Sunday, May 17, 2009

So Good. . . So Far . . .

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts this past Thursday when I experienced my first cycle of chemotherapy. God answered your many prayers as I did not suffer the predicted side effects during the first infusion of one of the drugs, nor have I dealt with any significant side effects at all with the exception of a headache that evening. I am grateful.

I have a confidence that the tough medicine is working, even though the side effects are not manifesting themselves. It may be my imagination, but I do sense some sort of activity in the areas where the tumors are present in my body, within my chest and pancreas. Please continue to pray that they will kill the "insurgents" and minimize the "civilian casualties and collateral damage". One down. Five to go.

I have signed my recent notes "In Christ Alone". His presence has been with me from my first day in the hospital over a month ago until now. In addition to being blessed by the recent Christian hymn by that title, I would like to quote a few words by A. W. Tozer from his book "The Pursuit of God" that amplify my own reflections and experience of Christ during this trial:

"When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking "God - and. . ." effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the "and" lies our great woe. If we omit the "and", we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to sacrifice the many for the One (Christ alone). . . 

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever."

Tozer's words are worthy of reflection, especially in a world of "much-ness" and and "many-ness" - so many distractions, so many things competing for our ultimate affections. According to the scriptures and in my experience, there is only One who is worthy of our complete devotion and adoration. . .

In Christ alone,



  1. Awesome news - on the side efeect side. You, Susan and the family continue to be our prayers and those of our "church" here in Kansas City. I hope you continue to tolerate the meds and that they hit the target!

  2. Hi Newt! This is Barbara (Goodwin) Verley - Ellie Lucy's music teacher at Castle Junior High! Ellie told me last week about the cancer. I, too, as of August 29th, 2007, am a breast cancer survivor! No chemo, but I did manage - with God's help! - to get through 39 radiation treatments! WIPED ME OUT!!! I spoke with Todd last night (5/17), and he sent me this link. I wanted to let you know I will forward this to our staff, my prayer group, our student prayer group as well as extended "family!" Like you, I, too, "felt" healing taking place! May God let His grace shine upon you and your family. Your friends and family are near, but He is nearer! Rest well!

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  4. Oh my ... Gary Geipel trying to figure out a social networking site; sorry I needed two tries!

    Dear Newt, you're adding a powerful witness to an already extraordinary demonstration of strength. How remarkable that someone would be compelled to say "thanks" in response to a man's reflections on his battle with cancer -- but that's just what I'm going to say: Thanks.

    Your reflection reminded me of a passage from Romans 8 that I've always found most reassuring ... not only because it's a reminder that Christ alone is all we need but also because it makes clear that nothing stands between us and the redemption earned for us by the same Christ:

    "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

    You, too, are more than a conqueror.

  5. Newt,
    tremendous news after your first treatment! Melisa and I and the kids are praying for you several times each day. As God works in you, he works in us, using your healing (all of it) as a way of showing His power and glory to us -- tremendous testimony for the kids. Your blog posts and that of Susan are cool water to our sometimes dry souls!

    I was really moved and inspired with your most recent posts and your desire to root out the sin in your life -- similar to that of King David in Psalm 139:23 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."

    Your posts have made me recall one of my favorite sermons from Dr. Bryan Chapell, President of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis (the seminary for the Presbyterian Church in America) on the subject of why we don't "deny ourselves" and take up our cross and follow Him who makes the yoke light and the burden easy. I'm sure you already know of the CTS website -- but here it is just in case: (go to the "Living Room" and then "resources for life"). This site has literally thousands of podcasts and other audio download sermons from hundreds of pastors and lay authors with a reformed faith theology. It is the most comprehensive site I've seen.

    In particular, check out the Sermons from Chapell -- the two you reminded me of are entitled "Whatever Happened to Heaven: The Hope of Heaven" and "Whatever Happened to Hell: rightly perceiving hell." They are very powerful sermons that God has used to instill a sense of urgency in my life.

    We continue our daily prayers for you, Susan and the kids. In particular, I wanted you to know that our kids prayer for your kids, by name, everyday. God hears these and is, first, using them to change our hearts. May it bring peace to all of yours as well.

    Godspeed brother Newt.

  6. Newt,

    I have been meaning to catch up on your blog since I heard your news and finally got the chance this morning. I am kind of amazed at your pathology report. I also had a diffuse, large, B cell lymphoma. I had six rounds of R-Chop. I also had 18 radiation therapy treatments. So I do feel a connection to what you are going through. You and Susan are in our thoughts and prayers. I am sure everyone reacts a little bit differently, but for me, the first round of chemo was the toughest. I think the chemo killing all those cancer cells (plus healthy ones) had the most effect on me the first time.

    We both know there is no guarantee about the outcome, but we also know God is faithful and good no matter what the outcome is.

    As a follow up to our conversation in November, I continue to feel well and actually have a regularly scheduled PETscan this coming week, but I have no reason to think there is any problem. I pray that your chemo will be totally effective, and that this experience will draw you even closer to the Lord.

    Please give our greetings to Susan and to your Mom and Dad.

    In His love,

    Ken and Vickie Knipp