Jim’s Update – February 17, 2011

Progress continues! I am sure that all your prayers have been heard, and I am feeling that my most difficult days of “post treatment” are behind me. It was indeed quite a challenging two weeks here, as I have struggled mightily to maintain weight and appetite. I won’t bore you all with my dramas, but just know that for the past two days…it has become much, much better… and I can now begin to rebuild seriously. More “real food” is going in and I feel more “normal” each day. Funny how grateful we can become for “little things” …like eating! God certainly does seem to have a sense of humor as he gives me this area of battle after so many years of eating “too much”! I hunt around the house… and the internet etc …for what is “healthy” and has “lots of calories”…. without sugar/chemicals etc…and that is harder than one thinks. But I am “on it”, and Nurse Nancy is in full battle-mode, directing Kevin, and even spending lots of time in the kitchen herself. She is probably happier than ever as she can now give me only what she wants and what is right and good for me. She is a saint for sure, and her passions once again are a blessing. God gifted me just the right partner for life! The doctors are now preparing me for what they recommend as major upcoming surgery so we will be needing and asking for lots of your prayers as we get further tests and determine if that indeed is the next step. We are also prepared for complete and unexplainable healing, such that this is not needed… thanks for your continued prayers as we move into these decisions ahead.

It was Valentine’s Day in the US since my last update so I included a couple of photos. It was perhaps the first day that I felt human and Nancy and I went to a movie (she deserved at least one night of “normalcy” after so many dealing with “me”). Also…as many of you know…Nancy  installed a “Spa room” in our home years ago and we have a very special lady who comes there to do all the “high-end” stuff at our home. She has worked for years at the finest spas in Beverly Hills, and Miami/Palm Beach, and Europe. So the photo that looks like a “captured alien from outer space” with the green face….is “me”… getting a European Dead Sea mud wrap/detox treatment in our spa. Wow….I may have just “lost my Man-Card” as it is certainly over the top. But I do feel pretty “detoxed”! This confession and photo perhaps puts at risk any “sympathy” that you may feel  for me, as I sure  look “pampered” rather than “sick”…… But it is one more blessing that God has provided within this current adversity. The capacity to have such things available and affordable….and a wife who thinks of such things to do.

Dave and Jules are just traveling back today from their Hawaii adventure (see Faithie and Jules in paradise) and they not only reported a wonderful experience, where the company treated them exceptionally well….and they endeared themselves deeply among all fellow Diamonds…but Jules (of course) won a trip to a charity event with football great Kurt Warner that Dave is excited about. Kurt was with them in Hawaii, as well as the newly crowned “Miss America” (see that photo)…. as both are official spokespeople for Amway now. They are also probably best friends with our kids!! They also had dinner with Frank Luntz, the Oxford PHD and presidential consultant/pollster from Fox News etc. and once again have found their arrival into the official world of Diamond Club as amazing as they had imagined. They have more passion and determination than ever to see others of you arrive there too.

Many of you comment that I “look well”…. And I am indeed blessed! Some of what you see is indeed the result of attitude and thinking, as I am determined to see myself as healed….. and in the process of learning, and re-setting my circuits for whatever God may want in my future. Most of what you see however is simply the grace of God in my life…we should never forget that…. and our dependence on Him for everything. Since He is fully the God of love, we are assured that He will accomplish his purposes in us… and through/in all circumstances. So we have peace in the valleys. I have been reading lots lately, and it is powerful when God takes you aside and allows a season of growth and reflection. I am just learning and discovering how much more God cares about our love for Him, and dependence on Him daily, than on what we “do” for Him. We tend to place more value than he wants on “doing”, and too little on “being”… or just seeking knowledge of, and relationship with our creator and Saviour. Hard for those of us who have for so long been “striving” for excellence. That, in itself, is not bad, but we can easily make “achievement” an “idol” and “worship” our talents, attitudes, and accomplishments…. without remembering to first “seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”, and without recognizing that without Him…we can do nothing.

