Spiritual Warfare

Throughout my depression that I have gone through, I never really stopped to think that there might be some kind of spiritual warfare going on in my heart and mind…….that is until this week.

For the past 6 months or so, I’ve developed my personal relationship with Jesus Christ to the point of being able to ask “yes” and “no” questions. If my heart has long slow beats that symbolizes a “yes”, if there is no heartbeat response that symbolizes a “no”.  It has allowed me to make some pretty difficult decisions despite when human reasoning seems more logical.

Well earlier this week I was thrown in for a loop.  I don’t remember what the question was, but I believed the answer was a “yes”.  Next thing I know I am hand-cuffed, sedated and back in a mental health facility. Definitely not the answer I was expecting!!

No worries, God can change any situation around.

As I laid in my bed, I began reading Matthew 17:18-21

And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

It’s like a felt a nudging from God that I needed to start fasting.  It’s kind of ironic because I always pushed fasting aside as something that only “crazy” people do. I talked to two of the elders from my local church and they explained how I may be going through spiritual warfare from the enemy.

I always find it fascinating how God and bring you right to the correct scripture verse when facing a serious dilemma.

Happy Sunday!

Many of you that know me that Southern Gospel Music has grown on me significantly.  Here is one of my favorites:!

Less I, More Him

Since the start of the year, I’ve noticed in my talking and writing less “I” statements. Looking back on some writing, I was amazed how almost every sentence started with an an “I” or “My”. It’s taken a concerted effort, but the benefits have been instrumental.

After all, it really isn’t us living on our own, but the spirit living in us that guides us. Sure we have free will, but more often than not, our spirit can control our thinking.

For example, I’ve stopped beating myself up when I misplaced my car keys for a meeting and end up missing it.  You see there was a reason why God wanted me to miss that meeting. Often God that is a signal that God wants me to spend more time with Him. And as a bonus when I do, I find my car keys.

The beauty of brokenness is I am starting to realize it was never me living in the first place, but the spirit within me. It’s a humbling place to be, but it does bring about more peace.

My prayer for all of us is that we begin to realize how God is involved in every aspect of our lives. From missing car keys to the long traffic jam. Just maybe there is a purpose you couldn’t find your car keys this morning. Maybe God had your best interest at heart.

There is Power in the Blood

Well as I depart for Atlanta today, I don’t really have time for a post today. However, I wanted to share with you some good ole’ Southern Gospel Music.  It has been a source of strength for me the past several months. Have a JOYFUL weekend everyone!:

God’s Plan For My Life

If God told you to sell everything you have, would you? Would you walk away from the woman/man of your dreams with no promise of being reunited? Would you trust that God would spare your life from a suicide attempt? Would you move to a different city without a plan? Would you listen to God no matter what the cost?

These are the questions that I had to answer at one point in my life. And in each step I had to walk in obedience and trust that God had a plan for my life.

And this weekend, I will be returning to the place where I first got a glimpse of God’s plan in my life.  It was at First Baptist Atlanta where Dr. Charles Stanley preaches. On February 1st, 2015 I went to FBA to hear him preach.  There I was sitting in the church that seats around 4,000 and I got the sense that Dr. Charles Stanley was looking directly at me.

Convicted that he was, I took out a piece of paper and thanked In Touch Ministries for being a great resource before and after my suicide attempt. After service,  it was Charles Stanley who came up to me and asked where I was from. I handed him the note and we chatted a bit.

The following week before Charles Stanley started to preach, he asked me to stand in front of the church and shared our encounter. It was a very humbling experience.

After service many people came up to wish me well, but one particular person stood out. Sitting directly to the left of me was the Executive Ambassador for In Touch Ministries.  Long story short, we went out to dinner that week and I couldn’t shake the feeling it was an interview of sorts. Since that day in February, I am convinced that I will be starting my new career at In Touch Ministries in Atlanta.

This weekend I return to FBA for a special weekend. You see I can’t shake the feeling that the Holy Spirit is going to fall upon me where it all started this Pentecost Sunday.  After all, it was at FBA where I got a small 5 second glimpse of the “peace that surpasses all understanding” back in February.

Holy Spirit I invite you into my life. I’m ready now.

In fact, In Touch just put up that video of Charles Stanley’s message from February 1st when I sensed Dr. Charles Stanley . looking at me. Here’s the video, I can be seen around the 19:20 mark. I’m wearing a red shirt 5 rows back:

http://intouch.org/watch/steps-to-gods-guidance/listening-to-god

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The God Who Keeps Me in the Valley

Being in the valley doesn’t sound like a very fun place to be and also doesn’t sound very safe. But it is.  This is how God can operate at times.  Sure I would rather be in on the mountain top right now, but God is still refining me day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute.

Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” It’s a verse that gives me great comfort even though all hell SEEMS to be breaking loose.

