Category Archives: Guest Posts

“It was Jesus”: A Testimony of Faith and Praise

I am a blogger, a semi-professional writer, but my wife is not: she’s an accountant. Valerie deals with numbers all the time, not words.

However, when Valerie does write, she has a flair all her own, one that I could never duplicate…one you will enjoy. Therefore, when she recounted to me the conversation she had yesterday with her gynecologist, I knew you needed to hear it…

In her words.

So, what you are about to read are the words of my wife, Valerie. I’m turning over the keyboard to her.


I feel that to do the Lord the justice that He deserves, I need to go back about 12 years.  I had a complete hysterectomy, including my ovaries, when sweet Haley was maybe 4 years old.  Please understand this was not as a form of birth control; no, I would have had more children if I could have.  (I really do not know if Anthony and I had discussed more – maybe it was just me, but either way, you know who would have won that battle!)  I was very lucky to have the last two children that I had and am very thankful.

During the three-day hospital stay after having the hysterectomy, my sweet husband was by my side – sure wish I had pictures! Yes, he was sleeping on the chair/bed for the visitor who is crazy enough to stay.  The funny part is that I was hotter than I’d ever been and he was colder than he had ever been.  You see, on day two, it just happened to be the coldest day of winter that we had that year.  I looked over as I sat on the bed with only a hospital gown and panties on, to him with a toboggan, a winter coat zipped up tight, and several blankets.  I had the air conditioning on in the room and still was hot!  I guess I could have opened the windows, but I didn’t think about it.

Now, we lived in KY at the time.  After having two bad experiences at the local hospital (Jenny Stuart, but nick-named “Killer Stuart”) our family drove to the next closest hospital which was about 40 minutes away.  I was released just after lunch on day three.  I was still just burning up!  I had the window down and my head sticking out going down the Pennyrile Parkway in something-teen-degree weather.  Anthony?  He still had that same coat, toboggan, and now gloves on.  Somehow I figure this was a faster drive than usual.

I had a patch on my arm with hormones that I was supposed to wear five days, remove two days, and then apply a new patch for five days.  After the second day of the second patch, I ripped it off and Jesus and I had a little chat that went something like this:

Me: Jesus, you know that I did not desire this hysterectomy.

Me: Are you there?  I said I did not desire this hysterectomy!  I wanted more children…. (by now the tears are coming).

Jesus:  (He did not audibly speak to me, but the Word of God sure came flying at me.)  Be happy in whatever state you are in.  Be content with what you have.  I am here.  I will help you.  I love you.

Me:  Ok, I will be content and happy, but I really need for you to handle the hormone part because really just can not take the patches.

Jesus: (I waited….)

Well, things were much better.

In 2007 or 2008, I had my yearly exam at the gynecologist.  While waiting in the exam room, I was reading the poster on the back of the door about the pros and cons of estrogen.  Looked to me like the cons were medical complications and problems, and all the pros were for pleasure and nothing really medical at all.  After the exam, my doctor always leaves and has me dress and then the nurse will come and get me to take me to his office where he sits across the desk and talks to me about his findings and makes suggestions, etc.  While I was waiting for the nurse, I snapped a picture of the chart on the back of the door.

Once in his office, he began the spill that I had heard for year after year about how important estrogen is and how much better I would feel.  I brought up the poster on the door and he said, “The cons rarely ever happen.  In fact, I have never had a patient experience any of those problems.  So that year he convinced me.  I left and went to Target to get my estrogen prescription.

Two days later, Anthony and I were at the mall shopping (not my favorite thing.) and he said, “I wish you felt better.  We hardly ever get to do this.”  I told him if I could just vomit I though I would be better.  The next day, I went to work and I felt really bad.  I never even thought about the estrogen as the cause.  I was so really achy.  Could this be the flu?  I worked later than usual trying to get things finished up so when I was driving home I hit major traffic on I-24.  I typically drove the van, but for some reason that day was in the Honda Accord, which happened to be a 5-speed.  I remember my right arm hurting so badly that I was clutching with my left foot, holding the steering wheel straight with my right knee, and shifting with my left hand.  Traffic was c r a w l i n g!

Anthony NEVER meets me at the door when I come home unless I phone ahead and ask him to come out and help carry stuff in. That day, he did.  He opened the door, looked at me, and then said, “You look awful!”  It did not even hurt my feelings; my reply was only that I needed to read about female heart attacks.  I had all but two of the symptoms.  Needless to say, we headed straight to the ER.  My initial EKG was just a little off, nothing to worry too much about.  Other tests were showing things getting worse and a second EKG was not good.  I kept telling them, “It’s the ESTROGEN!” and they kept ignoring me.  I was admitted for further testing.  I finally got the floor doctor to hear me.  He didn’t believe that to be the cause but did tell me to call my GYN and have him come remove the estrogen.  I did it myself.  That was early morning.  As the day progressed, my test  results were getting better and better.  I fully expected to be going home.

