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Waiting for the door to open

When God closes a door….

We don’t usually talk about what we’re supposed to do after that – how we are to occupy ourselves after a door is closed. No, what we’re used to hearing, what we WANT to hear, is “…another one opens.” And, yes, it generally does!

What, though, do we do in the in-between time? The pastor that I had growing up frequently said “It’s what you do in the in-between times that matters.” For instance, it’s easy to praise Him when the proverbial door has opened wide and you’ve been ushered in. It’s easy to lift your hands and sing praises when He’s opened up a window from Heaven and poured out blessings.

It’s even pretty easy – moreso for some – when all hell is breaking loose because it’s all you feel you can do. You lift your hands, calling out to Him, trusting Him, because there is nothing and no one else.

When you’re just waiting, though, it’s a little different. Some of us long-time Christians call it “being in the desert.”

When God closes one door and has yet to open the next…

I tend to refer to this time, not as a desert, but I say, “I’m in a holding pattern.”

I don’t feel dry, after all. I simply feel like I’m in the waiting room. I know where I came from. I’m pretty sure of where I’m going (at least the direction).

I’m just not sure where the door is; or, if I do know the location, if I should open it yet. Maybe the window is shut to me for now.

The way I figure it I’m in the lobby for either of two reasons: 1) I’m not ready; or, 2) my destination is still begin prepared.

I have no way of knowing whether or not my destination is still being prepared as I’m not yet there. That leaves me with two options: 1) complain about being in the holding pattern for so long; or, 2) prepare myself so that I’m ready for whatever is behind that door.

Let’s look at it this way: I’m at the doctor’s office. I’ve been waiting for an hour. I can lose my patience, make a move to push things along faster (e.g., “I want to see the doctor now!”), only to find out that the doctor hasn’t seen me yet because he’s waiting with a patient that has just had a heart attack and is currently awaiting an ambulance. Essentially, I’ve made a fool of myself. The doctor is saving someone’s life while I’m yelling like a petulant child.

I sometimes feel like that’s how God sees us but His grace abounds.

I can try all of the various doctors on the street until I find one that will see me immediately. Yes, my temporary need – that of being seen, has been met; but, since I’ve ended up in a cardiologist’s office, I’m probably going to walk out no better than I was before because my problem was a broken bone.

Now, I’ve wasted the cardiologist’s time, my time, God’s time, and the original problem – my broken bone – has acute pain. Clearly, I didn’t choose well that time either.

What about this? What if I sit in the lobby patiently, with a good attitude? I pull out a notepad and begin writing down what I would like to discuss with the doctor. I might even open up my smart phone and look up all of the information available to me about this bone.

I’m prepared. I’m prepared to share my concerns, my options, my questions with the doctor. I’ve gotten so involved with my studying and preparation I didn’t even realize it was my name that was just called. “Coming right now!” I eagerly say.

“I’m so sorry for the wait,” the nurse will say; and, I will respond, “Oh, no sweat! I didn’t even notice the time, honestly. I kept myself busy figuring out what I wanted to talk to the doctor about.” The nurse is pleased now because I’m the fourth patient since the heart attack victim; and, I’m the first to not complain.

I go in and speak with the doctor and he’s pleasantly surprised that I’m prepared. I’ve saved his time. I understand the use of that bone and how this injury is going to effect me. I understand the hard work that lies before me. I know there’s going to be self-discipline involved and patience. These are two traits that I have already learned and practiced while sitting in the lobby!

Why do I share this scenario? Because, what are you doing in the waiting room?

What are you doing while in the waiting room?

Are you preparing yourself for the door to open? For your name to be called?

“…Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the good news of peace. Always carry the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation along with the sword given by the spirit, that is, the word of God…” (Ephesians 6: 14-17)

You see, we have a lot of preparation that has already been directed to us, assigned to us. These are our “Initial Patient Forms,” if you will. This is our prep work, the work we do, before we are called.

These forms are our foundation to our file. All other treatments and decisions will be based on what these documents say about us: our medical history, our current history, etc.

Your battle readiness is based upon your foundation of His word. Whether you can weather the storm is determined greatly upon how you fortified your soul.

