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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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Blinders

I want you to imagine a horse with blinders on. Blinders are used to keep the horse focused on what is in front of it. Since the horse can’t see everything in it’s peripheral vision, it keeps the horse from becoming distracted or scared.

The horse looks towards the end of the row – it’s goal. So, for instance, if a dog runs up from the house, the horse will hear it; but, the horse will stay the course. If a snake should come into its path… it will tread on and over it; because, the horse’s goal is in sight – nothing else.

I would like to encourage you to first ground yourself in God’s word, assuring that you are walking as Christ did (1 John 2:6).

Then know this, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)

Don’t take the time to rejoice in your authority. Stay the course, focusing on God. Keep your blinders on. Once your with our Heavenly Father, look back and witness the trail you took in life and how it’s littered with snakes and scorpions that you were never even aware of; because, you were too focused on your goal, the end of your row, your God.

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I choose peace

Tonight, I am emotionally exhausted. I am not emotionally exhausted in a conversational way. I am emotionally exhausted in the clinical way. As I had that thought on the forefront of my mind, I ran across this picture posted here.

I thought to myself how true it is… but God. You see, if you look up all of the signs of emotional exhaustion you will find that I actually only meet maybe one or two of the criteria. That is not because I’m not experiencing emotional exhaustion. That is because…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

And, I could go on because His Word goes on. I’m not going to worry tonight. I might worry on another day… when I’m stronger of body yet not being diligent about being spiritually focused on God‘s promises that day.

Tonight, though, I’m not going to worry about losing another loved one. I’m not going to worry about having enough money for repairs and gifts. I am not going to worry about whether I am the best mother or not, the best daughter or not, the best sister or not, the best friend or not.

I’m not going to worry because I have given my exhaustion to the Lord and He has turned it into peace. He is Jehovah Jireh. He is the provider of promises, needs, and even emotional balance and health. I could focus on my exhaustion and say that it is there because of all of the turbulence around me; but, instead, I am recognizing that God is using it to force me into a state of awareness of the peace that is simply waiting for me to fall back into. And… I choose to fall back into His peace and His promises tonight.

http://youtu.be/BgaHaioAjyg

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Don’t Give Up

A lot of people quote Matthew 6:1-4 when speaking about good deeds.

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Matthew‬ ‭6:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Tonight, I would quote Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

So many times (because it’s in our fleshly nature) people only remember, talk, dwell, focus on past mistakes.

They define you in their own minds by what they hear or by that moment.

I feel like someone needs to hear this, “Don’t give up doing what’s right!”

There’s a very important word in the passage from Galatians – the word “if.” IF we do not give up, then in our due season we will reap.

Many times we’re beaten up… for just doing the best we knew how through Christ; and, so often, we get abused and blamed when we may actually be the injured party.

In those moments, we have to not speak – for it’s God that promotes us – not us. Anything that we do for ourselves can just as easily be taken away. Anything God gives us, however, cannot be taken from us but by Him and His permission.

I praise God that in those times, God remembers what I did. He’s my daddy and I know, in that moment, HE was proud of me – IS proud of me. I hope you’ll remember this too.

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids: Billy Graham’s God’s Good News

I received this book (no money) for my honest review and that’s what you always get!

Billy Graham remains one of the foremost pastors in America’s history, and parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, and more will want this lovely edition of God‘s GoodNews for the children in their life to show them the way to the cross and to help them begin a lifetime of following Christ. God‘s Good News is a collection of more than 60 favorite Bible stories told in actual Bible text from the New King James Version, including Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, and the disciples, and each story is equipped with a takeaway devotion from Rev. Graham. The takeaways will help children focus on God’s Word, apply it to their lives, and begin walking with God and sharing the good news from an early age. The striking artwork from Scott Wakefield will help children connect with the timeless Bible stories and messages from Rev. Graham.

Christianity is good news. . . . When we open up the Bible, it is good news from cover to cover. It’s the good news that God loves us.

—Billy Graham

This book is yet another part of the amazing legacy that Reverend Billy Graham leaves behind – him ministering, through book, to the next generation.

Graham starts this capturing Book by talking about what he always talks about – God’s love and how “it passes knowledge.” Graham was big on talking about how much God loves us and that tone is set from the very beginning in this book.

