The Power of Influence

 

wind in trees

Now Influence is an interesting thing.
Perhaps we should ask the Scientists to explain it more readily for they would surely understand it better, even give an equation or formula to help us recognise its force ! But to a layman’s eye, we can only but muse and observe, and venture to write about its power.

Influence is invisible, but to the observers, its effect is at times a visible thing.  Just think of the wind.  You cannot see it, but you can see its effects on trees and clouds.

There is also, Influence of a different kind.
Outside one of our local suburban grocery stores they had put up a bright stand with a canopy, to sell pancakes and doughnuts.  I love pancakes.  On this particular autumn afternoon I decided to buy pancakes to take home to my family.  I placed my order and sat down on a bench to wait.  Along came a man and his daughter and bought doughnuts.   “Mmmm,”  he said, and I could almost hear his lips smacking as he took his second bite “they’re still warm”.   Well, I am going to buy pancakes, not doughnuts !  As I went forward to collect my pancakes I heard myself say, “and I’ll take three doughnuts too”.    doughnuts.jpg

Such is the power of invisible Influence, seducing my taste buds
and will power.

Let me go more regional.
I have a friend who lives up-country in the heart of South Africa, where the winters get really cold, with frosty winds that cut across anything warm.    She is a  passionate woman and is always crocheting blankets for community projects.
This winter Ronelle and her sister Dalene have embarked on  a campaign by making up community bags filled with necessities to distribute to those in service of others.  They have  influenced other knitting friends to help in their projects, and so their efforts have been able to extend and multiply.

R's Project bags
Community Bags ready for delivery.

The need is great.  She tells me that two Bloemfontein State hospitals frequently request blankets for the premature babies that are born there.  These young mommies, often unmarried women from the poor communities have nothing as they come in to deliver their babies.    These crocheted blankets provide for the babies to be wrapped up in kindness, as they go out.

R's blankets
A show of Blankets for Premature Babies

Then there is her outreach project to ten guys who go through garbage bins to collect anything recyclable, which they resell.   All this to create a job for themselves, to alleviate their poverty, and sustain their lives with a miniscule income.  They too receive a parcel of goodies from her project.
Furthermore, one of the Churches in Bloem have an outreach project to feed needy children with soup once a week.  This projects needs faithful volunteers who gather, cut, slice dice and make up the soup.   Ronelle has made up  parcels for these eight ladies who are instrumental in feeding 1500 children every week !

Ronelle is a community observer and worker at heart.    Not only does she influence and encourage others to participate in her community projects,  she acknowledges those volunteers who serve others,  observe those who alleviate their own poverty by standing up and doing something for themselves.
I would say that Ronelle is a strong Influence in her region.
You could say that the power of influence equals the power of one !   It takes just one person to make a difference in someone else’s world.

Chasing Influence wider, allow me to go global.
Mr Trump of the United States of America and Mr Kim Jong Un of North Korea have agreed, then disagreed,  and maybe will agree again,  that the summit planned to neutralise the use of the missile power-play of the North Koreans should go ahead and be resolved.     What hangs in the balance is the possible aversion of a global nuclear war !  Mr Moon of China has been very influential in the persuasion of Mr Kim to not only negotiate with the Americans,  but perhaps be a catalyst in freeing his very own people from the terror oppression of his former generation – for seemingly it was a reign of terror that put dread and fear in the hearts of the North Korean people, that have held them down like dead men standing !
Of course there are many working behind the scenes.  A lot of influencing, a lot of negotiating for the benefit for all the countries concerned – but that is just politics, and politics is all about power and influence !
The outcome of these talks can be disastrous for a world tottering on the brink of self-destruction, but if positive influence and common sense, and good sound negotiation, can prevail the outcomes will be so much more meaningful to a world wanting to grow and to be free, in trade and harmony and peace.

But Influence is not only the prerogative of politicians and the rich, it goes way beyond our world. Look at a night sky full of sparkling stars.  Gasp at the orbits of the planets !  See the influence of our moon on the ocean’s high and low tides.   Remember Newton’s apple ? – and wonder at gravity.    Gravity, now there is a powerful Influence of note, whose mystery still needs to be told.    There is Influence everywhere !

Stars in orbit

 

But of all the areas of Influence, the pinnacle, to my mind, is personal Influence.
Take Jabez for instance.  We do not know much about him.    He may have been a warrior king or a farmer.     We do not know.  What we do know is that he was an honourable man,  perhaps even a sensitive man, for he prayed the following prayer

…… Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”    So God granted him what he requested. 
He’s story is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10  in the Bible.   To this very generation many, including me, often pray the Prayer of Jabez.   How is that for Influence down the ages !

Having said all that, it must be noted that the power of Influence, although invisible is very important.   For that reason I must, more often than not, ask myself – who is influencing me ?  And even more astutely – who am I influencing  ?

We are not merely an entity of being but a sphere of influence too, whether positive or negative, good or bad.     And may we have the wisdom to know, and the courage to make, big or small,  an influential difference in our world.

melting-candle-clipart-candle-flame-1

 

 

 

 

The Bronze Serpent and the Cosmic Cross

The Bronze Serpent and the Cosmic Cross.

We do ourselves a great disservice if we think that the Easter season is only about time off, chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs.   There is a far deeper meaning to this season of the year.  It signifies the cataclysmic cosmic event that evil has been conquered by good.

