Preparations for Departure…

By Patrick Hawthorne

eternity

A very sobering thought occurred to me.  One day in the not too distant future – really, in the twinkle of an eye if we think about time as a whole – I will have to give an account of my life.  So will you.  It is a form of judgment for the believer. It is where we must stand before King Jesus and give an account of the life we lived.  Were we faithful stewards of what God gave us, or were we selfish and self serving? Ouch!

So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. (1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT bold/underline mine).

For the past couple of years, I have watched the Church – the Body of Jesus Christ as a whole – join in with the world in singing, “The World Done Me Wrong” blues.  We have harmonized quite nicely to where it is hard to tell whose voice is whose. Instead of singing the song of the redeemed, we have joined in the song of the dead.

So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please Him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NLT).

For us to lose something means that we must first have had something.  For us to be able to obtain a full reward means that a partial reward or no reward also exists.  Just for clarification,  I am not writing of loss of salvation for the believer but of loss of reward for not living our lives to the fullest for Jesus Christ.

Truthfully, the Body of Christ – for the most part – has become so ineffective in this day and age because we have become a bunch of touchy – feely spiritual wimps.   Gone are the days of us looking forward to eternity.  Our focus has been primarily on the here and now.  The problem with that is that it causes us to become spiritually short-sighted.  Consider the words of C.S. Lewis from his book “Mere Christianity.”

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

Let’s face an all too glaring fact.  The Church of today has become comfortable in the world here and now whereas the saints of old did not give a rip about this world.  Their focus was on the hereafter.  Their focus was rooted and grounded in the fact that they lived as though they were aliens on foreign soil operating under diplomatic immunity.  Their focus was was on King Jesus and to carry out His will.  Nothing else mattered.

The good news is that it is not too late for us to change our focus.  Let’s quit making excuses for why the Holy Spirit is not in full operation in our lives and ministries as it was in the earlier Church.  Let our prayers be the prayers of the saint’s of old.  “Lord, grant unto us that we may speak with boldness and that signs and wonders may be done in the name of Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ.”  Let us begin to focus on eternity.  Be blessed.

 

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Posted in Christian, teaching

A Little Saturday Morning “Pick-Me-Up!”

By Patrick Hawthorne

cup

 

 

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassion’s fail not. 

23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

 

Forget about yesterday.  Today is a brand new day.  Begin the day by asking your Heavenly Father to cleanse you of any wrong doing.  Let Him know about your desire to want to start this day fresh, clean, and pure before Him. He does not have a problem with that because His mercies and compassion are new every morning.

Have you done it?  Good, now go make yourself a big ole steaming cup of Java and ya’ll sit down and have a little chat about the day.  Be blessed y’all.

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Posted in Christian, snippet

Don’t Lose Your Balance!

By Patrick Hawthorne

8792d657080bcaed3ff4e223d771f993

I am writing this article with much pause.  I have to be careful because I know there are two sides to every road and both usually end up being a deep ditch.  One ditch leads to severe laziness within the church while the other leads to extreme works.

As I have written in the past, something that is good may not be particularly good for all.  For example, being called to pastor a church is a good thing.  However, stepping into the role of a pastor when one is called to be in a helps ministry is not a good thing. What defines something as good is relative to the situation.

Oswald Chambers wrote something very interesting in My Utmost for His Highest.  He wrote, “The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough.  The good is always the enemy of best.”

So often we make good choices in the name of the Lord.   By this I mean, we run here and run there…do this and do that for the glory of the Lord.  Yet, do we stop and ask the Lord if that is what He wanted?  In other words, is our “good” the enemy of His “best” for us?

Now, I am going to tell off on myself.  I am one who is inclined to drift towards the ditch of laziness within the Church.  To be honest, I could easily become a social hermit living with minimal people interaction.  I have always been wired that way and struggle often with getting out of my comfort zone.

Some, on the other hand, are social butterflies flitting here, there, and yonder.  These are the ones who tend to drift towards the other ditch of extreme works. Often, they begin their race with great gusto and excitement only to come crashing hard to the ground as they trip over one of life’s little hurdles.

