Week 1- forsake Week 2- influence Week 3- tempt Week 4- measure Week 5- loose
‘Forsake’ has its origin sometime before the twelfth century and its use is common throughout the Bible and in some of Shakespeare’s writings. For example, we find this expression in scripture “For You will not forsake him who trusts in You to the very end.” This particular verse is found in Psalm 9, verse 10. It expresses the trust that is found in a faithful God who does not renounce those who know him. Be careful that you do not forsake your foundation!
Forsake is a verb and it is normally used with an object. For instance; forsake me or forsake acting are examples where ‘me’ and ‘acting’ are the objects of the verb. Forsake has two definitions. The first is: to anticipate (as a situation) or make unnecessary (as an action). The second is: to renounce or turn away from entirely. This sentence illustrates ‘to renounce’ something or someone as in: You should not forsake your best friend who trusts you. However, you should forsake bad habits because your life will improve!
In the New Testament, we are told by the Apostle Paul to forsake those things of the world that enslave us or cause us to sin. What things might be signs of temptation? Greed for money, lust or power could be areas of temptation. We are to forsake as in abandon such areas. To forsake means to leave the area or quit doing an action because it is a temptation for wrong-doing, but do not forsake doing those things that are right. We are to forsake that which will lead to sin!
For today, the best way we can understand the impact of forsake is to look at some of the synonyms that could be used. For instance: abandon, desert, leave, maroon, quit and strand are words with similar meanings. Negative words (not, never) used with forsake will give it a positive meaning. Such as: “he will never forsake you or leave you” gives a positive impact to the meaning of forsake. However, when we say “all my friends have forsaken me” conveys the meaning of being abandoned or stranded. Let’s be careful of what we choose to forsake!
For God will not forsake the one who trusts in Him to the very end. This thought should be the basis of all good relationships. To forsake (or end) a good relationship is not wise. All good relationships are built upon mutual trust. We should, however, be willing to end any relationship that takes us in a direction to harm ourselves or our loved ones. To forsake a relationship that is putting us in harm’s way is not always easy, but may be necessary. We should be ready to forsake relationships that bring us damage or harm to our families!
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“The Republican Party chairman wields considerable political influence over the party’s decisions.” Influence comes in all sizes and shapes. Global influence is exerted by the United Nations and the major powers in it. Businesses who are major players in their field exert influence not only in their physical place of operation, but also on city, state and national activities. Many times ‘influence’ is the grease that motivates individuals and organizations to go in certain directions. The force of influence can point large blocks of a society into a specific course of action both good and bad. Be aware of what and who influences you to act!
This week’s word can be used both as a verb and a noun. For instance, the simple addition of ‘r’ to the word [influencer], it becomes a noun as in “one that exerts influence.” Influence has two primary definitions: 1) to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means and 2) to have an effect on the condition or development of (someone or something). For example: “His decision was affected by outside influences” we see that definition one is applied because of indirect or intangible means. Likewise we see definition two applied to this example: “He came under the influence of new ideas when he went away to college.” Influence then is the power to change someone or something without physical contact. Be careful, you could be under the influence of unseen powers!
A common occurrence in today’s world is to be under the influence of alcohol or some kind of drugs. This condition is noticeably more evident around the time of some major holiday. This kind of influence is a negative sign of an overstressed and dependent population. The media influence is another negative factor because they stress bad news such as robberies, murder and scandals. Such negative influence will sway people to look for alternatives that relieve pressure and bring them some form of pleasure. Severe health conditions and financial problems also induce some individuals to find such a form of release. These negative influences have brought about a consistent decline in positive moral values!
One of the variant definitions of influence is: an emanation of spiritual or moral force. This introduces a factor that we have not explored yet, as in ‘spiritual force.’ Despite current propaganda of the atheist and evolutionary opposition, there is a spiritual aspect to the human existence. This has a distinct impact upon today’s culture. “Survival of the fittest” and such propaganda promote negative influence. Negative influence of this type typically comes in the form of increased crime statistics especially in the younger generations who see nothing wrong with murder, theft and abusive habits. Such influence always precedes major world upheaval. Help educate your children against negative spiritual influence!
