A more upbeat plot twist: Total remission!

 This is a follow up to Plot twist: I’ve got cancer and Cancer treatment update: So far, so good.  Thanks for the prayers!

Short version: Total remission! I had my 5th chemo treatment today and will have one more treatment next month as precaution. I’ll probably just have annual scans after that. Thanks for all the love, prayers and support and thank-you to Jesus for countless answered prayers.  By the way, I thought tumor was only golf ball sized. Turns out it was about 3 inches!  But it is gone.

It is interesting to rewind the tape at this point and ensure we’ve learned all we can from this and celebrated all the seemingly countless blessings God brought our way.  I had cancer, but I also had Jesus — and still do — and that made all the difference.

I imagine that it works this way for many cancer patients.  At some point you get an official diagnosis, but you realized you had something serious long before that.  For me it was when my general practitioner called after an ultrasound (they had suspected kidney stones).  He said that there was a triangle shaped thing on my kidney.  I immediately knew that it was cancer, even though they wanted to do a CT scan to confirm it.  In an odd way, it was good that it was cancer instead of something benign, because either way it was causing serious problems.  Chemo took care of it, but had it been benign it would have involved a tricky surgery to remove.  And if the cancer was part of my kidney and stomach, as it first appeared, that would have required removing the kidney and some of the stomach.

Before the PET scan that was the final confirmation that I only had this one cancer, I sat there and realized this would go one of 3 broad ways: (1) a miraculous healing, (2) the Lymphoma they had predicted that would be treatable, or (3) that there were other more serious cancers that could require more testing and/or serious procedures or be more life-threatening.  By the grace of Jesus, I was at truly content and at peace with any of those and was that way through the entire process. But to be candid, my reaction to range of options when you know you have cancer – which was before they officially told me — was more about laziness than fear – though I’m not sure which is worse.  I was content either way trusting in Jesus, but I wanted the least amount of work for me to get the maximum glory for Jesus. I suppose that’s my Spiritual Gift of Laziness — one of the lesser known gifts, along with my Spiritual Gift of Rationalization.

The medical team was amazing.  Every last person.  The doctor and many of the nurses were committed believers.  Oncology is a tough discipline even for the medical field.  I am so grateful for their education, their hard work and their dedication in a truly challenging field.  Many cases don’t work out like this.  And their jobs get tougher daily with all the bureaucracy and funding requirements they deal with.

God can and does do miracles, but He will ultimately draw to him whomever He wills.  But He doesn’t always do miracles.  If he had cured me immediately or even partway through with a miracle I would have missed out on so many blessings.  I have zero complaints about any of this.

Many people prayed for it to be miraculously removed, and that would have been fine with me.  But Jesus is still the same King of Kings and Lord of Lords regardless of how this played out with me – live or die.  He can be glorified in so many ways.  See If I Have Enough Faith, Will God Heal Me?  for more on that important topic.

And since we will all eventually die, we need to think carefully about eternity and whether we are right with the one true God.  Make no mistake: I know people have been wounded by church and by Christians,  heard bad theology, been repulsed at prosperity gospel preachers and seen much hypocrisy (and the Bible predicted many times that all those bad things would happen).  And I’m well aware that every day Christianity becomes more in conflict with the world’s values — though that is a design feature, not a bug.

But do those things mean Jesus didn’t rise from the dead or that you should reject Christianity?  Not at all. That, my fiends, is the central question of human history. If He didn’t rise from the dead, then Christianity openly admits that it would be false (1 Corinthians 15). But if He did, that changes everything.  The only miracle I really need is the resurrection. Everything falls into place from there.  It proves all his claims.  And He affirmed the Old Testament  to the last letter and authorized the New Testament, so we can trust what He has delivered to us.

Sadly, most people — even in churches! — don’t know about the evidence for the resurrection.  I love pointing out how that even atheist historians concede many facts of history that support the resurrection and debunk the alternative theories (i.e., that the disciples stole Jesus’ body, that He didn’t really die, that people had mass hallucinations, etc.).  Nearly 100% of historians of that time period agree that a real person named Jesus died on a Roman cross, that his followers believed He rose from the dead, that the Apostle Paul went from persecuting Christians to being the greatest evangelist in history and wrote nearly half the books of the New Testament, and more.

The cross was simultaneously the greatest evil and greatest good in history. The only perfect human ever – and God in flesh – was found guilty in a mockery of a trial, beaten, humiliated and nailed to a cross like a piece of meat until he died.  Why?  To save us from our sins, if only we would repent and trust in him.  Please carefully consider these claims and don’t think that you will be able to sit in judgment of God or dictate the terms of eternity to him.

