Good, Good Father

Today, during worship service, I started to tear up about how God has brought me through this depression I have battled over the past two years. From keeping that helium tank empty when I tried to end it to keeping me financially afloat, He has always been there. Take a listen.

The (Subtle) Issue with Tradition

There is nothing wrong with tradition in itself. There is nothing wrong with meeting with the family for holidays. There is nothing wrong with wanting to pass down certain family traditions to the next generation.

The (subtle) issue becomes when it gets in God way of His purpose for a person’s life. The tradition becomes a pedastal that is higher than God.

What if someone like a David would have followed the way of his family?  He would have missed God’s best. What if someone like an Abraham would have followed tradition? He would missed God’s best.

What if someone like Mary would have said, “Nope God, the only way to have a baby is with a man and a woman!”.  She would have missed God’s best.

You see certain traditions were meant to be broken. Too often not only the good traditions get passed down, but also the not so good ones. How about the tradition of jealousy or anger or selfishness or perfectionism in a family?

If we hang onto certain traditions, we may just miss God’s best plan for our lives. If you are having a nudging from God to go a different way than your family, I pray that you have the courage to follow through. It may just be that God has something awesome prepared for you!

Living a Manageably Depressed Life and How to Break Free

As I continue to see my depression lift, I have been struck over how I really believe that I I have lived a “managebly depressed” life for the first 24 years of my life.

I say managebly depress because I believe there are a large majority of people just going through the motions of life and they live their lives based off of the media and not the Word of God.  I know I sure did.

If you were to ask me two years ago “How am I doing?,” I would have replied, “Great! I got a well paying job. Just bought my first house and I have two friends that help pay the mortgage. And great friends.” While that was true, on the inside I was miserable, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. And I sure didn’t want to talk about my issues.

It wasn’t until about this time last year until God gave me a glimpse of joy. I had heard about joy, but I can say I didn’t experience it until last year. It was when I bought an ice cream and when I went to pay for it that I felt this energy radiate throughout my body.

Not accustomed to that feeling, I was spooked out by it I ventured back to my “safe zone” (which really wasn’t that safe).

I wonder how many of us live our lives in the safe zone. We have one foot in the Kingdom of God, but one foot in the secular world. We are afraid to live out God’s purpose for our lives.

Just my personal opinion, but I believe there are many people that go to work each day just to earn a paycheck. I can see it on their faces. If they would be honest with themselves, they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have to be.

The good news is there is a way out. Just repent of your sins and ask the Lord Jesus to come into your heart and make Him your personal Savior. Then step back as God reveals His awesome plan for your life.

Then your “work” will no longer become just a place to earn a paycheck, but it will have purpose because you know you are doing what God has called you to do.

God is a good God that wants so much more than for you to “just earn a paycheck”!

God Has a Plan For Your Life, Part 2

During this blog post, I would like to take the time to those who may seem like they are “floundering” in life.

It’s to those people that may seem like they have it all together, but still feel like something is missing. It may also be to the person that is out of work and the weight of this world is closing in on them.

Wherever you are, it is my prayer that this will be an encouragement to get on God’s plan for your life and stop surrendering to the world.

First, I know that there may be some very fine salesmen that may be reading this post. You may have accumulated a lot of money over the years, but no matter how much wealth you acquire there feel like something is missing.

Next, to those recent college graduates who may be looking to start their career. You have made through college “successfully”, but still lack a sense of direction in life.

Finally, to the person that has been entrenched in their career for years, and seems scare to venture out of the norm and onto God’s plan for their life.

All three of these types of people may haven’t different circumstances in life, but they have a commonality, they are out of God’s will for their lives.  With that comes stress, depression, feelings of lack and other insercurities.

Getting on God’s plan will give you the “fruit of the spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness:

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to on God’s plan for your life. Just a simple prayer. Just say:

Lord Jesus, I know I have been of your will for many years. I don’t know what you have planned for me, but I know it is the best. I repent of my sins, come into my life and transform.

A simple prayer like that could just transform your life. Just sit back and watch God bring heavenly connections into your life.

I know He will. He did it for me and He will do it for you.

I still marvel that God has called me to preach and used my favorite preacher, Charles Stanley, to help call out His will for my life.

I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth posting again.  Here it is and God bless!

God Has a Plan For Your Life, Part 1

Have you ever stopped to think that God has a plan for your life? I know it was something that boggled my mind my entire life. I can remember thinking, There are 7 billion people on this planet. How could God possibly have a plan?

I know my thoughts were something like:

I just help to sell insurance. I’m not capable of doing God’s work. I don’t even want to allow God into my life. I can live this life on my own power and strength.

Well I can remember that it was June of 2013 when I finally surrendered to God’s plan for my life. And it was at a time when things were going seemingly well in my life. I just bought my first house, first “big boy” job, dream relationship and just finished running my third marathon of the year.

I can remember praying: Heavenly Father, as great as everything is in my life, I still feel like something is missing in my life. Show me what it is.

And that was it. Nothing more and nothing less. It was a simple prayer.

