About the Author  

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 of Time With God

 

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I see you want to know more about me... or did you follow the wrong link?   Either way, it is nice to meet you!

My name is Patricia Chappel, Pat for short. I am a wife, a mother, a retired RN and currently the owner of a growing business, Flowering Twigs .

My husband, Bill, and I have been married 38 years and we have 5 wonderful children and 5 even more wonderful grandchildren.  My husband, a professional chef and restaurant manager, was working for the state of Michigan 12 years ago when he had a serious heart attack that ended his career.

Bill is a very talented man, artistic and creative.  We tried several ideas and, after much prayer, came across the art of carving flowers out of tree branches and Flowering Twigs was born. Bill was a natural carver and I became the flower-dyer and arranger.

What started very shakily in the summer of 2004 has become a successful and growing business which takes us to craft shows throughout the year. It truly is an answer to prayer because Bill loves to travel and this gives us that ability along with a needed income and a way to make new friends.

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God has always been very important in my life. I was raised in a traditional Catholic home, with generations of Catholic heritage on both sides. I was educated in Catholic schools, taught by nuns for 12 years, and knew my Catholicism very well. Even so, I found as I grew into my teens, I deeply desired a more intimate knowledge of God. The ritual prayers and ceremonies of the Catholic Church seemed more and more empty to me as I grew older.  By the time I was in my late teens and early twenties I used any excuse to miss Mass.

With the help of a close friend I started exploring New Age and Eastern religious philosophy. I was fascinated with all the knowledge those writers seemed to have about the supernatural. But something in me would not let me dive in. For years I remained a very interested spectator while continuing to attend Mass to please my father and to give my children a religious upbringing.

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The terms or concepts of being ‘saved’ or ‘born again’ were not found in the Catholic church in my day, but I was taught that Jesus died for me and because He did I was able to enter into heaven. Because of no clear teaching of salvation I have no clear idea of when I was saved. I do know that God was directing my life and speaking to me for I remember very clearly His Words to me in one important encounter.

In my early thirties I was convinced that New Age teaching was true and was more interested in it than Christianity.  It was at that time that God used a Christian radio program to change my life. A singing evangelist had a daily fifteen minute spot on a country/western station I listened to. One day he related a story about becoming angry with co-workers.  When he prayed God spoke to him and said, “Walk gently before Me because you are Spirit-filled and My Spirit is gentle as a dove.”

Somehow I knew in my heart that God had really spoken to him. Never in all my years in the Catholic church had anyone
ever related that they had heard God speak directly and personally to them!  There were hundreds of stories of saints, all dead, who had exceptional relationships with God.  Yet no one, not priest or nun or bishop, even hinted that they could hear from God directly. I was deeply touched and amazed by this man’s experience with God.

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I continued to listen to the same station and ponder the thought that God really does speak to people. Several days later the evangelist spoke about satan and hell. In New Age teaching there is no such thing as good or bad, heaven or hell, and certainly no satan or devil. As soon as my mind started to reject what the evangelist was saying I ‘heard’ a voice inside say, “You know this man hears from God. Listen to him.” I can still remember what God spoke as though it was yesterday.  I couldn’t deny the evangelist heard from God, so I kept listening.

Looking back, I now realize the Holy Spirit was teaching and directing me.  However, at that time it was just a thought rather than a Word from God, but one I couldn’t ignore. My husband, who had been raised in a large extended family and had attended Baptist, Pentecostal and Catholic services depending on who he was staying with at the time, had a very open mind regarding God. We started listening together to that evangelist and about a year later, during one of his services, I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

At the time I did not fully understand what was happening. The evangelist gave an altar call for those who wanted “more of God’ and I ran to the front of the auditorium with my heart cry, “God, I want all of you I can get!”  We were told that, as we prayed, we would hear strange sounds inside us.  We were to just let them come out, following his example. I did as I was told and found myself speaking in other tongues. It was a glorious experience! My feet didn’t touch the ground for at least the next two weeks.

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I suppose most would say I was born again and received the Baptism of the Spirit all together on that day. And there is an example of that in the Book of Acts with Peter and the household of Cornelius. But I remember the tender heart of the little Catholic girl, growing up wanting so much to know God and loving Jesus with all her heart. I don’t think God holds Himself back from us because we don’t know the right words to say. I also believe there was Someone inside me during all those years, directing my steps until I was following the path that was His Will for me.

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When we came home from that meeting, Bill and I found a Pentecostal church and I began growing in my knowledge and experience with God. As a Catholic student in the 50’s and 60’s, I had been taught not to read the Bible because I wouldn’t understand it and I would be given all I needed to know through the parish priest, the sacraments and the Mass. Essentially, the Catholic church teaches people to just be a good Catholic and they will get to heaven.

I tried one Catholic service after receiving the Baptism and knew I couldn't go to anymore. The priest was telling little 7 year old First Communion recipients that they had just experienced the epitome of their Christian life. Took all I could do to keep from standing up and yelling NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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So, then, in my thirties, as the minister opened the Bible to me every Sunday, I couldn’t get enough. I became an ardent Bible student.  The Word became so precious to me I learned calligraphy so I could make beautiful plaques of loved verses and I hung them where I could see them daily.

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The first time God wanted to speak a Word of Prophecy through me, I refused to open my mouth. It had only been weeks since I had received the Baptism and, though I heard the evangelist speak of Prophecy and Tongues, we had only been attending the church for a couple of weeks and no one had given a Word in any service I had attended. One Sunday night, as he closed the service, the pastor announced that he felt someone had a Word for the congregation.

As the pastor spoke, I felt a pressure raising up from my chest into my throat and “heard” several words. I knew God was moving on me to give the Word, but I was in a panic. I had never heard a Word given! I didn’t know the first thing about all that yet. I wanted to know why God was picking me. Inside me there was a war going on. I was begging God to choose someone else and, as the seconds turned to minutes, I felt like I might literally explode. The pressure in my chest had turned to a huge lump in my throat and holding it back was taking all my strength. I found myself gripping the back of the seat in front of me until my knuckles turned white.

No one else made a sound and, finally, the feeling passed and the pastor ended the service. As I stood in the foyer after the service I heard a woman complaining to the pastor that she felt cheated.  She couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't speak a Word that God was giving them. I was sooo miserable. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.

It was several years after that before God moved on me again to speak for Him. By then, I had heard Words of Prophecy, Tongues, and Interpretation and they were very familiar to me. Over and over I asked God to forgive me and allow me to move in the Gifts of the Spirit. The time came when He answered my prayer.

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 Over the years, the initial ‘pressure’ I felt got less and less and became just a gentle knowing. I preferred the pressure because then I knew it was God, but He seems to love to make us become more and more sensitive to His leading.  For me, being able to hear Gods’ Voice continues to be an extraordinary blessing and incredible way of life.

God tells us in His Word, "My thoughts are not your thoughts and My Ways are not your ways” Is 55:8. Studying God’s Word and hearing His Voice are His Way of teaching us His Ways and giving us His thoughts. On our own we could never think as He thinks or discover His Way of doing things.

That is what is so sad about the religions of the world. They are just men trying to come up with ways of pleasing God. It just can’t be done. God, Himself, is the only One who can reveal Himself and His Thoughts and His Ways to us.

My hope and prayer is that "Time With God" will bring you closer to knowing and experiencing your wonderful, awesome God.


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