Saturday, February 28, 2009

God's Amazing Love!

God is love! Do we really understand and comprehend this wonderful attribute of God. It is dangerous to sum up grand truths in one statement, but I’m going to try. God loves us just the way we are, but He refuses to leave us that way. He wants us to be just like Jesus.

I have gained a new understanding of how much I am loved by God. God’s unconditional love is one of the great truths that have helped me at 3:00 am, when I am unable to sleep. The prednisone (steroids) treatment creates insomnia and the fear of another defibrillator shock can keep me up as well. I have faced emotions and physical challenges that are very difficult to deal with because of my illness. The realization of God’s love has been a real comfort and encouragement during those times of anxiety. I have often meditated on this attribute of God and have found that I am able to focus on Him and be comforted by Him.

God’s love is clearly stated in I John 3:1 –“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God”. God clearly demonstrated His love for us as we were given eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8). He provided redemption through His death on the cross so now we have an eternal relationship to Him.

David reminds us that, “ I will be glad and rejoice in your love” (31:7). God had a special covenantal love in the Old Testament, for His people, Israel. He loves the whole world but there is a special love that is described in the New Testament for His church. The church, the “called out ones”, who are true believers and followers of Christ, are recipients of God’s special love. It is reassuring that even death cannot separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). What an awesome thought to know that I am loved by the Almighty God . God’s love is identified in many different ways for His children as He cares for us and comforts us (II Cor. 1:4; 4:3), in our time of need.

I have been going through an illness that I had never heard of until it was diagnosed in my lungs back in June of 2008. The sacroidosis moved to my heart in September and at that time I had a defibrillator/pacemaker inserted in my chest. This device has kept me alive on three different occasions when my heart went into cardiac arrest because of a severe irregular heart beat. This has put me in a new journey of life that has allowed me to see everything through a different lens. I am thankful for the many things that God has been teaching me during this challenging time.

God’s love does not increase with performance or decrease with mistakes. God loves us just the way we are. If you think that His love would be stronger if your faith were, you are wrong. I want to focus on His love and keep my thoughts on how much I am loved by God. I have to admit that it is easy to look at what I am missing and to grieve over my losses. I want to feel better and want to do the things that I used to be able to do. God has the power to heal but it is totally in His hands.

I am ready and prepared for death and not afraid because I know that I will spend eternity in heaven. Either way, I am loved and blessed beyond measure. I want to rejoice in God’s love and remind myself that He is lavishing it on me. It is so amazing to know that I am loved unconditionally by God and that God is using this illness to change me to be more like Jesus.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Passion To Know God

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable to His death” - Philippians 3:10

I chose this verse as my life verse many years ago and now I have a deeper understanding of it because of my personal struggle with a disease called sarcoidosis. It is God’s plan for every believer to know Him through a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. God does not design painful experiences without a purpose. One purpose is to draw us near to Him and to know God more intimately. Paul identifies that we can know Him through the power of the resurrection, and we can fellowship in His suffering. This speaks of knowing Christ beyond head knowledge and really getting to know Him. This is knowing Him intimately where we understand and value the depth of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul writes the epistle of Ephesians to teach them doctrine (chap. 1-3) and then to encourage practical Christian living (chap. 4-6). He states in his prayer for the church: ”I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus . . . may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better”(Eph 1:17).

It is not enough to know about God, but you need to have an intimate, personal relationship that is authentic and real. Why is it that when we go through trials we seem to develop that type of relationship? Perhaps it is because we take time to go to Him and spend time in earnest and heartfelt prayer. It may be that God gets our attention, and we realize there is sin and disobedience in our lives. The Holy Spirit must be active and working due to our living a Spirit-filled life. God reveals His truth through the Word, and we can discern and comprehend that hope that we can have because of Jesus Christ. It is God’s design that we know Him and have our “eyes enlightened so that we could know the hope to which we have been called” (Eph. 1:18). The hope for the believer is the expectation that better things are ahead for us. For me that blessed hope is the reality of spending eternity with God.

