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The Influence of Others

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
—Matthew 6:33


And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are beingtransformedinto his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
—2 Corinthians 3:18



We have this cute young lady who has been living with us for several months. My husband has dubbed her the Energizer Bunny. So it isn’t surprising that in her dialogues and answers she often uses an enthusiastic, snappy, staccato, “yep!”

So guess what I hear coming out of my mouth these days? Yep. Literally. And it’s probably not so cute coming out of an almost 52-year-old.

Then there’s my daughter. Her go-to phrase is, “That is so real.” So lately when I hear a statement that rings especially true, what do you think has been sliding off my tongue like a canoe down a waterfall? 

Whether I like it or not, the people I hang around rub off on me. Like when I touched my hubby’s freshly-painted robins-egg blue walls. Marked.

And I am influenced by others’ actions as well. Which got me to thinking… Although who I hang with did not make my initial list for 2018 goals, I decided it was something I needed to add. Who do I want to influence me? Since I want to be like Jesus the most, it struck me that I need to hang around him a little more than I do.

I want my words to be truthful and loving. Like Jesus. I want my actions to be loving. Like Jesus. I want to care about what he cares about. Bottom line, I want my heart to be more like Jesus’ heart. And my actions, thoughts and words flow out of my heart (Luke 6:45).

When I quiet myself enough, I hear his whispers and prodding’s on my heart. When I study his Word, I’m reminded of what he did for me. What he does through me. What he has already changed and made new in my life. What I need to walk in. When I hang around his people who are filled to the brim with his spirit, I get a glimpse of what it means to be salt and light to this world. I get marked. And I, in turn, mark others.

Leon Fontaine, in his book The Spirit Contemporary Life, talks about our two purposes. One is to discover our gifting and walk in that (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). The other is to spread the good news (Mark 16:15). To let people know they can stop running from God, or the opposite, trying to please God and always falling short. That Jesus did it all. On the cross. Through his blood brought reconciliation. Holiness. Repaired our relationship with our Creator. The striving can stop. The running can stop. That is good news indeed. And the world desperately needs it. Anything other than fulfilling these purposes will lead us void, as God has set eternity in all our hearts (Eccles. 3:11).

As I look at my short list of 2018 plans and goals, I add “Sit with Jesus more” at the top of my list. And I have a feeling the other things on the list will fall into place a little easier. Yep. That is so real.

We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.—Acts 14:15b

The reality is that God wants each of us to live great big lives filled with joy, purpose, and significance.
—Leon Fontaine

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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie


    I’m turning 60 next month. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn


    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Jo


    Jo is a writer, Bible teacher, and radio host. She has served as a missionary in Mexico, at a mega-church in Minnesota, and as a meteorologist in the Midwest. Today, she enjoys spending time with her family, interviewing all sorts of people on the radio, being on the golf course, and watching other people forecast the weather from the comfort of her own couch.
  • Heidi


    Just when I thought life couldn’t get any more full and chaotic, we’re excited to announce a third baby will enter into our home and surely our hearts this summer. The daily grind of cleaning up Cheerios, preschool drop off, and potty training can often seem mundane and insignificant. But I’ve noticed too many parallels with God as our Father to know that simply isn’t true. In my words and stories, I hope to share exactly that—how Jesus is in this motherhood season with me and how His thumbprint makes it’s way into even the ordinary, most surprising of places.
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