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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Friday, December 24, 2010
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being grateful for where I am rather than where I’m not. And I’ve realized that leaving things behind means freedom. Facing the truth about yourself and whatever situation you’re in can be difficult, but it doesn’t mean you have to obscure the truth. Being real is not hiding or forgetting. Wholeness means you can equally embrace the past, present, and the future and the truth about all of them.

For example, I was writing a scene today where a man goes into a Subway restaurant for a drink of soda. The face of my son, Colin, flashed in my mind and I had a pang of regret and nostalgia. He used to love getting a little cup of Sprite with a sandwich. Now that he has Type 1 Diabetes, those days are over. Yes, he could have diet sodas, but the health risks outweigh the upside, we think.

What he eats or drinks isn’t the point. The point is his life has been forever altered. He’ll never go a day the rest of his life without thinking about the fact that his pancreas doesn’t work. That’s sad. That’s a loss.

However, thinking about his life now and the way his health has turned around makes me grateful. He gets lots of exercise and enjoys really good food now, not the junk you get in a fast food restaurant. Today we’ll play some basketball and get our heart rates going. Somehow, to say that I’m grateful for this, feels like I’m snatching something from the loss. I’m not giving pain its full due if I see the bright side. But both are true. Colin’s life is altered and he has experienced a great loss. But it’s also true that he’s on a good path.

Perhaps the reason I’m thinking about this is that plaintive baby’s cry in the manger. The cry of a newborn from the pain of birth. Hunger. Was there something more to the cry? They say a mother knows her baby’s cry. Andrea has always known if our kids are hungry or angry by their cries. Did Mary sense something different about the wails of her firstborn son? Perhaps this was part of what she pondered in her heart.

This little baby had stepped from heaven’s shores and the glory of that peace-filled land. In fact, the creator of everything had flown from a land that knew no sin to a landscape where sin had touched everything. The one who had fashioned the stars now lay helpless under starlight. The one who had spoken a word and scattered the angelic host, was now proclaimed as the Savior by those he had created. The earth he had formed held him in that dusty, Middle Eastern village.

Jesus had given up much in order to become man. There was more than divine desire that compelled him on the road he was to travel. It was deep desire from the heart of God to love, to give, for it was in the suffering, the struggle, the laughter and tears and nails and wood and blood that he would do his greatest work. Spit and dirt opened eyes. A touch of his garment led to healing. If he had never made the trip, there would not be redemption or salvation or as much glory due to his name. His mission was rescue. His life was ransom, fully paid.

That story spills over us. Dust and sand and dirt and rocks and trouble everywhere. The past and all the idyllic visions we had about what will be, might be, could be. Today I am listening to my own heart cry for something more. Something that says the past is real and full of loss, and that the future is filled with questions and hardship, but also something good. Indescribable. Whole.

In the suckling child of Bethlehem, in the stillness of that starry night, you and I sit in wonder at the mercy and grace of a God who did not grasp, but who let go of his Father’s hand and grasped the finger of a young mother. He knew there would be such agony and pain. And he did it anyway. He came to us not in spite of our sin and “lostness,” but because of it.

That’s what makes me cry this Christmas. They are tears we share with that baby. That man. With God himself—God with us.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I ran an errand yesterday with my daughter, Shannon. She knew it was our anniversary today. “So, when did you know you were in love with Mom? What was the progression?”

Good question. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time. I explained how we met—I was an animal trainer with the circus—no, wait, I was in Special Ops with a clandestine military group… I used to do that, make up stories of how we met, telling the kids I was everything from a coal miner to a professional cheerleader.

I was a leader for our InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group at Marshall University. In the fall of 1981, Andrea Kessel came to West Virginia to take a job in radio and volunteered to help out at the local university. I still remember what she wore to that first meeting, the blue bell bottoms, the razor thin sandals, the striped shirt with the little tie thing at the top.

I remember that she laughed at my jokes and came up to me afterward and talked about radio and tennis and life. We had a lot in common. By December of 1981, I had asked her to my radio station’s Christmas party. That was our first date. One year later, to the day, we were married. In a private ceremony at the White House.

Things progressed pretty quickly. Back when I was a professional fisherman, I learned when I had a catch and when I should throw the fish back. Andrea was a keeper. We were drawn together like the ocean tide is drawn to the shore, like refrigerator magnets are drawn to…refrigerators, like flies to warm potato salad.

“But when did you know you were in love?” Shannon said.

“My concept of love is different than you see in Hollywood movies or in most of the culture. Love is a feeling that comes and goes. It’s warm and fuzzy and makes you feel tingly inside. It’s like champagne—as long as you feel the fizz, you’re in love. But when the feeling goes away, you’re out of love and you leave because what you’re in the relationship for is the feeling. To many, love is like a bank account. When you withdraw all the money, the account is empty and you move on to another relationship in order to get the same feeling.”

Shannon has heard this before, in various ways. She’s a veteran of the “commitment” speech. But I kept going. And I will hereby keep going and flesh out this postulate.

To me, love is not wrapped in a feeling I get, but is an action on my part. It’s a commitment made based on a desire I have for good to the other person. I love her, not because she makes me feel befuddled on the inside. I love her because I’ve chosen to love her, in spite of all of her foibles, problems, and negatives. And not respecting her beauty, desirability, sex appeal, and winsome personality. My love is not an exhaustible bank account that runs out when she makes me unhappy. My love is an action based on my commitment for her good.

And here’s the really great part of this type of love. I am still befuddled by her. I am still tingling. It was 28 years ago today that she walked down the aisle in a beautiful, white dress, and said, “I do” to me. Best day of my life. Scary day. We began a journey neither of us understood. We couldn’t imagine what was ahead. But we’re going through it together. Committed to each other through the good, the bad, and the moldy.

“Did that answer your question?” I said to Shannon.

“Not really,” she said, smiling, as if she had heard all of that before. As if she were proud in some way to have parents who are still together. As if she already knew the answer to the question.

She knows that love is not a tingle. She has seen us fight like cats and dogs and pout and cry and say mean things to each other. She knows we’re not together simply because of our fortitude. Yes, we are committed to each other. Marriage is work and we’ve done some heavy lifting over the years. Of course, my stint as a professional body builder helped. But the dirty little secret of love is that even if you’re committed, even if you try your hardest to stay “in” it, you’re going to fall out of it at some point and wind up in the same place the people who are in it for the tingles wind up. Even the most committed marriage in the world will fall apart.

The real reason we’ve stuck together for 28 years is because of something unseen, something other-worldly, and something that doesn’t have anything to do with us. What drew us to each other was not ourselves, our interests, or our backgrounds. What keeps us together is not ourselves. God is the third cord. He gets the credit for anything good that comes out of our marriage. A marriage that lasts is a gift. It’s up to us to treasure it and open it every day.

So I’m grateful today, 28 years later, to the one who said “I do.” And I’m grateful, eternally, for the One who brought us together in his timing, for his purposes.

That kind of gives me a tingle.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
If you heard Chris Fabry Live today, you know about Chris Castaldo and the hospital. Good news! Fabriana was born shortly after we hung up the phone! Here's the news from Chris’ blog:

Our dear little girl, Aliza Mattea, was born today. Aliza means “joyful” in Hebrew and Mattea is Italian for “gift of God.” After nearly twenty-four hours in the delivery room, it was joyful indeed when she finally arrived.

The hour preceding Aliza’s birth was memorable. It started last week when Tricia McMillan, producer of the Chris Fabry Live program, asked me to join Chris on his radio program. Tricia gave me several dates to choose from. After selecting one, I told Angela, “This is when you’re going to give birth.” Sure enough!

As Angela neared the end of her labor, I stood in the room across the hall on the telephone. Every few minutes I received a text message from friends who were listening to the radio interview. What a privilege and delight. Chris Fabry led listeners from all over the country to pray for Angela and the baby, and just 14 minutes after completing the interview, as I stood beside Angela’s bed, a newborn baby’s cry was heard.


Congratulations, Castaldo family!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I listened to a section of last year's Christmas program on Chris Fabry Live! the other day. It's not because I'm narcissistic. Well, I am, but the reason I listened again was due to a listener who lives in the mountains of California who called and said that program meant a lot to her. Her son had committed suicide in the past year and she said that program meant so much. I wondered what we had said. (Andrea, my wife, was our featured guest.)

Toward the end of the program I read a few paragraphs from the story I was working on. I had written that section earlier that morning. As I read, I made the mistake of looking at Andrea, who was in a little puddle. The section was from Almost Heaven, Billy's message to his listeners who were struggling. They were words that helped a struggling mom in California nearly a year later. They were words that challenged me again as I listened.

My goal in writing is to move readers as much as I've been moved by other writers. Sentences that ring true to the heart and don't gloss over life's hurts. I long to hear readers say they underlined sections of the book and want to read it again more slowly.

