Archive for the ‘Application of Biblical Principles’ Category

On 9-11-2022: Remembering God gives beauty for ashes

September 11, 2022

Today, September 11, 2022, marks the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC. In addition, the nation pauses to remember the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2012, attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where four Americans were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. On such solemn occasions, we look for rays of hope, like radiant beams of light that penetrate plumes of dust and debris on that fateful day, September 11, 2001. This morning during my time of prayer and reflection, I thought of the passage from Isaiah 61:3:

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Today, we reflect upon God’s amazing ability to transform the most horrific circumstances into a glorious display of His wisdom, power, and might. The expression “beauty for ashes” from Isaiah 61:3 offers a series of such transformations or exchanges that only He can give. That particular verse introduces this original psalm with that title.

Beauty for Ashes

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:3

Beauty for ashes–we are transformed to testify                                                                             

Of lives so radically changed that we might glorify

The God of Heaven who touches the earth with His love

That overflows with bountiful blessings from above.

We are blessed and highly favored–no one can deny.          

That we should be chosen by God some may wonder why,                

But none can fathom God’s grace, no matter how they try.

Ascend into God’s presence on the wings of a dove:

Beauty for ashes

Many times it may seem as if life has passed us by,

But God is faithful; on Him, we can always rely.

Nothing in this life surpasses God’s unchanging love;

It is far beyond all that we could ask or think of.

Remember that God is not a man that He should lie:

Beauty for ashes.

The expression “Beauty for ashes” also brings to mind the fact that beautiful gemstones are formed from volcanic ash. Did you know that ashes in volcanoes under extreme heat and pressure provide the perfect conditions to form certain precious stones, such as diamonds? As the volcanoes erupt, they push the gemstones to the surface where they can be seen after the site has cooled. So, indeed, God both figuratively and literally “gives beauty for ashes.”

Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly offer a tender rendition of the song “Beauty for Ashes.”

On the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9-11, we recall God’s amazing power to transform an unimaginable disaster into a glorious display of His power and grace to restore.

Reflecting on God’s goodness as we celebrate forty-nine years

August 31, 2022
This family portrait reflects my gratitude to God on our 49th anniversary

Today, August 31, 2022, I reflect with the deepest gratitude to God for an event taking place 49 years ago. Brenda Joyce Warren and Lonnell Edward Johnson exchanged wedding vows, and that occasion always brings to mind the Providence of God that brought us together in Washington, DC. So often when I wax reflective, I also wax poetic and recall these poetic lines to describe our coming together:

We each prayed and God answered, as I remember.

Before I knew you, I reached toward you in my heart,                                 

Where I had prepared, set aside a special place.

Until we met, I had been patiently waiting.

Our lives were entwined, and we were forever changed,

As we vowed to walk in God’s love from that moment.

We have returned to live in the Washington, DC-Northern Virginia-Maryland area to be near our daughter, Melissa, her husband, William, and our first grandson, Kingston. Our younger daughter, Angela, and her husband, Shajuan are a couple of hours away in Wilmington, DE. We are blessed to be near our family as we embark upon the next phase of our journey. Indeed, we are thrilled beyond words to see what the Lord has awaits us.

All I know is that “The Best is Yet to Come,” so sings Mack Brock, featuring Pat Barrett:

David: Two poems from the Cave

August 28, 2022
The program cover of the Sight and Sound Theatre production of “David” in Lancaster, PA

This past Friday, my family and I traveled to Lancaster, PA, where we experienced an unforgettable event: the Sight and Sound musical and dramatic performance of “David.” The production was especially meaningful to me because of my intense identification with the Psalmist, prayer warrior, and overcomer, a man after God’s own heart and mine.

As a practicing poet, I have been influenced by the Psalmist, more than any other writer. As I reflected upon that amazing production, two original psalms came to mind, which I shared in a previous blog post.

Here is one of the most amazing accounts of radical transformation ever witnessed in the lives of the people of God, where a group of 400 desperate followers who are “in distress, in debt and discontented” join David in the Cave of Adullam.  When they eventually exit the cave, however, they are transformed into “David’s mighty men.” This account is recorded in I Samuel 22:1-2 and verses following. 

As is often my custom, I personalize the scriptures as I compose poetry. In this case, I composed two poems: one related to the account of a man who entered into the Cave of Adullam and the other related to a man transformed into one of “David’s mighty men” who exited the cave and what he learned in the process. 

A Cave of Adullam of My Own

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam.

So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it,

they went down there to him.

2And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt,

and everyone who was discontented gathered to him.

