Saturday, May 6, 2017

When Thou Shalt Not becomes Thou Shalt

thou shalt not
Have you had a month like me? Life gets in the way. Tammy gets in the way. Tammy lets life put things in the way. Yes, getting side-tracked and off-track describes April 2017 for me! I haven't written a newsletter since March 22.

One of my favorite pastors always said "If you can hold it, do. But if you can't hold it, we want to hear from you!" This thought has been rolling around in my heart and head for longer than a couple of months.  So, today, you're hearing from me 'cause I can't hold it any longer.


What happens when thou shalt not becomes thou shalt? 

God spoke the ten commandments into existence in Exodus 20. Most of us can quote the six or seven "Thou Shalt Not's" from memory that God carved into a stone tablet. These commandments give us guidelines of what we should not do. Thou shalt not kill, steal or lie. Thou shalt not curse, have affairs or want your neighbor's stuff. Thou shalt have no other gods before me or worship graven images. Thou shalt not means it's a no-no, don't do it, not-ta, no sirree!

Fast forward to the birth of Jesus and let's look at his "Thou Shalt's" in Mark 12:30-32. There are only two. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like this, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The "Thou Shalt Not's" were wrapped into two simple commandments. When you love God and your neighbour, you don't desire to kill, steal or lie, curse, commit adultery or want their stuff. When the Lord thy God is first in your life, everything else falls into the right places.

Isn't it a miracle to think about how Jesus changed the world? From law to grace. From guilty to not guilty. From condemnation to righteousness. From death to life. From lost to found. What happens when thou shalt not becomes thou shalt? A world is saved. A Kingdom is come. Grace is sufficient. There is Peace on earth. Goodwill to men.

Most people don't come to church to hear what they should do but what they shouldn't do. Let us be encouraged for what thou shalt do because there is none other commandment greater than these two. Jesus simplified things for his people. We don't have to remember ten, only two.

It's no longer
THOU SHALT NOT
but rather
THOU SHALT!

Commanded to love,
Tammy
The Happy Handicap

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Are You Bad Enough to Become a Christian?

bad christians

Jesus probably did a facepalm when the Pharisees said to his disciples, "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?". The religious leaders of the day didn't understand why Jesus would bother with these bad people. Accordingly, many religious people today, like the Pharisees, will allow their own perceived righteousness to hinder their salvation dooming their souls forever.

The question is not if you are good enough to be a Christian. You will never be good enough. Jesus answered to someone who called him Good Master, "Why are you calling me good? there is none good but one, that is, God". That is Jesus speaking. HELLO! He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and he doesn't refer to himself as good. Some people put themselves into the good column when they don't let alcohol touch their godly lips or if they attend church every service or when they defend their goodness with someone else's failures (ex. they curse and I don't). If you're looking for a religion based on works and how well your goodness stacks up, become a Jehovah's Witness. You'll be doing good, they'll tell you so.

The question is are you bad enough to become a Christian? Every person must realize their bad condition; unclean and in need of redemption. Jesus offers free guilt and sin removal. Do you tell lies, steal, cheat, have extramarital affairs, curse, disrespect your parents, or kill others with a gun or your mouth? Do you have hate in your heart? Do you simply know that you're not good? Do you know that you have sinned and fell short of God's glory? Good. You're good! We all have done these things. WE ARE ALL SINNERS! The Bible says so. You are just the type of person Jesus is looking for. Each and every one of us are bad enough to become a Christian if we will realize our fallen sin nature and ask Jesus to forgive us. Forgiven is received with a broken heart and a simple prayer of submission.

When Jesus heard the religious leaders inquiring about him eating with sinners, he answered "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." You may also paraphrase as "They that be good need not a savior but they that are bad."  Jesus is the way for sinners to repent and receive eternal life and blessings.

Quit trying to be good enough to get into heaven. Ain't happening! Jesus is the only name given whereby we must be saved. He can't save you if you think you're good. Bad is a redeemable quality. You'll never be too bad or too dirty or done too much for Jesus to save. Then, with Jesus as your savior, good will flow out of you by his spirit but it still doesn't make you good, it makes you whole, redeemed and forgiven.

Are you bad enough to become a Christian? If not, just be yourself. You'll get there in no time at all! Promise.

Bad and Forgiven,
Tammy
The Happy Handicap

Saturday, March 25, 2017

3 Tips to Make Your Easter Easy

oriental trading easter
I received the products in this post free from Oriental Trading.

