Beyond The Veil: Ministering in the Gulf States

“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Genesis 17:18)

We had anticipated this trip for months with mixed emotions. We had heard it over and over, “You’re going where?!” The exclamation mark that ended our preparations and began our final and longest leg of travel to the Gulf States happened in the bowels of the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, as we were about to board our Etihad Airlines flight.

Flanked on every side by men in white robes and head wraps, and women in black abayas and hijabs, our emotions were on high alert. Looking to foster a sense of camaraderie, my husband casually asked a fellow traveller if he was going to be on this flight. Unfortunately, his response of, “NO, I’m not getting on that plane!” did nothing to alleviate our tension, and just like that, we were off to the Gulf States.

After flying through the night, we arrived Wednesday at midnight, exhausted, and very relieved to see the Worker’s smiling face there to welcome us. He loaded our luggage into his SFC vehicle and drove us to his home to get some sleep.

Early the next morning, we woke to a myriad of new sights, sounds, and smells, assuring us that our long journey had not been a dream. The Muslim call to prayer broke the predawn hush, sounding completely foreign to our ears.

Our senses were overloaded as we got out for some sightseeing on Thursday. We spent the day getting acclimated, touring downtown, the market and the local mall. We saw beautiful architecture the likes we had never seen before, and a vast desert landscape resembling a windswept canvas. Transposed against the muted earth tones of the desert, and the stark black and white robes, were the vibrant colors of the people’s zeal for living. Plush rugs, cashmere scarves, fringed veils, and always the aroma of incense wafting in the air. Amber, Jasmine, Frankincense.

Over all, we saw people going about their daily lives. Even though the unfamiliarity of their wardrobe and language seemed strange, seeing families with their children in tow, while they shopped for groceries and other household necessities, helped us to put things in perspective. People are people all over the world.

People are people all over the world. Click To Tweet

As darkness fell on Thursday night, it was time for our first service. It was to be a preliminary meeting for the official anniversary service that would be the next morning. Anxiety, that had been dispelled through the day, snaked back into our minds, as we wondered how we could have service in such a closed place.

Several people, dressed in traditional attire, walked by in front of us as we crossed the street to enter the rented building. At this point, we simply had to trust the Workers’ judgement, who were living and raising their family here.

You might expect that we found a pitiful group of worshippers, huddled together in whispered prayer, fearfully looking over their shoulders. You would be mistaken. This group of 30-40 believers welcomed us with joyful embraces and hand shakes. They listened intently as the Word was delivered, and worshipped afterward with zealous abandon.

The keyboard, drums and electric guitars were just as loud as any back home. We cast several questioning glances at the Workers, to which they simply smiled and continued their enthusiastic worship. We had no choice but to trust and enjoy the atmosphere of pure praise. Later, it was explained to us that the platform and windows were lined with sound reducing material, which kept much of the sound localized and muted to the outside.

Friday morning, which is the religious day in this area of the world, we gathered in a banquet room of a local restaurant. To the Believers, it was their sixth anniversary service. To everyone else, it was just another festive occasion, complete with decorations and a buffet afterwards. Once again, the worship was unrestrained, and this time, there was no soundproofing to buffer the enthusiasm. This small group knew how to throw a great “party,” as seventeen people received the Spirit!

Afterward, as we gathered for the meal, several of the Workers’ local friends joined us for fellowship. The women talked about raising babies, and the men spoke of their shared interest in business and farming. There was much that went unsaid among the group, but was understood nevertheless. I looked around the table at the diversity of nationalities, cultures, languages, and was in awe of the privilege to be in this moment. As I was pondering what it all meant, and where it would lead, a young Muslim wife, dressed in her black abaya and head covering, walked around the table to where I was sitting, knelt at my feet, and presented me with the gift of a beautiful bracelet that she had brought from her village. She held my gaze with her dark henna eyes, as she offered me her friendship. I wondered, if the roles were reversed, would I have offered the same to her?