So he became captain over them.

And there were about four hundred men with him.

I Samuel 22:1-2

“Your cave can be a good place”

Apostle David Pittman

In a place set aside for those who seek to hide,

Where thick darkness tries to hold back the light of day,

In debt, of no reputation, and stripped of pride,

Where obstacles on every side block my pathway;

Divorced from every resource that could comfort me,

Bankrupt and having goods of little or no worth.

Bound by lack, I have forgotten prosperity,

Though assured that seeds sown in the dark womb still give birth.

Distressed and discontented, in despair of life,

I live in a cave of Adullam of my own,

As I attempt to dispel confusion and strife

In this place where I measure how much I have grown.

In my cavern, teach me lessons I need to learn,

That I might also instruct others in return.

From  the Cave of Adullam into a Mighty Man 

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: ….   

2 Samuel 23:8  

“Only the cave experience can produce mighty men.”          

 Apostle Eric L. Warren

As I prepare to leave my cave of Adullam, 

I reflect and ask just what lessons did I learn. 

My life is about to take yet another turn.   

While continuing to pursue my destiny,              

But content, I reveal my exit strategy.  

Stripped of pride that I might be clothed in righteousness,   

Unwavering hope has transformed former despair.  

I leave behind the chains of night with no regret.   

From my life spent in the cave I have much to share.     

Pressing toward a new day to be released from debt,   

I move beyond the seventh day into the eighth      

And exit the cave as a mighty man of faith.

The following video captures the essence of what I experienced:

The Cave (Cave of Adullam by Sara Groves) by Paul Siddall founder of THE CAVE!

Further reflections on my legacy and more

August 11, 2022

August is a special month, and I recently posted a blog entry celebrating the eighth month as “What will be Your Legacy Month.” August 11 is especially significant since it relates to another milestone in my life. An event of supreme significance occurred 48 years ago when I was first ordained to the Christian ministry. I am revising and reposting a reflective entry celebrating that occasion.

Ordination is the public recognition of a response of an individual to the call of God to serve. The recognition of this inner prompting to be of greater service may have transpired a considerable time prior to the actual ordination ceremony. I recall as a child being aware of the presence of God, and as I grew older and developed a closer connection to the Bible, I remember reading the passage from Isaiah 6 where the glory of God overwhelms the Prophet, who responds to the question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us.” Isaiah answers by saying, “Here am I, send me.” This simple response resonated within me for years, and I publicly acknowledged that I had heard and accepted the call in 1974 at age 32.

Such an entry point for service can begin with “the new birth” experience when one accepts Jesus Christ as savior and endeavors to follow in his steps. A child, however, who gratefully and joyfully accepts the blessings of the Father, eventually matures to the point of being about the “Father’s business.” Some consider ordination a kind of “rite of passage” which commences with a higher level of service in ministering to the Body of Christ, expressed in Ephesians 4:11-13:

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

In reflecting upon my ordination ceremony, I also recall a prayer of consecration, the laying on of hands, and a word of prophecy, all of which have been sources of inspiration and direction over the years. I wrote an original psalm inspired by that experience, and I later dedicated it to other fellow servants who continue to respond to God, those who heard His voice and answered

The Call of God

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,
beseech you to walk worthy of the calling
with which you were called,
Ephesians 4:1

The call of God resounds like a repeated name
From the lips of a beloved friend who knows us.
We wait and clearly hear our name and see the flame
Lighting the path to fulfill God’s divine purpose
As we choose to embrace a higher destiny.
This holy calling only God can verify.
We know our ears cannot hear; our eyes cannot see;
Yet from the depths of our hearts, we cannot deny
That we have truly heard and seen what few will know.
We must, therefore, arise and strive to reach the place
Where the mighty rivers of understanding flow,
And we must never doubt God’s purpose and His grace.
In the unbroken line of all those ordained of God,
We stand. Having heard, we rise to heed the call of God.

August 11 is a “double lovely” day since it is also the birthday of my 6-year-old grandson, Kingston Edward Simkins, who answers, in part, the question raised in the monthlong celebration of What will be Your Legacy Month.”

Kingston and Grandpapa love to read together

Kingston Edward Simkins is part of my legacy that I believe will extend for generations to come. The lyrics to “The Blessing,” a powerful benediction by Elevation Worship featuring Kari Jobe and Mark Carney, express my innermost desire:

Legacies lead…Legacies light the way. What will be your legacy?

