The LORD Has Kept You From Honor

“…the LORD has kept you back from honor.” Numbers 24:11b

At first glance, you might think that this is in response to some sin. The Lord has kept you back from honor… because you have sinned and done evil in His sight. But that wouldn’t be the case. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Balak, king of the Moabites wanted Balaam, a wayward prophet of the Lord to come and curse his enemy. The problem? The enemy was the Children of Israel. They were the chosen people, the people of God.

These are the words of Balak, “The LORD has kept you back from honor.” After asking three different times to curse the people, Balaam actually ended up blessing the people—one time without even being asked! Balak was going to pay Balaam a fortune to curse the people. But now, Balaam wouldn’t receive a penny.

When Balaam was first asked to curse the Children of Israel, he was told by the LORD not to say anything accept what He told him to say. When Balaam spoke to the messengers from Balak, he said that even if the king was to give him a house full of gold, he couldn’t say anything accept what God told him to say. Balaam told Balak again that he could only bless the people because that is what God wanted him to do and to say. Balak then said, “The LORD has kept you back from honor.”

My favorite “go-too” devotional right now is Valley of Vision. Here is a snippet that I read earlier today:

“May thy dear Son preserve me from this present
evil world,
so that its smiles never allure,
nor its frowns terrify,
nor its vices defile,
nor its errors delude me.
May I feel that I am a stranger and a pilgrim
on earth,
declaring plainly that I seek a country,
my title to it becoming daily more clear,
my meetness for it more perfect,
my foretastes of it more abundant;
and whatsoever I do may it be done
in the Saviour’s name.”

—Valley of Vision, “The Savior”

What is it that the world would want you to do that is outside of the word of God? What allurements or delights? If you follow what Christ says, will they say, “The LORD has kept you from honor?” Better to be a person of integrity than to be honored by the world. When the world tempts you with all it’s enchantments, remember your Creator. Remember what God has said and whatsoever you do, may it be done in the Savior’s name.

Blessings,
Steve Marquez

If you have lost hope in whatever you are going through, might I encourage you to visit www.stage4ministries.com where you will find encouragement for your battle? Send us an email and let us know how we can pray for you and what we can do to help.

D.V.

World Giraffe and Kidney Cancer Day

For those of you who know me, you know my story. I am a stage four cancer survivor/battler who endured four surgeries, three of them major, where my left kidney was removed, the cancer later metastasized and then was removed from my nerves, muscles and spine. I have a cage where my L2 and L3 vertebrae were, and metal rods and screws from T10 to my pelvic. The cancer has metastasized again, and is currently in my lungs, last we looked. After 5 immunotherapy treatments this year, the metastatic cancer reduced in the lungs by 50%, which is awesome!

It is interesting that World Giraffe Day and Kidney Cancer Awareness Day are on the same day. During my last surgery, where my vertebrae were removed and hardware placed, surgeons had to deflate one of my lungs, then keep me under close observation, making sure my lung was properly inflating. Nurses did this by waking me every morning at 4am in my ICU recovery room, bringing in a portable X-Ray machine and placing a stiff film board behind my back. Obviously, this was very painful.

The X-Ray machine was a box with a neck that had the x-ray dish (I am guessing) on it where they pointed at me and took the x-rays while laying in my bed. The machine must have been from the children’s area because it had spots all over the box—like a giraffe. After getting these twice, on the third morning I woke up a bit early and saw the nurse in the room. I asked her if they were going to bring the giraffe in this morning. She gave me a puzzled look and asked, “What giraffe?” My wife, who was sitting in the room, said, “Oh, he’s talking about the x-ray machine.” Then the nurse laughed!

My wife went to the gift store and bought me a plush giraffe. It is a reminder of all I went through and that I survived. I told people I hated giraffes because of the x-ray machine. But, in truth, I love giraffes! I am alive today not because I am a good person or because I am strong. I am a weak person. I am alive today because I trust in a strong God. I trusted Him when I found out He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save me from my sins, and I trust Him for what the future holds. I don’t know the day of my death. I know that it must come. But I do know what will happen after death. I have hope. That hope gives me hope in this world as well. I will continue to fight. I will continue to tell of the faithfulness of God even though I have been unfaithful and unworthy of His love.

Someone who was going through a life threatening situation once asked me why God would keep people like her and I around. My response was that God loves us. Not because we were better than anyone else, not because we were so cute, not because we were good people. He loves us just because He loves us. That is all.

