Thursday, 24 May 2018

C Columns

God Dots: How links in life turn into testimonies

By Jim Day

 

Editor's  note:  In  this  article,  the  author  shares  his  personal  God  Dots  story  and  invites others  to  share  theirs  with  him.  This  will  be  an  ongoing  column  in  which  we  will  share  the  best  of  the  best  God  Dot  stories  submitted.  At  the  end  of  the  article  is  an  email  address  where  you  may  send  your  personal  story.  

I  love  to  talk  to  people  about  their  “God  dots.”

In  case  you  are  not  sure  what  a  God  dot  is,  I’ll  explain.  A  God  dot  can  be  a  person  or  an  event,  but  it  changes  you  and  brings  you  closer  to  God.  Got  dots  are  those  intersections  in  our  lives  where  God  brings  just  the  right  person  or  causes  the  right  things  to  occur  that  could  impact  our  walk  with  Jesus  in  a  profound  way.

I’ll  give  you  an  example.

Paul  is  a  person  that  is  a  serious  God  dot  for  me.  Years  ago,  my  wife  and  I  lived  across  the  street  from  Paul  and  his  family.  Paul  was  kind  of  annoying.  He  was  always  so  happy.  Humming  or  whistling  or  even  singing,  and  every  time  he  saw  me,  he  would  wave  and  shout,  “Hi  neighbor!”  Kind  of  like  Ned  Flanders  from  “The  Simpsons.”

If  you’ve  never  watched  “The  Simpsons,”  well,  never  mind.

Let’s  just  say  that  after  a  while,  Paul  grated  on  my  nerves.

One  day  my  wife,  Cindy,  asked  if  I  would  be  okay  with  her  going  to  church  with  Paul  and  his  wife,  whose  name  is  also  Cindy.  I  told  her  that  I  was  fine  with  that,  but  I  wasn’t  going  to  join  them,  ever.  I  thought  of  myself  as  a  believer  but  had  been  burned  by  a  church.  

The  story  goes  like  this...  I  started  with  this  church  when  I  was  19.  It  was  a  church  plant,  and  I  was  one  of  the  first  20  people  to  commit  to  it  as  a  member.  At  the  time,  I  drank  and  smoked  and  loved  to  party.  But  when  I  heard  the  preacher  at  this  particular  church,  I  knew  I  had  to  change.  I  poured  myself  into  the  church,  and  when  the  time  and  finances  came,  I  worked  like  a  mad  man  to  build  its  first  building,  taking  extended  time  off  from  my  job  to  do  whatever  was  needed  and  giving  money  to  the  point  of  neglecting  my  own  family.  I  would  have  followed  that  preacher  in  an  attack  on  hellfire  with  an  empty  water  bucket.

When  our  building  was  completed,  this  preacher  announced  that  he  was  leaving,  that  God  had  called  him  to  plant  churches  and  this  one  was  firmly  planted.  His  work  was  done and  he  needed  to  move  on.  Although  he  was  a  God  dot  in  my  life,  he  was  leaving.  I  had  quit  drinking  and  partying  but  could  not  shake  my  nicotine  habit.

The  new  pastor  came,  and  after  about  three  weeks,  he  called  to  me  as  I  was  leaving  oneSunday.

He  said,  “Brother  Day,  I  understand  that  the  demon  nicotine  has  a  hold  on  you!”

I  replied  that  I  didn’t  know  it  was  a  demon,  but  I  had  an  addiction.

He  insisted  on  “praying  the  demon  off  of  me”  and  I  left,  a  little  embarrassed  but  determined  to  quit.

I  made  it  through  Wednesday  evening,  but  had  a  tough  day  Thursday  and  by  Sunday,  well,  let’s  just  say  that  I  couldn’t  do  it.  I  went  to  church  that  day  and  tried  to  sneak  out  by the  side  door;  but  before  I  had  gone  more  than  a  few  steps  towards  the  parking  lot,  I  heard  the  pastor’s  voice  behind  me.  “Brother  Day,  how  are  you  holding  up  against  that  demon  nicotine?”  he  asked.