But I have a daddy who has a lengthy heart history that was not impressing the doctor to make rash decisions.  My dad told my brother to make sure the doctor knows the family wants him to do a heart cath because my dad’s heart attacks never showed up on the early tests, but always ended up with stents after having a heart cath.  Well, the doctor agreed.  So here I go the next day into a very scary procedure.  I left with a clean bill of health, heart-wise, but with a diagnosis of “chemically induced heart attack. Listed in my chart was, “Allergic reaction to estrogen.”

Now, let’s finally fast forward to yesterday (4/19/2017). My yearly exam with the gynecologist.  Even though I have told him that estrogen had thrown me into a “chemically induced heart attack,” he tends to think it was co-incidence.  Each year we have that same talk, and each year I remind him.  This year was different.

Yesterday, I was waiting in his office admiring his children and cool artwork when he came in and sat behind the desk.

“Valerie,” he said, “I do not have you down as taking any kind of replacement hormones, and if my memory serves me correctly, you aren’t.”

I said, “No.”

He said, “I didn’t think so, but looking at your cells under a microscope, I am very surprised  – at your age and having no ovaries – to find that your cells look very estrogenized.”

He was puzzled to be sure!  I said in a very every-day, casual voice, “Oh, that is Jesus!” He looked up at me with a questioning expression.  I continued, “Years ago I told Jesus that I did not want to have a hysterectomy and that I had wanted more children and since I had to have one anyway, I asked him to take care of the hormones …and he has!”  He took it in and shook his head, looking back down to the chart, and then asked a more personal, intimate question that I really do not want to share on here… again, he was surprised.  I quickly added, “that is Jesus, too.”

You just never know where the opportunity to share Jesus will come up.  Even though I did not get the chance to tell him all about the Good News, I know a seed was planted.  I wonder how he slept last night?

– Valerie J. Baker

So, did you like what Valerie wrote? Let her know in the comment section.

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Faith, God, Guest Posts, Prayer, worship

Appreciate the Dandelions; They Are EVIDENCE!

My Katie

Guys (and I do mean that figuratively), you should really get to know my daughter, Katie. She is so gifted by God in photography, music, and even writing. But what most impresses me about Katie is her ability to see the wonder of God in the smallest of things.

Like I said, Katie is a gifted photographer. Her personal blog is called “Shutter Elf,” and features some seriously good photos. I can take a picture of something and it will look like a picture; Katie can take a picture of the exact same thing and it will be art.

Unfortunately, because of college and stinking Instagram, she doesn’t post as much on her blog. I wish she would do more, however. All it takes is a little browsing through her posts and you will notice not only her natural skill as a photographer, but her ability to bring meaning and insight to what the shutter captures.

The Dandelion

Last night, as I was wrapping things up and getting ready to shut things down, I happened to click on a blog post entitled “Overwhelmed.” Just click on the link and check it out.

The author of the blog (I don’t know her name) concluded her post with the following words:

“So today I pray instead for the Lord to show me the value in the dandelions, the treasures to be found hidden in our afflictions, to open my eyes to His blessings safely tucked within the weeds.”

That’s when I had to comment, and the comment consisted of me asking her to do what I’m going to ask you to do…

Read Katie’s post about dandelions! You will never look at them the same again!

Oh, and try to encourage Katie to post more by leaving a comment and subscribing to her blog. 🙂

Click HERE, or on the picture, to read “DANDELIONS.”

Photo Credit: Katie Marie

 

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Filed under blogging, God, Guest Posts, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, worship

“I Love to Tell the Story” (a Guest Post by: Jared Bolstridge)

Jared Bolstridge is not a blogger, nor does he play one on TV, but he is the Youth Pastor at our church. Jared wanted to help out during my break by submitting the following thoughts. As you may gather, Jared is an avid reader and loves Jesus. And to think, this young scholar is not as old as some of the clothes in my closet! – Anthony Baker

Other Books

The Bible is a book that has changed my life. It remains at the center of it and guides my everyday life. I love the Scriptures, and tell anyone who will listen that the answers to life and godliness are clearly given within.

Besides the Bible, however, there are other books that have had a deep impact on my Spiritual walk. While commentaries, theology texts, books on the Christian walk, dating books and other Christian books have been well worth the time, another category continually rises above these.

