DAILY DEVOTIONAL: DON’T BITE

“A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression” – Proverbs 19:11
 
We learn, the hard way or the easy way, that every time somebody says something or does something ignorant, a response is not necessary.
 
We’ve all been in a situation, sometimes in our own house, when we wanted to clap back, strike back or tell somebody off — after all, they gave us the scissors to cut them when they opened their mouth…(Proverbs 18:6).
 
The truth is, when we bite or get sucked into tongue fights every time somebody says something ignorant, rude or foolish, we have to leave our peace to, “get them back.” To cut them, we have to literally suspend all thoughts about any and everything else we could be thinking about to go run them down and give them a piece of our mind (Philippians 4:8).
 
Put This In Your Spirit: The bible says, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). When folks come for you, they either don’t know you or they know you well enough to know that their behavior is going to provoke you. Either way, the goal is the same — to get you to bite, clap back or to act up. What you do next is either going to cause them to win or cause them to recognize that they don’t have that much power over you.
 
Anybody that says putting somebody in their place who gets out of line is not tempting, is a liar. It’s tempting because we, in that moment, believe we’re defending our honor, our intelligence or our rights. Sometimes we are, and sometimes a response is necessary but the key is, only the right response is going to make a difference.
 
See, it’s one thing to cuss somebody out or go off, it’s another thing to make a difference. The bible put it this way, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). It’s not what we say, it’s how we say it that not only determines if it makes a difference but also if we have to leave our post to make it.
 
When they, them or that causes us to act ignorant, act up, act a fool, go off, erupt or just plain slice and dice like the best of them, ultimately all we really did was show somebody that our power can be cheaply rented by foolery.  When we burn down our emotional house to get back at somebody, we might have, “got them,” but we have to go back to emotional ashes.
 
When the bible says, “Anger but sin not,” it’s talking about saying it without leaving our post. Our post is our power, our character, our intelligence, our peace. If and when we have to respond, we decide if that response is going to be powerful or pitiful (Proverbs 14:17, 14:29).
 
Personal power, purposeful responses, intentional words are more effective than a simple tongue beating. It’s one thing to throw wood on the fire, it’s another thing to put the fire out, shut them down or leave them with nothing to respond to. A foolish conversation needs your words to keep it going — they need you to give up your power and step into their world of crazy.
 
It does not matter whether the person is a stranger, a relative or a spouse, ignorant conversations don’t solve anything. They have one purpose: make the other person bleed. If you keep it up, especially with a spouse or a relative, the relationship will become a constant boxing ring and eventually, love will leave the building. You cannot keep cutting people you love and expect them to be the same or to stay (Proverbs 27:5-6).
 
Head check. If the conversation pushes your button, it’s the spirit of strife operating through them, or it, to pull you away from your post. You always have a decision to make — play with the devil or shut the devil down with power. Walk away or use words that prevent you from walking away from your character. This takes practice, thought, and more practice, especially if you enjoy cutting people or are easily provoked to anger. 
 
I’m not saying that there won’t be times when we have to turn over some tables like Christ did, I’m saying that when we know how beautiful we are when we walk in power, talk with power, foolery will loose it’s ability to be a remote control for our character.  Power is bad, it cannot be mistaken for foolery, it’s always intentional, it shows out without acting up, and it is never purchased cheap.
 
Make it powerful, not messy.
 
 
 
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Together we can reach more and do more! Through the financial support of friends and partners, FAITHHILL is on a mission to impact, teach and transform lives in community and around the world.  Thank you for believing in God’s vision.
 
 
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ACTIVATE YOUR DO NOT CARE SPIRIT

We have to stop letting people who do so little for our life have so much control over our emotions. We tend to give out power to non-factors more than we do thoughts and people that support our greatness.
 
We put valuable emotions into opinions that don’t matter, and most of the time, they don’t even come from people who mean us any good. Look back over the troubles that God brought you through, then look at the people who supported you when you went through. It’s amazing that the people who sit in our bleachers, who have never walked a mile in our valley, can be given power that they haven’t even earned.
 
We have to build faith wealth. Faith that is too expensive for foolery. Faith that does not offer discount access to peace or care what people think who think above their pay grade. Faith wealth that is guarded and kept out of the reach of emotional vampires.
 
This is your season for activating your do not care spirit. If it does not promote you, grow you, inspire you or feed you, activate your do not care spirit. You cannot carry garbage and stay in peace. You cannot make a home for drama and stay in your right mind. You cannot let negative people and their opinions live in your head rent free.
 
