From Marc’s Heart: Are you really good Abba?

Dear Abba Father,

Are you really a good father? I have heard different theologies of that you are in control or in charge. Whatever the case, I feel you are doing a shitty job.

I was at a retreat recently and we were asked to place a stickers of where people get their identity from.

34 for work. 16 for child of God.

After all this time, that’s the best you can do Abba? Some great army you have!

Great job leading Abba. Keep up the great work of raising strong spiritual Moms and Dads.

And another thing Abba,

I don’t appreciate being sensitive to other people’s emotions and issues and then you take over a year to tell me that this wasn’t my issues. Oh but your timing is so perfect! Thanks for having me wallow in that for so long Abba.

And thanks Abba for keeping doors close and keeping me in a environment that feels like a constant reminder of the past!

And another thing Abba,

I really don’t appreciate allowing pain into a another man and then have him tell me, that is the pain You feel when you see me hurting. That’s twisted love. I don’t need someone to feel pain in order to see how you feel.

And another thing Abba,

I feel beyond disgusted with you about that basketball game that I was one point off from guessing. I told you then I didn’t want anything to do with her if I didn’t guess it correctly. Why the hell would you allow it to be so close and then have me sit with the torture of it for almost 4 years?

And another thing, thanks for that amazing book called the Bible.

You cannot convince me that everything in that is true. It’s like the telephone game. With how many times that has been translated, it has to be screwed up at some point.

I have more to say Abba, but I feel you get the point. I feel disgusted with you.

But you know what Abba, somehow I still love you and know you love me and nothing can change that…..Whoever you are.

Your Favorite Son,

Marc

 

How to Multiply the Kingdom of God

Summary: Be being thankful for what we have, we can then multiply it to advance the kingdom of God!

Recently, I did a post on declaring God’s truths into the atmosphere while at work.

I would ask the Father what was on His heart and then release it into the atmosphere!

It would look something like this, “In Jesus name, I declare and release God’s redemption to Ohio.”

I thought that was pretty cool that I could do that and then God helped me to take it a step further!

The word multiplication began to bubble up inside of me. So I began multiplying what was on the Father’s heart!

Example: Thank you for the redemption you have shown me in my life and in Jesus name, I declare and release God’s redemption in a tenfold fashion over Ohio.”

It didn’t stop there! I thought God wanted more and I went up to 100x God’s redemption over Ohio!

This is following God’s commandment to us to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

It really is a simple process and we can use Jesus as our example when he multiplied the fish and bread.

Matthew 14:19 says, Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.

Notice it was when he gave thanks that when the multiplication occurred. It is about being thankful no matter how small or insignificant something may seem.

Here is an testimony from my own life.

Last year, I was thinking about financial breakthrough and there was a penny on the ground.

I felt the Holy Spirit say pick it up and say thanks! So I did! Next thing I knew I found a dime. It clicked that was a ten fold financial breakthrough! Then it snowballed into larger area amounts.

Later in the year, there was a $15,000 debt I incurred. I went back to the penny moment and applied the principle of giving thanks.

4 and half months later I was debt free with less than $10,000 of income coming in and being laid off from work two weeks after finding out about the debt!

A true miracle. Praise God!

And it started with giving thanks over a penny!

So the next time you have a thought of having a little of something, stop and be thankful!

Only have a little bit of joy in life, Great. Be thankful.

Only have a few friends in life, Awesome. Be thankful.

Only have seen God’s goodness a tiny bit in your life. Sweet! Be thankful.

And then multiply it to those around you and it shall come back to you!

Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of multiplication that you have shown me. In Jesus name, I declare and release the gift of multiplication to every reader. Holy Spirit, help us be good stewards of this gift to advance the Kingdom of God and to destroy the works of the enemy. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Application and Comments: What has God given in your own life in a small amount? How can you be thankful for it and then multiply it out to your family, neighborhood, city, nation and world? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Relationship vs. Legalism

Summary: God desires to be in relationship with us and not legalistic practices. In fact, as we submit to God’s will an interesting thing happens, God wants to know our heart on issues of the world!

There are many Christians living under living under the slavery of legalism. How does this look? A person’s prayer life can be a good indicator. If a person says the same prayer to God day and after day, it doesn’t sound like much of a relationship to me.

