Posted in Christianity, Faith, Inspiration

Spiritually Speaking–No Title Necessary

I almost didn’t make it to church today. It was my plan to attend service and assist the Trustees, the ministry I serve on, with our first dinner sale of the year. I was up early enough to bake the last pan of chicken that I was making for the dinners. Then I decided to do some Yoga. Before I started the video on demand I decided to take an anti-anxiety medication recently prescribed by my doctor. I’d noticed the last couple of days my mind was all over the place preventing me from going to sleep. However, before I made it to the second Yoga position in the video, I could hardly hold myself while on my hands and knees. I didn’t get it. One minute I was fine, the next I felt like I was going to throw up or fall out. When I went back into my bedroom, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. I’d taken a strong sleep-aid medication!

Barely able to sit up straight on my Yoga mat, there was no way I could drive to church or stay awake long enough watch the chicken in the oven. I called my daughter, explained everything and she, of course, agreed to step in and take the chicken to the church. I was disappointed but safety first. After setting the timer on the stove and my phone for extra coverage, I laid down on the couch, falling in and out of sleep until the both the timers sounded.

By the time my daughter arrived home, I was up and drinking a cup of coffee. She was more than relieved when I told her that I was good to go. She didn’t need to make the church run for me. Win-win.

I made it to church in time to assist my ministry team with setting everything up and participate in communion, our first Sunday of the month tradition. On the way to the sanctuary, a young man walked through the doors of the fellowship hall. He was grumbling, clearly upset. With earphones around his ears I figured he was talking on the phone but his conversation was disturbing.

“I can’t stand these church people. They’re so fake. They always have something to say.”  He was fighting back tears. The other trustee and myself couldn’t help but stop and try to determine if he was talking to us or someone else, or if he needed help. When the other trustee probed, the young man pretty much repeated himself. She told him to come on back in the church. As the three of us got closer to the door he said something like every time he tries to get closer to God that these people always talking stuff to him, being hypocrites.

Considering this church has been my church home since I was a teenager. I wanted to know who had said something to offend this young man, and what, but this was not a time for nosey inquiries.  Instead of asking questions, I found my voice to speak the truth that was swirling around in my head as he was complaining.

“Honey,” I said like he was my son. “Every time you move closer to God, trying to live the way God wants you to, this is exactly what satan does. He uses, most times those closest to you or those who you’d least expect, to push all of your buttons and run you in the opposite direction of God. When that happens, just ask God to help and bless the offending person and go on about your day.” The young man appeared to feel some relief. He thanked me, then opened the door for myself and the other trustee–like a perfect gentleman–and the three of us made our way into the sanctuary.

Over the years there have been plenty of situations when I’ve been in the company of people expressing challenging life situations. But unlike today I remained silent not feeling it was my place to say anything. However, as a Christian, speaking up, is exactly what we are called to do. Notice I didn’t say as a Minister, Evangelist, or Deacon. Titles have nothing to do with spreading the word of God.

Believe me, I understand the fear and apprehension of speaking up in those situations. You’re likely to think that you don’t know enough, that your understanding is not deep enough, you don’t know the book, chapter, or verse of scripture of any verse to reference what you want to say. That’s how I was and still am more often that I care to admit.

What’s changed, though, is my desire for God to use me in the way He desires to. In recent years, I’ve been praying for understanding of His word and asking Him to use me to be a blessing to others as He sees fit. That’s a good place to start.

I didn’t wake up this morning planning to encourage anyone in the Lord. In hindsight, though, I have to wonder if my mistakenly taking that sleeping-aid medication was a plan of satan to keep me home, thus preventing me from encountering that young man today. Well…not today devil.

Let the church say Amen!

Naturally Your,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Lifestyle, Religion

Spiritually Speaking: Round and Round We Go

This morning started like many Sunday mornings. My husband, Kevin and son, Nate lay sleeping while I walk around our home assessing all that didn’t get done on Saturday. Folded clothes that need to be put away. Clutter from the week spread across the dining room table. And finally my favorite place–the kitchen, which seems to never be free from something I need to do.

You should stay home and get all of this together, is usually the first thought. Honestly, if I wasn’t on duty in my church’s trustee office, I’d be very likely to follow that suggestion.

Now last night our family had a trip to the emergency room. Kevin, who suffers with a lung disease has a cold and feared it was becoming the pneumonia, which could turn deadly for him. We left our home at 8 p.m. and didn’t get home until nearly 11 p.m.

Late night, right? Another excuse to skip out on church.

You need to look after your husband. Never mind that he’s sleep and will probably be sleep until I get home. Then my mind travels to Nate, who hung out with us in the emergency room. He was resting so peacefully.

Maybe you should let him stay home.  That way Kevin won’t be alone and he can start on this cleaning up and finish him homework.

On the surface that seemed like a good idea. After all, I wouldn’t be sitting in the sanctuary with Nate. I would be in the trustee office, working. And, it would be very helpful if he got started on the ample housework that needed to be done.

Interestingly, though, I didn’t consider these option on Saturday when he had a bowling match to get to. Not one time did the thought cross my mind to skip the bowling match so that he could finish homework  or clean up the house. I promise you…not one time. So what makes Sundays so darn tempting to want to relax, sleep in, or catch up on housework instead of going to church?

Actually, whether it’s Saturday, Wednesday, or any other day that you are choosing to be pleasing to God, the enemy will swiftly begin whispering all of the other things that you could be doing. And they’ll be spot on. But scripture indicates that the flesh and spirit are in constant conflict.

“The spirt indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NKJV)

None of us are immune. Throughout the week, my car radio is tuned to Christian programming. I listen to preachments and Christian centered talk shows throughout the day. I read Christian books, and of course, my bible. All of this to feed my spirit, my longing to know more about God, and grow deeper in my relationship with Him.

Some may think that on Sunday mornings, I’m one of the first ones at the church doors. I have my times when my flesh is working overtime against my spirit.

But the more I seek God, the more the enemy and my flesh try to interfere. It’s  a cycle that won’t end until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. Reminds me of an old school gospel song, “I’m on the battle field for my Lord.”

That’s exactly what it is…a battle. One in which we already have the victory! Now, that’s comforting. Nevertheless, choosing to follow Jesus Christ is a daily requirement.

I’m glad to report that I followed the willingness of my spirit and went to church. And I dragged my son out of the bed to go, too. “Train up a child in the way that he should go.” Right? When I came home, my husband was sleeping peaceably. Within a few short hours, we enjoyed brunch,  Nate finished his homework, and some of that housework got done.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday. Hope you enjoyed yours too.

Spiritually Speaking,

L.A.