So whatever you do, don’t believe either of the opposite but equally wrong lies that you don’t need God because you are good enough, or that you are beyond his forgiveness because you are too bad.

Again, this is my #1 book recommendation outside of the Bible: If you would like a great summary of the Bible and Christianity, check out The Story of Reality by Greg Koukl.  Though it is easy to read and less than 200 pages, it covers the major themes of the Bible from beginning to end and provides evidence as to why Christianity is true and other worldviews are not.  Even if you don’t end up believing you will have a much better understanding of what you disagree with.  It gives solid answers to common questions while showing how Christian worldview best conforms to reality.  And if you believe it will strengthen your faith and give you something to share with others.

Again, the blessings haven’t stopped coming with this adventure.  I have such a great wife and kids and extended family, and countless friends who have prayed for us and offered to help in any way.  I had it fairly easy.  Really, I just laid down for various scans and had medicine pumped in me while sitting in a recliner. Mrs. Eternity Matters did so much more and with such love.  We had countless relationships that thawed/renewed/grew/started, and those alone would have been more than worth the price.  We learned to give people the benefit of the doubt more and to be more assertive in reaching out to others who need encouragement.   And so much more.  So our main prayer — that we wouldn’t waste any of this — has been answered countless times, and we thank God repeatedly for that.

In short, we’ve lived what we believed, and that would have made this process better regardless of the outcome.

Thanks to everyone who offered prayers and encouragement to me and my family throughout this.  You have no idea how much every comment meant.

Be blessed!


A couple pictures: We got Daisy, a French Bulldog rescue, shortly after treatments started.  We weren’t in the market for a dog, but a good friend runs a small pet rescue and had the perfect one for us.  The timing was great.  She was a great nap-dog as I slept through the chemo crashes.  Here she is drunk-Tweeting.  Again.

Here she is sobered up.  Truly a blessing.  Sweetest dog you can imagine and a great stress relief.

Despite the chemo treatments, Mrs. Eternity Matters and I were able to continue practicing and had a joyful time at a ballroom dance competition.  The process was a great distraction and staying active really helped me feel better.  One of the many tender mercies from God.

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The benefits of the tax bill keep increasing, so Leftists are getting more unhinged

The tax bill in particular and Trump’s other economic initiatives in general (such as reducing regulations) are dramatically improving the financial situation of the entire country.  Nearly everyone benefits from one or more of these:

  • Tax cuts that help at least 80% of the population and make it much easier to file for most people.  And the few that do have to pay more are mainly the rich in Leftist states (as if you could do anything to please them anyway — and don’t they claim to like paying higher taxes?).
  • The stock market gains have been phenomenal.  Anyone with any sort of retirement account has to be enjoying this.  And it is all because of the Republican financial moves.  The stock market always looks forward, so this is all about these changes and has nothing to do with Obama.
  • Many companies have raised wages and/or given bonuses, including Wal-Mart.  This helps nearly everyone, because other companies will need to raise wages to keep up.  That supply and demand thing has its sharp edges, but in this case it will help.  And while wage increases can ultimately be inflationary, in this case the companies are using their tax savings to fund them so they won’t necessarily be raising prices.  Haven’t Leftists always lamented Wal-Mart?  Shouldn’t they be cheering now?

Also, while we don’t have a wall yet, illegal immigration is down and that will provide more jobs to citizens and help increase wages.   And the tax bill gutted Obamacare by eliminating the individual mandate.

This is all so spectacularly good for everyone — except the radical Leftists who hate Trump so much that they’d deny these amazing benefits to the people they claim to care about.

The Left will go on hating Trump and get even more unhinged, but how do you think all those people getting tax cuts, pay raises and fatter retirement accounts will feel?  Hopefully they’ll realize that Republicans have always been the adults in the room on economics. and that the Left has not only been lying to them but that they never really cared about them to begin with.  The Republicans can campaign on having kept some major promises.

Pass the popcorn.

Leftist sound bites that make you embarrassed for those that use them . . .

Just saw this today:

Build a wall? Does anyone remember Berlin?

Yeah, because the U.S. protecting our southern border is virtually indistinguishable from the Berlin wall.  Millions of people were illegally breaking into the Communist paradise of East Germany to get a vastly improved standard of living.  They made all sorts of demands and were not getting deported even when they committed multiple felonies.  And so much  more.  They are so ignorant that they don’t realize the Berlin wall was to keep people in the Communist hellhole.  The Communists worked 24×7 to keep people from knowing how much better the West was.

