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!

Calling Out the Gold In Others

Summary: Each day we have the chance to call out the gold in people or to bury their hearts. Lets be watchful of the words we are using.

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

I have been staying with my parents for around a year for various reasons, but perhaps the most important was to call out the gold in them!

How did I call out the gold in people? It’s really simple. Speak to their identity in Christ.

Examples:

  • Hey Mom, how is the daughter of God doing today?
  • Hey Dad, how is the heir of God doing today?
  • Hey Mom, how is the princess of God doing today?

The list can go on and on. (Here is a list that I recommend)

It’s how the transformation process began in me when someone spoke to my identity and I have a feeling that God is doing a incredible work in my parents as well as I plant and water their seeds of greatness.

I have noticed my parents to be much more understanding and have seen incredible growth in their lives over the past year.

Also, I like to to speak random people I meet throughout the day. To the grocery clerk, “How is the Child of God doing today?”

The beautiful thing is that it blesses the both of us! It speaks to their identity in Christ and it helps to reaffirm my identity in Christ as well!

And here is an important note. Even on the days when things aren’t going well, I firmly believe it important to call out the gold in other people. It can help prevent bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness seeping in.

Application: Who is someone in your life that God keep bringing across your path? How can you choose to bless them with the words you speak?

Prayer: Father, I pray that the Holy Spirit gives us uplifting words to speak to our neighbors to call out the gold in others. Have our lips be for speaking life and not death.  In Jesus name. Amen.

Comments: I would love to hear how you call out the gold in others! You can comment below.

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!

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!

How Holy Spirit Can Inspire Your Daily Life

Summary: How checking in with God at least a few times a day can help make sure we are following His plans for our lives.

 

The Holy Spirit is an incredible encourager that can make daily life fun!  Today I want to write about how developing a routine of spending time with God that helps keeps us grounded in everyday life and is enjoyable!

It was a few months ago, I felt frustrated with my prayer life. I had been reading and meditating the Word, worshipping, praying in the Spirit and many other things. At times, it felt arduous and like I was earning God’s love by doing these routines. I knew something had to change.

There were areas of life that I did not feel I was submitting to God. I had a sense the answers would come in getting in a consistent routine of spending time with God.

So I began waking up earlier in the morning to have one on one time with God and no distractions.

I felt Holy Spirit begin to lessen the amount of the Word that I was reading and reduce the amount of time I would pray in the Spirit.

Naturally, I would say to Him, “But I want to do more!”

Holy Spirit, “I appreciate that, but this is for the best. This is a long marathon and not a sprint”

At times the process felt slow, but I feel less and less I am striving for God’s love and just resting in it.

Later, He would add a morning devotional book by Charles Stanley I had received in the mail from an unknown person (Who are you mysterious person!? Reveal yourself!). Also, He added back singing worship songs.

This morning routine helps to center myself in letting God lead and not Marc.

Then there is a time in the afternoon and evening  I spend with God as well.

This provides at least 3 check ins throughout the day that I can spend time with the Creator of the Universe and cast all my cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7).

I have had people say, “Marc, how can you have peace in your life right now, with all that you have been through?”

My answer, “God has given me a vision of where He is leading me. I do my best not to get caught up in life circumstances.”

Real Life Example:

A recent example I have, is not getting getting paid for 5+ weeks from work due to an error. Was it frustrating at times? Yes. Did I get angry at times? Yes. Did I stay in a place of blaming God? No!

These 3 main check ins throughout the day have provided a way to rest in God when it seems like my world is falling apart.

The peace I experience from spending time with God is more valuable than a paycheck.

And remember what works for me may or may not work for you. Use trial and error! The Holy Spirit would love to help you!

Prayer:

Father, I thank you for all you are doing in every reader’s life. And Holy Spirit I pray you stir up in every reader a desire to spend time with you on a daily routine basis. Let them know how much You want to spend time with them.  I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Comments:

I would like to hear from you as well! How do you spend time with the Creator of the Universe throughout the day? I would love to hear! Please share below.

Praising God in the Midst of the Storm

When people hear of a positive medical report, a frequent phrase a Christian will say is something like, “Praise God!”

Someone gets a promotion? “Praise God!”

Restoration of a marriage? “Praise God!”

