November 5, 2017: Who has influenced your life?

Posted on : Nov 2nd, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday is our annual celebration of All Saints Sunday.  In our lives, we are blessed by those who influence us – and influence us for the better!

Richard Floyd, one of our God Is Still Speaking writers, shares his thoughts about such blessings:

Our Blessed Guides
Richard L. Floyd

“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” – 3 John 11

Our culture prizes originality. No one wants to be considered an imitation! But in a number of places in the Bible we are admonished to model ourselves after someone or something, either a person or an ideal.

It makes sense if you think about it. None of us is born fully formed; we are constantly being shaped by the world around us.

As I write this I am babysitting my 9 month-old granddaughter. Her most salient attribute is her curiosity. Every moment she is taking it all in; wide-eyed she watches everything around her.

She will learn about the world from others, primarily her parents, but also from other family members, from teachers at school and people at church.

This is how we all learn and grow at whatever age. Our moral character is largely determined over time by what we choose to imitate and what we choose not to imitate.

And it reassures me to know that I don’t have to make up my moral world from scratch; to realize that there are reliable guides and blueprints for living well.

Some of these guides are in books, but the most important ones are the ones we have known in person.

I invite you to take a few moments to recall in your mind’s eye the people who have had the most influence on who you have become. What did you learn from them? What about them did you imitate? Then thank God for them!

Prayer
We thank you, God, for all the faithful guides you have given us to imitate.

This Sunday we will take the time to remember and give thanks for all those who have touched our lives with blessings and influenced us for the better.

Blessings,

Dan

 

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Matthew 5: 1-12

The Message – a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible

Jesus teaches about being blessed.

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God.  God’s food and drink is the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s realm.

“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

The Message  ©1993 – 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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