Location-1 was outgrowing its borders. Forty to fifty Believers are all that can congregate together without drawing undue attention. The Workers took us to see a fifth floor apartment, which had been newly acquired for a second meeting place. We were thrilled to learn that one of the rooms was to be used to start the first Word School in the country. Again, this facility was padded with extra thick carpet, a lifted platform, sound reducing material packed into the windows, and heavy drapes. As you read this, Location-2 is thriving, and working toward a third location in the city.

We traveled south by plane to a more remote city for another assemblies’ one year anniversary service. Location-1 had been flying two people weekly for a year to this city in order to establish, teach and stabilize this daughter work.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel where the group assembled in a banquet room each week. We were definitely not going to blend in here, where everyone that we passed in the hallways was dressed in their traditional attire. Once again, we asked ourselves how we could possibly have a service in this clearly closed place.

The next morning we awakened to rhythmic percussion and voices lifted to lively music. The banquet room was a few doors down, and these Believers were apparently very serious about their praise team practice. My husband and I looked at one another in disbelief, and I said what proved to be prophetic, “You know they’re only going to get louder.”

Once again, we had a powerful celebration service, complete with music, decorations, and a buffet filled with food. Sixteen new Believers were Spirit filled in that service, making a total of thirty-three new babies in all. Most of these were immersed in the Only Saving Name at a later time, after we and the Workers had left.

Although we have a long list of personal stories we could tell about the people we met, one most reflects the hearts of the people we encountered. My husband and the Worker went out for a few hours on a guy excursion to visit a nearby camel farm. As they wandered up, uninvited and unannounced, there was a group of shabab (young men) in their late teens and early twenties hanging out, as youth do.

My husband’s spiritual sensors immediately went on alert as he wondered how he would be received. He had no need to worry. Hospitality permeates even the culture of their young people. The young men welcomed them into their tent, made them hot tea, which they drank while sitting on the floor, talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. My husband was even treated to a free camel ride, which he may or may not have fallen off of.

We think often of the man in the airport, at the beginning of our journey, who reacted with such hostility at the thought of boarding “that plane.” When we juxtapose that image alongside these young men’s hospitality, and the memory of my new friend on her knees at my feet, offering a gift, our hearts are saddened to realize the majority of the people we know and love will never have the opportunity to overcome their fear, and come to know these precious people.

I have heard that the Total Immersion Technique is the most productive when learning a new language. This is exactly what we experienced. We were totally immersed in the culture of the Gulf States. In twelve days, we went from being anxious and awkward, to loving these people like family. The sights, sounds, smells and faces, once so foreign, are forever part of us. We will continue to carry the people they represent with us, and lift them up in prayer. Their story has become ours, and we are honored to be able to tell it for them.

Warm Regards, -Pat Vick

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter, and email me: Pat@PATVICK.COM.

*NOTE: This article was previously published in the May/June 2017 issue of The Pentecostal VOICE of Tennessee magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Hoping For Heaven, But living Like The Devil?

Years ago, I knew a lady who lived like the devil. She had enough Church influence to know right from wrong. If you happened to get into a conversation on the Bible, she knew all the right answers, and could even quote scriptures.

She knew and believed the Oneness of God. She knew and believed the New Birth experience as taught in Acts 2:38-39. She knew and believed in Holiness. She had a general knowledge of Endtime events.

Did I mention she lived like the devil?! Being a young Believer, and full of zeal for the Lord, I was astounded at this phenomenon.

As is often the case with people who know the Truth, but aren’t living Him, she loved to engage others in conversation about the Bible. One evening, we were having one such discussion concerning the Rapture and the Mark of the Beast. She said to us, “I know I’m not living right. I know I won’t make the Rapture, but when the time comes, I have decided, no matter what, I won’t take the Mark.” (I’ll reserve my comments on her belief in a pretribulation Rapture for another post.)

Being a young Christian, I didn’t know what to say to her then, but in the years that have passed since, I have often thought of her remark. If someone were to say the same thing to me today, I would share with them Jeremiah 12:5.

“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5)

I fear that there are many people that think like this lady did. They think that after living their lives in whatever manner they choose, that somehow, by sheer determination, they will be able to decide to do right “when the time comes.”

If you are one of those people, I would ask you the same question that Jeremiah did. If you can’t serve God and do right while living in peaceful times today, how do you think you will find the resolve to live for God when hard times come tomorrow? When persecution comes? When tribulation comes?

