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The Higher Call…

Something great is calling me,

it’s calling out for me to stop;

to cease the base and worthless things

and join its climb up to the top.

Inside I hear a noble voice

that bids me “Come and scale the wall!”

to leave aside the simple things,

the charge to heed a higher call.

And all those base and foolish things,

that act as a deterring weight,

denied they’re made of worthless stuff

and plead with me to hesitate.

They say “We offer rest and peace!”

“Delay, delay and take your ease!”

But the Higher call spoke louder still,

“Here lies your destiny to seize!”

And caught between the higher call

And that with no intrinsic worth,

I sought the higher foothold there

To rise up higher from the earth.

And as I climbed with every inch,

I wished to go up higher still,

And took the next step and the next,

And day by day, went up the hill.

And down below the clouds I saw,

The baser things sought to detain,

The other travelers resting there

and distract them from the high terrain.

Then I called out, “Come up! Come up!”

“Do not give in to rest and ease!”

“For there are wondrous sights to see

And you’ll possess dominion’s keys!”

And climbing still up to the top

To this day one great fact, I find;

that God reveals the hidden truths

When we leave base things far behind.

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Be Negative… I Dare You!

I have a great idea every once in a Blue moon. Today’s great idea is “Be Negative”. No really, be negative today to the very thing that is negative toward you. Someone is saying, “But Jesus said, “Love those who hate you”, not “Be negative towards those who hate you.” Yes, I agree. But I want you to be negative today.
Still another person is saying, “ but scripture is clear…”Love your enemies, bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you.”… I am in 100% agreement!
But I want you to be negative still… Here’s what I mean.

I want you to say “goodbye” to the people who constantly point out where you failed in the past. I want you to distance yourself from constantly negative people. The ones who derisively laugh at your hopes and dreams. I am not saying “be mean to them and flip them off as you walk away.” No…I’m saying still love them but realize God does not require you to be bombarded with hatred when it is in your power to walk away from it.

So often in this world, we are surrounded by a continuing negative, and sarcastic spirit that seeks to wither your love for God, your dream of being healed from that sickness, or your hope for climbing up the ladder of love and becoming more than others in your immediate circumstances have become. They criticize your desire to get that degree…they say,

“Oh RIGHT, YOU are going to graduate from College…I can’t WAIT to see THAT!” as they roll their eyes at your dreams and aspirations.

There are many times we have gathered around us a circle of friends who have known you for years, but when you announce, “I’m going to lose 50 lbs!” They pat you on the back while rolling their eyes behind it and say in a condescending way, “Bless your heart…SURE you are!” Then they get on the chat line and tell everyone as they laugh,

“You’ll never believe what she told me…LOL! She said she is going to lose 50 lbs…can you BELIEVE that? 50 lbs! Poor thing!”

Well let me tell you something, you need to get some new friends as you begin walking toward your goal. No, I’m not saying remove them from your friends’ list, I’m saying remove them from the list of people you tell your dreams to. God commands us to love others, but I don’t believe He calls us to be friends with abusers. (Personally, if I had “friends” who got on a chatline to talk about me, they would not be considered friends anymore.)

I’ll tell you who else to be negative to. Be negative to those (you’re going to have to excuse my remarks please…) DUMBASS voices in your head reminding you of past failures, especially the public ones. I just won’t listen to those anymore. I WON’T!!! Listen to me those who are friends and those who are casual readers…

IT IS TIME we take responsibility to NURTURE THE GIFTS AND CALLING from God in our lives and that He has PLANTED IN OUR HEARTS just like I protect my garden from critters that want to eat it!…Just like I pull the weeds out of the flower beds that want to choke my flowers and just like I protect my patio from groundhogs that want to burrow under it and make my hopes and dreams unstable.

And there ARE people out there, those bereft of any dream except the dream they have to crush YOURS. people who are on a SEEK AND DESTROY MISSION. Their negativity can infect your soul, cause depression, (a…I know what I’m talking about), and make you want to throw in the towel and say goodbye to obtaining the prize your soul longs for!

