Advice for Singles looking for “the one.”

Once upon a time, there was a young, 18 year-old girl, who had given up on ever having a boyfriend.  It was me. I had dated several guys in my middle and high school years. They all seemed the same and left me brokenhearted. 

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. and the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His Heart.” Genesis 6:5-6
 

Looking at Genesis 6, I can, in a way, relate to God. God was so done with mankind – their thoughts, motives, and behavior which grieved His heart. I was so done with men of all kinds, breaking my heart. None were keepers. Isn’t that what we girls are looking for – finding THE one, the keeper for life? 

Halfway through 12th grade, I needed to take another Science class in order to graduate. I was placed in a new class. I was really into Heavy Metal music in high school and was happy to see another Metalhead in this new class. We started hanging out as friends. Over time, our friendship was turned into something more. We started dating. Remember, I was done with guys, BUT with this one, I noticed something different. He stood out from all the others. It wasn’t in how he looked, but in how he treated me and everyone. It was also in how he lived his life. He stood out from all the others.  

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.” Genesis 7:1

I just had to ask him. I said, “I see there is something different about you than any other person I’ve met. What is it?” To my surprise this Metalhead said, “Jesus.” Then, he shared the Gospel with me. That was the day I put my faith in Jesus. (see link to know more about Jesus and hear the Gospel https://reallifewithjackhibbs.org/know-god/ )

Noah was righteous in God’s eyes and stood out from the others in his generation. This guy, who stood out from the rest, entered my life when I least expected it. I not only gained a boyfriend, but salvation through Christ. The thing that attracted me to him went beyond looks and now I know it was Jesus.

By the way, I married that guy. It’s my husband Ray. We’ve been married for 28 years now. He’s a keeper!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6

You don’t have to feel pressured by family, friends, or FaceBook into looking for “the one.” If it’s God’s will for you, He will send that one into your life. Did you hear what I said? IF it’s God’s will.  Trust in the Lord even in this area of your life. 

As a side note, which you may not even thought of is “the one” may be in your life already. He may be in your class, at your job, in your youth group, church, or even a family friend.

Marriage is one of the deepest relationships and a long time commitment so choose wisely and wait on the Lord. Don’t settle for just anyone, but the one that stands out from the rest and follows the Lord like Noah.

~ Patti

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Battling a war within.

This blog may seem a little strange, but maybe you can relate. It’s about something that happened to me earlier this week. It all started with a strange evening. The events of the night seemed “off”.  After I got home, the best way to describe it was it just hit me. It was an overwhelming, feeling of condemnation hovering over me, trying to drag me away. A battle was going on within me.   

It was a long night. I just couldn’t “shake” it off. I knew it wasn’t from God. I kept praying for God to help me because I knew I couldn’t battle this alone. It was too much for me to handle and was leading me down a road I didn’t want to go down. Strange huh?

Do you ever have a battle going on within? You think you are standing strong in the Lord and from out of nowhere comes fear, worry, anger or “the earthly things lurking within you” –  lust, evil desires, greed. You are going about your day and just suddenly feel really down. It’s like it’s calling you to give up, give in, and go .

This battle reminded me of some song lyrics I’ve heard in the past where the writer, who isn’t a Christian, seemed to be going through a battle within as well:

“And the demons are calling me, They’re dragging me away. How could I know, how could I know? That I’d get lost in space to roam forever.” ~ T. Sammet

“I´ve tried to reach higher, but my flesh is too weak…. I’m drifting, yeah temptation, carried out to the sea. I’m driftin. I’m drifting away. I’m drifting away.” ~ T. Sammet

Thankfully, Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside, but we still have battles within. We deal with the evil rulers in the unseen world and also our own flesh/sin nature.  

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:17

It’s no fun going through this. Whether it’s the Enemy of our souls trying to drag us away or our own fleshly desires rearing their ugly head – it’s a battle. For me, battles like these, remind me to live moment by moment, in dependance upon, and in submission to, the Holy Spirit, who won’t lead me astray. It’s the only way to live.

I am also reminded to be strong in the Lord and put on the armor of God so after the battle I will still be standing firm (see Ephesians 6). 

Be encouraged that God knows about these battles within and His word helps explain what we are experiencing.

 I’ll leave you with Romans 7:18-25:

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am 
not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Yes, the answer is Jesus our Lord. 

Want to learn more about that, go here: https://reallifewithjackhibbs.org/know-god/

~ Patti

The Church is missing something.