It’s time for spring cleaning. Start fresh, start anew, start your next chapter of not caring about what does not support your greatness or give God the glory.  A friend to your weakness is an enemy to your grace, Godliness and greatness.
 
Put This In Your Spirit: It’s called self-esteem not others-esteem for a reason. God is a jealous God, and He said that we cannot serve two masters. When it comes to the opinion that matters in your life, if it contradicts God’s opinion, you must delete it — don’t keep it and worship it.
 
After you live long enough, go through enough, have seen enough, you know that it is impossible to walk in victory by holding on to thoughts or people who belong in your history. Family included. Love is not defined by distance, love is defined by sincerity — some people have to be loved sincerely far enough away from you to prevent them from hurting you.
 
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
 
When you stop caring, folks will say you’re acting funny.  Folks will think and say, you’re acting like you’re too good.  Nobody who supports your greatness will have a problem with you creating boundaries that support your greatness.
 
“Pay attention when people react with anger and hostility to your boundaries.  You have found the edge where their respect for you ends.”
 
A do not care spirit is not a selfish or negative attitude.  It’s an attitude that steps aside and lets anything or anybody pass that does not belong in your head, your life or God’s plans for walking in victory. You have to stop feeling guilty for wanting to be healthy. This is your personal circle, and you get to decide who’s in it.
 
Walking in victory requires some tough decisions.  Regularly.  Personal power is costly.  You will give up some people to be your best self.  You will grow out of people, places and conversations when you’re growing faith wealth.  Your tastes will change, your expectations will change and your walk with God will change when you choose power over mess.
 
It’s your time.  You’ve earned this.  Go now and start spring cleaning.  You’ve got to make room to be great.
 
 
 
 
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Together we can reach more and do more! Through the financial support of friends and partners, FAITHHILL is on a mission to impact, teach and transform lives in community and around the world.  Thank you for believing in God’s vision.
 
 
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TAKE THE WEIGHT OFF YOUR WAIT ON GOD

 
Don’t you just want to scream sometimes when you know God is going to do it but the wait is killing you?  We all go through this and if we keep on living, we’ll go through it again.
 
Have you noticed waiting on God is the only time that we feel the weight of our faith?  Faith under pressure is the condition that challenges us to trust God on a new level, to walk in peace even though we’re in pieces.
 
I remember a time when I was in God’s waiting room and everything that could go wrong went wrong.  Everything that was supposed to go right went wrong.  The longer I waited, the more stuff seemed to go wrong.  If you’ve ever been in that position, or maybe you are now, you know that keeping your sanity is a job all by itself.  After I put down the weight, I thought to myself, “If God is real, this has to be a setup.”  The fact that we’re in the waiting room is evidence that it is a setup.  God said, “All things work together for the good.” That means all!
 
It’s hard to see a setup when emotions are hot, when we’re stressed up and borderline desperate.  When it has to happen on our schedule, when it has to go the way we planned it, when it has to do what we want it to do or they have to do what we want them to do when we want them to do it, the wait is 10 times worse.  Eventually, we realize or God forces us to understand, no amount of worry, no amount of tears, no amount frustration, no amount of anger will make God do anything.  Only faith and work can do that (Hebrews 11:6).
 
Put This In Your Spirit: The thing you’re waiting on is the very thing that God is going to use to grow you with.  When you’re waiting on God, God is growing you in an area that almost always hinders you from walking in peace when you’re going through the  process.
 
God’s waiting room is always about preparation.  Even when the deadline is coming, or passed, it’s always about preparation.  Even when we think the worse is going to happen, or is already happening, it’s still about preparation.
 
When we’re in God’s waiting room, it’s never about what we’re waiting for, it’s about what God is waiting for.  What God is waiting on to grow inside of us.  There is nothing wrong with putting a timer on a blessing or a breakthrough, as long as we don’t forget these 3 things:
 
  1. We’re never waiting on God to do something, we’re growing to what God has already done. (Psalm 139:16)
  2. God does not work on our schedule.  He works things together for the good when the time is good. (Romans 8:28)  
  3. God is not working on what we want, God is working on what we need — the two can be the same but the fact that we’re in the waiting room says that what we wanted or when we wanted does not lined up with God’s plans. (Philippians 4:19)
 
Remember the bible says, “Be anxious for nothing…”  This is not always easy to do and the harder it is for us to do it, the longer the wait will be.  “Be anxious for nothing,” doesn’t mean don’t do anything while you’re waiting, it just means that trust in God has to go up in order for our focus to stay on our peace rather than on God’s timing.
 