Over the past few months I've sensed that I need to let go of the controls on the "writing thing" and let the books get into the hands of as many people as possible. If you'd like to help with that, we're instituting a Christmas special for Almost Heaven, Dogwood, and June Bug, my trilogy of West Virginia fiction. If you purchase two books, you'll receive one free—any combination of these titles. And I'll personalize them for you for Christmas and throw in free shipping. Just click on the What's New tab above or follow the link in the sidebar to find this offer on my website.

The gift of a story is a wonderful thing. I'd love to see something from Dogwood under your tree this season.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
We are not defined by our losses, but they do mark us. Hence, I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, grieving. But every now and then I think of my office in Colorado, the friends I left behind there in the form of books. No, not books, treasures.

Part of that treasure includes the loss of Pat Conroy. He is one of my favorite writers because his novels (one in particular) struck a deep, deep chord within. It still does. I had several copies of The Prince of Tides, including the audio version recorded by Frank Muller. I also had a framed picture of Beaufort, S.C. that my wife gave me that reminds me of our trip to Fripp Island in 1998.

On that trip, I discovered that Pat frequented a grocery store named T.T. Bones. The proprietor said if I left the books with her and paid for the postage, she would have him sign the books and send them to me. I bought hard cover copies of The Prince of Tides and The Water is Wide, two of my favorites. A couple of weeks later I found them in the mailbox, signed in the Conroy way, “For the love of Fripp!”

Then, when Pat’s nonfiction book about his days of playing basketball for The Citadel came out, I had a fleeting moment of meeting him in a long line at the Tattered Cover in Denver. I even took a picture of him and hung it on my wall.

In October of 2008, we abandoned our home and all our belongings because of a toxic mold exposure. Our children were sick, my wife and I were sick, and the toxicologist told us not to chance taking anything with us. No pictures, no furniture, no books. I had an extensive collection of writing books that I miss every day I sit in my little office and try to create, but I miss nothing more than the sight of those signed books by Conroy.

Over the years I’ve tried to come up with a creative way to have Pat on my radio show. However, the type of fiction he writes is not conducive to a “Christian” talk show. He tells great stories, and there are deep aspects of faith in them, but I haven’t been able to figure out the right subject matter.

Then I heard about a new nonfiction book that released November 2. My Reading Life is a literary travelogue of sorts, reflections about the books Pat has read and how they’ve affected him. This was my chance. The 200 or so outlets that take our program would finally hear Pat Conroy, and more importantly, I would get the chance to speak with a literary legend.

I contacted the publicist for his book and told him what a fan I am and how I would welcome any amount of time with Mr. Conroy. I received a message that his schedule was closed. He only did a limited amount of media for the book. However, the publicist said he would send me something. He had no idea of the story I just told you.

Today a FedEx package arrived. Small. Thin. I thought it might be a copy of the book. I opened it gingerly and found a page from the book printed on card stock. It was numbered 11/500. “Why I Write” was at the top. At the bottom was Pat’s signature.

I couldn’t believe the kindness of this stranger who sent me such a gift. It felt like a nudge from above saying, “Keep going. Keep telling stories. Tell them well.” I would trade it for a conversation, of course. But I wouldn’t trade the grateful feelings of nostalgia and inspiration.
Good news—I will be one of the guests on Midday Connection tomorrow (Friday 11/12), talking about life, love, and Almost Heaven.

Anita Lustrea was kind enough to ask me to join her for a few minutes and I’m excited about the interview. You can hear it at noon Central Time or listen via the podcast or stream at MiddayConnection.org.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I just downloaded my latest book from Amazon. Free. And you can, too.

Through a promotion with Tyndale House Publishers, Amazon.com is offering Almost Heaven free for the Kindle for a limited time. Just click here and it's yours for the checking out.

I don’t own a Kindle, but I downloaded the Kindle software free from Amazon which means I can read my own book for nothing! If you have a computer and can get to the Internet and if you like free things, this is a no-brainer. Just go to Amazon.com, click on Kindle on the left side, then “Download free reading apps.” It’s a great way to get Almost Heaven. And did I mention it’s free?

Maybe I can get them to write my next book so I don’t have to do anything.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I had a one-day meeting in Nashville and decided to combine that with a trip to see my parents in West Virginia. My father is 90, my mother 83, and they live alone at the top of a knoll surrounded by trees, turkey, deer, and occasional hunters.

I rented a car and drove the 6 hours from TN. I pulled into their driveway early on Friday morning while it was still dark and stretched out with a jacket as a cover. A knock on the window awakened me. It was their neighbor, Fred, who mows their hay and runs off the occasional hunters.

“You’re the youngest one!” he said.

He apologized for waking me, but it actually gave me a good feeling to have someone watching out for them.

My mother and father pray before each meal. They’ve been married almost 61 years. They kiss each other just before going to take a nap. One will bring a cover for the other or a warm cup of soup or decaf. Their silent ways of saying “I love you” are perhaps the most enlightening. The blood pressure kit that is dutifully produced for another check of heart rate. The simple act of cleaning one another’s glasses. Picking lint from a shirt or flicking off an errant spider.

My father’s memory is fading. People and faces come and go. The score from the game we watched the night before. My mother speaks in hushed tones about the depth of his failure to recall. She is his memory. She hears for him. Though at times he seems to hear and remember perfectly well, so it all could be an act.

It concerned me when I saw my mother frantically going through the backseat of their Chevy Impala. My father has always been a Chevy man, though there were the Mazda years in the 1970s and 80s. She was looking for her extra set of car keys—the ones with the grocery store discount tags attached. She guessed she lost them at some store. Or, perhaps my older brother had misplaced them after his trip home. We went through all the possibilities.

This did not sound plausible to me. How would she have driven home if she lost the keys at a store? My brother is detail oriented. I asked her questions. “What were you wearing when you last saw them? Have you changed coats? Could they be in the washer?”

I looked in the car, under the seats, and in the yard where they walk toward their new ramp—a not-so-gentle slope that covers the concrete steps that have been so cruel in recent years.

She wanted her radio moved into the TV room. I looked for the keys. Then, in the living room, I spotted an errant purse hiding on the coat tree and with much trepidation reached inside and grabbed a set of keys with grocery tags attached. Frank and Joe Hardy never felt any greater accomplishment. But the look on her face when I produced them was not relief, but sadness and loss.

We drove to see my uncle—a wiry, thin man whose favorite question to me was always, “How much do you weigh now, Chris?” He always spoke with his teeth together, daring you to decipher him. We walked the wide hallway, led by my bloodhound of a mother, and we found Uncle Johnny sleeping in a wheelchair, the television tuned to a soap opera and Cheerios littering the floor. Like a slumbering chipmunk by the hickory nut tree.

I rubbed his shoulder as his breathing grew heavier. This was a man who used to take me bowling. He would catch minnows and fish with me at our ponds.

He awoke and looked straight up at my father and said, “Robert.” They touched each other, my father sat, and my mother introduced the stranger in the room. He repeated my name, then craned his neck to see me. I turned off the TV.

I awaited the pivotal question, but all he could say was my name. We stayed a few minutes, making one-sided conversation, then made our way to the front again. On the way home my mother asked if we could go to the mall and buy her some new slacks. She told me from the back seat which lane to get in, then which entrance to use.

I parked and rolled down the windows for my father. I know you aren’t supposed to leave little children in the car alone, or pets, but what about 90-year-old men?

I caught up with my mother inside and actually saw a friend I hadn’t seen in 30 years, not counting Facebook. My mother wanted me to say hello to an old classmate, Connie, who worked at this particular store. I didn’t know Connie well during our educational sojourn through the West Virginia education we both endured. She approached my mother from another department, tentative, unsure of what this might entail. Perhaps an irate customer?

“You went to school with my Chris, didn’t you?” my mother said.

“Yes, I did,” Connie said.

“Well, here he is.”

Connie looked up and smiled as my mother spoke of some accomplishment I had achieved. I remembered as a child her pride that I could talk “early.” Instead of just pointing and grunting at the Little Debbie Cakes, I could actually sound out “Oatmeal Cream Pie.”

Connie was kind and humored both my mother and me. Then we parted, finding my father still in the car.


The next morning my mother was concerned because all she could see on TV was cartoons. She needed a box of some sort from the cable company. This led me on a journey into the heart of darkness that is the world of cable, but I was more than willing to risk my life and dignity, facing the slings and arrows of this mysterious world.

I returned with 2 converter boxes to find my father alone, reading the paper in front of a strangely silent TV. I flicked the power button on the remote and found a full slate of channels. There had been an isolated outage in their area.

