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Women in His Presence

Season of Snails

I remember as a little girl finding little snail shells stuck to my house. Sometimes they would be empty shells and other times the shells were still being occupied.

When that was the case, I would pick up a snail and put it on my hand and watch it slowly maneuver around and upside down without falling and leaving a funny trail of film.

I loved it and I can say that as an adult finding a snail still doesn’t get old.

The past year seems to be the season of snails. They cross my path at odd times and in a variety of sizes reminding me to be patient of the slowness of things.

As a little girl I was so engaged with the slowness of the snail, yet as an adult I am impatient with the hand of God to change a circumstance.

And then, he tells me to hold up and whispers:

“You’re the snail. I’m watching you with complete engagement. I’m watching how you maneuver around and with my guiding hand. I patiently wait for you to work on areas that need purging and areas that need moving.”

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

To God be the Glory

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Happy Infertile Day

I actually wrote this last year on Mother’s Day while in the midst determining whether or not I would be able to continue in my marriage.

Looking out a year later, infertility in my situation was a huge blessing in disguise.  God knew everything I didn’t know the entire time and knew he would have to move me out of my marriage.  So, looking back now knowing the big picture this was an interesting reminder of God’s will for my life even if it wasn’t mine.

Mother’s Day 2016

To those of you who are infertile, I know this is a tough day. Although we have mothers of our own to be grateful for, today seems to magnify our bodies inability or the unexplained mystery to bear fruit.

As a woman, today makes us feel like we are not woman enough. It is often a a pain we keep silent inside. Sometimes others ignore it either because they are afraid to ask, or because of its inconvenience to them, or sometimes both. Sometimes this leads to exclusion and you watch from the outside the friendships that are made amongst women with kids.

You’re different.

No one knows what to do with us and the issue is skirted around as we try to mask our pain.

But on today, when motherhood is highlighted, infertility is magnified for us who go through it.

Shelby from Steel Magnolias says it best, ” I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special.”

There are always a lot of questions you struggle with….IVF?No IVF? Adoption? No adoption? Miracle?No miracle?

Approaching forty, I can see how God was somehow protecting me. But, it still doesn’t make it easy.

I was blessed today by a message from a friend who wanted to let me know that I am a mother in a spiritual way to others. I needed to hear that. God had been telling me that too and emphasizing my relationship with Him will allow me to give Godly guidance to those who may come to me now or in the future.

That is where the blessing is. No matter what we go through, we get to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and in having this struggle we have been able to grow deeper in Him.

Let’s pray that we may be of influence to those in search of guidance and let us direct them to God.

Being FOCUSED Brings SURPRISES

Saturday was a beautiful day.
Moving from a much smaller town in Texas to Houston, I had been getting a little homesick in my heart lately. I was missing my house. I was missing the trail to the creek. I was missing “my” creek and I had been missing the birds that I use to see all of the time: kiskadee, green jay, and the belted kingfisher to name a few.

Birding was a hobby I dabbled in while living in Kingsville, Texas. However, there was one bird I was always searching for and could never find that was present. It was a bird I should have seen in my 12 years of living there being a birder, but oddly enough I never did.

The one exception was the dead one I found at work right before I moved. That wasn’t the most uplifting moment and I felt it symbolized my dead marriage and that chapter in my life. A beautiful covenant dead. I never got to experience it the way God intended.

Yesterday, while at a church day retreat in La Grange. I set out with another church member to go birding to focus on God’s beautiful creation. As we entered a more dense area off the path, there were a lot of birds calling. I saw one land low on a branch ahead. With my bare eyes, I could see a reddish color on the breast. I first thought that maybe it was a robin, but it seemed too small. As I lifted my binoculars, it looked dark but had a yellow section close to the back of its neck. Immediately, I realized that this was a different bird and the rolodex of bird markings ran through my mind as I tried to figure it out getting my binoculars into better focus.

As I got into focus, it turned around parallel to me and I saw it. The red, blue, green, and yellow.

It was THE PAINTED BUNTING.