As I continue to work through the trauma in my life more and more unpleasant feelings are naturally coming up, I MUST maintain my presence on the Lord. It is very easy for me to drift off to a place where I feel like God is abandoning me.  It is a feeling I am starting to learn to embrace instead of trying to push it away.

Pushing away the negative thoughts only invites them to come back. Often more forcefully. By embracing and experiencing the negative thoughts/emotions, I can finally set them free.

While I am in the valley, I can’t help but thank God for protecting during this process. He has always provided for me even when my limited mindset tries to tell me otherwise.

He has always comforted me. Again, even when my limited mindset tries to tell me otherwise. I’m so grateful for this process. Even though breaking out of this cocoon I am in can be painful, it is turning me into a Godly man.

Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

I want to share a song with you that has kind of become my anchor song during this valley experience for me. Take a listen:

When God Seems Silent

Have you ever been through a time where God seems silent to you? You keep asking for something, yet seems like the more you ask, the quieter God gets.  Get ready then because God is about to do awesome in your life and you don’t want to miss it.

There are two types of responses a person can take in this situation.  One is of restlessness and worry and the other is one of peace that God is in control (Take it from me, the worry option isn’t worth the struggle).

Currently, I have placed out about 10 phone calls and have heard back from one person (And that was while I am typing this).  In the past, my thoughts would have led me to a dark place. “God why are you leaving me? God, why are you allowing this discomfort? God, I don’t know about this.”

Well let me assure you, God isn’t leaving you, He is working for you.  Let me say that again.  He is working for you. I spent about month worrying about where my next step would be after my Atlanta visit.  Then within the course of about 3 hours, God made it so crystal clear that Memphis was the next step for me.

You see what I couldn’t see was that God was aligning all the right people, facilities, resources, etc. to help me transition to Memphis. He was working FOR me.

Now when I come across a situation where it feels like God is “leaving me”, I might as well pull up a chair, a soda, sit back and listen to Ty Linder’s “The Flashes are going to Omaha!!” on repeat or some other Kent State classic on Youtube.

I now recognize he is working with me. He is doing the work, that I don’t have to.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how grateful you are a God that works with us and not against us.  Thank you for always having our best interest at heart even when we don’t see a way.  Thank you for being with us in the fire and the flood.  We love you. In Jesus name. Amen.

Happy Mother’s Day

Wanted to take a moment to thank you all of the mothers out there for the sacrifice all of you make each and everyday.  Thank you for recognizing that your job doesn’t necessarily end when your child turns 18, or graduates college, or gets married.

At each of these important stages in life, your role merely changes. At each of these critical changes in life, the child learns a little bit more about themselves and it is a large reflection on the mother.

They say that no parent is perfect and I have to disagree with that. I am most thankful for my mother for the mistakes that were made along the way.  You see it was in the mistakes that I believe my mother was perfect.  It was in the mistakes that I am becoming the man of God I desire to be. I know our relationship is much better today because of it.

Thank you Mom for all you have taught me about life.  This short blog can’t even begin to express my gratitude towards you.

It’s Harvest Time Part 2 (Grace vs. Shame)

Friday, I began the process of letting go the fear of death through a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing).  EMDR is known for being the equivalent of 12 sessions of talk therapy.  Towards the end of session, the leader asked us to imagine the doors in the back of the room were opening and asked us who we saw.

I saw Jesus and I started bursting into tears.  It was a catharsis moment that I had been waiting for so long. The next 24 hours took their toll on me.  You see this was the fear and shame I have been hanging on for so long.  The process is now under way of burning these weeds in my life.

Saturday afternoon, there was a deep root of shame in me..  You see I have a very critical inner voice that questions nearly every move I make “Should I of made that purchase?” “Should I of said that?” “Did I do this the right way?”

Now I know on a rational level, I can’t continue to live a shame-based life. However, my emotional mind hasn’t caught up yet.  I can quote from Romans 8:1 all day which states, “There is now no condemnation for those in Jesus Christ.” But it doesn’t stop the inner critic in my head.  I look forward to removing that shame in the coming weeks and replacing that with grace.

You see shame says that love is conditional.  It can be based on performance or achievement.  Grace says, “Ok Marc, you had a tough 24 hours.  It’s ok that you did and it makes perfect sense based on the facts of the day.  I love you anyways. I love you when you are at your best and I love you when you are at your worst.”

Grace is ultimately how God sees each and everyone of his children.  You could make the worst decisions for the rest of life and God would say, “I love you anyway my son/daughter.”.

Side note for my future wife, if we have two daughters, their names have already been picked out. Joy Kutylowski and Grace Kutylowski.

Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for sending Your son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  Thank you that Your love is not conditional.  You paid our sins debt in full.  Thank you for replacing our shame with grace.  We love you Lord in Jesus name. Amen.

Fundraising Update: Thank you so much for your financial support to support my 6 week stay in Memphis.  Just in the first week, you helped to raise over $1,160!  Thank you!  You can continue to donate at the “Fundraiser” link at the top of the page.