Friday, April 10, 2009

Experience the Treasure

On Tuesday, I posted about the five people who made an impact on my life. Molly recently wrote a paper for her Lit class about someone who had an impact on hers, and I wanted to share it with you.

The average death expectancy of a person in 2008 was 66. I know a man who is just turned fifty in December. This man was diagnosed with cancer in October of 2008. He was given a 30 to 40% chance of survival. Even if he did survive it would only be for 3 more years. This man is my Uncle Howard Valley. He went to Oconto Falls High School and married a woman named Robin and together they had a son, Dustin. My uncle is a great inspiration to me, because he has taught me to be a fighter in these past few dreadful months.

My uncle was put on a treatment to get rid of the cancer. The treatment given to him was a success, and he had survived. But the chemotherapy treatments in his throat made him sick, thus making him dislodge the tube of chemicals causing them to go throughout his entire body. This made Howard septic. Or in other words, the chemicals were destroying all his cells and shutting down all his internal organs. We were all told to rush to the hospital to say our goodbyes. This was at the beginning of January. Howard managed to pull through this though many people have not. He was a miracle to our family and we were so happy to still have him.

Not even a month later he was told he had a serious staph infection and problems with his gull bladder. They removed that to find it was filled with blood. Along with his kidneys failing, it seemed his entire body was shutting down. We, yet again, had to rush to say goodbye. Since those days where we were all sure he was going to die he has gotten better. Not only better but he can sit up, feed himself, understand what is going on and can get around his room.

Howard has not been an important figure in my life until these past few mournful months. His life was filled with lots of anger and hatred, and my mom wanted to shelter me from that. I’ve learned from Howard that not only is death an option but it’s a choice. He chose to fight and not just give up as he could’ve many times. That’s why in my life today I fight for exactly what I want and am not afraid to get it. Howard is my biggest inspiration.

Experiencing the Spirit by Henry & Mel Blackaby is a short but powerful primer on how to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit and allow it to work through you. The authors give a terrific explanation about what the Spirit does and does not do. I've done other Bible studies about the Holy Spirit, but never have I learned as much as I did in this slender volume. The authors want to encourage believers to stretch outside of their comfort zone. When we work within our own talents and capabilities, we are comfortable and tend to rely on our own strength. The Spirit often pushes outside of those realms so that we are forced to rely on it. This very thoughtful book is one that will stick with me for a long time to come.

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn is one of many books on the market encouraging Christians to give first to the Lord and trust in His blessings. This books stands head and shoulders above others in this genre because the author truly lives the message of which he writes. Alcorn, who is well known for his many books, especially Heaven, lives on minimum wage. All of his books belong to his church which donates 90% of the profits to charities close to Alcorn's heart. Compare this to other pastors who tell you to tithe, and that you can start by mailing your money directly to them! Alcorn's Treasure Principle is that when we are good stewards of the gifts that God has given us on earth, He will reward us, and we will store up treasures accordingly in Heaven. He uses as an example: if I offered you $1000 today or if you waited, $10,000,000 in a year and then again every year after forever, which would you take? Anyone taking the $1000 would be sacrificing a greater treasure for small happiness today. I know this is a sin I am guilty of, but Alcorn's book offers hope and straightforward reasons for me to repent. It's a thoroughly enjoyable book with a wonderful message.

The winner of these books is Tammy Wagner. Congratulations Tammy (and more congrats will be coming her way soon, she's expecting her first child on Sunday)! Next week I'll be starting a new contest with three winners, so make sure you come back then!

Happy Easter to everyone, I hope you like today's picture. It tickles my funny bone.