The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Nine

The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Nine

Pass Everything On

“Who will pursue God because you do?  Who will make it the priority of their lives to know God as Abraham did, and make Him known to others, because you have?  Who will refuse to settle for anything less than everything God wants to give them because you’ve refused to settle for less?  To whom are you and I passing the baton?  We need to be as intentional as Abraham was about passing everything on because we have also been commissioned by the Father to find a bride for the Son…”

                                          The Magnificent Obsession, p. 228

Influence: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. Each of us has been influenced in some way by someone or something.  And while we may not consider ourselves to be a particularly “influential” person, the fact is that each of us has within us the God-given capacity to “produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others.” 

Therefore, if we understand this to be true, then the more intentionally we live our lives, the greater the influence we will have on others.  And the more intentionally we live our lives for Christ, the greater the kingdom impact our lives will make. 

And so… what kind of an impact is your life having?  What kind of an influence have you had on the people around you… in your family, with your co-workers, your friends and the people who serve you?

Each day brings to us many opportunities to live our lives intentionally, with purpose, and with an aim that is eternal.  How will you live this day of your life to make a difference for Christ?  Who will you influence today?  And who will pursue God because you do?

I’ll wrap up our study next week, but for now please savor this final chapter of the Magnificent Obsession!

xo – P

Scripture Reading: Genesis 24
Read Chapter 9 – Magnificent Obsession

Questions for Small Group Discussion and Blog:

1. Who has influenced you? Is there a person in your life who has pursued God in such a way that he or she has positively and passionately influenced your faith and pursuit of God? In what ways has this person personally influenced your faith?

  • Describe a few aspects of this person’s life that have most revealed the magnificent obsession to you.

2.  Abraham was intentional in passing everything on. What does it mean to you to “pass everything on”?

  • As you consider your life today, what are you passing along and to whom are you passing it?

3.  The best indicator of what is most important to us can be found in the pages of our calendars, bank and charge card statements. OK, go grab yours and let’s make some observations about how your time and money is invested verses spent?

  • To what is the majority of your time allocated?
  • To what is the majority of your money allocated?
  • How many of those things would be considered kingdom “investments” verses time and money simply spent?
  • How much time do you intentionally spend investing your life in others for the sake of the Gospel (to encourage, teach, build up… disciple in the the faith)?

4.  Abraham lived an “intentional” life of faith. Another way of saying it might be that Abraham lived his life “on purpose” for a greater Purpose. Living intentionally and purposefully requires serious thought and consideration not only about how we are living our lives, but the intended direction and result of our lives. How intentionally and purposefully are you living your life and is it making a difference for Christ? Consider the following areas:

  • Your personal life
  • Your relationships
  • Your social life
  • Your professional life
  • Your finances

For Personal Prayer & Reflection:

Pass Everything On~
The saying is true: “Only one life, t’will soon be passed; only what’s done for Christ will last.” Not all “good works” will last, but only those things that Jesus considers to be “eternal” works- the things that will last forever. And what kinds of things last forever? God’s Word tells us that only two things will “remain” throughout eternity: The Word of God (His Truth), and people. Jesus has commanded each of us to “bear fruit that will last” (John 15:16); reproducing our life of faith in the life of another… paying it forward, passing it on, helping another gal grow up in the way of the Lord. So…

How are you intentionally investing your own life in the life of another gal, for Christ’s sake? 

Or- what’s keeping your from intentionally investing your life- mentoring, discipling another?

There is no great joy than sharing the magnificent obsession with another individual. There is no greater satisfaction and fulfillment in life than spiritually “mothering” another woman in her life of faith; helping her to grow up in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. This is not just my personal opinion, it’s my conviction… and it’s Jesus’ command for you, my dear sister. Using your life, your one and only life, for this great purpose is the best investment you will ever make. 

One day we will speak with our Creator face-to-face, and there we will give an account to Him of how we lived the life He gave us; how we intentionally invested it for His glory. Our lives will be judged and rewarded based on three things: Truth, Opportunity & Stewardship.