God help me to do my homework during the holding pattern.

I want my “current state of health” to say things like, “She is surrounded by truth, covered in righteousness, and constantly sharing God’s good word. She walks in faith that cannot be extinguished in any situation. She is covered in His salvation and walks in God’s anointing at all times. She knows His word, lives His word, and is full of His word.”

What will your “current state of health” say?

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Review & Giveaway: Always Enough Never Too Much

I received this book for my honest opinion, no monetary gain, and my honest opinion you will get. 

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“We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.
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Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God’s truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you  banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.”

 

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I think it’s appropriate that this is called a “flip book.” I’ll tell you why: because sometimes you need to FLIP the script on your life!

This past year has been a year of “too much” and “never enough” for me. This book is what I’d call an “on time” book for me. In a world that has programmed us to instinctively compare ourselves to one another and judge ourselves against litmus tests that God never set forth – other than His Word – it is refreshing to find a book that is truly edifying. It is refreshing to know that I’m reading words that are inspired by the Word of God in order that I might get back on the rails that I derailed from and remember who I am in God’s eyes. It’s nice to know I’m about to “flip” things back to the way God intended.

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You might notice that this book has two titles… kind of. I’ll explain it perfectly (and give you a sneak preview) in this short video:

Now that I have my own copy, I know exactly who I’m going to gift one of these to. It’s a pastor’s wife. It would amaze you the pressure that is on women that we look at as if they have it all together and we wish we were them. You may find that the very same insecurities that plague you are plaguing the very people you think have it all. So… don’t just keep this book to yourself – when you’re done, gift it to someone else. If you want to keep yours forever, then consider someone else who may feel the same way and gift them a copy. It may be the very think that helps them to become who they are truly meant to be in Christ simply by empowering them!

Now, after you get your Prime on and and grab your copy of Always Enough Never Too Much, you may find you want to get another copy for someone close to you:

Win 1 of 5 Copies of God Loves Mommy & Me

 

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Hearing God In the Now…

Buckle up…this is a long one and I’m probably going to ruffle some feathers.

I am overwhelmed with the repeating words, resounding in my mind like a trumpeting horn, “not my will, but Yours be done.”

I’m increasingly concerned with the people of God, their leaders (not just pastors, but leaders, teachers, praise team members, etc.) especially, not being led by God in the NOW. I will explain my use of “in the now” in a moment.

Jesus Christ – Himself – said in Mark 14:36, “…Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou will.”

Christ knew ALL things were possible; but, He did not want it to be His way. He wanted it to be God’s way. I’m sure Christ, in his infinite wisdom, could have constructed a great way; but, it would not have compared to God’s PERFECT way.

How did Christ know what God’s way was? He didn’t have a Bible to finger through and find the section on “fearing for your life and carrying the weight of the sin of the world on one’s shoulders.” I’ll tell you in three simple words, though He be a very complex and overwhelming being: the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16 tells us very clearly that Christ received the “Spirit of God.” It says, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” In the English Standard Version it says, “the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.”

There is such a thing as a “rhema” word. I really like the way James Rae explains the term “rhema” on Sharefaith.com. The word rhema means, “an utterance.” It’s used to refer to a word received that applies to your current situation or need. He goes on to say, “With this understanding, Christians can count on the written words contained in the Bible to have deep and personal meaning to their lives. And it is the Holy Spirit who enlightens believers when reading a Scripture, with the goal of imparting wisdom, knowledge or understanding in order to have an immediate impact.”

Not every Christian is fully aware, but rather it’s tucked away in their subconscious, that the Bible has been translated many times before you get your handy-dandy Message version. Keeping that in mind, also be aware that there are words in our language that cannot be interpreted in other languages; because they have no word for it and that works vice-versa as well. The word “rhema” is one such word. The best way we can put it is as James Rae does when he says that it is (forgive my abbreviation) an on-time utterance.

Now, if we are to refer to Matthew 4:4, where it says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceeds out of the mouth of God” and In John 6:63 where Christ confirms the use of this rhema revelation by saying, “The words [rhema] that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life,” then each Christian has an imperative, possibly life-changing, question they must answer for themselves.