August 7, 2022

Although August has no Federal holidays to celebrate, the eighth month offers this provocative designation:  August is “What will be your legacy?” month. Gone-ta-pott.com, the holiday website, offers this definition and elaborates upon the month-long celebration with this comment:

“A legacy is what someone or something is remembered for or what they have left behind that is remembered, revered or has influenced current events and the present day. . . What Will Your Legacy Be Month is a month for people to reflect on their past and present actions and vow to make positive changes that will affect generations. We have to remember the seeds, whether positive or negative, that we plant in our children’s lives. This observance is about making the right choices so our children and their children will make the right choices. Everything we do will grow and reflect our teachings. So teach your children well.”

This inspirational video by FellowshipStories.com also reminds us that “Legacies lead… Legacies light the way. What will be your legacy?”

In thinking about the legacy that I desire to leave, I recall the words of the late Rev. Billy Graham:

“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”

Eleven years ago, I also composed a personal psalm after reflecting on what I would like for others to remember about me:

When All Is Said and Done

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;

you were faithful over a few things,

I will make you ruler over many things.

Enter into the joy of your lord.’

Matthew 25:21

When all things of this life on earth are said and done

And all accounts settled, may this be said of me:

He was a good husband, father, and faithful son,

Who sought to serve the Master with integrity.

May God find a branded bondslave who came to learn

Firsthand that to run to serve is life’s highest goal,

Beyond fame, acclaim, wealth, or status one can earn.

That I loved God with all my heart and mind and soul:

A son who practiced obedience as a lifestyle,

Seeking to please the Lord and follow each command,

With an attitude of gratitude all the while,

Giving praise to Christ before whom we all shall stand.

For all those who follow, I leave this legacy,

As the mighty man of faith God called me to be.

Don Moen offers this musical reminder: “When All is Said and Done,”  a capstone to my reflection on the legacy I hope to leave, not only in August but every day I draw breath.

“A fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit” is what we need

July 25, 2022
My thinking is that we need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as promised by God, our Father, in Acts 2:17-17

This morning as I began my daily devotional, this thought came to mind: “What we need as 21st Century believers is a “fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” I also recalled lyrics from my formative years passionately expressed in the traditional hymn: “Spirit of the Living God” :

Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me,
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me.

Lucy Adams in  “Song Stories: Celebrate Pentecost with ‘Spirit of the Living God’” offers background information on this popular 20th Century hymn:

Born in 1890, the composer, Daniel Iverson, a Presbyterian minister, composed the hymn while attending an evangelistic crusade in 1926 in Orlando, Florida. The text from Acts 11:15, “The Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning” inspired Iverson to seek his own Holy Spirit renewal.

After the morning service, he went alone to the nearby First Presbyterian Church. With the great teaching still fresh in his ears and heart, he sat at the piano and prayed. He wanted to express in music his desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. The words and music came quickly. Iverson introduced the song to the campaign and subsequently distributed it for others to sing.

Francis Dixon, in discussing the infilling of the Holy Spirit, refers to some of the lyrics and comments, “We should experience fresh fillings of the Spirit all the way through our Christian experience, for only then can we live joyfully, serve powerfully, and glorify God in all that we think, do, and say.”

George O. Wood explains “Why You Need a Fresh Touch of the Holy Spirit Daily”:

“…The Spirit, in our present challenges, is filling us to every level of capacity. May we be filled at this moment in life with all of God that we can take. May we experience to the deepest level and core of our being the fullness of God that the Spirit makes present!”

The lyrics from that hymn flooded my soul with warm memories of my desire to experience more of the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, and it inspired this original psalm, an expression of my prayer for the world at this time:

“. . . And The Spirit of God Moved. . . .”

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

George Iverson

Traditional Hymn

As the Spirit of God moved upon the water,

As an eagle ascends on high and stirs her nest,

Attentive to the cries of her starving young ones;

As she satisfies her young and then spreads her wings,

So Holy Spirit with a gentle wavering,

Flutter over, move upon us in a new way.

As a gentle dove would hover over her brood,

Cover our souls and saturate our whole being.

As we wait upon you, spread your wings, bear us up

That we might soar to heights above the fowler’s snare.

Renew our strength and refresh our desire to serve.

As you feed us and sustain us, we shall mount up

On eagle’s wings. We shall run and not be weary.

As we look to you, we shall walk and not faint.

We close with the contemporary worship song “Rest on Us” by Maverick City Music with lyrics by Brandon Lake:

 

To follow the way of truth is a choice

July 22, 2022

In Psalm 119:30 (New King James Version) we find the Verse of the Day for July 21, 2022:

I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.