For twelve years I had waited to see this bird. I would think, “What a shame to leave Kingsville and never see it.” I had longed to mark it off my list and here it was…..but not where I was expecting.

*I wasn’t even looking for it.
*I didn’t realize I could see it here.
*It hadn’t even crossed my mind to look for it when setting out.

God was speaking to me in that moment and was reminding me to stay FOCUSED on HIM and he will bring what I’m searching for, looking for, working towards, and longing for.

He will present it to me.
Again.
He will present it to me.

There is no need to seek it out.

Scripture
Matthew 6:33 NIV
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Psalm 16:11 NIV                                            You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Prayer

Dear God,                                                    What a blessing to be in communication with you. Thank you for the conversation and the surprises. You truly are the God of everlasting love. Thank you for calling me to refocus my eyes and attention on you

To God be the Glory

Battling the Serpant

Every time I see a snake I want to pick it up. I tell myself that it probably isn’t poisonous by the shape of its head. But, I talk myself out of it just in case.

I think the fact that it could be deadly and dangerous lures me to want to grab it, conquer it, and prove that I’m not afraid of it. But, if it is a dangerous snake and I try to conquer it, I will actually be succumbed by my stupidity.

Wisdom is actually what proves victory. Wisdom conquers. Wisdom doesn’t have to prove anything. It just knows.

The past two weeks I have been wrestling with a sin of the heart. A small serpent that seems to be growing by the day. I don’t like it. I plead for God to remove it. Eradicate it. Yet, when the opportunity comes for me to grab at it as if in my power alone I can handle it, it chokes my heart. It entangles my mind and it causes me to respond in the flesh without prayer and without the best interest of another. Why? Because I’m feeding it with a selfish, bitter, prideful, competitive root in my heart.

How terribly I’m failing.

I can see a pattern though to what triggers this battle. So what is the Lord wanting to teach me?
1. How to respond in a different way.
2. How to respond Jesus’ way.
3. Stay quiet.
4. Focus on the mission.
5. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
6. Be Rebekah…Draw water from only my well.
7. I needed your heart to be softened some more so I can plow up the bitter roots. It’s time to really deal with this.
8. To make you so desperate to be rid of it that you will draw closer than you have before.

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Dear God,

I don’t want to stumble because of pride. I don’t want to bring destruction upon me. Help me humble and lean into you. Mold me and refine me into a Christ like image.

Are You Empty?

This week while on the tollway, I heard a familiar yet rarely heard sound. It was a certain ring that politely alarmed me that something was wrong. Since I have heard it only one other time in my vehicle, my mind and eyes wondered, “What is that?”

Then of course it clicks.
I look down and see my gas tank warning.
Empty.

This alerted me not only that I was empty, but with perfect timing that I had just passed the nearest exit. Eventually, I was able to depart, but onto bumper to bumper traffic on the feter and the location of the nearest gas station unknown.

Once I pulled into a gas station, I began the search for my wallet. Of course, I found that I had left the wallet at home.

I was too far from home to risk driving back and I had no money.

What is a single girl to do?

Luckily, I could call mom and dad to save the day and use the wait time to read the Bible.

I tell this because it is a very relatable situation. However, in our day to day routine we can be so distracted that we start running on empty spiritually. Because God loves us, he gives us a warning sound, light, sign, or whatever when we are driving through life away from Him.

It is very important that we take heed to the warning and pull off, slow down, and stop. It is also important that we refuel. How do we do that? By opening up the Bible. That is where the Father is waiting for you to call on Him to save the day. Notice though, I said for YOU to call on Him.

I didn’t say read a book that a Christian author wrote after he/she called on Him.

I didn’t say, listen to your favorite pastor online or podcast after he called on God.

I also didn’t say for you to phone a friend and ask them to call on Him on your behalf.

None of the above things are bad. In fact I do all three. BUT, they cannot be your primary source of spiritual fuel. They are secondary sources.

Why depend on someone else when you can get it first hand?