Do you believe God speaks today?

Notice I did not say, “Is His written word speaking to you, today?” That is understood, it’s a given. His word is always fruitful, always valid, and will always speak to someone willing to hear it.

Further, as a side note to avoid any confusion, I would like to add that a rhema word, whether delivered by reading the Bible, the utterance of tongues, or a word dropped into one’s heart or mind, will NEVER contradict God’s written Word. If it does, that’s not God.

In 2 Timothy, Paul says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” So, please do not for even a moment assume that I am saying anything other than exactly what I am – that God speaks through us through His written word but ALSO through His Holy Spirit, TODAY. That is to say He speaks to us in addition to His written word. The Word of God is just as valid today as it was when it was first being chiseled and penned; and, a word given by the Holy Spirit – by whatever method – is equally as valid.

The key ingredient that we must not miss, though, is “rhema.” Why would God speak a rhema word? Because you need to hear it NOW!

He is not a God that sits atop a thrown, inaccessible to His children. Your earthly father would be called “a dead beat dad” if he never spoke to you. Wouldn’t he? How much more of a father is God to us than our earthly father? If we know how much greater a father He is, then we should logically assume that He would want to speak to us, currently – now, in our every day endeavors.

To give a more specific example: If I were standing on a ledge ready to jump and my dad, saw me, he would lovingly tell me that he was there for me and that I didn’t need to give up – he would help me through whatever was going on. How much more would my God do?

I’ll tell you. When my daughter was a toddler and her father and I were going through a lot, life became very overwhelming for me. The only person who knew that I had seriously considered taking my own life was my husband. Long story short, I was at the end of my rope and sat, numbly, in a pew one Sunday as a visiting pastor preached a good sermon that had nothing to do with what was going on in my life. At the end of the service, though, he called everyone who “desperately needed a touch from God” to come forward for prayer.

I will be honest, I didn’t even really realize I was standing at the alter until I looked up and saw that I was there with my husband at my side. I waited, silently crying, for this visiting pastor to come over, pray for me, and for me to walk away disappointed. After all, I had lost all hope. I wasn’t in that place where you run to God expectantly. However…we froze, stunned, as this man laid his hands on my head, began praying, and then suddenly paused and then lowered his voice and said with authority, “And, devil, I rebuke this demon of suicide plaguing this daughter of God! She is a child of the King!”

As the weight of the world and all of my hurt – feeling as if I was not even a blip on God’s radar, washed away. The Holy Spirit descended upon me in such a powerful way that I can truly say that I will forever remember how soothing the Balm of Gilead truly is.

You see, in that moment God knew that the only thing I needed to know was not how to fix my problems, where to find direction in His written word, but simply that God was aware and was there with and for me.

That pastor spoke a rhema word, given to him by an utterance of the Holy Spirit, that FOREVER changed my life. Sure, the devil tried to tempt me with suicide again. The thing is, not only has it never been a temptation since receiving that revelation; but, whenever depression descends upon me, I remind myself that God is aware and watching me, with love, knowing that through Him I have the power to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.

Why did I tell you all of that? Because a rhema word is what this world needs. This world is suffering from problems never before conceivable to mere man. Now, more than ever, we need to hear from God.

Please note that I did not say that we need another prophet. Prophets are great (when authentic) yet they come and go. Some are false and some are as true as the day is long. You don’t need a prophet, though, to hear from God. God is just as accessible to you as He is to anyone else. When apostles laid hands on people, the Holy Spirit was not coming from them. Acts 19 tells us that when Paul laid hands on some believers from Ephesus the Spirit came epi, upon them, not dia, through him.

We were given this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, from God, so that we don’t have to walk through the desert following after a prophet to whom God only speaks to. The only thing you need to hear a rhema word from God is to have the Holy Spirit residing within you.

A prophet has to be followed; but, God is accessible everywhere at all times. Didn’t Christ say in John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me, the works that I do he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I am going to the Father”? We can hear from God just as Christ and his apostles did.