In case you think that quote couldn’t be any more stupid, it was written by someone who spent decades teaching in public schools.  And what did he teach?  History.  

Assisted suicide supporters are worse than the woman who pressured her boyfriend to kill himself

The Left — including the “Christian” Left — advocates for physician-assisted suicide, so they are no different than Michelle Carter.

The texting-suicide trial of Michelle Carter attracted nationwide attention for many reasons.

There were the shocking text messages Carter, then a 17-year-old King Philip Regional High School senior, sent to 18-year-old Conrad Roy III of Mattapoisett, urging him to kill himself and chastising him when he appeared to have second thoughts.

It also attracted the attention of legal observers and civil libertarians, who criticized the case on freedom of speech grounds. They argued a person should not be held responsible for the death of another person for mere words in a state that has no law against urging someone to take his own life.

Carter, was a lonely high school senior with an eating disorder brought together with Roy, a troubled Mattapoisett man searching for his way in the world while fighting depression.

No, wait, they are worse, because they aren’t just a lone creepy girlfriend, they are institutionalized, mainstream advocates for you to kill yourself if you want to.  And the “Christian” Left is the worst of all because they do it in the name of God.
Oh, they wring their hands when someone famous kills himself, like Robin Williams, but that just exposes their selfishness (i.e., “If you entertain me well, please don’t kill yourself, otherwise it is OK.”).

I have a dear brother in Christ who lives with severe pain. I’ve lost count of the number of spinal taps he’s had over the years, and that is just a small part of what he experiences. Yet he is totally committed to the Lord and makes a great witness for him wherever he goes — even preaching the Gospel to the hospital “chaplains” (usually glorified Unitarian / “Christian” Left types) he encounters.  I rejoice that he is immune to the pro-assisted suicide ghouls of the “Christian” Left who actually applaud people who take their own lives.

Whether people thought Carter committed a crime or not, nearly all were repulsed at her behavior.  They should feel the same way about those advocating for physician-assisted suicide (which eventually leads to involuntary killing, but that’s another issue).

Fact: Illegal aliens steal jobs and suppress the wages of remaining jobs

The title is such a Captain Obvious kind of economic statement, founded on the simple and timeless impact of the law of supply and demand, that it should go without saying.  But because Leftists literally fail at basic economic concepts and throw low economic status minorities under the bus to pander to illegal aliens,  it needs to be repeated over and over.

The Left pretends that the only jobs that illegal aliens take are those of picking crops and such (as if that would justify them breaking the law).  But here’s a recent example that I heard about in detail from an accounting executive of a company in the U.S. (I’m not being overly specific here because of confidentiality issues).

  • A couple hundred illegal aliens who performed semi-skilled labor walked off the job at a U.S.  manufacturing company because they heard that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was going to do a raid.  (It wasn’t clear whether the company knew they were illegal aliens or not.)
  • The company was understandably desperate to fulfill their customer orders, so they went to the market to replace the employees.  When they did so they realized that they had to pay fifty percent more in wages.  Fifty percent!
  • The remaining employees who were citizens got a huge raise.
  • The new employees got market wages.
  • These jobs were ideal for those without college educations or formal training.  They require some skill, but it can be learned on the job.

Simple and valuable lessons:

  • Illegal aliens took jobs of U.S. citizens, because they were willing to work for so much less.
  • Illegal aliens significantly suppressed the wages of the remaining jobs, because they were willing to work for so much less.
  • Law enforcement works!  What a concept, eh?  We still need a wall and/or much better border control, like any sane country would have.  But in the mean time merely enforcing some of our existing laws has a huge benefit for our citizens.  If companies know they’ll get caught and fined they won’t hire illegal alien labor to begin with.  And the honest companies won’t be at a competitive disadvantage for doing the right thing.
  • Getting citizens off unemployment / welfare reduces the burden on society and has more people paying into the system.
  • The Left — including the “Christian” Left — pretends to care about low income blacks while acting against their best interests 24×7.  They pander to illegals to get votes so they can stay in power and reap the benefits of crony capitalism, but that means the low income minorities stay on the Democrats’ plantation.
  • Obama & Co. pretended to care about blacks, but what did they have to show for it after 8 years besides higher unemployment, destroyed towns like Ferguson and the worst race relations in half a century?  The Left has to constantly play the race card on Trump because he is actually helping them get jobs.
  • This doesn’t even include the huge tax burden of millions of illegal aliens consuming educational, welfare and other resources.
  • When the “Christian” Left tries to claim that Jesus was an illegal alien, remind them that their claim is historically false, we don’t live in an Israelite theocracy, and people who repeat that nonsense to promote open borders just for the U.S. are some combination of ignorance, malice and treason.