Separated – just as the Bible is – between Old and New Testaments, this story and devotion book prepares the youngest for independently reading the Bible.

Meanwhile, Scott Wakefield’s illustrations are making every story come alive in your child’s mind! His artistic interpretation, while beautiful, is realistic enough that the illustrations do not deviate from the Word while still being child-friendly.

Throughout this story and devotion book, your children will hear words directly from Billy Graham’s writings as well.

I highly recommend this book. I know that shouldn’t surprise most of you as it is the works of Reverend Billy Graham. His legacy and history, though, do not just give him an automatic seal of approval by me. Going through this book, I am very impressed with the stories that were included.

So many children’s devotionals include stories such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Esau, Jonah, and others. Many, however, do not include the Tower of Babel, Jacob’s ladder, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, King Solomon, Josiah, Zacharias, the sermon on the mount, Zacchaeus, the prodigal son, the widow’s coins, Stephen, and many, many, more. This story and devotion book has more than 60 of them in it!

If you want to know what a child’s honest first thoughts are of this book, before you buy it, watch this short video:

https://youtu.be/pNTE6KfRFZM

Bible

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

No. I’m not going to talk about Nike, nor am I going to talk about Colin Kaeperinck. Though, I will admit, as a childhood athlete, a football fan, and a former military dependent I could say plenty. I’m going to do what I wish many would do – NOT make this about me.

Believe in something.

My first problem is with “something.” So…just any ol’ thing? Can I believe in unicorns? Leprechauns? What if we get serious here… Can I believe in racial supremacy? A one-world government? I mean “something” is a very general term when you’re talking about a message that is going around the entire planet!

Something, by definition, means “a thing that is unspecified or unknown.” If this world needs anything right now it’s certainly to know what, or WHO, they should believe in.

We live in a world where people are believing in themselves, politicians, governments, celebrities, and more to literally solve all of their problems.

You cannot solve all of life’s problems.

Your president can not solve all of life’s problems.

Your government causes more problems than it solves.

Celebrities don’t know or even understand most things you would consider a problem!

Now, you want to believe in equality? That’s great! You want to believe in peace? Awesome idea. You want to believe in others’ beliefs not being forced upon you? Me, too! You want to stand up for taking care of your fellow man? Most of us would probably agree.

Guess what? All of those things Christ would agree with too!

“What?! No! Jesus hates different people! He wants to make me into something I’m not and unhappy!” you may say.

You couldn’t be more wrong. Jesus talked to a woman at a well that would normally be treated like a dog. Not only did he partake of water from her paws…hands but He went on to offer her a solution to her life’s problems that included self-respect and love.

Peace? When Christ was about to be dragged away and punished for crimes He had not committed, His friend cut off the ear of one of the oppressors and Christ said, “Yeah! We can take’em!” No. Christ replaced the soldier’s ear, healed him, and chastened his friend.

“But…He wants to shove Christianity down my throat!” No. Actually He doesn’t.

See? His idea was to just keep going until you find someone receptive.

“Well, I’m more about worrying about others rather than myself.” Well, settle down Sanctimonious Sally because so was Jesus. Don’t believe me?

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

1 John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. …

1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? …

I think you see where I’m going with this. The whole Bible is about love because God IS love!

Remember…

So, now that I’ve strategically shot down all of that, let’s talk about the rest.

Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Really?

I can’t.🤦🏻‍♀️ No, wait. I can. I actually, really, can.

Sacrificing everything?!

Sacrificing friends is part of life. It’s sad but true. As you change, many will fall by the wayside.

Sacrificing endorsements? How about never able to get anyone in earthly power to endorse you.

Sacrificing your career? How about sacrificing YOUR LIFE?!

How far have we fallen when we really think that a guy who makes millions and then millions more in endorsements is “sacrificing” ANYTHING?!

Jesus Christ was and is sinless yet He heaped upon Himself the sins of the entire world, was persecuted and made fun of, sneered at by His own hometown, and still He healed and delivered those that would crucify Him. He didn’t stop there, though! He took the ultimate punishment doled out. He had His flesh shredded, thorns shoved into the crown of His head. He was spat on, kicked. He was bruised, beaten, and had a spear shoved in his side. He had nails hammered into his wrists and feet.

