No doubt that heaven rejoices to welcome Billy Graham & earth looses a longstanding hero. The reasons that Billy Graham is such a hero are innumerable, but some of the standouts include: moral integrity, consistency & letting Jesus be the rallying cry of his life.
The things that Billy Graham accomplished across the span of his life, will be accentuated & applauded for quite awhile. And his epitaph is extremely powerful!
Let’s live each day as if we’re writing our epitaph so that when we die, the world around us has been improved & Jesus is exalted!
I recently read in Genesis how Jacob did some creative things with sticks being stripped & spotted around the goats, sheep & livestock for which he was responsible. Jacob put these decorated sticks in the feeding troughs for the animals that were particularly robust but removed the sticks when the sickly animals came to feed. The result was that he acquired boatloads of speckled, spotted & striped livestock who were really sturdy 🙂
While, we now have scientific evidence about genetics with dominant & recessive traits passed along family lines, I still think it’s important to consider our focus.
I find that the longer I focus on something, the more absorbed I become in that focus. The more I’m absorbed, the more influenced I become & eventually, my behaviors & attitudes get shaped by that focus.
On Mon, my son, Benji, came home from VBS & announced that he wanted a mohawk haircut. Now Benji is a fairly expressive little man so I don’t have to guess what’s on his mind too often. When he came home, he was quite ademant that he wanted a really obvious mohawk, complete with the sides of his head shaved bald. His exact quote to me was, “Mom, shave the sides bald!” Generally, I’m a pretty laid back mom & so I whipped out the clippers & did my best to shave the sides bald & give him a really good mohawk. I soon found out that his reason for wanting this uber slick mohawk was because his group leader in VBS, Josiah, was sporting a mohawk. Furthermore, Benji is assigned to be Josiah’s asst leader – so he wanted to be sure to look as much like his leader as possible. Hence, the power of influence.
This has got me to thinking about the different influences that we allow in our lives. Influences come in all shapes & sizes: people, web, TV, conversations, family, magazines, books, etc. With this in mind, perhaps we should consider evaluating what we allow ourselves to be influenced by & if such influences are healthy. As adults, in large part, we have the power to decide what we allow to influence us. Even moreso, we have the power to decide how we will respond to such influences. As such, let’s be super mindful of what we put into our minds, of our conversations and of the influences that we allow in our lives 🙂
Garbage in makes for Garbage out. Genuine love in helps make for genuine love out 🙂
Ok, here’s something to think about for our daily living: fear wears lots of disguises, attempting to influence us more than Jesus. Indeed, I’ve met people whose lives are unknowingly controlled by fear & this is heart breaking. Fear masquerades as safety, cooperation, tolerance & many other guises. I think that if fear were removed from some people’s lives they would fall apart because its the essential beacon by which they make their decisions, form their relationships and control their conversations. They’ve become so comfortable with fear that its the glue that holds their life together. The problem is that fear hates to be exposed because once its brought to the light, its weakness is revealed & power diffused.
Consider Saul in 1 Sam 15. From God’s command, he was supposed to entirely obliterate the Amalekites but he didn’t do this. Instead he waffled on his obedience & when Samuel confronted Saul & pressed the issue, Saul finally admitted, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.” From this point on, God rejected Saul. Saul chose fear over obedience – God help us to avoid this trap. May we forever remain friends with God & enemies with fear. Let’s never be more comfortable with fear than we are comfortable with God.