……TO BE CONTINUED! But Still Fighting, and at Peace!

Count it all Joy!

Well, I have been too long again since my communication with you. My bad! The past two months have indeed been great… and filled with things unexpected… as always. As you may see from the heading title, we are once again experiencing  a new “chapter” of the Journey after my “good news” last time. On the “health front”, some new and unwelcome developments recently have forced me to re-read (a few times) my own “wise advice” from my last blog as I wrestled with the topic of worry, and tried to share how much I struggle with this topic during this journey. Never “Intellectually” of course, as I am fully subscribed to the beliefs I’ve shared, and confident that I am in the good and mighty hands of my creator and Lord. But in the moment to moment, day to day struggles, and surprises, and challenges…. we so often quickly fall into this crazy cycle of “worry”, and we must not let the enemy have this power over us. Right? Easier said than done unless one is well grounded and in the Word daily. I will share more as we progress.

I had some very great weeks after my last scan showed no evidence of disease to treat, and we were beginning to set up our new schedule. Our newest dreams, with our new lessons and strengthened faith in place, and lots of hope and gratefulness for the possibilities of the future… as well as lots of awareness of God’s blessings and promises. Hallelujah indeed.

18th Hole at Pebble Beach

August allowed us to enjoy an amazing few days in Pebble Beach again… love that place! We went with Dave and Jules, and the Neubers, and some Amway execs to play/work and discuss the future. Strangely, some of you have heard about my crazy adventure at the Hospital Emergency Room in Monterey California during this trip. I was hit with some very strange chest pains the first night and this started a chain reaction as we tried to figure out what was the deal?  This was quite a fiasco on many levels. We went to the ER early that morning, and once in their “grips”, the Doctors were quite thorough as they searched for causes of my symptoms. They ran tests for 5 hours (just the “wrong” 5 hours as you will learn), such as X-rays, CT scans, blood draws, EKGs etc etc. The conclusion? … they couldn’t find anything really. No evidence of any heart issues, nothing in X-ray or CT to indicate embolisms or leakages or clots… basically I looked good except for some residual fluid on my lungs still from the original surgery. I knew that, and it is not related to the issue. So… I guess all that was great news. They gave me a bit of medicine for inflammation on the digestive tract or esophagus, and off I went back to the hotel.

Cypress Point 16th Hole

The only crazy part was that that was exactly the time slot that I had arranged for a very unique opportunity to play the world famous (and nearly “impossible” to get on to) golf course called “Cypress Point”, (I will enclose a photo of hole #16 there) nearby to Pebble Beach. Or so I thought. Needless to say my “attitude” was thoroughly tested that morning as the others were off on this day of memories….without Jimmy! I am happy for them… sort of. Just kidding. But the time in California was still amazing, and the next day I went ahead to play the Pebble Beach course… so overall a real great time. We are blessed.

N21 Global Managers Meeting

We returned to Atlanta and I resumed my “health/IV regime”. A few days later we hosted a very special meeting of all of Network TwentyOne worldwide country managers. (20+ countries). About 45 people arrived safely, and we had a great reception for them and our local staff at the new Network TwentyOne Atlanta headquarters. So powerful to have so many diverse yet connected people, so dedicated to our cause, in the same room (many had never met, or been to the USA). Then we hosted three great days that included a day of play and fun and fellowship at our lake house, many hours of teaching, sharing ideas and best practices from around the world, time with each other, Nancy and me, Dave and Jules, and the senior management of our company… and some great individual brainstorming and vision casting. We topped it off with a memorable evening and dinner at our home, while we loved on them, and thanked them all for their incredible talents and servant hearts. We pray that they each returned with a lighter spirit and a sense of belonging and energy and teamwork that makes this all work so well. We have an amazing team that is united, skilled, committed, and ready for the next 10 years for sure.

Next came our annual leadership convention in Atlanta and it was, as always, a big celebration of opportunity, achievement, and hope. Great speakers from around the N21 world added such perspective and belief and learning. Powerful new Diamonds from India, Kushrow and Mickey Patel, as well as new Founders Double Diamonds, Alois and Sissy Szuchar from Europe. Along with all of the great recognition from North America. We were excited in addition to add the blessing of honoring Amway’s newest CROWNS!!…. Peter and Barbara Matz with their son Tom. What a story they have, and what a legacy they are leaving. So vibrant, so much history, and so ready to keep leading with new dreams. Quite inspiring to old and new. And we keep getting reports from around the N21 world of many, many new higher pins. We are proud and thrilled at how well this business team and global family keeps leading and producing.

Then things get interesting again! As I mentioned earlier, I began to experience some unusual “symptoms” around our Convention time with a sudden loss of some hearing and some additional “balance” challenges. This lead to a series of visits and calls to docs, including an ear specialist etc. A call to my doctors in Houston lead us to the decision to get another Brain MRI early (it was scheduled for November with my next PET scan) to see if there was an “explanation”.

Well… to my surprise… it did clearly show some renewed growth in my previously decreasing brain lesions, as well as one small new area of concern that was not there before…. What?! That’s not right! I am sick of this stuff! So we now are in the period again of learning to not “worry”, but to have “faith”! ….Got it! Back to my previous blog posting. Better read it again and remember the promises. How easy it is for any of us to fall victim to negative thinking, fear, and the enemy’s ways.