He had His clothes ripped from Him and a mocking sign put above a His head. He died with no dignity whatsoever though He died for us!

How dare we think we know anything about sacrifice?!

So…

If you want to believe…believe in the One who has always believed in you – Jesus.

Even if it means sacrificing everything, because it very well could.

…and the list goes on.

I don’t care about shoes. I don’t care about headbands, shirts, basketball shorts, or Jordans. I believe in Jesus. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

http://youtu.be/wWl27j3V-rA

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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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Book Review & Giveaway: The Study Bible for Women

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Stop stressing out looking at the Macy’s catalogue and don’t even consider getting another vacuum this year. This may be the VERY gift you’re looking for this year for Mother’s Day – whether it’s to give or receive. Yes, I was given this book to review; and yes, that’s what I’m doing. BUT! You guys know I’m always honest. If I disagree with the doctrine, if I just plain think it’s cheap,…whatever! I’m 100% honest with you guys, and I’m honestly telling you I’m keeping the one they sent me. Sorry. You’ll have to get your own from the giveaway below or from the store or HINT LIKE A CRAZY PERSON that you want it for Mother’s Day. (Hint: You don’t actually have to be a mother to celebrate Mother’s Day. There’s all kinds of ways around this)

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Tell me, GO AHEAD, tell me that you’ve seen a more beautiful Bible. I won’t believe you. It’ll have to be hand-painted by an angel from Heaven, descending from on high simply to place in your hands the one Bible above all others. This thing, while not stitched together by Gabriel, is GORGEOUS! I mean… are you looking at these pictures?! Granted, I’m not the best photographer but this Bible is inspiring in artistry and beauty. The colors are soothing and feminine while not choking you like a department store perfume….a perfume of which would NOT be as good a gift for Mother’s Day as THIS BIBLE!

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Okay…my melodramatics and quirky sense of humor aside, I really do dig this Bible. First off, I love that it’s hardback. I beat the TAR out of a Bible, y’all. True story. Eventually, the leather starts flaking off everywhere. It’s like Bible dandruff in Church and it’s embarrassing. This thing is sturdy; and, I don’t know about you, but if there’s something I need to be sturdy in my life it’s the Word. Just sayin’.

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Now, for those of you who prefer a specific translation. I get it. I do. This Bible is translated in Christian Standard Bible (CSB). This is a modern English Bible translation from Holman Bible Publishers and is considered Protestant. The first of this translation was published back in “99, I believe, and that was the New Testament. It’s been received very well, over the years, as a great “everyday” translation. I would agree with that. While I prefer to study in New King James, sometimes it’s nice to just sit down with an easy read of the Bible.

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Another great thing about this Bible is that new Christians and young Christians find it to be a great Bible translation to be introduced to. So, if you’re looking to gift a Bible to a new Christian, this may be the one you should take a look at. Additionally, this would make an outstanding graduation gift to any young woman.

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What sets this Bible apart, though, has actually little to do with the translation and more to do with the way this Bible is put together. Hear me out:

I’m this strange kind of hybrid… Christian… human thing… that likes to read her physical Bible, read a Bible app, and read and study in several translations. I also like to have commentary, reference back to the Talmud, Hebrew translation, and all that your mind can conceive at my fingertips. So, one of the most cool things about this Bible is the extensive commentary notes, doctrinal notes, maps, charts, and timelines that are right there on the page they relate to. In other words: if I want to know where else a specific verse is mirrored, it’ll most likely be right there at the bottom of that page I’m on. Further, if I can’t wrap my mind around where all of the “ites” are located, I can start picturing it in my mind with the help of a provided map.

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This Bible also has things like word studies, answers to hard questions, character profiles (I especially love this), “Written on My Heart” applications, book introductions (which are especially helpful to keep you between the navigational beacons or help a new Christian), presentation pages, a concordance that includes ALL the women of the Bible, and more!

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Look, I know it sounds like I’m trying to sell you on this. I am. But, not for the reason you may think. If you’ll recall: I’m not monetized. One of the reasons for that is because God was very clear when He showed me that I would begin stressing about helping my family with money and would get distracted from simply sharing His word. There are lots of bloggers out there that can balance both. Right now, I’m not one of them. Another reason however is so that you always know that when I’m excited about something – I’M REALLY, GENUINELY, EXCITED ABOUT IT!

