Mysterious Headaches

by Jean Holland @brideguide77

Attending a conference with a dear friend was exciting enough to get my adrenaline pumping. The weekend I had anticipated for months was upon me. We were scheduled to leave before dawn on Thursday, drive eight hours, and attend a banquet for pastors’ wives that night. At last I was going to have one-on-one time with my mentor and friend, Edna Ellison.

She shocked me a few days earlier by offering to share a few minutes of her time at the podium. Who am I to stand next to her? I was content to be her chauffeur and valet and whatever she needed. But to share the platform with her, that’s big stuff.

The timing was perfect. The material for a five week, fifty-page book challenge was fresh on my mind, since I had just completed it the weekend before. I was eager to tell the world about it, but there was a glitch.  Headaches. Massive headaches. Fall to the floor headaches.

On Monday my doctor insisted on running tests, stating he never heard of the kind of headaches I described. They felt like I had been hit in the head with an ax but left within seconds or minutes. I told him I didn’t have time for his unnecessary tests. If he didn’t know what it was, I knew I was not fighting a medical condition.

My prayer teams were called into action, and the headaches were gone. I had a wonderful weekend making new friends and spending time with my mentor.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms… And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:12, 18 NIV

Y’all, we are in a battle for our lives and the lives of our families. Is it any wonder the enemy of our souls did not want me to speak for even a few minutes at a conference? He does not play fair. We need to stay alert to his strategy. I need prayer. You need prayer. All God’s children need prayer. I am thankful for prayer warriors all over the world lifting one another up to the throne of grace, in good times and bad.

Prayer strikes the winning blow, because it acknowledges our dependency on God.

So humble yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.                                                                                                                                                         James 4:7 NIV

Mysterious Headaches and the power of prayer from Jean Holland,  @BrideGuide77, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jean HollandAbout the author: Jean Holland has written and taught local and international Bible studies for children, youth, and adults to encourage the Bride of Christ to triumph through turbulent times. She has two books in the hands of an editor awaiting publication, The Rising Bride, A Wakeup Call for Christians Living in the Last Days, and Special Operations Soldiers: Testimonies of Victory in Spiritual Warfare.

Jean enjoys family camping trips across the USA and Canada in a vintage motor home. Her beloved blog is devoted to heralding the call of our soon coming King. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Join the conversation: How has prayer been answered for you when in battle against the enemy?


Dumbbells and Smart Belles

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.                                                             Acts 20:24 NIV

I’m not an exercise guru. Not even close. But I strive to keep going physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yes, there are days I want to give it all up––the writing, the classes, even the ministry. Did I just admit that?

Honestly, haven’t you been there a time or two? I’m guessing yes. When it happens, what can we do?

Admitting it is the first step. It makes us face the reality that things change, and sometimes God does want to move us into a new task. Or maybe He wants to renew us for the task at hand. Perhaps, we are burned out or just weary. Either way, He doesn’t want us to give up, but to move forward.

You don’t have to be in your senior years to feel like putting yourself on the beach. Some seasons in our lives can be discouraging and make us lose our drive, sense of purpose, and our way. We are tempted to give up on our dreams and our divine tasks. 

I think it is because we have lost sight of why we are in the race. The finish line vanishes from our view.

When I reach that point, I frankly ask myself: is it time to give up, or do I want to do more? It’s a reality check that shakes my soul and causes me to evaluate my emotions. No, of course I don’t want to give up. I want to finish the race well––on the path I walk or another path waiting for me.

In my book, Shape Your Soul, I write about resistance training.  Resistance training increases stamina. As you grow stronger, you don’t tire as quickly. Likewise, the more we resist the devil, the more our faith muscles strengthen and our faith increases. Each victory over sin builds our faith. We resist the temptation to give up, and we don’t give in to his schemes. “Therefore, submit to God. But, resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 HCSB).

Physically, I push myself. I love to scrub floors (go figure). I look for ways to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. I put things away where I’ll have to bend—yup, bending exercises. I keep moving, physically, mentally, and spiritually. If not, the body withers, the mind gets lazy, and the soul dies. Equally, I push myself spiritually—studying my Bible, reading daily devotions, and applying what I learn. Soon the hardest part of pushing ceases and strength is gained.

A few years ago, I developed carpal tunnel because of excess computer work. Then last year, my right arm developed golf elbow and tennis elbow from completing five book contracts. Both times, I had physical therapy for many months. The therapist advised dumbbell lifting to straighten my wrists and arm. Grueling can’t adequately describe the pain of the therapy. But, without pushing myself, my shoulder risked being frozen, I faced possible surgery for my wrists, and my dream (writing more) would come to an end.

In order to persevere, I continually envisioned the result of all the therapy––and worked toward the healing of my injured tendons without hesitation. I set my sights on the final therapy session and the possibility of enjoying my work again. Using dumbbells meant being a smart belle who understood that without finishing the therapy, her dreams would fade away.

Striving for the finish line and our accomplishments in what God has called us to do along the way keeps us going. The daily working out our faith strengthens our soul. There may be setbacks and rest periods along the journey, but if we don’t give up, we’ll finish well.

Let’s be smart belles using our proverbial dumbbells to strengthen our souls. Never give up.

Dumbbells and Smart Belles – insight from @Inca_Writer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home, located outside the city of Cochabamba. There they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published author of children’s books and women’s devotionals.

Shape Your Soul is Peggy’s latest devotional book for women. Enter God’s Gym and exercise your body and soul, so you can seize difficult life-mountains, and in God’s strength, move them!

Join the conversation: How do you fight in times of discouragement?