Waiting on the Lord

Waiting on the Lord

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is waiting on the Lord God. We live in an era when the rule is to do something or to get something NOW. We see this in the emails we receive and on the blogs we read where they have a “call to action.” Some even have a call to action button for us to click. On television commercials and online video advertisements we hear the sales pitch ending with the words, “Call now.”

Home pregnancy tests allow for instant results. We send a text message expecting an immediate response.

When we have a medical scan, biopsy, or blood work and must wait for days to find out the test’s verdict we can become frustrated and impatient. We want it all, and we want it now.

Today’s Bible verse reminds us there are times when we need to wait.

My Story

My mother called me when I was in 1984 telling me the doctor said she had kidney disease and would eventually need a kidney transplant. She was fifty-one years old.

She explained how she needed to follow diet and exercise to extend the length of time before she would need the kidney. Religiously describes how she followed the doctor’s orders.

Despite her best effort in 2004, she went on the kidney transplant waiting list. Her efforts had bought her twenty years.

In March of 2011, she finally had the transplant. She was now 79 years old. When first on the transplant list there were over seven-hundred people ahead of her on the waiting list. The wait was difficult. Her health diminished. She was within weeks of death when the death of another gave her the gift of life.

Mother lived almost four years after receiving her transplant. Cancer, not kidney disease took her life.

I remember praying with her in the days before she finally received the transplant. She had said if I am supposed to get a kidney, I’ll get a kidney. It’s all in God’s hands and timing. I can trust and wait on God.

Bible Verse

Psalm 27:14 (KJV), “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

What the Verse Means

We live in a world of instant gratification. When we read of waiting and patience, it is hard to picture them as virtues. In the twenty-first century, we find waiting unacceptable.

The Lord commands you through this verse to wait upon him. There is value in waiting. Waiting has you obedient to God’s teaching. It allows you to have a better strength of soul, and a larger capacity to thoroughly appreciate the Lord.

We need to remember that waiting and surrendering to God helps you have peace of mind and soul as well as strengthens your heart. The command is more than to wait. It is to abandon all your desires to the Lord.

It is also important to remember we are not waiting just for things or test results. We are waiting for God. This waiting shows our trust in God.

The Bible is full of verses that remind us to wait on the Lord. Examples from the Book of Psalm’s are:

Psalm 27:14 (KJV), “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Psalm 25:3 (KJV), “Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.”

Psalm 25:5 (KJV), “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalm 62:5 (KJV), “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

Psalm 69:3 (KJV), “I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.”

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to wait on the Lord.
  • Lord, help me to be of good courage.
  • Thank you for the promise that the Lord will strengthen my heart.
  • Heavenly Father help me to realize I am more than waiting for a cure, for test results, or resolution of a medical billing issue. Help me know I am waiting on God.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Is there something you’re waiting on? Turn it over to God and trust his timing.
  2. Waiting is hard. Why not ask God to strengthen your heart as you wait? That’s something today’s verse encourages us to do.
  3. Ask God to help you to wait on the Lord. We don’t know why we wait, but God does. His timing is perfect. Trust God.


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Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

The Power of God’s Word

Thy Word

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is to understand the power of God’s Word. Today’s verse is a reminder of the power and guidance of God’s word, the Holy Bible. Psalm 119:105 (KJV) helps explain part of the purpose of God’s word. It reads, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

My Story

I was always amazed at the child-like faith my wife showed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Her faith reminded me of a bumper sticker frequently seen in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It just stated, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”

As she confronted cancer, she regularly would quote Job 14:5-7 King James Version (KJV), “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.” She would comment that yes, she was getting the recommended treatment the medical team suggested. She knew they were part of the healing team and God’s plan.

Then she would add, “You know, God has my days numbered. He knew from the beginning of time when I was going to be born. He also knows when he is calling me home.”

She saw no need to worry about doing this or that to try to squeeze an extra day of life. She knew her Heavenly Father already had it all worked out.

I pray my faith in God could demonstrate an equal trust in God.

Bible Verse

Jeremiah 15:16 (KJV), “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”

What the Verse Means

The verse reflects Jeremiah’s call to the office of prophet. He had not sought or expected to be a prophet. Likewise, God calls us to follow him as Believers of Jesus Christ.

As Jeremiah mentions eating the words of God he is expressing the close relationship between him and God that comes from reading, hearing, and consuming the word of God.

