Heart Update, New Devotionals & Watch a Service!

What's New at The Ranch
Eric's Sticker Book

Heart Update!

I can’t thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers, cards and meals, and true care and concern for me during my recovery from open heart surgery 3 months ago. This picture is of a sticker book a friend gave me to earn gold stars for all my “little wins” along the way… like making it through a difficult procedure or climbing to the top of a flight of stairs. It really helped!

Thankfully, I’m back to 80% health now. Praise God! When I wrote my last health update, 2 months ago, I was not doing well at all… my shortness of breath and fatigue were affecting everything I did. I was afraid it would take a year or more to get back to where I am now. 

But about 1 month ago it was like a “fever broke” and I was suddenly on the fast-track to healing. I could breathe again! I could go for 3-4 hours at a time before I had to rest again! And, quite honestly, I had hope for my future again for the first time in months.

Someone asked me “What was the most surprising thing about this process?” and I have to say it was just how dark and depressing my recovery would be. One of my friends told me that when her dad had open heart surgery, the nurse at the hospital sent them home with a bottle of anti-depressants. My friend said, “But he’s not depressed.” The nurse said: “Oh, he will be!”

I wouldn’t have expected my heart surgery to take that type of toll on me, but it did. I felt broken, like damaged goods that no one would ever want again. How could I be useful or helpful to anyone, when I couldn’t even pull up my own pants? I was totally broken.

But God has been reminding me about the incredible value of brokenness. Jesus said, “This is My body, broken for you,” (1 Corinthians 11:24, KJV), just before suffering a horrifying death. But how many billions of people have since looked upon His suffering and poured out their thanks to God for it? There is a resurrection on the other side of brokenness.

If you’re feeling broken today, let me remind you what God has been reminding me: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). He cares about your heart. He cares about your life. He is still “for” you, just as He is still “for” me.

Brokenness can often be a precursor to  blessings. I’m encouraged by this thought by the Benham brothers in their new book Bold & Broken: “A horse that’s broken can pull the chariot for its master, but a horse that’s unbroken is put out to pasture.” Brokenness has incredible value, depending on how we respond to it.

I can see it now, this side of recovery!  But going through it, everything looked pretty dark and dismal. I still have a ways to go to get back to 100% (and I’m praying for 150%, now that I’ve gotten this “upgrade” to my heart!) So I would appreciate your continued prayers to help me get there. I can see it now: there really is a resurrection on the other side of brokenness.

Thanks so much for your prayers. They really do make a difference!

Eric Elder

Acts & Ephesians Devotionals

New Devotionals Online: Acts & Ephesians!

I’ve put 2 more daily devotionals online recently, a 30-day devotional called “Acts: Lessons In Faith,” and a 20-day devotional called “Ephesians: Lessons In Grace.”

If you need a boost in your faith, I hope you’ll sign up for “Acts: Lessons In Faith.” I truly believe that God can do whatever He says He can do, whether it’s healing, forgiving, restoring, reconciling, you-name-it… He can do it! The book of Acts is filled with such stories, and I’d love for you to read them along with me.

You’ll get the Acts devotional automatically (or may have already gotten it!) if you’ve signed up for “365 Daily Devotions with Eric.” But you can also sign up for this 30-day devotional on its own at this link:

Click here to start receiving “Acts: Lessons In Faith” today!

And if you’d like to learn more about grace, I hope you’ll sign up for “Ephesians: Lessons In Grace.”

If you’ve never read the book of Ephesians, I think you’ll find it filled with both grand thoughts about God and practical suggestions for your life.  For those who have read it before, you’ll be amazed at how many of the most famous Bible verses are found in this very short book. You can sign up to start receiving it today at the link below (and again, if you’re already receiving “365 Daily Devotions with Eric,” You don’t need to sign up for the Ephesians devotional separately).

Click here to start receiving “Ephesians: Lessons In Grace”today!

And for those who aren’t getting my “365 Daily Devotions with Eric,” you can still sign up for them anytime and get every one of my daily devotions from the beginning. You’ll get both “Acts: Lessons In Faith” and “Ephesians: Lessons In Grace” along the way. They’re all free and they’ll help you grow stronger in your faith every day.

Click to sign up for “365 Daily Devotions With Eric”

Eastview Christian Church

 

Watch A Live Church Service!

Some of you may have heard that I’ve taken on a new, part-time role at my church as their Online Campus Pastor. That means that when you click to watch our live services, you’ll see my face pop up to welcome you to our church and invite you to be involved with us as much as you want to be, regardless of where you might live in the world!

We really take out online guests seriously, with volunteers in the chat room during every online service, chatting and praying with anyone who wants to talk or has a prayer request.

You can join us live, online, at either 9 or 11 a.m. CST on Sunday mornings at live.eastview.church. We start streaming from our worship center about 15 minutes before the service begins for anyone who wants to join the chat early and say hello beforehand.

If you miss the live service, no problem! You can always watch it later, anytime during the week, at the same link: live.eastview.church. Just go to the link and click “play.”

I love our church! I hope you’ll take a chance and check it out! You can learn more about it at eastview.church.

Eric Elder

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