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Can you imagine what would happen in this world we live in if every woman…. let’s say 12 and older…. was given this Bible as a gift? Women are world-changers. Look at Ruth: because she was selfless she gave birth to the lineage of King David. Look at Esther: she saved God’s people by being courageous. When King Josiah had questions, who did he go to? Huldah, that’s who! I could go on and on. With a Bible in the hands of every woman on this planet, lives would be saved and nations would turn their eyes toward God. How do I know this?

It’s like Maria said in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the neck any way she wants.”

We need good women, women after God, turning the necks around us to see God! I hope you’ll consider this Bible, this year. I hope you’ll consider it for yourself, for a friend, a family member, your daughter, or maybe you just want to gift a complete stranger a life-changing book. If so, there are several places you can purchase this book and you can find out more here: CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE OR LEARN MORE. (Hint: Look at all of the links because some are a little less than others!)

If you’re getting this as a gift, go ahead and buy it now. If you want to try and win a copy for yourself, click below!

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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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Adenomyosis: A Diagnosis w/a Side Order of Miracle

🗣WARNING⚠️ : This is not my usual type of posts. Other than peripheral mentions of God, because He’s always a part of my life, this posting pertains to a diagnosis that is still not well-known and I would like to get the word out. This is not what I would call a Bible posting. Also, this is about female reproductive health. Unless you’re concerned about problems your wife is having or you are a woman, you may not be interested in this post. This will not become a habit of mine. It’s simply something I feel like needs to be out there so more people know.

Adenomyosis. What the heck is that? That was my first thought. I mean…being 39, at this point, I feel like most of us have heard of endometriosis. But…adenomyosis?

After having horrible cycles since I was 11 that included them being both embarrassingly heavy and unbelievably painful,

I had no idea until about a year ago that something was wrong. I just thought that I had it worse than others. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Every year, since its inception, my cycle has become progressively worse in every respect. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was a single mom but on birth control to help with the aforementioned problems. Still, once a month, I would be nearly debilitated for at least one day. So, I couldn’t fathom what my life would be like if I were not on the pills. At one point my doctor eliminated the diagnosis of endometriosis. At that point, I sort of reserved myself to the fact that this was simply my lot in life – to have an excruciatingly painful cycle. I would go to work and sit at my desk with a heating pad on my belly, , a heating pad on my back, and taking hydrocodone for at least two days every month.

I should add here that I actually have an extremely high threshold for pain. I had my daughter naturally. After her birth, of course, many told me that my cycle would get better.

As you can tell, that clearly was not the case. And having a lot of medical providers in my family – everyone from surgeons to EMTs – I understand the pain scale better than most. With that many medical providers in my family, I don’t have the luxury of being overdramatic.

I generally operated between a 6 and a 7 at least one or two days every month.

Then my body went through a lot when I was remarried and we ventured out into trying to get pregnant. I immediately came off the pill and knew that all signs pointed to both of us being healthy. Yet… Even though I was 28, 29 years old, I couldn’t get pregnant. This went on for several years. I had a miscarriage. I was taking hormones. My husband was administering injections.

Long story short – because that’s for another post – I knew that God had promised me a son. So, in the midst of raging hormones and feeling defeated, I came off of everything. I stopped taking hormones, injections. I fell to my knees and prayed Hannah’s prayer and then told God that I was letting it go and leaving it with him. I went to work on a film and several months later realized I was pregnant. It was evident to all of us that God wanted me to know that it was Him and not the work of any kind of medication or medical assistance that gave my beautiful son to me. We will circle back around to this.

But…God gave me my son in the midst of this.

Again, I was told that my cycle would probably settle down a little bit after now having two children. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

My cycle proceeded to get worse and worse until I was operating between levels 7 and 9 two days every month. Hydrocodone, Tramadol, because, heating pads, the works.

After my mother witnessed this several times, and my husband became increasingly more concerned, my husband scheduled me for an appointment with the doctor who delivered my son – one of the best OB/GYN’s in the Southeast.

Shoutout!