You need to get it first hand because God wants to have a conversation with you directly. He has specific information for you. He longs to hear you submit your prayer requests to Him. His love for you is what refuels you authentically and intimately. He longs to come to your rescue when you are empty and weary.

Go beyond believing in God.

Open your Bible and be One with God. You will feel complete, refueled, ready and equipped to drive forward.

Dear God,

Thank you for your patience and your continual wooing of our hearts. We all fall short of going to you first for our source of fuel and satisfaction. Let us continually be aware of what steals our intimacy with you. I say no to counterfeits and yes to your authentic love, protection, and security. You are my hero.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Heart for Competition: Week 4

Worship:

Memory Verse

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Competitiveness Definition
1.
possession of a strong desire to be more successful than others.
“a lot of people get wrapped up in competitiveness and jealousy”
2.
the quality of being as good as or better than others of a comparable nature.
“the competitiveness of the agricultural sector”

Day 1: Winning Over Others

Read Luke 10:38-41 three times
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A38-41&version=NIV

First of all, I feel everyone of us has been Martha at some point or in some situation. I can see myself working hard and becoming bitter inside as I observe a slacker on the sidelines reaping the rewards while I’m “having” to slave away.

I think you know what I mean. It’s those moments when that internal dialogue has two voices encouraging you to get angry which ironically causes you to scrub harder without realizing it.

And yet, we don’t stop working. Instead we side lip a sarcastic remark intent on continuing to prove that we are better and proceed to slave a way.

Ugh. When the flesh rises up, it isn’t pretty.

1. What was Martha’s role in this scenario and how did it differ from Mary’s?

2. Do you ever find yourself weighing the work God has called you to do with the work God has called someone else to do?

3. How is Martha being competitive?

4. What is she competing for?

5. When we are competing for someone’s attention or heart, what do we have to do mentally to the other person to “stay in the game?”

6. What do you have to do mentally to yourself if you sense you are going to lose and therefore withdraw yourself from the “game?”
Day 2: The Model of Paul

As a person made of the flesh, embarrassingly I admit that I suffer from competitiveness. It’s a small sliver in my heart, but it exists. I hate it. It bothers me. It is stupid and I’m praying, begging, pleading even for God to remove it. It rises up, even when I don’t want it to. “Go away! I tell it. I don’t want you in my heart.”

Thankfully, it doesn’t consume or control me. Therefore, I can encourage, promote, and share with those that unknowingly trigger this rise in my heart. But the fact that it exists bothers me.

My pep talks to myself run like this.

“Erica, God is calling you just like he is calling others to advance the kingdom.”
“Erica, God doesn’t love you or them anymore or less.”
“Erica, your calling is real. Don’t second guess it because you can’t see all of it.”
“Don’t be afraid. You are still special and unique…..and so are they.”
“Erica, remember the time God did …….”

Read 1 Timothy 1:1-11 once and verses 6-11 twice.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Timothy+1%3A1-11

1. How did Paul encourage Timothy instead of compete with Timothy?

2. In your ministry, church, or work place, who can be your Timothy?

3. Reflect on your past and identify the specific people who have made you feel threatened and moved you into compete mode? Analyze what they have in common and try to identify what are you specifically measuring yourself against them with.

Day 3: What if?

Read Luke 9: 43-50 Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9%3A43-50&version=NKJV

1. How would you describe the importance of Jesus’ message?

2. What were the concerns of the disciples and how does that connect with our own competitiveness?

3. Does it surprise you that this group of men struggled with this sin?

4. If competitiveness was allowed to control the dynamic of the disciples, how would that have impacted the kingdom?

5. How can competitiveness impact the collective mission of Christians?

Day 4: Heart for Purification

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13 twice
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%2016

1. Did Samuel hesitate to go when sent?
2. What concern kept him from going immediately and how did God respond?
3. How does that make you feel when you compare it to your worries/fears and prayer requests to God?
4. Why was David chosen?
5. Do you find it odd that his family did not recognize the value of his heart?
6. How does this bring you comfort when you feel overlooked, or your calling is unrecognizable to others?
7. Although David was called, why do you think he was not made king at that moment?
8. While you are in the midst of your calling, what do you feel God is providing you training for and what areas of your heart need further purification?