Jeremiah concludes in the passage telling us that he is called by God’s name. It is a reminder that God set him apart and ordained him to be a prophet. Likewise, as a Believer in Jesus Christ, God has selected you and you as Jeremiah did have responded to God’s selection of you.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father thank you for the Bible, your word.
  • Lord God, help me listen to, meditate, and memorize your Word, and let it sustains me.
  • Your Word brings joy to my heart.
  • Lord Jesus, that you for selecting me.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you trusting God for your tomorrows?
  2. Are you reading and applying the Bible to your everyday living?
  3. Have you considered offering to read God’s word to your loved one? You can say something like, “Is okay for me to share a short Bible passage that spoke to me? It won’t take more than a few minutes. Is that okay?”


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This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Your Health

Prosper and Be in Health

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is realizing our true prosperity is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s passage speaks about our mental health and general well-being.

My Story

My wife and I saw the same dermatologist. This is the same dermatologist that initially diagnosed Miss Benita’s Melanoma cancer.

Following my wife’s diagnosis, I scheduled an appointment with the same doctor to get myself checked from head to toe. I needed to stay in good health to care for my sweetie.

The doctor looked at every blemish, mole, and age spot on my body. She even removed a few skin tags. We scheduled a follow-up appointment in six months.

At the follow-up appointment, I mentioned I had seen my dentist who referred me to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon had biopsy a spot in my mouth. The spot wasn’t cancerous. It was oral lichen planus. He told me to speak to you, my dermatologist, for follow-up treatment.

Oral lichen planus1(OLP) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the mucus membrane of the oral cavity. It is a T-cell mediated autoimmune disease in which the cytotoxic CD8+ T cells trigger apoptosis of the basal cells of the oral epithelium. She told me she knew I was under excessive stress with Miss Benita’s cancer treatment. I shared the added stress I was under from caring for my 89 years old father. I also didn’t help that my long-term day job had just completed a major reduction in force and reorganization. I was still employed and experiencing the changes of doing more with less.

Just days before Miss Benita went into hospice care I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease2. The gastro endocrinologist said while there is no known cause, he was assuming since I had the oral lichen planus and that I was under excessive stress with Miss Benita’s cancer treatment that stress was a major contributing factor.

My point is the stress of caregiving may impact you physically. I do not give medical advice. This blog is not intended as medical advice. If you are having health issues see your physician for medical advice.

For you to provide the best care for your loved one you need to also care for yourself. I saw my physicians. They helped me to be able to keep on keeping on and continue to be a caregiver for my spouse.

Bible Verse

3 John 1:2 (KJV), “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

What the Verse Means

John, the author of the Bible passage, is addressing Gaius. Prosperity here is mental health and general well-being. John wants Gaius to prosper and have good health equal to his spiritual health.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father I pray that I may prosper, that is to be healthy fiscally. Why? Not to be rich but to care for my family and pay my medical bills.
  • Lord Jesus, I pray that I would be in physically good health and that health would mirror our spiritual health.
  • I pray for rest and peace of mind.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you have any medical concerns about yourself? If so, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  2. Are you getting adequate sleep? If not, talk to your health care professional for advice.
  3. Are you eating properly? See the advice of your health care professional if you have questions.

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3329692/


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Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

We Are the Lord’s

We Are the Lord’s

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is realizing we are the Lord’s. Today most people live for themselves and live for the moment. This lifestyle is different from how a Christian should live.

The purpose of the Christian life is to do the Lord’s will and promote his glory by our life. Being a Believer in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean you cannot have fun. On the contrary, it allows you to have fun without regrets.

My Story

I still recall the conversation. Rarely have I hated having such a talk. Forever I am glad we did.

“Jimmie, we need to talk,” said Miss Benita. I glanced in her direction. Her usual smile and happy attitude were on her face. It was the real seriousness in her voice that caught my attention.

I also realized we needed to talk right now. Being married to the same person for over forty years helps you understand she means we need to talk and she means we need to do it now.

I didn’t take time to get or doing anything. I gave her my complete attention.

“What’s on your mind,” I said as lovingly and supportive as I could. I wanted her to know she had my complete attention and whatever was on her mind was the most important thing in the world to me. If it was her concern, it was my concern.

“You know I am about to start the radiation treatment on the area of my head where the neurologist removed the brain tumor.”