I have a new understanding of eternity and how fragile life is on the earth. God is teaching me that my trials enable me to identify and understand in a new way the suffering that Jesus went through for me when He died for my sins on the cross (I Peter). Life is often described as a series of valleys and mountain tops. We usually live in the valley and experience the mountain tops once in a while in life. I believe life is more like railroad tracks that run parallel where we always have trials and we always have Christ to enable us during life’s difficulties. We can depend on God at all times, and yet we are in the middle of a trial or will face a trial in the future. God wants us to know Him personally, and it is often through hardships that we depend on Him and develop greater intimacy with Him.

A friend recently came by to visit, and he shared the tragic loss of his daughter at the age of six when she was hit by a car crossing the road. He said that God used this tragedy for his spiritual growth and that it was a pivotal time in his life. I want to learn all that God has designed for me through this trial with my illness. It is my quest to know my Savior genuinely and intimately so that my relationship is alive and real. My prayer is that I will always be teachable and will grow and develop a deeper relationship with my heavenly Father.

Dan Currie

Resting Back Home

Dear Family & Friends,

I arrived home from the Meijer Heart Center yesterday (Feb. 23) after a twelve day stay. I recently figured that I have been in the hospital for 28 days since the beginning of September. I had been in such good health that I had never spent a night in the hospital in my life until getting sarcoidosis. I am overwhelmed with the prayer support from churches and individuals around the world.

I have had a rollercoaster experience during these past several weeks. I ended my last two days with a 36 hour nosebleed until a doctor cauterized the veins in my nose yesterday. I had two defibrillator shocks last Tuesday night while I was in the hospital because they could not get my heart to beat from its extreme irregular pattern. I had a reaction to medicine where I lost my speech for 30 minutes and they thought I was having a stroke.

This has been quite a journey but God is at work in my life and in others because of my illness. I want to bring glory to Him through this and through my devotionals. I will be sending my next email to you with the devotional and pray that it will be a challenge and blessing. Thank you for your prayer support and concern for my situation.

Joyfully In Christ,

Friday, February 20, 2009

God's Grace Provided in our Weakness

Have you ever felt like you were kicked in the chest by a horse while having your finger in an electrical socket? About ten minutes after I wrote this devotional, I experienced two shocks from my defibrillator on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. I guess God wanted me to know experientially what I had just written. Needless to say, this is very painful and I have experienced this on three occasions with a total of seven shocks. I am thankful for my defibrillator because it has kept me alive on each of these episodes, but it is not an experience that I want to go through regularly.

Paul prayed for God to remove his thorn in the flesh three times, but God did not take away this problem (ICor.12:7-8). We do not know what this thorn was that Paul was dealing with, and we can only speculate. Most believe that it was some type of physical ailment that God refused to take away from Paul because He wanted to use it in his life as a tool for spiritual growth and transformation. It is God’s design to develop us, not to ease our pain. Through His grace, He provides what we need at the moment that we need it. God wants us to cope with our trials as we depend upon Him. It is through our weakness that God’s power is made evident in our life (IICor.12:9 - “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness). We cannot rely upon our strength as we go through life issues but must totally depend upon God .

Perhaps one of the great lessons that we learn as we travel through hardships is total dependency upon God. We need to recognize how weak we are, so we can understand God’s power as we cope with the difficulties of life. God often puts us through trials to teach us that we cannot in our own strength face these challenges. This will help us to be humble and admit our need for God.

During this illness, I have learned how dependent I am upon God and how little I can control or change. I am still learning that it is through my weakness that God’s strength is evident in my life. I tend to be mentally strong when I am physically throughout my life in the areas of sports and fitness. Due to God’s grace, I have been responding without bitterness or questioning God’s wisdom. It is only through God’s enablement that I am able to deal with this emotional trauma during my treatment of this illness.

