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Anna Stillwell



I've always been one who loves to dream and make big plans. I*ve spent a lot of wasted time hoping and dreaming while the outcome of those hopes and dreams never come to fruition. For me, it*s usually a let down and a feeling of failure from never producing what I set out to do.


I like plans. I like organization . . . my father gave me a love for maps and history . . . border lines. As a girl I always colored within the lines of the coloring book. I never marked past them and was always proud that I kept the picture looking the way it was drawn. I*ve found out recently that all of my plan-making--for me--is really a detriment to my relationship with God. I can stay within all the lines, plan and dream all I want to, but if its not Gods picture or plan, I will always be left feeling like a failure.


Usually the reason for my plans was because I thought I knew more than God. I knew, I felt, and I wanted. I only consulted God on the matter secondarily. I would ask God to bless my plans and my actions instead of asking Him to work out His own plan through me. I now know that (Gods plans) are the plans that will be blessed and produce much fruit.


I donít think I would have ever come to this understanding if our leadership had never first submitted to Jesus Christ. Mr. Tkach, Sr. was Godís sod-buster for our fellowship. I think we sometimes forget how obedient he was to what God was working through him. He made decisions at the time that probably to him seemed illogical. The plan was being laid down before him for our benefit today. And arenít we reaping the fruit of his sweat, prayers and labor today, now that plans are still in effect through his son Joe Tkach?


I look to Israel for the many examples of obedience to God's plans. Joshua had been given a plan to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Just the name "promised" should have been enough to make them obey. Joshua was obedient to God*s plan and so were most of the people. This plan actually worked and was fulfilled. The reason why it worked was because it came from God. Not out of the mind of Joshua or from the people under Joshua. Joshua 1:16 reads: then they (the people) answered Joshua. "Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses so we will obey you."


Our church has taken on some very real and difficult challenges. Many of our critics have had us on the mat and down for the count. They weren*t counting on the fact that our reform might have been God*s plan. They didnít realize that Christ stepped in where no man could. We should have been washed up and split apart till none of us were left. We probably would have been if our leadership had decided that they knew best and had not submitted themselves to much prayer, fasting and searching of God and His word. They surrendered themselves to the Spirit of Christ.


This reminds me of a little boy who wasn't supposed to be able to fight a giant, much less kill him. His brothers and king laughed at him. Yet they weren*t willing to go out and fight this Philistine themselves. They turned and looked for someone else to take the heat. How many of us would have had the faith to believe God would deliver this giant into the hands of a small boy? When Gods plan is in action things never seem as they are, do they? And yet, David was actually offended that the Philistines would have the gall or stupidity to take on the army of the living God. I Samuel 17:26 reveals Davidís faith in Gods plan helped him to know he would never be alone while facing this giant.


Do we really believe that we aren*t alone either? When we act within the plan of God for our lives, we will not be left to fend for ourselves. Satan is roaming around looking for us to act outside of God's will. Let*s encourage one another to stay submitted to His perfect will. Let's encourage one another to enjoy where we are while God prepares us for where we are going. Enjoying it, I know, would actually mean we*d have to stop complaining and rely on God for our answers instead of making up our own.


I want to be a branch that is submitted to the vine. Whatever fruit he wants to produce through me is what is best for me. Whatever he wants to prune off of me is also best for me as well. Our church has been through severe pruning . . . but fruit is right around the corner if we will stay faithful to God and faithful to the vine.


Trials make the promise sweet; trials give new life to prayer. Bring me to my Savior's feet, lay me low and keep me there.