That afternoon we noticed it was getting a little chilly in the house. We discovered the gas was off, which set in motion another equally compelling adventure comparable to “The Lost Key Mystery.” My mother and father, barely ambulatory enough to navigate the new ramp, walked stiff legged toward an undulating field filled with unseen crevices, creeks, and gullies. Carrying a pipe wrench and a screwdriver, they led me to a pipe sticking out of the ground and proceeded to argue what would happen if I “blew the well.”

I will not go into detail here about what happened, but it was my mother’s tenacity in calling the drilling company and getting “Jerry” to drive the 60 miles to the farm that saved our lives from the bitter 45-degree temperatures and the sure explosion that would have followed if I had “blown the well.”

When I finally left them on Saturday night the hot water heater and furnace were working and the gas had returned. Game 3 of the World Series was history and it was time for me to leave. We hugged and kissed at the house on the knoll and as I drove away they flicked the light on and off, a signal I remembered from my youth. I carry that flickering light with me every day.
Friday, November 5, 2010
My Uncle Willy was a hulk of a man, bigger than life itself. Tall and rotund, he walked with a sideways gait, as if the world were a listing ship and he was the one who was centered. We always looked forward to his visits because we knew we would laugh. He had the biggest laugh in the world. The biggest heart. A big appetite, too.

When we visited his home in Virginia (he had a blueprint business in Richmond), we would always play endless games of pool in his air-conditioned home. When Uncle Willy came to our place in the hills, it was late night games of Rook and dominoes punctuated with bodily noises and ribald stories. We laughed until midnight.

Uncle Willy had served in the Navy and liked his apple pie with cheese on top, something I could never understand. Still don’t, but then I’ve never been in the Navy. He loved bowling and smoked big cigars in the big car with leather seats he always drove.

Uncle Willy’s lap was a place of comfort and felt like home. As long as he didn’t take his shoes off, you were fine. I’m telling it like it is, not nice and neat and sugary sweet. His feet smelled like something that had been left beside the road. But it didn’t really matter. That was one thing I learned early, love covers a multitude of fungal problems.

There was a fair amount of rancor anytime he and Aunt Aileen came to visit because at some point the two of them would get into an argument. That’s when things really got interesting. I hardly ever heard my parents argue so it was a treat. Like Archie and Edith to a certain extent. Uncle Willy’s booming voice. Aunt Aileen’s alto whine. The argument crescendoed and then they’d make their way out to lawn chairs that were never the same afterward. Lightning bugs rose and whippoorwills called. And arguments faded.

Uncle Willy sang a song about “Tweedle O’Twil.” I guess it was an old Jim Reeves tune. I’d never heard it other than his version. I remember the line, “Sittin’ there wishin’, he could go fishin, over the hill, Tweedle O Twil.” Somehow that embodied my image of Uncle Willy.

And then the parting would come. Aunt Aileen’s eyes would grow red. Tears would stream. Hugs all around and then I’d watch their car disappear around the corner. The house always felt a lot quieter after their visits. More lonesome. Like some beautiful, ravaging storm had passed through and had left you different than before it came.

Aunt Aileen died many years ago, but Uncle Willy hung on and kept going. Today I got the news that the health problems that plagued him finally claimed his life. But death's cruel tug cannot take away the laughter I can still hear. I still feel the comfort of his embrace. The morning coffee on his breath. The sound of pins toppling from his powerful delivery.

I do not know why God favors some and not others. Why he blesses us with sunsets that shimmer all the colors of the rainbow while in other places the sky is gray. But I am grateful I can say I was one of the lucky few who had an Uncle Willy.
We asked you to pray for Ellie, our little friend who underwent brain surgery last month. Here's a recent progress report from her father, Peter. Please continue to pray for Ellie and her family.

Ellie has been exhibiting a ton more emotions. She's smiling, crying and a few days ago I could have sworn she laughed! Her dominant emotive has definitely been crying...she seems to cry often and for no apparent reason. However, she's home and we haven't been back to the hospital save for a check-up with Neuro-surgery (everything is looking good).

It's becoming apparent that Ellie is more 'aware' of herself and her
surroundings. She seems to respond more when she hears us talking or
moving around, she's more attuned to pain, and perhaps, she even knows
when she's hungry (still eating through the tube). She must have been in something like a deep, mental fog for the last year brought on by her seizures (she still hasn't had any since the night of the surgery).

She's 15 months old, now. We're praying that the seizures do stay at
bay, so that she will continue to develop all that she can do. We worry
about her future, which I suppose is normal for parents. People will
say, she'll be in God's hands, which is true. It is also true that she
has never been out of His hands from the moment she came into being, and
neither have we. And yet, in His hands we've been allowed to endure
(and survive) the most difficult, hellish year of our lives.

It's impossible to know what the future holds, but we are still hoping
for the best. We are certain that she has attained her current
progress, in large part, because of so many people's prayers--so many of
you. We have never been alone in this fight. You have all been
unswervingly faithful in lifting us up, a fact that is overwhelming.

Obviously, we never, ever wanted any of this for our children...this was
never factored into our dreams. However, since it has been and
continues to be our reality, we could not have 'dreamed' of being so
completely and repeatedly enveloped in prayer and generosity as we have
been. You have all been unbelievably good to us...it must be from God.

Thank you.

With much love,

Peter with Alana, Katie, and Ellie
Monday, October 25, 2010
Click to order from Christianbook.com

If I had written the book, What Women Tell Me, the chapters would have been, “That shirt really doesn’t go with that tie,” “Turn over, you’re snoring again,” and the ever-popular, “Stop picking at your ear, Dad.”

One of the axioms of life is that God does not waste our pain. If we allow him to use our weaknesses, struggles, and disappointments, he will do that. He also uses our tragedies and the times in life when we feel like we’re lower than a snake’s belly.

I met Anita Lustrea in 1984, I think. She liked the Chicago Cubs and knew a lot about music. She was one of our first babysitters for our first child, Erin.

Before Anita hosted Midday Connection, she produced the program while Andrea hosted. One day Andrea came home after a particularly difficult program about husbands and wives. When I asked her how it went, she said that Anita had come into the studio afterward, shaken.

As I read Anita’s book, What Women Tell Me, that scene came back to me. I knew a little about what was going on, but I didn’t have any idea the depth of the pain Anita went through. I think a lot of people are going to be helped by her honest, frank, and open dialogue.

I’m glad Anita wrote this book. It was a long, arduous climb both in writing and in dealing with the pain. But I don’t think God is going to waste it. I believe he wants to use it in many lives.

To learn more about the book and what went into writing it, visit Anita's website.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Thanks to those of you who have been praying for little Ellie. She is now home from the hospital! Here's the latest from her father, Peter. Please continue to pray for a complete recovery for Ellie.

Just wanted to quickly let everyone know that we got out of the hospital today. We've been settling in, relaxing a little. She's been ok, but she has been crying a decent bit, which is unusual for her.

Thank you so much for everyone's prayers. Ellie has survived major brain
surgery again, and hopefully will be better for it. She hasn't had a seizure since the night of the surgery. That was eight days ago, which is her longest stretch since April!

We're holding our breath.

Thank you all,

Peter with Alana, Katie, and Ellie
Monday, October 18, 2010
If you could live anywhere, where would you live? Would it be in the mountains where the air is fresh and crisp every morning? Would it be beside the beach where you could walk in the sand and listen to the water lapping at the shoreline? Would it be somewhere in the mountains near a lake where you could fish all day and take long walks?

Some people are energized by the city. They love the lights and movement and the crush of people hurrying and scurrying about their busy little lives. Others want the solitude of a farm and to dig their hands into the earth.

I’ve been thinking about this question, particularly after a phone call I received today from a struggling writer who is, like me, not in the top tier of the publishing world. We can see the top tier because we look at the bestseller lists, but the dreams we had of writing “full time” have been just that, dreams. So we struggle and we hammer out words each day and we pray those words will somehow reach the intended audience.

He asked me, as someone who has been down the road further, some questions about how to approach his craft. I found the questions exhilarating and I spoke wisdom into his life. But he didn’t need the wise words as much as I did. Halfway through the conversation I realized that I needed to hear what I was saying more than he did.

Out of all the places in the world to live, I would not have chosen the desert. It’s hot. There are snakes and spiders. The cactus needles are sharp. It’s an unforgiving, inhospitable place to call home. I want deciduous trees. I want waterfalls. Instead, I have dust storms and tumbleweeds.

The more I thought about that, the image came to me of Jesus, hunched over a table and chair he was making in Nazareth. Dusty sandals and dirty feet. Dry and hot and not very hospitable. He left heaven for that. I don’t know how you picture heaven, but I don’t picture it like first century Israel. There was pain and death and human debris all around. A brutal government ruled. Liars and thieves populated the religious landscape. Prostitutes, beggars, lepers, the sick and hungry and lonely were all around. God gave up the comfort and bliss of heaven to come to that?

After the conversation with my friend, I again asked myself, “Where do you want to live?”