Peer pressure, group pressure, social pressure, political pressure, religious pressure are all forms of influence that affect us. Group pressure of any kind will affect our relationships to some degree. We must understand each kind of influence and what impact it will have upon our relationships. We may need to adjust what effect each kind of influence has by making changes that allow us to cope with each particular type of pressure. If the influence type is good, we need to increase our contact and interactions. However, if the influence type is bad or produces negative actions, we need to shy away from such contacts. Relationships need to be reinforced with positive influence!
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Our word this week is from the Middle English of the 13th century and of Latin origin. We normally associate this word with some kind of negative activity. Such as: “The smell of the pie tempted me, but I resisted.” Two words of similar meaning are ‘seduce’ and lure. The idea is to turn one from a prescribed or desired path into another course of action. Often the changed path leads to undesirable results. Beware of destructive temptations!
“Car buying is an area which tempts us to buy more than we can afford.” In this sentence we see the use of ‘tempt’ that gives us an understanding of how this word is defined. It has two basic meanings. Tempt is to: 1) entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain, and 2) induce to do something. There is another almost obsolete definition as in to make trial of or to risk the dangers of. To ‘tempt fate’ is one expression of this less common meaning. To be tempted is usually to do an unwise, wrong or bad action. Seldom do we think or use tempt in a positive way!
There are times when our senses will betray us! We see an expensive new dress in a store. We smell the aroma of our favorite freshly baked pie. We taste a sample of a new candy. We feel the steering wheel of a new car in the showroom. We hear the words of an acquaintance urging us to call in sick when we are not. Our senses will play with our emotions and it is at those times when we are most susceptible to be tempted to make wrong decisions or unwise choices. We must use wisdom when our senses are trying to induce us into choices which we will later regret. Control your senses or they will tempt you to acts that bring ruin!
To be tempted or not to be tempted, no that is not what Shakespeare said, but it is a good question. Most of us are tempted in some way every day. Sometimes we give in and sometimes we don’t, but we should think about what impact being tempted has. When we are tempted by things that are bad or negative, we should do everything we can to avoid those temptations and the bad results. We need to build up a resistance to temptations that have a negative impact. It will take will power. Work on building up your will power!
Targets and arrows are meaningful if you are an archery buff. Most of our relationships have targets and arrows also. Targets are the goals we have for the relationship and the arrows are words and actions that we use to communicate ideas and objectives for them. It is when we are tempted by foreign (to the relationship) influence that we stray and miss our targets. It is the allure of such foreign influence that we are seduced into wrong thinking and actions. It is just such influence that causes us the most difficulty in our relationships. We must learn to resist any influence that causes us to stray from our intended target and goal. Resist deflecting temptations and keep your most cherished relationships strong!
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“The U.N. is taking precautionary measures to control global emissions of substances which deplete the ozone layer.” From a recent article, we have extracted the foregoing sentence. We see the word ‘measure’ used in the restrictive sense. It is a word that lends itself to both denotation (actual) and connotation (implied) meanings. With this dual personality, you must use care in the way ‘measure’ is used, especially with implied meanings. As in – His mental measuring stick was stuck in its perverted mode!
Humility is not something one can ‘measure’, but you can see its value. To define measure is simple: it is an amount or degree of something. The complete definition will include a) an adequate or due portion, b) an instrument or utensil for measuring, c) the act or process of measuring, d) a rhythmic structure or movement, e) a basis or standard of comparison, f) a step planned or taken as a means to an end. This noun can have a variety of meanings depending upon its context in the sentence. Definition f) as an example could be used as follows: they were forced to resort to desperate measures. The thought in this sentence is a plan of action. Let’s try to avoid using “desperate measures” today!
