know how much I loved her.  I love her.  Oh, I can’t imagine not being with her.  I have lived on her coat tails. Wow, big coat tails.  No, I’m not saying you’re fat.  You’re beautiful, my bride.

Thank you, Lord, for letting me be able to write.  It is getting so hard, though.

I love my church. My flock is a very special group.  They will flourish.  God is going to rock our city through them.  I’m so sure of this.  I bet my life on it.  I would die for the sheep.

I need to get Jord and Marci here.  I have some wonderful daughters- in- law.  Thanks, Lord.

My Grandkids are the best. Brooklyn is so sweet and the Lord is going to use her mightily.  Avery is a pill but I like that.  She is going to be used by the Lord to change the world.

I am tired and I have tests tomorrow but I can’t sleep so I’m having fun writing.

Eph. 2:4 “But, because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions.  It is by grace you have been saved.  And, God raised us up with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.  In order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

The first week after the diagnosis – in his words

July 4th, 2008

Went to watch the fireworks and it was good. I am still rocked by the news from my doc.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around it.  I do get a little scared, especially at night, and when my twitching really gets going.

I feel it getting worse.  My strength in my right arm is weak and messes with my writing.  Have lost much muscle and the twitching is moving more to the center of my chest and back.  I think I felt the first one in my face and that really freaks me out.

Yesterday at church the Spirit of the Lord was there … and we had two come to Christ and another recommitment.  I love Jesus more than any other earthly thing.  I’m not afraid to die.  I am afraid of dying (the process), the way this disease takes people out.  I really need prayer.  I appreciate everyone for praying for me.

Phil. 1:6 “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  God began a good work in me and will finish it in His time the way He wants to.  I’m crying out for healing and will get away to the mountains and wrestle with God.  I will come back with a “limp”.

I feel brokenhearted.  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them, he delivers them from all their troubles – the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”   Psalm 35:17-18

July 7, 2008

I felt a twitch in my face today and that really bummed me out.  Been reading in Is. 38 about Hezekiah’s illness and how he cried out and God heard his cries and saw his tears and gave him 15 more years.  God give me more years.  Isaiah 40:28-30… I am hoping in the Lord.  I’m hoping for renewed strength.  I want to soar like the eagles.  Run and not grow weary.  Jesus, I love you.

We are up at the Johnson’s cabin.  Everything in my head today and everything I’ve read today is about waiting on the Lord.

In the book “Andrew Murray’s Prayers” there is a page on waiting on the Lord that I turned to.  Psalm 25:5  “On You do I wait all the day.”  In everything there should be waiting on God to receive His blessing.  To see what He will do.  Allow Him to be Almighty God.  Meditate on these things and they will help you value the precious promises of God’s Word.

“Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles…” Is. 40:31   “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14.   In those words, Lord, I believe I have the secret of heaven’s power and joy.  I feel my need is to seek, cry out, listen and wait upon my Lord.

Father, quiet my soul to wait on you.  I will wait for the Lord.  My soul waits and in His Word do I hope.

His word is my strength and life Psalm 126:3  “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.  Verses 5-6 “those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.   He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with him.”

Today, I was sowing in tears and I feel like I am going to reap with songs of joy.  I’m asking God to show me a new vision and that God would use whatever I have to bring revival.  God, give me more time to see thousands come to you.  God, forgive me for my lack of concern for the sick.  I will never again be that way.

Psalm 127:3 “Sons are a heritage from the Lord.  Children are a reward from Him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons (and daughters) born in ones youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies at the gate.”

What can I say about my boys?  They are warriors.  They fight not with flesh but they fight with weapons not of this world.  They now are in battle ‘demolishing every imagination and every pretense that is trying to set itself up against the knowledge of God’.    Lord, help in this battle to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient’ to you.

My daughter, she has godly purpose in her and a love that I see only in her mother.  She is my refreshment.  I so love to be with her.  I am watching God do so much in her.  She is such a light for people and she has an evangelists heart.

Well, time to pray.  God, show me visions.  Let me hear you tonight.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 “Watch! Stand fast in the faith.  Be brave, be strong.  Let all you do be done in love.”

 July 8, 2008

After God’s silence – what?  His silence is the sign that He is bringing me into a marvelous understanding of Himself.  God has trusted me with silence.  Thank you.

When God gives us a silence we need to praise Him.  He is bringing us into a great purpose that He has for us.  God is sovereign.

“Jesus, be the center of my life.  Be my all.”  I love this song…”be the fire in my heart.  Be the wind in these sails.  Be the reason that I live.  Jesus.”  Jesus, be my vision, Lord.  I need you to be all that and more for me.

God, today, allow me to enter your rest.  Hebrews 4.  Matt. 11:28.  Refresh and renew by your power in every aspect of my life.

It will be a good morning. I think the Lord has spoken and said that “I’ll give you grace, but it won’t be easy.  I promise you that I am sufficient.”

I want to go back down the mountain.  I need my kids at this time.  God, you gave me the best kids.  I look at them and I say “thanks and Wow!”  My grandkids I love and I hope I get the years to influence them some.  I’m praying that they will come to know You, early.

John 14:1, 27 “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me…Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.”

Help me, Lord, to apply these promises today.

July 8, 2008 (later in the day)

Was up through the night.  Was up very early and watched the sunrise over a huge mountain up here at the cabin.  Oh, how the Word and song and what I was looking at ministered to me.

One of the things that makes God God is the transforming affect He has upon his children.  He is a restorer of broken lives.  He uses rebuilt people to advance His cause in the earth.  God, rebuild me into what you will.  You are the potter and I am the clay.  Mold me, shape me.

God, turn my head noise into prayer today so that every problem becomes and invitation to thank you and a renewal of my soul.  I want to hear that still, small voice.

July 10, 2008

I read an article about how ALS affects you and how to be progressive in each stage of the disease.  It really bummed me out because this guy was talking about wheelchairs and feeding tubes and breathing machines.  Not good.  The part I enjoyed was when he (this man who wrote the article died in 2006) talked about doing things you love to do and doing something like taking a long trip to Israel with the family.

I pray we will be able to go.

I had such a tough night last night fighting with my feelings and my mortality.  I cried out to the Lord for healing, for a great miracle.  Read the Word but felt a little numb and it was very late.  I have nothing else to cling to but the Lord.  Have had so much encouragement from people.  Thank you, Lord, for the body of Christ.  They have wept with those who weep (me and my family).

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