I nodded.

“When the tumor recurs, and it will recur, don’t you go letting them cut on my head again. I don’t want any more surgeries. Them cutting on me isn’t going to save me. Jesus already saved me when I was a girl.”

“So you’re saying –” I started.

“I’m saying, love me enough to let me go. It’s going to be okay for me. I’ll be in heaven with Mama, Daddy, Willie, and Grandma before the hospice people get my time of death called in,” she said with a calm and peace of mind that can only come from God.

“Oh, okay.”

“Don’t go being selfish. Let me go to heaven. Love me enough to let me go. You and the children will be okay. I’ll be seeing you all again when you get to heaven. Even the kids that aren’t attending church or living for the Lord are going to be there. We trained them up the best we could, we shared Jesus with them, they professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and even when they or you or I am not living for the Lord, we’re still saved. I know you know that.”

I nodded.

Then she quoted from memory Romans 14:8 (KJV), “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” She then added, “I’m the Lord’s”

I teared up.

She added, “Best I can figure, the Lord is leaving you here to write about him and point others to him. You need to keep writing religiously. Don’t go chasing any Stephen King or Ray Bradbury dreams of fame and fortune. If you honor God, he’ll honor you. You know that. You taught me that.”

I needed the box of Kleenex.

“The book of devotions you wrote to help me will help others. Write something for those people like you, the caregivers. You have as hard job as I have as the patient. Just keep pointing people to Jesus. We both know Jesus is the only hope anyone has. Now promise me you won’t let them cut on me anymore and that you’ll write to lead people to Jesus and help Christians grow in their faith.”

“I promise,” I said as I held her hand and then kissed the back of the hand to seal my pledge.

Eight weeks later the tumor recurred. I was told we had two options. Option one was surgery which would extend life a couple of months at the most. Choice two was hospice.

“I need your decision on which option you will choose. I need it now. The operating room is available now and not again for several days. What do you want to do?” asked the neurologist.

Miss Benita’s words reverberated throughout my head, “Don’t go being selfish. Let me go to heaven. Love me enough to let me go.”

“No more surgeries. We chose hospice,” I said.

Bible Verse

Romans 14:8 (KJV), “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

What the Verse Means

The purpose of the Christian life is to do the Lord’s will and promote his glory by our life. A Christin should do this because they belong to God. Not only do we belong to God in this life but we belong to him even as we are dying and after we die.

The passage provides a reminder that the soul does not cease to be conscious at death. We are still the Lord’s.

Even when the body is in the grace, we are the Lords. 2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV) reminds us, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father if I live I live to the Lord. Help me live to the Lord. May you be glorified through my life.
  • Lord Jesus if I die I die to the Lord. Help me to die to the Lord. Help me to remember that even in the grave I am yours.
  • I proclaim to the world whether I live or whether I die, I am the Lord’s. Thank you, Lord, for the security I have as a Believer in the Lord.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you living every day to point people to Jesus? If not, ask God through prayer to help you live for Jesus.
  2. Are you spending time reading God’s word? Remember, a regular time of reading the Bible will help you as a caregiver. It will strengthen and refresh you spiritually.
  3. Who do you know in your loved one’s circle of friends that need to know Christ as Savior? Begin praying for God to soften their heart.


Trusting https://wp.me/p1F1No-2P1 #caregiver #hope @jimmiekepler [CLICK TO TWEET] 

Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Trusting God

Trusting God

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is trusting God. When dealing with a protracted disease sometimes it is tough to maintain focus or have peace of mind.

The person battling the ailment often finds themselves dwelling on what is happening to them physically, fiscally, and thinking if they’ll even have a future. It can be hard. As a caregiver you may feel like all you do is manage schedules and provide taxi services. You find yourself longing for the good old days before the illness took over your life.

Today’s verse gives us hope as it tells us peace of mind is available. The way to peace is to focus on God, not your problem. It is to trust God.

My Story

In August of 2016, my wife Miss Benita and I took a lengthy “bucket list” trip. In our forty plus years of marriage, she had never been to the northeastern USA. She had heard stories from my early teens when I lived in New England as a military brat. She also had never been to New York or the middle Atlantic states.

The trip wasn’t easy. Even with her Melanoma cancer her employer initially said no to her being off work for multiple weeks. My day job also lacked compassion. We both found the situation frustrating as we had more days of vacation accrued than needed for the trip. Finally, both employers agreed to let us off work.