Willpower is a lousy disciplinarian when it comes to spiritual matters. If you are not truly CONVERTED to Christianity, If you are not truly BORN AGAIN of the WATER and the SPIRIT, your willpower is like a spider’s web in satan’s face.

Willpower is a lousy disciplinarian when it comes to spiritual matters. Click To Tweet

The Apostle Paul told the young minister, Timothy,

“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:25-26)

You may think you are calling the shots while being backslidden. You may think that one day, in the future, when you have sown the last of your wild oats, when you have achieved a certain measure of success, when you have gained notoriety among your peers, when you have consumed all of this world’s pleasures…that you will simply “decide” to come to God.

You are being deceived, my friend, and it is the most delicious deception the devil offers on his buffet of deceitful delicacies. The Truth is that you are being held captive at his will. Not only is he calling the shots, but he is doing so in relatively peaceful times.

What true persecution does the North American Church know of? If you squirm when someone asks whether you go to that Pentecostal Church, do you truly think that you will have the fortitude to live for God when the “Horsemen” arrive? When the whole world is reeling out of control?

I implore you. I beg you. I reason with you. If you feel the tug of the Spirit reading these words, don’t wait to “decide” to serve God. Turn to Him now. FIND A CHURCH that teaches the Acts 2:38 New Birth message, and go there as soon as possible. Repent of your sins, be baptized in the name of Jesus’ Christ for the remission of those sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Commit to living a life of Holiness.

If you have known the Lord, but have walked away, if you have filled your life with the world’s delicacies, WAKE UP! Realize your soul has been snared. Turn away from satan’s table of deceit, and turn back to God, while His Spirit is dealing with you. The horsemen are fast approaching, and you need to be prepared for spiritual battle.

Warm Regards,
-Pat Vick

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter, and email me PAT@PATVICK.COM.

 

 

How Were You Baptized? (It Matters, You Know.)

In Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples, He commanded them to go into all the world and baptize converts to Christianity. He also expected the disciples to teach these converts all the doctrine that He had entrusted to them for the three and one-half years that He had mentored them.

Although there are many scriptures on baptism in the Bible, two are used most frequently to teach from. The first, Matthew 28:19, is most often referred to by trinitarians, and Acts 2:38 is most often referred to by Oneness believers.

Knowing that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and without contradiction, let’s take a look at BOTH to see how they COMPLIMENT one another.

MATTHEW 28:18-20

18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

ACTS 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

 

A FEW OBSERVATIONS:

1. Matthew 28:19 is spoken by Jesus. (Notice the red letters.)
2. Matthew 28:19 mentions titles.

3. Acts 2:38 was spoken by Peter.
4. Acts 2.38 mentions a specific name, Jesus.

How can both of these baptismal formulas be correct? I have heard people say, “Well, I’m going to use the formula that Jesus said to use.”

I COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!

Does that mean that Peter and the rest of the Apostles disobeyed Jesus’ command, and baptized new converts incorrectly after He ascended back into Heaven?

Does it mean that every baptism that is recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles is heresy?

Does it mean that for 229 years, from Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection in 33AD until 325AD, the Apostles were using an ineffective baptism formula, and baptizing people wrong by calling the name of Jesus Christ over them, as they put them under the water?

It should be noted here that it was at the Council of Nicea in 325AD that the Roman Catholic Church decreed that to baptize in Jesus’ name was anathema (a curse). Before this time, the early Church always baptized in Jesus’ name.

…OR…

Could it mean that when the Apostles baptized new converts by calling on the name of Jesus Christ, that they were actually FULFILLING Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 28:19 by invoking the ACTUAL NAME of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

Could it be that Jesus was expecting the Apostles to do what He said, and not just say what He said when they baptized? (Stop. Read that statement again and think about it for as long as it takes to sink in. Selah.)

Could it be that Jesus felt confident that the Apostles understood that He was speaking of Himself?

Could it be they knew JESUS was the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?

Could it be that they called on Jesus’ name in baptism because they understood that His name is the only name that has the power to remit sins?

Could it be that Oneness Apostolic Pentecostals have been doing it right all along?