The answer came like a shout. Right here. Wherever God has placed me, with whatever duties he has assigned, with whatever people and problems that surround us. My desert reminds me that this is not all there is to life. If I were on an island, isolated from the pain and trouble in the world, I might be happy for a while, but I would not be serving where I am needed the most.

Where do I want to live? Lord, keep me from anything less than here and now.
Many of you have been praying for a little girl named Ellie. Here's an encouraging update on her condition, received yesterday, 10/17. Thanks for continuing to remember Ellie and her family in your prayers.

Hello friends,

Wanted to give everyone a quick update on Ellie. She's making progress, slowly returning to her normal self (or how she was before the surgery). We transferred from ICU to the sixth floor last Tuesday.

She's moving her left side with same mobility as before the surgery, which is great. It's the side most effected by the disconnection of her right brain. Her head and faced swelled tremendously following surgery, (giving her a black eye) but it's gone down enough for her to open both of her eyes. Most of the week, she's seemed to be in pain (she rarely cries, but just acts agitated) and that seems to be improving as she's started to smile a little and play with her blanket and favorite bear. She was sleeping almost non-stop and was generally lethargic, but that's started to improve.

We may soon be discharged! However, there are a few issues that she's still dealing with that may affect when we'll be able to go.

Ellie wouldn't be as far along without everyone's prayers. Thank you so much, all of you, and a special thanks to those who've organized the prayer schedules. You've been incredible!

Peter with Alana, Katie, and Ellie


Thursday, October 14, 2010
There’s a new magazine out and I’m in the debut issue! Slap my face with jam and tie me to an anthill! I’m sure Karen Kingsbury is honored to share the spotlight for a few moments.

Click on the cover and go to Page 14 to read the interview and hear a bit more about the story of Almost Heaven. Thanks for your support!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I mentioned on the program yesterday a little girl named Ellie and her family. She went through surgery yesterday. This family has been through the wringer. I believe Peter works with Campus Crusade. Here's an update from him and a picture of Ellie.

Hello friends,

I wanted to give you a quick update. As may have already heard, the doctor said Ellie's surgery went well yesterday, with no complications or surprises. Our subsequent excitement and relief was dampened a bit by a 20 minute seizure Ellie suffered at about 9:30 last night, followed immediately by a smaller seizure.

Our doctor said post-op seizures are 'not uncommon', and that it may be due to trauma from the surgery. There's a lot going on in her head right now, a lot of 'rewiring'. Hopefully, she won't get any more seizures. We're cautiously optimistic.

We are overwhelmed by how many people have been praying for us. How do you thank so many people in one simple email? It isn't remotely possible. Nonetheless, thank you.

We'll be at the hospital for another six to ten days, depending upon Ellie's progress.

With much love....
Sunday, October 10, 2010
For our final entry in the 40 Days of Prayer, I want you to read something from my friend, Robert Sutherland. I've appreciated his thoughts over the past few weeks. Here's his final entry.

Hi Chris,
Hope you are well, and the family.

Sorry about the latest discovery of mold. Don’t know what to say. Haven’t a clue what God is doing. Hate to drop a hit-and-run Bible bomb and say, “Don’t worry! God’s in control! And remember, God will use your pain to bless others. Gotta run! Buh-bye!”

One of my prayers for you is that God would kindly bring this season of pestilence in your family to a healthy end. And that all you have learned would benefit others.

* * * * * * * *

My daughter, Sarah, said something to me today that – as G. Campbell Morgan might say – arrested my thoughts.

She’s been praying for me to find a better job. Very kind of her.

Had a rough day at work today. Texted her about it, as compared to whined to her about it. Got an almost simultaneous reply: “Do you believe God will bring you a new job?”

As you know, the last thing any dad wants to do is discourage a beloved daughter – especially about spiritual truths.

Instead of simply saying “No,” I told her I believe God will work all things for my good, whether or not I lose my current job or God makes me the next Chris Fabry (without the mold, please).

I don’t recall the decade that I abandoned what I perceive to be the nonsense of “claiming” verses in order to persuade/intimidate God into doing my will, at the probable expense of receiving His perfect will.

I don’t recall the decade that I abandoned the certain nonsense of giving God suggestions as to how He could work things for my good – replete with step-by-step directions, helpful guidelines to follow and a timetable that would help Him keep me informed of His progress in accomplishing the tasks I set before Him, so I would not have to waste too much time blindly trusting Him.

I don’t recall the decade that my prayer life morphed into “Whatever, Lord.” No, not in the mega-Christian sense of absolute trust/faith/surrender. More along the lines of “I give up trying to figure out what to ask you to do.” Again, not with the most spiritual of attitudes. Not nihilistic hopelessness. Not angry frustration. Not a lack of faith that God really does answer my/our prayers.

More like, “Your ways are above my ways as the heavens are above the earth,” and I look forward to how you resolve the impossibilities I/we face in life.

(How DO people survive without God? It’s hard enough WITH His blessings?)

Sure, I ask for victory in battles with intransigent insurance companies, imperfect family members/coworkers/politicians and applying limited funds to my limitless needs/wants/desires.

Is it faith or foolishness to think I never have to pray again? That God loves me so much that He will accomplish good for me and through me to others whether or not I ever ask Him to?

At the risk of creating God in my image, my family – two wondrous daughters, two dedicated sons-in-law, two terrific grandsons and The Princess: my almost ten-year-old granddaughter – has taught me about the heart of God.

Primarily, no matter how much I love my family, He loves them more. My prayers for them? Mostly that God will express His love to them in convincing, gracious ways. No matter what.

Before my mom died a decade ago, few things made her as happy as a call from me or my girls. Our voices delighted her soul.

My dad will celebrate his 90th birthday on Christmas Eve. I call him at least three times a week. Does us both a world of good. We love to chat. About anything.

My daughter, Esther, vacillates between calling several times a day and calling every several days, but hearing her voice say, “Hi, Dad!” is the essence of joy.

The ringtone I use for the joyous calls from Sarah and The Princess is the voice of The Princess saying, “Grampa! Pick it up! It might be me!”

The Princess Ringtone

Perhaps only a parent or grandparent can fully understand how my heart leaps with joy when I hear my beloved grandchild’s voice at random times.

I don’t know how to put this, so bear with me.

I don’t care WHY my family calls me. The topics are far less important – even if the topics are VERY important – than the fact that they called me.

Contact with them revitalizes our relationship.

That’s where I am with prayer. I think/feel/believe God likes to hear the sound of my voice – even if the stuff I talk about with Him is comparatively insignificant compared to the “Lord, please save the life of my wife/husband/child/parent” prayers that ascend to the Lord every moment of every day from every corner of Earth.

Again, God is not a doting grandfather quick to overlook all our faults/sins/behavior. But He is delighted to hear us call upon Him in prayer. [See Proverbs 15:8]

Conversing with God is what I do … more than praying to/at God. Praying without ceasing is easier … as I habitually talk with God.

Back when such things mattered to me more, my “life verse” was that portion of I Samuel 7:12: “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

I still believe that with all my heart.
You probably do too.

But it’s easy to forget.

Thank you, Chris, for all you and your team do to bless listeners country-wide and world-wide. You are a blessing. Thanks for letting me pitch in; very kind of you, brother.

God says to pray in secret. In spite of that, may I pray for you publicly, please?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all the witnesses in the Old Testament who knew you so well that they said you are “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”

Thank you for how Jesus is the perfect example of compassion, grace, patience and sacrificial love.

Please forgive our sins and deliver us from evil.

Please be gracious to us. Please direct our paths and please glorify yourself through us.

Lord, we ask you to provide for Chris and his family. Please bring healing to Andrea and the kids.

Please glorify yourself as you deliver them from all that afflicts them. Please.

Please restore the years that mold and illness have taken from them.

Please give Chris favor … strength … and wisdom as he seeks to honor You through his writing and on the radio.

I pray that you will bless more people than he can imagine through his new book.

Lord, I thank you for Moody Broadcasting, Chris, his teammates, the stations that air his program … and all the people who use dollars dedicated to you … to make it all happen.

Lord, I pray that what we’ve begun during these 40 Days of Prayer would become a habit that endures from generation to generation in our families.

Thank you that Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us.

Thank you for being delighted by our hearts and voices when we pray to you.

We love you, Lord.

Please forgive our unbelief.
And bless us, Lord.
For your glory and honor.

In Jesus’ name.

Amen

* * * * * * * *

Amen, Robert. Now let me turn the prayer back to you.

Father, thank you for the good heart you've given Robert. You've given him a lot of pain and heartache and difficulty. You know the struggle he had in loving his mom in her final days. You've seen his tears and his sins. And you love him even more than I do.

In your sovereign plan for his life, I pray you would give him an amazing week at his current job and renew his love for the people there. Prepare him for the next step. And providentially send a new task his way, a new job, or a redirection in the current one.

