Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Greatest Spiritual Influence in My Life

The question came up, “Who has been the greatest spiritual influence in your life?” I would like to respond to that question. For me, it has been my husband, Mike.

Mike was raised in the Catholic Church. He was an altar boy and had a true love for Jesus. I always thought it interesting that even as a young lad he questioned the vast difference from Jesus’ teachings of how one should live, against the actual living out of ones faith that he witnessed.

Mike walked away from that church as a young man; he still loved Jesus, but he had turned his back on the church.

In time, he would return. Only this time he found himself in the protestant faith. Although the people remained the same in living out their faith, he did feel other issues he had been taught and questioned were being favorably responded to.  

To Mike, his faith is a large part of who he is. His love for Jesus has grown as has his love for the church and others.

Aw, the fruit of the spirit is present. And what a marvelous aroma it is!

And although I admittedly find it difficult not to have my husband as my ally when times are tough for me, I do reap great benefits from his helping me to kill off that nasty flesh.

What we should all pray for is someone to come alongside us to help us to grow; not to cheer us on, allowing our flesh to be rewarded and our growth stunted.

But, it’s tough to follow Jesus.

Remember what Jesus said?

In order to follow him, we must pick up our cross DAILY.

That’s a tall order for us sinful folk!
But I have learned, and continue to learn, that true peace lies here; true peace lies in carrying our cross each day.

And I have learned much of it from my husband, Mike.

I hope to someday have someone speak this way of me.
What a great honor it would be to have someone say that I have been the greatest spiritual influence in their life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's Not Always the Sermon

My husband and I arrived at church on Sunday morning in our usual form. We smiled, greeted others, as we leisurely walked ourselves to the usher for our morning bulletin and further conversation.

A friend of ours was standing chatting with the usher; she leads a ministry in our church.
As we approached, she swung around, immediately demanding our speaking support in her ministry.
Now we had both been very much involved in this ministry in the past, but circumstances had bid us to move on.

While my husband had been coming to a close in his seven years of study at our local Christian college and Seminary and was pursuing preaching engagements, while working full time, I had felt called by the Lord to leave this ministry to pursue writing the book I have now just completed. (Well, pretty much completed.)

Earlier, I used the word ‘demanding,’ and I did not use it lightly.

Her tone and her physical presence were just that….demanding.

My husband remarked that he had never in his life had someone so much in his face. She literally stood within inches of both our noses, with the intention to rope us both in to an evening of teaching.

She insisted we both decide on a date and would not take no for an answer.

There is only so much available time in each person’s day.
There is only so much one person can or should be responsible to commit to in order to do the Lord’s work well and to honor Him.

No one should ever feel bullied into serving upon someone else’s demands.
 No one should ever feel pressured…which, by the way, I did. Big time!

I am embarrassed for my friend and her actions on Sunday morning, and I pray she has come to realize that is not the way to approach others for assistance.

But I am also saddened by my own response and how I allowed the incident to continue to run through my thoughts for the remainder of the day.

While I had remained courteous in the beginning of our conversation, I admit that I did finally respond rather brusquely at her constant insistence.

Sometimes I am not sure what bothers me more;
the fact that I responded poorly under her persistent pressure, or the knowledge that I continue to feel justified by my actions.

A heart for the Lord does not come easily. I was reminded of this on Sunday.
Not by the sermon,
Not by words of wisdom from anyone in the church,
But by my own anger in response to another’s poor form.