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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Witnesses Unto Me JUNE 18


I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. Luke 8:46.

Jesus never failed to enter into the lives of people. He saw with their eyes and felt what they were feeling. He realized their problems, sensed their needs, reached out to them with warmth and love.

All of us have an influence that goes out of us, falling either like a light or a shadow. Unconsciously we exercise a healing spirit or one that may create anxiety and fear. Whatever the spirit is within us, whether of selfishness or unselfishness, of love or hostility, of humility or pride, of concern or indifference, it makes itself felt upon those around us.

From this spirit within us an atmosphere is created, which either lifts people up or drags them down. We can either warm people or chill them, relax them or tense them. We are responsible for whatever spirit and influence we exercise upon others.

For us Christians, there is to be a virtue that goes out from us, an influence born of the reality that is in our own hearts and experience. We are to exercise a loving and gracious atmosphere, so that we will draw others to Christ even without knowing it. There are people around us who need to be softened, whose lives have been hardened by circumstances. We are to inspire them with hope and courage, love them into new life and sweetness. This is the best communication of the gospel there is. When Jesus walked the earth little children ran to Him. He was always the One with shining eyes and loving words. None came into His presence without feeling better.

I am told that the Tate Gallery of Art in London has on display the paint box used by the great painter Turner. The box is nothing to look at, but smudged and marked with old paint and pigments. It really does not belong among the works of art. Yet from it, Turner gave expression to his unexcelled paintings of nature and pastoral scenes. At his hands, the beauties of art came forth.

Paul put it this way: "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. . . . That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:710). In the hands of the Master Artist, glorious possibilities are realized in our lives.

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