1500 singers gathered in an abandoned power plant to sing Leonard Cohen’s classic song ‘Hallelujah.’ And when Rufus Wainwright stepped on stage to sing too…wow. This is one epic choir performance!
In the middle of this high school graduation someone in the audience fell ill. The students graduating didn’t know who it was or what was going on. They were all nervous that it was one of their family members and feared it was serious. That’s when Christian Crawford took the podium and did something truly amazing! God bless this young man and our prayers are with the family!
Submitted by Cyrus Campbell
Psalms 124 – If it had not been the LORD who was on my side.
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side—let Israel now say— 2 if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, 3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; 4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; 5 then over us would have gone the raging waters.6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psalms 124 is a chapter fully dedicated to giving the God of Israel glory, honor, and praise for saving his people from their troubles. The first verse, although fragmented, is the most profound of the whole chapter. How many times have we said to ourselves or testified to others, if it had not been for the LORD on my side, I would not be here today?
I often testify of an incident that has been edged into my memory. One day, I was driving and approached a four way stoplight. There were large buildings on the corners of the intersection ahead, so I could not see traffic coming from either direction. Seconds before I entered the intersection, something touched me and time stopped. During that moment, I saw a black SUV racing thru the intersection. My instant reaction was to slam on my brakes. The next moment, a black SUV shot from behind the building on my left thru the intersection just as I had seen it seconds before. The accident would have claimed my life. Verse 7 reads that “we have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!” It was nothing but his grace and mercy that allowed me to escape the snare, but only for his purpose, which is to serve him and declare the Kingdom of Heaven. The Apostle Timothy (2 Tim 4:17-18) stated “the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed… The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.
The psalmist also wants us to think about what our life would be like if the LORD was not on our side. If we did not have God on our side when people turned against us, their anger would eat us up, the flood would engulf us, the torrent would sweep over us, the raging waters would have taken us away (verses 3-5). But then he shouts in verse 6, “Praise be to the Lord!” The scripture is evidence that the path to thanksgiving is to take our experiences and celebrate how the Lord delivers us from our troubles (Psalms 34:17). We are here to sing about those times when God shows his glory, and how the LORD sets us free, how he keeps our head above water, how he saved us from being swallowed alive. He keeps us from the traps they have laid for us and from the snares of evildoers! (Psalms 141:9)
My prayer to you is what Paul wrote to the people of Colosse. May the LORD strengthen you with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, and the forgiveness of sins.
Each one of you has a testimony to give. Where would you be if it had not been for the LORD? Your testimony may bring someone to salvation. You should tell it and give praise to him who sits on high, for he deserves all the glory for the wonders he works in our lives.
Ken Hulme – 700 Club Producer
Ethan was already under the care of a hospice nurse. His body was rapidly shutting down.
According to Dr. Melissa Rhodes, Ethan had AML, an aggressive type of leukemia. She serves in the oncology unit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., where she was one of Ethan’s physicians.
“Children who are actually born with leukemia don’t usually do very well,” Dr. Rhodes says. “The best that we could offer was to put Ethan through difficult chemotherapy and still not know that he would make it through.”
In fact, chemotherapy is so toxic for newborns that doctors gave Ethan’s parents the option not to treat their son. After two weeks in the hospital, Chad and Mandy made the painful decision to take their son home.
“The chemo could kill him,” Chad says. “There are all kinds of risks.”
“We came home and I remember lying in bed and praying,” Mandy says. “We said, ‘God, give us an answer’. We both woke up the next morning and both said, ‘Nope, we’re not going to put him through it’.”
Most doctors at Vanderbilt supported that decision. “We figured if Ethan truly had the kind of leukemia that we felt he had, then even with full treatment he may not do well,” says Dr. Rhodes. “For that reason we felt it was right to honor the family’s decision.”
After only a few days at home, Ethan’s baby acne, which is common in newborns, had become infected. So they went back to the hospital. That’s when the tumors began to show up…
“We noticed a lump in his calf,” says Mandy. “We paged the doctor, and they told us that it could be a blood clot or a build up of the leukemia cells, which is called chloroma.”
Tumors started popping up in other places such as Ethan’s feet, hands, and his forearm.
“Leukemia itself means cancer of the blood; it’s a blood disease,” explains Dr. Rhodes. “But in this particular kind of leukemia it can also go out into the tissues. That’s what we believe was happening with Ethan. He actually had leukemia in his skin, in his hands, his feet, and his legs, as well as in his liver and spleen which is more common. So he was showing that he had a very advanced disease at that point.”
Ethan was now about three weeks old, and his condition really started to decline. He stopped eating and began to experience sleep apnea.
“[The nurse] told me that he might develop what’s called sepsis, which would be a total body infection, and that he would go peacefully or he might hemorrhage,” Mandy recalls. “I would see blood in his diaper or maybe coming out of his ears. I was so scared to open up his diaper to even change it.”
When the hospice nurse arrived, Chad and Mandy knew they were near the end but Chad, Mandy and their friends continued to pray… believing God for the impossible.
“I remember rocking him and singing, ‘Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you’,” Mandy says. “I knew that if I just focused my mind on Christ that’s the only way that I could make it through.”
The night that Ethan faced his greatest medical crisis, something happened. “Mandy late that night started feeding, and he started taking his bottle a little bit at a time,” Chad says.
The next day, Ethan was a little stronger… But was he having one final rebound before death?
Mandy says, “I remember sitting at the kitchen table and saying, ‘I believe God’s healing him. I can see God working.’ Then he just gradually started getting better. And over the next week, we were back up to six ounces of formula every three hours.”
Over the next two weeks, Ethan improved! And when Mandy took him back to Vanderbilt to check his blood counts? “His platelets level was like 415,000 — in normal range, where it had been 39,000 at his lowest point.”
This stumped Dr. Rhodes and her colleagues. “Ethan had gotten about as sick as a baby could possibly get and then spontaneously got better. So we wanted to look. We did the bone marrow test, which showed no evidence of leukemia. The tumors gradually went down over a period of probably a week or so. It was just remarkable to witness it.”
Chad and Mandy knew they had witnessed a miracle when they repeated the bone marrow biopsy in July with the same results.
Today, Ethan Stacy is a strapping two-year-old, who loves playing with his dad and big sister Kaylee. It goes without saying that the Stacys are thankful.
“The prayers of my friends and church members meant everything to me,” Chad says.
Mandy agrees. “It’s just awesome that we have a God like that… I just can’t get over the miracles. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him because I know it’s going to be big.”