Prayer

Dear God,
Thank you for loving us in our sinfulness. Thank you for willingly working with our heart and waiting for us to be ready to be moldable. You are the only surgeon who can do such a work.

 

 

 

Heart Transplant Week 3 Heart for the Rebellious

Worship:

Grace Wins Every Time by Matthew West

Memory Verse:
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19

Day 1
Definition of rebellion
1
: opposition to one in authority or dominance
2
a : open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government
b : an instance of such defiance or resistance
Read part of The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:11-16 three times.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32

When I think of someone who is rebellious, they display disrespectful, devious, and deliberate actions.

These actions stem from the authority’s wisdom, boundaries, or guidelines being rejected or in question by the rebel. What is really being said with an act of rebellion is that the rebel’s way is higher and better than the institution they are defying. Historically, there have been times when this has been necessary and Biblically supported.

In the book of Luke, the parable starts with a rebel son.

1. Read verse 12. DISRESPECT #1
How would that make you feel if your child or a child came up to you and said that?

2. Read verse 13. DISRESPECT #2
How would you feel if you worked and saved an inheritance for twenty-five years and when you handed it over to your child, it was gone in two weeks?

3. The father had two choices. He could have told his son “no,” or complied as he did. What do you think would have been the atmosphere of the household with the rebellious child if he was not given his inheritance early?

4. If he would have said “no,” what would continue to build in the son’s heart?

Ultimately, we all have to learn from our mistakes. If the father would have held onto the inheritance, the son would have a deeper root of rebellion growing which would have been much harder to get rid of.

Second, it would have shown the son that the money was more valuable to the father than him. The son needed the money, but didn’t value it or he would have used it differently. So the father needed to show that he would rather lose the money, then his son forever. Had he prolonged giving him the money, rebellion would have continued growing in the son’s heart. It may have hardened so hard that he would have been lost forever.

Day 2: What Does Rebellion Forever Look Like?

A rebel is different from someone who is just unaware of the authority. That is someone who is lost. A rebel has full knowledge of the gospel, knows the Father, and knows the ways of the enemy and yet their heart leads them to believe their ways are above the Father’s ways. Eventually, they rise up against the father.

Read the following scriptures:

2 Peter 2:20-22New International Version (NIV)

20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”[a] and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

Hebrews 6:4-8

4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[a] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Hebrews 10:26-28

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?


1 Timothy 4:1

The Spirit clearly says that in later timessome will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

Luke 8:13

13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

1. Can you think of anyone that you know that falls into this rebel category?

2. After reading these scriptures, what are your thoughts in relation to the rebel that you mentioned above?

3. What are the scariest parts of those verses to you and why?

4. What is more important to focus on? Your hurt or their hell?

5. Therefore, what is required to have a heart for the rebellious?

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Day 3

Read of The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:17-31 once.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32

1. The younger son has arrived home, yet notice he doesn’t have to PROVE through action that he is sorry or his love. A verbal pure heart statement clearly declares his sincerity.

Notice the actions of the father:
1. Ran to his son
2. Threw arms around him
3. Kissed him
4. Bring the best robe
5. Put ring on his finger
6. Bring fattened calf
7. Kill the fattened calf

How would describe these items and what did the younger brother have to do to receive all of this?

2. In our human nature, would we model the father or would we want someone to prove that they are sorry?

3. Sometimes, people are not really sorry when they say they are. We should still model the father’s grace, but what does not need to continue or what may need to be different?

4. Thinking about Day 1, what was more valuable to the eldest son?

5. How is that a form of rebellion? Can you relate to that brother?

Day 4: What If?

Read of The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:1-31 once.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32

1. What if the father was bitter about giving the inheritance and how would his days to follow be?

2. What if the father was wanting repayment when the son arrived?

3. What if the father expected his son to work his debt off on his return?

4. What if it was the eldest brother did everything the father did instead and the father acted like the eldest brother?

Do you think the outcome would have been the same?