Is this wrong? Should we reject these and say only Scripture should be read?

Never! For the truth is that in the lives of these faithful believers we see the Scriptures lived out again and again. We see God work in ways never expected and superhuman perseverance by the power of the Holy Spirit. In them we see the gospel played out!

Stories

I cannot emphasize enough the role these stories play in the lives of a 21st century believer! If you have never read them before, read them and watch your world transform. If the names I have mentioned are as familiar as old friends, read them again, I certainly do. If you are a parent, pay careful attention, at all cost get these stories into the hands of your children and teenagers. Watch as their lives are transformed and rejoice as you see them dream big dreams for God!

The books that have had the most influence have been the stories of Jesus-followers who have come before me. Simple stories. Missionary stories, stories about the persecuted, stories of the great preachers of days gone by and stories about sinners being dramatically saved by the grace of God. These stories have changed my life.

What is it about a story? While one can never go wrong reading Tozer, Lewis, Swindoll or Bridges, the truths found in these fine theologians have never stuck with me the way stories have. I learned more about forgiveness from Corrie Ten Boom’s experiences than I ever did reading a book entitled “10 Truths About Forgiveness.”

Other Teachers

I learned courage from the likes of Gladys Alyward and Richard Wurmbrand. I learned sacrifice from Hudson Taylor and Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, perseverance from William Carey, stubborn conviction from D.L. Moody and compassion from Amy Carmichael. These were my teachers and mentors among so many others. It was their stories that have inspired me and continue to do so today.

The gospel has been played out millions of times in the lives of those before us, it never gets old, worn or tired. It is new every time. Read, be inspired, go and do likewise!

A list of suggested works:

  • Tortured for Christ- Richard Wurmbrand (Free at http://torturedforchrist.com/)
  • God’s Smuggler- Brother Andrew
  • The Hiding Place- Corrie Ten Boom
  • Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman- Autobiography
  • A Chance to Die- by Elizabeth Elliot about Amy Carmichael
  • Jesus Freaks v1 and v2- A modern Foxes Book of Martyrs, great for teenagers
  • Christian Heroes Then and Now Series- Great starting point for kids.

and so many more…

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Filed under Bible Study, blogging, Christianity, Faith, Guest Posts

10 Things Jewish Believers In Christ Want You to Know

The following is a guest post written by Melissa Zelniker-Presser. She has a unique perspective on being Jewish and a Christian which makes this post a “must read.”. – Anthony Baker

A Mom’s Perspective

My son has ADHD. He may very well be on the spectrum for autism. That has caused a lot of people not to understand him, to judge him or to treat him with scorn, malice and contempt. In the four years that I have ridden the roller coaster of a parent who has a child that is not “the norm,” it is the misunderstanding and opinions of others that are often times worse than the disorder itself. I have heard everything from:

  • You must have done something wrong in your pregnancy
  • You have too many kids so he probably doesn’t get enough attention
  • You work so you don’t spend enough time with him
  • Don’t expect him to succeed

This is just some of the commentary and ignorance that I deal with on a daily basis. And it has made me see his world in a whole different light.

Recently a friend of ours from church who has an autistic son gave me a book entitled, “Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew,” by Ellen Notbohm.  I haven’t finished the book yet because I’ve stopped to pause and reflect on every page. The book is written from the perspective of the autistic child which is wholly unique. And although of course it can’t capture everything that child may be thinking or feeling, it is a valiant attempt at getting people to understand how that child feels.

I wasn’t even a couple of pages into the book when I thought about a recent series of questions I was asked about being a Jewish believer in Christ. These questions can oftentimes feel like science experiments, making me feel different and not so good about myself. Gentile brethren are oftentimes misguided and uninformed, asserting their theological opinions on who I am and what my journey to Christ may or may not look like. If I didn’t hold back, I’d want to shout from the rooftops, I am just like you! I am a Christian too!!! Why must you see me any different?

Reading the beginning of the book, the quick overview of the ten things that every child with autism wishes you knew, immediately sparked an idea in me to express to people the 10 things Jewish believers in Christ want you to know. Jewish believers are often polite and not forthcoming about their struggles, and I am hoping that by revealing some of my innermost thoughts, gentile brethren will understand where I am coming from as  Jewish follower of Christ.

Ten Things … From a Jewish Perspective

1. Please don’t expect that I know everything about the Jewish religion- Most Jews don’t.

We as Jews are oftentimes more cultural than we are religious. Being Jewish is part of our identity just as if someone was Hispanic. But this does not mean that we speak Hebrew, know the Old Testament or can recite an entire Passover Seder. There’s nothing worse than being called on or questioned about our Judaism in front of other believers.

