Monday, April 13, 2015

Who influences you?

Excerpt from Imagine the Future You

Chapter Three: You can be comfortable with who you are

By Ada Brownell

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People who are not afraid to decide themselves what they are going to believe, how they are going to act and live, how they will dress, and the kind of face they will show the world don’t follow the crowd. When you decide to take responsibility for yourself, you aren’t afraid of being different or saying no when everyone else is saying yes—or saying yes whenever everyone else is saying no.

The ones who do everything their friends do aren’t their own boss—they give over their identity. They might as well go back to being two years old—or live in a nation where there is no freedom to choose.

Even a relative or a best friend sometimes shoves us toward things we know are wrong.
I think of Herodias’s daughter, a teenage dancer, who performed before King Herod at a party one night. Her name isn’t given in the scriptures, so I’ll call her Halah.

“You are so beautiful and nimble,” the rotund king declared, dribbling wine on his red velvet robe. “You please me. The music and your gracefulness set my heart to thumping. Because you bring me joy, I’ll give you anything your heart desires.”

Stunned, Halah bowed before Herod, who recently became her stepfather. “Thank you, oh King. Will you allow me to speak to Mother?”

The sleepy king nodded, and Halah rose and twirled to the exit to ask her mom, Herodias, what great thing she should request.

Shortly Halah returned to stand before His Majesty.  “I want John the Baptist’s head on a platter.”

John the Baptist was a prophet. The king was stunned. Halah could see it in his face. He had listened in the past to John, the whiskered, wild-haired man who was always shouting, “Repent!” But Mom was having none of John’s religion. John condemned Herodias and Herod for their adultery, and Halah’s mother hated him. Herodias left Halah’s father, Herod’s brother, and married the king.

“Your daddy is a nobody,” Herodias said before the wedding. “The king is a powerful man! We will live in luxury, and every woman will envy us.”

John lay in the Roman prison because of Herodias’s hatred, so within an hour, Halah carried the heavy, lifeless head of the prophet on a platter. She slowly made her way to the king and her mother. Blood dripped down Halah’s skinny arms onto her dance costume. Balancing the object was difficult, and occasionally it slid from side to side on the platter, threatening to topple on the floor. (See Matthew 14:1-12).

I admit to enhancing the story to help you see the horrible thing the teenager did, but the gruesome facts are in the Bible. Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t tell us about the girl’s reaction, but I think what she did haunted her every day until she drew her last breath. Even people with hard, sinful hearts can’t get away from the guilt of sin without Jesus.
The daughter of Herodias could have said, “No! What are you thinking, Mother?” But instead, she did the deed without protest.
She needed to think before she acted. We can’t allow others to lead us into sin—or sink into the pit of sin by our own sinful nature. James wrote, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:14-15).

With the help of God, we can snatch our future from our enemy, Satan himself. We can learn to stand firm and do what we know is right.

People who know who they are, who they want to be, and what they want their future to be like become unique people. With the help of God, we can make wise decisions, and sometimes when we live that way we are surprised when others want to be just like us.

 Only a young person with a strong will is different. The Psalmist wrote, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1–3NLT).

People who are not afraid to decide themselves what they are going to believe, how they are going to act and live, how they will dress, and the kind of face they will show the world don’t follow the crowd. When you decide to take responsibility for yourself, you aren’t afraid of being different or saying no when everyone else is saying yes—or saying yes whenever everyone else is saying no.

The ones who do everything their friends do aren’t their own boss—they give over their identity. They might as well go back to being two years old—or live in a nation where there is no freedom to choose.

Even a relative or a best friend sometimes shoves us toward things we know are wrong.
I think of Herodias’s daughter, a teenage dancer, who performed before King Herod at a party one night. Her name isn’t given in the scriptures, so I’ll call her Halah.

“You are so beautiful and nimble,” the rotund king declared, dribbling wine on his red velvet robe. “You please me. The music and your gracefulness set my heart to thumping. Because you bring me joy, I’ll give you anything your heart desires.”

Stunned, Halah bowed before Herod, who recently became her stepfather. “Thank you, oh King. Will you allow me to speak to Mother?”

The sleepy king nodded, and Halah rose and twirled to the exit to ask her mom, Herodias, what great thing she should request.

Shortly Halah returned to stand before His Majesty. “I want John the Baptist’s head on a platter.”

John the Baptist was a prophet. The king was stunned. Halah could see it in his face. He had listened in the past to John, the whiskered, wild-haired man who was always shouting, “Repent!” But Mom was having none of John’s religion. John condemned Herodias and Herod for their adultery, and Halah’s mother hated him. Herodias left Halah’s father, Herod’s brother, and married the king.

“Your daddy is a nobody,” Herodias said before the wedding. “The king is a powerful man! We will live in luxury, and every woman will envy us.”

John lay in the Roman prison because of Herodias’s hatred, so within an hour, Halah carried the heavy, lifeless head of the prophet on a platter. She slowly made her way to the king and her mother. Blood dripped down Halah’s skinny arms onto her dance costume. Balancing the object was difficult, and occasionally it slid from side to side on the platter, threatening to topple on the floor.

I admit to enhancing the story to help you see the horrible thing the teenager did, but the gruesome facts are in the Bible. Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t tell us about the girl’s reaction, but I think what she did haunted her every day until she drew her last breath. Even people with hard, sinful hearts can’t get away from the guilt of sin without Jesus.

The daughter of Herodias could have said, “No! What are you thinking, Mother?” But instead, she did the deed without protest.

She needed to think before she acted. We can’t allow others to lead us into sin—or sink into the pit of sin by our own sinful nature. James wrote, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:24-15).

With the help of God, we can snatch our future from our enemy, Satan himself. We can learn to stand firm and do what we know is right.

People who know who they are, who they want to be, and what they want their future to be like become unique people. With the help of God, we can make wise decisions, and sometimes when we live that way we are surprised when others want to be just like us.

 Only a young person with a strong will is different. The Psalmist wrote, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1–3NLT).

Copyright © Ada Brownell 2014

Summary of Imagine the Future You


IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU
A motivational Bible study by Ada Brownell
If you continue to do or not do what you practice now, what kind of future do you imagine for yourself?  The decisions we make ourselves affect our future more than those made for us. We have control of our attitudes, our work ethic, our sense of wonder, our faith to believe in God and for great things. It is up to us where we end up in life and eternity.
This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.
Review:  How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, Godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion.