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Under the Influence

 

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?
A tree doesn’t grow without water, sunlight or the proper soil just as we won’t grow without the proper influence.  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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Top 10 Things I would like to Leave Behind in 2017: A Year in Review

At the end of every year, it’s always fun to reminisce about all the fun and happy memories one has had over the year.  It is also a good time to write goals and get rid of any junk or clutter getting in the way of reaching our goals.

I don’t know about you, but I love getting rid of clutter to help clear paths to achieve goals.

I asked my family what is something you would like to leave behind this year?  What is something you do not want to take into the New Year?  Here are our Family’s responses.  (You can Probably guess which ones are our kids’ responses)

Top 10 Things to Leave Behind in 2017:
1.  Negativity–  Nobody likes a Negative Nelly.  Negativity is a sure way to a bad attitude which never leads to anywhere good.  In 2018 I want to trade negative attitudes in for positive ones.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”  (Ephesians 4:29).

2.  Fear–  Being Scared of the unknown is a sure way to get into a vicious cycle of worry and anxiety.  Who wants that?  Not me.  The best thing to trade our Fears in for is more Faith.

“Trust in the Lord with All your Heart, Lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

3.  Poor use of Time–  I want to trade in any Lack of Planning in for being more intentional and purposeful with my time.  The best person to give our time to is God.  God will provide all the time we need when we give it to him.  Time spent with God is time well spent.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

4.  Busyness–  Filling my time with busyness and distractions is a guarantee for burnout and being tired.  This year I want to let my ‘yes’ be ‘yes and my ‘no’ be ‘no’ (James 5:12) so I don’t overcommit or overextend myself.

5.  Regret–  Allowing fear to dictate actions is a good way to get into a pile of regret.  Living a life of love the way God intended us to live, helps to leave regret behind and look forward to the life that God has designed for us.

6.  Accumulating Stuff–  This year is a year to live with less.  When I have less, I have more room for what God has intended for me.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

7.  Silly Arguments–  Maybe you are a better person than me, but I would like to trade in silly arguments for positive, encouraging remarks.  Who really cares if the toilet seat wasn’t put down?  Instead of being quick to start a silly argument I want to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19).

8.  Sweating the small stuff–  Worrying about every little thing leads only to more worry.  Worry never changes the situation or the outcome, it only brings more grief and worry.  In 2018, I want to trade worry in for more Trust in God.  He’s Got it!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”  (Matthew 6:34).

9.  Disorganization–  When you consistently can’t find your keys, clutter starts to pile up and life starts to spiral out of control;  maybe it’s time to trade in the clutter and chaos for more order.  Take the time to get rid of clutter and organize your spaces.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”  1 Corinthians 14:33

10.  Disconnected–  I have gotten into a bad habit, of spending time on social media when I should be present with whoever I am with.  Just because there is downtime doesn’t mean I have to pick up my phone.  This year I want to be present with whoever I am with, not trading face to face interaction in for screen time.

Have you made a list of things of your Fun Happy Memories from 2017?  

What would you like to leave behind in 2017?  

It is a good activity to do with your family to start with a clean slate for the New Year!

Prayer:  Dear God,

I want to start my New Year off to the right start.  Help me identify the clutter in my life, anything getting in the way of reaching my goals you desire for me.  Help me use the time you have given me wisely and keep my path clear of junk and live how you designed me!  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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May your New Year be Filled Abundantly more with God’s Blessings of Love, Joy, Peace and Freedom! I would love to hear from you.  Leave Your Comments Below.


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