Yes, they found that I had some fibroids. Yes, they determined that some cysts had burst. Beyond all of this, though, she looked at me contemplatively and simply stated, “I believe you have adenomyosis.”

My response, of course, was “What the heck is that?” Thankfully, she went on to explain it.

I could never do justice to explaining it as well as she can. I will try to do my best here with the help of websites. The one thing that I should point out, though, (allow me to just throw this spoiler out there) is that the only “cure” to this disease at this time is a hysterectomy.

Mayo Clinic says, “Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result.”

The cause is invasive tissue growth. Imagine the endometrial tissue is kudzu or English ivy (depending on where you live, respectfully) and it’s taking over. Every place a vine or leaf extends will still die and slough off every month…no matter…where…it’s shoved itself.

Instead of the endometrial tissue tucking up into the ovarian tubes as would happen would endometriosis, it’s invaded the actual muscle that forms the uterine walls.

If that doesn’t give you a picture in your mind of the climbing, excruciating, pain that I and many women have endured monthly… I’m not sure what will. When you add to that the muscle spasms and back pain that already a company just monthly curse, it’s not uncommon to be completely debilitated.

Unfortunately, there’s another couple of nasty side effects to adenomyosis that is not stuck within a timeframe. Those are anemia and pain. I have a rather constant dull ache all the time. It seems to be worse on my left side but it’s not something that only comes for a few days a month and then it goes away and I get to breathe easy. Also, I’m constantly battling anemia. If you’re not sure what anemia is, the easiest way to put it is that it is low iron and you feel like crap all the time. You are too tired to do laundry, you are winded from getting the mail, and you overall just feel like garbage all the time. For this, you obviously take an iron supplement and hope for the best. At worst, you get a blood transfusion.

So, (and believe me when I say I’m leaving out a lot to make this post more readable) if the pill or an IUD doesn’t work to help you bear it long enough to wait for menopause, you’re only option for a normal life is a hysterectomy at this point.

So…I’m scheduled for one. Now, I could leave this article right here. I could leave it with the emotional ups and downs that I’m going through knowing that my baby-maker will be closed for business…for good. I could tell you about the tears that I’ve cried, the frustration that I’ve endured because I have no control over this situation. I won’t though. I’m going to leave you with this:

Remember when I said, “We will circle back around to this”? Consider yourself circled back around.

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As Attain Fertility puts it, “About 1 in 100 women will have adenomyosis in their lifetime. Women in their 30s and 40s who have had one or more children are most at risk for adenomyosis and infertility…your uterus may become two or three times larger than normal. In addition, adenomyosis can cause problems with infertility. ”

IVF1 spells it out like this, “There are several reasons to suspect that adenomyosis could be a cause for infertility. The first has to do with uterine contractions. Some uterine contractions are good. There are uterus and fallopian tube contractions that help sperm to reach the egg in the fallopian tube. It seems that adenomyosis disrupts these good contraction. Later, at the time of embryo implantation, too many uterine contractions are bad. Adenomyosis may actually increase these bad contractions. The final reason is very complex. Whatever factors are responsible for the development of adenomyosis may simply make the uterus less able to allow embryos to implant.”

So, guess what? I discovered, through all of this, that my “miracle child” is even more of a miracle than I had ever imagined. Not only did God follow through on His promise to give me a son, not only did He wait until my body was cleared out of all medical intervention and medicine, but my body was literally creating a minefield environment that would never be considered even fallow at best – a body that would deter an egg from coming forth and adhering…. BUT GOD!

God said, “I will send you a husband and father to your daughter.”

God said, “Your daughter will have a brother.”

God said, “I will give you a son so prepare.”

Two people in my church cane to me and told me that they dreamt that I had a son.

I finally let go, prayed Hannah’s prayer

…and let it be. I stopped tugging on my Father’s coattails demanding, “Right now!”

My body fought it, my heart tried to whither, my mind tried to reject it, but my Spirit would not cave.

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And God came through! As He always does! Yes, I may be about to have a hysterectomy; BUT GOD made a way when there was no way without medical intervention! He said, “Let there be life!” and my son was conceived in a hostile environment that would have otherwise rejected him. God said it and that settled it!

And now, as promised by God and prophesied by man though the cards were dealt firmly against me (just the way God likes it), here he is…