I’m always blown away when we read that Christ – Himself – and His apostles did things a certain way but we seem to either think it’s beneath us, we’re too smart to have to do it that way, or we’re just too careless to assure that we’re doing it His way – that the very foundation of our every day lives be constructed in His way. I want to repeat that: “to assure that the very foundation of our every day lives be constructed in His way.” The very basis of our foundation should be believing that God manifested Himself into man; He died for our sins, so that we could live again; and, He sent us a comforter, the Holy Spirit, that should reside within us to direct our paths. Why are we skipping the third part? That’s like leaving the water out of the concrete mix and then wondering why it’s not setting up properly!

In Acts 19:1-7, Paul met some disciples of John the Baptist. He thought that they were believers in Christ, after hearing their talk of repentance. Paul, sensing something was missing, asked them the question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” This passage, and others, proves that Paul believed that it was possible to be a believer in Jesus without receiving the Holy Spirit. If receiving the Holy Spirit was automatic upon receiving salvation, then why did Paul ask, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

Christ, during his ascension, told us that he would leave us “a Comforter.” If Christ said He was leaving us a Comforter, we need this Comforter!

Why would the Bible refer to the Holy Spirit as a “comforter?” What is a comforter? A comforter is “a person or thing that provides consolation.” “Consolation” is defined as “comfort received by a person after a loss or disappointment, a person providing comfort to a person who has suffered.”

Allow me to take you back to the beginning of all of this where I referenced Christ’s illustration of choosing God’s way over His. A counselor can be a wonderful person to go to who will have good ideas of what to say to you; but, I want you to think about how much more your grief would be sated if you heard from the one person who actually knows exactly what to say to give you a peace that passes all understanding. I want you to consider how awesome it would be to have access to someone who is so inundated with the Holy Spirit that, if you’re too blinded by grief, confusion, hurt, etc., they can be a conduit of God to deliver a rhema word to you just as that visiting pastor did for me that day.

Yes, His written word can be a comfort to us, guidance, and more; but, Christ was leaving with us a living Comforter, in addition to a written account of His words.

We need to receive the Holy Spirit because God is a personal God – a God that wants to tailor His conversation specifically to you, not merely give you a generic word that you can apply to every situation.

Again, he is just as accessible today as he was 2000 years ago. The only question each of us needs to ask ourselves, and our leaders, is why are we/they not following a path set before us paved by His rhema word in our lives? Why are we following a generic path that we have drawn based on the few things we have assumed we fully understand from His written word. Our senior pastors, associate pastors, worship pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors, counselors, Sunday school teachers, praise team singers, praise band members, missionaries, …all of those people that would teach the Church about discipling should be anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit and be in such constant communication with God that they have vision, words, and specific application to add to His kingdom. Just as they should have this, so should each and every one of of God’s children.

In conclusion, I just want to finish out a word from THE Word, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

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BIGGEST GIVEAWAY EVER

*There are no affiliate links. I make no money off of this post. I have, however, been given some of these items and have chosen to give them away.

So, this month is kind of a big deal…at least for me it is. And, I want it to be for you, too! Most of you know that I don’t monetize my blog. That’s not to cast aspersions upon anyone that does because this is a full time job, homie. I simply prayed over it and felt like God was telling me not to.🤷🏻‍♀️ If I ever do, I’ll let you guys know!

So, these are things I want to give away just because I really appreciate those of you that have gone on this journey with me.

1. The Headcase Christian is 1 year old!

2. It’s my birthday month!

3. I’m having life-changing surgery at the end of the month!

To celebrate – while preparing pre-op, op, and post-op😂, I’m giving some of my favorite things away. These aren’t all of my favorite things…but some!

I’ll be giving away things like… (click on image for more information)

So, Erin, what’s the catch? No catch other than you have to be part of my tribe – my supporters, my “followers.” Those that are with me in the rain should bask in the sunshine with me!