And give him peace in the midst of all of this. And joy. Don't bless him because he's the best Robert there is or because he is always kind, because he isn't. But he is your child and you love him. Show him the depth of your love today.

And for my other friends who have followed along, take the hurts, cares, difficulties and problems in life and turn them into something beautiful. Selfishly we would pray for all of that to be lifted, but we know it's there calling us closer to you, making us long for our eternal home.

Thank you for being who you are, Lord. We praise you for the gift you've given us in Jesus.

In his name we pray,
Amen.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thank you for going on this 40-day journey with us. Tomorrow, we’ll present one more blog from my friend, Robert. Today I want to encourage you to make a phone call or send a message at some point and let us know what God has been telling you over the past few weeks. Your perspective might encourage someone else. Our feedback number is 1 866 953-2279. Or you can email us at chrisfabrylive@moody.edu.

Joni Eareckson Tada joined us Friday and here’s a message we received after the program:

Chris and Joni--

I'll type quickly because my darling 18-yr-old daughter is waiting for a drink. She has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, doesn't walk, talk, or feed herself, and still wears diapers. Had you told me all this before her birth, I would have thought she would lead a miserable, empty life. Instead her frequent smiles gladden our hearts every day. Of course, we would grab hold of a cure if there were one, but she is a great blessing to our family just as she is.

Thank you for this show,

Susie

I’m grateful for Susie and the love she has for her daughter. Those with special needs are a great blessing to those who care for them. Yes, there are difficulties and it’s a lot of work, but no one embodies the verses we’ve been looking at more than the people who tirelessly care for those who can’t care for themselves.

Perhaps today you want to read Philippians 2:1-11 and think of it in a different way. In what way has someone else shown you the love of Christ? How have they put your needs before their own?

If you think of someone as you go through the verses, be sure to call them or tell them how you feel.

God bless you today.

cf
Friday, October 8, 2010
As we near the end of the 40 Days of Prayer, here are more responses from those who have been journeying with us through this time.

1. I've been trying to journal, doing some catching up. Reviewing day 12 I looked back again to my first prayer...still a good one, but now I want a better look at Jesus, to know Him better. I say I love Him, follow him, put Him first, want to be with Him always, and I think I mean it and try to do what I say--but how well do I know Him? How well can I describe Him to others, know how to follow?

(I'm hoping the answers to those questions are more clear today for you.)

2. Chris, you are so right about the power of listening. When I was ill for so long and really nobody understood my pain and suffering, I had my husband who listened and comforted me and really didn't try to "fix it." He just listened and always prayed for me. These are things about him I will never forget. It really takes the love of Christ to become that kind of listener.

3. Thank you for mentioning the care of widows and orphans. I believe that we as Christians have really dropped the ball in this area. I never really gave it much thought until I became not only a widow but an orphan myself 10 months ago. Now I look at so many things differently.

4. God is amazing and the fact that he died for me and everyone else is amazing. This is one of the most amazing facts I have learned in my short journey in faith. Trust in the Lord and the day will be much better with him than without him.

5. Thank you for your points about attitude. I really needed that today. I'm struggling with my attitude toward my mother and my sister, who are not, I believe, saved. There have been continual lies the past year circulated about me and other members of the family, all since my Dad passed away. Negativity can be felt when you walk in the door of my sister's house. How do I keep my attitude right towards them when they are like this? I have prayed about the situation and given it to God, for Him to work out...not me, but I feel stuck right now with what to do while waiting for the answer! I guess I need to be like Jesus like you said...have His attitude and not mine. Thank you...you just answered my dilemma!

Now I want you to do something we haven't done. Read Philippians 2:1-11 and continue through verses 12 and 13.

Since we know that our salvation is a gift, what does "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" mean?

How does it make you feel that verse 13 says that God Himself is working in you?
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Thanks for going on this journey. I hope you feel like God has met you in some way here.

It’s time for some encouragement in prayer. It comes from my Facebook friend, Veronica. She tried to call in when we were discussing prayer stories but instead related it online. Here’s what she said:

When I was in college, I'd periodically spend a weekend with my Grandmother. Of course I always brought my laundry with me because it was free to wash at Grandma's.

One weekend I decided to leave the laundry behind so we could have more time to spend together and she wouldn't feel obligated to wash, dry & fold my mountain of clothes. Saturday evening she asked where my laundry was and I told her that I had left it at school.

She didn't say much but her facial expression and body language showed disappointment. When I inquired, she proceeded to explain that as she folded the clean clothes she prayed for me. When folding my socks, she'd ask the Lord to guide my feet; shirts she'd ask the Lord to protect my heart and help me to love Him and others more. When folding dress clothes, she'd pray for my studies and future. When folding undergarments she prayed for my purity and future husband/marriage. That day changed my life. I have no idea how many of these prayers were sent to the Lord on my behalf.

My Grandmother turned what is often viewed as a menial task into a time of prayer and blessing for her children and grandchildren. Who knew doing laundry could be the means of communion and conversation with the Lord?


Who knew, indeed. I take several things from this story. First, we can use any kind of task to draw us closer to God and to each other. God is there. He is worth spending time with. Prayer is powerful. Being faithful in prayer is such a gift to others. Remembering those who have prayed for us is a great gift as well.

Nothing is accomplished for God’s kingdom and his glory without prayer.

Nothing.

I’m so glad Veronica remembered her grandmother’s story. I saw on her Facebook status that she was cleaning her children’s room. How much you want to bet me she was praying for her kids as she cleaned up their toys?

Father, give me a vision for how much you want to draw me to yourself through prayer. Make me a person who not only folds laundry but prays for those who wear the clothes. Encourage us today through your steadfast love.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I want to share some responses to these devotions today. Continue reading Philippians 2:1-11 and writing down your responses. Also look at Hebrews 12:1-2 and if you didn't hear our hour with Mike Boyle yesterday on the program, listen to that hour.

If you want to let us know how God is using this time of prayer and devotion in your life, please let us hear from you.

1. Chris, we sing this song in my church called "I Call Your Name" and it is a song of prayer. The words say, "I call your name; Lord, You reply. You bring your kingdom and stand by my side. Giver of life, more than I need. Father, you're everything that's precious to me! There is no one like you, Lord, in all the earth." Our 40 days together have caused me to see Jesus in new ways. Now that I have fixed my eyes on Him, I don't want to let go.

I just started a 10-week Beth Moore's study, "Jesus, the One and Only" this week so I can go deeper. As I magnify Him, my problems have become so small that I don't think they are even problems anymore. Thank you, NRB! Thank you, Chris! Thank you, LORD! God bless you!

2. When I think on Jesus, I think about Him coming down from the comforts of Heaven, leaving all that He knew. He was willing to die on the cross, shed His blood for me to cover my sin and give me eternal life. I have a heart of thanks and gratitude, for who am I?? Not worthy in my eyes but so precious in His. Yes, Jesus, the name above all names!!

3. Hi Chris, I love reading your friend, Robert's, letters. They are so real and personal and depict, I think, every person looking for God in some way or another. I wanted to reiterate what he said about God's grace and how awesome it is. Over the last couple weeks, even while I read your blogs, I still felt a sort of disconnect from God, and with that came a sense of "unbelonging" to the church I've been with for the past 2 years. I think hearing crickets when you ask God a question, makes you wonder if you're really going somewhere and if you have a purpose. This morning I was in one of those moods that all women have at one time or other and just didn't feel like going to church. I was mad, but I wasn't sure at what, I was distressed, but I didn't know why. In the end, I decided to go. I was so happy that I did! God encouraged me today big time! Last year my husband and I were blessed greatly by the IRS (yes, the IRS!) and I remember feeling that this gift from God was sooo undeserved. The week before, my pastor had talked about possibly sending some money to friends/missionaries in Tanzania to help them build a storage for their maize (corn), and when I was blessed, I decided, how could I not bless forward. So I sent a "monetary seed" to Tanzania to help them build their storage. Today I got to meet the missionaries in person! And I got to see what we helped build! It was wonderful! Not just to see how they were blessed, but to know that it was as if God was telling me, "You're going down the right path! Just keep fighting that good fight of Faith!" It certainly restored that sense of purpose back in my life that I couldn't see. Even in the small things that we do, God sees them. And I think that God could have just said that I was being a big baby and knew my role already and He wasn't going to assure me, but He did anyways. Because I realized, like Robert, that God is nice. And He loves us abundantly. I'm 28 years old and I'm in love with God more and more as I learn about His grace and goodness. My whole view of God has changed in the last 2 years and this in essence has shaped my actions and character greatly!

4. I was bound by smoking for a lot of years, I could not stop on my own. It was torture. I was ugly, frustrated, and so discouraged when I failed. It was one minute, one hour and one day at a time. My eyes had to stay on Jesus. I had to think it was possible for me to be a "non-smoker." It was hard on me and harder on my family. But God is so good and faithful.

