Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 19, 2017

Thought for the Week July 23, 2017

Being in fellowship with the General Council of the Assemblies of God, I receive a quarterly minister’s letter from our leadership team. Each letter contains an encouraging thought from our General Superintendent, Dr. George Wood. This quarter’s letter arrived in my email while I was working on the missions trip. Dr. Wood’s comments really hit home with me so I want to share them with you. Since it is lengthy, I will offer half this week and half next. The following is what Dr. Wood wrote:

“My brother-in-law, Larry Bray, is an artist. He can look at anything and transfer it into a painting or sculpture. I envy his talent and feel so frustrated that my artistic leanings will never find expression. My “art” is still limited to drawing stick figures. As a child, I so wanted to paint faces, and mountains, lakes, trees, valleys, and rivers. But, my drawing was limited to coloring books which had the dot-to-dot connectors.

“Remember those? Each dot is numbered, and it was your job to draw a line from dot #1 to dot #2 and to each succeeding dot until the whole outline was filled in. The more complicated ‘pictures’ might have several hundred dots to connect. But, even before you traced in the lines connecting the dots, you could rather accurately discern the outline of what you would be drawing. The dots, even when unconnected, all formed some discernible pattern.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life were that way? If we could glance at an overview of all the ‘dots’ in the portrait of our life story and see where today’s connecting line (from dot #27 to dot #28, for example) fits in the whole scenario of God’s pattern for our lives? At times in our own lives, we find ourselves in a barren desert in which the sand blows in and eliminates all the dots. We once thought we knew exactly where we were going, and had all of life mapped out. And then, suddenly we found ourselves in a spiritual wilderness—trackless, monotonous, and dangerous. It’s so unsettling because we can no longer see the whole—we are faced with the necessity of living just one day at a time.

“Then we have to trust that God himself knows where all the dots are, and that He is not leading us in circles—but in some meaningful pattern. A frustration is that God doesn’t reveal the whole picture to us. Like the nation Israel of old, He does not lead us through the wilderness on the shorter, more traveled road—but, around and around and around (Exodus 13:17–18)!

“He forces us into daily existence. Guidance is one day at a time, with ‘the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night’ (Psalm 78:14). Even the food lasts only one day—and one cannot stockpile manna for tomorrow (Exodus 16:11–36).

“What is God teaching us in the wilderness? To live one day at a time dependent on Him! Are you in a season of life where you are frustrated because you cannot see the ‘whole’? Are you even panicky because life appears to be taking twists and turns which are taking you away from the picture you thought God wanted drawn for your life?

“Take heart! You are in God’s wonderful and terrifying wilderness! He is stripping you of everything except today. He is forcing you to connect only this morning’s dot to this evening’s. In such a place we learn:
• Prayer: ‘Give us today our daily bread’ (Matthew 6:11).
• Trust : ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own’ (Matthew 6:34).
• Obedience: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’ (Luke 9:23).
• Security: ‘For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock’ (Psalm 27:5).
• Humility: ‘Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day will bring’ (Proverbs 27:1).

“As we learn to rely on God daily, we come to understand that just as He is with us today, He will be with us in all our tomorrows. He does know where the dots are going—even if we can’t see them. O Lord, ‘Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’ (Psalm 139:16). As we transition into living one day at a time—and that day only—somehow we become far more focused. The day itself yields a much more intense relationship with God because we are no longer waiting for some future moment to deepen our walk with Him. It’s today or never! And, the same principle spills out in our interpersonal relationships. We commit ourselves to the love, forgiveness, and duty needed for this day.”

I don’t know about you, but this portion of Dr. Wood’s letter already helps me to look at each day as a blessing from God to be used for His glory. You’ll have to tune in next week to see what else he has to say. I think the rest is better than the first (just a little tease).

P.S. If you read this regularly or once in a while and you have not told me yet, please tell me via email (pastortom.ccag@gmail.com) or Facebook.


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