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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Praying Elijah-like Prayer

I've had the subject of prayer on my mind recently, so I started rereading Andrew Murray's classic, With Christ in the School of Prayer. If you've never read it, it's worth the time. I'm doing one chapter a day for thirty days, and it's already made me more intentional about my position when I'm praying, as well as the fervency of my prayers. 

To my surprise, the subject of prayer has come up repeatedly since I started on Murray's book. Sunday, we received a prayer card tucked inside the bulletin. I didn't even notice it until the pastor called attention to it. "What's the one thing you've been praying for that you would like to have a 100% guarantee that God would answer? The one thing you're most concerned about. Write that down on the prayer card and stick it in your Bible." 

Like most people, I have things that concern me deeply. I wrote my top concern on the card.

Our pastor went on to preach about Elijah's prayer. His sermon was so meaningful to me, that I'm sharing my notes.

He reminded us that Elijah was just a common, average man who prayed a huge prayer and it didn't rain for three and a half years. As James tells us, the "effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (James 5:16) 

Elijah, he said, had a place to pray, (on the mountain) and a posture for prayer. He bowed down with his head between his knees. Elijah assumed a position of humility before God. I don't always prayed on my knees, but that's been my posture more often lately. Urgent prayer needs an urgently humble position.

Elijah also persevered in prayer. He sent his servant to look for a cloud seven times before he saw it. When there was no cloud, Elijah kept praying until there was one.

He had a plan of prayer. He had a specific prayer need (rain) and he wasn't stopping his prayers until the rain came. Finally, Elijah had a presupposition in prayer. He already knew what God intended to do. He kept praying until God did it.

The pastor invited us to come to the altar with our prayer needs, get on our knees and pray, then leave the cards there. The church staff would meet together to pray over the cards the next day. Nearly everyone in the worship center came forward. It was one of the sweetest moments in church I've ever experienced.

On my knees in the midst of hundreds of other people on their knees, I approached God with my need and left it with Him, along with my card. When I walked back to my seat, I wiped away tears with a firm certainty that God had heard my prayer and would deal with my need.

I've thought about that a lot since Sunday. The response made one thing clear. We all have an area of concern in desperate need of God's divine intervention. 

Why, then, do we not have answered prayer in proportion to our perceived need? Why, then, do we not see Elijah-style answered prayer?

One reason for unanswered prayer might be that we worship the not-so-great me instead of the Great I AM.

In this country, we depend (at least in part) upon ourselves and our ability to meet our own needs. It's when we recognize that we are powerless to meet our need, and that only God is big enough to do it, that we become desperate enough for Elijah-like prayer. 

This is not the case in some places in the world, where believers have neither the luxury nor the safety we have. They are much more desperate, pray with more determined fervor, and see many more dramatic answers to prayer.

Today, let's do what my pastor suggested. Think of that one need that transcends all others. The need of desperation. Write it down, date it, and get in your position of desperate humility and take it to the Lord. Stop trying to solve it yourself. Leave your need with the Lord and do the least American thing possible. 

Wait. Simply wait for God to move. 

Don't try to figure it out. Don't try to solve your problem. Don't doubt that God can handle it. Don't doubt that He will. Just wait.

I've prayed many prayers of desperation over the years. God's answered all of them. It hasn't always been the way I expected or the way I wanted, but they've all been answered in His way with what was best.

Are you burdened? Are you loaded down with worry and concern? Today, take those concerns and needs to the Lord in prayer and leave them with Him. He's big enough to handle all your troubles, and mine, and do what needs to be done.

"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit." James 5:16-18 nasb

In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: The Greenhouse: Where Fantasy Meets Reality
Here's the link to the prayer list: The Prayer List
#prayer #Elijah #unansweredprayer #disciple

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Greenhouse: Where Fantasy Meets Reality

Three years ago (maybe four), I saw an ad in a discount tool store sale catalog, and thought I'd found a way to fulfill my lifelong dream of having a greenhouse. 

To be perfectly honest, I wanted a greenhouse that was a "glass house". I imagined a lush tropical garden inside, the sweet fragrance of flowers filling the air year-round. I anticipated starting plants from seeds on my workbench, and growing herbs and vegetables, even in the winter. In this fantasy greenhouse, I'd have a table and chairs so that my friends could join me for prissy-girl-lunch-parties. The fun we would have! I couldn't wait. 

What I bought was a $600 box of parts with a set of directions that didn't quite match up. The frame was aluminum and the panels were flimsy and definitely not glass.

