More From Nicholas Patterson

January 2, 2022 by Nicholas Patterson (Florida, USA)

When I wrote previous devotionals, as well as the one for January 2, I was in prison. I am now in a work release program. This has been a wonderful year and time of transition. At work release, I have served as the chaplain’s assistant and have helped with a clothes closet. This ministry provides for people coming into the work release program who are in need of clothing as they transition back into the workforce. 

As I complete the work release program in April, I look forward to the future. I am going to be working with a church serving as a music and media minister. God opened this door while I was still in prison through personal connections with a prison ministry and a seminarian who was finishing his internship. Though he was working full time as one of the pastors at the church I will be working with, he now works at the prison. 

While in prison, I also became active in an international non-profit educational organization that promotes communication, public speaking, and leadership. I have served in a variety of leadership roles and have worked on my communication skills. Just a few months after being at work release, I was asked to serve as an area director. It has been a wonderful experience, and I am now working on the highest level project in the organization, which less than 1% of members achieve. 

Finally, I will be taking online courses at a prestigious university starting this summer, pursuing dual degrees while serving the church full time. Yet another door God has opened. 

I have also met a lovely woman who adores the Lord and is committed to making disciples. She and I are growing closer each day, both to God and each other.

All of these things would not be possible without today’s theme of recognition. If people had not recognized genuine repentance, aspiration, and Jesus in my life, there is no way these doors would have opened. People tell me as I serve them in the restaurant that they can tell I really care and love my job. Sometimes, I even have the opportunity to share that I do care but that there is One who cares and loves them even more. 

Authenticity is often missing in our world. Sadly, it was missing in my life before this experience.  But through honest reflection and pragmatic change, every one of us can be who God has called us to be. As my other devotion suggested, this brings us freedom! 

What do people recognize in you? Ask someone. If it isn’t what you want them to see, it is never to late to change with the justifying grace of Jesus and sanctifying grace of God working in your life.

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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