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The Top 3 Most Powerful Influences In Our Life

 

Influence (Noun)-  the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others:

We are all under the influence of something.  Cops use this phrase all the time, he was driving under the influence.  Now there are breathalyzers and blood tests to measure someone’s blood alcohol level.  When a person comes into the ER they tell us “I only had 2 drinks,” but the results of their blood tests, tells the real story.

In 2016 over 10,000 people in Colorado were arrested for DUI’s.  Being under the influence of alcohol clouds judgement and allows not good choices to impact the future.  Being under the influence, influences them in ways they would normally not be influenced.

'Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit.' Ephesians 5:18Click To Tweet

I don’t know if you’ve come across this verse before.  But I always found it odd how the Holy Spirit is compared to wine.  Looking closer I see why.  Being intoxicated on wine ruins our judgement controlling our minds.  Paul is trying to express to the Ephesians be filled with the Holy Spirit instead which leads to self-control.  Sounds boring right?  In reality we receive so much more in our self-control.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t just a one time filling but a regular pattern of life.

What Really Influences Us?

FRIENDS.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been influenced by my friends when I was growing up.  Somewhere along the way I valued what my friends thought more than what God thought.  I fell to peer pressure over and over again, reaping the consequences every time.  We are who we hang out with.  If we hang out with others who curse chances are we’ll start cursing.  If we hang out with others who (fill in the blank)  ______________________ chances are we will start doing what they are doing.  We are influenced by those in our inner circle.

“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”  1 Corinthians 15:33

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs  13:20

THE WORLD.  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2
There have been so many times I’ve been intoxicated on worldly treasures.  I made them more than God.  I pursued worldly treasures instead of what God desired for me.
How often are we lured away by everything the world has to offer?  We form little g, gods we bow down to allowing them to rule us.  We chase dangling carrots, empty promises of being rich, false images that fall apart don’t last–all for what?  This year I want to ask myself, what influences me?  Following the world or Jesus?
POSITIVITY.  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Proverbs 15:1.  I admit I have gotten into bad patterns of negativity at times.  I’ve allowed negativity to encroach my thoughts and spill out into my actions.  How much more are you impacted when someone responds in love?  When a person could have chosen to get angry and yell, but instead chose to speak love.
JESUS.  His influence changed the hearts and lives of the world while he was on this earth and still impacts us even after he’s gone.  The legacy of love, kindness, compassion, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, joy and patience is insurmountable.
I’d like to say church influences us.  But really many of us, me included, for years have shown up to church sat there, listened to the message, let’s be real here, zoned out and thought of the hundred other things I’ve needed to do.  I’ve sat there taking up space, but my heart wasn’t focused, wasn’t present.  After leaving church, life just went on as if I never went.  The message didn’t seep through.
The message didn’t influence me.  Why?  To be under the influence one has to receive.  One has to partake.  One has to be engaged.  We can’t just expect to be under the influence of something by merely taking up space or by osmosis.  Just like a car can’t run without it’s gas tank being filled with gas over and over, our spiritual lives can’t be influenced without being drunk on the Holy Spirit.  Sounds weird right?

Being influenced requires a regular pattern of life.  A regular filling.  A regular receiving.

We may get mad at God and ask why has nothing changed in my life?  The answer may be what influences us?  Who do we hang out with?  What do we spend most of our time doing?  What music do we listen to?  What words come our of our mouths?  What are we really putting into our hearts, minds, mouths and minds?
There may not be a blood tests that measures what is the level of our spiritual influence.  But there is an indicator in our lives that lets us know what influences us–what fruit is growing in our lives?  An apple tree is recognized by its apples just as a lemon tree is recognized by its lemons.  The fruit of kindness, gentleness, joy, peace and self-control is evident when it is growing in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23)?

What kind of fruit is growing in your life?

If you would like to know what is preventing growth in your life, revisit the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.  Read what sets a person up for success and eternal growth.  There is no one else who influences us more than Jesus.  His influence has transformed our hearts and lives forever that makes an eternal difference.

What Influences Your Life?

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Confessions of a Skinny Girl

How was your Thanksgiving?  Most of us are probably not feeling too skinny right now after eating tons of turkey, pie, mashed potatoes or whatever thanksgiving goodness we piled on our plates.  And then there were the pies!  Of course we have to try them all!

I am known as the skinny girl.  The one who has skinny arms, legs and non-existent hips. When people meet me,  I know what they are thinking….  That skinny girl looks like she has it altogether.

What struggles could she possibly have? 

Don’t be fooled by this small petite frame that there aren’t deep struggles that lie beneath.  Just because outwardly I’m small, doesn’t mean that inwardly my struggles aren’t big.

Truth is, this skinny girl ate way too much turkey and pie at Thanksgiving, that I can barely button my pants! If I could, I would eat a whole plate of fried pickles if my body wouldn’t hate me later.  I love chocolate cake—lots of it.  

Oh how I have flaws. I’ve wasted years of my life wishing I was taller, wishing this scraggly body looked like the voluptuous woman on the front cover of magazines. I have learned the hard way, in my indulgence and lack of self-discipline there are great consequences that lead to more emptiness and destruction.

Then I fall at the feet of Jesus and confess to Him all my flaws, my ugliness and mistakes.  He then says, “Dear child you will never find your self-worth and acceptance in this world, only in me.”  

I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 GNT).

He first chose me.  He knew me before I was even born.  

Only in the arms of God’s grace will my flaws and shortcomings be accepted.  

Only in the boundaries of God’s love will I find my worth—not in the size of my waist, otherwise I wouldn’t be worth very much.   

On the days I feel l have failed either as a wife or a parent, I am thankful my worth isn’t measured by my performance.

If I wait until I look a certain way, I miss out on the freedom God desires for me.

And thank God my value isn’t weighed by how clean my house is, otherwise I would be bankrupt.  

As years have gone by, I’ve to learn to accept God’s will and design for me.  God did not design this 5’ 3’’ petite frame to be on the basketball team.  His plan isn’t for me to be something I’m not.  I have a choice—keep trying to live up to worldly standards in who this world says I should be, or accept and live in God’s design for me.  Only one of them offers a life that is forgiving and filled with grace.   

When people meet me, they look at me and say I used to be a lot skinnier.  Our value and worth will never be found in our comparisons of each other.  We can break the chains of comparison by walking away from the lies of the enemy.

God made us exactly who we are for a specific reason and purpose all for His glory, not ours.

It doesn’t matter what size we are.  We are loved by Jesus who loved us first. (1 John 4:19)

In our flaws God sees our BEAUTY. (Ezekiel 27:3)

In our shortcomings God sees His PERFECT PLAN. (Jeremiah 29:11)  

In our weaknesses, God’s POWER is perfected. 

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me”  (2 Corinthians 12:9).  

In our messiness, God’s love sees us as blameless (2 Peter 3:14).

These three truths will always set us free.  

You are loved.

You are accepted.

You’re value is immeasurable in the eyes of God.  

You’re life has meaning and purpose.  If God didn’t deem your life as worthy, He would have never sent Jesus.  You were worth dying for.  

By His grace we have been saved.  

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”  (Ephesians 2:9).

Thank you Jesus, for loving me just the way I am!  You are loved my friend! 

What truths has God showed you?

Do you know how valuable you are in the eyes of God?  

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