I rejoice in God’s grace and strength that has helped me through this difficult time in my life. I do not know my future, but I want to rely upon God’s power to help me respond in a Christ-honoring way and be a testimony for God. I recognize how weak I am and totally dependent on His grace, but in my weakness I am filled with God’s power. Why would I want to rely upon my strength when I have His unlimited power to lean upon and learn from?

Dan Currie

February 19, 2009

Dear Friends,

I have been at the Miejer Heart Center for a week and finally they have found the right combination of medicines to control my irregular heart beat. I received good news on Monday from my heart cath that my heart is functioning twice as well as reported from the PETscan. The Petscan (Dec. 22) was taken when my heart was in one of its irregular heart patterns and I ended up in the hospital that night. We were hoping that those results were not accurate and that proved to be true. They have now taken me off the West Michigan Heart Failure Group and the heart transplant potential has been taken off the table.

They are going to treat me with a new medicine (Remicade) which has had some remarkable success with cardiac sarcoid patients. That was very encouraging news but then on Tuesday night at 9:00 PM (Feb. 17) my defibrillator went off twice and my heart was beating uncontrollably. They could not give me medicine at that time and the entire night I lived in fear of being shocked. By Wednesday afternoon things were under control and I am out of danger. I should be able to go home in a couple of days. I am thankful for God’s protection and His provision of grace during a difficult time. I have enclosed my next devotional and trust that it will be a blessing and spiritual challenge for you.

Joyfully In Christ,
Dan Currie

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Learning the Importance of Forgiveness

If you forgive anyone, I also will forgive them, and what I have forgiven, if there was anything to forgive, I have forgiven in the sight of God for your sake, In order that Satan may not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” II Cor 2: 10-11

One of the most difficult things in life is to go through tough times and not develop an unforgiving or bitter spirit. It can be easy to be unforgiving because of the hurt and pain that people can cause you. With tough circumstances in life, it can be easy to develop a bitter spirit toward life or God. I have reminded myself almost daily that I have the potential to become bitter because of my health issues.

I know what the Bible teaches about an unforgiving spirit and a bitter attitude, so I know the serious consequences of this sin. God in His rich grace has helped me to not question Him with my illness and to accept it as part of His plan for my life. However, I know that in my human weakness I could begin to question God and become angry with my life circumstances. I need to be vigilant and watch my attitude because the enemy is looking for an avenue to impact my mind.

In II Cor. 2:10-11, Paul describes that to be unforgiving is a serious sin, and Satan can use this to outwit us and cause us to be deceived by his schemes (2:11). At times we are unaware of our unforgiving attitude toward another person. One good way to check whether you have an unforgiving spirit is to ask yourself how you feel when you are with this person. Can you speak to them in love without feeling any animosity or can you be around them without feeling tense or nervous? Forgiveness results in freedom for the individual rather than bondage. It is really the sin of spiritual pride when we fail to forgive because a critical and judgmental attitude assumes that we are not in need of forgiveness.

Scripture teaches us that we are to forgive others as we were forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:31-32). When we have an angry, unforgiving spirit we are actually giving room for the enemy to work in our lives, and we give him a foothold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27). One of the things that I have observed in my ministry is that an unforgiving attitude is something that many believers struggle with because of past hurts and painful experiences. Believers are ultimately bitter against God because without realizing it they are blaming God for the pain and circumstances in life that have made them angry and bitter.

So, what should we do when we are facing situations that are undeserved or seem like they are not fair. We need to accept everything as part of God’s plan but not blame God for things that are unfair or seem wrong. We need to forgive people and move forward without developing a bitter spirit. The enemy is at work and wants to destroy our lives, and one of his greatest weapons is to persuade us to not forgive others. Experience freedom rather than bondage by making sure that you do not tolerate the sin of holding grudges and not forgiving others. Your unforgiving spirit will cause you great harm physically, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually.

s it worth it?


