Be The Moon

Be The Moon, 2 Cor. 3:18 • mrpatvincent.com
Be The Moon, 2 Cor. 3:18 • mrpatvincent.com

Sometimes I think I should’ve become an Astronomer. I love to look at the sky. I love the clouds in the day. I love the stars at night. God’s vast creation never ceases to move me.

I also love to look at the moon. Sometimes the moon can be so bright that it lights up the whole night. Especially a full moon… which (fun fact) in November is called the Beaver Moon.* You might even think, “Wow! The moon is bright tonight!”

But the moon is not creating that light by itself. It is reflecting the light of the sun. On it’s own, the moon could never produce any light… ever. On it’s own, the moon is just a cold rock floating aimlessly in space. In fact, the only way we can even SEE the moon is because of the sun.

In 2 Cor 3:18, Paul addresses the modern Christian. “We all who contemplate the Lord’s glory are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory…” We are to reflect Christ “as in a mirror.”

Close your eyes and think about that for a minute: We are to reflect Christ. (Seriously. Stop. Close your eyes. Think about that for a minute.)

Just as the moon reflects the sun, we are to reflect the Son! When people look at you, they are supposed to see Christ. We transform and radiant God’s warmth, love and compassion. When Moses saw God, he glowed. His face shone so much that he was forced to shroud himself so he wouldn’t scare people. And Moses only saw a glimpse of God’s back! (Exd. 34:29-35).

That is why it is said: Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. (Eph. 5:14)

Not to sound too corny, but: Wake up and Shine! BE THE MOON!

God Bless!

*Farmers’ Almanac

Where You Belong

mrpatvincent
Acts 1:25

When Peter announced to the first believers that they needed to fill Judas’s empty position*, he used a phrase that always glares at me. I feel it piercing my heart every time I read it. It’s almost as if those words growl and claw. He prays “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go WHERE HE BELONGS” [emp. added].

To go where he belongs. Ouch. I think we all know where that is.

“To go where he belongs” is the NIV translation. The KJ and NAS say, “to go to his own place” and the MSG says, “to go his own way.”

We all belong somewhere. There is a place where we are going to go. You and I cannot be in two places at once. It is either going to be here or it is going to be there. Only God can be in multiple places. Not even the enemy can do that.

There is no spiritual fence-riding. If you think you are straddling that fence, think again. As Peter prayed, God knows EVERYONE’S heart. He knows which side your heart is really on. We fool others and we may even fool ourselves, but there is no fooling God.

Going where you belong can be a comforting thought or a frightening one.

For a Child of the King, where you belong is in the house of your Father. Where you belong is a place you have longingly envisioned a million times and it will be a million times more magnificent that you ever could dream.

For a child of the world, where you belong is in the house of your father. Where you belong is a place you never ever thought of and it will be a million times more horrifying than you could have ever envisioned.

Where will you belong?

God bless!

*Acts 1:15-26

Off the Leash

off the leash
mrpatvincent

When I returned from walking our dog last night, there was a moment when she was off her leash. In that couple of seconds she could’ve took off. She’s done it before. There’s a spark of realization: I’m Free!

I was struck with two thoughts during that panic: Please don’t! and Why would she want to?

Why would she want to leave my side and the sanctity of our house? I promise shelter, warmth, food, and love. I want her there.

By my side, I can guarantee her safety. Away from my side, she would have to fend for herself. The night was cold and dark. She would have to find her own food. She would have to find her own shelter. Worse of all, she would be alone.

It’s almost like, “Why in the world, would you ever leave my side, you silly dog? Is that “freedom” worth it? I only tether you because I love you. If I didn’t care, I would just open the door and let you have it.”

It would hurt me deeply if she ran off. But you know what? If she did run off, I wouldn’t be like, “Oh, she left. She’s gone.” No, I would go searching for her. I wouldn’t stop until I knew she was ok.

But last night when that moment came, Annie didn’t take off. Actually she was as eager to get inside as I was. “Good girl,” I said and gave her a treat.

God Bless!

The Page vs. The Word

mrpatvincent
mrpatvincent

 

How often do you check Facebook? I know I check it a lot throughout the day. It’s not what I would call a problem or anything. It’s not like “I GOTTA CHECK IT!!” It’s more like, “I’m bored, got a few minutes. Pop on over and see what’s going on.” What if we did that with reading God’s word?

I’m not saying cold-turkeying Facebook. I’m saying: what if we threw in a little scripture too.

I propose a trial: Let’s see what happens when, instead of checking the page, we check The Word. When you want to check your Facebook, read a couple of verses instead. Then go on over to Facebook. That’s not too bad, is it?

What you will need is an accountability partner. So find someone who will help you honest. Left to our own devices, we will cheat. Get someone to ask you: “I saw the pic you posted, did you balance that with some Psalms?”