When we get something like “Cancer”, we quickly realize that our money or fame or “goodness” or great attitude, or accomplishments in this world can only offer limited benefits. Christ did not come and sacrifice to reward the “good” or the strong, but to offer God’s love and forgiveness to all who ask. Rich, poor, sick, healthy, broken, lost, angry, hungry…all! He looks at the heart. He cares about each of us equally….none more or less. I give Him all the glory and honor for all my “success” and give Him ALL the glory and honor for healing, and for each day He allows me to live on, and serve Him. My attitude will help in this battle indeed, and my grateful heart will please Him….but my life and my future are all in His hands and each day is a GIFT from my father and creator. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

We have said for years that at some point in life, we all will need and appreciate the money, the time, and the friends that our business offers those who pursue it with passion and consistency. We sure have been blessed immeasurably in the fact that we need not even consider the financial impact of this major “Time-out”!  We can focus on my health and healing…. and not worry about losing the job, or home, or whatever that so many others face. We can take all the time we need, and afford whatever treatment is needed, and go wherever we need to get it. Praise God indeed. We also have all of YOU!! So many friends to love us and support us and pray for us and stand in the gap for us….and totally step up… to not only maintain…but accelerate the effectiveness of our mission in our absence. Wow! So we are glad we chose to do what we did. We pray each of you pursue your dreams and use your talents and opportunities wisely. But mainly we pray that each never lose sight of God’s real purpose and love for you. Seek Him first. He wants the best for you. His “success” definition is quite different than the “world’s”. Nancy and I do not “deserve” our prosperity or our health or healing any more than any of you would and do. We don’t “earn it” or receive it according to our goodness or striving…it is His gift. Isn’t that cool? Isn’t that so “God”? Can any of us imagine giving a gift at Christmas to one of our children or a loved one…and then have them continue to try to “pay us “ for it every time they see us? Kind of insulting huh? It was a gift out of love….as it is with God and His blessings and promises. He simply asks us to accept the sacrifice of His son Jesus, and then grow in that relationship through life and obedience. So Simple indeed. His Priorities first…then His principles applied…then giving God the glory ….. simple.

So, why do I say all of this? Well….in my free time I have this unique opportunity to communicate with those of you who are interested in my thoughts and reflections during this time. And I am concerned sometimes that with all of the principles of “success” that we teach…some will get lost in the misconceptions of what real success requires and means. Dreams and Goals are important and God-given (keep dreaming)…but we must be careful to ask God first, so we don’t just dream selfish or superficial things… and ask God to “bless them”. He is not  “Genie in a bottle” to call upon for our purposes or when we are in desperate need…..but the creator of the universe. Attitude and expectation is a key to a successful life, as are goal setting and discipline and hard work and integrity. But we must not worship the pursuit of pleasure and power and fame and comfort. It will never satisfy. We should seek to find something we love, and then as we seek God’s perfect will and direction daily..and love Him and others….He will direct our paths and provide for an abundant and productive life that honors Him. That can very well include much prosperity…but either way, He offers joy and security that we are His children first. I have never seen a better vehicle for this than our business and the N21 family with it’s values and beliefs…..

”Choose you this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. Joshua 24;2,15

Finally today, many have asked what I am reading…wow the list is very long. I will list a few books that have inspired and helped me lately. I highly recommend them all.

  1. The Holy Bible
  2. The Greatest Words Ever Spoken (Everything Jesus said about you, your life and everything else) by Steven K Scott
  3. Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado
  4. Fearless by Max Lucado
  5. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
  6. Reason For God by Timothy Keller
  7. Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  8. Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
  9. Primal by Mark Batterson
  10. The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
  11. The Grace of God by Andy Stanley
  12. The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Myers
  13. The Promise by Robert J Morgan
  14. In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
  15. When the Game is Over it all Goes back in the Box by John Ortberg
  16. Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
  17. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
  18. Case For the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel
  19. What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
  20. Grace Walk by Steve McVey
  21. Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson

Happy reading my dear friends. Most of these can be obtained on Kindle!

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