Monday, February 16, 2009

An Answer to One of Our Prayers...

Dear Family,
I wanted to report on my heart cath today. We probably got the best news that we could have gotten from this test. The ejection fraction (level at which the heart pumps) was 35-40% which is twice what the PETscan showed over a month ago. We were not confident that the PETscan was reliable because my heart was beating off the chart at that time and I ended up in the hospital later that Day (Dec. 22). My arteries are in great shape with no blockage and the pressure tests were good. Instead of looking at putting a LVAD (artifiical heart pumpt) right away and being put on the list for a heart transplant they are gong to try some new medicine (Remicade) which has been successfull in some cardiac sarcoid patients. I am still in the hospital because they can not get my heart back to a normal beat and it is still irregular 75% of the time. Thank you for your concern and prayer support. I am encouraged and trusitng God that He will accomplish His plan in my life and that I will be a testimony of His grace.

Extra Prayers for Today

Dad's heart catherization has been rescheduled for this morning. He is in OR Prep right now (9:30a.m.) and will hopefully be in surgery soon. This is a very important procedure in helping the doctors determine what dad needs next. He has three different doctors, all with varying opinions on what the next step of medical treatment should be. Our prayer is that this test will make it very clear what needs to be done and that all doctors will be in agreement so they can move ahead with confidence.

Thank you for your steadfast prayers and for not giving up hope that God is still capable of doing a miracle in dad. We cling to the knowledge that He is the Great Physician and Healer.

Specific prayer requests:

- Clear results from the heart catherization today.

- Extra knowledge and wisdom for the doctors as they work with dad who is a very 'unique' case. Dad's ready to be called something other than 'unique' :) He'd be very happy with status quo right now.

- Dad's heart to go back to a consistent, normal beat pattern. They've tried a few different medications and can't get it regulated right now. He will most likely need to remain in the hospital until it's regulated because the risk is too great of his defibrillator going off when he's not under close watch. They want to prevent that from happening as much as they can.

-Relief from the back pain mom is still experiencing on a regular basis.

Thank-you again for your great love for Mom & Dad -

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Procedure Update

It's Friday night....Dad was scheduled for his heart catherization today at 1:30. At 4 p.m., he still wasn't in surgery. We called at 5:30 and the nurse said he was in the prep room getting ready. At 7:00 Jared called here and said Dad never had his surgery because the hospital got behind schedule. It is now rescheduled for Monday. Dad will remain at the hospital through the weekend. We will update again when we know more. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts of mom and dad. They have felt the love of those around them.

Thanking God for each of you,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back at the Heart Center

Dear Family & Friends,
I am sorry to inform you that I'm in the Heart Center right now because my defibrillator went off this morning @ 9:45 am. Apparently, my heart has been beating irregularly 90% of the time and it threw my heart into cardiac arrest. I am thankful that the defib worked and did its job. They sent me to the hospital to try to get my heart into regular beating. They may move my heart cath ahead a day and have it tomorrow (Thursday) since I am already here in the hospital. This is another setback with my heart issues but I continue to trust God. I will keep you posted after my procedures are finished.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Living A Life Of Worship

I struggle with being an authentic worshiper of God at times because of my struggle with the side effects of my treatment and the disease that I am fighting. If I were to be honest with you, I have struggled with daily worship for most of my life because I can get preoccupied with other things. These things are not necessarily wrong but they keep me busy so that I do not worship effectively with my God. I have found that I need to focus on God now or I will get discouraged and have difficulty making it through the day.

Worshipping God in heaven is the theme in Revelation 4-5, where the church is in heaven and responding to God. I believe Rev. 3:10 indicates clearly that the church will be raptured and now they are pictured as the 24 elders giving God glory, honor, and thanks “You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory, honor and power” (4:11). What a celebration service there will be as we sing “a new song” (5:9), and gather together to celebrate our Savior’s life and death as we spend eternity with our God. I need to be lost in the wonder of my Savior and be captivated by His glory, power, and honor. Worship is commanded in Scripture and should be a normal part of my life as I respond to God. I need to live a lifestyle of adoration, praise and thanksgiving.