I was not quite ready to give up the fantasy, so I hired someone to do the ground work and gravel floor. More hundreds of dollars.

The gravel floor looked so good that I hired someone to assemble the whole mess (AKA kit). I don't want to be negative about my employee, but, to put it simply, he could neither follow the directions nor complete the project. In his defense, they were terrible directions.

At last, I begged my tall nephew to come help me finish the assembly. Unfortunately, the aluminum frame had been bent a bit during the non-direction-following days, and it never did go together perfectly.

I finally proclaimed it perfect (even though it wasn't) and filled it with shelves, a work bench, seeds, and pots. 

Then, the first storm came and I spent part of the next day picking up panels and replacing them. I put the clips that held the panels back in a more secure manner. I was sure it would hold.

It didn't. 

Two years went by. The storms came. The panels blew off. 

I put them back on with dogged determination and caulked them in place. They blew off. Over and over again. 

Finally, I wore out. The roof panels were too high and I couldn't get them back in before the coming storm. In desperation, we tied a big blue tarp onto the greenhouse and left it for the winter.

By this time, my fantasy had crashed and burned, but I still wasn't ready to give up. Yes, I have literally given the talk on perseverance.

The Hired Hand had a great idea. I should buy some tarp straps to hold the panels in place. I bought the best ones I could find, but they wouldn't stretch far enough. We were out of solutions. 

The Hired Hand finally offered his opinion. We should tear it down and burn it. I still wasn't ready to give up.

Finally, more to humor me than anything else, he suggested I try bungee cords. I just shook my head. After the blue tarp and the failed clips, I didn't have any hope for bungee cords. Since it was my last hope, though, I finally gave in and bought a dozen cords. 

I tried to attach them, but they wouldn't stretch.

I was utterly dejected. After all those hundreds of dollars, all those hours spent reattaching panels and clips, and all the tubes of caulk I'd squirted out, it seemed like I should have a better outcome.

One Saturday morning, I woke with great resolve. I would not be denied. 

I hauled my ladder from the barn, enlisted Sam to hold it, and climbed up with my bag of bungee cords. We worked for hours, stretching bungee cords, praying fervent prayers for help, and sweating as I tugged the cords and begged them to reach across the panels.

After what seemed like weeks, but was only a few hours, Sam and I were drenched in sweat but the cords were in place. The panels seemed secure.

Then, the storms came. The wind blew. The rain poured down. To my absolute amazement, the panels held secure.

They are still in place, the bungee cords hugging them to the frame. For now. Bungee cords, as you've probably guessed, are not a long-term solution. My panels seem secure right now, but they aren't.

I don't know about you, but I've found that life is a lot like those greenhouse panels. More flimsy than you expect, and apt to fly apart at the least little storm. There is nothing this world offers than can hold our lives together when the winds and rains of adversity beat down.

There's nothing that will hold us together, that is, except the no-slip grip of the hand of God. If your life seems frazzled and flying apart, maybe you need the security of the One who created this world and everything in it. The One who sustains the universe and keeps the stars in the sky. 

No matter what comes our way, our God can see us through, hold us together in the worst of times, and bring good from all the bad things we face.

Today, let's stop looking at the storms and turn to the One who made the wind and the waves. The One who calms both the storm and the child in the storm. 

Turn to Jesus and let Him handle whatever you face.

"And he got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm." Mark 4:39 NASB

"And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand ." John 10:28 esv

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Frog Surprise and Having an Egyptian Heart

Here's the link to the prayer guide: The Prayer List 

You might also like these greenhouse stories:
Digging, Ditches, and Water
The Blessing of the Busted Pipe 
In But Not Inside 
The Greenhouse
Making Preparations
Answered Prayers in Disguise

#stormsoflife #disciple #greenhouse

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Frog Surprise and Having an Egyptian Heart

Sam and I were sitting at the kitchen table, eating dinner. I wanted Sam to eat the last of the squash, but he thought I should have it. When I pushed back my chair to get it from the counter, something about the dogs' water bowl caught my eye. 

The water wasn't just low. The bowl wasn't just dirty. There was something alive in the bowl!

I shrieked and jumped up so fast, I had to grab my chair to keep it from falling over.  

Sam nearly dropped his spoon. "What's wrong with you?" 

"What is in that water bowl?"

"What are you talking about?" Sam laughed. He'd seen me shriek and jump before. "You got a snake over there?"

