When I was a child, I loved to work those connect the dot puzzles. I probably like to work them now. HA! But, I haven’t bought a dot-to-dot book in a very long time. I even used them in Sunday School with preschoolers when I was teaching. I loved them. I would sit there and connect those numbered dots and watch picture would form. Do you remember those? Maybe not if you are younger because in today’s technology there are games like “Candy Crush” where you match up the candies and “Words With Friends” but regardless you are still connecting or matching. I was reminded this week of the connect the dot puzzles during our study of Cultivating A Heart of Prayer with Wendy Blight.
Our lives are really just like a dot-to-dot picture. Think about it. Do you find yourself longing for a simple dot-connected life? Do you just wish sometimes life were that simple. I sometimes do. Life is hard and we all go through “stuff” that can be devastating and when we are at those particular dots (seasons) in life, it can be a painful time or it can be a joyous time. There are job dots, health dots, parenting dots, relationship dots, and that list goes on.
So how do we connect the dots ? The Lord has provided us a way to get through those hard- life dots, a way to connect them and move on to the next dot.
John 15:5 (KJV) says “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” We have to remain in Him.
Jesus talked to the disciples before he was crucified about the vine and the branches. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We need the vine (Jesus) where we receive our sustenance. So when we come to one of those very life-hurting dots, we need to go to Him for nourishment as only He can give us. Our faith should keep us moving on to the next dot and the next dot by spending time with Him every day.
I remember those dot-to-dot drawings and when I got to that very last dot I would have a beautiful picture. Oh it is just like that with our Savior. Our lives are a beautiful picture of dots that he drew before we were even in our mother’s wombs.
This is our second week in the study and some of the things that Wendy has shared are:
1. Do we savor our moments with God? She gave a beautiful illustration of going to the movie with her daughter. Funny we met our daughter and son-in-law last week and went to movie and I savored it. I savor shopping trips with my daughter. I savor fishing trips with our son and trips out of town with him.
This is one of my favorite Bible verses.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV)
2. Sylvia Gunter in her book Prayer Portions quoted these beautiful words, “Prayer is radically and gloriously encountering God, knowing Him better, loving Him more.” Are you encountering Him, are you getting to know Him better, are you loving Him more today than you did yesterday?
3. Prayer is a gift. Are you using that gift to enter into the presence of God? Are you lingering with Him, are you soaking in His presence?
4. ABIDE – it means to remain or stay or to continue in a particular state for a long period of time. Are you abiding in Him? Abiding is the key to an effective prayer life. Abiding is about connecting with and passionately pursuing Christ. It can not be a casual relationship. It is a daily, abiding relationship. Ps 42:1 (KJV) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
5. John 15 – continuing in a permanent state. Jesus talks to his disciples about the vine and the branches.
6. Jesus told them look at the vine, look at the branches. Our hearts abide the same way a branch abides on the vine.
7. Gifts we get when we abide. Gal 5:22 – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control
8. The more we abide, the more bountiful fruitful we can be and the closer we get to God. 1 Cor 2:9-12, Ps 46:10
12. Get still and praise
We studied many, many scriptures this week. We did not just read them, we studied them. Some of the things my group shared and I wrote in my study book were:
Accept His words & commands and keep them in my heart, pay attention, listen, look, call, search for wisdom, insight & understanding. Apply it. Guard your heart, watch your mouth, keep your eyes straight. Go to God when you are thirsty BUT draw near to Him with a sincere heart. Keep meeting & encouraging each other. Be diligent about your heart. Think about how you go Call upon Him. He shall give you life. His Words are life to you and your soul. Lean on Him. Lean on the Spirit to guide and teach me. Seek Him. Incline your ear. Be diligent about your heart.
Do you devote time in prayer, are you thankful, are you too busy doing things for Jesus, that you aren’t spending time with Him, are you spending so much time cleaning, running errands, exercising, etc. that it leaves no time for Him. Let God connect the dots!
One of the verses I especially liked was Psalm 63:6 (KJV) “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.”