So, because I’m going to be preparing for surgery and – as most of you know – I homeschool, most all of this is going to be done through social media and relatively quickly. So, it would probably serve you to make sure that not only are you a subscriber to the blog but you also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Just because I give away one thing on one social media outlet doesn’t mean I’m going to give it away on all of them.🤷🏻‍♀️ This isn’t to trick anyone. This is simply to keep this simple and fun for me too!🤗

🗣Click on any of these to find the link & follow! (FOR SOME REASON WORDPRESS IS HAVING A PROBLEM ON THEIR END; SO, FEEL FREE TO COPY & PASTE THE LINKS! Sorry about the hassle.)

www.facebook.com/headcasechristian

www.twitter.com/AHeadcaseXtian

www.instagram.com/theheadcasechristian

www.pinterest.com/theheadcasechristian

https://goo.gl/SMcS4S

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Review & Giveaway: Worship with Higher Vision

Week after week, Higher Vision Church is packed with nearly 3,000 adrenalized God followers. The 12-year-old multigenerational congregation just outside of Los Angeles is quite diverse, and that diversity takes center stage on Higher Vision Worship’s debut album, For Your Kingdom.

“When we design worship experiences at Higher Vision, with every light that moves and every video, our focus is on Christ,” explains Higher Vision’s Sean Loche (formerly of the groundbreaking group Worth Dying For) who produced the album. “And we’re always asking, ‘How are people engaging? How do we help people feel safe and loved in the power and presence of God?’ We try be a place for people to ‘jump in the pool.’ Sometimes they want to jump full-on in — and sometimes they just want to get their toes wet.”

That same vision for Higher Vision the church was applied to the songs on Higher Vision Worship’s For Your Kingdom. “The album feels like a miracle,” says worship pastor April Ashburn. “It feels like there’s something for almost everyone. Different styles and yet a well-rounded whole.”

There are songs on For Your Kingdom that tug at the heart, and then there are others like “Broken the Chains” that squeeze and don’t let go. “I just thought how crazy is it that God created everything,” explains lead pastor Jared Ming, who wrote the song while thinking and praying about a struggling friend. “Yet there’s still a song in heaven that angels cannot sing. The angels worship, but we worship differently…. We’ve been redeemed and forgiven. Angels can’t sing, ‘I’ve been redeemed.’”

The 13-track album rebounds from those lighter moments with energetic worship such as the high-energy title track, the electronica-flavored “Trust in You,” dance-tinged tunes like “Freedom of Your Love” and “Hands Held High,” and then dives back in with heartfelt ballads such as “He Is Here” – which paints a sound picture of God’s presence and our response to it.

“We can get stuck in a cycle of grasping for God’s presence only to realize that God is here all around us,” says Ashburn, who penned the song. “Sometimes we just need to become aware of his presence — and then our response isworship.”

Higher Vision not only wants For Your Kingdom to be an experience the congregation can carry with them wherever they go, but also they want it to speak to those who may not yet have Christ in their lives.

“There’s just so much darkness going on in the world,” says Loche. “Every day you read the worst, most horrific news you can imagine. We want to just be a blip of good, a blip of light in a dark world, to atheists and to Christians.”

For more information, visit www.highervisionworship.com

My Take…

I was given this CD for my honest opinion and that – as always – is what you’ll get.

If you’re a fan of music from such ministries as Elevation Worship and Passion City Church, you’ll be a fan of Higher Version’s For Your Kingdom. With a mix of EDM-like (Electronic Dance Music) and live music, Higher Vision Worship helps to usher you in to the presence of God in your home or car.

I especially liked track 10 – Hands Held High. The songs are a good balance of tempo, praise, and worship.

Being a praise & worship leader (not pastor), and coming from a family of gospel singers, I have my own views of what “praise” and “worship” mean. Very simply put “praise” is when you express approval or admiration of someone or something. “Worship” is deeper though. It’s when you show reverence and adoration. Some would say “The quick songs are praise. The slow songs are worship.” I don’t like to put songs in a box that way. I believe even a fast song can be worship. You may find that to be true, yourself, with the For Your Kingdom CD.

Want to win For Your Kingdom?

Check them out for yourself:

https://youtu.be/FTUIh01ZP2s

Want it now? I can’t blame you.

Your Kingdom Pre-Order Link:

https://sc.lnk.to/HghrVsn

(2 songs are available for immediate download)