I want you to treat the thoughts that try to infiltrate your mind like weeds. I want you to get out the hoe of the Holy Spirit and some intestinal fortitude, (guts) and DENY THEM ACCESS TO YOUR SENSITIVE INFORMATION!!! Don’t take their snotty laughing at you! Don’t allow those thoughts to take root!

My mother; who was part of the GREATEST GENERATION used to have a saying. She would say, “You can’t stop the birds from flying around your head, but you don’t have to let them build a nest in your hair!!!” That’s what I’m saying. For too long we have allowed puke filled, stinking rotten thoughts to slime our thinking and make us drop our GOD MANDATE! No more. You have to say” NO MORE!”

I’m telling you what, YOU are responsible for what you let into your head. If doubts and fear and negative thinking and thoughts of “who do I think I am, trying to (name your hope or goal) creep into your thoughts, then you need to give them the boot.

I had a guy show up at my door once, trying to sell me magazines. I don’t judge it was a legitimate business because he showed me his credentials and I knew he was legit. But after I said no the first time, he tried to actually strong arm me and get into my house to manipulate me into buying those magazines. Well, I may be only 5’ 11”, but I grabbed that dude by the collar and the seat of his pants and pushed him out my front door! By gosh, NOBODY, pushes into my front door who doesn’t want my size 11 up his butt! ( I get excited…sorry.)

That is what you have to do with every thought that seeks to dominate you. Scripture says,

“ The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” II Corinthians 10:4-5

I am telling you DON’T PRAY TO GOD TO REMOVE IT…YOU DO IT…IT’S YOUR MIND! Romans 12:1-2 says:

“ Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. DO NOT CONFORM to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Who is supposed to “renew the mind”? YOU are! I am. If God could change everything that comes across your mind, you wouldn’t be free. It is an act of will to think upon “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.” Philippians 4;8.

I’ll tell you what else it is, it is a measure of how badly you want to renew your thinking, because as Scripture tells us, “As a man thinks within his heart, so is he”. Proverbs 23:7. When we say “goodbye” to stinkin thinkin, we have to fill it with the promises of God, otherwise, more weeds are going to blow in on the winds of humanistic television , music and the so called “arts’ and sow fear, doubt and natural thinking right back into your garden.

Get negative with the negative confessions over your life. I used to have people say to me, “You’ll never be a writer…who do you think you are?” I would listen and believe them. I would place faith in their words and…can I tell you, it has taken 50+ years to get that crap out of my head!

No, NO, NO!!! I will not listen to that anymore. And just remember your number line in math class…a negative, plus a negative equals?….A POSITIVE! When you counter negative confessions with “I reject that confession over my life”…your negative response to a negative thought fortifies a POSITIVE reaction spiritually. I do not allow negative people into my circle of friends. I refuse. And the only reasons we settle for negative people in our lives is either because we inwardly agree with their ugly confessions over our lives,( in which case you prove their negative prophecy right) or we have a perverse need for acceptance to the point that we will allow anyone into our lives that will take us. If that is you, you need to be set free!

Just so you don’t confuse what I am saying…let me differentiate between negative words and words of wisdom.

Negativity says, “You will never sell YOUR paintings…who would want to buy that junk?”

Wisdom says, “practice daily and get opinions from those who are better than you in order to perfect your craft…it might be a good idea to wait until you do that.”

See the difference? One speaks death and condemnation because there is no love involved. The other seeks your highest good and wants you to succeed. Never confuse loving correction with negativity…they produce different fruit and the Bible says, “a fool refuses correction”.

Say goodbye to hyper-critical people. Say, “Adieu” to thoughts that try to remind you of past failures. Kick negativity in the seat of the pants and throw out the front door any thought that does not bow it’s knee to Jesus. Don’t go to people who have been negative and say, “I’m kickin you outta my circle of friends” DON”T DO THAT! But make note of negative people in your mind and determine to not allow them into your “Garden of Hope.”