There’s no denying that time spent with The Lord is better than time spent… with everyone’s everyday minutia, right? So, let’s put feet to that belief and dig into the Word this week. God’s word is more interesting than mine or your neighbors or your cousins. I bet you see yourself wanting to read more! The Bible is like that! It’s alive and contagious.

Good luck this week, let me know how it goes and God bless!

Fighting Against God

Acts 5 • mrpatvincent
Acts 5 • mrpatvincent

If God is in it, there can be no stopping it. If He is not, it will fail.

This was Gamaliel’s advice to the Sanhedrin when the apostles were arrested in Acts 5:17-42. “Leave these men alone! Let them go! If their activity is of human origin, it will fail. But, if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Who was this Gamaliel anyways?

Gamaliel was a Pharisee which means He was a teacher of the law. He was honored by all the people. He was smart enough to learn from past mistakes. I can’t say if he was for the apostles or not, but it seems like he was only giving this advice to save his own hide, doesn’t it? He wasn’t saying, “These ARE men of God! Let them go!” He was saying, “IF they are from God.”

Regardless of Gamaliel’s motives, what he said is absolutely true: If God is in it, you will not be able to stop it. You will only find yourself fighting against God.

Fighting against God. Even as I type that line I think just how ridiculous a concept it is. Ha! Good luck with that, pal. You have about as much of a chance as… (what’s the most silly thing I can think of?)… about as much of a chance as the Taco Bell chihuahua would have in a boxing match against Mike Tyson.

The opposite is also true: If it’s just humans, it will fail. I am reminded daily just how frail and flawed we humans are. It is only if we are in step with God’s will that we can ever hope to accomplish anything.

So, I have to thank Gamaliel for putting it so succinctly. He was right on the money.

God Bless!

They Never Stopped

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If I told you that becoming a Christian would make your life harder, would you still become one? The message many are attracted to today is one of sunshine and butterflies. However, this does not align with scripture. The reality is: being a Christian makes your life more difficult.

Let’s look at Acts 5:17-42.

The Apostles are out and about proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s return. What do they get for it? Imprisoned. An angel lets them out and tells them to go right back to proclaiming the good news.

Most of us would have considered ourselves lucky to be out and then find a place to lay low for awhile, right? We probably would not stand outside the very same prison preaching! When the Sanhedrin sent for them, they got the message that the Apostles somehow got out of a locked cell and past the Roman guards and escaped… to outside the prison where they were doing what they got arrested for in the first place. I’m sure Gamaliel did a face-palm at that one.

They are arrested again (nicely this time). Long story short, they are flogged and told not to preach again.
So, what did the Apostles do? They rejoiced. They considered themselves honored to suffer in Christ’s Name… and then they went out and did it again. “Day after day” “They never stopped,” it says.

These were men heavily anointed in the Spirit. They knew Jesus of Nazareth
personally. If anyone should get special treatment, it would be these guys. But they didn’t, and we shouldn’t expect it either. Things will be tough. Life will seem unfair and darkness may overshadow us at times, but that should not deter us from rejoicing about Jesus and His Return.

If we suffer for His Namesake, it should be an honor, not a curse. We are probably not going to arrested. If so, I highly doubt we are flogged. We got it easy!

So let’s stop expecting life to be sunshine and butterflies all the time and realize that to be a Christian is to have a tough go at it. But that doesn’t mean we don’t Praise God for every blessing and every hardship that comes along.

God bless!

Even Now

Joel 2:12
Joel 2:12

Two of the most beautiful words in the Bible are: “Even now.” The prophet Joel (2:12) uses this phrase when addressing the Old Testament Israelites. He’s starts describing the impending judgement coming to all mankind. You know the drill: The earth shakes. The sun and moon darken. The stars dim. It is a great and terrible day and who can endure it? It is “The day of The Lord.” The End of the whole sha-bang.

And what is God’s personal message to mankind at that moment? It’s still not too late! Return to me!

He will take you up until the last possible nanosecond! Even as the chapter closes, even as the last letter is typed: He will take you!

Every day is another chance to return to God. Every hour is another gift. Every second is another opportunity.

Of course this also means that:

Every day is another day closer. Every hour is another hour closer. Every second is another second closer to “The day of The Lord.” After that, there will be no more calling and pleading to return. After that, it will be over and done. After that, there will not be a “even now.”

Time will be out. The End. For real.

Do not hesitate, return today!

God Bless!

Rend Your Heart

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When people wanted to show grief and repentance in the Old Testament, they “rended” their clothes. In other words, they ripped and tore their shirts. This was the ultimate sign of deep grief in their society. Some rended their clothes but they didn’t really mean it. It was all for show.