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

So, I’ll ask you again…How were you baptized?

…It matters, you know.

Warm Regards, -Pat

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The Oneness of God: It Isn’t Just Semantics.

Years ago, when our oldest child was going into his second grade school year, we made the decision to homeschool. We had previously been very pleased with his school, but during his first grade year, we began to see quite a bit of New Age material coming home in his daily parent packets.

In the state we lived at the time, every homeschool had to have an umbrella school that they were accountable to. The only umbrella school that we knew of at the time was a trinitarian based church school.

When we approached the principle of the school about homeschooling under their umbrella, I made sure to explain to him what we believed doctrinally. He listened patiently, and then said with a shrug, “No problem. It’s just semantics.”

Honestly, I didn’t even know what the word “semantics” meant at the time. I could tell from the flippant manner in which he tossed out the word that he wasn’t appreciating the difference between our two drastically different doctrinal viewpoints.

I could have taken the approach that said, Well, if it’s not a big deal to him, then it’s not a big deal to me. After all, my son would never actually be in a classroom setting with him.

Yet, it was very important to me. I would never have wanted him or anyone to think that I agree with the trinitarian doctrine, when the Oneness of God is the foundation of knowing God. Because of this, I wrote out on a piece of paper, briefly describing my belief in the Oneness doctrine, and signing and dating it for him to put in my son’s school file.

Trinity doctrine contends that the one God exists in three separate co-equal and co-eternal persons. There is no logic in this teaching. No matter how it is softened or rationalized or explained, three co-equal and co-eternal persons means three, not one.

Oneness doctrine contends that God is a Spirit. The Holy Spirit. The Eternal Spirit of God manifest Himself to the world in the body of the man, Jesus Christ. This is the INCARNATION. That man was the son. The son is not eternal. He had a beginning. He was the only begotten of the Father. After Jesus died, was resurrected, and ascended into Heaven, the same Holy Spirit of God that dwelled in Jesus, infills Believers today as the Holy Ghost. Three manifestations/roles/offices of God. Not three separate beings or persons.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

Why is it so important to understand the Oneness of God? As long as we believe in Him, love Him, and do our best to serve Him, isn’t that enough?

The first reason, I have mentioned. God’s Oneness is the foundation that He expects all other knowledge of Him to be built on. It is the first of all commandments, according to Moses’ and Jesus’ teaching. It is not our place to try to make God who we imagine Him to be. It is His prerogative to define Himself to us, not vice verse.

Secondly, just as in building a natural structure, if the foundation isn’t sure, every level that is built on it will be more and more structurally unsound. So it is with doctrine.

Where the trinity is taught, rarely are Jesus’ name baptism and the in filling of the Holy Ghost taught as a necessity to salvation. Even further removed from the unstable foundation of trinity doctrine is the subject of holiness.

On the contrary, where the Oneness of God is taught, you will almost certainly find the clear and biblical teaching of the New Birth as in Acts 2:38 -Repentance, Baptism in Jesus’ name, the infilling of the Holy Ghost, and a lifestyle of Holiness.

I now know that Semantics is the interpretation of language meanings. The principal was saying it didn’t matter what I believed, verses what he believed about God. That it was fine to interpret the godhead in whatever manner each of us chose to do so.

No, my friend.

All paths do not lead to the same destination. It matters what you believe about God. Click To Tweet

The Oneness of God isn’t just semantics. It is Truth.

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE HERE to my newsletter, and email me at pat@patvick.com

 

What Is The First Commandment Of All?

When Jesus was approached with this question, “What is the first commandment of all?” He didn’t hesitate to answer with complete clarity.

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:29-30)

Notice the red letters. This was Jesus, Himself, reiterating Moses’ teaching in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:”

Moses spoke this to the children of Israel just before they were to go in and take possession of the Promised Land. This was to be the bedrock, foundational commandment that all the others were grounded on.

The people were instructed to teach the commandments to their children at all times, especially this first and greatest commandment of the Oneness of God. They were to write it as a reminder everywhere, as frontlets between their eyes, and upon the posts of their houses, and gates. Everywhere. All the time.

