19 June 2010

A Worthwhile and Challenging Read ~ in honor of Father's Day

Back in January, a treasured friend loaned me the book Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas. She knows me well... and she was right on target in thinking I could benefit from "cud-munching" (that term was coined by another friend) my way through the book.

I know when Tim saw the title, he was a little worried (he might deny it, but I saw that "eyebrow action" that indicated his concern) ~ he was probably thinking along the lines of "sacred manipulation..." But that is not at all what this book is about. After all, Gary Thomas is the same guy who wrote Sacred Marriage: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“...some Christians spiritualize wishing - we call it 'praying.' Please understand, I'm not knocking prayer; I'm challenging a misconception about prayer, namely that we can merely voice our displeasure and expect our world and our relationships to be transformed. True biblical prayer is about much, much more than that. It involves receiving our marching orders and then acting on them.”

[a woman quoted in the book, speaking first on God's grace... and how one of her listeners applied that same principle to marriage] “'The pressure is off me,' she told them. 'Don't get me wrong; it's not that I'm not pursuing holiness. It's just that I know that my Father will get me where He wants me to be and that even my failures serve, in some way, to glorify Him. My relationship with God is growing to be all about His grace, His mercy, His power.' Then Elyse's friend 'astounded' her by responding, 'That must be such a blessing for your husband, Elyse. To be walking in that kind of grace must enable you to be so patient and so grace-filled with Phil. To know that God is working in him just as He's working in you must make your marriage so sweet and your husband so pleased. It must be great for him to know that the pressure is off for him too.'”

It takes great spiritual maturity to love mercy, to offer grace, to give someone the same spiritual benefits we ourselves have received from our heavenly Father. Get in touch with how much God has done for you - how he has seen every wicked act you've ever committed; heard every syllable of gossip; noticed every malicious, ugly and hateful thought - and still, he loves you. Even more, he adores you. And he's forgiven you. Now comes the hard part: will you give your husband what God has given you?

Families crumble because we've lost our respect for responsibility. Instead, we allow romantic intensity to enthrall us. Since God created our feelings, they must be good; there must be a divine purpose behind infatuation. Unfortunately, however, we've become romantic gluttons. Instead of giving thanks for romance when it comes, we crave it, demand it, and even build our lives around it. We rarely give ourselves the opportunity to experience the more steadfast satisfaction of loyalty, commitment, and responsiblity.”

“The brilliance of Christianity is that God can grow you in an unhealthy marriage as well as in a healthy marriage. He can shape you in prosperity or need, in comfort or stress, in intimacy or loneliness. And intimacy with him is the most precious reward any of us can every know or experience.”

If you are interested in becoming a better helpmeet and completer for your husband or if your goal as wife and mom looks something like what is described in Proverbs 31... I'd highly recommend the time it takes to study through, with your Bible open, this book. If you do, let me know what you think.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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