Saturday, November 15, 2014

God Dots

Remember those little follow the dots puzzles we used to do in grade school? Maybe I'm dating myself here, but I loved those! I called them "dot-to-dot" pictures. Follow the dots, beginning at number one, and when you get to the end, you have a picture! Well, I believe that God does the same thing with us. He gives us little dots here and there, to get our attention, connecting the dots as He goes.

Just exactly how far will God go to get our attention or better yet, to work everything together for our good? I used to wonder that myself. When I was in the most hopeless time of my life, I wondered how in the world God was going to make something good of the depression that just wouldn't seem to leave me alone.

I often wondered, while feeling the worst anxiety attack welling up from deep within me, knowing I was powerless to stop it. I wondered just how God was going to use this for good. Then I would sigh as the panic eased off and lessened, thanking Him for letting it go away.

But the night I was healed and launched into the ministry of telling my story so others could be encouraged, I looked back and saw all the dots that God had been connecting throughout the years, creating a beautiful dot-to-dot picture!

God Dots... those little encounters, little pieces of our lives, people, places, and things, that God brings into and out of our every day. Each one of those things is one more dot that God uses to build our testimony, our story, our ministry.

God places people in our lives to steer us toward our destiny, to help us to grow and learn and to build our character so that when we encounter someone else who is hurting, we can help build them up.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. ~Genesis 50:20, NLT

Of all the intimidation, depression, anxiety, and other things I went through over the years, God was teaching me and giving me someone to look back on so that when I met another who suffered those things, I could say, "Hey, I understand that. I used to deal with that too. Let me tell you what God did for me."

It's not bragging on oneself to tell someone else how God has worked in your life. It's not being arrogant to tell another how God healed you. On the contrary, it's bragging on God! It's bringing Him glory and ministering to another who's suffering. 

The whole point of my ministry is to bring glory to God; to make Jesus famous. Because without Him, I wouldn't BE healed! However, I would not be where I am today without many other people and situations throughout my life. To list everything would take too long, but suffice it to say that each little and big thing that I have gone through were the God Dots that led me to this point in time. 

Look around you. Can you see your God Dots? Can you see the littlest of things that God has placed in your life that has led to the greatest things? You may not have thought that something bad in your life could have ended up being something good, but let me tell you this: What the enemy meant for harm, God turned it into good, or He's just about to! He's groovy like that. Because God doesn't give us the bad things in our lives, the enemy does. But God is so much bigger than the enemy and He can fix everything!

If you're going through a rough spell, don't fret! Look at it and know that it's going to be just another God Dot. Follow it backwards and look at all the other God Dots that it's connected to and get excited, because the next dot will bring you closer to something utterly amazing!

Be thankful for your God Dots!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You, Veterans!

Being Veteran's Day, we honor those who have served in our military armed forces throughout the years and currently. We think of those who have gone before during whatever war, action, skirmish, or whatever we're calling it now. We pass by service men and women on a daily basis, some we thank, others we have no idea that they even served.

I recently had the privilege of sitting next to a young veteran on my train ride from Louisiana back to Illinois. Although he wasn't going very far, the time we did have on this train ride provided enough information into the life of this young man that I have an even bigger respect for those who serve in our military.

I can't imagine what happens to those who serve during times of war or combat. Frankly, I don't want to know. But whatever it is that they see or experience is enough to alter them for the rest of their lives. My companion on this train ride was retired Air Force, just back in the States from Japan. He served in the military for three-and-a-half years. He was twenty-six. His name was Nick.

Our veterans have given much more than just their time and skills to protect us and those we love. Our freedom is not free. Someone had to pay for that. Many someone's did. Our veterans. They have given their very lives, both mentally, emotionally, and physically for our freedom. Veterans throughout the years have been giving to continue our freedom. It's a gift that is continually being paid for in some form or another.

In the short amount of time I had with the young man who sat with me on the train, listening to him talk, however inconspicuously, about things he experienced and in general made me realize that this is exactly how my grandfather's both acted. They would talk to us, but there was always something else they weren't saying that lay just under the surface. They would speak in innuendos and in a roundabout way, never giving complete information. Just hints. It left lots to the imagination. They were young when they served in WWII but their memories stayed with them their entire lives. Just as this young man's would with him.

Whenever you meet a veteran, say thank you. They will act uncomfortable because to them, they don't see how what they did was helpful. Still, tell them thank you. Buy their meal. Buy their coffee or soda. Because without their service, we would not enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy right now. And above all else, respect their quirks. They are not weird. They are just trying to live; live with the memories of the things they have seen and experienced that we didn't have to.

It kind of puts it into perspective when you look at it like that. I know that it breaks my heart and increases my level of compassion for our veterans. They have so much to deal with that we will never know about.

Veterans Day. A day of remembrance. A day to say thank you. So with that, Thank you Grandpa Johnny, Grandpa Roy, Boots, Butch, Mark, Chaz, Mr. Mosley, Nick, Ravyn and Johan, Brian, Andrea, Steve, and every military veteran we have. Your service is greatly appreciated and respected.

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