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Published on November 8, 2013, by Rich Johnson

“And God’s peace shall be yours, that [tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  

Philippians 4:7  AMP 

 

Paul writes about a peace which transcends all comprehension in this passage.  A peace which guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  This peace, His peace is unequaled in the world in which we live.  I like what he says here, “so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace…”   When the whole world seems to be unraveling around us, the peace of God is the only thing that brings comfort through Jesus Christ.  It’s a “tranquil state of soul”, as the Amplified Bible puts it.  Nothing can take that away.  The pressures of life, not so pleasant news, death, financial and relational woes and physical ills all plague us from time to time, but the peace of God in the midst of those troublesome times is something that transcends it all.  Hallelujah!  It is this peace that has helped me numerous times to discern God’s will for our lives when confusion seemed to cloud my thinking in which way to go.  Follow His peace.  This peace was there when we were both diagnosed with incurable cancers even though we had to deal with the emotional aftermath.  The peace of God was apparent in Robin’s room on October 15, 2013 when the Lord ushered her home and we said, “see you later.”  It’s a peace that passes all human understanding.  The world does not possess this, because it is something only God can give to those whose walk with him is relational.  Jesus Christ gives this as a special possession to those who find solace in Him.  It is real.  I have been the recipient of this peace in recent weeks, as I deal with Robin’s home going.  In her absence, His peace has assured me of her care.  She is safely in the Lord’s care, and there is no better place to be!  This does not negate the fact, that I miss her dearly.  My nights are difficult, as I am now the lone occupant in a bed that once was ours together for thirty-one and a half years, and she was a few inches from me.  I miss her smile and could depend on her to tell me if the collar on my shirt was standing up or curled under.  She helped me color coordinate my clothes and care for me in many, many ways.  And right now, we would be discussing Christmas gifts for each of our family members and shopping together.  Oh yes, that is all gone leaving a huge void in my life now, but it’s only a void that can be filled with the peace and presence of God on a daily basis.  He’s a good God to make such provision for us in times of trouble and heartache. It causes me to worship Him, which invites even more peace into my life.  While we only get a measure of this peace here in this life, there is coming a day, when that peace…His peace will be fully realized as we enter His presence and  join in that heavenly chorus forevermore! Robin is enjoying this right now, and I’m so very happy for her.  It’s what she was created for! It’s what we’re all created for!  

The Health Front…

I had another blood transfusion on Thursday (11/7), due to low hemoglobin counts once again.  This is caused by slow internal bleeding, and my bone marrow not producing enough red blood cells.  I can breathe better already this morning, and I’ve gotten a bit more energy!  Praise God for these transfusions. My pain seems to be minimal these days, and I am grateful for that.  Keeping food down is the other big challenge for me right now.  I cannot eat much when I do eat, and anything I eat must be soft enough to break down and move through the limited stent openings in my duodenum otherwise my body rejects it.  I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight these past six months, and continue to lose.  I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I take one day at a time, and continue to look for open doors of opportunity.  

 

Speaking of opportunity… The Lord has opened doors here in Springfield and Allentown, PA for two book signing events!  I’ll be here in S’fld at Christian Publisher’s Outlet on Nov. 16, 1-3 pm, and at Hackman’s Bible Bookstore in Allentown, PA on Nov. 23, 1-3 pm.  Mark the dates and times down, and come out and introduce yourself!  I’d love to meet those of you who read our blog and pray for us!  Pray for my strength as I go to these events, as this is at a premium these days.  

 

Heather, Josh and I will be going back to the East coast for Thanksgiving to spend time with family and friends, and we’re looking forward to spending that time with them, as we cannot always see them when we desire to.  I’m trusting the Lord to be able to make this trip.  

Special prayer request… I have some dear friends who presented me with an opportunity to go to Kansas City to the Intl. House of Prayer on November 9 for the 6:00 pm service and special prayer for healing.  I heartily agreed to go, and so, if you would join us in spirit as we go, I would greatly appreciate it!  I want to live.  I desire to see people saved, filled and blessed!  I desire to see our grandchildren grow and serve God, and I don’t want my children, family and friends to have another funeral so soon.  Please pray for a miracle!  I know you have been, but I’m asking for this specific date to be in your prayer crosshairs!  Thank you so much, as I go with a heart of expectation!

 

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you haven’t ordered your copy(ies) of our book, “Through the Valley” you’ll want to bless someone with our story of hope, joy, and peace in some of life’s deepest offerings.  I still have some e-book bookstubs to give with every book purchase.  An e-book bookstub is a FREE copy of our book in e-book format for your Kindle, NOOK, iPad or other e-reader which you download with a special code.  It’s a $ 7.99 value, so take advantage of it while supplies last!  This offer is only good on blog book purchases, and you can buy your copy through our book tab on this site.  It is secure.  Thanks for your support!

 

Finally, my family and I want to express our deepest gratitude for the many cards, gifts and expressions of love you have shown us during these last few weeks.  We are truly blessed by your generosity!  Your words of comfort have meant so very much to us, and has helped ease the grief we all share in losing Robin.  May God richly bless each one of you!