Easter Sunday is almost here, April 16, 2017. Easter is a fun holiday filled with colored eggs, chocolate rabbits, real live bunnies and a Lamb. Yes, Jesus is who makes Easter special! You may be starting to think about what you'll get the kids and how you'll decorate. I've put together 3 Tips to make your Easter Easy by using products from a trusted friend of mine, Oriental Trading.

Tip #1: Use Filled Easter Eggs for your Community Easter Egg Hunt. Every year our church requests plastic eggs and candy for the hunt. Then, they ask for volunteers to pull the eggs apart and insert the candy. I got smart and you can too! I'm donating these beauties that accomplish many goals including presenting the resurrection story with the colorful wording on and inside the eggs. Easy? I think so.

oriental trading filled eggs

Tip #2: Easter pencils are an easy and useful addition to any Easter Basket. Kids love pencils! They can never have too many. These religiously decorated pencils are eye-catching and also remind children what Easter is all about. Jesus lives!
oriental trading easter pencils

Tip #3. Decorate your space with colorful yard signs. These signs are well constructed with a laminated front and two stakes per sign. Super easy to beautify your landscape for Easter and share the Good News of the gospel. Very visible from a distance too.
bunny signs oriental trading

Enjoy your holiday. Be sure to check out all these Easter items on sale now. Buying in bulk is one more way to save money and make your Easter easy. Please share these 3 Tips to make your Easter Easy with your friends and make their Easter easy too!

Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy,
Tammy
The Happy Hanicap

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Modern-Day Miracle

imuran

Do you want a miracle or a mess is the title of a blog post I published just 35 days ago where I asked  you to help us pray for our dilemma; Steve's medicine costing $852 for a four week month and $1065 for a five-weeker! Thank you for your prayers. We received a modern-day miracle.

Everyone involved has been very sympathetic to Steve's need. Dr. Staton at Emory Clinic has been working hard with Encompass Pharmacy to get the brand Imuran approved. The generic Azathioprine doesn't work for Steve. The cheapest I found Imuran (with an internet coupon) was $213 per week for 30 pills. I bought one week at a time hoping for help soon. Roberta, the nurse at Emory called me every couple of days to give me status updates. Dr. Staton wrote an addendum to the patient file to finally satisfy the insurance company.

Yesterday morning at 8 a.m., I received a call from Envision Drugs that Imuran was approved! Can you hear the Hallelujah Chorus playing in my head? I immediately called the pharmacy. They agreed it was approved with a copay of $450 per month. Good news interrupted with bad. The pharmacy tech quickly informed me they were filing an exception appeal to reduce the cost. I said "Well, I got Steve a grant and it may not be necessary." I gave them the information and guess what?

A Modern-Day MIRACLE!
The pharmacy tech said "I'll fedex the Imuran to your address by this Thursday with a copay of zero dollars!" Yes, that's right, FREE! The grant covered the copay. The grant should cover the copay for the rest of the year. The grant is $9000. Psalm 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord!

How did I do it? Perseverance, tenacity and our Heavenly Father!
  • I called the manufacturer of the drug. The original maker is Glaxo Smith-Kline in Dublin, Ireland. I contacted them on their facebook page. They responded very quickly referring me to their North Carolina office to find out there was no financial assistance or coupons available for Imuran.
  • I called Walgreen's to obtain the manufacturer of the exact pills in Steve's bottle. They were right here in Roswell, GA. Seleba Pharmacy was so rude, so unconcerned, the customer service agent so made me not want to buy their drugs at all .... but my husband needs them.
  • I tried every Google search term I could think of, forward and backward; financial assistance for Imuran, Imuran coupons, discounts for Imuran, pulmonary fibrosis, etc. without any good results. If I did find a lead for his condition, pulmonary fibrosis, it was the wrong kind of fibrosis. Most assistance was for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and his is not idiopathic. Then, there were the financial hurdles to overcome personally or the programs were maxed out.
  • After MANY hours and days of searching, I prayed and asked Jesus for some help.
  • I don't remember what search phrase lead me to a site that I read and re-read, clicked, clicked and clicked some more until I divinely landed (not stumbled) upon a site that had funds available for pulmonary fibrosis. The application process was painless and you know if you are approved when you hit the submit button. 
  • HealthWell Foundation helps individuals afford the medicine they need! There are qualifications and stipulations but thank God, Steve fell into one of their paying categories! Steve received the grant five days before the medicine was approved. Perfect timing!
  • I was so excited to go to Walgreens for his meds last week only to be disappointed. There is one caveat to using the grant money. The grant covers the copay only meaning insurance has to approve and pay first. The money was appropriated and sitting there but couldn't be used because insurance had not approved the medicine.
  • If I can assist anyone with this process, please contact me. 
HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HAL-LE-LU-JAH!
One of my favorite verses, Psalm 37:25 is so true. Trust Him and expect your miracle!