"No, I don't have a snake. I think it's a frog." I grabbed my long purple rubber gloves, garbed up, and went to investigate. There was, indeed, a big frog in the water bowl. I grabbed the frog and tossed it out the back door. It might not have been with all the gentleness of Jesus, but (in my defense) I was terribly excited.

After I scrubbed and sanitized the water bowl and scrubbed and sanitized my gloves and hands, I sat back down. Sam was still laughing about the possibility of a snake in the house. 

"I'm not worried about snakes, Sam. Tell me how that frog got in my house."

"Well, it went like this. That frog smashed its body down real small, till it was nearly flat, then it scooted under your door and climbed inside."

"Sam, you don't believe that, do you?"

"Yeah, I do. But I'm wondering how did that frog know where the water bowl was?"

Then, it hit me. Mamie did it. She loves to put things in the water bowl. Sometimes she'll move the food from the food bowl into the water bowl and stop it up. 

It's a short leap to assume that Mamie, who loves to chase frogs, had actually caught one, brought it inside, and put it in her favorite storage spot.

I leaned back in my chair, my heart still pounding. "I feel like an Egyptian."

"How's that?"

"You know, Sam, the Egyptians had all those plagues."

"We could ask the Egyptians how the frogs got inside."

Our conversation wandered all over the Egyptians and the frogs and the snakes, but I couldn't get the idea of feeling like an Egyptian out of my mind. I started wondering...

Those Egyptian ladies were just doing whatever Egyptian ladies did when God began to release the Hebrews. The business with Moses and the Pharaoh probably seemed like nothing more than a little political unrest.

Until the water turned to blood. 

That would've been enough for me. I'd have marched in the street to get rid of the Hebrews, but the Egyptian ladies must've been made of sterner stuff. 

Then, the frogs came. 

"The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. The frog shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants." Exodus 8:3-4 esv

If I had to deal with that many frogs, I don't know what I'd have done, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been sit idly by while frogs jumped over me.

It surprises me that the Egyptian women didn't create an uproar, especially when one plague followed another. I couldn't figure it out, until I remembered that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, and that's why he waited so long to let them go.

I don't know if God hardened the hearts of the Egyptians or if they were already hard when Moses got there, but there's one thing I do know. I don't want the heart of an Egyptian. 

I don't want the kind of heart that is so defiant in the face of plagues that I lose my precious first-born because of it.

I don't want a heart so hard that I shake my fist in the face of God and say, "Bring it on," as he rains down blood and frogs and hail and even worse.

I want a tender, gentle heart that loves and obeys and submits to whatever God wants.

Isn't that the kind of heart you want, too?

There's good news. We don't need frogs in the bread bowl to change us. Today, let's ask God to show us our hearts the way He sees them, even if what He sees is an "Egyptian heart". Let's choose a tender, clean heart, and make whatever changes are required to have the heart God desires.   

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10 esv
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Granola That Changed My Day 

Here's the link to the updated prayer list: Prayer List
#cleanheart #frogs #plagues #disciple

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Granola That Changed My Day

This adventure I'm sharing with Sam (my elderly neighbor) has been quite a change for both of us. 

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you know that Sam's wife of 60 years died back in October. Since then, I've been looking out for him, as I gave my word I'd do. That promise was given in 1989, when we were both much younger, but a promise is a promise, and I've tried to live by it. 

Sam always says, "You're only as good as your word." I intend for my word to be as good as I wish I were.

Because of that decades-old promise, I've helped manage his finances, pay his bills, and buy his groceries. When he stopped driving because of his poor vision, I became his driver. When cooking was too much of a challenge, I became his cook.

Lest you think I'm doing a noble deed, let me dispel that thought. Sam is probably the greatest man who's ever lived. The joy and the blessing are all mine. He's already given me far more than I'll ever give to him. After all these years, we're family and there's lots of love in our relationship.

Sam, at 86, likes to eat "country cooking". He wants sausage and eggs for breakfast. Preferably accompanied by homemade biscuits and gravy. I prefer homemade yogurt and granola with a little fruit. 

Sam likes well-cooked peas, turnip greens, and cornbread. I like my vegetables a little crunchy, and my bread gluten-free.

It's been quite a change for us both, even though Sam agreed to eat whatever I cooked without complaining. I've tried to cook his favorites, but they aren't my usual fare. He's stuck to his bargain, despite my struggles, and has learned to eat cottage cheese and tuna salad, among a variety of new foods.