The Voice Translation renders the verse this way:

I have decided to take the path of faith; I have focused my eyes on Your regulations.

The reference to “the way of truth” brings to mind an earlier blog entry in which I discussed “The Will of God,” using the analogy of the will of God as a road, a path, or a way, looking at the Hebrew word derek, translated “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner.” The word also refers to a direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, and a lifestyle.  

In “Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?” a poetic expression of my personal testimony, I refer to “the path of truth”:  

Stumbling down the road of life,
I was wasting all my youth,
Then took a right turn to Jesus Christ;
Now I’m walking the path of truth.  

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?  

In a previous post on the Will of God, I spoke of the will of God as the road less traveled, referring to the often-quoted poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken.” Most remarkably, I first committed that poem to memory as a junior in high school, back in the middle of the Twentieth Century. I still know the poem by heart and recognize now more clearly than ever its application to my life at this time:  

The Will of God: the Road Less Travelled by

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.  

The Road Not Taken
—Robert Frost    

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person
by changing the way you think. Then you will learn
to know God’s will for you, which is good and   
pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)  

I begin again, this year of my jubilee.
Reflecting on life’s journey, I cannot deny
That the will of God is the road less traveled by:
To choose to serve, even though having been set free.
The straight and narrow way I once again select.
I press on, still striving toward the highest good.
In this place, we renew our covenant of blood,
Reassured that “As for God His way is perfect.”
I see clearly with new eyes where our paths have led.
In the midst of turbulent times, I remain still,
Proving that good and acceptable and perfect will.
I look back, waiting in the now, then look ahead.
Each day God offers another chance to commence:
The choice to do God’s will makes all the difference.  

To follow the Will of God is to decide which path we are going to take. Many times it is easier to follow our own path and seek our own way rather than God’s way or God’s will. Like the Psalmist, we should choose to follow the path of truth, taking the “road less traveled by.” As believers we choose to follow that path, “the way, the truth, and the life,” revealed through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, expressed in this musical composition by Pat Barrett:

With God, all things are possible or nothing is impossible

July 11, 2022

The Verse of the Day for July 11, 2022, comes from Jeremiah 32:17 in the New Living Translation:

“O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

This verse offers encouragement and assurance in the midst of the challenging times in which we live, times described as perilous or difficult to deal with, where the nation and the world seem to be entrapped in a tangled web of impossible situations.

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind two other scriptures that speak of the awesome power of God and His Word. Both say the same thing but in different ways, that nothing is too hard for God.  In one place in the Gospels, Jesus Christ states “. . . with God all things are possible.” In another place, the Word declares, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

The Amplified Bible renders Luke 1:37 in this way:

For with God, nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

As I acknowledged that the two verses express the same concept but in different ways, I thought of a principle from Geometry: “Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other.” These two verses also inspired this original psalm:

No Matter How You Phrase It

And Jesus looking upon them said,    

With men it is impossible, but not with God:    

for with God, all things are possible

Mark 10:27

For with God, nothing shall be impossible.                                                                                             

Luke 1:37

There is none like God who never fails to come through:

Whether you say “With God all things are possible”

Or say, “With God, nothing shall be impossible.”

No matter how you phrase it, the Word is still true.

As those who observe the times, we wisely surmise

That the Prince of Peace ascended to end all strife,

Leading captive even death to release new life,

Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise.

We boldly declare the Word of God and assert

The Providence of an all-wise Father who makes

Barrenness to bloom with rivers in the desert.

With the Word of Life, even death itself awakes.

We seek to walk in wisdom and number our days,

Humbly discerning that His ways are not our ways.

The line “Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise” brings to mind the verse which says, “God gives beauty for ashes.” Did you know that ashes under extreme heat and pressure form gemstones, and that diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and such come from ashes?  You see this when many of the volcanoes erupt, and when they settle and cool, you find beautiful gems at the base.  

In a similar way, watch God turn around what seems like a total disaster. No matter how challenging the situation may appear to be, He can turn it into a magnificent triumph.

The Verse of the Day and the accompanying poem reinforce a similar message that “Anything is Possible,” words also echoed in these vibrant lyrics offered by Bethel Music featuring Dante Bowe:

By reason of strength: Thanking God for my life

June 17, 2022

With each passing year, my heart overflows with gratitude to God who has blessed me to be alive another year. This year, 2022, is especially meaningful in that I celebrate my eightieth birthday. As is my custom, I compose a poem to celebrate my birthday and give all glory, honor, and praise to my gracious Heavenly Father. Here is my composition for this year.   

