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

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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.

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

Start Here: True Repentance

When he was a little boy, we were trying to teach our youngest son, Caleb, to say, “I’m sorry” when he did something wrong. This became a very eventful series of lessons because as he was trying to conquer this new level of manners, he would spontaneously go up to his older brother, Logan, punch him on whatever body part was most accessible, and then yell, “SORRY!”

Over and over this would happen because in Caleb’s mind, he was learning the correct usage of a new word. His parents, however, (and his big brother) wanted him to feel the word. We wanted him to feel the conviction, the remorse, the contrition and the humbleness that true repentance brings. We wanted him to actually be sorry, not to just say sorry. We also wanted him to stop doing the thing that he was continually having to be sorry for, and especially not to pre-meditate the act. Lots to learn here.

True Repentance Is The Death of Self.

In repentance, we associate ourselves with Jesus’ death. Jesus was God in flesh. We often focus on Him being God, but not so much on him being flesh. He was a man who felt desires, temptations, emotions and distractions, having to make the daily decision of whether to follow the leading of the Spirit of God that dwelled in him, or to cater to the flesh in which he was clothed.

It is no different for us today. Regardless of the trial, temptation, addiction or emotion, we must follow Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:39 says he, “fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

True Repentance Is Brokenness.

Pride cannot repent. Arrogance cannot be humble. If we desire God’s forgiveness, then we must allow His Spirit access to our hearts. We must allow ourselves to be broken in His Presence. Repentance is not a simple, “I’m sorry”. It is an honesty before God. It is an opening up and a purging out. It is an awareness of His Holiness and our smallness. It is seeing ourselves in the light of His Word. It is crying out like King David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23)

True Repentance Is A Turning Away.

To continue to do a thing that you know is wrong, and ask God to forgive you, knowing that you will do that thing again if given the opportunity, is not true repentance. To pre-meditate on doing a thing, planning ahead of time to ask God to forgive you, is not true repentance. True repentance is a conscious decision to turn away from sin and live a life that is pleasing before God. After a person takes that initial step, a lifetime of commitment should follow. You might be wondering how it is possible to live from this point on without sinning. Jesus did, while living in a body just like yours. Hebrews 4:14 says He, “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

What if I slip up? What if I make a mistake? I have great news for you! Jesus, our wonderful Savior, is full of mercy and compassion. His greatest desire is to bring us into, and keep us in, a saving relationship with Him. The Apostle John says in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” We all make mistakes. Just remember that making a mistake is not the same as willful sin. God knows the very thoughts and intents of our hearts. Repentance should be a regular occurrence in our lives, not a one time thing. The Apostle Paul explained it best when he proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.”

True Repentance Is The Christian Way.

No matter who you are or what you have done, good or bad, a repentant heart is essential to your salvation. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:30)

Let’s be honest with ourselves and God. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) We have His assurance that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

No matter where you’ve been, where you are now, or where you want to go on your journey with Christ, repentance is the starting place to moving forward in that relationship.