And just so you can leave this post in faith, I declare you WILL lose weight, I say you ARE going to succeed in the dream and desire of your heart, I prophesy that you ARE the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and if you have the faith of a mustard seed, I say you will declare to WHATEV ER mountain exists in your life, “Move from here to there” it will move and nothing will be impossible to you!” Matthew 17:20

Go Get em!

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You Were Born for this Time in History

I’m going to tell you a story. A seemingly impossible one. It may seem to you that I am sharing too much because; when people share the history of their families, it is usually the disinfected version. Mine will not be. For those of you who know me, this may just be old news, so you bear with me as I tell it to others. For those who are reading this for the first time, allow me to say, that history is rarely the predictable path painted by Hollywood.

In the lineage of Jesus, was a prostitute named Rahab, there was a cowardly man named Abraham who tried to give his wife to Pharoah to sleep with her so he wouldn’t be killed. There was Jacob…a deceiver, and David a shepherd boy turned King. God never colors his history to make it smell prettier.

After World War I, Raymond M. Martin now deceased since 1978, had a decision to make. He was the illegitimate son of a wealthy Kentucky banker. When he was born, the banker, his father, wanted nothing to do with him and so, he lived with his mother, bearing the shame of being an illegitimate child. He grew up on a farm in Bowling Green was taken into a loving home when his mother re-married and lived as the 5th child. When he was called to go to war, he went and fought in the trenches in France near Alsace Lorraine. The Germans used mustard gas against the allies and my grandfather breathed in a lung full of the poisonous gas. He was taken to a field hospital and nursed back to health, but his lungs were scarred for the rest of his life.

As he stood discharged at the end of the war, he didn’t really know what lay ahead of him. He could return to Bowling Green but thought to himself that there was also the promise of a job offer up in Kokomo, Indiana as well as a relative who lived there. He dug deep into his pocket and found a coin and with very little thought, said to himself, “I will flip this coin, and if it’s heads, I will go to Indiana, and if it’s tails, I will return to Bowling Green.” He flipped the coin and it was heads. With no regrets, he gathered his belongings, bought a train ticket and headed for Kokomo Indiana. Not long after his arrival, he met a young girl named Ann Gerard Buckley, courted her, became engaged and was married. These two individuals became my maternal grandparents. My mother; their firstborn, was named Lorraine after Alsace Lorraine where he was nursed back to health.

Born in 1924, both my mother and my father shared the month of February as their birthday month, with my father born on the fourth and my mother the twenty third. My mother was raised in a solidly Christian home, with all the characteristic virtues but my father was a different story. He is the part of the story that some would say to avoid, but I say embrace it. You can run from it but God is glorified through it.

 Lee Pacheco was the third of four boys born to Ramon and Rosa Pacheco in San Antonio Texas. My father grew up in a very poor home (something he also had in common with my mother) but was left with no real moral compass to guide his life. His earliest memories that he related to me were that his mother and father were from Puerto Rico. He recalls a troubled marriage with an abusive, philandering, bootlegging father who had to be; on more than one occasion, forcefully removed from the home of a prostitute by my grandmother Rosa.

On one such occurrence, she had all four boys in tow as she yelled to my grandfather from outside the prostitute’s home to come out and come home. Ramon Pacheco had been a tough kid raised on the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a child he had been forced by his father to work the fishing docks cleaning out boats in order to earn enough money for his family to live on. After serving in the Merchant Marine in World War I, Ramon saved enough money to immigrate to the United States and worked in Houston at shipping docks, finally making his way to San Antonio.

He had met my grandmother Rosa shortly thereafter, but I was never told where and how they met. As a boy, my father Lee, learned the reality of poverty, going to school many times with no breakfast or lunch. His mother who doted over her son, would roll cigarettes on a home rolling machine, place two cigarettes in his shirt pocket and tell him to smoke them at lunch to kill the hunger pangs. Forced to leave school in 8th grade, he went to work, first shining shoes and then as an upholsterer and never returned to school.