5. Fixing my eyes on Jesus..... When I was so very ill with lyme disease six years ago, if my eyes were not fixed on Him, looking to Him, thinking on Him or talking to Him, my symptoms would overtake me even to the point of suicide. But as I have gone through the healing process over the years I have gained strength, know where to turn for comfort and have learned I can trust wholly on Jesus, secure in His love and grace to get me through anything. Yet I do know that each and every day until I die or til His return, that the only direction I want to place my eyes is on Him, the author and finisher of my faith!

I pray these words will encourage you today, for whatever climb you are on. God is there and he cares more than you can imagine. God bless you today.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The only one who can exalt us is God. We can’t exalt ourselves. We can try, but we’ll always fail.

How does God exalt us? In ways we don’t expect. In ways we can’t understand.

In God’s economy, those who are “poor in spirit” are “blessed.” I’d rather have a big bank account, of course. But God’s blessings are so much more worth it than the temporal ones we can amass down here. Some of the most blessed people, some who have been exalted by God, don’t look like they’re exalted.

For example, look at Jesus. He didn’t look exalted at his birth. He didn’t look exalted when his family fled to Egypt. He didn’t look exalted taking the scourging and hanging on the cross. Yet, God says he has the name that is above every name.

If you humble yourself, God will exalt you in due time. If you are a servant, God will exalt you. He doesn’t explain HOW he will do that, but this is true. The first will be last and the last first. God sees all you’ve been through, sees all you’ve struggled with, and he knows your heart.

What are you doing today to exalt yourself? Stop. What are you doing to make sure you get on top of others? Stop. How are you striving/grasping after position and power? Stop. If you want to be great, serve. If you want to follow God wholeheartedly, humble yourself. Start with your family. Then your neighbors. (If you live near me, come pull my weeds.)

The most important thing you may do today probably won’t be in front of a lot of people. It will be what you choose to do alone, when you have the opportunity to serve, with no one looking, with nobody but God keeping an account.

God bless you as you serve in humility.
Monday, October 4, 2010
It’s time to pull these last 34 days together as we head into our last week of prayer. I wanted to share some of the messages we’ve received in the past few weeks from people who are following in the journey. Take this as part of our uniting together—what Paul talks about in the first few verses of Philippians 2.

Some are from folks who are struggling. Others have met God in a fresh way through these verses. I’m grateful for all of the feedback. But I can’t seem to get this one off my mind. Warning: If you’re a parent, this one is difficult to get through.

“I lost a daughter to meningitis when she was 8 years old. The first night she was hospitalized she was in horrible and excruciating pain, and was not given any pain relievers so they could find out what was wrong. Because it wasn't known if she was contagious, only one person could be in the room with her and could not leave the room. I stayed with her and she cried and banged her head and bloodied her wrists and ankles because she was in restraints. She begged me to take her out of there. There is no way I can describe the anguish I went through or all that she went through. But the next day she 'died,' was resuscitated and kept on life support until she died 6 days later. Since I was the only one allowed with her, I have felt like that suffering was meant for me. I have come to terms with it somewhat, but I don't understand how a child could suffer like that, for what reason. I totally believe in God and the precious blood of Jesus. She did too, when she was sick, she would ask me to pray for her.”

What do you say to a mother who has been through this experience? What do you do to alleviate the pain? The memories? The anguish. Only that mother knows what truly went on in that room. That mother, her daughter, and God himself.

I think he was there. He didn’t rescue them in that time, but he walked through that with them. Sounds a little trite to say it that way, and it would be, if not for the cross. If not for the submission that Jesus went through to reconcile us and glorify God.

I don’t pretend to have any answers for this mother who lives with this pain. Somehow, I don’t think she needs answers. She needs us. She needs others who will enter into that pain and take a little of it from her shoulders.

Would you pray for this mom today?

And think of those you may meet today who seem hardened or bitter or angry. Whose bedside have they come from? What hurts in the past have they experienced that made them the way they are?

Pray for them, too.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Robert Sutherland is back in touch … and sent another prayer blog. Wonder what he’s up to on this 33rd day of our 40 days of prayer?

Hi Chris. Hope you are well.

I know you want me to be honest with you. And I think you’re hoping that I’ll experience some epiphany … or a re-awakening … that will change my life and influence others at the same time. Me too. But that hasn’t happened. At least, not yet.

What has happened is this: I am far more aware of people who need and deserve prayer. Guys like the associate pastor of my church. His wife, Rebecca, is carrying their second child. Due in a few weeks. Doctors ran some kind of tests on Rebecca and the baby. There’s talk the child might have Down’s syndrome. These are dedicated, delightful people … who need prayer.

Then there’s the cashier at Wally World. In her 40s. Looks like she could run a marathon and bag groceries at the same time. Just had a heart attack. Her doctor said she shouldn’t lift more than three pounds … or endure stress. She needs prayer.

Met a man who pays $2,000 a month in child support and alimony. He doesn’t make enough anymore to maintain his obligation to his ex and their four kids. He’s going to tell his ex he can’t pay … and that she’ll have to get a job. If he doesn’t pay, he faces jail time. They need prayer. And they all need Jesus.

The wife of a friend is disabled. She needed to run an errand and drove herself. Wrecked the car. Ran into a ditch. They got the car fixed. Less than two weeks later, she needed to run an errand. Drove herself. Wrecked the car. Ran into a ditch. Again. She’s only 60 years old. He doesn’t know what to do. They need prayer.

Another friend had back surgery two weeks ago. It went well, thank God. He needs prayer for patience as he recovers.

Called another friend today. His son, Reuben, has Crone’s disease. Had surgery a few weeks ago. Reuben’s doing better. Not sure how to pray for them … except to praise God for the relief Reuben’s feeling.

Know of an unsaved man and woman who got a divorce after years in an unhappy marriage. They lived in the same home during what they called a “separation.” During that time both he and his wife dated other people. With the mother and daughter living in one part of the house and the father and son living in another part. Now, the man found someone else to marry. And on it goes. They need prayer.

Went for a two-day motorcycle ride in the Smoky Mountains not long ago. Rode a famous highway called “Deal’s Gap,” in Tennessee. 316 curves in 11 miles. Totally amazing. There’s a scenic overlook at the end of the road. We all stop there and talk about how much fun it was to scoot through the woods on such a twisty trail.

This time, it ended differently. A white pick-up truck with large tool boxes up and down both sides came racing down the road toward where we were all standing. Probably 20 of us. It looked like the truck lost its brakes because it didn’t slow down at all … tires screeching … the truck swerving from side to side.

The truck missed us all and zoomed into a tight turn 50 yards from us. We were surprised it didn’t crash.

A moment later a Tennessee State Trooper went by. No siren or blue lights, but obviously in pursuit of the truck.

Probably a half-mile from us, the truck crashed. Went off what I’d call a cliff … into the woods. The truck rolled and flipped and came to rest upside-down and facing in the direction from whence he came.

The truck had been stolen. The driver ran away into the woods.

But more people got away that day than just the driver. God spared dozens of people who could have been mowed down by a wacko whose only motivation was to run from the law. And probably God.

I wondered why God spared us … and the 100 or so bikes that are always on Deal’s Gap. And I wondered about all the families whose loved ones were not so fortunate.

I’ve been praying for the people left behind after husbands or wives … parents or children … neighbors or friends … were maimed or killed in one type of accident or another.

The same loving God who spared us loves them … as much or more than He loves those He spared on Tuesday.

My heart goes out to those who suffer that way. And I’m sorry. Somehow, I believe God grieves with them. And I know that death is worse for those left behind than for believers who suddenly find themselves in the presence of God.

So … I’m praying for the ones left behind. For comfort. Hope. Relief. And for the faith to forgive God for taking them too soon … or in such horrific ways.

God will be vindicated in the end. Either by meeting him face to face, or by believing that He is kind and good … compassionate and gracious … even when we don’t understand.

Anyway. That’s the stuff I’m praying about these days. Just wanted you to know.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I love that old commercial with Loretta Lynn--I think it was her, with her daughters, Patsy and Paggy (really Peggy, but pronounced Paggy) and the girls were in the kitchen saying, "I hayulped."

Here are some responses to the question of what helps you in your devotional life with prayer and Bible study:

Inna
‎1) I have a list, too. It's grouped in a form of: family (incl. extended), my church (incl., kids, teens, youth, families, ministers, intercessors, missionaries & ministries, incl. Chris Fabry & his show ;-), grieving families, singles. It takes me 30-50 min. to pray according to my list. I try to do it once a day; if I am too busy, I skip once in a while & pray for some of those crucial needs in my car. I update my list as needed. Some needs are crossed out with "Praise the Lord!"