The trip required a small refrigerator for the car as her chemotherapy prescription meds required refrigeration. The bulky lymphedema therapy machine had to be loaded and loaded each day along with scheduling time for her to do an hour’s therapy per day.

Many days it would be as later as 10 AM before we were able to get checked out of our hotel. Most days we were checked into the hotel by 5 PM in the evening. When you drive those few hours in a day it takes a long time to drive the over 2,200 miles from Dallas, Texas to Northern Maine.

Out lengthy trip included stops at places like Niagara Falls, NY, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory just outside of Burlington, Vermont. We visited university campuses like Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Bowdoin College, Brown, Yale, Virginia Military Institute and their libraries. She saw where I attended junior high school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The State of Liberty and NYC and Philadelphia were on the must-see list. We also went to Gettysburg, the Hershey Chocolate Factory, and all the Washington, DC sites.

We skipped the NFL Hall of Fame, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, NBA Hall of Fame, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She said I could go back to those places after she was gone as she had no interest.

The trip was hard for her. She was so glad we made it. She told me she appreciated my patience. She knew I was up hours before her. I sat patiently while she slept and rested. I also sat reading when she did the lymphedema therapy. She had the TV remote in the hotel.

I got very tired of hauling the luggage, medicines, and medical equipment into and out of the hotels. I admit that. I couldn’t trust the bellhop at the hotels to treat the medical equipment with the tender loving care it needed. The only time I entrusted the equipment to one I found disconnected hoses and a power cable that had fallen off and was in the middle of the hallway.

The entire bucket list trip was an adventure in trusting God. What if we had trouble with her chemo meds while 2,500 miles from home? We did and God cut through the red tape to take care of it.

My attitude, trust in God, and love for my wife somehow allowed me to navigate the journey he had for my loved one and me. He’ll do the same for you.

Bible Verse

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV), “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

What the Verse Means

The key word is trust. We have a requirement to trust God. Trusting in God, that is when our mind is focused on Him, not our troubles, allows us to be kept in God’s perfect peace.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to keep my mind steadfast on you.
  • Thank you for the peace of mind that can only come from God.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to take my refuge in you.
  • God, I know you are my only hope in battling my chronic illness.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Name one area where you need to let go and trust God.
  2. Are you thanking God daily for guiding you through the daily challenges? If not, do so now and every day.
  3. Are you truly trusting God? Ask God to help your unbelief and lack of trust in and for all things.


Trusting https://wp.me/p1F1No-2OW #caregiver #hope @jimmiekepler [CLICK TO TWEET]   

Photo Source: Original photo taken at Niagara Fallas by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Hearing God’s Voice

Hearing God’s Voice

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is listening until we hear God’s voice.

When we face a constant disease too often, we rush in and try to accomplish everything in our own power. We manage this. We plan that. We listen to this aunt or to a trusted friend. We may hear conflicting recommendations from our healing team, that is the doctors, ministers, social workers, counselors, and other caregivers.

While wise counsel is right, we need to seek God and listen to his voice. We do this through prayer, Bible reading, and listening to sermons. We need to encourage our loved one to do the same.

Sometimes we are in such a rush to get to a solution or get things under control that we miss hearing from The Great Physician. We need to remember the words of Psalm 46:10 (KJV), “Be still, and know that I am God:”

Sometimes we just need to sit and be still before we can hear God.

My Story

“I need your decision on starting radiation treatment. What have decided?” asked the surgical oncologist.

“Not today. I just can’t make a decision today,” said my wife.

It was apparent she was overwhelmed with everything.

“Any delay could be life-threatening at the worst and life-shortening at the best. You need to decide on when you want to start treatments,” pressed the oncologist.

My wife rolled her tired eyes. She was less than a month from the initial Melanoma cancer surgery and the removal of both the cancerous area and thirty-four lymph nodes. She had a swollen left arm, wrist, and hand. Lymphedema therapy had just started that week.

“Can you go over the treatment options for us one more time? We’ll then go home and have some time to meditate and pray on what she’ll do next. We understand the urgency for beginning treatment,” I said.

