June 17, 2018

Pancreatitis, round 3. I have always won the fight, but the first few rounds I end up feeling like Rocky Balboa.

Treatment is being limited to a liquid diet and waiting. So, no bending over, no staying in one position very long, and try not to be such a grouch that you drive people crazy.

For quite a while now, I’ve been practicing gratitude as a spiritual discipline. In all that comes with life, there is a way to express gratitude for some portion of it.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It isn’t a platitude, it is an attitude. One has to make acquiring this peace of God a task superior to any of the events that life throws at us.

I put off going to the hospital until about midnight Friday night. I thought I was having a case of severe indigestion. Then, I remembered that my youngest brother Fred had believed the same thing, putting off going to the hospital until morning and dying from his heart attack.

Might this be the same? I prayed and tried to read and finally, after a couple of hours, decided to wake Janet to go to the hospital. I was having a hard time finding something to rejoice about, something to have gratitude about, on the way over. The staff were all prompt and courteous, so I began with that. We had a safe trip, without any interference with the deer we saw on the side of the road, so I could be grateful for that. As I was hooked up to monitors and IVs, everything went well and I knew I was in competent hands, so I could be thankful for that. Janet was there to support me, concerned but calm, and I could be thankful for that.

After 2½ hours, the blood reports came back and my heart enzymes were fine. So again, an opportunity for gratitude. The indicators for pancreatitis were present and so we had a diagnosis, which was something I could be thankful for. I could either stay in the hospital or return home, my choice, and I was grateful that I got to decide. All the way home, even in the discomfort, I was thankful that I didn’t have a heart problem.

All of those may seem like small things, but it’s the individual details as we look at our lives that cause us, even in adversity, to have a measure of gratitude. I don’t think I’m better at it than anyone else, I just think I focused on it. And I wanted to share the process with you today.

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