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
 
If you’re in God’s waiting room, no matter how long or no matter what for, focus on keeping your peace while you keep walking.  The bible says, “…And hope will never make us ashamed,” so as long as we hope right, walk right and wait right, God will make everything turn out right.  Stay focused, talk to yourself, encourage yourself, you got this!
 
 
 
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Together we can reach more and do more! Through the financial support of friends and partners, FAITHHILL is on a mission to impact, teach and transform lives in community and around the world.  Thank you for believing in God’s vision.
 
 
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YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS STRUGGLING BECAUSE…

Everybody in a relationship should keep this posted in plain sight: “Of course we experience relationship struggles, becoming one can and will be a struggle.”  
 
Relationships that believe otherwise are doomed to sink in the quicksand of unrealistic expectations.  It might survive but love will be a recess between the hell.  What makes us all, Christians, have to deal with relationship struggle with purposeful intent is that we know that God did not put us on this earth or in a relationship to suffer (Jeremiah 29:11).
 
The devil wants you to play emotional ping pong with hurt and to keep wounding each other with friendly fire.  Here it, the devil is at the center of mess.  When I say the devil, I’m not talking about the spooky, I’m talking about familiar spirits.
 
Familiar spirits activate familiar, toxic behavior.  You’re sitting in the relationship, you’re going back and forth over a problem but you’re talking about everything except the problem.  You’re talking about what they did and why you did what you did, and on and on, knowing good and well you’re not solving anything. 
 
Put This In Your Spirit: You cannot solve any problem by fixing a symptom.  A symptom is the result of the problem, not the underlying problem or root.  Problem solving is for grown people.  You know like I know that kids fight without any intent of solving anything — they haven’t emotionally matured to this level, that’s why we call it tantrum.  
 
When relationships waste time throwing tantrums, revisiting and rehashing symptoms, staying in old feelings instead of healing feelings, you have a mess on your hands that messes relationships up. We’ve all been there.  Don’t look at the grass next door, it’s only green because they’ve done their work. They did the work if the grass is not artificial.
  
Most of us have heard, “Do your work.”  But most of us don’t learn how to do the work until we lose the job.  Lose the love, lose the relationship.  Familiar spirits activate emotional demons, dysfunction and feelings that keep us from doing our work. Everybody has to agree to cut the mess out if you’re going to put the devil out. 
 
Familiar spirits are the enemy of love.  They speak into the problem to bait ego, pride and, unrealistic, unhealthy and even fantasy emotions that deceptively justify tantrums and division.  Doing the work is a decision that can only be made after agreeng that the love you signed up for is the love that you’re going to fight for.
 
The bible says, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2).  Don’t do another thing until you write the love vision down and make it plain. Not a thing. Did you hear the point and purpose of this scripture: “So he may run who reads it.”  You cannot run without knowing where you’re going.
 
The recovery, the healing, the restoration is not possible unless there is a vision that all minds, emotions and intentions agree to (Amos 3:3).  Getting and using the tools, resources or whatever is takes to run in the direction of the vision is what love has to do to love on purpose.  You cannot have an outcome that requires two people if only one person is working or both people aren’t working towards the same goal.  Write the vision and make it plain, then be clear that everybody is on board and ready to die to self for the cause of love.
 
Is it ever easy? No. But if you’re with the right one, the one God assigned to you, all things are possible. It takes commitment, vision and complete and total surrender to your goal of having the best love daily. It takes abiding in the Holy Spirit and a dedication to casting down all contrary spirits, emotions and thoughts that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  
 
Don’t let anybody tell you that great love does not require great work and — The ability to forgive, to be vulnerable, to extend grace, to move past the past, to shut down familiar spirits, to prioritize actions that produce healthy love, and the ability to love the love of your life even when you don’t like them or what they did.  Green grass, not artificial grass, is the result of serious work, compassion, desire and motivation that never stops — can’t stop.
 
It’s not a secret.  It’s not magic.  It’s work.  It’s knowing the price before you pay it. We can and do lose the love of our life when familiar spirits overrule and override love, and the will to prioritize actions that run after the vision as opposed to division.  Love is in the work — and work is for those who are ready and able to submit to God’s plan for relationship to be the most incredible love that two people will ever experience on earth (Ephesians 5:21-33).
 
Remember, you aren’t love.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  How much love we give is based on how much of us we move out of loves way: “He must increase but I must decrease.”  That’s intentional love work.
 
