Trusting God One Step at a Time

Summary: Learning to trust God for the breakthrough in life starts with taking the next step.

Last September (2016), I moved in with my parents and have helped  with the downsizing process as they look to move to a smaller home.

My prayer has been when my parents move to their new home, that can be a natural separating point in our lives.

Back in late January (2017), I was returning on a bus from Atlanta to Cincinnati. It was on this trip that I felt God speaking to me in a very unique way.

I felt God saying He was going to be moving me from my parents house. My reply was, “When God?”

September kept flashing into my mind.

To add to the confirmation, I pulled out a book I had received by Dr. Charles Stanley.

“Randomly”, I opened it a time when Dr. Stanley felt God was going to move him.  In a similar way, he mentioned that September was flashing into his mind.

It was very strange but I remember feeling the comfort of the Holy Spirit upon me. I decided to start speaking into that time frame and saying this is when it will happen.

Proverbs 18:21 says, Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

By speaking into this September time frame of things shifting in my life, I am learning to trust God more that it will happen indeed September.

Do I have the answers of how this will happen? No. Often I just get the next step to take and obey the best I can.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Prayer: Father, I pray for an increase of trust to every reader. I pray that as we submit to you that intimacy with you takes off like a fire. Holy Spirit, continue to guide our ways and lead us to the best life that you have for all of us. In Jesus name. Amen.

Application and Comments: Is there something in your life that you are trusting God for that requires you to trust God? I would love to hear how you are trusting God in your situation. Please share in the comments below.

The Benefits of Praying in the Spirit

Summary: Today, I am going to write about a few benefits of praying in the Spirit and impart the gift of praying in tongues!

Praying in the Spirit is something that is relatively new to me. A mentor imparted the gift of tongues to me last year. It wasn’t something that I gave much attention to. I admit I thought it was a bit hokey.

Until this year that is.

I was at a class earlier this year that talked about how praying in the Spirit is like our secret weapon. We don’t even have to know what we are praying because it is inspired  by the Holy Spirit!

1 Corinthians 14:14 says, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

Not knowing what we are praying for is exciting after many years of “unanswered prayers”. There were many times I prayed for something specific and if it didn’t come on my time table and my way I would become discouraged. Not knowing what we are praying for is exciting because we can trust God that He knows what we really need and advance His kingdom.

It helps to take the focus off of ourselves because when we pray in the Spirit, we can be interceding for those around us.

There are times I get a sense of what I am praying for and I am learning to journal those moments and see them come to pass. It helps with building a healthy relationship with God.

The second benefit of praying in the Spirit is that it is good for our brains! YAY! There is a Christian psychiatrist named Dr. Carl Peterson that writes how praying in the Spirit releases healing power.

He writes, “As we engage in our heavenly language the brain releases 2 chemical secretions that are directed into our immune systems giving a 35 to 40 percent boost to the immune system. This promotes healing within our bodies. Amazingly this secretion is triggered from a part of the brain that has no other apparent activity in humans and is only activated by our Spirit led prayer and worship.”

Wow! How awesome!

Prayer: Abba Father, I thank you so much for the gift of praying in the Spirit. Thank you that praying in the Spirit really is our secret weapon when it comes to spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:18). In Jesus name, I impart the gift of praying in tongues to each reader. Stir up the gift in each reader as you see fit. I praise you Father for the love, grace, mercy and patience you have for each of us! In Jesus name. Amen. (Note: Only receive this prayer if this is something you want)

Comments: How has praying in the Spirit benefited your own life. I would love to hear your comments below! Be blessed!

Taking the Next Step With God

Summary: While our lifelong walk with God can seem overwhelming at times, here is a reminder of how God only asks us to take the next step.

Recently, I have been feeling the pastoral side of the five fold ministry being stirred up by the Holy Spirit inside me. I was so excited!

Before I got carried away, I felt the Holy Spirit say “Walk with me. One step at a time.”

So I asked Him, “What is the next step that I can take to be closer to where you are leading?”

Quickly, a pastor friend from a former church I went to surfaced to my mind. So I felt the next step was to reach out to him and set up a meeting.

After meeting with him this morning, we came to the conclusion that either the Vineyard Leadership Institute or School of Kingdom Ministry would be the next step for me to take.

It was so helpful to have God lead me to a great friend that offered the perfect next step to take!

Application: What is one step that you can be closer to where God is leading you?

Prayer: Father, I pray for a Spirit of Revelation and Encouragement for every reader that is reading this blog and that you Holy Spirit continue to instruct us and teach us in the way that we shall go and counsel us with your loving eye upon us (Psalm 32:8). I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Comments: I would love to hear what is one step closer to where God is leading you. Please share below!

Declaring Truth Over Your Life

Other than the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I like to think the most “historic” event is Kent State’s (my alma mater) 2012 football team!

A team that went 40 years without reaching any bowl game and then came with a 2OT loss of reaching the Orange Bowl (one of the top 4 bowl games in the country)

But it didn’t start that way. Back in late 2010, Kent State hired Ohio State assistant Darrell Hazell to change team with a culture of losing.

The 2011 campaign began like most campaigns and they held a 1-6 record coming into the bye week.

I sensed something was different though. Loss after loss, during the post game press conferences Coach Hazell would say, “This is good football team”.

I thought he was crazy after losing a 9-3 game, but I sensed a tide was turning!