One way the Jewish people followed through with this commandment was the use of the Mezuzah. It is a small rectangular box, ranging from simple to very ornate, which they attached, literally, to the door frames of their homes. Inside the Mezuzah are the scriptures, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, as a perpetual witness of the Oneness of the God of Israel.

A CONTINGENT BLESSING

“Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy 6:3)

Now, here we are in America, the most blessed land in the world other than the nation of Israel. The only other nation in the history of the world to be founded solely on the principles and commandments of the one, true living God. How can it be that the majority of people who proclaim Christianity today in America believe and teach the false doctrine of the trinity?

The Hebrews were given the Promised Land because its original inhabitants worshipped multiple so-called gods, making idols and bowing down in reference to a variety of imagined deities. The pure and unadulterated Truth of the Oneness of God was to be the foundation of His people.

Although you would be hard-pressed to find a church-going person in America today that would say they believe in three Gods, to believe the doctrine of the trinity is to believe the same doctrine that got the Canaanites evicted from their land.

WHAT IS THE ONENESS OF GOD?

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

God is a Spirit. He doesn’t HAVE a Spirit; He IS a Spirit. The Holy Spirit. A Spirit is invisible. God manifest (revealed) himself into the world in the body of the man Jesus Christ. Suddenly, He was visible, tangible, perceivable. Jesus was not the second person in a trinity of beings. He was and is the IMAGE of the invisible God.

Moses testified of it. The Mezuzah testifies of it. Jesus testifies of it, and Oneness Apostolic Pentecostals all over the world testify of it…

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE HERE to my newsletter, and email me at pat@patvick.com.

 

 

Carpe Diem! (Why does God speak to me in Latin?)

I woke early this morning with the phrase “Carpe Diem” in my head. It was my very first thought, before I was even awake enough to think. I rolled over and looked at the clock. It was a few minutes after 5:00 a.m. Six a.m. is my normal time to get up, so I stayed in bed another thirty minutes and got up at 5:30.

I went about my morning routine of making coffee, and settling into my library chair to read the Bible, pray and write. It was still before my 6:00 a.m. rising time.

My curiosity was in full sprint, so I opened my iPad and googled the phrase “Carpe Diem.” I had assumed the word Diem referred to God in some way, as in Deity. Not so. Turns out, Carpe Diem is Latin for “Seize the Day.”

So, very early in the morning, God woke me up by speaking the phrase, “Seize the day!” In Latin, no less. I was pretty amazed by this, and told Him so.

I continued with my morning routine of Bible reading, feeling quite fulfilled that I had already heard from the Lord. I was reading in Jeremiah chapter seven, when this happened.

“And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;” (Jer. 7:13)

And this…

“Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:” (Jer. 7:25)

From these scriptures, we can conclude that it is God’s Standard Operating Procedure to rise up early every day to speak to His people. Not that God sleeps, but we do. So, as the earth rotates, causing the sun to rise in each time zone, God begins to communicate with His people. He calls us personally, but we don’t hear or answer Him.

GOD, WHY WONT YOU SPEAK TO ME?
How many times have we asked God to speak to us? How many times have we longed to hear a word of direction or encouragement? Jeremiah 7:13 assures us that He is doing His part to communicate with us early every day. He is always talking, but we must be listening.

GOD, WHY WON’T YOU DO SOMETHING?
How many times have we asked the Lord to move on our behalf? To work in our present troublesome situation? Jeremiah 7:25 assures us that just as He set about every day to send His prophets to speak into the Children of Israel’s lives, He is setting events in motion daily for us. His Spirit is always moving and working on our behalf, but we don’t recognize the people or events that He sends our way.

CARPE DIEM!
Why Latin? God knows I don’t speak or understand Latin. Fact is, God is all about getting our attention. He knew my curiosity wouldn’t rest until I had figured out what my morning wake up call meant. He is much more interested in the mechanics of our lives than we give Him credit for, and is even willing to use unorthodox means to engage us in conversation. Just ask Jonah, or Balaam, or Peter.

GOD, WHY SO EARLY???
• Blessings can be missed if we don’t seek the Lord early in the day.
• God’s will can be delayed if we do not seek Him early.
• Our spiritual senses are most sensitive first thing in the morning.
• The unexpected always happens as the day progresses.
• God has always chosen to speak to His people early.
• If God wants to speak to us, do we need any other reason?