5. How critical is the role of a loving father?

6. Who is the only father who can love us flawlessly?

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Dear God,

Thank you for not wanting anyone one of us to remain lost. Help us to have a heart for the rebellious and extend grace including at a distance if necessary.

To God be the Glory

Heart Transplant Bible Study: Week 2

Worship:
Lauren Daigle: Trust in You

Memory Verse:

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Day 1: What does it look like to be broken in spirit and yet receive God’s peace by going to him in prayer, conversation, and reading the Word.

Part 1

Part 2

Day 2: Cry Out and Pray

Read Psalm 141 three times.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+141-145&version=NIV

1. How would you describe David’s emotion in verses 1-2?

2. Describe your body position in times of unbelievable heartbreak, heartache, or hurt.

3. What kind of energy would be needed to lift up your head, chest, arms?

4. When we are experiencing brokenness, pain, and despair, what are we tempted to want to do to others or ourselves if it was self-inflicted pain?

5. Is David leaning on his own strength with this temptation?

Day 3 and 4: Read the Bible

Read Psalm 30 three times
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+30&version=NIV

1. In this chapter, there are three words that describe the situation: depths, realm of the dead, pit.

What times/situations have you been able to relate to this level of hurt, depression, and/or oppression?

2. In this chapter, there are several things that David said God did for him when he cried out: lifted me, healed me, brought me up, spared me, favored me, merciful to me (asked for this).

During our pits of despair, do you really believe that that God’s rescuing is available to you too? Explain why or why not or even if you feel it depends on the situation.

3. The Holy Spirit contradicts what is possible in the natural. It works at a supernatural level which seems impossible. Although a circumstance may not change, the ability to emotionally not be drug down into a pit forever is available to all.

This passage has the following natural reactions superseded by the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit.

Weeping to rejoicing
Wailing to dancing
Sack cloth to cloth of joy
Silent to singing

What attitudes or emotions are you dealing with that need a supernatural intervention, so you don’t remain under a cloud of despair, frustration, and/or worry?

Day 5: Reach out
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+4%3A9-12&version=NIV

1. In this passage Paul is talking to Timothy.

Categorize the people Paul named into the following category: (some may be used twice)
1. Deserted Paul
2. With Paul
3. On mission for Paul
4. Will be with Paul
5. Will drop everything to be there for Paul

In your own life, reflect on who has deserted you and pray to God to help you forgive that hurt and heal from that hurt.

2. Reflect on who can you reach out to for help when you need prayer or encouragement.

3. Reflect on who would drop everything to go and physically be with you?

The #2 and #3 category are very important. If you are struggling to identify people, let me encourage you to go beyond attending a church service and get involved in your church ministries and small groups.

If you are not currently attending church, then let me encourage you to take that step to grow a spiritual extended family who will be with you through thick and thin.

Prayer:
Lord I thank you for your companionship and comfort. It may not always be the way I think it will be or in my timing, but the Word says you make all things beautiful in your timing.

Let God be the Glory

Heart Transplant Bible Study: Week 1

A Heart for Jesus

Worship: King of My Heart

Memory Verse:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Day 1: Introduction
Heart a transplant Eligibility:
According to the Mayo Clinic website, people with serious heart conditions leading to heart failure may be most appropriately treated with a heart transplant if other treatment options have been considered or tried. Heart failure may be caused by many medical conditions….

Reading this I immediately identified with why I needed Jesus in my life. Jesus has always been there by my side. But where I had him was not in my heart. He was in my mind. I believed in Jesus. I believed, that going to heaven meant I needed to be an overall good person. Of course, the deeper my sin, the lower the bar of “good” fell. I believed in going to church and when I didn’t I felt that I should.

This seems pretty normal and from the outside even put together. But the truth is, I was broken. Like the serious heart condition above, I was going about life applying treatments trying to fix this brokenness that I was blind to. I tried to heal it with relationships, accomplishments, and competitiveness. But those treatments were not meant to heal my heart.