We saw a local Neurosurgeon who suggests that indeed surgery is the logical approach now to get rid of these growths that appear to be still active. Hmmm. Too much risk in leaving them to grow. Yuck!! Brain surgery? No thanks! So, I now am scheduling a visit to Houston to consult with my original team of doctors, and get their opinion of what we are really facing and how to best deal with it. A great opportunity to once again dig deep and see what God has. Today is Friday, and we go to Houston Sunday for a few days of further tests and then consults before determining the path forward. I covet and need prayers at this time and you all have been so powerful and faithful and encouraging. God can still intervene and show us His power supernaturally. Amen?

Today, I read Swindoll, and he had timely words:

And which of you by worrying
can add a single hour to his life’s span?
Luke 12:25

In the depths of every person’s soul, in the secret chambers where no one else knows the thoughts, we are usually able to find a worry or two or three. Even in the hearts of those who are laughing and smiling.

We worry about death—our own or that of a loved one. We worry about disobedience and sin, about feelings of guilt. We worry about daily problems—people problems, decision problems, problems related to work, home, relationships, finances, school . . .

You name it, we worry about it. . . .

One of the problems with worry is that it keeps you from enjoying what you have. When you worry about what you don’t have, you won’t be able to enjoy what you do have. That’s what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6:25: “I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink.”

Worry is assuming responsibilities that you cannot handle. The truth is, they are responsibilities that God never intended for you to handle, because they are His.

Great reminder… simple Biblical truth. We are not to worry! We have His promises. I have all your prayers… and He hears them all. You guys are amazing. He has His plan and timing. Our job is to trust Him and find His peace, and bring glory to His name through whatever we experience. We think we know this (at least those of us who read and accept His word and His promises, and His Son), and yet we humanly find it so hard not to rely on our senses, our intellect, our science, our logic, our human desire and tendency to always think He is the “last place to go” as we try to wrestle it all “ourselves”.  We are often so quick to rely on what we “see” rather than what God says and promises.

Why do we do this? Our Pride? Stubbornness? Arrogance? Amnesia? He knew we would be this way (He made us all), and he knew our “enemy” knows it too. So he tells us over and over to “trust Him”. Do we listen…and obey? I hope so…it works far better His way. We sure don’t want the enemy to steal our peace or joy, or block God’s power by discouraging us or our prayer warrior friends to cease or give up. When you or I face various trials and stresses of life, (and we all will and do), then we must all also learn to rest in Him! But we also need to “know Him”. Then we can rest in His sovereignty, His love, His promises and His resulting peace. Yes…that feels better. After all, Jesus said:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NIV

For those of you who may still be struggling with this kind of faith, or true exposure and knowledge of God’s Word as we know it, and are simply wringing your hands and wishing I would be spared this journey by now… I understand. On a purely human level, none of us wants our friends to suffer or endure such life threatening situations and deep desert experiences. We want “good people” to be rewarded and spared all pain, and “bad people” to be punished or given obvious consequences. That is how we might do it if we were “in charge”, but our Lord is bigger than that, and do we really want to “be God”? So often what seems obvious to us is far better with His bigger view and infinite eternal wisdom right? He is all-knowing, all powerful, ever-present, and timeless and the sovereign creator of us and the universe. So, who are we to question?

It is ours to trust and obey and seek to participate fully in His will for us as we bring Him glory. It is hard to trust Him and not go to our human side… it is only possible if we “know Him”! How do we do that? Just like we get to know anyone… we spend time with them. Time in prayer (asking, praising, listening), time immersed in His Word and the Scriptures. He has revealed Himself and His promises. I am deep in that path as never before. What a privilege. What a journey. So crazy and unusual that someone like me (if you have not guessed I’m a pretty private person) would find himself sharing such stuff right as I am stuck in the emotional middle of it all.

I would have “designed” this journey differently: a scary challenge, my faith walk as I dealt with it, a successful conclusion and a moment to praise God and give Him the glory and impact many positively in their faith… and finally the beautiful new Jim 2.0 emerges, with bigger clearer faith, bigger deeper dreams, and lots of my friends greatly encouraged as well as a sense that all these promises “work” as we expect in the time and way we expect. A great CD. I still see that, and claim it, and expect it, and praise Him…. but I am right now still struggling, as some of you are, with the way it is working. So I will continue to stand with so many of you as we knock on Heaven’s door and go “boldly before His throne” for complete healing and restoration. Now I am getting “mad” I think. Never at my Lord because I trust Him… but at the enemy who is somehow still having some stronghold in this process. Together, we can overcome, and I guess the story is bigger and longer and better than I ever expected. So much like God… big and unexpected.

I heard said again recently we should never tell God how big our problems are… we should tell our problems how big our God is! My God is big, and He is Trustworthy… how about yours?

Dinner with my Bride

I will now simply exit the report in the middle of this latest chapter and head to my adventure in Houston. Please lift up my family as they are quite tired of all this I am sure. They have all been amazing and we should never forget how hard this must be for them. Even my N21 staff globally and our leaders are being challenged by these uncertainties. I wish it were not so. But they have all been heroic. Nancy’s faith and spirit is like a rock, but that doesn’t mean she too isn’t gripped at times as we all are. I will be back to you when I have more. Lets continue to walk in His power….. and count it all Joy.


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