2) I try to stay in touch with the people I am praying for. Their input adds fuel to my prayers. I remind my friends to pray for me, too; if I know that my friends are praying for me, I can't miss them, either.

3) I noticed that staying close with God adds a lot of fuel to my prayers. It's so natural to talk to God during the day & long for a meeting with Him on my knees... If I find myself doing something wrong, I repent right away. If I keep ignoring the Holy Spirit's convictions in my spirit, I notice that I lose the desire to pray. Then I revise myself and ask God to show me where I ignored His gentle voice...

Bobbie
I set the alarm on my watch to go off every hour during the day so I can meditate on scripture or say a short prayer.

Kathy
Thanks for your wonderful topics of discussion! Love the show! I made a bulletin board with pictures of those I pray for. I see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night and God often puts the spotlight on one for the day that I need to contact or send a note to let them know I'm praying. My pictures includes missionaries, the baby we support through Holt, family members, friends, etc. When prayers are answered, I replace the picture, such as when we moved to our new home, the picture came down and was replaced by pics of former neighbors so we won't forget them!!

Maria
When people request prayer from me through email, I don't put it off. I pray, emailing my prayer back to them while it's fresh in my mind and I don't forget.

Savina
I too have pictures of my four grandchildren and my daughters and their husband on my dresser mirror. First thing I see in the morning and last thing at night. I surrender and lift them to the Lord, for their lives and salvation.

Benilde
Your program has been a blessing to me, thanks for all that you do. May the Lord continue to guide and bless each person that is part of your program.

We are told to pray without ceasing, and the Lord has put in my heart the need to pray daily for the teenagers in our church. ... The youth Pastor gives me their names and any issues that need to be prayed for. I write them down on my computer's home page calendar as an "appointment" for the time when I get to work each morning.

I write one name per day, and the first thing I'll see each morning flashing on my screen will be that person’s name; this will turn my attention to stop and pray for him or her at that moment and throughout the day.

I also keep the same list with their prayer needs in my Bible as reminder during my devotional time. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.


I hope some of these thoughts will help you today as you continue this prayer journey. Have a wonderful weekend and tune in tomorrow. My friend Robert Sutherland will be back with another thought-provoking letter.
cf
Friday, October 1, 2010
We had some great calls yesterday talking about the “how” of prayer and bible study. Everything from the “five finger” prayer principle to the ACTS approach (see below) to prayer journals. If you didn’t hear it, go to chrisfabrylive.org and click on yesterday’s program to hear.

One of the themes of the hour was how much we get out of WRITING DOWN our prayers. When you write things down, you have a record of what was going on in your life, your head, your heart. Some surprising things will come out when you’re just “in the zone” with God. You’re not trying to impress anyone. You’re not trying to be anything but real, which is something God values. Plus, later on when you go back, you can see how God answered your prayers. So I highly recommend this daily journaling. So if you haven’t begun that practice yet, I urge you to do it. Even if you’re one of those people who feels like it’s just not your thing to write stuff down, go ahead and do it.

Here’s part of an email that came after the program about prayer. I wonder if you can identify with it:

For two years I commuted before sun up forty minutes. It became a very holy time for me. I never turned on the radio or did anything but be with the Lord, and drive, of course. I used the acronym ACTS to structure this time: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication - a plan I had heard of many times. The darkness helped me stay focused and forty minutes was always the perfect amount of time. Also, I was led to pray for each semi-trucker parked along the way at exits, probably catching a little sleep. Often I thought that I might be the only person who ever prayed for the safety, salvation, and life of some of those truckers.

I truly missed this time on weekends, school holidays, and in the summer, It always felt so right to get back to the routine, and so easy to have scheduled prayer time. I still miss it, since my life is now rearranged. It is the best memory of those two difficult years.


If you don’t have a regular time of prayer, schedule it. Show up. See what God does. And like we’ve been talking about on the program, begin the discipline of “listening” to God. Not just talking to him, but listening to him. Listening by reading scripture, being quiet before him, and asking him to speak.

We have ten days left in this time of prayer and “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Let's make these the best ten days!

Read Philippians 2:1-11 again slowly. Listen to what God is telling you through this passage.

What changes do you want God to make in your life?

Do others see the humility, service to others, and love exhibited by Jesus?

Ask God to show you how to express that love to someone today.

And then, listen.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Here are some ideas on prayer that came up during the program today:
1. Journal and list people who come to mind.
2. Write out her prayers. This has changed her prayer life.
3. LISTEN. (5 minutes of silence!)
4. 5 fingers. (See below)
5. What you do with your hands, pray for a missionary.
6. Prayer notebooks, with sections for different requests.
7. Monday-govt, police, Tuesday-work, families, Wed.-church family, Thursday-friends, Friday-family, Saturday-pastors, missionaries, Sunday-me.
8. Monthly calendar with families to pray for.

Hi Chris,

I just love your program and have contacted you often. I homeschool and this is an email that I got from my mom and shared it with my kids during one bible time. My eldest son, 16, was just reading over my shoulder and said he loves using this and it even helped him keep his focus while he was in bed last night. Love In Christ, Venera Beebe

This is so neat. I had never heard this before. This is beautiful - and it is surely worth making the 5 finger prayer a part of our lives.

1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you.. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a 'sweet duty.'

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger - the smallest finger of all, which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, 'The least shall be the greatest among you.' Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
Chip Ingram really encouraged us yesterday on Chris Fabry Live with some thoughts about the passage we’re studying. If you didn’t hear his comments, go to chrisfabrylive.org and click on Past Programs.

While you’re there, take a listen to Hour 1 and what Bill Watson had to say about the name of Jesus.

In fact, let’s consider that last portion of the passage. Here’s what it says:

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

What does the name of Jesus do to you? Have you become complacent about it or does the person of Christ move you? Knowing that on some day in the future, everyone alive and everyone who ever walked on the planet, and every entity ever created will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord changes the game. We’re on the winning side.

But I’ll be honest, most of the time I feel defeated. Most of the time I wonder if there’s really a purpose to what I’m doing. It feels like I’m flailing at life and the mountains overwhelm me.

All the more reason to fix our eyes on Jesus. If you didn’t hear Bill’s devotion in Hour 1, listen. It’s only about 6 minutes in length, but it really helped us focus on the meat of this passage.

How does the name of Jesus, the power of Jesus, the victory of Jesus, or the exaltation of Jesus make a difference in your life today?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
A quotation has been running around in my head for the past few days. This may be a good time to share it with you. Anne Morrow Lindbergh lost her son when he was kidnapped and died. I don’t know much about her spiritual journey, but what she says here hits home with me.

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”

There’s a lot in there to unpack, but I think what she’s getting at is our search amidst the suffering. We can either view life fatalistically, as if we’re just pawns on the stage, or that we’re part of the play and our actions mean something. To learn from suffering, we must be actively involved in LIFE.

In the passage we’ve been studying the past 29 days, Philippians 2:1-11, I haven’t thought much about the vulnerability of Jesus. I don’t think of God as vulnerable. I think of him as omnipotent. Unable to be defeated. Yet, what Jesus did for us was divine vulnerability. He came to earth, gave a gift we didn’t deserve, and then let us make the choice whether we would spurn that gift or receive it.

God’s love and mercy were poured out for you and me. Christ humbled himself and suffered for us. But we have to engage our will in order to enter into that truth. And when we do, we become vulnerable. We fellowship in his sufferings. We identify with him and all he did for us.

Read the passage again today and ask God to make you vulnerable to his love, vulnerable to the suffering of others, and ask him to point you in the direction of loving others the way Jesus has loved you.

Prayer:

O Lord, I don’t want to be vulnerable. It hurts. I don’t want to suffer. It hurts. I don’t want to give love to those who spurn it. But you gave me an example. You died in my place. You gave yourself for people who don’t respond to you. Give me that kind of love for the people in my life today and help me share in the suffering vulnerability of Jesus. In his name, Amen.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
If you didn't hear the interview with Pete Greig on Monday, listen to what God is doing through the 24/7 prayer movement. God seems to be moving, particularly through younger people and prayer, but God doesn't care how old you are.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name...

The humiliation of Jesus, his condescension, his submission to the will of God satisfied all of the law's demands. He paid the ultimate price and gave himself that you and I might come back into a relationship with God.

Therefore, the humility and service of Jesus was rewarded by God. When Jesus was baptized, God spoke and said that he was well-pleased with Jesus. By raising him from the dead, he put actions to those words.

Jesus is exalted to the highest place. What does that mean to you if you are "in Christ"?

Jesus has the name that is above all names. What does that mean to you as a follower of Jesus?

Jesus knows you. He knows your name. He knows everything you've ever done. In one sense, that makes me afraid. In another, I'm comforted. He came to deliver me from all the things I've ever done. His name brings freedom. It brings life.