This time it was the young surgical oncologist who rolled her eyes. She nodded and dutifully repeated the options. She concluded with a “Let me know soon what you are or are not going to do. While selecting no treatment is an option. Not having the radiation greatly increases the chances of recurrence. If it recurs,” she added with a strong emphasis, “it will be terminal. There will be no treatment or cure. You will die.”

“Thank you. We’ll let you know in a few days,” I said. On the inside, I was made at how she had restated the obvious — “If it recurs, it will be terminal. There will be no treatment or cure. You will die.”

On the hour drive home my wife slept. She was tired and weary. Over the next few days we prayed, read Scripture, and then she said, “Call the doctor and find out who I need to contact to schedule the radiation.”

I received the contact information. My wife called and set up an appointment. I was amazed at God’s timing. The radiation doctor had a cancelation and they were able to get her in that very afternoon. If we had rushed and said yes to treatment four days early she wouldn’t have been seen for nearly two weeks. Praying and seeking God’s guidance allowed treatment to begin almost immediately.

I firmly believe seeking God in her decisions is one reason why she lived over two-years longer than the initial projections.

It’s another example of my wife’s Godly wisdom andGod’s faithfulness.

Bible Verse

Psalm 143:8 (KJV) “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

What the Verse Means

As we face trials and hardships, we can find ourselves overwhelmed. When we become inundated by fear, grief, depression, and self-pity, it becomes hard to hear God.

Today’s verse reminds us to spend time with God, to begin our day with God. As Christians, we can trust God. We can ask him to both guide us and to lift us up. We need to stop, that is too slow down and take time for God. We need to at his Word, that is to read the Bible. We need to listen, that his to hear sermons, hymns, and listen to his still small voice answering our prayers.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father draw me to you in the morning where I can hear your righteousness.
  • Lord Jesus, I place my trust in you. Help me to always put all my faith in you.
  • I ask your Holy Spirit to speak to my spirit and to guide me in the way I should walk.
  • I pray you would lift my soul unto you.
  • I pray for myself, my spouse, our children, and grandchildren to be drawn to you, to experience you and choose to attend worship services where we can hear your word preached.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you including God in your decision-making process? James 1:5 (KJV) reminds us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
  2. Are you listening for Gods still small voice?
  3. Are you slowing down and waiting on God?


Hearing God’s Voice https://wp.me/p1F1No-2OQ #caregiver #hope @jimmiekepler [CLICK TO TWEET]

Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.



Fear is a Normal Feeling

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is understanding that fear of the disease and the unknown are normal feelings. The illness’s unknown and uncertainty are scary. The very nature of chronic disease often has death or at least its possibility confronting us. If it is rheumatoid arthritis, you pictured pain and decreased mobility or use of joints. If its dementia you can see your loved one no longer knowing who you are or where they are. You envision nothing but bleak tomorrows.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that God is with us. We do not face today or tomorrow alone. God is here to strengthen and help us.

My Story

Ten years before my wife’s diagnosis with cancer, her then recently widowed mother moved into our home. I had suggested the move as I liked my mother-in-law. I loved her, my late father-in-law, and all my wife’s siblings. I had won the in-law lottery. Wonderful in-laws were a blessing.

I can still remember that particular night. I woke to an endless pounding on my front door. It took me several minutes to figure out what was going on. In the meantime, the pounding on the door continued.

As my wife and I got out of bed, we looked at the clock. 3:15 AM. I hurried to the door. As I opened the door, there stood a policeman and my mother-in-law. My wife’s mom was clad in house shoes, her nightgown, and a thin cotton, short sleeved bathrobe.

“Are you Jimmie Kepler?” asked the police officer.

“Yes sir, I am Jimmie Kepler. She is my wife, Miss Benita,” I said pointing to the woman standing beside me.

“We found her about five blocks from here,” he said motioning to my mother-in-law. He then added, “She said she needed to get to the senior adult center in DeSoto, Texas. I ran a check on her name, and it says she lives in DeSoto. She said Jimmie Kepler was her son-in-law. I ran a check on your name. It came up with this address. That is why we’re here.”

“I need to get to the senior adult center,” said my mother-in-law shivering.

It was a cold 45-degree night. The senior adult center in DeSoto was nearly fifty miles south of my house, with the city of Dallas in between.

“Mama, what were you doing?” asked Miss Benita as she looked at her mother.

“I was trying to get home to get your daddy’s and my coffee cup before going to the senior adult center. They’ll have a fresh pot of hot coffee. Your daddy and I can play 42. We can also visit with our friends.” She was referencing to the domino game 42.