Day before yesterday, I fretted about our menus all day long. I couldn't think of a single thing I wanted that would also be palatable to Sam. I prayed about it. I cried about it. I whined about it.

After dinner (which wasn't Sam's favorite, and which, after my modifications, wasn't my favorite either), I was downcast. Okay, pitiful might be closer to the truth. Sam had balked at spinach madeline (too spicy) and didn't much care for spaghetti, either. He ate it with a smile and a thank you, but admitted it wasn't his favorite.

I realize, in the big scheme of things, the menu is not important at all. I know that better than most, because I've spent hours this week reviewing all the terrorist attacks of 2016. I've been sick with grief. Maybe that's why I needed something to feel familiar.

I plopped down in my comfy chair and blinked back tears. "I don't know how to do it, Lord. This is hard." There wasn't any one thing that was hard. It was the accumulation of responsibility, and fear of the future that had me rattled. The new schedule. Cooking three meals a day. Continuing to write and do all the other things I do. Rhythm and balance had been hard to achieve.

"I don't know what to do. Just tell me something. Anything. I'll do it."

This sounds crazy as I write it, but the thing that came in my mind was a picture of my orange-pecan granola recipe. "Granola? What kind of answer is that, Lord?" 

I'm not sure that making granola was a word from God, but it definitely helped me. I laughed so hard that all my despair faded as I preheated the oven, gathered my ingredients, and went to work. In less than 30 minutes, the granola was cooling and the aroma of brown sugar, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg filled the house. 

Yesterday, Sam heated the sausage and eggs I'd prepared for his breakfast and I had homemade yogurt, granola, and fruit. He ate at his house and I ate at mine. (He likes to eat breakfast about 8 am. I like to eat breakfast at 5:30) For just a few minutes, life felt normal again to both of us, and it was enough. 

I still find it hard to believe how much emotional strength I gained from that granola, but it was exactly as much as I needed. God knew what would make the biggest different, and that's what He gave. Admittedly, I had to cook it, but even that was therapeutic.

What's equally amazing is that Sam had a container of left over tuna salad and another of leftover creamed style corn. He combined the two and heated it up as a kind of tuna casserole. "It was delicious," he told me later. Sam prepared a meal for himself and it felt like normal to him, too.

We were both equipped to go a little further on this journey of life we're doing together.

It's easy to forget, but we serve an on-time God who loves us and provides everything we need, exactly when we need it. Whether it's finances, strength, or encouragement, our Lord is able to supply, and He does. Every single time.

Sam and I have seen that truth over and over again. This isn't how either of us expected life to be. Sometimes, it's just plain hard. The sweetness, though, outweighs all our struggles. There's not a day that I'm not grateful for Sam, nor him for me. No matter what we decide to eat. 

Just in case you thought Sam is missing out, today we're eating breakfast together. Eggs, sausage, biscuits, and gravy. All his favorites. 

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, who you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." 

James 1:2-4 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: There's Still Good in the Midst of Evil
Here's a link to The Prayer List 
#persevere #SamWiley #disciple #loveoneanother

Friday, July 22, 2016

There's Still Good in the Midst of Evil

As I drove through town on my way to church one Sunday morning recently, I glanced toward the town hall. The Little Free Library (the only library we have in Blue Springs) was leaning to one side. I didn't have time to stop, but later in the afternoon I went back to check. Mamie's Book Box was so loose it could just about spin on its stand.

I thought, at first, that I could lift it up and reseat it on the screws that secured it to the post. Looking back, I don't know why that made sense, but I gave it a try. 

I lifted it up and quickly found that the only place that wooden box was going was to ground. It was much heavier than I remembered. I managed to lower it with the tiniest of crashes. It scattered the books, but nothing broke.

Well, nothing broke that wasn't already broken.

As it turned out, the Little Free Library had been vandalized. Someone had wrenched it off the bolts that held it. 

Vandalized. The little library I'd done in memory of my mama. With the brightly colored flowers and decorations I'd made by hand. The library Ronnie Rogers had spent hours sealing and painting. The library our citizens had stocked with donated books. 

I was heartbroken. How could someone do something so mean to such a sweet little memorial?

I hate to admit it, because I love Blue Springs more than you can imagine, but there was a little bit of a hard place in my heart about the damage to the library. I wanted to have it repaired, but I didn't have the heart to risk it being vandalized again. Instead, I dragged it into the town hall and left it. Right in the middle of the floor. 