The working poor – which have a disproportionate amount of minorities – are already benefiting by the reduction of illegal aliens entering the country.

And, ironically, they have President Trump to thank for it.

Leopard Theology: Not as fun as it sounds

Leopard on tree stump
Image via Wikipedia

Many Christians teach Leopard Theology*, because they believe that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.   They don’t call it that, but that is exactly what their theology is founded upon.  And, like the leopard, they camouflage themselves and they are dangerous predators.  They take on church leadership roles even though they teach the opposite of the Bible.

Saying the Bible isn’t fully inspired by God may seem like a humble premise, but it actually makes several strong and unfounded claims.

It implies that God couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver His word to us in a reliable way, and that despite God’s alleged failings flawed humans are able to discern which parts were inspired and which parts were not.  Are we to believe that humans are to correct for God’s errors?

Why is this a serious problem?  It is hard enough to follow the teachings of the Bible without having “Christians” choose what “really” came from God.  Worse yet, they ignore some parts of scripture so they can teach that the opposite is not only acceptable but desirable.  Some may do it accidentally or out of laziness but others are just blatant false teachers.  They have made up their own god and their own religion.

If someone claims the Bible is only partly inspired, ask a few questions:

  • How did they come to this conclusion?
  • Do they think their favorite verses are inspired?  If so,  how do they know?  How about John 3:16?  How about “love your neighbor?”  Whenever “Judge not, lest ye be judged” is quoted, I never hear the liberal theologians question whether Jesus really said that.
  • If the Bible is only partly inspired, how can they be sure that their preferred verses aren’t the ones that are uninspired and the ones they don’t like are the “real” verses?
  • Why is it that God couldn’t inspire the original writings of forty writers, but He can inspire billions of people to properly determine which parts are right and which aren’t?
  • If He couldn’t get Paul, Luke, Matthew, John, etc.  to record his word accurately, how can He get you to do it?
  • Why should I trust your “inspiration” over those who penned the Bible, or over my “inspiration?”

Then there is Advanced Leopard Theology.  It is just like basic Leopard Theology, except God is also changing spots and adding or removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.   They use phrases such as “God is still speaking,” but they don’t mean He still speaks through his Word (that would be a true statement).  They think He is still revealing new truths to the church and changing doctrines taught in the Bible.  They may also say things like, “The Holy Spirit is moving in a new direction.”  Indeed.

Here’s an example: A Methodist pastor named Laurie Hays Coffman did a pro-gay theology piece that made the argument that she wants to “unfurl our corporate sails to catch today’s winds as the Spirit blows afresh.”  She said she was challenged by the vision God gave to Peter in Acts 10-11 where God makes it clear that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, too, and that the Israelites’ ceremonial dietary laws are no longer in force.  Her reasoning is that in the same way that God overturned those laws that He is now overturning the prohibitions against homosexual behavior.  If that looks like a non sequitur to you then you are correct.  The problem is her poor Biblical analysis.  There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

  1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or someone like Ms. Coffman.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
  2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times and the incident is mentioned twice.
  3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these Advanced Leopard Theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this allegedly new revelation.
  4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion, which also included a supernatural intervention.
  5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
  6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles.
  7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny the authority of his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  I’m skeptical.
  8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent?
  9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

But the orthodox can fall prey to this in a more subtle way by claiming full inspiration but conveniently ignoring passages we don’t like.  Consider this passage on church leadership, where some exaggerate “not given to drunkenness” to mean no alcohol whatsoever but ignore the “must manage his own family well . . .” part.

1 Timothy 3:2-4 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

Another example is correctly teaching about the sin of homosexual behavior while neglecting to give proper emphasis to Biblical admonitions against divorce, adultery and fornication.  We need to teach all of scripture with balance.  Grandstanding on sins that aren’t temptations to us and soft-pedaling those that are are not attractive or Christian things to do.

There are plenty of reasons and resources to defend the accuracy and integrity of all of the original scriptures.  We don’t need to get sloppy and just follow the parts we like.  And we truly miss out when we cast doubts on every passage and question if it is really the word of God.

