The dictionary defines influence (noun) as the following.
1. 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: He used family influence to get the contract.
2. The action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others: Her mother’s influence made her stay.3. A person or thing that exerts influence: He is an influence for the good.
4 The exercise of similar power by human beings.
The bible also talks of two kinds of influence. One where you can pulled aside, put off track. The other in who you are, what He created you for and what you can do.
Today I want to talk about placement. A place of influence.
Matthew 5:13-15 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.…
But first a couple of visions that were catalysts to me putting some of this down in print.
In one vision the couple was in a beautiful city, a place they loved and were loved in. In the same vision there were people who out in “them thar hills”. They were often seen in the shadows but never really appeared to others or to anyone.
When I first moved to Vermont in the 70’s I met a man named Walt. He lived on a mountain far out from where I lived. He cut wood, produced maple syrup, shot deer and drank beer (Made beer and moonshine) coming down to the “city” twice a year for supplies. (He was somewhat of a local legend. His biannual trek included cases of Schaefer beer and cartons of Pall Malls. I never saw him not drunk, but he was always respectful and he always had a cigarette hung out of the side of his mouth.) Our family had a small grocery store in a town of perhaps 500 total and we were the “city” he visited. (At one point when he heard someone was threatening my family, his response was “send ’em up the hill to my place. The body will never be found.” Pretty sure I believed him!)
One day the couple was asked to go somewhere and as they trekked through the woods and the darkness encompassed them, the “shadow” people looked out at them. They carried a “lamp” that supplied a small amount of light for the trek. Enough light to intrigue the people of the shadows. At the same time there was a confidence that was seen in the light they carried. But they were happy to return to the place of community. The place of light. But even as they returned I noticed the shadow people following them out the edge of the trees as they walked in to the light of the meadow before the city. (Frankly it reminded me of Hansel and Gretel walking through the woods.)
A second vision was this. I saw a young couple “hunkered” down in the corner of a cabin. They were fearful, concerned. Outside there was feeling of evil in the air. As I viewed the place from above I realized there was no one close to them. The sense of “darkness” pervaded the view.
On a funny level I am reminded of F Troop, a TV series about an army outpost. While the program was funny, I am sure the realities of being somewhere disconnected from the rest of civilization can take on its own set of fears and concerns. (I remember walking in the woods one time in November as the darkness quickly rushed in. I was some 5-6 miles from where I wanted to be. I can tell you of the concern of walking through the woods and not seeing a light anywhere.)
Continuing on. A place of influence. Influence. The need for others. I think these are important in the coming days.
I shared at the top the thoughts on what influence means. What does that mean in spiritual thinking? First the scriptures tell us we are “seated” at the right hand of the Father in Christ Jesus. Folks, it does not get any better than that. You are in the Lord at His right hand. Your place is secure.
Yet, here on earth, we have a “job” to do. To make it “here on earth as it is in heaven.” (Or perhaps artistic license would allow for “Hear on earth…”) What does that look like? I believe as we understand what is in heaven we get to establish the same here on earth. We are enforcing the law of life and liberty here with the authority bestowed upon us by Jesus. ALL authority. But while we look around we recognize not all is “under the influence” or being swayed by heaven, yet.
When my wife and were traveling to and from our homes (After our own home was destroyed.) we often were in our church fellowship 2-4 times a week. The one hour drive was not hard, but the rest of the week was without community and company. It was clear that the Lord was allowing previous connections and contacts to be left behind. He was preparing us for the new place. (Interesting that in transition there is often things you do not get to “take “with you!) He was preparing us for an open heart for the new connections on our road to fulfilling our purpose and seeing our destiny come in.
I read this in a friend’s blog yesterday, “The point of Christianity, in my humble opinion, isn’t evangelism it’s relationship.” Marty Provonost. Most people want to be where the relationships are. If you think being out of relationships is God I am pretty sure it is not. He made you a body to be one with the Father. But through wounding and hurts we are hiding. “I don’t need people” is not the hard wiring of the Father in your life. It is the results of “corrupted files and viruses” that have cause you to believe a lie. God heals you and makes you whole often using the seedbed of community and grace.
You may be called to be an outpost for a season living apart from the viability of community, but sustainability is another topic. You can have “supplies and resources” trickle in but at some point going to town is important.
We were not called to develop a theory about being a remnant. Yes there are less of than there will be tomorrow, but more than yesterday! If you have been an outpost too long you may believe as Elijah did but the Lord interrupted his sulking at Horeb and said “Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” 1Kings 19:18
They are out there just perhaps not where you are right now!
God is breaking us out of the “us four and no more” and revealing to us others while revealing us to them. Sometimes it is “hard” to see the hand of the Lord moving. There are others! Years ago I received the part of a prophecy from David Wagner.
“Brother I have been praying all week and I heard there is still yet 7,000. Then I found out there’s like 7,000 in the town. I feel like there is an Elijah mandate on your life. Sometimes you felt like you were all alone. But the Lord is yet saying, there is 7,000 that haven’t bowed to religion. So I release that anointing, come out, come out wherever you are. I kept seeing over the last couple of days And I saw the Lord serving an eviction notice on the spirit of religion. Come on, the Lord is doing something super sweet.”
We are seeing that happen in our fellowship. The message of grace is taking a toll on the spirit of religion. People are being set free from the bondages of it. And we are seeing people coming out of the woodwork! People who have been in the shadows.
But what about “places of influence”? I believe in the coming day we will see amazing things occur. I believe I carry influence, but I also believe when I come together with others there is a synergy or an exponential force that eradicates darkness quickly and powerfully. Because there is a power in unity that is being released. But it is not just about everyone hanging out together. It is about being able to go out and do great exploits. To carry your light through the darkness.
I believe we are seeing people come and get together as a body and being released , carrying an understanding of who they are in God and what they can do. I believe that we will soon see larger places of influence sharing their “wealth” as others begin to carry the understanding.
I saw a large pot of gold being heated by flame. There was a large map. As the carrier of the gold moved drips of gold were spattered to the map. Each one of the drips became a fire and consumed the map. But in many cases there was a hardening of the gold and the flame wore down, leaving ashes and darkness. I felt the Lord nudge me and say “encourage people to become the flame.” Again the vision appeared and each drip that splashed down continued to burn until its own flames touched another. How would we do this? By an understanding of the greatness that is within. Never to go out, but to burn eternally as the lamp was in the temple with a constant flow of oil.
There are places of influence growing and being discovered. We are on the cusp of exponential growth. No longer are we ashamed or concerned but we are emboldened by the message of His goodness.
Just as Moses crossed from the west to reach liberty, I believe the east will soon be understood as a place of liberty as even a statue of Liberty rests in the east, I hear “a statute of liberty” being released, enforced by people of grace and mercy over taking the statute of limitations that have held people down.
Let freedom ring!