Prayer items for Day of Prayer

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests at 7:53 am by Al

First of all, let me say that I am deeply touched by Westminster setting aside this day to pray for me. For those of you that cannot be there, here are the words I will share this morning:

How to Pray for the Groves Family
Al Groves, April 26, 2006

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands. [Psalm 138:8]

In a forthcoming book on suffering, my friend David Powlison says that it is the King of the universe who leads us into fiery trials with the purpose of meeting us there. His leading is not without love and purpose. God is Father as well as King. In all that he does he always acts with gracious and loving purposefulness. That includes suffering. Read the rest of this entry »


Westminster Day of Prayer

Posted in Prayer Requests at 11:23 pm by Karyn

As the “Blog Adminstrator” I’d like to let all the readers know about a special faculty-called Day of Prayer at Westminster Theological Seminary on Wednesday, April 26th for Al Groves. Many of you are part of the extended WTS family (alumni, former faculty, etc), and may want to participate “long-distance.” Others of you are certainly “honorary” WTS family in that you are friends of Al and Libbie.

The Day of Prayer will have a two-fold approach:

  1. There will be a concentrated time of prayer during chapel time (10:30 A.M.) led by Dr. Bill Edgar and Dr. Gerry McFarland.
  2. There will also be an open invitation for prayer in the President’s Office from 8:30 am – 6:00 pm. The President’s Office will be permanently reserved all day for this purpose. Anyone from the Westminster community may stop in to pray for any amount of time. Special prayer requests will be available on the main table there [Note: I will try to post some of these on the blog for those of you at a distance].

If you are in the area and available, I encourage you to attend and support Prof. Groves and his family. If you would like to contribute your prayer support online, please just leave a comment. Thank you so much for your loving support for Al, Libbie and their entire family.

Psalm 113 and CT Scan Results

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 8:37 pm by Al

Yesterday in my daily psalm reading I came to this section of Psalm 113:

5 Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down
to look
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 He seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.

The movement of God toward his people struck me afresh; exalted and enthroned in the highest position in the universe He stoops down to earth to raise up those on earth who have been brought low. He comes low to bring his people on high. Simple, but so hard to grasp and believe.

My colleague Doug Green and I were reflecting together on this psalm yesterday and he made the point that this is resurrection language. Or more precisely, it’s proto-resurrection language, anticipating the resurrection of Christ. And in Christ, God raising up those who are dead to eternal life. From living in a garbage dump to living with the Lord of the universe. What great news.

CT SCAN RESULTS. Today I heard that the CT scan shows that the cancer is stable for now—the scans show no new tumors and the existing tumors have not grown since the last CT scan. I feel a bit like the psalmist. God has heard your prayers for us. He seems to be using the providential means of these treatments to bring this result. In any case, whether by medicine or by his more direct intervention, he is the one who has done it. And we are grateful.

This is not to say I have been healed or am on the way to restored health. There are still no survivors with the kind of cancer I have. However, my doctor said that this trial in which I am participating (begun last July) has shown the best results to date that she has seen in her 20 years of research.

My dear friend, Eep Talstra, phoned with my Nokia from Amsterdam this evening (after midnight his time!) His wife, Lies, died of cancer at the end of January, and it was her funeral for which we traveled to Amsterdam at that time. As Eep and I talked, we recognized we are on different journeys, but that each of us can look to the Lord with joy for the gift that each day is.

I cannot thank you enough for your constant support and prayer on our behalf.

Blessings, Al


Minor dental news

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 11:33 am by Libbie

Quick update. Some people with exceptional memories recalled that I was scheduled to try again at getting my tooth crowned on Tuesday. My jaw was still “locked” (stiff, sore to open very wide), so the dentist recommended things to try and will wait until it’s unlocked and comfortable before attempting further dental work. After a day and a half of following her suggestions, today for the first time I can open my jaw wide more or less without pain a lot of the time. Ahhh…relief!

Thanks for praying! I’ll let you know when the coronation actually occurs. 


Blogsite was down Wednesday, April 19

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections at 7:07 am by Al

Due to system maintenance on the main server, the Blogsite was down on Wednesday, April 19. Sorry for any confusion that this caused.

I had my CT scan on Monday. They gave me a copy of the films–15 pages of X-ray type pages with about 30 small cross-section images on each page. While I am obviously not a trained medical professional, I have learned how to find the images where the tumors are. My read is that the larger tumor grew and has become more erratic in its shape, while the smaller tumors don’t seem to have changed much. I don’t have earlier scans with which to make comparisons, so my memory could be faulty. I don’t know whether or not new tumors have formed. The official interpretation will come on Tuesday.