In music, a measure is used for timing. In cooking, we measure ingredients with different sizes of spoons or cups. We measure distance in inches, feet or miles. A compass is used to measure degrees and indicate direction. In these examples, they are all physical signs of some measurable action. When we use measure to indicate steps in a process, we may not see any physical signs, but we see a series of connected actions that usually lead to some end result. The signs of the times are now different than they were ten years ago. Measure your steps carefully as you advance in time!
“She felt equal measures of hope and fear.” This example helps us to assess the impact of ‘measure.’ When we use measure to mean a unit of something, it is likely that the context will tell us how it is being used and whether it is implied or literal in its impact. Sometimes ‘measure’ can be used as a standard of comparison. For instance, “the President is not as wealthy as the Queen of England.” This is a comparison of the wealth of two well know entities. “Dr. Johns is not as famous as Dr. Phil” is another type of comparison. Use care when using ‘measure’ as a means for comparison. Structure could be important to understanding the measures used!
How can a relationship be measured? There are many factors that go into making a strong and durable relationship. However, there are two key ingredients that will give evidence of a good, strong relationship. Those ingredients are intensity and time. Intensity shows the strength and durability of a good relationship. How much ‘hard times’ has the relationship been able to endure? When two people endure suffering and pressure, this helps the relationship to withstand stress. For instance, many times financial problems will destroy a relationship. Illness, criticism and external peer pressures are also hardship factors that will make or break a relationship. Then add the factor of time and how the relationship has weathered these stresses are ways to measure the relationship strength. Good relationships have an intrinsic stickiness that helps them to survive!
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Perhaps a personal story will be useful in illustrating our word this week. In the spring of 2009, our house in Oklahoma suffered some minor damage in a tornado that hit our street. Some of the shingles were loose, blown off or damaged. We were lucky as the homes south of us had severe damage and our street was littered with shingles that were ripped loose from roofs. We can see with this example, loose means insecure or not securely attached. A military saying with great meaning is “loose lips sinks ships!”
Lacking in moral restraint is one of seven commonly used definitions of loose. The most often used definition is “free from a state of confinement, restraint, of obligation.” Another meaning not so commonly used is “not dense, close or compact in structure or arrangement.” The flowers were loosely arranged in an ugly vase is an example of this meaning. Another expression of loose is not tightly drawn or stretched as in – the flag was loosely draped from the pole. Our courts today are inclined to give a loose interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. That loose interpretation is not what our forefathers intended!
“Jim’s tooth was loose and needed to be pulled.” This example helps us to see that loose means to be free from a state of being secure. Some words that are similar to loose are: relax, release, untie, without restraint. Such words aid in understanding how and when to use loose. “The boat came loose from its moorings.” In this sentence, we see a need for action. Secure is the opposite of loose and tells us that something is contained or restrained. A sure sign of someone lacking restraint is a loose tongue. Watch your tongue around children!
Once something is turned loose can it be gathered up again? With this thought provoking question, we need to turn our attention to the impact that ‘turning loose’ or removing restraint might have. Children go through growth stages and will experience losing a tooth. That is good because the baby tooth is removed and replaced by a permanent tooth that lasts a lifetime. Conversely, when a child has a ‘loose’ cough, you want that cough to go away. When we think about the impact of ‘loose,’ we must be very aware of the context (its surroundings) of meaning. Therefore, its impact may vary because of the way it is used. Remember, balloons fly when they are turned loose!
Relationships can be grouped in three general types. First is the close or intimate relationship like husband and wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. Second is the family member or close associate. A third group is the acquaintance or people we know but only see once in a while. It is this third group where we can see many of our ‘loose’ or social contacts. These we relate to in a less rigid way and our contact with them is not likely to be binding. With some, we even have a detached relationship that we may or may not cultivate depending upon mutual interest. It is in this ‘loose’ relationship structure that we can “open the door” to unsavory influence. Use care and good judgment before cultivating such ‘loose’ relationships!
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