As I respond to all that God is with all that I have, I will realize that God is enough. As I focus on God, I can know that God alone is the answer and He alone can bring peace to my life as I journey through uncharted waters. I can depend on God at all times and He alone is the answer to my every need. GOD IS ENOUGH! What a great and inspiring thought. God is sufficient to meet all of our needs because Of His faithfulness, His love, His righteousness, and His grace. We can depend upon Him because He will never do something that does not conform to His character.

I have found that it is not easy to be a worshiper of God when you are not feeling well and are going through a difficult illness. On the other hand, one of the best things that I can do is to focus on God and lift up His attributes in praise and worship. I need to make sure that I do not run from God but run to Him for strength and grace. I need to remind myself that He is righteous and that nothing happens apart from it being part of His divine plan for my life. My God is a God of goodness and He designs everything for my good and for what is best for me. I need to look to see what God is doing and rejoice that my life is being changed for my good, for my growth, and for His glory. When my perspective is right, I can look at trials from His viewpoint and rejoice in what God is doing.

Are you living a life of worship? Are you rejoicing in your trials? Do you realize that God is enough?


Monday, February 9, 2009

Can We Always Depend Upon God To Be There For Us?

Have you ever felt abandoned by God? In the midst of trials and hardships we can only wonder if God is really concerned and is He there for us in time of need. With my debilitating illness there have been times where I have felt loneliness and discouragement. During those times I have found that God’s Word is a source of great comfort as I am reminded of an eternal truth that brings me reassurance.

The author of Hebrews reminds us of one of those great truths as he states:”Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5). This statement reminds us that we can never be abandoned by God. Our feelings may be flawed but reality is that God will never forsake us for a moment. On the other hand, Jesus was totally forsaken by God when He bore the sins of the world on His shoulders during His time on the cross. God, who is holy, cannot look upon sin, so He totally rejected Jesus while He was on the cross.

Jesus did experience total abandonment and knows what it is like to be rejected. Jesus is described as being our sympathetic Savior and does understand all the difficulties and problems that we face. He cares about us and we can cast our concerns upon Him (I Peter 5:7). It is so comforting to know that Jesus cares and understands our deepest needs. When we do feel abandonment we can go to our intercessor and mediator and know that He totally understands our feeling of loneliness and rejection because He was abandoned by His Father. Jesus knows our feelings even if they are illegitimate and wrong feelings.

I would have to admit that this has been the biggest challenge of my life as I have faced the loss of almost all my physical capabilities. My disease has progressed and I feel weaker all the time. I need to trust and be encouraged daily by God’s presence so I can cope with this debilitating disease. The truth of Jesus’ abandonment is that because He was forsaken by God the Father and went to the cross to give us life and a relationship to the eternal God we will never be abandoned by the Lord. What an important biblical truth that Jesus understands our feeling of abandonment because He was forsaken by God. He is truly our sympathetic Savior and understands our feelings even if they are wrong feelings.

I am thankful that I can express my feelings to my Lord and be honest with Him because He understands and cares.


Take Inventory of Your Live

The Psalms have been a special blessing to me in my life and especially during this time that I am battling a serious heart illness. It is important to have a sense of humor when you are going through difficult times. The prednisone that I am taking has many adverse side effects. My body has changed so that some people have difficulty recognizing me when I am in public. I have the round face and hunchback neck. I call myself “Bucky Beaver” and make light of the fact that I have had some major physical changes. It is important not to take yourself too seriously and to find some humor in our situation.