We haven’t changed that much over the years, have we? I mean, we don’t shred our clothes when we are sorry, but sometimes we act like we are sorry when we really are not. I’ve told someone I was sorry but in my heart, I wasn’t. It was all for show. Who hasn’t?

The prophet Joel was trying to warn the Israelites of this same situation. The people had grown prosperous and we’re relying less and less on God. When they did repent, it was an outward display meant to impress their friends. It was false. Joel told them to “rend their hearts” instead (2:13).

That line floored me: “Rend your heart, not your garments. Return to The Lord”

God is never fooled by lip service. He cuts straight through the nonsense. He knows whether you mean what you say or not. He knows when you are putting on a show,

If God has convicted you of some matter, tear your heart and offer yourself genuine and true. Don’t waste your time with a song and dance. God’s not interested in charades.

Know that I am speaking to my own heart as much or more than to yours and what I write, I write in love. Let us be more real with God. He’s always real with us.

God bless.

God Is Like That

Psa. 36:5-8
Psa. 36:5-8

Britt and I had to go to Lowe’s to get some things to work on the house. While we were out, I stopped at the pet store to get Annie (our troublesome labrador retriever) a new Kong (a tough red rubber toy that you can put peanut butter into) because she had all but eaten her old one. At this particular pet store, they have these gourmet dog treats that actually look like donuts. I can never pass them up.

I get back to the car and Britt looks through the bag.

“Couldn’t resist, could you?”

“Of course not. She loves these!”

Britt laughs and says, “God is like that. Even though Annie doesn’t deserve that treat, you still think to get her something. In fact, she’s been pretty extra bad lately and you still want to give her a gift. God is like that with us.”

Even though man disappoints God more than he pleases Him, God blesses. Man drops the ball time and time again and God continues to bless.

I can just see God saying with a big grin, “Pat’s doesn’t really deserve this, but I can’t resist. I love him too much. I’m going to bless him anyways. He’ll love this.”

Thank God I have such a brilliant wife. Her servant’s heart is contagious. God knew what He was doing when He planned us. There’s another blessing I didn’t deserve. But God blessed me with it anyways.

Psa. 36:5-8

God Bless!

Be Uzziah and Do Not Be Uzziah

Be Uzziah and Do Not Be Uzziah • 2 Chronicles 26
Be Uzziah and Do Not Be Uzziah • 2 Chronicles 26

Anyone remember Uzziah?

2 Chronilces 26. Wow, what an astonishing chapter!

Uzziah was only 16 years old when he was made king of Judah. Imagine following a 16 year old king into battle! Yet, under his 52-year rule the kingdom saw a rebirth that hadn’t happened since Solomon. His fame grew. They knew his name in Egypt. His power grew. All because he “did that which was right in the sight of The Lord” and because he “was greatly helped.”

“Greatly helped.” I love that phrase. Aren’t we all? Without the help of The Lord, what could any of us accomplish?

Let me give you the Uzziah highlight reel:

He went out and “made war with the Philistines.” He didn’t just react to a people that hated God, he picked a fight with them! He build tower after tower after tower. He designed sheilds, helmets and body armor. It says “he made engines of war.” Terminators? Robocops? I don’t know, but whatever it was, it crushed his enemies. He was a skilled farmer and “loved the soil.” This was an incredible man!

It says Uzziah was “marvelously helped…”

It would be great if the story ended there, unfortunatley, it does not.

It says Uzziah was “marvelously helped… until he was strong. For when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly and was unfaithful to The Lord, his God.”

Uzziah entered the temple and tried to burn the incense only the priests were supposed to burn. You see, you cannot do everything yourself. Some things are meant to be done by others. The priest (shockingly) stood up to Uzziah (of course he did have 80 other priests back him up).  Azariah the priest said, “It is not for you to do this.” Uzziah could’ve have said, “You are right. I am sorry. Forgive me, Lord!” and oh, what a king that would’ve been. But instead scripture says Uzziah “was enraged.” Immediatley, he was struck with leprosy. He was therefore forced to live the rest of his days seperated from everyone and his rule went to his son, Jotham.

Pride. Anger. My mom would say he “got too big for his britches.” Uzziah is the king of If Only. If only he would have done this. If only he would have done that. Try your hardest to not be an If Only kind of person!

When we think things are going great and it’s because of all OUR hard work, then we need to step back and say: Forgive me Lord, all the glory goes to You for without You, I can do nothing. What was I thinking Lord? You are everything!

Be Uzziah in the sense that through a humble servant God can accomplish marvelous works. Do not be Uzziah in the sense that remember who it is that’s really in charge.

Never forget that we are all “greatly helped.” And thank God for that!

Sorry this got a little long in the tooth. This message was gleaned from Matt Chandler’s message @ theresurgence.com

God bless!