God knew this self-treatment was ineffective.

He knows this about all of us. This is why he offers us a “Heart Transplant.” It is an opportunity to let Him perform a mighty spiritual surgery on us that brings us salvation. Will you agree to the operation? It requires your consent.

Day 2: Read Acts 9:1-9 three times https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+9

In verses 9:1-9 there are three types of blindness occurring. First, Paul is blind to the fact that he is persecuting the one true God. I love the line, “breathing out murderous threats.” It really showed his zeal and passion to exterminate who he saw as the enemy. It is pure, fervent, and an unwavering passion that would later be used to save instead of kill.

The second blindness occurred after his conversion. His physical blindness required him to depend on others to get to Damascus. How humbling this must have been for him.

Third, he was blind to his future. Suddenly what he thought his tomorrow would be like was no longer going to be the case.

Reflection:

1. Do you relate to Saul’s blindness in any way?
2. Did Saul choose the day of conversion?
3. When Jesus told Saul to get up and continue to Damascus in verse 6, did he force Saul to go?
4. What words would you use to describe Saul’s decision to follow the Lord’s instructions?

When you agree to let God perform a heart transplant, He has called you to let you know something is wrong. He tells you He has the remedy that will fix it. You have to agree that you need Him in your heart. Then you have to just close your eyes and lay on the operation table and trust God with it.

Day 3: Read Acts 9:10-19 three times

The University of San Francisco Medical Center describes the initial heart transplant recovery below:

“After your surgery, you will wake up in a special sterile room to ensure that you aren’t exposed to infection. Staff and visitors must take measures to make sure that they do not bring in bacteria and infections by scrubbing their hands and wearing protective masks and gowns.
Once you are able to breathe on your own, the ventilator will be removed. However, you will continue to be hooked up to various monitors and catheters for awhile.”

Reflection:
Just like a medical heart transplant, there are “staff” and “visitors” that God brings into your life to assist you. These people will understand the protection you need. They will not be people who will entice you to go back to your old ways. These people don’t want you sick or infected anymore.

1. Who were the “staff” and “visitors” that the Lord brought into Saul’s life to help start and walk along side him in his new journey?
2. Who are people in your life that have a heart for Jesus that can walk along side you?
3. Who can you walk along side?
4. Is there anything that you are doing that could “infect” you or others?

Day 4: A Heart for Jesus

Read Acts 9:20-22 three times

In this passage we witness two things occurring as a result of Saul’s, “Jesus hating heart,” being transplanted with a heart for Jesus. First, people were shocked because it was not in line with his past. Second, we witness that with his new heart, he was becoming more powerful because he not only believed, but trusted the one true Messiah.

Below is the rest of the initial heart transplant recovery according to The University of San Francisco Medical Center.

“When you are stronger, you may be moved to a more general hospital room.
You will have to take precautions to prevent your exposure to infection for the rest of your life. Much of the rest of your hospital recovery will include education and training about taking care of yourself. This includes learning about the anti-rejection medications you will need to take, how to follow a heart-healthy low-fat diet and other changes.”

Reflection:

1. It is normal for people to be shocked at the “new” you. The “You” on the road to spiritual recovery. However, sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Sometimes, we won’t forgive ourselves or forget the sin even after we have confessed it and acknowledged that Jesus died for our sins. Do you feel you or anyone else is focusing on your “old” self? Explain.
2. Where can you be trained and educated on living a life that reflects you have a heart for Jesus?
3. Why would this be important as you enter a more “general” room?
4. Does a spiritual heart transplant mean that you can continue your previous lifestyle or is it a complete lifestyle change?

Prayer:
Lord, I want to thank you for calling me. I want to thank you for coming into my heart. I became alive in Christ the night I asked you into my heart. The days before were purpose less. My heart had no reason to beat. But, you gave me a new heart. A kicking beating heart that stirs up and desires your will all the days of my remaining life.

To God be the Glory
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