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

squirrel praise

Thanking God for a modern-day miracle,
Tammy
The Happy Handicap

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Do You Want a Miracle or a Mess?

miracle


Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.    - Matthew 7:7-8 KJV

We received terrifying news in March 2012. Steve couldn't breathe well. After  a lung biopsy, the doctor looked us square in the eyes without any compassion and bluntly said "You've got two to five years". Usually, my response would have been something ridiculous like "Two to five years to what? Pay off my car? Make a million dollars? Retire?". But I knew crazy questions were not going to hide the evidence Steve's biopsy revealed; the diagnosis of a deadly form of lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis.

According to the study “Clinical Course and Prediction of Survival in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis,” median survival of patients who suffer from pulmonary fibrosis is 2.5 years, but some patients live much longer than that. The most common cause of death among patients is respiratory failure. 

God blessed me with some tenacity for a reason! Battling a birth defect for 48 years, me and adversity are tight. Close companions. I have to admit hearing the prognosis I was shaken. Remember my words in October about Milisende?  I can never promise an "unstirred" Tammy but I always promise to seek to discover Christ, my rock and salvation. The One who stills my fears during my fiercest storms...my Fear Whisperer. I began to ask, seek and knock ferociously concerning Steve's disease once I relocated my Anchor and He steadied my boat upright.

The past five years have been a tremendous journey with many ups and then downs and then ups again. Happiness one day and a nauseating sickness in the depths of my soul the next day. I won't even attempt to detail the entire process but I MUST share with you what happened yesterday which I believe started mid-December 2015.

I'm a member of a facebook group whose members have Antisynthetase Syndrome (which caused his pf) like Steve. I befriended one of the admins, really nice guy who was very willing to discuss Steve's medicines and treatment with me. He shared his journey giving me proven tips and advice. His suggestion that rang a bell with me was to obtain "brand" prescriptions for Steve instead of generic. I had previous experience with taking a brand drug (hormone) that worked for me but the generic did not. In fact, this happened to me twice and currently the medicine I use has to be from a certain manufacturer. The supposedly same medicine in the same strength does not have the same effect. I got Steve the brand medicine!

Fast forward to September 2016. Steve had been taking the brand medicine for eight months. His oxygen saturation tests at his doctor visit in September showed improvement. The improvement was so vast, the doctor asked if he still wanted the oxygen. Steve opted for it because he felt breathless.

Steve's insurance changed in September 2016. I called the oxygen company to notify them of the change. They were unconcerned until January 2017 when our balance grew to over $500 due to the insurance change.  Insurance requires a 6-minute walk test without oxygen and with oxygen to approve the charges. Remember the improvement in Steve's oxygen saturation in September? Yesterday, GOD COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED STEVE AND ME!!!

Steve's oxygen saturation during a 6-minute walk did not go below 88%! 87% is the magic number to get oxygen approved. After the test, the doctor came out and spoke with us. "Good News!" he said. Your test today shows YOU DO NOT NEED OXYGEN! Are you willing to call Apria and ask them to come get their bottles? Steve apprehensively said yes. I said aloud "Praise Jesus!".

We are both still a bit rattled but so very thankful to a God who loves and cares for us. Steve is still disabled. He still has a severe lung disease but my oh my, what progress! What a miracle that I give our Heavenly Father all the glory for. Thank you so much for all your prayers and please don't stop interceding on Steve's behalf. Our God is might to save in every way! Now, we have a new challenge that I know God will provide. The new insurance won't pay for the brand medicine. The cost? $1400 a month. That's like nothing for Jesus! Please join us in praying for a quick solution as he's been taking the generic now for a month. These chemo meds take at least eight months to begin working or not working.

We want miracles! Would the walls of Jericho fell if the people had marched around 6 times or 8 times when God said 7? Would Gideon have been defeated if he had not used the men God made lap like a dog? Did David need more than one stone to kill Goliath? I could go on and on with the victories God provides his children. If we want miracles and not a mess, ask and receive, seek and find, knock and walk through God's open glorious door! 

Seeking miracles,
Tammy
The Happy Handicap