“Mama, daddy died over a decade ago. You married Fred Robinson three years after he died. Fred died last year. You live with us now. You’ve lived with us for over six months,” said a teary-eyed Miss Benita.

Confusion graced my mother-in-law’s countenance.

“But Clarence is at the senior center,” she pleaded.

“Does your mother has memory issues? You can’t let her roam the streets in the middle of the night,” he said.

“We didn’t know she had left the house.” Concern was all over my face. I was horrified as I realized something was wrong with her. Did she have dementia? Alzheimer’s Disease? I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was horrified.

I took custody of my mother-in-law from the policeman. That very day I had alarms installed on the doors of my house. A terrifying series of recurring events began that night. Like the movie Groundhog Day, ever night the alarm would go off between midnight to 4 AM as my mother-in-law tried her escape from my home to go back to her old house. I would catch her before she made it to the street. Each day repeated the previous day. It seemed the nightmare would never end.

Her trying to get out of the house at night went on for months. The doctor would never use the words dementia or Alzheimer’s. The physician preferred the word “confused.” It finally stopped when she had a stroke.

While I thought the nightly attempted jailbreaks were terrible, the stroke took things to a new level.

During this time God was with me. I cried out to him. I grabbed hold of him and wouldn’t let go. I knew not what else to do.

This new normal wasn’t easy. My wife and I adjusted our new routine. We added more alarms and locks. We didn’t go crazy. We cared for my mother-in-law. And we prayed and prayed

Bible Verse

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV), “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

What the Verse Means

The verse’s meaning is best seen when examined in context with two preceding verses. Isaiah 41:8-10 (KJV), “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

The whole passage is one of great tenderness. I am with thee (that is, God is with you). I (God) will strengthen thee (now and in the future). I have strengthened thee (in times past). There is a reminder that God has chosen you. We see a declaration of past favors as well as prophetic words for future favors since God is unchanging.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father I fear not because you are here with me as I care for my loved one.
  • I am not heartbroken or dismayed because I know you are my God and are with me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will strengthen me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will help me.
  • I rejoice and claim your promises that you will uphold me with the right hand of your righteousness.
  • I continue to pray for a hedge of protection for my loved one or even myself, both in the workplace as coworkers don’t always understand what I’m experiencing in caring for my loved one.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. What is your biggest fear in caring for your loved one? Turn it over to God in prayer.
  2. What areas do you need strengthening and encouragement? Tell God and trust him to meet your needs.
  3. Have you let your family know of areas where you might be struggling while being a caregiver? If no, tell at least one person.


Fear https://wp.me/p1F1No-2OK #caregiver #hope @jimmiekepler [CLICK TO TWEET]

Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.


Deliverance for the Believer is in Jesus Christ

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands God’s deliverance for the Believer in Jesus Christ. The Bible does not flatter us with the false hope that goodness will secure us from trouble. Instead, the Bible warns us over and over to expect tribulation while we are in this body.

Our afflictions come from all directions and at any time. The challenges are many, but with Jesus Christ, we can face each day.

There is no promise the challenges, problems, illness, or disease9 will go away in this lifetime. However, the Lord will guide us through or lift us out of them.

My Story

My wife’s left arm had started to swell up. The wrist and hand also were puffed up and getting noticeably larger day by day. Her surgical oncologist was called. An appointment was made with the managing oncologist.

When I returned from work my wife greeted with the news. She said, “I have lymphedema.”

“They removed thirty-four of your lymph nodes last June when you had your Melanoma surgery. The lymph nodes removal and lymphoma seem like they might be related. Am I right?” I queried.

“Don’t look so smug. You don’t know everything,” she replied in a playful manner.

“It looks and sounds serious.”

“It is.” She went on to explain to me that lymphedema is a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system. In her case, the cause was complications from her cancer surgery.

“Can they treat it? What are they going to do?”

“I have an appointment with a lymphedema therapist later this week.”

She saw the lymphedema therapist. She was treated in the office for a couple of weeks and then a machine lymphedema therapy machine was delivered to our home. For the next twenty-eight months she would attach herself to the machine for an hour a day to reduce the swelling in the arm.

