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Alzheimer's Support Ministry

Pastor: Rick McLean 818-909-5500 

LAST MEETING:


Ryan led us in a discussion of The attributes and character of God demonstrated in creation, fully revealed in His word, resulting in our worship.
(Scriptures from the devotional  are distributed throughout this newsletter along with the photos by Becky and her son, Matt.) 

 
Psalm 19:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
 
We don’t worship creation, we worship God.  Creation is a tool to demonstrate what God has revealed in his word and a motivation to humble worship.
 
LOVE
Psalm 36:5 Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 
 
Psalm 89:2 For I have said, "Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness." 
 

GLORY/MAJESTY
Psalm 97:6 The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory. 
  
POWER & SOVEREIGNTY
Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.  
 
Psalm 124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
 
AUTHORITY
Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.
 

SECOND FORGETTING
by Dr. Benjamin Mast

 
Reviewed by Laurie Price

When we realized that my husband, Gary, was having short-term memory problems, and began the process of diagnosing his condition, we hoped it was something curable, like a thyroid imbalance, or B-12 deficiency.  As the many tests eliminated the more “hopeful” possibilities, there was a recurring and frightful thought.  “I hope it’s not Alzheimer’s.”  I think more people are afraid of getting dementia, than cancer.  
 
WHY IS THAT?

Our memories define us.   Think how many songs refer to our memories.  We take selfies in front of the Grand Canyon.  Love letters are tucked away in a box.  The idea of forgetting what we have done and who we are is terrifying.  For a Christian, the possibility of forgetting God, and our relationship with Him is unthinkable.
(continued below)

 

 NEXT MEETING:

February 21st
9:00-11:30

In 370's rooms
3rd floor of Tower Bldg.

 

Devotional time
Worship in song
Breakfast*
Sharing and prayer

Our Loved Ones are welcome to join us for all or part of the meeting but volunteers are available to assist them on a walk, on a walk or in the next room during the sharing time if desired.
 

*A light breakfast with healthy options will be served.  If you would like to contribute, contact Sarah Dougherty at doughertyfam8@gmail.com   Thank you!


 

GOODNESS
Psalm 147:2-9  The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel.  He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.  He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.  Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.  The LORD supports the afflicted; He brings down the wicked to the ground.  Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises to our God on the lyre,  Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.  He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens which cry. 

JUSTICE
Psalm 50:6 And the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is judge. Selah.

WISDOM
Proverbs 3:19
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.

The Treasury of David
by Charles Spurgeon

"Here we are taught the power of God in creation. The process of evaporation is passed by unnoticed by the many, because they see it going on all around them; the usual ceases to be wonderful to the thoughtless, but it remains a marvel to the instructed. When we consider upon what an immense scale evaporation is continually going on, and how needful it is for the existence of all life, we may well admire the wisdom and the power which are displayed therein.
 
Lightning is not to be regarded as a lawless force, but as a part of that wonderful machinery by which the earth is kept in a fit condition: a force as much under the control of God as any other, a force most essential to our existence. The ever changing waters, rains, winds, and electric currents circulate as if they were the life blood and vital spirits of the universe.
 
This great force which seems left to its own wild will is really under the supreme and careful government of the Lord.
 
Everywhere the Lord worketh all things, and there is no power which escapes his supremacy. It is well for us that it is so: one bandit force wandering through the Lord's domains defying his control would cast fear and trembling over all the provinces of providence. Let us praise Jehovah for the power and wisdom with which he rules clouds, and lightnings, and winds, and all other mighty and mysterious agencies."

 

Continued from above left)

Dr. Benjamin Mast has presented a comforting answer to these fears in his book, Second Forgetting.  As a licensed clinical psychologist and committed Christian, he gives hope for those who are forgetting and those who care for them.  After 8 ½ years of caring for Gary, who is now in advanced stage Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, I found this book EXTREMELY helpful. 

Dr. Mast explains The "Second Forgetting" as follows:   “We are all imperfect and broken.  We forget the Lord, even in the best of health.  This is what I call the “the second forgetting.” p 18.  Everyone forgets God.  Even believers do.  That is why we need reminders.  Dr. Mast sites the Israelites who forgot God repeatedly yet God never forgot them and kept His promises to them.  This is comforting.

 

Two chapters are devoted to understanding Alzheimer’s disease and how the brain remembers.  Knowing the various ways to access memories stored away in a person’s brain is really useful in helping those we care for.  The distant past, actions, emotional events are memory systems that are accessible longer than the short-term memories which is one of the first “memory systems” to fail. 

The most helpful part for me personally was the section on the Gospel, who a person is in Christ, and how God interacts with believers, whether their minds are healthy or not.  As Gary is mostly non-communicative now, I have been wondering how his inner man can be renewed, though his body is decaying day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)  I believe it is true, but wondering HOW.  By working his way through Psalm 139 and Romans 8, Dr. Mast draws out how God intimately cares for His own.  He fully KNOWS us.  He extends GRACE to us.  Nothing can separate us from God.  Not even dementia. 

GREAT PRACTICAL IDEAS...

Help for the “forgetful”

The body of Christ has an important role in serving dementia affected families. Practical tips are given for how to serve.  For instance, “Visit, but be flexible.  Caregiving for someone with advancing dementia can be quite unpredictable.  Something could come up that is out of their control and they may need to cancel.” p 119

Help for caregivers

Biblical encouragement to “press on,” follow Christ’s example of service, and rely heavily on His grace in the exhausting days.  In reality we are serving the Lord Jesus, as we serve our loved one.  “As a caregiver, you can take comfort in the knowledge that you too have a caregiver, one who can surpassingly meet all of your needs.  Christ is our caregiver.” P 90

HELPING THE LOVED ONE...

Remember their faith

“… multisensory stimuli can be used to help them remember.  Smells, sounds, sights can prompt recollection of different parts of a person’s story.  Pictures and music can be particularly helpful…”  p 125

Remember the Lord

All through scripture God sets up “memorials” so His followers would remember the important things.  Who He is, His promises, His kind and gracious deeds to His own.  We can do the same thing with those we care for.  Old photo albums, talking about the Lord, regularly reading the Bible, listening to hymns, and prayer* are good ways to keep God in the forefront of our minds, and help our loved ones do the same.  New long term memories will not be formed, but moment to moment comfort and sanctification can take place. 

Even now, we can be building into our lives habits that would support our relationship with the Lord if we should forget one day.  Dr. Mast has excellent suggestions on this.

He closes with the following thought: 
“It is far more significant that God remembers us than that we remember him.  This speaks to the reality that our salvation, from beginning to end, is by grace.  In Grace God reaches out to rescue us – not the other way around.  Our salvation, ultimately is not up To us.  We cannot save ourselves, and there is comfort in this as a person experiences physical and mental decay.” p 163

*Note: As with any good resource I’d encourage discernment as you read.  There’s a second-hand example given about a Catholic woman finding peace through praying the rosary.  No doubt a true story, but I wish the author hadn’t used it in a book about how to help Christians remember the Lord. 
 
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