There are some serious things that God wants us to deal with in time of illness. We are challenged in Psalm 139 at how special we are in God’s design. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and God has a plan for each of our lives. In this chapter we are reminded in Psalm 139:23 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.” It is important for all of us to examine ourselves daily and to make sure that our heart is right with God. God is allowing me to go through a time of adversity and wants my total obedience and commitment to Him.

All of us are either going through trials or we will be going through them in the near future. God wants to use times of hardship and adversity as times of refining so we can grow in intimacy with Him. We need total dependency upon God and it is in those storms of life that we realize that we need God and we can draw closer to Him.

As I personally deal with my illness and the side effects of the prednisone, I need to examine myself to make sure that I am learning the lessons that God is wanting to teach me. It is important to be teachable and humble before God so that we are receptive to all that God wants us to learn through our life experiences. I want to be real with God and with people where I am growing as an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. I do not know my future on this earth and what the outcome of my disease will be but I know that someday I will be with Him in heaven for all of eternity. I want the chance to impact as many lives as I can on this earth and to live for His glory. I believe that God has given me a deeper message with my life experiences and that I can impact many lives as I communicate His Word to others. I want to live an examined life where I am not on spiritual autopilot and coasting in spiritual apathy.

The key is to make this my daily prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me, and know my anxious thoughts.” Will you live an examined life with me?


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Learning The Secret Of Joy

“Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again. Rejoice”
- Philippians 4:4

The book of Philippians is a book centered around the theme of joy. The word “joy” or “rejoicing” is mentioned in this book sixteen times. Paul commands us to rejoice always and yet humanly speaking this seems impossible. I have come to recognize that I can only experience this kind of joy when I realize it is through the Lord Jesus Christ and my relationship to Him.
The secret is that joy comes from the Lord and it cannot be manufactured. It is supernaturally given through the work of the Holy Spirit and through the very life of Christ living through and in me. I want and need this type of joy in my life where I can live above a life-threatening illness. How do you have joy when you feel bad and you do not have energy to do the basic things in life? How do you rejoice when you have been in good health and enjoyed life so much and yet now you cannot tie your own shoes. This has been a very difficult time for me because my illness and the treatment make me feel very weak physically and emotionally challenged.
Paul was in prison suffering when he wrote this book of and yet he demonstrated that he lived above his circumstances. He challenged the saints in Philippi that they could experience Christ’s joy despite any difficult circumstance they may be facing. We can have joy when we lean completely upon the Lord and depend upon Him for our purpose and meaning in life. We are commanded to rejoice and it is disobedient when we choose to rely
upon something other than Jesus Christ for our joy.
I have chosen to trust God and to realize that it is only through Jesus Christ that I can overcome my circumstances and have joy in my life. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit and is a by-product of the Spirit-controlled life. I need to make sure that I do not “quench the Spirit” (I Thee. 5:19) or “grieve the Spirit” (Eph. 4:30) because then I will not have joy in my life. I want joy rather than a bitter spirit and it only comes from my relationship to Jesus Christ .

February 5, 2009

Dear Friends,
I am sending out a devotional as an attachment to those on my e-mail list. I have been journaling my Bible reading for years but during the past three months have included my responses and thoughts in regard to my illness. My two procedures scheduled for this week were postponed because of a bad cold and chest cough. These procedures will determine the extent of my heart damage and set the course for future treatment and prognosis of my heart disease. The doctors think that I not only have sarcoid in my lungs and heart but that I also had a viral infection that came unannounced during the past month. I am trusting God and want to bring Him glory through my response to this disease. I also have a blogspot that you are welcome to visit that talks about our family and this illness. Thank you for your prayer support and concern.
Joyfully In Christ,
Dan Currie

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Few Moments from Christmas

Pops & Adalyn

Pops & Gavin

Pops & Israel

Isaiah, Caden, Xavier & Pops

Adalyn & Nana

Adalyn, Summer & Alayna

Xavier, Isaiah & Caden

Gavin teaching Pops to use his laptop :)

Caden, Xavier, Isaiah, Pops, Gavin & Jason