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

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

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

As always, feel free to leave a comment, email me at pat@patvick.com, and SUBSCRIBE HERE to my mailing list.

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

As always, feel free to leave a comment, share to social media, email me at pat@patvick.com, and subscribe here to my mailing list.

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

Sign up here to receive email notices of new posts and the occasional newsletter from patvick.com, where I blog and vlog about all things Apostolic.


Do All Speak With Tongues?

Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. Hopefully, you can ignore the angry looking face in the still shot. LOL! This is my first attempt at posting a video here, as well as on YouTube. I’ll get better at it.

Do All Speak With Tongues?
1 Corinthians 12:12-31

In this lesson, I explain the difference between speaking in tongues when you initially receive the Holy Ghost, compared to when you have the gift of tongues and interpretation.

Four Reasons People Are Afraid To Be Alone Inside Their Own Heads

 

Photo Credit: Rusty Russ Flickr via Compfight cc

It concerns me when I see someone who refuses to cease from their hectic lifestyle for even a short time to be still and quiet. Whether it’s an overwhelmed mom, an overachieving businessman, an overzealous teenager, or an overburdened Christian, the reason is usually the same, fear.

1. FEAR OF FACING THEMSELVES
Aloneness and loneliness are different states of being. I’ve spent a lot of time alone through the years, but rarely have I been lonely. I like the person that lives inside my head. I’ve made peace with her. I like the the way she thinks. I like her value system.

Most people don’t want to take the time to get to know themselves. Perhaps they are afraid of who they will find. If you don’t enjoy spending time with yourself, why would anyone else?

It’s a very intimate experience to meet yourself face to face. A very productive and telling exercise is simply to pretend you are meeting yourself for the first time. Look at yourself. Are you approachable? Are you trustworthy? Are you sincere? Do you have depth of character? Do you express yourself well in conversation? Do you manifest the Fruit of the Spirit? Do you add value to relationships? Being honest with yourself about yourself is the starting point to overcome the fear of facing yourself.

2. FEAR OF FACING THEIR PAST
Perhaps you have done things in your past that you are ashamed of. Even though the enemy of your soul wants you to believe that you have sinned in a way that is different or worse than the rest of humanity, Romans 3:23 declares, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Satan knows if he can make you feel condemnation, he can keep you from approaching God in repentance. 1 John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The devil is a liar. Yes, your past may be filled with unimaginable sin so dark that you keep living faster and faster to outrun it. If you want peace, you must stop, turn around, and face it head on. You must confess it to the Lord, repent of it, and change your way of living.

Another part of facing your past is to make things right, not only between you and God, but also between you and whomever you may have wronged. This may not always be possible, but to the best of your ability you should ask forgiveness, restore and rebuild trust as you are able.

3. FEAR OF FACING GOD
Another reason people are afraid to get quiet and go inside their own head is because God is there. In every single person who has ever lived, God has put an awareness of Himself. A person may not be a Christian or even have any knowledge of God personally, but there is a drawing to know Him. A perpetual rapping at the door of the soul. The sound can be drowned out by large living, but in the quiet, it refuses to be unheard.

Understandably, coming face to face with the Creator of Heaven and Earth is an overwhelming thought. However, King David got it right when he wrote, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” (Psalm 139:7-8)

The Living God is:
Omnipotent-All Powerful.
It does no good to fight against Him.

Omniscient-All Knowing.
It does no good to avoid speaking to Him.

Omnipresent-All places present; no place absent.
It does no good to run from Him. He’s already there.

4. FEAR OF FACING THE FUTURE
Many are fearful of their future because they know it will be dictated by choices in their past, hence, the need for repentance. We may have to live with certain consequences of past sin, but that doesn’t mean we can’t face the future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 assures us of God’s intentions toward us, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

*Notice that these four fears are progressive. To whatever extent you make or do not make peace with yourself, you will be able to make or not make that much peace with your past, with God, and with your future.

Warm Regards, -Pat

As always, please feel free to leave a comment, email me at pat@patvick.com and SUBSCRIBE to my mailing list.

Program Your Brain With Divine Data

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

(Psalm 119:11)

Did you know that the computer inside your smart phone would barely fit in a room a few decades ago? This generation literally holds in their hands more computer power than it took to send a man to the moon. Is the “smart” phone truly smart? No. Someone had to program it, and that initial data came from the depths of the human brain.

The human brain is an amazing organ. A super computer, really. Think, right now, of all the things you know. Let me get you started. Begin by thinking of every person’s birthday that you can recall. Husband, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, friends, church family, co-workers, childhood playmates, teammates, celebrities, historical figures, a few beloved pets. How many would you say that you can remember? Between thirty and fifty is reasonable to assume.

Now think about all the addresses and telephone numbers you know. I’ll admit the number of telephone numbers is most likely significantly lower than a decade ago because we all have them programmed into our “smart” phones. This doesn’t reflect our lack of recall ability, but the agenda of “dumbing down” our generation. What about all the sports statistics filed away in your head? Or recipes? Or song lyrics? We are capable of learning, cataloging and recalling vast amounts of information, but that data must first be put into our brains.

I remind myself of this when I am tempted to pass on reading the Word of God. Our brains don’t come preprogrammed with scripture. If it’s not put in, it can’t be recalled. We have the Bible available to us in so many forms that it’s easy to take it for granted. We think that it will always be available when we decide to read it.