I have been reading Psalm 84 the last couple of days in anticipation of a retreat next weekend that will have that psalm as its focus. I am struck again by the longing for the presence of the Lord (cf. Psa 27:4, 42:1-2, 63:1, etc.) For the Israelite, it was a single geographical location–the temple in Zion, but for us we enter the throneroom of God in heaven every time we pray in Jesus name. And what do we find in the presence of the Lord? His beauty and his glory which lead to praise. Security and peace. Rest and joy. Even the common sparrow has found a place in God’s presence, how much more those of us redeemed by Christ and being remade into his image?

One final thought: His presence has always been a paradox–he is the one who protects his people by being present, but his holy presence is also a threat to the very people he is there to defend with his presence. His holiness will break out and destroy that which is impure and unclean and sinful and bearing death. Incredibly, through Christ God solved the problem of being in his presence. We have gone from endangerment in approaching him to being accepted by him, all through what Christ has done in his life, death and resurrection. He has done it all. In Christ, his grace, love and mercy are fresh each day.

Blessings, Al


From Florida on Good Friday

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 7:08 pm by Al

[I have had trouble posting to the blogsite while we have been gone. Today I finally solved the problem–cookies must be allowed in order for the login to post. We are not speaking about dessert but those things that allow websites to leave information on your computer for sundry uses.]

We have been enjoying our visit in Florida with my parents. My sister and youngest brother and their families also live here, so we have been enjoying a good time with them as well. It’s been a time of relaxing and visiting and catching up. In addition, we have been fishing (Alden, my dad, a friend and I caught our limit of snapper, which I spent an hour cleaning!), parasailing (Libbie, Eowyn and Alden along with my brother and his two children) and scanning old photos from family albums for digital retrieval in the future.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chemo, Molecular Therapy and Travel

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 7:59 pm by Al

I recommenced the targeted molecular therapy this morning (Wednesday, April 5) at half the previous dosage. Lord willing, this time around it will be a dosage I can tolerate.

I finished the second round of chemo therapy yesterday. I feel it more this time around–general malaise and fatigue, but it’s not so severe as to compromise functioning. 

We are traveling to visit my parents in Florida for spring break and then back to Philly in time for me to have a CT scan on April 17 to determine the impact of the treatment thus far. The interpretation of the results will not be available to us until Tuesday, April 25th.

As always, thanks for your prayers.



Postponed coronation

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 10:02 am by Libbie

Just wanted to let you all know that the dentist and I put off today’s appointment to try to crown my tooth, because my jaw is still stiff and sore. I can force it open wide now (which is progress!), but then when I close it it hurts quite a lot. And that’s just a single opening/closing. So it didn’t make sense to traumatize it again until it’s better. Re-scheduled for April 18th. Thank you for praying!

Reflections below (update 4.1.06) on good things the Lord has been showing me/us through this that spill over into how we’re viewing and handling Al’s cancer.


Jesus is Alive

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 9:32 pm by Al

Brief update: I am just now taking the pills for my fourth evening of chemo therapy. Tomorrow evening is the final evening. No significant nausea! We are most thankful. I have been more fatigued this time around, however, and felt more general malaise. And, if this course follows the patter of the previous course, I will experience fever and flu-like symptoms and constipation for the next week or so. BUT, this is hardly the end of the world!

For a couple of days I have been trying to write a note about Jesus, and what he means to me. It has developed into a more lengthy account of my conversion to Christ, which I will save for another day. What really got me started was thinking about one thing, the thing that so captured my attention when I was first confronted with the good news about Jesus: Jesus is alive; He didn’t stay dead; He really was raised from the dead. Not just a metaphorical rising from the dead, but the real thing. A person with a real body brought back to life after being dead for three days. He lives. Plain and simple. This has been the focus of hope for me. It was the focus when I first believed; it has been the focus through the years; and it continues to be the attention grabber, especially now. He has “shared” his resurrection with me and with all who believe. He died that he might give us his life. We are raised to life with him. Incredible.

The church meets on Sunday, the first day of the week, to remember that it was the first day of the week on which Jesus rose from the dead. In that sense, we celebrate Easter each week. In fact, rarely have I been praying on a Sunday that God hasn’t brought to mind this one gloriously, incredible event and led me to thankfulness: Jesus was raised on the first day of the week and he still lives today.

Rejoice and be thankful. The cross and the resurrection are our great hope.

Blessings, Al


Be Still

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections at 9:05 pm by Libbie

My apologies for not letting you know on Friday what is up with my tooth. I put off the next attempt at crowning it because my jaw was still very tender, and my mouth wouldn’t open very wide at all. Hopefully by Monday both of those conditions will be better and we’ll have another go at it.

I’ve also put off writing because I’ve been mulling over how to put into words what I’ve been thinking and learning from the recalcitrant tooth incident. Here goes an attempt at it. Read the rest of this entry »