Finally the bye week came, they made a small tweak on the offensive line and put their 2 future NFL offensive linemen next to each other. And it made all the difference in the world. The once inept offense began scoring points. They would go on to win 4 of their last 5 games to finish 5-7. There was a lot of momentum for a team mired in its losing ways.

The 2012 season went on to be a season for the ages. They began the season 11-1 before losing in double OT in their conference championship game and losing their bowl game and finished 11-3.

As great as the 2012 season was, I recognize the work for that season was planted in 2011. They spoke of being a good football team before it actually happened.

As I reflect over my own life, I see so many characteristics myself and the 2011 KSU football team.

I reached a point earlier this year when I was shooting a basketball outside and I felt Holy Spirit say, “Marc, remember the 2011 and 2012 Kent State football teams?”

Me: “Yea.”

Holy Spirit: “How did that start?”

Me: “By declaring they were a good football team?”

Holy Spirit: “Correct. How about you start speaking that over yourself?”

Wow! Talk about a revelation.

So I took that basketball, shot it and said, “I declare I am God’s masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:10) Airball! I didn’t care much. I trusted I was on to something. Day in and day out, I began speaking truth over my life whether I felt it or not.

In June, I felt like I had reached my own “bye week”. and made some tweaks. I felt like I was in the middle of another sub par year of where I wanted to be in life. It felt like a 2-4 season up until this point.

I had been in the Word, praying in the Spirit and worshipping, but I began developing a daily routine.

Little by little, the tide began changing in my own life. I am beginning to have victory in consistency, hearing from God, being obedient to the Spirit’s promptings, work, finances, answered prayers and serving

What happened?

Well like the 2011 Kent State football team the pieces were there, they just had to be rearranged and I had to let God rearrange my life.

My encouragement to you today is this, whether you feel it or not, start declaring God’s truth over your life. Start speaking to your identity in Christ or claim a promise from God. Praise God in the midst of a storm. Get in a habit of doing it.

Prayer:

Father, I praise and thank you how you speak to us each in a personal way. In Jesus name, I ask you speak to every reader in a personal way so they can experience what it is like to be victorious in Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Relationships

Today at church service, the teaching pastor, asked us what makes us feel the most vulnerable in life. Instantly, relationships came to my mind. Just typing this I feel my heart shake.

I do believe God is bringing me into having healthy relationships in my life and that is exciting and can be terrifying at the same time because relationships and I haven’t really been best friends for the 28 years I have lived.

Relationships have hurt me greatly in the past, and learning to trust God, self and others is a process. Let me say that again, learning to trust God, self and others is a process!

In a playful way I like to ask God,

Me: “Hey buddy, can we skip over this relationship business with other people? I like you more!”

God: “Sorry buddy, you need relationships with other people to help you grow and for you to help them grow.”

Deep down, I understand that.

The issue with the mentality of not needing other people leads to a life of isolation. There are times for us to be alone with God, but there are times we need another. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

So where to begin?

Part of the answer is taking baby steps, building friendships and learning to guard our hearts Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.(Proverbs 4:23)

A baby step can be finding a safe community setting to cultivate healthy relationships. Maybe that is going to a function outside of the Sunday service for someone.

Building a friendship means taking the time to get to know someone before to see if the person is someone you want to build a relationship with.

And guarding our heart is recognizing what is going on in our own hearts and not shutting down what we are feeling. Communication is key to guarding your heart. How can I share my heart with someone, if I am not willing to share what is going on the inside? Make sure to find safe, trustworthy people when sharing your heart.

More on relationships later.

Prayer: Father, I praise you for what you are doing in each and everyone of our lives. In Jesus name, I ask for healthy relationships for all of us to help us grow into the strong men and women of God that you designed us to be. Amen.

P.S. Learning to trust God, self and others is a process!

 

 

 

Claiming Your Inheiritance With God

Yesterday, I was meditating on God’s Word about us being a heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

And on a spirit and heart level, it hit home deep! I was curious to see what this meant.

The definition is, “someone who has been appointed to receive an inheritance.”

What?! How amazing is that?

God owns it all and it all belongs to us because we belong to Him.

So since God owns it all, why do humans have a tendency to want to work extra hard? The secret is to enter into a place of rest in God. It is resting with God, where we can find out the steps God wants us to take (Psalm 4:8). It is in rest where we can surrender to God.

For example, if a person is in $50,000 in debt, natural reasoning is to work overtime/ get a second job to pay it off.

The more I understand my position in Christ, my identity in Christ, and all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ, the more I realize that belief of getting the second job/working overtime to pay off the debt is the result of an unrenewed mind.

The second job/working overtime are options, but they are not the only way.

Using the $50,000 debt as an example, let’s try this as an approach:

“God, I am going to continue to be faithful at work where I am right now, but working extra hours means less time for me to spend alone with You, with family, serving Your Kingdom and enjoying life outside of work. I need balance in life.  

Father, as an heir with God and co-heir with Christ, in Jesus name, I claim an inheritance to pay off this debt so I can continue to partner with you in advancing the Kingdom of God. Thank you Holy Spirit for guiding me to make decisions to advance the Kingdom of God. Amen.”

Now start asking God what already belongs to you through His son Jesus!

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for all you are doing in each of our lives. I pray that each reader who reads this becomes so rooted in thier identity in Christ and can walk out this amazing life out with confidence. In Jesus name, I impart wisdom to each reader for any challenges they are facing and ask you to double that wisdom. Thank you Holy Spirit for always comforting us. I pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.