And no, she didn’t have to do the therapy the remainder of her life. Five months before her death the brain tumor she developed had an unexpected positive side effect. A combination of massive amounts of steroids taken to reduce swelling in the brain also reduced swelling in the arm.

The lymphedema was just the first of six addition afflictions my sweet wife experienced following her initial surgery.

Somehow, she maintained a Godly, optimistic attitude through it all. I can testify the Lord Jesus delivered her out of it all.

As her caregiver, I helped her stay on schedule, encouraged her, and picked up some of her former household responsibilities where she could to the treatments with feeling guilty. The Lord delivered her from the anxiety and afflictions.

Bible Verse

Psalm 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

What the Verse Means

We either have faced, are confronting, or will experience afflictions and trials. This is an unchangeable fact.

There is good news. God’s mercies are more numerous than the afflictions and trials. God’s wisdom more wondrous than the sufferings and trials. God’s power is more miraculous than the hardships and trials. God will give us the grace we need to face them, and God will deliver us. 

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father, I know the afflictions of the righteous are many.
  • Lord Jesus, I find some comfort in knowing hardships and trials are the norms.
  • I confess I don’t like the hardships and trials but trust in you.
  • God our Father, I give you thanks for the promise of deliverance.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. What new challenges is your loved one facing?
  2. How can you help them as they navigate the new challenges?
  3. Have you asked God for the grace you need for the challenges? Give God the glory for meeting your needs when he provides the needed grace. Acknowledge his presence and activity in your loved ones and your lives.


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Photo Source: Pixabay

5 Principles for Christian Writers

Ephesians 4

Five Principles for Christian Writers: Walk in a Manner Worthy of Your Call to Write

Text: Ephesians 4: 1 – 6
Focus: Ephesians: 4: 1b – 3

Are you a Christian writer that writes inspirational fiction or devotions to encourage Believers in Jesus Christ? Maybe you are a writer whose drive is sharing Christian themes and principles for the mainstream market. Whatever your motivation, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,” Ephesians 4:1b.

Ephesians 4:1-6 (English Standard Version) says,

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

These verses give five principles that will help you: Walk In A Manner Worthy Of Your Call To Write

Principle One: Humility – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility” – Ephesians 4: 1b—2a

As a Christian writer, you should be full of Jesus, not self. The temptation is to be full of ourselves. When this happens, we are at risk of treating others with contempt. It should be about others, not ourselves.

Principle Two: Gentleness – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience,” Ephesians 4: 1b- 2a

As a Christian writer, you should be bold but under control. This does not mean to be a wimp. Just as the power of a racehorse is under the control of the jockey, as a Believer, we need to be under the control of the Spirit of the Living God. Share the love Jesus and his teachings without beating the reader over the head with the Holy Bible. Share how God’s Word is applicable to everyday living.

Principle Three: Patience – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience,” Ephesians 4: 1b- 2a

As a Christian writer, we need to trust God believing His word would come true. We need to keep on keeping on. We need to accept the fact that it takes time to develop our writing craft.  “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but wish patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9

It is better to have a limited audience and impact lives for Christ than to be a New York Times bestselling author and have no impact or testimony for Christ.

Principle Four: Forgiving Love – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” – Ephesians 4: 1b – 2.

As a Christian writer, we need to realize Christian love covers a multitude of sins. We should write with a love that loves no matter what. We have all heard it said, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Unconditional caring is what we must demonstrate as writers. After all, as a Christian, you are, by grace saved through faith, it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8-10

In Christ, we need to love people from where they are to faith and growth in Christ.

Principle Five: Unity of the Spirit in the Bond Of Peace – “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:3 English Standard Version

Principal five is the sum of points one through four. All four points equal a bond of peace. We are bearing one another in love. Our writing should share and bring people to Christ, not drive them from Christ. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6 (English Standard Version).

We need to realize it is not a geographical or a denominational thing; it is a Jesus and a God thing.

Encourage your friends, keep reading and writing.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Feel free to share as the Lord leads.

This is an original devotion written by Jimmie Aaron Kepler.

Don’t Lose Heart

Not Losing Heart

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is learning how to not lose heart and help your loved one not develop a gloom and doom attitude. Today’s verse helps us to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life. It helps you keep the faith.

My Story

I’m sure my late wife grew tired of me asking, “What did you weight this morning?”

She would dutifully look at me and then give me the number. It was almost always the same weight. Oh, it may go up or down by a pound or two but generally was the same.