May your prayer life and walk with God rise to a new level of spiritual maturity as you SEIZE THE DAY.

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, SUBSCRIBE HERE to my newsletter, and email me at pat@patvick.com.

 

Three Things a Christian Must Learn To Harness

We all want to live productive lives. Lives full of meaning. Beneficial to our families, our communities, and to the Kingdom of God. Most of humanity goes through life hoping for this to be true, but we don’t have to leave it to chance.

If we are going to be all that God has called us to be, we must break free from the lackadaisical mindset of simply drifting through life. Do we really want to live from day to day just hoping for the best outcome? Surely not.

God has called each one of us to be victorious and productive for the Kingdom. There are three areas, if we learn to harness and redirect the energy from, we can expect to live more fully in our high calling for God.

TIME

We’ve all said it before, “There just isn’t enough time!”

We don't know the length of our lives, but we all have the same amount of time as it passes. Click To Tweet Sixty seconds in every minute. Sixty minutes in every hour. Twenty-four hours in every day. Three hundred sixty-five days in every year. Ten years in every decade. Ten decades in every century.

The question is, how do we spend it? What activities do we allow to consume our allotted time?

The more time we spend on one thing, the less time we have for others. Click To TweetEveryone needs down time to relax and refresh, even the occasional vacation to regroup with family. However, countless hours are wasted on a myriad of activities that do not play a meaningful part in our life’s purpose.

Think about how many hours, on average, you spend each day on things like television & movies, social media, hobbies, sports, and talking or texting on the phone. Be honest with yourself. Now, multiply those hours by 7, and multiply that total by 365. How many of your hours last year were spent on insignificance?

That number should be sobering. It represents time that can never be retrieved. It can never be used for anything else. It has already been spent.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

The psalmist understood that we are only allotted so many twenty-four hour periods, and we should use them wisely. We must harness the energy from time spent on frivolous pastimes, and focus it toward activities that will grow us spiritually, and benefit the Kingdom of God.

God expects us to anticipate and make a plan for our days. Click To Tweet

One way to do this is to refrain from time-stealing activities. Another, is to make a written plan for the next day, week, month, year, and decade. This plan can and will be altered as you go along, but will give you a starting point to a life full of purpose.

APPETITE

More. That is the nature of flesh. Always more. Rarely, will flesh say, “That’s enough.” Whether it is food, entertainment, sensual pleasures, or possessions, the flesh wants more.

Our flesh must be disciplined. It must be brought into submission to us, as we are in submission to the Spirit. God has given us fasting to teach our flesh to be satisfied, as well as to destroy every stronghold that controls us.

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)

Left to its own, flesh will bankrupt your soul. Click To Tweet

Every Christian should have a regular fasting day each week. If fasts are not scheduled, there will never be a convenient time. A good fasting goal to work toward is one day a week, three days a quarter, and seven days a year. Start small and consult with your physician on how to implement fasting while taking medications.

Along with fasting, another way to gain control of your appetite for more in every area of your life is to commit to live more simply. BECOMINGMINIMALIST.COM is a very helpful website to get you started.

THOUGHTS

Did you know that not every thought that comes through your mind is your own? The devil has perfected implanting his own thoughts into people’s minds. When a thought pops into your mind that is not in your nature to think, and doesn’t line up with the Word of God, it must be captured and restrained.

Countless people's lives have come to shipwreck over one thought that wasn't even their own. Click To TweetWe can’t just let our thoughts run wild and reek havoc. It is possible to take control of our thoughts before we think them.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8)

When we realize a thought has breached our filtering system, we must capture it immediately, and bring it into submission.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Use this process as many times as necessary to take control of your thoughts:

• Identify the rogue thought.
• Acknowledge that it does not line up with the Word and Spirit of God.
• Repent of thinking it.
• Refocus your thoughts by reading and speaking scriptures.
• Redirect your thoughts to productive and spiritually mature topics.