A psalm celebration for my Eightieth Birthday

June 17, 2022

By Reason of Strength

 The days of our lives are seventy years;

And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,

 Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;

For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

 Psalm 90:10 (NKJV)

By reason of strength that only comes from the Lord,

I have reached another milestone in my journey,

Sustained by the life-giving power of God’s Word,

As I proclaim great is your faithfulness toward me

And attempt one more time to thank you for my life:

For all you say I am and all I will become.

Praise God  for countless blessings: for my lovely wife

And daughters and their families and heirs still to come

Who will honor and love and serve you all their days.

Though I have known you, may I know you even more,

While  walking in wisdom, still numbering my days

As your favor abounds with greater blessings in store.

God, the Father of all grace, goes to any length

To protect and to provide by reason of strength.

“Dear God” by Smokie Norful captures the essence of what I attempt to express in my song of celebration:

Celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day® on Sunday, June 5

June 2, 2022

Cancer affects everyone. With nearly seventeen million people living with and beyond cancer in the U.S. today and more than forty-three million cancer survivors, everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer. On Sunday, June 5, 2022, communities around the world will unite to recognize these cancer survivors and to raise awareness of the challenges of cancer survivorship, as part of the 35th annual National Cancer Survivors Day® Celebration of Life.

In celebration of National Cancer Survivor Day, I am posting an excerpt from Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. When diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I did not see “a death sentence.” Instead, I saw a “life sentence” that transformed his thinking. The book provides my God-given, holistic strategy to overcome any adversity. Weaving original poetry and Scripture into my God-inspired battle plan, I show how I emerged, as not just a survivor but more than a conqueror.

I have revised and re-posted this entry that focuses on what I call the Word of the Day, which in this case is a survivor. In its most literal sense, the term means “one who survives.” FreeDictionary.com offers this series of definitions of the verb “to survive” as an action verb that has an object to receive its action. In this case, to survive cancer—

  1. To live longer than; outlive.
  • To live, persist, or remain usable through any adverse situation.
  • To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.

The verb comes from Latin—supervivere, combining the prefix super + vīvere, to live.

Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I have come to understand what it means to be a cancer survivor on a deeply personal level. I recognize a survivor as one who, after encountering an extremely adverse situation, is revived not only to survive but to thrive. Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of a survivor, endured the cross, despising the shame, and after undergoing unimaginable physical abuse, along with the emotional and psychological trauma of the highest degree, arose triumphantly over death itself. Like Christ, I have been revived, not only to survive but to thrive, having been transformed from victim to victor.

The true essence of who I am as a believer in Christ comes from Romans 8:37—”nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.”

The Amplified Bible puts it this way—

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].

The expression “more than conquerors” in the Greek New Testament comes from the verb hupernikao, a compound word with the prefix huper—a form of the same prefix found in “survive”—meaning over, beyond, above exceed, more than. Today, common expressions of the preposition would say over and above or above and beyond. The stem would be nikao, translated “to conquer, prevail, overcome, overpower, prevail.” Although translated as such, being more than conquerors or super conquerors, is not who we are, but it is what we do, and how we live. We completely and overwhelmingly conqueror in the present tense with continuous action; we prevail mightily every day of our lives.

Each year I reflect with gratitude to God for being alive and being able to cherish another year of life. As is my tradition, I sometimes compose a poem of celebration on my birthday. Most remarkably, Romans 8:37 was the epigraph or introduction for a poem composed on my 74th birthday, expressing my new identity in light of the Word for the Day for Cancer Survivors Day and every day I draw breath.

Embracing Your Life Sentence–More than a Conqueror

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors

and gain an overwhelming victory through Him

who loved us [so much that He died for us].

—Romans 8:37 (AMP)

Embracing Your Life Sentence, more than a conqueror,

Defying the odds as a brave conquistador.

Despite intense pressure, I learn to rest in grace,

More than enough to withstand the daily tests I face,

Not merely to survive but to thrive even more.

 

A mighty warrior, triumphant super victor

 With a cause, prepared not to die but to live for.

 At times I fell behind but fought to keep the pace:

 Embracing Your Life Sentence, more than a conqueror.

 To fulfill all the will of God and then to soar

 To heights sublime where I have never been before.

 Overcomer, bearing light in the darkest place,

  I still fight the good fight, as I finish my race,

  Moving forward, seeking to find the next open door:

  Embracing Your Life Sentence, more than a conqueror.

We close with this powerful reminder of what we are as believers on National Cancer Survivors Day and every day: “More Than Conquerors” by Steven Curtis Chapman