To effect your sphere of influence, you must carry something... bring something to "the table" for people to consider. I believe the greatest reality that I can bring to anyone is The Presence of God. I want God to live in and through me. This is easily stated but rarely practiced by most believers. Why? In order for God to live in and through me, I must first live in and through Him. It is the operational priority in order to truly carry The Presence in a manner that changes things... or may I say changes lives. I am learning that I cannot presume to be living in and through God in Christ by simply "believing" I am in Christ. Oh, that is a start... but more importantly there is intentionality. That is, I must want to know him, just as I want to be known by Him. Oh, He knows me. That is not the issue. Rather, it's about me... and you... intentionally knowing Him on an every day and every moment basis. It is to know His Heart, His Word, His Love. It is to learn how He sees things, or more importantly, how He sees people. It is a way of knowing Him that gains His heart, His mind and His eyes. This is possible... because God has made it possible through Christ. What remains is for us... you and me... to learn how to live in and through God, and to practice it! This means we intentionally converse with God, express love to God... worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and to listen to what He says and teaches us to be and do. Amazingly, God is present to help us just do that... because, quite honestly, it takes some effort... intentional thought and action... to get going to live in and through Him. How much of life have we wasted because we have neglected to practice this! Please understand that I am not saying we need to practice acts of piety increasingly more in order to gain this reality (pray more, fast more, read more, give more, worship more, ad nauseum... and I am not saying these practices are bad or to be neglected). Rather, what I am saying is for us to be responsive to His grace... His invitation to come away with Him into His heart, His life and His Spirit. In that response we come to Him... discover a scripture that speaks to us... hear a word to us and for others. It's an invitation to walk together, and for you and me to be aware of His Presence... not first to effect others.. but first for us to live in and through an authentic relationship with our God and Father. How is this done? Well, here's the kicker... it takes TIME! And, it requires intentionality on our part. There is no simple step by step process as in exercising and dieting (not that that is easy). Rather, I suggest we simply start by saying to God, "I want to live in and through You." God will be gracious in response (well, maybe after laughing at our inability to do so in any simple manner). However, God will provide you with opportunities to enter that place of living in and through Him with the following: You may see a person who is already doing that to give you inspiration. You may find a scripture that starts your journey. You may hear a word from nowhere that gets your attention like never before. Or, maybe like me today when I listened to a devotion and prayer, God spoke to me about my need to really be more serious about living in His Presence. In any manner, don't miss out by neglecting to respond! We are each unique and yet common together in our humanity. Respond to His beckoning call and amazing grace as it comes to us... and it has and will continue to come to us. Thank the Lord for pursuing us with your love and grace. Respond with love and adoration and praise to God! Learn to walk with the Lord so that we may be like Jesus everywhere we go.