2. Please don’t tell me I am no longer Jewish- Jewish people have a heritage and identity that resides deep within their souls. We bleed Jewish.

When we as Jewish women are pregnant, we are tested for Jewish specific diseases based on our ancestral heritage. Jesus was JEWISH. Jesus did not stop being Jewish when he was crucified and died, so neither do I. And please do not cite your authority for believing I am no longer Jewish as Galatians 3:28, you are misguided. Respect my heritage and who I am. Yes we are one body in Christ but I cannot change WHO I am. Being Jewish is part of who God made me and part of my identity.

3. Please don’t single me out amongst our brothers and sisters- There is nothing worse than having your well-meaning  Christian brother or sister introduce you as a Jewish believer.

If it comes up in conversation fine. But please don’t shout across the room and draw attention to me. I want to be just like you, a Christian. I am saved and redeemed by the blood of the lamb just like you.

4. Don’t expect that I know other Jewish believers- This happens all the time, I expect because we are somewhat of an anomaly.

Hey do you know Sally Jones, she is also a Jewish believer. No, no I don’t know Sally Jones. Why would I know Sally Jones? We are no longer living in the desert in close communion with one another. There are millions of us. Don’t expect me to know Sally.

5. Don’t put us down because we choose to keep our customs and traditions alive; this is not legalism!- Jewish custom and tradition is inherent for us.

We are rooted in the foods and holidays of our Jewish culture, and guess what, so was Jesus! People want to make Jesus a gentile, but he is not. He celebrated all of the Jewish festivals and grew up Jewish. Hello, the last supper was a Passover Seder! For many of us, these traditions bring us closer to Jesus and help our children understand who they are in Christ.

6. No we have not all been to Israel- I am American just like so many of you.

I have not been to Israel. Although I hope and pray that God will grant me that trip one day, I’ve never been as I am sure most of you haven’t either.

7. Stop telling me that my Jewish relatives will never make it to heaven unless they accept Jesus- You don’t know that and you don’t know whether someone has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Jewish people are shunned once they become Christians and many may not outwardly profess Christ, but you never know what’s in someone’s heart.

8. Be sensitive to the fact that I am new to Christmas and Easter- Three years ago was our first Christmas and Easter.

It was hard for us to figure out how to celebrate and what to do. We have no traditions or family meals since we are Jewish. Do the Christian thing-invite us to yours, especially when you know we are new believers. Help us to develop our own traditions to pass on to our own children.

9. Love me for who I am and stop trying to make me a Gentile- I will never be a Gentile.

Love me for me, just as you would love any believer for who they are in Christ. Respect where I am in my walk with Christ, and encourage me in that as a Jew, not a Gentile.

10. You as a Gentile will never know what it’s like to be Jewish- No amount of bible school will teach you that.

Don’t try to be like me or try to use your biblical knowledge  to show me that. I’ll respect you more for the person that God made you, not the knowledge you have.

It is hard to be a Jewish believer in Christ. Friends and family will be sure to leave you. You are ostracized from your Jewish community and then many times inadvertently ostracized from your Christian one. We don’t fit in neatly, which is where you come in … to help us acclimate, to respect who we are, and to love us as Jewish believers in the Lord Jesus.

 

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity, community, Guest Posts, Uncategorized

A Recovering Logos-ist

Daniel Klem is a long-time blogger friend. He was a regular contributor to ProverbialThought.com and has even traveled all the way from Arizona to go Chrismas caroling with us 🙂 – Anthony Baker

I know. That is quite a title.

This can potentially be huge . . . if you know anything about Greek and theology.

A brief lesson for those who could use it:

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Logos …”

Logos means “the Word.” Therefore, according to the Bible, Jesus is the Word, and that means He is God (see the rest of the verse), Creator (Genesis 1, God spoke), and Savior (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

Therefore, the title of this post could very easily be understood as “A Recovering Christian.”

In a way, this is true. We should always be in a state of recovery as Christians: in mind (Romans 12:2), spirit (Ephesians 4:23), and character (2 Corinthians 4:16).

However, what I mean is something different. And I may make some of my friends unhappy with me if they read this.

Word of Faith

Perhaps you have heard of the Word of Faith (or Word-Faith, Faith, or Positive Confession) movement in the Church. (And forgive me for linking to Wikipedia.) To summarize the movement’s teaching, there is power available to the Christian through the Holy Spirit to have whatever we need (or simply want), and all we need is enough faith.

