Guest Blog by Pat Ennis
Commencing my terminal degree was a decision I agonized over. I entered higher education with a Master’s degree and the promise from my employer that my position would never be contingent on pursuing a doctorate. As the Home Economics program I developed blossomed and matured, however, I knew that I would hinder its credibility if I selfishly maintained my reluctance to embark on a doctoral program.
A sabbatical to pursue the degree was impossible so I enrolled in a program that could be completed concurrently with full-time employment. The one available in my area required coursework during the academic year and twenty weeks of residency on the Northern Arizona University campus that spanned 3 summers. The first summer I identified with Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 1-4)—I left all that was familiar to reside in a foreign environment. During my devotion times that summer our Lord allowed me to discover Jeremiah 17:7-8; subsequently, it became the motivating verse for my doctoral studies.
Sixteen hours of comprehensive examinations followed my coursework. I completed eight hours and found myself in extreme pain at the conclusion of the second. Diagnosis revealed gall bladder disease and surgery was scheduled. Prior to departing for the hospital, I packed my briefcase with the remaining notes I needed to commit to memory. During my seven days in the hospital, I consistently meditated upon Jeremiah 17:7-8 for spiritual vitality and studied for the remaining examinations as my stamina permitted. My heavenly Father chose to allow my “leaf to be green” though the heat was intense.
Through this experience I was once again reminded that God’s Word provides guidelines for possessing spiritual vitality in unforeseen circumstances—may I share with you some principles that emerged which continue to provide spiritual vitality for me?
- If I consistently internalize God’s Word (Psalm 119:11) I will possess spiritual vitality (Psalm 1:2). This internalization process begins with daily spending time reading and thinking about the Scriptures, asking my heavenly Father how I should apply them to everyday life, purposing to be obedient, through His strength, and joyfully responding to His instructions (Philippians 4:13).
- My spiritual vitality is directly related to the thoughts I deposit in my memory bank—I can only withdraw what I have deposited (Psalm 1:2-3).
- When I meditate upon and apply God’s Word to my life, I am not guaranteed consistent prosperity or exemption from life’s challenges. The prosperity that my heavenly Father does assure is peace in the midst of difficulty and attitudes that please Him (Psalm 1:3).
- The ability to receive God’s abundant provision comes as I am transplanted from sin to salvation; only when I experienced salvation did I acquire the capacity to achieve long-term spiritual vitality (Psalm 1:3).
- A life that displays spiritual vitality will bear fruit, even under difficult circumstances. A life lacking spiritual vitality is comparable to chaff—the outer shell that must be removed to release the valuable kernels of grain. Chaff is lightweight and is carried away by the slightest wind, while the quality kernel that drops to the earth, germinates, and eventually produces a quality harvest. I make the choice to be like chaff or grain kernels when the winds of adversity blow (Psalm 1:3-4).
Today, some twenty years later, I continue to benefit from the truth learned from my “terminal degree experience.” It taught me that the heat would come; the drought is certain; however, there is a supernatural source of vitality when one is spiritually prepared.
Dr. Pat Ennis taught Home Economics for the San Diego Unified School District before developing and establishing the Home Economics Department at Christian Heritage College located in El Cajon, California at the request of Dr. Tim LaHaye. She moved to The Master’s College in 1987, at the invitation of Dr. John MacArthur, to establish the Home Economics-Family and Consumer Science Department that she currently chairs. Pat is the author of Precious in the Sight of God, the Fine Art of Becoming a Godly Woman (Trusted Books), and Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God (New Hope), co-author, along with Lisa Tatlock, of Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God A Guide to Your Biblical Potential (Moody Publishers), Designing a Lifestyle that Pleases God (Moody Publishers), and Practicing Hospitality, the Joy of Serving Others (Crossway Publishers), as well as a contributing author to Pearl Girls, Experiencing Grit, Encountering Grace (Moody), Think Biblically, Recovering a Christian World View (Crossway Publishers) and Daily Devotions for Writers, (Infinity Publishing.com, 2008).
Her life’s mission is to
• Love her Lord with ALL of her heart (Matthew 22:37).
• Walk worthy of her calling (Ephesians 4:1-3).
• Train the younger women to fulfill the Titus 2 mandate so that God’s Word will not be discredited (Titus 2:3-5).
For additional information visit Pat’s Blog.