Throughout our lives, we will find ourselves in situations that we desperately need a scripture for comfort, for courage, for protection, for wisdom, for healing, for faith. In that moment of need, what will we be able to remember from the Word of God? Bits and pieces of scriptures that a dear old saint use to quote? A line from an old hymn or a catchy phrase from a praise chorus? The echo of a grandparent’s prayer?

While all of these are encouraging for a while, personal need requires personal knowledge. There’s nothing like facing a situation, praying for the Lord’s help and having scriptures begin to flood your mind. Scriptures that you have personally read at some point in your life that you thought you could never remember and would never need. What assurance! What power!

This is why I read three to four chapters of the Word of God every day. Day after day, month after month, year after year. I’m simply programming my super computer brain with Divine Data. If you do this, you will be amazed over and over at how much of the Word you have filed away to be recalled when you need it. Don’t wait. Start programming your super computer today!

POINTS TO PONDER

Do you read the Word of God every day?

How do you feel if you miss a day?

Share a situation when a scripture came to your mind and brought you comfort or direction.

~~~~~

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

Warm Regards,

~Pat~

THE WORD OF GOD: Is It In You?

The world and satan would have you believe that the Word of God cannot be understood -that it’s a mystery. While it’s true that the Bible does contain many mysteries, God wants you to understand His Word. Why would He speak it in the first place if He didn’t want you to hear it? Why would He commission it to be written if He didn’t want you to read it? Why would He allow it to be protected through millennia of time, bound and reproduced if He didn’t want you to study it?

The true mystery might be why does satan NOT want you to understand God’s Word? Why indeed? Could it be because God and His Word are inseparable? Could it be that to know God’s Word is to know God Himself? Could it be that to know God is to know His Plan? Could it be that to know God’s Plan is to know that satan will be defeated and that God’s people will be victorious in the end? Mystery solved.

So you want to draw closer to God? If so, you must get His Word in you. There have been generations of people who have lived and died, never having the opportunity to study God’s Word for themselves. That’s certainly not the case for our generation, at least generally speaking. There are Bibles in every bookstore, library, and hotel room. They are collecting dust on family coffee tables and office bookshelves. There are Bible apps for every device and multiple devices at once. There are video and audio Bibles for the non readers, and Braille Bibles for the seeing impaired. They are uploadable, downloadable, programmable, digital, and my personal favorite, the old school, leather bound, paper edition. Truly, we have no excuse not to read God’s Word.

I have decided that I’m going to get God’s Word in me in as many ways possible. I’m also going to make it a number one priority each day. First thing each morning, usually at 6:00 a.m., I sit down in my library with my coffee. I have my old school King James Bible and my GoBible Traveler. I listen and read three to four chapters, picking up where I left off the day before. In this way, I can read/listen through the whole Bible in a year. Listening and reading simultaneously helps me to focus more clearly and retain more of what I read.

This way of ingesting the Word is not sufficient for in-depth study, however. I also have a system of study that I follow most days where I choose a book of the Bible and work my way through each chapter verse by verse. Currently, I am in the Book of Acts. I usually cover about a chapter a week, using a concordance to break down the meanings of each word and taking notes with multi-colored pens in a spiral notebook as I go. It’s not uncommon to collect four to five pages of supporting notes on one or two verses as I spin off studying various subtopics and running references.

These handwritten notes are tangible proof that I have been in God’s Word, and are the seedbed for many teaching points. This is a slooow process, but that’s okay. I don’t have to be in any rush. Unlike the previous year-long Bible reading method, this verse by verse study will take me a lifetime. Coincidentally, that is exactly how long I have.

I also take opportunities when I am walking on the treadmill, riding in a car or flying on a plane to listen to scripture. No moment is ever wasted if it’s used to ingest God’s Word.

Is it in you?

POINTS TO PONDER

How do YOU get the Word of God in you?

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

Warm Regards,

-Pat

Seven Days And Counting…

Here we are, seven days from the election that will forever change our American story. It reminds me of Noah’s story. He worked steadily for over one hundred years, following specific instructions from God, to build a boat for the saving of whosoever would get on board. Whether or not anyone believed Noah’s crazy sounding preaching didn’t change the fact that a flood was coming, and nothing would ever be the same again. To believe or not only affected whether that individual or family would be saved from the sure and soon coming deluge.

Even though God is a God of judgement, He is also a God of mercy. This doesn’t mean He will not judge our sin. It means that He will continue to give opportunity to turn away from sin and to Him up to the end. This was the case for Noah’s generation. God gave Noah a seven day final warning:

“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” (Genesis 7:4)

Noah and his family had seven days to finalize last minute preparations before the divinely appointed day when the rain would begin.

“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” (Genesis 7:11)

Scripture doesn’t give us any indication that it began with a sprinkle and splatter of warning raindrops. God’s Word was the warning.

In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;” (Genesis 7:13)

“And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.” (Genesis 7:16)

After the seven days of warning, on the same day that Noah’s family entered into the ark, the Lord shut the massive door, and the windows of heaven were opened and rain began to fall in torrents. There was no more opportunity for mercy after God shut the door. After a hundred years of hearing the preached Word, and seven days of final warning, only Noah and his family were on board when the door was shut and the rain began to fall.

So, here we are seven days from the election that will forever change our American story. No matter which candidate wins, it will cause a shift in the spiritual realm. I believe when this election takes place, a spiritual door will be shut by God Himself.

Am I saying you won’t have another chance to get right with God after the election? No. That’s not for me to know. I’m saying that God, in His mercy, is tugging at your heart right now, and it’s high time to get in the ark of safety. Seven days and counting…

“And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man…” (Genesis 6:3)

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

Warm Regards,

-Pat