Ultimately each of us must find the right balance so that we neither become “Lazy unto the Lord,” or “Over stressed and over stretched unto the Lord.”  We do this by seeking the Lord and determining what is His best versus what is our good.  As we do, He either instructs us to add to or take away from those things that keep us weak on the Vine.  Be blessed.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10”38-42 ESV

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Problems of Life

By Patrick Hawthorne

What Do You Do With a Problem

Book Written by Kobi Yamada and Illustrated by Mac Besom

A couple of weeks ago I read a book.  Ok, it was child’s book but it was hard backed so that should give me half a book credit.  Anyway, I was in an outside lobby of a business waiting to go into a meeting when I spied a book titled, “What Do You Do with a Problem?”  Being more interested in the cover and its artistry, I picked up the book and began to flip through the pages.  Instantly, I was sucked into the world of imagination as I took a journey with a small boy in his effort to deal with a problem.

The problem, unknown as to its nature, appeared as a dark cloud following the boy.  Seeing the problem following his every move, the boy fretted and fumed, fussed and worried.  Yet, the more he worried and fretted, the bigger the problem became.

One day, the boy had enough.  Determined to face the problem head on, the boy went into his workshop where he cleverly devised a plan to enter the heart of the problem.  With plan in hand, the boy dove head long into his nemesis.  He was going to conquer it no matter what it took.

Reaching the heart of the problem, an amazing thing happened.  Instead of the big ugly monster he was certain he would find, the boy found something much different.  Actually, it was not a monster at all.  What suddenly lay before him was world of possibilities and opportunity.

Closing the book, I began to ponder its contents.  Immediately a question came to my mind.  “What has anyone ever gained by worrying?”  Better yet, how many times have I lay awake worrying about something only to find out that it did not play out as I expected?

Worry is the opposite – the reciprocal – of faith.  They are both equal in balance on a scale.  The more you move to one side or the other, the more the scale is tipped.  If faith pleases God, does it not make sense that worry causes Him displeasure?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV bold mine)

Think about this the next time you are tempted to worry.  Remember, it is just as easy to have faith as it is to worry.  It’s just a matter of what you practice the most.  And besides, who wants to be known as a “Worry Giant,” when you can instead be a, “Faith Giant.”  Be blessed.

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Posted in Christian, story, teaching

A World Gone Mad!

By Patrick Hawthorne

lawlessness

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 NIV)

A storm is on the horizon.  Can you feel it?  I can.  It is the feeling of an all-consuming evil, thick and vile, slowly consuming every inch of this world like a heavy black ooze.  It is a sense of lawlessness; a “Me and Mine” mentality.

I don’t like this message.  It is not pleasant.  Nevertheless, it is one of importance.

We try to denounce this evil.  We cry out against it in public, from our church buildings, from our work places, from our writings; yet not many seem to hear – not many seem to care.  Why?  Has the world gone mad?  Has the world lost its mind?  The truth is so obvious, yet so many seem to have blinders fixed over their eyes.  Common sense is not common anymore.  What is going on?

Could it be that the stage is being set for the final act before the revealing of the man of lawlessness spoken of in the Word? Are the main actors taking their position before the final raising of the curtain?

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:9-12).

The truth is that some people just do not want to be saved.  Many have chosen to become worthless in their thinking.  With pointless reasoning and silly speculation, they have allowed their hearts to become hardened and darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they have become as fools. (Based off Romans 1:21-22.) They are their own gods.  Having hardened their hearts to the Living God and His righteousness in lieu of unrighteous deception, they – like pigs – are allowed to roll in the muck of their own folly.

“And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”

Now, more than ever, I understand the words of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:6, “And now you know what is restraining…”  It is you.  It is me.  The body of Jesus Christ is the restrainer who is holding back the man of lawlessness from coming into full power.  How are we doing this?  By standing…And when we have done all, we stand even the more.  Don’t lose hope.  Don’t lose faith.  Do not fear.  Jesus said these things must happen before His glorious return.  Trust in the One who is able to keep you safe from stumbling, and cause you to stand in the presence of His glory free from blemish and full of exultant joy.  (Jude 1:24.)