CONCLUSION

It will take effort, focus and consistency to harness the wasted energy consumed by our time, appetites and thoughts. The reward, however, will be so beneficial to our lives, and spiritual growth, that we will only regret not taking control of these areas sooner. You will find that it only takes a few, simple, consistent decisions to set your life on a course filled with productivity and purpose.

Warm Regards, -Pat

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Too Big

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

One evening, when my middle child was fifteen, he came up the basement stairs at a fast clip, very excited about something he had just seen. It seems he was shooting ball when he spotted a slim stream of ants coming from a small crevice beside the concrete court. The exodus was getting wider and longer. Going where? On a whim, he followed the little soldiers, and followed…and followed…

He told me how they marched on and on, making grand detours for no apparent reason, until they disappeared en masse into a miniature canyon in the field behind our house. He was so animated that I decided to see for myself.

He showed me where the small battalion trickled from the crack, and together we weaved in and out, round and round, to where thousands, perhaps millions, were vanishing beneath the earth. As we backtracked toward the house, I picked up a small stick and put it in their path. It was if they hardly even noticed the obstacle. We bent down so close that they should have felt our breath as we tried to corral them with the stick, and yet, they just kept on their detour-ridden journey.

In amazement, I said to my son, “We’re too big. They can’t even see us.”

There was a time when God was too big for us to see. Immense. Infinite. Immeasurable. He watched us on our hopeless journey, knowing that we were making it much more arduous than necessary. He intervened in the lives of mankind time after time, often coming so close that we should have felt His Breath through prophets, angels and theophanies.

Still, He remained too big for us to perceive, until the day that He became small. God became man. Suddenly, Visible. Tangible. Knowable.

If I could have stepped into that miniature world and taken on the form of an ant, they could have seen me. They could have perceived me. They could have come to know, trust and even love me. They could have understood I was working for their good.

But why would I do such a thing? Unimaginable. Unthinkable. Inconceivable. Yet, exactly what our omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent Creator did when…

God became small for me. (1 Timothy 3:16) Click To Tweet

Warm Regards, -Pat

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How Defining Words Defined My Life

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)

WORDS DEFINE BORDERS. From the beginning, it was God’s spoken Word that brought definition to the world as we know it. His Word defined the boundaries of the seas, and the frame of the mountains. Without His spoken Word, it would still remain without form and void.

Likewise, the spoken word defines our lives. Whether the literal Word of God, or a person simply speaking from their heart, spoken words define the parameters of our lives. With a simple word, you can cause someone’s life to be blessed and flourish, or to be cursed and wither.

With a word, you can cause someone's life to be blessed and flourish, or to be cursed and wither. Click To Tweet

There have been pivotal times in my life that words have been spoken to me that molded the course of my life. The people that spoke them didn’t realize they were defining the parameters of my life, or changing its outcome. They were simply speaking from their hearts.

POSITIVE WORDS BLESS. As a freshman in high school, I twirled a flag in the color guard. One day I spent a few minutes listening to and encouraging a fellow band member who was dealing with a life situation. This girl was several years older than me. We didn’t really have anything in common outside of the band room. I didn’t even play an instrument. It was simply an isolated encounter.

The band director noticed us chatting. Afterward, he came up to me and said, “Pat, you have the kind of personality that can relate to people in any social group.”

I don’t know if what he said was true before that day, but I do know that it became true from that day on. Throughout the rest of my high school years, and my life until now, I have never felt bound to any one exclusive social group. I have been able to interact and befriend people across multiple social barriers -age, financial, denomination. As a pastor’s wife, this gifting has served me well.

A similar incident happened years later, when a friend said to me, “Pat, you could minister to people in a palace or a mud hut.” Working alongside my husband in missions, I have often been appreciative of the reality these spoken words created in my life.

NEGATIVE WORDS CURSE. Words can also define the parameters of our lives in a negative way. I’ve always carried a song in my heart. I’m not sure that’s enough to make someone a singer, but I’ve always had a desire to let that melody out.

I had finally rallied the courage to sing in church…in front of real people. After service, several complimented my singing with kind words of encouragement. I knew my attempt had been less than stellar, due to a terrible case of nerves, and said so. A man in the congregation replied, “Well, we all can’t be good at everything.”

