Dependency = Influence

Those upon whom you are dependent, you give the right (or they have a right) to have a say in your life.

If you are dependent on the approval of man, you allow a lot of nonsense and negativity to be spoken into your life.

If you are dependent upon creditors, you give them permission to harass you day and night.

There are many things and people upon which we willingly choose to become dependent, and then we react when those things begin to exert their control. The warning to me is “To whom do I want to give that much influence in my life?”  There will always be people we need in our lives, but are they the same people that we want to also have so much influence?

If you allow your happiness to be dependent upon the weather, then your happiness is as unpredictable as the weather.

If your faith is dependent on what you can scientifically measure or prove, then your faith is only as good as your senses are and is reliant on the natural rather than the supernatural.

If your view of God is based on your current circumstances, then your god is your circumstances and can do nothing outside of those circumstances.

Be careful upon whom you become dependent because ultimately they will exert the greatest influence over you.

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Our Greatest Treasures

Chest 1

(FreeImages.com/Ove Tøpfer)

What are Our Greatest Treasures?

 

“When we value God, we value people… Honor is what love looks like.  That sense of value will result in stewardship… Many of us today have received gifts and blessings from above.  How we deal with them will determine how we will be entrusted with heavenly riches.” (From Called To Reign by Leif Hetland).

As I read the last part of that quote this morning, conviction entered my heart, and I began to weep for the truths God was revealing to me.

Intellectually, I have known for awhile that my kids are a blessing.  I have begun to believe this too.  (The rest of this story is in previous blogs from a few years ago: “Afraid of My Children — Part One” and also part two of that story.)  Yet, God revealed this morning that there are still parts where I have believed lies above the truth. Even though I have known intellectually that my kids are a blessing, I have not lived fully from that because my belief has subconsciously lived the lie.

Knowing something intellectually is completely different than what you live out sometimes, and what you live out is what you truly believe.

As I read the quote above, what I realized is that I have not valued my kids like I should.  I have not comprehended the value of my gift.  I have not stewarded my gift to my very best because I have not fully comprehended its value.

I don’t mean I have been a bad mother because that is not true.  I am actually a good mother, though it took awhile for me to believe that, and I still struggle with this truth at times.  The truth is you can be a good parent, a good spouse, a good grandparent and still not really treasure the gifts you have been given.

Here’s the powerful truth: If you understand the value of something, you won’t feel inconvenienced by it.  

I want to say that again.

If you understand the value of something, you won’t feel inconvenienced by it.  

If you and I were given a two million dollar inheritance, we would feel honored to steward it.  If a friend bequeathed their Jaguar to us, we would feel honored to “steward” it.  If God gave us a ministry that impacted hundreds, we would be honored to lead it.  If we received a job promotion, we would be honored to receive it.

Yet, the only thing of eternal value are people.  We can’t take our jobs, our possessions, our promotions, our degrees to Heaven with us, and I am not undervaluing them; I am just not over-valuing them.

We spend so much time valuing and serving things, but things are only to serve for the benefit of people.  People are not to serve as the promotion of the things.

God revealed that the stewardship of my earthly sons and daughter is the first step to an abundant inheritance of spiritual sons and daughters.  Do I steward with the understanding of the abundance of my inheritance and the resources of my inheritance that enable me to steward it?

Here is the final raw truth that is powerfully convicting:

What we feel honored to serve or what we feel inconvenienced by shows what we really value.

There are times that I have felt inconvenienced by my greatest treasures, and yes, my greatest treasures will always hold my greatest responsibilities too.

If I have my Heavenly Father’s heart, I will see the value in each person that I am called to serve and no longer will they be an inconvenience but an honor to steward/serve.

Lord, continue to change my heart to look more like your heart.  You, are my greatest treasure and so are the things that you treasure — no matter how much responsibility and effort on my part they take to serve.  Thank you, that with every responsibility, there is also an abundant supply of your resources to wisely and lovingly steward what you have entrusted to me.

Psalm 144:12

12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:

This means that our sons are being raised from their youth in the Word of God and the fertile soil of love.  Our daughters are also being raised from their youth on the foundation of the Word of God and become heart-connections to bring unity to the family.  There is much more that this verse means; I am just beginning to dig.  Feel free to join me in digging for more treasure.

Mutual Enjoyment

Romantic Dice 02 - Sweet Love

(FreeImages.com/MikeSwope)

This is a sticky topic for a lot of Christians, but let’s talk about sex in marriage.

Christian women have been coming to me and asking me if they should give their husbands the sex they demand, even when it’s painful.

As I said to one wife, “The answer is simple when you understand the purpose of sex and ultimately the purpose for your marriage.”

1. Marriage, first of all, is a union.

This means that both spouses give of themselves in order to become one.  You meld into something that is better and stronger.  It does not mean you are giving up your gifts.  It means you are bringing them to the marriage so that the union becomes stronger. 

It is not a relationship between a lord and his servant. It is a union.  A proper understanding of unity would resolve a lot of marital conflicts.

2. Marriage was created for the benefit of both and ultimately for the benefit of a much greater outreach.

This means that sex is for the benefit of both.  It is a false concept that sex is just to benefit the husband.  If a couple understands that sex is to be mutually beneficial, this may mean that at some times, one spouse must sacrifice his/her own personal desires for the benefit of the union.  If sex has become painful for one spouse, not only should a trained physician be consulted and even a counselor if needed, but the other spouse should lovingly understand that this is their time to selflessly love.

3. The seeds of love, selflessness, and sacrifice that you are planting consistently will reap a harvest of equal measure.

Don’t plant in order to gain, but understand that you give in order to give.  That’s the meaning of sacrificial love.  Sacrificial love doesn’t give to receive.  It gives from the abundance of love.

If you are sowing humility, meekness, love, patience, selflessness consistently, you will receive the fruit of this.  Your marriage will be much sweeter!

I have intentionally kept this short.  Much more can be said on this topic, but perhaps this is a start to bringing some clarity…

“Fixer-Upper” Promises…

It's a fixer-upper

(FreeImages.com/MarthaJaneCordell)

The marriage you feel was a mistake…

The parents that were too strict…

The church that you were a part of that was abusive or hurtful…

The job that seems like a bad choice…

Maybe, you did make some wrong or simply, unwise choices, but what if God is going to take your failures and use them for something much bigger than you?

What if those kids from your marriage union are going to be used powerfully by God?

What if God decides to take our messes and bring redemption because He likes “Fixer-Uppers”?

What if God sees mistakes, brokenness, sickness, shattered lives, and hideous evil, and He sees past what is seen to what He can do with the messes of life?

What if He sees the potential because He sees the promise… because He is the same God Who speaks, and life begins; He speaks, and the sea calms; He speaks, and the dead are raised to life; He speaks, and people trapped in gross sin are completely set free!

What if He is a God Who is doing something that you can’t fully see now or even imagine but something that will stare evil in its face and say, “You will never destroy what I have come to save?”  

What if God is not overcome by evil, but will overcome the evil by using what was robbed, lost, or destroyed to be replaced with something far greater?  What if the glorious things that arise from those ashes become the very things that overcome the evil?

What if He is a God of resurrection power — including “resurrection life” over the “dead things” in your life?

What if God is bigger than you, bigger than your mistakes, bigger than your circumstances, and bigger than the evil that was done against you?

What if He really is Who He says He is?

Matthew 16:13-19

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah,for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not [a]prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth [b]will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”