I  confessed  that  I  had  relapsed.

He  said,  “What  you  lack  is  motivation  and  trust  in  the  Lord.  If  you  can’t  quit  by  next  Sunday,  don’t  come  back!”

I  was  stunned.  Didn’t  he  know  how  much  I  loved  that  church?  How  could  he  be  so  mean?  Had  no  one  told  him  how  hard  I  had  worked,  how  dedicated  I  was?

He  told  me  that  I  was  a  hypocrite  and  that  there  was  no  room  in  his  church  for  hypocrisy.  To  say  the  least,  I  was  crushed.  I  swore  off  of  organized  religion.  I  still  loved  Jesus  but  refused  to  set  foot  in  another  church.

Now,  here  was  Paul,  inviting  my  wife  to  his  church.  

Well,  I  wasn’t  going  to  hold  her  back.  But  for  some  strange  reason,  Paul  got  the  idea  that  he  should  ask  me  every  Saturday  if  I  wanted  to  go  to  church.  (It  probably  wasn’t  every  Saturday,  but  it  sure  felt  like  it.)

At  first,  I  was  polite.  But,  after  awhile,  I  got  a  little  rude.

One  Saturday,  I  was  working  on  my  truck  in  the  driveway.  A  bolt  broke  and  I  was  cursing  a  blue  streak,  my  knuckles  bleeding,  when  I  heard  Paul’s  voice.

“Hi  neighbor,  saw  you  out  here  working  on  your  truck  and  thought  I  would  take  the  opportunity  to  ask  if  you  might  want  to  come  to  church  with  us  tomorrow.”

Slowly,  I  turned  around,  blood  dripping  from  my  knuckles,  and  for  whatever  reason  said,  “Sure  Paul,  I’ll  come  to  your  blankity  blank  church  tomorrow,  but  then  you  leave  me  the  blankity  blank  alone!”

As  he  retreated  to  his  side  of  the  road,  it  dawned  on  me  what  I  had  just  done.  Now,  I  would  have  to  go  to  his  church,  once.

The  next  day,  Cindy  and  I  went  to  church.  The  preacher  spoke  as  if  he  had  intimate  knowledge  about  my  life.  I  was  so  mad  by  the  end  of  the  sermon  that  I  raced  out  the  door  to  our  car.  I  could  just  picture  Cindy  and  Paul  and  Cindy  sitting  with  the  pastor  and  telling  him  all  about  me.  How  could  she  do  that  to  me?  How  could  my  own  wife  tell  that  preacher  all  about  my  shortcomings  and  struggles?  Who  else  knew?  Had  she  told  everyone?

When  she  got  to  the  car,  I  let  her  have  it!

After  I  finished,  she  tearfully  looked  me  in  the  eye  and  told  me  that  I  had  it  wrong.  That  preacher  didn’t  know  anything  about  me.  Nobody  had  told  him  anything.

It  still  took  me  a  few  days  to  cool  off,  but  we  went  back  the  next  Sunday.  Again,  his  sermon  spoke  to  my  heart,  but  this  time  I  was  ready  to  receive  it.  I  realized  that  pride  had  prevented  me  from  fellowship.  Within  a  year,  Cindy  and  I  were  serving  as  leaders  in  the  youth  group  and  God  blessed  it  tremendously.

Paul  and  Cindy  became  dear  friends  of  ours,  and  years  later  Paul  said  that  God  would  press  him  to  invite  me.  He  told  me  that  he  would  argue  with  God  over  it.  He  was  having  an  argument  with  God  the  day  I  busted  my  knuckles  on  that  old  truck.  He  told  God  that  he  would  ask  me  “one  more  time”  and  that  was  it.

Folks,  that’s  a  God  dot!  And  He  has  blessed  me  with  many,  many  more.

I  would  love  to  hear  your  God  dot  story.  Please  email  your  story  to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Be  blessed!

Jim  Day  graduated  from  Meridian  High  School.  He  spent  25  years  working  as  a  pipefitter.  He  has  been  married  to  his  wife  Cindy  for  31  years,  and  the  couple  has  two  children  and  seven  grandchildren.

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