On this, World Giraffe Day and Kidney Cancer Awareness Day, may I offer you hope. I thought that if I would just stick my neck out, you might spot the hope I have and make it your own. Message me if I can be of any assistance.

Giraffe photos shot by me at The Living Desert zoo in Palm Desert, California.To keep up with my images, follow me @stmarqphotography on Instagram or Facebook. If you know of anyone who needs hope and would like to be encouraged, follow @stage4ministries on Instagram or Facebook.

Thankful

Good evening. Happy Thanksgiving. The Lord provided through another church and very special friend for me to attend a gathering of pastors next week in Alabama. Today, I saw my oncologist for my monthly check up. It was a great visit. Here are the highlights:

My boys, Jared and Andrew took me to my appointment and were in the room with me. My doc showed us the scans. There was slight growth in one of the tumors. However, the one next to it appeared to have what the doc described as cavitation in it—a hole—in the middle of the tumor! Doc said that it appeared to be starved for blood and was dying! Sometimes this can happen on its own, or because the chemo is killing the tumor. More on this in a minute.

Doc said that since my tumors were localized and had not spread anywhere else in my body in three years, I was a candidate for irradiation!!!! Normally they do not use radiation on Stage4 cancer patients, because tumors can and usually do spring up anywhere in the body. Therefore, to radiate one area doesn’t really change anything. However, because the cancer is in one area, I am a candidate for the procedure!

I spoke with Dr. Shafizadeh this afternoon as well and he was very excited about the news. I told him that at this time of thankfulness, I was grateful for him and all that he has done for me. What a blessing to know such a great Neurosurgeon and humble man. He told me that he whole-heartedly agreed about the radiation and even said that if it worked, I could then manage the cancer like others manage diabetes. I told him about Stage4 ministries and he was excited about that.

I told my oncologist that I have been speaking at churches about my testimony. He told me that I need to make sure I tell people that my testimony is not “normal” for cancer patients. “There is a Higher Power at work,” then he paused and looked at me and said, “I believe that.” This was amazing to me. Of course God put these amazing men in my life. Of course He provides this medicine. But all praise must go to Him for what He did with them and with the meds in my body. The Higher Power is none other than Jesus. What a joy to know that He is still on the throne! Praise God.

Oncologist recommends that I stay on my chemo drug after radiation so that it will keep new tumors from growing. At this point, Lord willing, I would once again be at “No Visible Signs Of Cancer”!!! No cancer that can be seen in my body.

Please pray that my insurance change in California, so I can get an appointment at City of Hope and we can get all this going. Please pray that the Lord’s will is done and that the extension of my life will be used for His glory alone, bringing many hope through faith in Christ!!

Love you. Thank you for reading. Thanks for your prayers and support. You are a great blessing to us. May the Lord Jesus richly bless you.

Pastor Steve Marquez

Stage4 Ministries

www.stage4ministries.com

(Still under construction, however, you can listen to a few of my messages and read my testimony.)

November 18, 2014

3 years ago today God used a special man and doctor in our lives, to give Steve Marquezmore time here on this earth. And God provided the miracle. Steve was still Stage 4, but active tumor free for two years.

And he can walk! Praise the Lord!

We are still grateful and thankful.

Here are some memories of that day. You can also read Steve’s testimony on it, at stage4ministries.com

Went into surgery at 10;05am.

A comment from that post:

“Dear Monica, we’re still praying for Steve, you, and your sons. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”

——————

……Update….still in surgery.

——————

……Update…..still working.

——————

…..Still working…..

A couple of comments from that update:

“Dang! Poor guy, he’s a trooper for sure – Steve is much stronger than I am that’s for sure!”

“Holy smokes!!!!”

——————

…..Still working…..

“Been praying all day.”

“Man…

I want to say, “Hurry it up,” but…them rushing through anything isn’t such a good idea. Hang in there Monica!”

———————

……Still working….getting close to closing. Said about another hour.

“Man…that is a LONG surgery…we are with you on this!”

“Praying for our beloved pastor and all you guys! God is good, hang in there :)”

———————

…..Dr just came out. Everything went well with very little blood loss. PTL!!! Goes from T10 to the Ilium. This precious dr was determined to get the rest of that tumor and he DID!!!! He said there is a very small amount left in Steve’s muscle and he said they will ‘get it’ with radiation. One of Steve’s nurses was just here to check on him. She was so excited at the news. As am I.

Comments from that post:

“Thanking God for his mercy and for the blessing of a skilled surgical team. Prayers continue.”

“Fantastic news. Please give Steve a hug for me.

Bill Walden”

10.5 hours total surgery time.