I Need My Pastor….

“Earl, I need to talk to my pastor.”

Whereas my husband is a counselor to many when it comes to spiritual, life and relational issues, does anyone wonder who the pastor’s wife goes to for such help?  Most people would probably recommend some independent, Christian counselor.  Is it possible for a spouse to be your pastor and counselor?

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, a.k.a Clergy Appreciation Month.  With a few clicks of the mouse and very little research, I found that Pastors have been unofficially” recognized the second Sunday each October since around 1992.  Funny thing, we have been officially celebrating Groundhog Day since February 2, 1887!   Is it possible that we are more apt to put our focus upon a rodent who supposedly predicts the future over our Pastors who help us to find a personal relationship with our Creator and encourage us and help us to grow in our faith in Jesus Christ?  I’m just saying…

I see very few churches that even recognize the month let alone a day for Pastor appreciation.  Ever since I have known Earl, whenever someone mentions Pastor Appreciation Month, he quickly tries to refocus it into an employee appreciation month.  But my husband, without fail, will be there for everyone else with just the ring of the phone or a knock on the door.  His ministry is to preach the Word of Christ to all who will listen and to witness to those who cross his path.  He will hear your joy; celebrating with you, and he will comfort you in pain; crying with you in grief.  He will preach the Bible to the very foundation of what it stands for, and he will not be ashamed of it.

There are many times I have looked at my pastor husband and said “I need my pastor”.  It is astounding how quickly, as I watch his face, he transforms into my pastor.  That’s right!  As a member of the congregation for which he serves, I too claim Earl as my pastor and sometimes, even my counselor.  And Earl knows enough to understand that his wife needs a pastor too.  Not many people think about that fact.  But I do.

I love Earl – My husband.  I appreciate and respect Earl – My pastor.

I want to reach out and let my pastor know how much I appreciate him.  He has counseled me, he has strengthened me in my spiritual journey, and he has educated me in spiritual discernment and theology.  He has pointed out to me God’s Holy Word during times of trials, and he has prayed for me and prayed for me and prayed for me.

Hebrews 13:7 (NASB)

“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”

What has your pastor done for you?  More than a groundhog, I feel sure.  I’m just saying…

Blessings and peace…..Laura

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Message of the Beatitudes – Two – Mourn

Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted

     What comes to your mind when you think of mourning?  To mourn or lament is to express passionate grief from the soul.  How many of us have ever grieved so hard that we couldn’t speak, we couldn’t function, we couldn’t think straight?  Our tears were like rivers overflowing, and we were inconsolable.  Think of this as your soul mourning.  But is there anything that we should mourn? 

  • We should mourn our sins because they have hurt others and grieved God
  • We should mourn those who are out of relationship with God
  • We should mourn the unrepentant
  • We should mourn our poor spiritual condition

After our first beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit” where we admitted our need for God and denied self, we must now ask God to cleanse our souls of all unrighteousness.   In Romans 8:26-27 “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning’s to deep for words; and He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

In mourning, we allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us.  It is in this grief process, that we allow God to take the hurt, sin and renew our poor spiritual condition, forgive us, and allow us to forgive others and at the same time, to restore our souls to what God intended us to be. 

As we age, we naturally tend to become more jaded, hard-hearted, and less compassionate.  We tend to have a “what-ever” attitude.  It takes a lot for us to grieve others’ misfortunes.  We tend to think; if only they made better choices, pulled up their bootstraps, worked a little harder…etc.  We lose sight of the most telling attributes of Christ: His love and His compassion. 

So this means mourning all those who may not be in the right spirit with God.  So as not to sound judgmental, let me tell you about my grandfather.  Many years ago, in my Baptist life, I must have brought the subject of Jesus up with my grandfather one too many times.  Finally, he had had enough of the debates, and he informed me that he was an atheist and if he came from dust, then to the dust he’d go back.  He had no desire to determine if there was a God or even if there was an afterlife.  And then he told me that if I brought the subject up again, he would have nothing more to do with me.  I was stunned.  I was hurt.  I was so very sad.  My soul grieved for my grandfather’s soul, and I prayed for years that he would have a change of heart. 

When we don’t truly grieve our poor souls and the poor souls of others, we are not emulating Christ.  Jesus gave voice to the anguish in His soul.  He grieved over Jerusalem, He grieved somewhat His imminent death, He grieved abandonment, and He grieved those who persecuted Him.  He was in prayer with the Father always for Himself and for others.  Receive the blessing of being comforted by having God who cleanses our souls of all unrighteousness and who grieves the souls of others.

One of the most comforting verses I know comes from Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken”.

Message of the Beatitudes – One – Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

     How desperate for God are we? 

     Most of us believe that we do alright on our own and will bring God into our lives if we run into trouble.  When we feel like we have our little plans moving along and it appears on the surface that we have control over our lives, why bother God?  As I’ve heard said, He must have bigger problems elsewhere.

    Recently I was traveling from Atlanta to Charleston and driving at about 70 mph and suddenly I felt that I was about to faint.  I have these every 3-4 years, and I know when they are coming.  I get the metal taste in my mouth, my head gets woozy, I get extremely hot and start sweating, and I see speckled lights in my vision that steadily come together leading to a blinding light, and then I go out.  So as I was experiencing the symptoms coming over me, I barely saw a sign that said rest area ahead 1-1/4 miles.  I flipped on the air conditioner, reclined my seat enough that I could still see over the steering wheel and got the blood flowing to my head and at the same time called out, “Mom”!  My next thought was, well she can’t do anything for me right now, so I yelled out “GOD!” a number of times.  Miraculously, I made it to the rest area, and unable to see much of anything, I was not capable of parking properly between the lines, so I parked parallel to the sidewalk and went unconscious.  This was a desperate situation, and I relied on God to see me through it.  Desperation about our physical needs is one thing, but have we ever felt the same desperation about our spiritual lives? 

     I believe that to be “poor in spirit” is to let go of our pride and humble ourselves before God.  It is to recognize our great needs spiritually.  We are desperate and cry out to Him that we cannot live this life on our own.  It’s when we say “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24.  It’s when we acknowledge that without God, we are nothing.

god lives in yu - treo_062809_002_web

god lives in yu - treo_062809_002_web (Photo credit: kevindean)

     Psalm 140:5 says “The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set snares for me.”  It is the proud that have not emptied their souls to self and begged God to enter. To be “poor in spirit” means to open to the Word of God and truly empty our souls of self.  We must give Him access in order to truly fill us with His Holy Spirit. Those who seek His presence, know their desperate needs and confess their sins, their selfish thoughts and agendas and ask God to take control of their lives. 

     Once we acknowledge our desperate need for Him and give Him access to control our lives, our thoughts and our actions, then we can begin our transformation and wake up from a state of unconsciousness to the truth!

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