The Power to Influence

Again this week, we have the privilege of hearing from Claudine Lehman.

Last week we were in my study/library talking about all the books I have accumulated over the years. I admitted that I am a pathetic book lover. This morning I have another confession to make. I am also a magazine and newspaper lover/reader/collector.

And . . .  I usually read with a pen in hand to mark items I think are interesting. I also have a pair of scissors handy so I can clip pictures and articles I want to save and maybe use someday. Pathetic, right?

clippings fileSo I have a file drawer full of my clippings. The other day I decided to clean that up.  I pulled out the first overloaded file folder (yeah, there’s more than one) and for the next–oh, I don’t know how long–I was lost in my collection of clippings.

Some were funny. “No Hogs in my Heaven” is one of my favorites in this category. Some were memorable like an email my daughter sent me describing her adventures as home-care nurse. Still others were inspiring. One of those especially captured my attention. It was the story of a cab driver–just an ordinary cab driver in the city–whose routine day turned into a ministry to a little, old lady at the end of her life. To read this story in its entirety, click here.

This story was going through my mind as I sat in church Saturday night and heard Pastor Kremer challenge us from Jeremiah 29–calling us to make a difference where we are. The children of Israel had just been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon. Huge culture shock. Yet the Lord’s words to them were “to build houses, plant gardens” (v. 5).  In short, put down roots and live there.

They were to influence the culture they found themselves in–to build relationships. They were “to seek the welfare (peace) of the city where I have sent you into exhile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; (pray) for its welfare (peace), and you will flourish and have peace” (v. 7).

praying handsSitting there in the auditorium, I was made to realize anew the power we have through prayer for our city, the awesome power of influence we have to pray not only for our families and friends, but also for those who do not fall within the circle of our family and friends. The children of Israel were in a pagan, idol-worshiping country, and they were to stay there for 70 years. And God said–pray for them.

That’s why here at our Tuesday morning Bible study we put a huge emphasis on prayer. God said to pray on behalf of our city–for it’s welfare–and when we do, we will flourish and have peace. What a convicting challenge to me . . . to all of us. Will you pray with me today?

Our Father in Heaven–Blessed be your Name. We trust in your faithfulness. We rely on your goodness. We are grateful for your mercy and grace. This morning we think of our city and surrounding towns–full of people, people for whom you gave your only begotten son, Jesus. Jesus, who looked out over his city–the city of Jerusalem–and wept for it. He loved and He wept. Lord, would you today open our eyes to see the needs of those in our city, those in government, in leadership positions, the hurting, the lost . . . teach us how to love as you love. Show us how to reach out and touch–to use our influence–to make a difference in our culture. Amen.

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