 
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Together we can reach more and do more! Through the financial support of friends and partners, FAITHHILL is on a mission to impact, teach and transform lives in community and around the world.  Thank you for believing in God’s vision.
 
 
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HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

What do you do when you have to deal with difficult people?  You can’t just walk away from every difficult situation or just cut off every difficult person.  A difficult person is not somebody who’s optional, a difficult person is somebody who we have to deal with.
 
Why? Optional people are not difficult.  If they aren’t required or necessary, you can walk away from them instead of putting up with them.  Problem solved!
 
No, your difficult person is not that simple.  The spirit of difficulty has to use somebody who is a part of your life, who has a role and a position in your life that makes dealing with them necessary or even required.  Family can be difficult, bosses can be difficult, spouses can be difficult. We can even be our own difficult person. 
 
How do you deal with somebody who is difficult? Let’s address some points up front. Somebody right now is being abused — mentally or physically.  If this is you or somebody you know, tolerating abuse is not difficult, it’s deadly.  Deadly is not to be tolerated, cooperated with or confused with God’s will.  We’re not talking about people who are a threat to our well being, we’re talking about people who we desire to get along with but for some reason, it’s difficult.
 
Put This In Your Spirit: Haven’t you noticed that the difficult person affects the way you deal with them?  Remember, self-control is a fruit of the spirit (Ephesians 5:22-23).  The first rule for dealing with difficult people is, “Be the thermostat and not the thermometer.”  This is easier said than done but nothing is possible until you use your power to control you first.  
 
Some folks think that believing in God means that we don’t or won’t encounter difficult spirits. That’s foolery. Grown Christians have read: “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating” (Proverbs 18:6).
 
Remember, they are difficult because they are necessary, important or not optional at the moment. Every difficulty in life, every wall, every challenge is a symbol of our difficult person. Sometimes God puts us in difficult situations because there is no way around it except through Him — If we allow it, our most difficult person or situation will cause us to go deeper in Him and higher in power.
 
Without difficult situations, we would not know what Jesus meant when He said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).  The difficult person, difficult situation is going to be overcome by your power.  This is what is meant by, “Turn the other cheek.”  Turning the other cheek has nothing to do with letting somebody slap you twice.  You’re not literally turning the other cheek, you’re turning to power to respond instead of turning into them, acting like them or turning your power over to them.  Turning the other cheek and owning your power, feelings and response is your victory in difficult situations.
 
When the situation or the person, the problem or the difficulty has control over us, we are owned by them and that’s what makes them difficult. Think about it — If you’re smart enough to know they’re difficult but you’re letting them dictate how you act or feel — they’re controlling your temperature.  You have to flip the script — be the thermostat and not the thermometer and watch what happens.
 
Every difficult person, difficult situation and difficult problem has one thing in common, purpose.  When God allows difficult, He’s preparing you for a greater release of your power.    
 
They may never change, the problem may never change but the victory is not about them or it.  The victory is about walking in power when you have to deal with difficulty.  If you stay in power, God will move or remove what will not change.
 
 
 
 
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Together we can reach more and do more! Through the financial support of friends and partners, FAITHHILL is on a mission to impact, teach and transform lives in community and around the world.  Thank you for believing in God’s vision.
 
 
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Join us at the HILL, FAITHHILL Church this Sunday as we dig deeper and put difficulty in check with practical application for every situation!
 
 
 
 
 
 


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DON’T BE AFRAID TO DISAPPOINT

 

We have to learn to be OK with not wasting valuable time, precious energy trying to be liked, fit in or go along to get along.  Some think it’s love or faith that keeps us holding on to what’s killing us but that’s a lie.  It’s fear of letting go — we’ve all been there with loved one’s, relationships, friends and people who knew us back when.
 
Put This In Your Spirit: This is your life and you’re trying to fulfill God’s divine plans for your peace, joy, potential and destiny. Everybody who wants to be a part of your life is not eligible to be a part of your plans. The bible says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3).  If they don’t agree with the plans that God has for your life, don’t be afraid to disappoint!
 
Some might say, “Well, that seems shallow.”  Well, the alternative is to treat your life like it doesn’t matter.  You are not being fair or true to you by cooperating with what destroys you (Proverbs 14:7).  Walk alone if you have to but don’t hold on to what’s killing you — The only people who will have a problem with your boundaries for joy, peace and power are the people who are not meant to walk with you.
 
Don’t be afraid to disappoint! Nobody knows better than you what it takes to be you.  Nobody is responsible for your peace, guarding your heart and keeping your life drama free but you.  Before every plane takes off, the pilot has to make sure that the plane is not overweight.  Every life, like every plane, can only carry so much weight — don’t let the weight of wrong people, wrong decisions, history relationships cause your life to stay stuck on the ground (Hebrews 12:1).
 