This has been on my heart a lot lately. Today I’m talking about the Church missing out. Could it be that we, The Church, are missing something and the result is that we aren’t living to our fullest potential? There are so many things I see that we may be missing, but I’ll just focus on a few today. I just don’t want us to miss out.

Missing out on loving each other.

Jesus, speaking to his disciples, said, “Love each other in the same way that I have loved you” (John 15:12). That’s deep! Can we even comprehend it? How can we love each other, in the way he tells us to if we don’t do life together regularly AND go deeper – deeper than the coffee shop or the ball game? By spending a lot of time together, AND going deeper, you REALLY get to know each other. 

 “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2

How can the church be able to help a brother or sister who has fallen into sin or share each other’s burdens, if they don’t know each other? Could it be, that we don’t want to? Or, are we using the wrong “lens” when we read “love each other in the same way that I have loved you?” Are we thinking it’s just helping serve on a Sunday and being nice and polite to each other? It’s so much more! We aren’t grasping what that looks like in real life.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect lawthat sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”  James 1:22-25

When my husband, Ray, had cancer, we were living with my parents. I don’t know of anyone else who would have let us live with them. It really helped us during an extremely difficult time. They sacrificed a section of their home for us to live in. They got to see the real us because we were REALLY doing life together. I just wonder if I could do that, if I had to, for a brother or sister in Christ who aren’t blood relatives. But shouldn’t we? Talk about loving one another!

How about being more hospitable? What a great way to go deeper with others than to invite them over to your house! Years ago people were, but nowadays, the coffee shop has replaced that. There’s just something about inviting people into your home, your world. It brings your relationship to a deeper level. 

Missing out on being fruitful and sharing the Gospel. 

It’s a cold, dark, world out there where we spend the majority of our time. The world is getting darker, especially towards Christians. How refreshing it is when we spend time with our brothers and sisters in Christ and go deeper.  Yet, Jesus has sent us out,  “as sheep among wolves.” We have been sent out, into the world that hates Jesus. We represent him and are called to love them anyways. We are called to share the Gospel with them so that they might be saved. Jesus had compassion for them and wants us to as well. 

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Matt. 9:36-38). 

Don’t miss this. Jesus has compassion for the lost. Spend time with the Lord and He will give you that compassion for them. We are to share the Gospel so that none may perish, but have everlasting life – don’t forget that. You were was once lost too. Not everyone has heard the Gospel – not even in the Bible belt buckle. We are to go. We don’t have to do it alone.

“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:16-17

Are we producing lasting fruit?  I really think if we, the church, take a closer look at the Scriptures, we are missing out on so much. Is it fear of man? Is it we don’t have vision beyond ourselves and our own “world”? There is more that we may be missing, but it’s hard for me to write all about it. We have to remember to look at the bigger picture. It’s beyond us and for the Lord. There are many lives at stake. Do we still care?

~ Patti

Sorrow is better than laughter.

During my time with the Lord, I was reading in Ecclesiastes and stopped at a verse that grabbed my attention more than the others:

“Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.” Ecclesiastes 7:3.”

Most people wouldn’t agree that sorrow is better than laughter. How can it be good for us? When I look back on my life, the times where I grew the most were during the sorrowful times. They aren’t fun to go through, but when you walk through them while trusting in the Lord, you do get through them and grow.

I want share three difficult times in my life. These are just SOME of what I have gone through. They go along with the pics in my collage.

The toddler in the picture is our oldest daughter Lauren. When she was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia in both hips. She had to two surgeries to correct it. She was in a body cast for several months. We didn’t go out much during that time, but when we did, we put her in a little red wagon and pulled her around. At home, she was strapped to U board on a hospital bed. One night she almost died from choking on her own vomit. Thankfully, my husband woke up in the middle of the night as he heard her choking. If you knew what we went through on a daily basis during that time, you would agree that it was a difficult.

What could a pic of Princess Diana have to do with one of my own personal, sorrowful times? I had a miscarriage around the time Princess Diana died. Every time I see that, all I think of was the baby that I lost. I was a few months pregnant. The emptiness I felt with that lost, words can’t express. 

The third pic is of Ray, in a hospital bed. Many of you know that in October 2015, he had surgery to remove cancer from his neck, the base of his tongue, and his tonsils. Soon after that, he started chemo therapy and radiation treatments. The first round of chemo damaged his kidneys and his hearing. He finished treatments in early 2016. During that time, he almost died two times. He couldn’t keep any food or water down. He was somehow was surviving on I.V. fluids only. He lost about 100 pounds. That was probably the most difficult thing to walk through – seeing your husband suffer and dying from starvation. I remember being told that his organs were shutting down and there’s nothing else they could do. 