The Bible, is a wonderful book of stories. How else can we learn if we do not have story telling time ? These stories will only be grasped if faith is applied – the willingness to believe – this is the key to understanding the mysteries of God.
The Bronze Serpent,  is a story within a story of God’s people and is found in Numbers 21.  In short, the story goes that the Israelites who were coming out of bondage to the Egyptians and were about to enter the land of Edom. They were wary of soul, very discouraged, murmuring and complaining and spoke against God and against Moses.
So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people and many of the people of Israel died.  Sorrowfully they came to Moses to ask for prayer.  So Moses prayed for the people.  Then the Lord said to Moses “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole, and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 

Alan Webster in his QT 27-3-15 writings highlights the story and brings it a little closer to home:  ‘ God had told Moses to fashion a snake out of bronze to raise up on a pole.  How long did that take?  Imagine the cries of the suffering, the anguish of the families as they tried to avoid the poisonous serpents and dealt with family members as they helplessly watched them die.   But why had this plague of snakes come into the camp?  It is into a camp of complaint where poisonous accusations against God are created, that poisonous snakes come.  If we expect God to rejoice with singing over us, our faith-filled hearts should overflow with praise.  But even in their distress, when they finally turn to God, He shows mercy and grace to the undeserving.   The snake pole brings healing for those who are willing to believe.  There were many who when bitten, didn’t look, but died in their unbelief.’

The serpent is entangled in the story found in Genesis 3…Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast in the field which the Lord God had made.… the beginning of mankind’s problems – evil let loose, sin embedded and the curse applied.  When you stop and take a look at humanity today how devastating the curse shows up in strife, power struggles, in wars, the killings, beheadings, human trafficking, child soldiers, abandoned babies, diseases, rampant viruses, huge deceptions, illusions, lies, and corruption rife in every day and in every nation, the evidence is at hand – evil rules … for now !

cosmic cross                                                        Freedom

But there is hope … And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. So the cross of Jesus Christ has a parallel to the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness.  It is the antidote for the serpent’s bite.

When we consider the Cosmic Cross it points us to the depth of God’s love for us, and the length He will go to win back that which is lost.  It is a story to be both in awe of, and to weep over.  It is about the Son of God – Jesus Christ, who hung on the cross for us.  And who is this Jesus ?  There will be many different answers to this question. One of the most compelling revelations of Jesus Christ is found in
Colossians 1:15-17
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.   For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things and in Him all things consist.

It does not get higher than that, except to say that He is God incarnate in this world we call earth, which forms part of the cosmos – that is the visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, not only in our time, but down the corridors of every generation – quite a spectrum of power!
Further more, He came to conquer the serpent, sin, the curse applied to all humanity  –
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8.  He came to make atonement for mankind, for those who will receive Him as their Saviour and their God, not only today but down the labyrinth of every generation too – quite a spectrum of mercy !
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Cosmic Cross, is the cosmic event that changed the course of humanity, and its effects are still very relevant in our today world.  It changes our destinies and ushers us into the New Creation… and herein lies another story! Have a close look at the inserted picture (with acknowledgement to the late Annie Vallotton, the Illustrator of the Good News Bible.)

Easter time is not about chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, and is not to be taken lightly.  It is a time of death and resurrection, the centre piece of “His Story” in His Book, that includes the story of  my life … and your life too, if you were to invite Him into your heart this Easter season.

A FOCUS ON ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT

A Focus on Entrepreneurial Development
Common sense begs us to have a road map when we embark on a journey.  The future is a path we all must tread.  To read some insights and signposts along the way may be helpful for the journey. With our world, under a financial cloud, which can reveal our insecurities and traditions of old, we need to realize that the world is in a state of flux. Change is inevitable and is happening! Steve Rose on his blog has written an excellent article called The Transition to Entrepreneurial  Life , from a philosophical and new millennium point of view. He highlights, what he calls, Modern Liberalism in which moral and traditional boundaries have been moved.  This poses serious new challenges both on our moral and financial frontiers. Change is happening!  What would he say, I wonder, about South Africa, if he understood its extreme complexities.   His blog deserves a read for it is food for thought, as we focus on Entrepreneurship, and the future.    steverroseblog[dot]com

I have written a simple article on Entrepreneurship, which introduces CareSA Designs, my entrepreneur enterprise to this subject.  See some of the CareSA Designs below.

Click  on    http://caresafoundation.wordpress.com/caresa-designs/  to view more of my designs.  I would appreciate your comments on these.

At a meeting, called for by Soul Action and Crossroads in Durban, we focused on Entrepreneurial Development.  Some of the complexities that arose, as experienced by some of the Project Leaders who work deep in the Kwa Zulu Natal rural community are :  Cultural traditions.  Communities shackled by a poverty mindset.  Hindering jealousies at signs of progress.  No self-contribution required resulting in lack of ownership of  projects. The different tiers of economic development, and world views.  For there are many “worlds” in this world we call South Africa. These were only some of the topics.

As South Africans we have a tendency to focus on our overwhelming problems. Take the problems and find the solutions” – were words spoken by a global entrepreneur. We may need new approaches, innovations and community creativity to solve our problems. In a world of change there is one constant, the Word of God, the Bible. We will leave an indefinable injustice behind if we do not take the Word of God with us into Social Development. For within its pages lie the sustainability of faith hope love and everything else in between, for the renewing of the mind and for a good future. The Bible is the road map for all ages … no matter how much change happens!

It may take courage to move into the trend of entrepreneurship and the fickle waters of finance.  But if wholeness, social and human development remain the focus, the tug and pull of wealth-creation may just drag poverty into progress. When we leave our “Egypt”  to possess our “promised land” the journey will be hard and long.  Above it all we must remember to give God the glory for His goodness, for it is He who gives power to get wealth.

Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth… Deuteronomy 8:18