Put This In Your Spirit: The top 5 people that we spend 80% of our personal time with, influence our conversation, our direction and our elevation.  You know better than anybody that intruders throw your prayer life off, they interrupt thoughts, they distract you from your fight and they keep you majoring in minor things.  When we’re afraid to disappoint the right people, we let the wrong people have power over our lives.  
 
If they cannot handle the requirements of you, that’s OK.  If they cannot handle your boundaries, that’s OK.  If they cannot appreciate your need to be healthy, stable and positive, that’s OK. If they cannot handle the fact that you need to keep them in your prayers but put them out of your life, that’s OK.  If they cannot handle you letting go of people that are killing you, keeping you stuck, holding you back, that’s OK.  This is not their life, it’s yours and you get to make up the healthy rules that keep you from losing your mind (Micah 2:10).
 
Every tree is a seed that refused to be held down.  No amount of dirt, no amount of darkness, no amount difficulty kept that seed from becoming who it was created to be.  When you refuse to allow anything or anybody to keep you from becoming who God created you to be, you are walking in agreement with God’s plans for you: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20, Matthew 7:6).
 
God desires to bless us but we have to protect our inheritance from wrong people and wrong decisions.  Doing right by you, positions you to be blessed. Esau was the firstborn son to Isaac and Rebekah, but he made a bad choice that forfeited his inheritance (Genesis 25:29-34).  Don’t be afraid to disappoint when your inheritance is on the line!
 
Share and be blessed.
 
 
 
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THE DEVIL IS PUSHING YOU INTO YOUR DESTINY

The enemy is on assignment to push you into your destiny.  They had to do what they did.  They had to reject you.  That door had to be closed.  You had to almost walk out.  You had to go through what you went through. 
 
You’re going to have to get comfortable being uncomfortable in order for God to keep moving you to the love, the plan, the vision, the goal that He showed you.  When you’re doing overtime in a season, the devil will show up to push you out of your history and into your destiny.
 
You remember Joseph in the bible. God showed him in a dream that he would be ruler over his brothers and his father. His dream got him hated by his brothers who threw him into a pit. His brothers then sold him into slavery and he wound up at Potiphar’s house in Egypt — running things (Genesis 37:18-36).
 
Put This In Your Spirit: Sometimes we get comfortable simply because we’re doing better than we were.  Or because they are better than the last.  But God is saying, “The longer you stay comfortable where you’re not supposed to be, the more uncomfortable it will become.  Staying comfortable where you are is keeping you from the dream that I gave you.”  The dream God gave Jospeh was not going to be fulfilled at Potiphar’s house.
 
Joseph got comfortable in a temporary place, in a place that was meant for him to pass through not to stay put. The spirit of complacency can cause us to become content in a relationship, a fear, a feeling, a decision or on a level that takes us off of God’s path and causes us to do overtime in a season.
 
Put This In Your Spirit: The bible says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). You cannot stay where God’s purpose cannot be fulfilled. Your destiny belongs to God — His plans for your life were written in His book before you were born: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).
 
Just as soon as Joseph got comfortable, Potiphar’s wife started making passes at him and when Joseph resisted, she accused him of rape.  Potiphar threw Joseph in the pen but what Potiphar didn’t know was that his actions pushed Joseph into his destiny. You weren’t supposed to get promoted there, they weren’t supposed to like you there, you weren’t supposed to do business with them, you weren’t supposed to be comfortable with a mediocre relationship — resist the temptation to get depressed about what pushed you out.
 
It might look like all hell is breaking lose, it might look like things aren’t working out, it might look like a breakdown but God is breaking you out of that place, that stronghold, that dry place, that comfortable place to position you for your high place.  When God is positioning you for what’s coming next, your resistance to what you could do, to what they want you to do, to what might be tempting to do is going to set it off (2 Corinthians 4:17).
 
You’re going to encounter some situations, some people and some setbacks along your journey that will make you feel like, “Not again!,” but remember that God uses opposition to move us into position.  When a layover causes us to put our dreams on layaway, God has to push us in order to bless us (Isaiah 43:19).
 
Joseph went from the pit to Potiphar’s house, from Potiphar’s house to the pen, and from the pen to the palace — get comfortable being uncomfortable for your destiny.  The prophecy written in God’s book for your business, your ministry, your love life, your purpose that He showed you in a dream will keep pushing you out of your history until you fulfill your destiny.
 