1) In light of how much of God’s TRUTH I knew and lived
2) The OPPORTUNITIES I was given
3) What I did with what I was given (STEWARDSHIP)

We will receive our heavenly “reward” based on our results. 

As we come to the final chapter of the Magnificent Obsession, please take some prayerful time to consider your life, your passions, your pursuits, your purpose and where they are currently taking you. Is your life passing on the Magnificent Obsession? And who will pursue God because you do?

The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Eight

The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Eight

Mourn Everything Hopefully

“Without a doubt Sarah is the most important woman in the Old Testament… She expressed her pursuit of the magnificent obsession in a supporting role. I don’t think for a minute that Abraham would have become the man he did without her support and encouragement… What makes Sarah remarkable is that she devoted her life to Abraham, giving him her support and encouragement through good times and bad so that he could whole-heartedly abandon himself to God and His call.”

The Magnificent Obsession, p. 213-214

You’ve heard it said that behind every great man is a great woman. I declare that to be true and would certainly say that our sister, Sarah, set the godly standard for us gals with her strength, dignity and courage! Not to mention she was one beautiful babe even at 80 and 90 years old!! All of a sudden I’m humming Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man”. And Sarah certainly did just that as she supported him through thick and thin.

So, before we move along to the rest of the chapter I just want to spend a moment talking about the lessons that we can learn from Sarah’s life.

If you are a married lady, listen up! And if you are a single lady who hopes to be married one day… listen up even more!!

As I reread this chapter, the Lord reminded me again of the supporting role I play to John in our own marriage. I prayed long and hard for the Lord to bring me a man, but never really considered the job description of a “wife” until I was 40! In fact, as I counsel women- both married and single, most women enter into marriage without ever having seriously considered what the role of a wife requires. Like it our not sisters, a wife’s main mission is “submission” to her husband. Submission- that word that gets trashed on a regular basis my most women actually means to come under the mission of another with strength. Yep, it’s a supporting role of strength.

May I speak some truth-in-love to y’all for a minute? To all the single ladies: I caution you that if you think you can do differently, you’re wrong. If you have any other role in mind for your marriage than that of the supporting role of a wife you are headed for disaster. Married ladies: If you have been in the driver’s seat of your marriage it is high time for a little Chinese fire drill and change drivers! Our God is a God of order and his order for marriage is that the wife is in the supporting role. Please know that I’m saying this with lots of love: TAKE OFF THE PANTS. (grin)

Remember- Abraham was everything that God wanted Him to be because Sarah supported his mission… his call, and encouraged him to go for it! Even when it meant that she had to pack it all up, head ‘em up and move ‘em out again and again… she was with him, without complaint or resistence. Though Scripture does not tell us specifically, I can only believe that because of the praise that Sarah receives (1 Peter 3:5-6) that she prayed fervently for Abraham; surely she prepared his favorite meals and rubbed his shoulders after a long, hot day of dealing with camel traders. No doubt she encouraged him when he was down and probably even made him laugh. I’d like to think that if Sarah had access to sticky notes she’d have left them all over the tent with words of love and encouragement for her man (it just happens to be my own little love-thing with JT). She knew how to love her man and it doesn’t appear that even her infertility seemed to have interfered in their marriage until the debacle with Hagar and Ishmael happened. Oh, Sarah loved her some Abraham and it was her joy to serve him. I think of the great Mamie Eisenhower’s comment about her marriage to President and General Dwight David Eisenhower saying, “Ike was my career.” Mamie was no doormat, nor a woman without a purpose. She was strong, intelligent, and winsome… and she loved her man. Wow… what a great position to take!

Sister, please take some time to prayerfully reflect of your present role as a wife or your future role as one. I’ll pick this back up during the Q&A, but for now let’s move on to see what Miss Anne has to say to us about mourning everything hopefully. I’ll address some points in the questions below.