I’ll close with some friendly advice: Don’t mess with God’s Word.

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.

Proverbs 30:5–6 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18–19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

*Also known as Dalmatian Theology.

Also see

The tax cut will help with the 2018 elections

The Left hates Trump with the heat of 1,000 suns and the media’s 90+% negative — and often false — reporting will continue to take a toll on Republicans.  But the tax cuts and tax simplification will help.  Things like this will sway a lot of middle ground people right away: Taxpayers Could See Benefits From GOP Tax Bill as Early as February.

And while they won’t admit it, the Leftists will secretly enjoy having their taxes cut even as they scream, “Oh, the humanity,” over the government letting 80% of the population keep more of what they’ve earned.  Oh, they won’t vote for Trump, but they will soften.

Back in the late 80’s or early 90’s I recall reading Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s comments on Ronald Reagan.  He basically said that while he disagreed with him on many things, he sure appreciated the tax cuts.  I think you’ll see a lot of that in 2018.

Hopefully the people who continue to gain employment will realize it wasn’t because of the Democrats.  The fact that zero Democrats voted for the bill will make a great soundbite for the GOP.

And you’d like to think that those liberated from the Obamacare mandate will be influenced by that change.  The Republicans didn’t “repeal and replace,” but they got rid of one of the most odious parts of Obamacare.  They can run on that and out the RINOs who only voted against Obamacare when they knew Obama would veto it.

Of course, the institutional Left — including the “Christian” Left — will continue to cry Russia/racism/harassment against the President while they hypocritically are the drivers of all three.

The tax bill: Could have been better, but it is still great. Really great.

I’m so glad to see the tax bill.  This appears to be the final version.  I was at a meeting with our auditors (a Big 4 firm) last week and got to hear from their chief economist, a tax partner and a former U.S. Representative.  They had similar takes on how this will play out.  Here are my thoughts as a finance executive / CPA who has spent a “little” time on analyses that determined what country would build certain products.

The best thing is the corporate rate reduction from 35% to 21%.  I wish it would have been 20%, even just for optics, but the improvement is huge.  I know that alone will bring a lot of jobs back to the U.S.  It is so simple that even Leftists should understand it – but either won’t, because they fail at basic economics, or will understand it but will lie about it because they know it will help minorities and the poor.

Here’s an example: Assume that you live near the border of two states and you are going to open a manufacturing plant, and all other things are equal (e.g., labor market, accessibility, etc.) except that one state has a tax rate of 35% and the other a rate of 21%.  Guess where even a Leftist will build his plant?  (There is a reason that people like John Kerry put their yachts in one state versus another, why people in North Carolina living near the border of South Carolina drive a few extra miles to buy gas, etc.).

Now simply expand that to countries.  You are much more likely to build in the U.S. now because of the lower rate.  That means more jobs for minorities / the poor.  And those people will pay taxes instead of collecting unemployment and welfare.  We’ll get a big double benefit.

Other stuff, all of which the Left will hate because it will actually help the U.S.:

  • It repeals the Individual Mandate of Obamacare!  I would have preferred a full repeal, but it is a big accomplishment and the Republicans can campaign on fulfilling part of their promise.
  • The marginal rates are down a bit across the board, which should help everyone.
  • The cap on state and local deductions will cost me and I don’t like the idea of having to pay federal taxes on the same income I used to pay state and local taxes.  But that might put downward pressure on home prices in, say, California (shouldn’t Leftists like that?) and might make the state and local taxes hard to foist on people.
  • The Left should like the limitation on the deduction of mortgage interest, but Senator Diane Feinstein was already grumbling about it.  Uh, what happened to their desire to soak the rich?  At least it only applies to new mortgages.
  • Estate taxes should have gone to zero.  They are ghoulish.  What fool would want the government to profit when you die?  Oh, right, the ones who favor estate taxes tend to be the people who profit when families are forced to sell businesses (e.g., Warren Buffet, who isn’t as generous as he makes himself out to be) and those who covet the success and wealth of others.
  • While the tax code will still be too complicated, it will definitely be simpler for countless people.  That’s a huge win.
  • Congress will have less money to pay off their sexual assault victims.
  • And for dessert, consider how much this will hurt the Democrats.  Not one of them will have voted for it, yet it will have a dramatic positive impact on the country.  So many new jobs!  More after-tax pay for countless people!  And all thanks to Donald Trump and the Republicans.  Just think of how much mileage he’ll get from pointing out how many minorities got jobs!

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.