Share and be blessed.
 
 
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IS GOSPEL MUSIC GOING SECULAR?

There has been a great deal of controversy over this issue of secular artists singing gospel music and whether the church is falling prey to outside influences that compromise the standards of faith that supposedly separate the believer from the non-believer, or holy from secular.
 
While the debate will continue, and there will undoubtedly be different opinions throughout Christendom, the issue of secularization, I believe, is not as simple as we would like it to be.
 
First of all, we have to ask the question, “What do we mean by secular?” When we say secular, are we referring to the person or their profession?  The word secular means, “attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis, or nonreligious.” Most Christians have secular jobs — work outside of the church in a nonreligious profession. So to simply say secular, or to disapprove of someone based on the fact that they have a secular job is dangerously problematic. People called Jesus a carpenter (Mark 6:3), which means that our Savior had a secular job.
 
More recently, though not new, popular secular artists have collaborated on gospel albums with well known gospel artists. Many in the body of Christ are up in arms over this trend and are vehemently opposed to it. Why? Is it that the particular secular artists aren’t spiritual role models or good enough examples of holy living?  Is it because they sing secular music — as a profession? Is it because our gospel artists have to conform to a made up image that agrees with our exposure, box or preference? Or is it that the body of Christ, in general, concludes that secular artists, in general, are all sinners and sinners should not sing the Lords music?
 
If the body of Christ were to just come out and say, “We believe that secular artists who we do not approve of or who do not live visibly holy lives are sinners and we disapprove of sinners singing gospel music,” there would be many who might go along with that. But the truth is, this argument/position is highly flawed, shaky and borderline spiritually arrogant. Surely, the church is not turning down tithes and offerings that come from secular jobs — just the giver…
 
Our nondescript, muddy, subjective view of secular creates more problems than answers. At its most basic level, if what we’re saying is that having a secular job is synonymous with being a sinner, most if not all Christians would be excluded from participating in any church function, role or position. The idea that having a secular job, in and of itself, counts you out of relationship with Jesus is beyond ridiculous. If you don’t personally know the heart of a man, be quiet about their salvation (1 Corinthians 2:11).
 
Secondly, wouldn’t it make more sense for those who do have x-ray secular vision to use it to protect the thousands of children who are molested in the church every year, or to see and deal with the countless secular church rituals that we honor? Or is it that our vision is best when we look out the window instead of in the mirror? God would differ with us on looking out the window (1 Corinthians 5:11-13, 1 Peter 4:17).
 
We, Christians, as flawed as we are, are good for counting people out but we struggle at counting people in, extending grace or allowing other flawed people into our perfect little clubs.  Christians are flawed, secular job or no secular job (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 7:21-25, 1 John 1:8). However, we are incredibly perfect when we’re comparing ourselves to people who we consider to be imperfect or different but thanks be to God, there are no favorites in the Kingdom of God (Romans 2:11).
 
Superficial judgement leads to shallow condemnation. Does this mean that the church should become a safe haven for “anything goes” or be influenced by what the world does? Absolutely not. Is it possible that unbelieving secular artists singing gospel music can cause some confusion among their unbelieving fans? Yes.
 
A Possible Path For The Cause of Christ
 
I think the issue really comes down to what we do, as opposed to what an artist or anybody does on his or her own.  In the case of who or what the body of Christ co-signs, maybe we should consider the following:
 
I would suggest that anybody who sings about Jesus is inclined to believe in Jesus or at the very least, knows that they are being used to attract others to Jesus.  We, Christians, should know better than to judge one of God’s books by the cover (1 Corinthians 2:11), or to question God’s plan for salvation (Romans 11:34, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  It’s not our job to question God, it’s our job to question ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5).
 
It is possible for an unbeliever to draw people to Christ and even perform miracles in the Name of Jesus (Matthew 7:22-23).  Why? Because it is not the person who leads someone to Jesus, it is the revelation of the name of Jesus (John 14:16, Philippians 2:10). We don’t save anybody, God does (1 Corinthians 3:6, Ephesians 2:8).  However, to those who were lawless and performed deeds/miracles in Jesus’ name, Jesus said, “Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23).
 
It’s not about whether or not they have a secular job, it’s about the cause of Christ. Christians have to be mindful of the message attached to the cause of Christ.  The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom is not threatened by an unsaved individual singing gospel music.  The anger of the Lord will be against those in the body who choose to co-sign or align the cause of Christ with contrary images: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32, 2:1)
 
All Christians know, or should, that the bible said, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).  That includes gospel music or any other partnering in the name of Jesus.
 