This has spread throughout the Church around the world, but the most famous of Faith preachers can typically be found on the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN).

I fell into part of this movement almost a decade ago. It was one of the sneakiest varieties, too, because this movement typically does not deny the deity of Christ or that He came in the flesh (read 1 John; it covers every aspect of discerning this).

All one has to do, though, is speak in faith or act in faith, and God is almost compelled to do what we ask or believe He should do.

I did realize this is false teaching. However, why would I call myself “recovering”?

Still Learning

If there is one thing the Word-Faith movement gets right, it is encouraging Christians to boldly walk by faith. However, when I left the movement, I almost went full Cessationist. (It will take too long to explain here exactly where I stand, but I do believe the Holy Spirit can move through people today to perform miracles, signs, and wonders. However, it may be different from what some preach today.)

This is my recovery. I am learning to balance trusting in God’s Logos (The Word = both the Bible and the Son) and not automatically discounting every miracle or story of God’s moving. There are times I expect God to move in a certain way, and there are times I fail to believe He would even want to help me with something in particular.

In the end, the truest meaning of “whatever you ask in my name” is that we are asking in the same character of Christ.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Colossians 3:16, 10, ESV

Have you had any experiences with the Word-Faith movement? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

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Filed under Christian Living, Faith, Guest Posts, legalism

Guest Posts a Comin’!

Break Time!

As you well know – if you know anything about blogging – vacations, sabbaticals, and illnesses will absolutely KILL one’s stats! That is why it is mucho importento to find a way to keep those hits coming, even when you’re not able to post anything yourself.

But I need a break! I need to refill the imagination funnel! What do I do???

Logical Answer: Guest posts!

Guests

Starting tomorrow (Wednesday) The Recovering Legalist will be hosting several guest writers, a few of which are brand new to my audience. As a matter of fact, one blogger I just met this past weekend!

Be looking out for posts from the following friends:

daniel klemDaniel Klem – Daniel and Caitlin Klem are about the cutest couple you’ll ever meet. I’ll never forget for as long as I live the couple of days they spent with us here in Chattanooga. They live in Arizona, so when we were disappointed one morning to not be able to see the valley from atop Lookout Mountain – because of the low clouds – Caitlin said, “Hey! It’s still water! That’s something we don’t see very often.” Sweet!

David Welford – David has been a blogging friend for a long time – one of my first. We’ve never met, but I hope we will one day this side of heaven. Maybe, just maybe, one day before I die, I’ll see just a fraction of the places around the world he’s visited.

Dawn Liz JonesInspriation with Attitude, what more needs to be said? I mean, I’ve never met Mrs. Jones, but I sense in her a kindred sarcastic spirit. Attitude, I’m telling ya’.

Madblog – I’ll let you try to figure out her name, but she blogs at Messages from the Mythical. I don’t think she’s a favorite of the non-complementarians, but that’s my opinion.

Melissa Zelniker-Presser – What can I say about Melissa? Let’s just say she ain’t Baptist; she knows about real law (not just Moses kind); and for heaven’s sake, don’t call her a Gentile. Melissa is also a friend – so be nice or I’ll “unfriend” you.

FullSizeRender (5)Rachel Smith – I met Rachel and Richard Smith at their booth at Jfest 2016, a Christian music festival in the Chattanooga area. What immediately caught my attention was the name of her ministry…Transformed Wife. Then, there on the table, I saw a t-shirt which I was later given; it said, “Transformed Husband.” Rachel hasn’t been blogging that long, so why don’t you subscribe to her site? This couple has a heart for saving marriages.

So, make sure you keep coming back the next several days…even though they don’t create monkey videos, I’m positive there’ll be some really great things to read!  😉

Seriously.

OH! Please check out each guest blogger’s blog, too!

OH! OH! … The Recovering Legalist (me) does not necessarily approve of everything on all the other blogs. So there, that’s my disclaimer.

That’s all. Seriously. 

 

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Filed under blogging, Guest Posts

Guest Posts Needed (and wanted!)

Hey, fellow bloggers!

Listen up!

Would you like to write an original guest post for this blog? Then you need to let me know.

I am going to be taking some time away from the blog towards the end of the month (May 25 – June 2). It would be great to have you guys keep things humming along with some interesting, inspiring, motivating, mesmerizing, and downright awesome posts – you know, like what I write all the time 😉

If you are interested – and I hope you are – you can comment here, but you’ll also have to email me (that’s just how it works). Send a response to PastorACBaker@Yahoo.com. That should get the ball rolling.

Time is of the essence. 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Anthony

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Filed under blogging, Guest Posts