I was at the town hall one day a week or two later and Mike Matkins came over. He'd seen the damaged book box and noticed that it was still not back in place. "I could fix that box for you, if you want. It won't be a problem. I'll put it back on the stand. It'll be easy to fix."

He was so sweet, I nearly cried.

Over this past weekend, he and his brother, Conway Allen, repaired the book box and put it back on its stand. 

My hard place was still having a field day. I drove past there repeatedly and wondered if the vandals would be back. I wouldn't put the books back inside, because I was afraid they'd be damaged, too. 

I hate to admit it, but my desire to protect the book box was more about my anger at the vandals than about the box. 

Yesterday afternoon, I dropped Sam off to get his hair cut and went to check the flag. I could see the little library box from the flagpole and, right there in front of the flag and the roses, I had church. 

I forgave the vandals and gave the box back to God, who gave me the idea for it in the first place. I repented of my anger and thanked God for the ones who'd been so generous in repairing the library. 

Once the box was back in His hands, instead of mine, I gathered the books and arranged them in the box. There's everything from legal thrillers to romance to biographies to devotional books and classics in that library now.

As I closed the door and secured the latch, I was reminded that, in the midst of all the strife and evil of this world, there is still plenty of good. God is still on His throne. He still works through His people. 

And He alway will. 

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32 esv
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Wine-Tasting Wall-Building City-Saver 
 #kindness #littlefreelibrary #forgive

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Wine-Tasting Wall-Building City-Saver

Sin is expensive. It always costs us more than we expect. That's what Israel learned. Because of their sinful rebellion, which included idolatry, immorality, and infant sacrifice, God sent them into captivity. He offered mercy and forgiveness first, but the people refused. 

If you read through the book of Hosea, you might not be able to tell pre-captivity Israel from current-day-United States. Sin isn't new. We're doing the same things Israel did, and they're just as costly today as they were in ancient times.

Exactly as God had warned, the people of Israel were carried into captivity in Babylon. Esther, Daniel, and Nehemiah were just a few of the young people who lived in Susa, one of the largest cities in Babylon. All three of them saw a chance to help save their people and they took it.

Today, we're looking at Nehemiah. He was a brave man, in many ways. His job was cupbearer to the king. He tasted the king's wine (or other beverage) before the king drank it to be sure the king hadn't been poisoned. The theory was if it didn't kill Nehemiah, it wouldn't kill the king. 

One day, Nehemiah's brother, Hanani, and a few of his friends came to visit from Judah. They told him about the conditions in Jerusalem. It was bad. The city walls of Jerusalem were still down. The gates were burned up. The people were in danger and distress.

As Nehemiah listened to them describe the horrors in the beautiful city of Jerusalem, his heart broke. The city he loved was in ruins. The people he loved were suffering.

He couldn't get the situation out of his mind. He was worried sick, but what could he do? He was just one man, stuck in Babylon, a captive in the king's palace. 

Nehemiah did the only sensible thing. He fasted and prayed around the clock for days. Finally, he decided to talk to the king, if he could find an opening.

I love his prayer (found in Nehemiah 1:5-11) He recalled God's promises to Israel, confessed his sin and the corporate sin of Israel, and begged God for help and favor with the king.

Nehemiah didn't work his connections first. Nehemiah didn't devise a plan to begin. He prayed. He fasted. He waited. He asked God to make a way for him, and He did.

There came a day when the king asked Nehemiah. "You look sad all the time. What's wrong?"

Nehemiah told him. 

"What do you want me to do?" 

"Send me to Jerusalem and let me rebuild the walls. Let me help my people." 

"Okay. I'll help you," the king promised, and he did.

Nehemiah headed to Jerusalem, knowing he had a limited time there. He had to work fast. 

He met resistance all along the way. There were death threats and arguments and whining people who didn't want to work, but God helped him. In a mere fifty-two days, the walls were rebuilt.

Rebuilding the walls made the city safe, but it was the faith of the people that needed the most repair. Everyone gathered in the center of town and Ezra read the law from early morning until mid-day. The people wept so hard that the Levites had to calm them down. People studied the law in order to understand it, and they tried hard to obey it.

I love what happened next, and it gives me great hope for our messed-up world.

"And the entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. The sons of Israel had indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And there was great rejoicing." Nehemiah 8:17 nasb

For the first time, the people obeyed the law completely. This time, they weren't obeying because of habit or because someone forced them. They did what God said because they understood the law and they wanted to obey.