Little did I know that when I had my wisdom teeth taken out a few weeks later that the anesthesia would help to send me into the deepest of depressions that would lead to a suicide attempt 9 months later.

As a look back at the past few years, I can see why God allowed that to happen in my life. It now allows me to relate with people that are in a deep recession.

I believe I am being called to preach at some point in my life (I will cover that in my next blog). Could you imagine if I was being called to preach and not being able to relate to people that are in a depression?

Approximately 700,000 people attempt suicide every year, approximately 30,000 complete that suicide attempt each year and about 30 million live in depression. And that is just in the United States!

Now I will be able to relate with depressed people that are attempting to end their life. But the first step involved me getting on God’s plan.

The next blog will cover reaching out to those people that may be floundering in life and may not even know it.  It is the people that go to work with no real purpose or passion for what they do in order to “make a living”. God Bless!

On Eagle Wings

Do you ever worry about how the future is going to play out? More than likely, there is some area your life that you worry about. Whether or not it is finances, health, or relationships, etc. there is probably some area that you worry about. I know I should do.

Let me direct you to one of my scripture verses about worry. It is found in Matthew 6:25-27:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

On my way home after church service, my eyes were caught by the “birds of the air”. Maybe for the first time this verse came to life for me.  The birds looked so peaceful just gliding through the air. There looked to be minimal effort on their part.

I believe this how our Heavenly Father wants us to live, with minimal effort. He wants us to relinquish control and turn over control to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Help us to be more like the birds of the air. Help us to soar in our lives like the eagle. Lord it was you that told us that worrying wouldn’t add a single hour to our lives. I pray you sink that message deep into every reader. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!

Restoration God

Yesterday’s blog post was about how God was (figuretively) leading me from being a catepillar to a butterfly. Today, I want to talk about the God of Restoration.

You see when I was in the “cocoon” phase, God asked me to do a lot of things that were uncomfortable in the moment. From walking away from certain relationships to starting to tithe my income, it seemed that God was taking from me.

At the time, I didn’t understand that the same God that takes away can restore as well!

Psalm 51:12 says:

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

You see when God brings you through the valley it is never His intention to leave you there. It is ALWAYS His purpose to bring you through to the other side.  What is on the other side?

Galatians 5:22 says:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Now about this time last year, God gave me a small glimpse of what this new life would be like.  It lasted for about a day.  During the day, I treated myself to an ice cream cup.

And a funny thing happen.

When I swiped my debit card to pay for the ice cream, I felt this radiating joy spread throughout my body. For those of you that know me, spending any kind of money use to always be a painful task for me to do. I was so uptight about even spending a dollar.

If you are in a valley season right now, my encouragement to you today is to keep pressing on.  You know what your dreams and desires are. You may even know what God’s will is for your life. God not only wants to, but WILL see you through to the other side.

From Caterpillar to (Emerging) Butterfly

Do you often wonder how you will accomplish your dreams in your life or what God has called you to do? Do you often fret about how it will happen? If you answered yes to either of these questions there is a good chance that God may have to do a work in you to prepare you to accomplish your dreams.

One of my favorite verses of scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

It may just be that God has to send you into a cocoon phase to prepare you to accomplish His will in your life. This is how its been for me.

I wandered aimlessly throughout my early 20s. Hopped around from job to job. I believed that the mark of a “successful” person was measured what was in their bank account. I also believed the mark of a successful person was if a person was “attached” to someone else.

This was the caterpillar phase of my life.

In order to accomplish His will in my life, I had to go through a cocoon phase in my life. This was marked with 2+ years of an almost unbearable depression in my life that led to a suicide attempt last year.  Little did I know, that God was never closer in my life in those difficult moments.

You see God was preparing me to accomplish His will in my life, but had to grab my attention. The depression was the only thing that grabbed my attention. It forced me to rely on Him to see me through to the other side.

Now, as an emerging butterfly, I can look back with clarity and see what God was doing throughout each moment.

My prayer for you is, if you are going through a challenging season in your life, that  you see it from a God perspective. You see, God knows past, present and future.  The future part is often where we seem to doubt God. God knows what it will take to accomplish His will. I pray you release control and turn it over to God!

Here I Am Lord

This is the title my favorite Catholic song and it sums perfectly up how I feel.  If you want me to do Parking Ministry or speak to 45,000 plus, here I am Lord to do your will.  It’s just amazing when you surrender yourself over to the Lord the work that can be done to Him glory and honor.

That’s how I feel about this blog right now. I don’t blog my personal gain. Or to build my ego. The 164 followers of this blog aren’t mine, they belong to you O Lord.

That’s one of the reasons God used depression in my life  to break the ego Marc out.  There is absolutely nothing that I do apart from the Holy Spirit that dwells with in.

So here are the lyrics to the refrain of Here I Am Lord:

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.

I say send me Lord. I come to do your will.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for all the support over the past two years while I have been battling depression.  Thank You for keeping  me safe in the valley and hiding me from the rain.  Help me to continue to grow closer to you each day.  I pray that you send every reader a message about a heavenly plan for their lives.  No more going to work , just for the sake of earning a paycheck. Help them and guide them in finding their purpose. I pray this in  Jesus name.