Praise God for Jesus, the name above all names, today. Write down one attribute of Jesus that you appreciate and thank him today.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I want to thank you for praying for our family. We feel it and appreciate it. I may be saying more about it on the program today. If you don’t get Hour 2 on your station, tune in for the live broadcast online or listen later to the stream or podcast.

Brandon and Colin were baptized this weekend in a horse trough at the front of church. We worship at a “Cowboy Church,” a gathering that goes to cowboys and their families and meets outside. It’s a really neat group of believers who don’t mind if we’re not cowboys or are chemically sensitive.

Watching this take place, seeing Colin and Brandon and two others be baptized, brought back the truth of the passage we’ve been studying. Jesus left heaven’s comfort and security and the fellowship he had there and came to this earth for little boys like Colin and Brandon. He didn’t grasp and hang onto heaven, instead, he brought heaven to earth and offered us an opportunity to know him and serve him by serving others.

His service to us allowed us open access to God’s love and mercy. When we’re going through tough struggles, when we don’t know where to turn next, when finances run out, when friends turn their back, He is always there.

As you read Philippians 2:1-11 again today, contemplate the length and breadth and depth of God’s love for you. Thank him for what he has done and is doing, even through the trial you are facing. Everyone is facing something. And God cares for you, friend. He showed that by giving of himself and loving us with all of his being.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
On this Sunday, I want to thank you for living out the Philippians 2 passage for my family and me. Many of you prayed and buoyed us with those prayers. I want to include three messages from Facebook that I received. This is truly God's people thinking more of others than themselves:

Marty wrote:
"Lord Jesus, enable my brother to endure and lead his family well through this time. Give them wisdom, clear decision paths that will give them confidence and comfort. This new issue will introduce the Fabry family to a whole new set of people. Give them stamina to endure and faithfulness to proclaim Your glory and gospel. Help those who meet them along this path to marvel at the depth of their faith and the greatness of their God. Amen"

Michelle wrote:
"Lord God, we come to you in the only name we know that can totally eradicate this situation in the lives of your servants. Our prayer is that if it takes supernatural awareness, supernatural understanding and a supernatural event that you would provide for this family deliverance from this annoyance. Lord in the meantime I pray for supernatural grace to abide with them while they deal with the matter. This prayer is in the Name of Jesus our Restorer."

Rebecca wrote:
"Oh Chris, I will pray for you all. I can't even imagine! I listen to Wretched radio, and Todd Friel says that sometimes we think the good at the end is what God is doing... When in fact the difficult time is the good, that he is working it & putting us through it & that that is the good. He says it much more eloquently than I can. When I start to worry about my own situation (not mold related) I sometimes have to say to myself, this is the good because it is from God. God bless you & I will pray!!"

Thanks to everyone who prayed and thanks for the continued prayer. God bless you today!
cf
Saturday, September 25, 2010
There are some days that defy description. Friday was one of those days for our family. We’ve been going through another mold battle. I won’t go into detail, but this one is serious. It’s more than a scare.

That this would happen now is unbelievable to me because it feels like warfare. And the enemy would like nothing better than to get us to run or get us to back down from what we’re doing.

I believe people are gaining freedom. I think people are leaning on God like never before. I know I am. Some of the projects I’ve worked on and am working on seem to me like things God wants to use in others’ lives.

Instead of backing down, we are going full speed ahead and we would appreciate your prayers. God is bigger than mold. God is bigger than the enemy who wants to thwart us. And God can answer our prayers. If you think of our family this weekend, we would appreciate your intercession. If we ever needed it in the last two years, it’s now. Thank you.

Today, I want to continue with an email from a friend of mine, Robert Sutherland. Here is what he wrote me recently about this 40 days of prayer. I pray his words will bless you today.

* * * * * * * *

Hi. Hope you are well.

God has been SO much like God to me the past few days.

I love him.

I had a bad week. My boss told me that I didn’t have the three-day weekend off, even though that was the deal. For the first time in years, I actually made plans to get away for a couple of days.

But, it didn’t take long to change my plans and change my attitude. I am thankful for my job, even when it’s inconvenient.

A couple of days later, I had to deal with deep-rooted unforgiveness I have toward another person. I totally failed. Expressed ungodly sentiments and – sorry – didn’t really care. Bitterness does that.

A Christian friend sent me a note and dropped a Bible bomb on me for what I said. No, “Hi, how are you?” or “Having a bad day?” Just a Bible verse to tell me I had been found guilty of shooting my mouth off and a copy of the Scripture verse to prove it was a sin.

I was wrong. A friend corrected me. The way s/he believed s/he should correct me. But it was so unlike God. In my humble opinion.

I say that because I have learned one thing about God in the past 35 years. It’s a biggie. Ready?

God is nice. So few people get that.

I sinned. Didn’t repent or confess it. Not sure I have even today. Did God whack me around until I realized that He loves me? Don’t laugh. That’s how we pray for God to straighten sinners out, isn’t it?

“Dear God,
My kid is on the wrong path. Please crush him/her and make him/her miserable until s/he realizes how much you love him/her.
Thanks.”

Know what God did for me the day I screwed up? He paid my mortgage from the most unexpected source ever: an unsaved friend. I helped my friend get a contract for his business. He gave me a $500 “finder’s fee,” totally out of the blue. Enough to pay my house payment. Told him I was just being a friend and that he didn’t owe me anything, but he absolutely insisted.

Amazing.

When I got back to the house, I looked at the check and I dropped to my knees – right there, all alone in my kitchen. I just could not believe how gracious God was being to me through my friend. But unbelief is the root of so many of my issues with God.

I didn’t tell you, but I’ve been doing battle with an insurance company that did me wrong. I paid a payment on time and had abundant proof they cashed my check … but this giant insurance conglomerate canceled the policy anyway. When I called to object, I just got the run-around. Their error was going to cost me thousands of dollars.

To make a long story short, I got a letter from the insurance company about an hour ago. Before I opened it, I prayed.

I confessed that I had no one to fight for me but God. The 28 pages of documentation I sent Goliath (and the copy delivered to my state’s insurance commissioner) presented my case, but I knew God was my only true hope. As the Proverb says, “The horse is prepared for battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.”

I opened the letter. Goliath apologized for the mistake and reinstated the policy.

Amazing.

God gave me victory. And I’m grateful. Told Him so in prayer.

So, that’s where I am today. A sinner … and a recipient of grace that far exceeds what I deserve. As is the case with all grace, I suppose.

As I pray now, I am almost silent before Him. Without a doubt, I am loved. Even when I don’t deserve it.

And I know … even though I am a man of unclean lips … there is a God who will provide for me … and who cares about me. He will forgive my sins … deliver me from evil … and prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

May I say something to your listeners and readers, please?

You cannot earn the love of God. Jesus did that for us and “it is finished.” Don’t give up on God, even if you think He’s given up on you. Make Psalm 23 your prayer. Or Psalm 34. Read it to God. Pour out your heart to Him.

And let Chris know how God works things out for you, OK?
Not *if* God works them out. WHEN God works them out.

Blessings to you … dear one, loved of God.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I don’t like hunting for cars. Especially now that the whole family is chemically sensitive. We can’t have cloth seats because they retain odors and chemicals. Leather is expensive, but it works. It's not as porous. Most cars I find have residue of smoke or some cleaning agent that burns the eyes, contricts the throat or leaves a weird taste on the tongue.

I am searching for the unreachable car. To reach, the unreachable car...

Imagine how hard it is to find a God you can trust in. One that is the perfect fit for your psyche. Your temperament. A lot of people have found a god in themselves. They don’t believe in a deity—it’s in them. Or they follow a god that tells them how many times to pray each day and what to eat and when not to eat. Or maybe a god that makes them do unimaginable things to please him. That kind of god is available.

I haven’t been able to find God. That’s the honest truth. I would have looked all my life and never would have found him.

Instead, he found me.

Jesus, every bit God as the Father, didn’t stay in heaven, though he had every right. He let go of that position and humbled himself. Made himself a servant. As a man, he fully submitted himself to God’s will and made a way for you and me to be made holy. Perfect in him.

But it cost. A lot. His life. He had to die in order for me to be found.

It says in scripture that before the foundation of the world was created, the Lamb was slain. This was God’s plan. This was his search and rescue mission for you and me. Any one of us can be found because he made the way. He humbled himself, became nothing, became obedient to even the degradation of the cross.

If you’re looking for God, don’t look at the tree where he went to show his love. If you’re looking for God, don’t look at the tomb where his body was placed. If you’re looking for God, he is exalted to the highest place and has the name that is above every name. And he’s calling yours today. He wants you to come to him.

Read Philippians 2:1-11 and respond to him today. Write whatever comes to your mind—thanksgiving, praise, ask forgiveness, repent, or just consider the vast love of a God who won’t be found, because he finds you and me.

Who needs leather seats when you have all of that?