But what about when your world is “seemingly” crashing in around you? That “Praise God!” business can have the tendency to get thrown out the window.

When someone gets cancer, I normally do not hear “Praise God!”

When someone loses their job, I normally do not hear “Praise God!”

When someone is sitting in emotional pain, I normally do not hear “Praise God!”

We have been going through the Book of Psalms at church for the past month or so. A lot of David’s cries to God are not when everything is going great.

Psalm 102:1-2 says, Hear my prayer, O Lordlet my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!

When I read these verses, I hear a deep cry from David’s heart for answers. It almost even sounds demanding to me. But even in the midst of pain and suffering, David remembers that praise moves God regardless of circumstances.

Here was an example of that cry to God I experienced in the past week,

I have been working for the first time in several months for about the past month and was scheduled to receive my first paycheck.

I was so excited!  Then payday came around and I got word that the company messed up my paycheck and may be another two weeks before I get paid. So that would be 5 plus weeks without getting a check!

Can you imagine my initial anger? I was furious! I let God have it! And in the midst of it God comforted me.

And I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Let’s find the golden nugget of wisdom in this situation.”

Quickly, I responded “Well I am tired of living paycheck to paycheck! No more of this!”

It was that red hot anger and cry to God that I needed to experience to say “Enough of this way of living!” And I offered God a sacrifice of praise in the midst of the situation.

And the next day I went into work holding no resentment against the company and actually blessing the company.

There is something about worshipping God in the midst of the storm that I cannot fully describe. I can cast all my worries on Him and focus on Him while it seems like everything is falling apart. (1 Peter 5:7)

And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is priceless to me and grows each time I offer that sacrifice of praise regardless of circumstances.

Challenge: Next time something goes wrong, I challenge you to praise God anyways. Shift your focus to Him. Your circumstance may not change, but your perspective will.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, I pray that you teach every reader to offer that sacrifice of praise regardless of circumstances. Remind them that your goodness is not dependent on when only “good” things happen. That your goodness is when we our on the mountain with You or in the valley. I praise you God! And I ask this all in Jesus name. 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!

 

 

 

Not Getting Ahead of God

Recently, I felt there were many changes to make in my life. This is true, but seemed so overwhelming. I didn’t know where to begin. I felt the Lord impressed on me to focus 3 things, (Serving at church, Taking medicine and working).

A huge sigh of relief. He wasn’t asking me to do it all at once!

There have been times in the past where I would make many changes at once that I would start off with the best intentions, but fall miserably.

I have noticed so much more peace in my life as I partner with God in doing what He wants and not more. That’s wisdom!“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)

It reminds me of my old running days. I recall a marathon I was running with a 3:10 pace group. We were all having fun and encouraging one another. Around mile 18, I felt like I was doing fantastic. So I ran ahead of the group. A few miles later, I slowed to a walk. Shortly after, I watched the 3:10 pace group whiz by me.  I still finished the race, but stumbled to the finish line about 12 minutes slower.

How often has this been the case in my relationship with God? A lot.

Me: “I am feeling pretty good, let me run ahead of Your timing on things.

God: “There’s grace for that, but it isn’t my best.”

In the past, would I run ahead and fall miserably. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25) 

I sense I am entering a season of relying on grace still, but an emphasis on truth. What would God do in this situation?

For example, I was sitting surfing the web when I saw the dishwasher was done at my parents house. Here is the dialogue that ensued:

Me: “I’ll do it later”

God: “It’s best to do it now.”

Me: “Give me ten minutes”

Holy Spirit/Dr. Charles Stanley sermon: “Partial obedience is still disobedience!”

Laughing and stomping, I got up and just did it! Thanks Dr. Stanley!

As I laid in bed that evening, I felt God molding my heart to be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Truly amazing! Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:6)

So my question for you today is, “What is God asking you to do that you are putting off?”

Suffering is not always from the enemy, but also not doing what God is asking us to do.

My encouragement is to take a step of obedience, stay in His Word, and do not procrastinate. It will help to walk in step with God.

Prayer: Father, Thank you for the Grace you continue to give in our lives. I pray that as we make changes in our lives to be more like Jesus, that the Holy Spirit encourages us along the way. In Jesus name. Amen.