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up – stand tall upon your feet – and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28 NKJV.)

Can you feel it?  I can.  Jesus is coming back soon.  Be blessed.

 

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Has the Separation Begun?

By Patrick Hawthorne

wheat

A passage that has always troubled me is Ephesians 5:27 which reads, “…that He (Jesus) might present her (the Church) to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”  While the “what” of the verse is self-explanatory, the “how,” of the verse is not.  How will the Church – the Body of Christ Jesus – be without spot or blemish?  It’s obvious that the Church has some serious issues that need dealing with, but how will the Lord deal with these issues prior to His return?

Lately, the Lord has been revealing things to me about the Church so that I might pray more effectively.  One way was through a vision while in prayer, A Body Out of Alignment.  Another way was through the Word, Storm On the Horizon . This latest has come through a conversation with my mom.  As a side note, never discount nor limit the way in which the Holy Spirit may speak to you.

As I was speaking with my mother about this burden to pray and write concerning the Church she said to me, and I paraphrase, “Did you know that the spots and blemishes of the Church are people?”  Of course I asked her to explain.  “Yes,” she said, “Look at 2 Peter 2:13 and you will see that the spots and blemishes are those within the Church who appear to be part of the Body but practice wickedness and deception.”  Naturally, my curiosity was peaked.

At the first opportune moment I went to those verses.  Sure enough 2 Peter 2:12-13 read, “But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, (2 Peter 2:12-13 NKJV bold/underline mine).

The spots and blemishes written of are church members.  These are they who live two lives; one life is in the church and the other is in the world. Suddenly things were making sense.

As I previously wrote, I believe we are in the season of the last of the last days.  I don’t know how much longer till Jesus returns but all indications reveal that we are close.  Could it be that the prophecy of Malachi 3:16-18 may occur prior to His return?  Could it be that the separation of the wheat from the tares within the Church has already begun?  Maybe… Be blessed.

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels.  And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”18 Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.  (Malachi 3:16-18 NKJV bold/underline mine)

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Storm On the Horizon

By Patrick Hawthorne

 

 storm

“Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 12:42 NKJV)

It is with a mixture of both joy and sadness that the Lord has placed the burden for the Church – the Body of Jesus Christ – on my heart.  Joy, because it is an honor to pray for the Church as a whole; sadness, because I see many of the failures of the Church.

In my last post, A Body Out of Alignment, I wrote about a brief vision of seeing two massive cog wheels fighting against one another, causing massive amounts of destruction.  I believe the Lord was showing me that the Church – the Body as a whole and within each community – is out of alignment.  As a result of this misalignment, many are becoming discouraged in their walk with the Lord and are exiting the Church.

Yesterday, October 8th, 2017, as I was reading the Bible, John 12:42 leapt off the pages.  “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, BUT because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.

There are many who believe in Jesus but because of denominational pressures, peer pressure, or plain disobedience, are denying the power, the unction, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Out of fear of being put out of their community church or being removed from a current position, many are opting to follow after a religious idol rather than allowing God to have rule and reign over their hearts.  Like the Israelite’s out of Egypt, they dance around the golden calf of self while claiming their love for the Lord.

I truly believe that we are living in the last of the last days.  I am not so foolish as to set dates for the return of our Lord Jesus.  However, I am a season setter and I truly believe that season is upon us.  The time for walking the fence is over.  If you feel the unction of the Holy Spirit to move in a different direction and you have not obeyed, take this post as a wake-up call.  It is not by mistake that you are reading it.

The time to throw out the anchor so that it may catch is before the storm hits.  Make no mistake, a storm is on the horizon and it is terrible.  Do not be as those who try to play catch up after the storm hits.  Be quick to be obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow His leading.  Be blessed.

 

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