Nehemiah wasn't a supervisor of large numbers of people. He wasn't a builder. He wasn't a teacher. Some people probably looked at Nehemiah and wondered how a wine-taster could possibly do all that needed to be done.

Nehemiah's leadership was fueled by the equipping of Almighty God and driven by his compassion for his city and his people. He was, in many ways, an ordinary man who saw a need and tried to meet it by the power of his extraordinary God. 

God doesn't require us to be "great" men and women to save our nation. He needs willing men and women who will step outside their comfort zone and allow Him to work through them.

He needs people like us, you and me, who will pray and fast, then take the opportunities God gives us. He needs those who are willing to work as hard and as long as it takes.

If God judged the nation of Israel for their sin, He will judge ours for the same sin. Have we passed the point of no return? There are some who think so, but I believe the mercy of God is still possible. IF we repent and return to Him.

As in Nehemiah's day, one man or woman, committed to doing God's work God's way, can still make a difference. Once Nehemiah started, God sent others to help along the way, and He will do the same for us.

What can we do?

Pray and fast. Ask God to break our hearts with the things that break His heart, then ask Him to show us what He needs done, and do it.

He is faithful. The question is whether or not we will be.

One at a time, doing what we can do, God will use all of us to make a difference, so pray. Fast. Listen to God. Allow Him to make a path of favor and aid. Step up. Step out. Do what only you can do. 

A nation looks to you to do your part. Small or large, it matters. 

Be the one.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Power of One 
#powerofone #disciple #saveournation 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Power of One

I wrote yesterday about the problem of worldwide terror and the desperate need for individuals to step up and make a difference. 

I often wonder what impact one silver-haired woman in a tiny Mississippi town can make. You may feel the same way about yourself. 

When I look at the lives of people like William Wilberforce, who helped to abolish slavery in Britain, Mother Teresa, who loved the least of us, and Anne Frank, a teenager whose diary humanized the struggle of the Holocaust for the rest of the world, it becomes obvious that one person can make a difference. 

Even an ordinary person like me can make a bigger impact than you may think.

Scores of people have invested in me, loved me, encouraged me, and mentored me over the years. Their investment has reaped dividends in my changed life. 

When I held women as they wept at the recent prayer vigil, my tears mingling with theirs, all those Leanna-investors, in a sense, held them with me. When I spoke about hope last week, all those Leanna-investors, in a sense, spoke with me. Any fruit in my life belongs to those investors, as well.

When I write, the influence of those who've gone before me is evident. Mentors. Fellow authors. Much loved writers from the past. They all have a part in what I do.

What's truly amazing to me is that, when the people I've mentored, loved, and influenced reach out to those around them, my mentors and I have a tiny little part of their reaching out, too. 

It's an ever-increasing ripple. One person can have an impact that's magnified over and over again. My pebble of love can make a ripple that touches hearts around the globe.

We can change the world. One person at a time.

George Muller was a 19th century minister who was a great man of prayer. If he had a need, he took it to the Lord and waited for his provision. Muller never asked anyone for help. Not even once. 

With the provision of God alone (through the donors God prompted), Muller managed to feed and educate more than 10,000 orphans. 

Once, Muller began to say the blessing before a meal without any food in the house. Before he was done praying, the baker arrived with bread for the children. A milk truck broke down outside and the milkman gave him all the milk he needed. Every need was met. His only request went to God alone.

Muller impacted thousands of children and adults during his life, but his story continues to impact people today. One ordinary man, surrendered to God, was used to change the world.

We, too, can be a modern-day Muller. We may not rescue orphans from the street but we can love with the passion of Muller. We can give with the generosity of Muller.

I can't do everything, but I can do that which God places in my path with the passion and love of Christ. You can, too.

Today, let's look around us and do what we can do by the power of God.

Who needs the love we can give? Let's give it. 

Who needs a word of encouragement? Let's speak it.

Who needs a helping hand? Let's offer it.

What one problem are we equipped to impact? Let's do it.

If we all do what we can do, by the power of God, we will make an enormous difference in the world around us. If those we impact do the same, the effect will be more than we can imagine.

Exceedingly abundantly more.

It will never happen if we wait, though. Today is the day. Now is the time. Let's allow God to direct our hearts to the task He needs us to do, and do it. 

A world in turmoil waits for one person to step up and speak the peace and love they long to hear. 

Be the one.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Terror and Waging War with Love  and also to After Baton Rouge.
Here's a link to a post about how our efforts are combined: The Blended Fruit#powerofone #disciple #prayer #GeorgeMuller