 

For those of you, who may not have my new address, as I now live with Heather and Josh, it is:  1300 N. Crestview Ct.  Ozark, MO 65721

 

Living In His Peace,

Rich and Robin

 

 
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Published on November 3, 2013, by Rich Johnson

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

2 Corinthians 12:9,10  AMP

 

I know I’ve written about grace before, but in the wake of Robin’s recent home going, I am more aware of His amazing grace more now than ever before in my life!  His abiding presence in lonesome moments has been simply incredible for me, as I read and listen to His Word in the still of the night.  I listen to worship music and find myself worshiping and praying for extended periods of time, and the Lord ministers to me until I go to sleep some nights.  As I recount the scores of people who came to honor Robin and our family at her visitation and funeral, I am reminded of His grace in our lives.  It is all just incredible and overwhelming to me!  His grace has been and continues to be sufficient for the past, present and certainly the future.  My mind and heart certainly grieve in Robin’s absence, but the Lord is good!  He knows just how to meet us and when to meet us in our hour of need.  I’m reminded of so many times in the past, when the Lord extended His grace to us, and He continues to do that in our lives.  He has shown His grace through all of you who have spoken or written kind words of condolences to our family.  We are grateful beyond comprehension, for He uses people from many different walks of life to encourage us.  His grace is sufficient for me, and He proves that over and over again.  Even while I continue to battle my “thorn in the flesh” through ongoing cancer, I am the recipient of His grace.  

 

As an update on my health…  I continue to experience pain and ongoing digestive issues, as the cancer presses against my duodenum and colon.  Weakness continues to plague me, while I try to combat this with high protein drinks and some food. I’m finding it more troublesome to keep foods down, and my GI doctor has talked to me about the possibility of my stents slipping and causing this.  They want to perhaps scope me again to see if this is the case, and if it is, he would place another stent in my duodenum.  I’m not highly in favor of this thought, as the first procedure was not a pleasant memory for me.  The doctor said he would sedate me more to help with that.  I’m needing wisdom in this.  Please pray the Lord helps me make the right decision.

 

God has opened a door for me locally to be able to have our first book signing event at Christian Publishers Outlet here in Springfield on November 16, from 1-3 pm.  This will be an exciting event for me to promote our book and be able to encourage others with our story.  I just wish Robin would have been able to be there by my side and sign books with me.  We’d love and appreciate  all of our local friends to come out and support us!   

I want to give a BIG shout out to Harp Creative, LLC for producing our videos and making incredible memories for our families!  Jonathan and Shailey, we are forever indebted to you for the time and professionalism you blessed us with in producing our videos. If you are looking for a great videographer, contact me, and I’ll pass their information along to you.   Our most recent testimony/book promo is here on our blog under the book tab.  Please take a look and give us your feedback.  

As an added bonus this month, I am giving away (FREE) one (1) ebook  bookstub with every book purchase.  It will be a great gift to someone you may know going through a difficult “valley” situation or anyone who has a NOOK, Kindle or e-reader of any kind.  You simply download the code on the bookstub from our publisher and receive your ebook!   This only applies to blog purchases.  I only have 27 bookstubs, so first come, first serve.  With the holidays upon us, this will make a great gift or stocking stuffer!   

I also want to thank Madi Walker for her excellence in blessing our family with music at the funeral and graveside.  Madi wrote the song, “His Grace” specifically for Robin, Heather and me some months ago, and it has been a great source of comfort for us.  Her recent CD, “Names” can be purchased at www.madiwalker.com  Thank you for supporting this up and coming Chrisitian artist.

 

Whatever you may be going through today, please know…  His grace is sufficient for you, and He will help you and provide what you need in the moment.  He may not always remove the thorn that’s plaguing you, but He will be there to help you and give you the grace you need.  Hold on!  Trust Him!  He’s the ONLY one you can completely trust in this world.   He will not fail you!  

 

Living In His Grace,

Rich

 
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Published on October 25, 2013, by Rich Johnson

“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”  

Ephesians  1:3-6  Msg

 

As many of you know by now, the past several weeks have been some of the most difficult days and weeks we have ever been through in our lives physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Not only for Robin and me, but our entire family has known a depth of suffering we had not had to travel in our journey up to this point.  I have not written or entered any new blog entries simply, because our lives have been inundated with Robin’s illness and care.  The battle raged for a number of weeks in her body with fevers, pain and overall suffering with the culmination coming on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago with her experiencing unbearable pain and having to be transported to the ER.  To make a long story short, she was given pain killing medicines which helped alleviate the pain, but did not seem to completely bring relief to her.  She was admitted, but for the next three days was just made comfortable by the administration of medicines that would help her endure the pain the cancer in her liver was causing her.  As many friends, pastors and family gathered in her room to pray, Robin remained unresponsive.  On Monday night, October 14 our sons, Rich and Jason, our daughter Heather and myself were gathered around her bed to enjoy a series of worship songs Robin loved.  We prayed as a family one last time with Robin present, and at 1:55 am on Tuesday, October 15, the love of my life and the finest mother this side of heaven to our children, peacefully went home as Jesus led her to the place He’s been preparing for her since He ascended to heaven more than two-thousand years ago. Our hearts and lives dramatically changed in an instant.  Time seemingly stood still for us, as my Robin was now in the tender care of her savior.  The One she has been serving since her salvation at a very early age was now a reality for her, as Jesus came to usher her home.  Her earthly journey had come to an end, and she finished well.  The impact of Robin’s life was evident as more than two hundred people came to express their love for Robin and our family at the visitation and funeral.

