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Waves of Influence
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Standing by a fire I had lit in our burn ring, I watched for any stray spark that might set the nearby brush and woods on fire. It was a hot, muggy day. The birds provided the only movement in the trees. There was no wind to cool me or to fan the flames. 

I poked at the burning, dead limbs with a rake pushing them closer together. As the flames and heat increased, I stepped back and noticed the leaves on the branches that hung relatively close were moving. At first I thought a welcomed breeze had arrived.  Looking around, I saw the leaves were moving near the fire, but nowhere else. The closer the leaves were to the fire the more pronounced their movement. When the leaves were further from the fire less motion occurred. 

Although the heat waves were invisible to me, I could follow their path and reach. There was activity among the leaves in a small circle around the fire, but mostly in a direct path above the flames and then it decreased as the distance increased.

Surrounding Forces

I had never noticed this phenomenon before and was intrigued by this observation. It led me to think how sometimes we are the leaves and sometimes we are the fire. We each feel the impact of surrounding forces, and we each have waves of influence. We can't control what comes our way, but we can determine how we react to it. In turn, how we react, our behavior, attitudes, and beliefs all have an effect on those around us.  The closer people are to us, the more pronounced the effect of our choices and actions. Also, the more heated and intense the situation, the further the results will reach. 

We need to be keenly aware of our influence on others. Our best mission field is often those who are closest to us. That is where we can have the greatest influence and effect.  Do we burn others with our selfish choices or do we stir and inspire others with encouraging words and actions that help move them closer to Jesus?

This is a decision you and I make daily. How will you use your influence today?

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By Doncie Palmer. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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