He signed up for the Army at 17, asking his mother to sign for him and was shipped to Fort Sam Houston where he became an undefeated Golden gloves boxer. He eventually was shipped to Camp Atterbury in Edinburg Indiana where he met my mother who; after graduating from High School, became a volunteer for the USO and went with a group of women and a chaperone to Camp Atterbury to socialize and serve the troops stationed there.

After a brief courtship, my mother and father were married in November of 1943 and just two weeks later, my father was sent overseas to Belgium with the army Corps of Engineers and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. During that battle, the young sergeant at the tender age of 19 years old, sat in a crater formed by a shell explosion with his rifle and scant numbers of his allied brethren around him. Enemy fire coming from all angles, the young man knew they were outnumbered and began to weep, realizing he would never see his young wife again and mourning the lost opportunity of never having children.

Ordered to advance, Lee jumped out of the shell crater and began running forward praying, “Our Father Who art in Heaven…” Falling into another shell crater, a rally cry from behind him informed him that two divisions had arrived. He was saved from certain death. The enemy began to retreat from their entrenched positions.

He suffered mild frostbite on both of his feet, but survived and was honorably discharged and returned Stateside after VE Day. For 10 long years, my parents were unable to conceive. My mother, with her Baptist upbringing knew that prayer changed things. She had agreed to become Catholic to marry my father, but her Protestant roots would always come through. Praying began and four children were the result.

1957 was a very impressive year to be born. Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated for his second term as president, Elvis was on Ed Sullivan for the third time, the FBI arrested Hoffa, Hurricane Audrey hit Cameron Louisiana killing 400 and American Bandstand joined ABC. Actor Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Dorsey of Big Band fame both died that year. Father Knows Best was a big hit on television, gas was about twenty-seven cents a gallon and in the month of December, my mother begged me to wait to be born just one more day so she could celebrate Christmas…and so, I obliged, waiting until 11:15 am December 26th, 1957 to make my entry onto the mainstage of life.

Your story is as miraculous as mine. God has gone to great lengths to make sure that you were born. YOU ARE SO IMPORTANT TO GOD’S PLANS IN THESE DAYS!!!The odds against our being born were incredible! But God reaching into the earth made sure that you and that I came into existence at the right time because He had purposed it from eternity past!

Those of you reading this that were born in the 70’s 80’s 90’s and beyond, survived to live today through the American bloodbath of Abortion. That you are here is simply a miracle! HOW SPECIAL IT IS THAT YOU ARE ALIVE!

This is a reminder to you that God has chosen you. It is also a proof to me that we as humans do not have control over our destinies as is so popularly imagined. It may sell a lot of self-help books and help people feel good but we are not in control of our future lives.

As for me, I am the product of the flip of a coin…or so it would seem. I had no control as to what the verdict of that coin toss would be, I had control of nothing in the events leading up to my father and mother meeting, nor did I have any control of when my parents would conceive me. But I am here, and so are you! You have been wonderfully and awesomely made by the decision of an eternal God eons past who knew your name before you ever existed. This time in history, is a time when all things are coming together. Seek God to discover what YOUR portion in God’s story is and run after it!

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Beginning at 4 Years old…

” I couldn’t speak due to being so overcome with emotion. When the call went through and my parents heard me sobbing, and feared that something horrible had happened. “

Doug Pacheco

My mother belonged to The Doubleday Book Club, as a young woman, and every month new books would arrive at our small Indiana home. With excitement she would open the boxes to see what titles she had received. My mother loved to read. Every book that would arrive, she placed on the book shelves in our living room.

Among the titles were such books as “A Bell for Adano”, “ A Farewell to Arms”, and one book in particular that a four year old loved. It was a picture book; actually a travel book filled with black and white pictures from countries around the world entitled, “Around the World in a Thousand Pictures.”