The last week and a half have been extremely busy with details of the funeral, family and friends coming and going, etc.  But now, the busyness of this season has come to an end leaving our family to quietly grieve.  It’s been a difficult transition for us, but one filled with God’s grace and strength.   This week, I felt as if I should get up, and attend our Wednesday night prayer service.  It was a difficult emotional day for me.  I cried out to the Lord most of the day and prayed He would come to me in a special way.  My heart was torn with memories of Robin, and I could not seem to find relief.  I knew I had to get in His presence.  I went to church with a deep longing to be close to Jesus.  I needed to sense His love for me once again, for the loneliness in losing my Robin was weighing heavy on me.  As I sat enjoying the worship and entering His presence, the above verse of scripture (Eph. 1:3-6) appeared on the screen before me. As I read this passage,  His unfailing love had became apparent to me once again, as I read how we were the focus of His love since before the foundations of the earth were laid.  These verses became life to me, and I sensed His marvelous embrace once again that caused me to become a tearful and grateful man.  His love and assurance once again permeated my spirit and lifted me to new heights.  I came away from that service knowing my Lord had met me personally, and I was a focal point of His love in my grief.  He cared for us long ago to die for us, but He continues to love us in any and all situations we go through in this life, and brings comfort in our hour of need.  Surrounding myself with friends after the service that night only confirmed this love through the Body.  I’m so very thankful for the support of our friends.  I came home Wednesday night refreshed and lighter, as the Spirit of God had met me there.  I was getting ready to go to sleep, and I recieved a text message from a friend in another state who had told me I was heavy on her heart all day.  She went on to say, as she prayed for me, the Lord simply said to her in her spirit, that “I am his, and he is mine!”  For the second time that night, the Lord was confirming His love and care for me in a personal way.  It never ceases to amaze me how He loves us and cares. One lesson to be learned from this encounter with the Lord… When we are in need, don’t sit and wait to think God is just going to show up at our beckoned call.  We must place ourselves in a position to receive from Him.  We must draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us!  I could have wallowed at home in my grief, but the answer for me was moving forward and going to church.  He met me there.  I know, as I avail myself of opportunities to be in His presence my heart will heal from Robin’s loss.  I will always miss her, as I now have  to deal with the largest void in my life I’ve ever had to deal with.  But He will continue to uphold me and help our family in these days ahead, as we depend on Him.

 

My health update:   I have been obviously dealing with ongoing issues myself for which there is little resolve barring a miracle.  The past two weeks I have been vomiting several times a week, which is a clear indication I am now becoming obstructed in my duodenum. I do have two stents in my duodenum, but the tumors are pressing in to close off  the opening to my small intestine.  I’m losing weight at an alarming rate and my strength is not good, as it’s difficult for me to get the nutrition I need.  I’ve spoken to my gastroenterologist about this growing development, and they tell me it’s simply going to get worse with no resolve in sight.  It will cause me to succumb at some point, as I will have to stop eating.  A feeding tube will not be an option for me nor will surgery since I have several tumors in my digestive system.  Friends this is disheartening for me, as I don’t want to leave my family so soon after Robin’s passing.  It would be devastating for them to lose us both within a close time period.  Healing is the only option for me, and I’m praying to that end.  Please, please take us to the  Lord about this.  We appreciate it so very much!

 

Thank you!  We have received an amazing outpouring of love, prayers, cards, food and kind expressions from an untold number of people these past several weeks.  Our family is more than grateful for this love being shown to us.  We are humbled and blessed beyond description!  We appreciate the love and all that continues to come our way.  Many of you came from Colorado, PA, NJ, MN, Iowa,DE and many other places to support us, and we’ll always hold the memories of your honor close to our hearts.  You are all very special to us.  Thank you, and may God richly pour out His blessing on you!  

 

Don’t forget our book, “Through the Valley”  As our journey’s in this life come to an end, I feel it’s even more important to share our message of hope and encouragement through our story.  If you know of someone dealing with a “Valley Experience” or not, our book will encourage them to look to the Lord.  It’s our story of suffering and victory in the midst of difficult days.  Buy several copies as gifts, as Christmas is just around the corner, and I’ll sign every copy for you.   You can secure your copy(ies) through the book tab on this site, and we’ll get them out to you promptly.  The testimonies I’ve begun to hear by people reading our book have been very encouraging.  It’s not about us, but about the God we serve.  

 

Thanks again for your continued prayers, and  thank you to all who have prayed for Robin over the years.  She is ultimately healed now, and that trademark smile will radiantly shine throughout eternity, as she is fully realizing the presence of the Lord!

I will continue to write and keep you informed of my situation in the days ahead.  Thank you for praying for me!

 

In His Love,

Rich