Looking back, I know this man truly thought he was being helpful, but I literally felt my world alter in that moment. Something shifted in the spirit realm. A rift was formed, a chasm that I’ve never been able to cross. Decades later, my throat stills swells closed in an anxiety attack when I try to sing in front of people.

IT’S NOT JUST MIND OVER MATTER. Spoken words create reality. Believing or disbelieving them is not enough to alter their effect. They are already at work the instant they are released. God’s Word didn’t require anyone to believe it for the Earth to be formed. Neither do our words have to be believed to create either a positive or negative reality.

WORDS ARE POWERFUL. Choose them wisely. Speak life.

I would love to hear your stories of how words defined your life in either a positive or negative way.

Warm Regards,

-Pat

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The Blessing of Committed Sheep

As a pastor’s wife, I wrestle with so many insecurities. In my twentieth year of fulfilling this role, I often feel less qualified for the responsibility than when I first embarked on this journey nearly two decades ago.

My mind goes back to the faces, precious faces, that have come and gone during that time. Some stayed for years, others for months, and some only for days…and I loved them all. Granted, some were easier to love than others, but in the end, my heart wrenched in agony when they left. Every. Single. Time.

Each one had issues. Relationships, health, finances, emotions, addictions, heartaches, strongholds, flesh. For the most part, I (along with my husband) was right in the middle of their situations -befriending, loving, advising, encouraging, teaching, defending, protecting, interceding. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to keep most of them.

Many have come through the church doors, and sat on its pews. They studied the Word, and prayed with us. They went on youth outings, and brought food to pitch ins. They all loved God and wanted to serve Him. They wanted to be part of the Church. They wanted to do right. They wanted to be faithful. They wanted to live holy. Yet, one by one, most went back to former lifestyles, habits and circles of influence.

Willpower isn’t enough to sustain your walk with God. Will power has its roots in the flesh, and eventually, all flesh will fail God. When I look into the faces of the precious sheep who have remained, I see the difference. Those who stayed were committed. Commitment has its roots in faith, and faith is very pleasing to God.

Willpower has its roots in the flesh, and eventually, all flesh will fail God. Click To Tweet Commitment has its roots in faith, and faith is very pleasing to God. Click To Tweet

Committed sheep are faithful. Faithful sheep are consistent. Consistent sheep are hungry. Hungry sheep are filled. Filled sheep are growing. Growing sheep are maturing. Mature sheep reproduce more sheep. This is the strength of the flock, as well as the strength of each individual.

A person who is committed will stand the test of time, with all of its trials, heartaches, frustrations, and disappointments. No matter what comes their way, they will be found sitting on the pew decades later, with a praise on their lips. Why? Because they made a decision years earlier based on commitment, not emotions or circumstances. In comparison, a person who only wants to live for God based on emotion, and not commitment, is likely to turn back as soon as he is faced with any temptation or offense.

There is often an unsaid expectation when people come to the Lord. Many assume that making the decision to live for God will solve all of their problems, and fix all of their issues. Trials, temptations and heartaches come to everyone, whether they are living for God or not. People are people, both inside and outside of the Church, with all of their various personalities and quirks. Life happens to every individual, born again, or not.

Running from God and His people is not the answer in difficult times. Sheep need the Good Shepherd. Sheep need other sheep. The enemy will lure weak individuals away from the flock by telling them that they have their own personal relationship with the Shepherd, so they can serve Him anywhere by themselves. Multitudes have fallen for this lie, and been picked off one by one, at the enemy’s discretion. God’s design for His sheep is for them to abide in the flock, and to rest securely in the sheepfold.

If you are a committed sheep, I applaud you. You are a strength and encouragement to your Pastor, Pastor’s Wife and the flock. If you are a sheep serving God out of emotion, I urge you to dig deep into your innermost being, and make the decision now, before hard times come, to live for God within the parameters of the flock and sheepfold He has chosen for you. If you are a sheep wandering aimlessly on your own, I beg you, come back and abide in the flock. The enemy of your soul is lurking just out of sight. The security of the sheepfold awaits. The Shepherd is calling, and the sheep will be happy to have you home.

Warm Regards,
-Pat

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