Last week I met two women. We got on the subject that my husband had cancer and came close to dying. Times like that REALLY test your faith. I had to rely on and trust in the Lord like I never did before. A lady started crying. She said that she needed to hear that because she’s going through a difficult time and I just encouraged her.

The Lord is the one who I leaned on when I didn’t know the outcome. Could I still trust and believe in Him even if the healing didn’t come?

My friend, Masechaba, all the way from Lesotho, encouraged me through that time and said, “Patti, what if the Lord wants to take Ray home (to Heaven) and not heal him. Would you be ok with that?” When she asked that, it was like a knife that pierced my soul. She didn’t tell me what I WANTED to hear, but what I NEEDED to hear. A true friend does that. It got me thinking, can I trust God enough to say, “let your will be done” even with this? A piece of me died that day, but in a good way as I said yes!

I can only go so deep in this short blog to testify how the Lord uses sorrows in a good way, to deepen ones faith in the Him. He’s done a refining work, on the inside of me, in the depths of my soul.

I’ll leave you with this verse from Psalm 9:1-2:

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.”

~ Patti

“Don’t pop my bubble!”

I confess – I don’t want to get stuck in a bubble.

Here’s a pic of my tattoo. It’s a picture of a bubble. I got it several years ago after going through a hard time and my “bubble” of a “perfect” world burst.  

That was a very difficult time in my life and a different kind of bubble. Today, when I say that I don’t want to get stuck in a bubble, I’m talking spiritually. I don’t want to get stuck, not growing, being self centered, only looking out for my own needs and not the needs of others, not caring about the spiritual condition of those outside The Church as the world bleeds. I don’t want to look so much like the world that I add to the darkness instead of shining a light.

As I lean on the Lord, He reminds me to “stay connected to The Vine and you’ll be just fine.” Cheesy saying yes, but it’s easy to remember and it goes with John 15:5-8:

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

One of my biggest fears of coming back to the States after missionary life, was going back to “ordinary” life and forget all that the Lord had done in me and through me. And instead of continuing on here what started over there, would stop.

I was challenged daily when we were in  Africa and Europe. I was waaaaayyyy outside of my comfort zone having to rely on the Lord for EVERYTHING in a way that I had never done. It matures you and you also are in awe of how God can use an ordinary person who is willing.

I don’t want to get back into a routine of go to work and come home. I still want to grow and go with the Lord – here in my own community, but lately feeling the need to be stretched once again for my own spiritual growth.

What about y’all? Can anyone relate? I’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments or email me.

You feel it too.

I confess – I am lonely.

I am lonely because people are too busy and too tired. In my loneliness, I lean on the Lord. What He has taught me is that I need the Body of Christ. We really need each other.

A few months ago, I was reading through Romans 12, and verse 2 grabbed my attention, “Don’t copy the behavior & customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think….”. 

Is this not what most in our culture do? We go to work, come home, watch many TV shows, look at our social media, and go to bed – get up and do it all over again. If we take a close look at our habits, have we copied the behavior and customs of this world?

Just a thought: We are INTO our families, INTO studying the Bible, INTO going to church service & INTO the worship time. That’s all good, but we should also be INTO the Body of Christ more than we are.  It’s not going to happen once a week on a Sunday, but takes quality time together to build community. We should be loving one another, caring for one another, & doing life together – on a regular basis. We weren’t meant to do life alone or just with our own family. 

There would be less depression & loneliness in the Church if we spent more quality time together. That love and spiritual growth would pour outside the church and be a witness to the world.

Ephesians 4:16, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the others parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” We grow best together.

I want to encourage you to take a closer look at how you are spending your time. Make time for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our lives aren’t just about ourselves and our families. I know there are seasons for everything, but lets not make excuses. Take a look and see.

I’ll leave you with a quote”

“The church that survives hard times is the church that is bound together in community, not in social media likes, but in genuine friendships, and unselfishcaring for others. Members stand with each other in good times and in hard times; they are together for accountability, for ministry, and for prayer. The “one anothers” of the New Testament are proof that God never expects us to navigate our way through Babylon solo. Such a commitment goes beyond attending church once a week and then going home believing that ones’s duty has been done.” ~ Erwin Lutzer

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:4-5