Since I could not read, I loved taking the book down and looking at the pictures. Page after page of scenes from all over the world spread out before me. And of course not knowing what I was really looking at, I had no idea that these were pictures of Italy, France, England… photos from all over the world. Every day, I would look at the pictures and strangely enough, each time I would arrive at a certain place in the book I would call out to my mother and say, “Mommy, come and look at this picture!”

Dutifully, she would lovingly come in and I would point to the picture in the book and proudly announce, “That’s where I will go when I grow up!” She would smile and pat my head and say, “that’s wonderful dear”, and go back into the kitchen. I did this so much that the book would naturally fall open to the pages that I said were my favorites. In time, I grew older and the book lost interest for me and was placed back on the shelf and then into a box in our basement where my parents placed old things that they would either throw away or give away.

I went to elementary school, middle school and then to high school where I became involved in sports and grew interested in girls. I received a scholarship to Indiana University where after the first semester, I was injured and left school. I moved to Kentucky and for a long time just drifted from job to job. After a series of very miraculous coincidences, I found myself as a missionary to South America. This is where I now see that God was leading my life, because I could never have gotten to South America without going to Kentucky and would never have had the experience that I am about to relate to you.

One afternoon, as I was walking through Botofogo, a suburb in Rio de Janeiro, I was looking at the beautiful bay, filled with sailboats and at the beaches with their white sand when I was suddenly stopped in my tracks. Tears began to roll down my face and heaving sobs came over me. I couldn’t speak, but I knew I had to get to a phone. I walked to a public phone and had a friend ask in Portuguese for the operator to place a collect call to my parents because I couldn’t speak due to being so overcome with emotion. When the call went through and my parents heard me sobbing, and feared that something horrible had happened.

“What’s wrong Doug?” my mother asked. I tried to speak over the sobbing and explain to her but I wasn’t making sense. “Slow down and tell me what is wrong!” she said very matter of factly. I slowed my breathing, gathered my emotions and said to her. “Mom, go look on page 23 in “Around the World in a Thousand Pictures”. She said she would later, but I explained to her, “the very picture that I looked at when I was four years old…it…”my voice broke again. “I am looking at it right now!” There in front of me was Sugar Loaf Mountain. I hadn’t known the name of it and I hadn’t connected the dots that it was pictures of Brazil that I had looked at as a child. It was a God coincidence. I had gotten a preview of this very moment at four years of age.

My father was on the extension phone and had gone to the basement to find the book. He found it and got back on the phone and said, “It is Sugar Loaf Mountain on page 23 Doug…I see it.” My mother began to weep softly. My dad, who was very Latin and whose first impulse was almost always to get angry blurted out, “will one of you tell me what the hell is going on?” My mother then said, “It’s the picture that Doug used to show me when he was four years old…he would point to that very page and tell me, “some day I am going to that Country.” For 10 seconds or so there was silence on the phone. Mom and I knew that a four year old boy had seen 20 years into the future, and that my being in Brazil was no coincidence. The God of the Remarkable had shown up.

I spent four and a half years in Brazil helping to establish two churches. I baptized dozens of young Brazilians in the ocean, and lived an adventure I couldn’t have dreamed possible. My eyes were open with this experience about how God had given me insight as a child as to something he wanted me to do and as I looked back throughout my life, I began to see puzzle pieces that fit into place in other events and I immediately recognized that none of the things that had happened growing up were coincidence.

How can I convince you that God is constantly moving, taking action on your behalf to position you in a place where you will not only see Him change lives, but also to USE you to do it? Listen, I am a nobody, born to a lower middle class Hispanic/English/Irish family from Indiana. I have had no special training to do and see the things I have seen. The only explanation that I have is that the God of the Remarkable is seeking to reach into the earth to change lives and I was available. I can’t even take credit for that.

Stop and consider incidents from your past that made you curious about God. Was it a relative? A friend who influenced you? A teacher perhaps who showed you so much love that you wanted what they had? Was it a book you picked up? My friend, it was the God of the Remarkable. He was moving in your life from the time you stepped out of the womb. Scripture says: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2: 13 Also in Jeremiah it says:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5