“…I chose you out of the world…”
John 15:19 ESV
Thanksgiving greetings, to our friends & co-laborers in Christ…
It is with our deepest affection that Anastasia joins me in reaching out to you with the love of our Savior and Lord, Christ Jesus, during these special seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Recently, while attending a men’s Bible study one of the questions asked was, “What are you most thankful for?” The answers were varied and noble in spirit but one stood out above the others, “My salvation.” All too often we believers take for granted the greatest miracle of all humanity and of our lives—that moment when we were convicted of our sin and drawn by the Spirit of Christ to repent and place our faith in Jesus Christ—the greatness of our salvation.
Interestingly, when we examine the above verse in the Greek, the verb “chose,” has a much more expansive meaning whereby it is rendered…”I’ve selected you for Myself out of the world….” Whoa! Suddenly, this takes on a much deeper and personal meaning in that we’ve been picked out of this world’s corrupted system, so that our existence, our priorities and manner of life become a living translation of the Gospel to transform sinners into new creatures in Christ…and yes, even given an eternal inheritance of heaven that will never fade, spoil nor perish.
This is a mind-bender in that none of us worms of the earth remotely deserves such mercy. It can only be explained by the unmerited grace of God, knowing that He’ll always respond to the cry of one who sincerely repents and seeks His pardon.
So as we’re gathered around our tables for Thanksgiving dinner, it might be a thoughtful question to ask, “What are we most thankful for?” Naturally, we’re thankful for our families, our country, and God’s provision and protection. But how often do we express our gratitude for His saving our souls and making us whole?
In recent days we visited with Anastasia’s neurologist in Pittsburgh and received an encouraging report. After giving her a thorough examination, the doctored declared, “This is the best I’ve seen you in six years.” Specifically, she is presently stabilized by the touch of our Great Physician and a few medications. As she moves forward, there should be limited cognitive deterioration but her musculoskeletal (motor)
system will probably continue to degenerate. As her doctor noted, “We’re still in uncharted waters but gradually, through research and clinical practice, we’re learning more about this dreadful disease (i.e. Frontotemporal Dementia [FTD] w/ subsets of Corticobasal Degeneration [CBD] and Progressive Supranuculear Palsy [PSP]).”
As I mentioned in our last newsletter, we have been experiencing times of refreshment from the Lord as Anastasia’s countenance has improved significantly to the point that she is more engaged socially and has the desire to come home more frequently. She is planning to be home for Thanksgiving and likewise for Christmas. We discussed with her doctor the thought of her coming home permanently but he advised against it in light of the uncertainties of her disease and the significant readjustment required in relocation.
I may have been premature when stating in our last newsletter that my eye surgeries were finished. Unfortunately, issues still remain and neither eye is responding as anticipated. Hopefully, we’ll know more in the coming weeks.
Also, I’m scheduled for surgery, again, on November 17th to remove new tumors on my left thigh. This will be the fourth surgery on the same thigh in the past three years, the last having been in August. This sarcoma is an aggressive cancer requiring prompt action to prevent it from metastasizing to the lungs. Thus far, the CT’s show my lungs to be clear and for this we are thankful for His abounding grace.
We had a wonderful prayer conference at the First Assembly of God in Hermitage, PA in late September which carried over to the end of October. The attendance was good with the brothers and sisters faithfully returning for five consecutive Wednesday evening meetings. There were times I struggled with my memory as well as with my legs but praise God that He ministered to the hearts of His people. For this we are most thankful with all glory redounding to Him!
In closing we are humbled and extremely thankful for your notes of encouragement, friendship, prayers and sacrificial support over these many years. As we inch closer towards Glory our hearts continue to overflow with the joy of His undeserved favor, knowing that…“I chose you out of the world….”
Wishing you a most Happy Thanksgiving and blessed Christmas Season,