One day she replied, “You’re asking my weight to see if cancer is causing me to lose weight. Am I correct?”

Guilty as charged.

Then she schools me. She said something like you’re dying just like I am. It may not be cancer that’s getting you. It’s old age. Even though you look a decade younger than your years, Father Time is getting you. The sands that count your days are slipping through the hourglass at an ever-increasing rate — and they’ll run out one day.

She told me she wasn’t going to just sit on the couch wasting away and waiting to die. She reminded me she still read her Bible daily, prayed for herself and interceded for others.

She pointed out that God was renewing her inner person daily. Oh, the body was decaying, aging, being ravaged by cancer but God had her spirit and inner parson renewed daily.

She was so smart. I may have had the official seminary education with a fancy master’s degree but she knew so much more from a deeper walk with the Lord in Bible reading, scripture meditation, and time in prayer.

She taught me that we should be released from an obsession with the physical body. The Christian’s faith is far from a fatalistic acceptance of suffering and awaiting death. Every believer in Jesus Christ has their eyes open to something else. That is the continuous restoration of the inner person.

When my late wife was in her final days in hospice care the amazing calming power of God’s word was apparent. I would read from the Book of Psalms in the Bible to her. The little anxiousness she had from the pain would melt away and transform to calm. Playing favorite hymns and worship songs worked the same miracle. It reminded me of the way she used breathing techniques to mitigate pain when in labor during the delivery of our children.

I had witnessed Scriptures’ calming power on the life of a Believer of Jesus Christ for two-plus decades as a full-time minister working with responsibilities with older adults and pastoral care. Many times as I would read familiar Bible verses the chronically or terminally ill person would transform from anxiousness and fear into peacefulness. Sometimes they even from memory say or quote the Bible verses with me.

The power of God’s word is awesome.

Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4: 16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

What the Verse Means

Christianity understands the steady decline of the physical body. Though we are rescued from spiritual death and alive with Christ, our bodies remain in the process of decay.

The follower of Christ should recognize that our outer bodies are wasting away. From the moment of birth, we begin to die. It is inescapable unless the Lord Jesus returns first.

The Christian should be aware of increasing inner, spiritual strength. God does not forsake his children, but he gives us growing supplies of grace.

The Holy Spirit works in us as an infinite well of life. This is a constant process of renewal. The Lord does not allow us to be born again and then ignore us. No, he gives us daily spiritual energy.

May we never forget the physical and the spiritual are part of your life every day.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to not focus on my decaying or diseased body, but to realize that my inner self is being renewed daily.
  • Lord Jesus, help me look to the things that are not seen, not the which are seen.
  • God, help me look to the eternal, not the temporal.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you spending time in God’s word? If not, I encourage you to return to reading your Bible or being today for the first time. You can start with just a verse or two. God will speak to you.
  2. Are you spending time in prayer? If not, I encourage you to start today. A good beginning would be praying “God, help me spend time reading your Bible. Lord, teach me to pray.”
  3. Are you obsessed with your loved one’s physical appearance? Radiation and chemotherapy take a toll. Your loved one may lose their hair. My wife had no hair her last five months of life. I didn’t see her hairless head. I saw her beautiful smile and radiant countenance. She was comfortable without a wig and would wear a chemo beanie when she went to the doctor or on days when she was able to go out for a walk or meal.


Don’t Lose Heart https://wp.me/p1F1No-2NX #caregiver #hope @jimmiekepler [CLICK TO TWEET] 

Photo Source: Taken by Jimmie Aaron Kepler. The photo was taken on March 10, 2018. It shows my late wife “Miss Benita” (yes, I called her Miss Benita) making a “muscle” for me to show she has the strength to continue battling Melanoma cancer. Ten days later a recurrence of her brain tumor was diagnosed. She would pass away only 32 days after the picture was taken. It was the last time she was out of the house before going to the hospital. We had breakfast at Chick-fil-a and were walking at The Shops at Willow Bend mall. The day before we were told there were no signs of cancer and she needed to walk to get her strength back. The oncologist was going to authorize her to return to work on June 14, 2018. Instead, the cancerous brain tumor returned. She passed away on April 12, 2018. I chose the photo because she is proudly wearing her chemo beanie over her bald head and a large scar from brain surgery she had in December 2017.

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Hope for the Caregiver: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.