As for secular artists singing gospel music, in general, there is nothing wrong with that — the more the merrier.  If the concern is that gospel music is at risk of becoming secular/worldly music simply because a secular artist sings it, that’s far reaching (Romans 8:28).  Perhaps our concern can be expressed this way — in general: “To the best of our ability, for the cause of Christ, Christians should make every effort to eliminate, avoid or not promote any confusion about deeds overriding the need for deliverance  — for the sake of the unbelieving hearers and the unbelieving participants.”  You cannot work your way into heaven.
 
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (Romans 6:1)
 
That’s why Paul exhorted Timothy, as a young leader, to “be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity,” reminding him to “take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:12, 16).
 
In other words, keepers of the promise, not unbelievers, are responsible for the lives assigned to us (Jeremiah 23:1).  If the messenger and the message are contrary to the word, if the implication is “saved does not matter,” if the potential exists for the unbelieving hearer to be lead astray — by the appearance of deeds/singing overriding the need for salvation, or if the intentional partnering/collaboration undermines the cause of Christ, it should be rethought — or left up to God to destroy it (Mark 3:25, Romans 12:19).
 
Winning souls, meeting people where they are does not mean that we should promote staying where they are.
 
Share and be blessed.
 
 
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RELATIONSHIP DEVOTIONAL: THE GOD IN GOODBYE

 

Nothing draws us closer to God like the hurt that comes from relationship. Love exposes the soul to human extremes, pleasures, and hurts that only love can.
 
If you’ve loved and lost — to win, had to sacrifice a relationship for your greatness, or had to surrender your will to God’s will and let someone go, you’ve had to walk in a closeness with God that does not compare to most other situations.
 
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t start out with the plan or the intent to be hurt just so that we can get closer to God.  No, emotional heart attacks push us into God’s Emergency Room — bleeding, bruised and broken.
 
One of the divine lessons that love will continue to teach us, until we learn it, is that we are not love.  Repeat, we are not love.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  When we’re loving on purpose with whom God planned for us, God is loving through us for them. The bible says it this way, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
 
If, then, God is love and it is His love that is working in us and through us for His pleasure, who we emotionally pick as a mate or to date does not mean that they are a divine match. We would have to say that we were using or know the mind of God in order to convince ourselves that we know, in advance, if someone is meant for us. We don’t have that ability (Romans 11:34. 1 Corinthians 2:11).  We can only use proof, evidence based on behavior that agrees with our Savior (Luke 6:43-45).  Emotions alone are not qualified, and can be too contaminated, to be relied on as the only proof of a divine match.
 
We’re not our own, we belong to God and the supernatural blueprint for our life is not subject to our emotions — it can’t be. We have to pause when we think about the hurt that comes from who walks out or who we have to remove from our life.  Think about it: If someone who is not meant for us leaves our life, a surrendered will would pray for them and wish them well — knowing that God has put a love period where we had a love question mark.  If we cannot genuinely pray for a season and wish them well, we have not surrendered our emotions to God’s will for our life.
 
Put This In Your Spirit: If you aren’t for them, then that means they aren’t for you either. Two wrongs don’t make a God right. God’s plans for your life, and theirs, were created before you were born (Psalm 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5, Ephesians 2:10).   We either are on plan or we’re off track with everybody we meet. Whenever God steps in, it’s to keep our lives on track with His plans: “For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
 
Emotions that override God’s divine plan, warnings and signs, are disobedient emotions (2 Corinthians 10:5), that are influenced by seductive evil spirits — Our emotional condition will determine the influence familiar spirits can or will have over us.  Jesus came so that we might have life and life more abundantly — only demonic forces are at war with God’s plans for our life (John 10:10).
 
Consider This: Trees shed leaves when it’s time to change seasons — for self-preservation. In other words, even the tree will shed leaves in order to save its life. But know this, when the tree sheds a leaf, not one leaf that falls to the ground kills the tree.
 
Walking in divine truth leads emotions.  It’s a position worked-for, hard-fought for that usually requires retraining our emotions to acknowledge, submit and abide in the will of God.  This is not hardly natural, in fact it is impossible without an intimate relationship with Jesus (John 15:5).
 
Fighting back thoughts and emotions that come from the enemy takes work.  In fact, without abiding in an intimate relationship with Jesus, the work will wear us out (James 4:7) — Especially when the emotions we’re trying to fight are emotions that want what we don’t need. 
 
