Thursday, March 8, 2012

CONNECT THE DOTS by CARLA MCDOUGAL


Do you remember playing Connect the Dots? I love this game! I like staring at the dots trying to determine their final formation. It reminds me of living everyday for Jesus. Together let's play the Connect the Dots game. Read through Acts 12:5-18. Here is the highlighted points of God's connections...
 Peter Freed from Prison
  • Peter is thrown into prison.
  • The Church is constantly praying for his release.
  • He's chained and guarded by four soldiers.
  • Plans are set for Peter's execution.
  • But, It was against the law to have a trial or sentencing during the Feast of Unleavened Bread... God's perfect timing begins to unfold.
  • Peter slept... He wasn't worried, mad, frustrated, or blaming God, but resting
  • "Boom"... An angel appears with beams of light and striking Peter on the side.
  • His chains fall off. He obeys and follows the angel out the prison doors.
  • After the angel departs, Peter recognizes God releasing him from prison.
  • Immediately God directs Peter to go to Mary's house.
  • The church gathered in one accord at Mary's house praying for Peter's release.
  • He knocks at the door of the gate. He knocks and knocks until someone answers.
  • These Prayer Warriors can't believe their eyes. 
  • In the doorway stands their answered prayer... Peter
Peter didn't have a clue of God's plan, he just trusted. In the midst of the Prayer Warriors praying, God answered! Tracing the dots backwards we see how each one connects to God's final purpose and plan. Think for a minute, how did Peter's imprisonment affect others? This Dot Chart is still bridging gaps even today. Oh, God's perfect plan doesn't unfold all at once. It is revealed in His perfect timing!
Keep reading to see a real life Connect the Dots life situation...
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Amazing "Connect the Dots" Testimony
~Dedicated to my dear friend Theresa Donlon and her daughter, Anne~ 
I must share a personal testimony about Connecting the Dots. One that is forever embedded in my heart. This is a little long, but so worth your time!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 

    • 6:30am. Before my head leaves the pillow the Holy Spirit begins nudging me...Wake up. I am calling you to pray for every Reflecting Him Sister who is doing this Bible study. Immediately this gentle nudge turns into a sharp prod. With arms to heaven, I drop to my knees praying, "Oh Lord, whoever has her Reflecting Him book open please give her understanding. Pour into her, through the Holy Spirit, sweet revelations from Your Word." This prayer continued throughout the day.  
    • 7:00pm. Teaching Reflecting Him Live, Week 3 Senses of the Soul, at Magnolia Bible Church. I share the freshness of God calling me to pray for all "Reflecting Him Sisters." The lecture focuses on the Body of Christ loving each other... "Just like a physical cut to the human body causes platelets to rush in forming scabs and white blood cells show up to fight germs we as the Body of Christ needs to act in the same way. When one is hurt by divorce, death, financial difficulties we need to rush to the scene like platelets ready to bring a meal, pick them up, etc. And some need to act as the white blood cells praying against the woes of the enemy!"
    • 8:00pm As the lecture ends one of the ladies, Theresa, literally runs to me. Holding her phone out she says, "Read my Facebook post from this morning at 7:05am... Great time with the Lord this morning in my Bible study. God is connecting the dots!" Tears flow. Embracing one another we thank God for uniting our hearts through the Holy Spirit. 
Thursday, February 9
    • I receive an email from Jackie the Bible study coordinator at a church in Bandera, TX. Their group agreed to be "Reflecting Him Sisters" with Magnolia Bible Church and pray for one another while they are all going through the Bible study. Her email confirmed how much their BS group enjoyed praying over their Reflecting Him Sisters at MBC. 
Saturday, February 11 
    • I receive a Facebook message from a friend, "Carla, I don't know if you heard the news, but yesterday Theresa's daughter, Anne, died in a car wreck." Shock sets in. I read the message 3 or 4 times to make sure I didn't read it wrong. Tears form. Heart aches. Prayers pour. 
    • Rushing home I get on facebook to read her posts. My hearts sinks deeper as I read Theresa's words, "My heart is about to burst. I miss her so much! How can this be happening? God I trust you even when it doesn't make sense." Encouraging messages flood her page. A mama's heart breaking. All I can think about is the events that led up to that day. How God prepared my dear friend in His own way and timing. 
Monday, February 13
    • I see on Facebook Theresa's oldest daughter recently moved to Bandera, TX (a town the size of about 1000 people). "God Bumps" encompass my body. Immediately, I send a message to Jackie, the Bible study coordinator in Bandera, informing her of the situation. 
 Tuesday, February 14
    • 9AM. I receive a phone call from Jackie. I hear a crack in her voice, "Carla, are you sitting down? You are not going to believe this! Theresa's daughter who lives in Bandera is my best friend's daughter-in-law! It's amazing, God called us to pray over Theresa BEFORE this situation occurred. I am in awe of God Connecting the Dots!" 
    • 2PM. Anne's Memorial Service is packed. A pin could be heard as Theresa approaches the podium. In humbleness she shares her heart, "God will be glorified and is glorified through my Anne's death. Over the past 3 weeks God prepared me through my Bible study, Reflecting Him. God has a plan. I trust His plan even though it doesn't make sense." Not a dry eye in the room. I sob. In silence I cry out to God, "If you wrote Reflecting Him through me just for my friend, I praise you. I am yours. To you be the glory forever and ever. I submit to you. Use me as your hands and feet here on earth. Amen!" 
CARLA MCDOUGAL
God continues to use Anne's life to draw others to Himself. A number of people accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior on the day of her memorial service. Praise the Lord! Thank you to the whole Donlon family for allowing God to shine through all of you. For trusting Him when it doesn't make sense. And for focusing on Him in your pain. God is using all of you in a mighty way to further Kingdom purposes as He continues to Connect the Dots!

Do you recognize when God Connects the Dots in your life? Ask Him to open your eyes to those connections. They are vital to understanding what God is doing in and through you. Thank Him for all the past connections and ones yet to come.

CARLA APPEARS HERE FREQUENTLY AND IS THE DIRECTOR OF REFLECTIVE LIVE MINISTRIES. CLICK HERE
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