The Lord bless your time in His Word this week ~

xo – P

Scripture Reading: Genesis 23
Read Chapter 8 – Magnificent Obsession

Questions for Small Group Discussion and Blog:

1. Read 1 Peter 3. How is Sarah described here?

2. Compare the kind of beauty that Sarah exhibited with the world’s standard of beauty today.

3. Years ago I read a book by Sheila Walsh and in it she talked about a visit with her Christian counselor who was exhorting her for her stubbornness and prideful independence. The counselor said, “Sheila, the Lord loves a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. Write that on a card and keep it next to your bed; read it every morning and every evening.” Well, I could not get paper and pen in hand fast enough to write it down for myself because I come from a family of very strong, very tall, very loud women and I knew that combination wasn’t working well for most of us. That comment remained beside my bed on my nightstand for years (I still have it somewhere). What about you? Where do you fall in terms of “Biblical Beauty” vs. “Worldly Beauty”? If you’re like most of the female population you could use a little “GQ” spirit (gentle and quiet). Would you be willing to make that your prayer too?

4. On page 217 Anne asks us, “Who is your Sarah?” Is there someone in your life who’s been so very dear to you, someone you’ve shared a lotta life with and now they’re gone? Perhaps you’ve lost them to death. Maybe they’ve only just moved away, or maybe is a relationship that’s broken up, but you’re grieving and mourning the loss just the same. How have you grieved and dealt with the loss? What does 1 Thessalonians 4:13 tell us? Turn Paul’s exhortation around to a positive statement. What do you think it means to grieve as those who have “hope”?

5. Do you live with a “KYF” attitude? A “Keep Your Fork” perspective? (See page 217-218). Or are you, as my husband refers to them, one of the “TLO” folks—living for “This Life Only”? Do you believe the best if truly yet to come? Let’s talk about what it’s going to be like where we’re going one day! Discuss our eternal heavenly home in your small group or jump on the blog and share your thoughts! What will it look like? Will we work, play, drive cars… ? If you have any Scripture to back up your thoughts share that as well.

6. Take some time do as Anne suggests on page 222 and “examine your life”. Look at your calendar, your checkbook, and charge card bills. Those things have a good way of revealing to us what we’re living for. Let’s look at it another way: If a reporter from CNN or Fox News were to follow you around for 7 straight days, day and night, what would he find to be the thing or things that you are living for? What would he write about you?

The things that will last after we are dead and gone are the things we do for Christ. ONLY the things we do for Christ. People are focused in one of two directions: Eternity or Earthly. Sisters- this earth is burning up (feels like it literally in the great hot state of Texas), and along with it anything that is not done for Christ. So… what things will last? Forever? 1) God’s Truth; 2) People. That’s it. Not card games or golf games, not clubs, not fundraisers that get your picture in the paper, not names on buildings, not universities or even church buildings… nope. Only what is done for Christ and the sake of the Gospel and the building of God’s Kingdome… will last forever. The rest ends up in the ash heap of all ash heaps. Just sayin.

As my pastor said this morning, “If you don’t have time to do what Jesus did then you are just too busy. If you don’t have the time to spend with at least ONE PERSON each week, intentionally investing in their lives and helping them to grow up in the faith… then YOU ARE TOO BUSY. Period.”

Uh, yep. OK… discuss. What are you doing in your life that matters to God?

For Personal Prayer & Reflection:

Mourn Everything Hopefully~
Forgiveness: It puts you in right standing with God. Get’s the vertical in proper alignment so that the horizontal works right. Anne brings up an excellent point on page 220, last paragraph, “…don’t talk to God in generalities. Be specific. Ask God to forgive you. He promises He will. Then you must- it’s not an option, you must- forgive yourself.” Some of us walk around with tremendous guilt or tremendous bitterness simply because we have not been specific with what we need forgiveness for or what we need to give forgiveness for. I’ve often said that when we’re not specific, it’s like throwing a big blanket of forgiveness on everything and it all gets covered up but we don’t know what’s underneath. What do I mean by being specific? Tell God what you did, what it caused, why you’re asking for forgiveness, what you learned, and end with why you know you are now forgiven… and that you forgive yourself. In the same way, tell God what someone else did to you, name the person, what happened, how it made you feel, what it caused and why you’re forgiving them. Be as specific as you can… and thank Him for His mercy and grace that enable you to forgive, to be forgiven and to walk free of guilt and bitterness.