You don’t have to fake it.  Unless you have an iron brain, it takes a minute to submit to God’s will — every new test requires a new level of submission.  But what we have to remember, consider for our own sake, is this: Emotions that can tell God what to do or tell you to do anything that harms you or your destiny, are influenced by the enemy – no matter how good they feel (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
 
Break up with fear and emotions that tell you to harm yourself.  Break it off!  Cry if you have to, crawl if you have to and even if you stumble on your way out, submit to God’s will for your life.  When we’re not walking in our divine truth, every season will look like a lifetime and if we’re not careful, long and wrong seasons can become unhealthy soul ties.  
 
When we won’t or can’t do what God’s love requires us to do — learn from the past and step aside, the Holy Spirit will protect us in our weakness by interceding on our behalf (Romans 8:26) —  even when we don’t want to be protected.  When someone is not for us, right for us or not ready for us, God steps in.  It might look like a breakup but if God stepped in, it’s a divine shakeup.  God lets wrong things fall apart so that He can make right things fall together.
 
Put This In Your Spirit: Haven’t you noticed that when you lie to yourself about how you’re being treated by someone, the truth drives you crazy?  No matter what we tell ourselves to try to make wrong right, the truth won’t allow us to be at peace with emotions that break our heart.
 
When people leave your life or have to be removed, it is confirmation that their season is over — not your life.  When you love you with the love of Christ, you don’t ever have to be with somebody to be somebody — happy, healthy and powerful.  The evidence of our surrender to God’s will is in how we respond, react and ultimately recover from a God intervention.   
 
When you know what you bring to the table, you’re not afraid to eat alone.
 
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RELATIONSHIP DEVOTIONAL: ALONE AND LONELY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS

Being alone can sometimes feel lonely but single is not a death sentence.  Yes, we all love companionship and yes we enjoy good company.  We’re human and, we were created to love someone who loves us intimately and uniquely.
 
But alone is who we’re with and lonely is being miserable with who we’re with. Lonely has to be with somebody to be somebody. But people don’t cure our loneliness, loneliness is an inside job. 
 
No, we don’t have to be satisfied being alone but content, yes (Philippians 4:11-12).  Why?  Contentment or Joy is a fought-for, struggled-for fruit of the spirit that the fruit of self-control relies on (Galatians 5:22-23).  Anybody who has ever hooked up with somebody while they were lonely will tell you that, 1) A spirit of loneliness makes you feel out of control, and 2) A spirit of loneliness robs us of our joy, and causes our heart to leak with low self-esteem, low self-love, distrust and obsession. 
 
All of us have gone to the grocery store hungry.  When we shop with hunger, starvation, we don’t make wise decisions, we make desperate decisions — something quick, something easy and something right now.  When we shop hungry, we almost always buy something that we don’t need.
 
Loneliness that causes unhealthy emotional hunger is no different. Unhealthy emotional hunger tends to use temporary emotions to make long-term decisions — in the heat of the moment.  If you’ve gotten into a relationship because you were lonely, hungry, chances are the relationship didn’t last long — if you knew you were only looking for a snack, that might have worked for you.
 
But if you were looking for a lifetime relationship, you probably found out that as soon as the hunger was satisfied, emotions filled up, the attraction wore off.  After you sobered up, you might have even experienced Hunger After Shock — that feeling of, “Did or why did I choose that?”  A relationship initiated out of hunger is usually intense in the beginning — that’s why it can be confusing, but it’s always mild in the middle and it melts down after a short period of time.
 
Loving on purpose takes soul work.  When our soul is right, healed, healthy and content, we are ready for our soul match.  Remember a soul mate can be an unhealthy match but a soul match is that person who God planned for our best self.  Our soul match compliments our willingness to be by ourselves if being with someone else means being miserable. 
 
In other words, we tend to mate with someone who matches our soul condition.  Loneliness is not a condition that you want to attract or mate with.  A lifetime love is somebody who we choose to do life with, not somebody we have to put up with for the rest of our life. How we choose to be alone is up to the individual but however we choose to be alone, we should enjoy it to the fullest — Date, learn, grow.
 
When you know what you bring to the table, you don’t mind eating alone.
 
We have to check our heart before we check into a relationship. God will guide us into the path that He planned for us when our heart is ready, willing and able. We don’t and won’t always get it right but before you get emotionally caught up, pray this simple prayer: “Lord, create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10) — and listen with honest ears. One thing is for sure, we cannot recognize a swine when we’re out of our emotional mind (Matthew 7:6).
 
Share and be blessed.
 
  
 
 
 
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