If a friend came to you and said the same thing time after time, at some point wouldn’t you already know what your friend is going to say to you before he speaks?

Now I use to be bound by this legalistic prayer routine. I could only imagine God saying, “Marc, I have heard that prayer, lets talk about something different.”

Editor’s note: If saying the same prayer to God enhances the relationship, go for it. Remember we each have our own personal relationship with Jesus. Allow Holy Spirit to lead you what works for you.

There is another area of life, where many Christians are bound by legalism. How many times have you heard a Christian say, “Not my will be done, but Your will be done God”.

Again, this in itself is not a bad prayer. But imagine two friends, where one friend always has his way and the other always had to submit to the other.

Wouldn’t you feel like a slave and not a friend?

God has called us friends of God, not slaves.

The key is that as we fully submit to God’s desires, He wants to know what is on our hearts. It’s about a relationship.

This is emphasized in the Bible with Jacob. Genesis 32:28 says, He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Notice that God did not belittle Jacob for wrestling with Him, he actually enjoyed the wrestling! Why? Because it was rooted in a relationship.

In my own life, I have wrestled with God. I have a Bible, that has no cover and back, tattered pages, and a few burnt ones in my own wrestling with God if all that the Bible says is true. And I love it! It shows my authentic relationship and with God!

Interesting note, the few burnt pages are in Genesis where it talks about Jacob!

God is longing for His people to be in a real relationship with Him and bound by legalism!


Prayer: Father, I pray that Your Holy Spirit leads us all into what it means to be in a real relationship with You! I am grateful for all you are doing in every reader’s life and pray for a spirit of revelation of what it means to be in relationship with you! I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Application and Comments: As you fully submit to God’s desires first, what is one thing on your heart that you would like to see change? God is interested! Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” So come boldly to the throne of grace!

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.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

A Thorn in the Flesh

Last week, I met with a therapist that I had worked with in the past. Before walking in, I was getting the word “trust”.  At some point in the session, the therapist mentioned the word, “betrayal”.

I said, “I heard of that word. What does that mean?”

She said, ” It means that something happened that destroyed your trust in them.”

Later that evening, God brought me back to a place when I would cry out to Him as a three-year old to take away the fear of death. Nothing. Silence. At that young age, my view was I could not trust God.

As I sat there, I felt this deep emotional pain, that I have never experienced.  It felt it would have been better to have a knife stabbed in the heart or a gunshot to the head than to feel betrayed by a loving God.

And if I felt I could not trust God, I also did not I feel like I could trust people.

Betrayal is a wound that can run so deep, that will infiltrate into every relationship a person has. But it does have an amazing benefit.

I now can look back and how this has been a blessing.  I can now say like Paul, Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NASB) 

And this year when I have felt the thorn, I have shouted for joy and said, “Yes! I shall boast of this, so the power of God dwells in me!”  What a blessing!

Prayer: Father God, I pray for everyone that is experiencing a feeling of betrayal by You. Let them know that is a lie.  I pray you come and speak to them in a personal way and to let them know you see everytime that person has been hurt.  I thank you for your faithfulness when we experience hurt.  I pray that the Holy Spirit comes in to comfort you and ask you God to come in and heal broken hearts and to fill us with your love. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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.

The Joy of God’s Discipline

The word discipline has a negative connotation to it similar to. It implies that someone did something wrong and corrective action must be applied. It is almost sounds like punishment. There is significant difference between the two.  Discipline is a tool of God’s love for His Children.

Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Yesterday, I talked about how God is a jealous God after your heart.  You can be sure God will remove those obstacles that keep God from going after your heart.

Here is a practical example from my life.  Sometimes I can have the tendency to be on the internet too much.  I can remember a few weeks ago, the internet went out for a few days and I took a different approach to the situation.  This time I viewed it as coming FROM God.  He wanted me to spend more time with Him. It wasn’t a punishment where I felt the wrath of God for doing something wrong.

Rather, I viewed it as a sign of God’s discipline and love. It was a perspective changed. God loved me so much that He needed to provide a wake up call.

Hebrews 12:11 goes as far as saying, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it,”

So the lesson in God’s discipline is that it is a sign of God’s love for us.  We should take great joy when we are being disciplined by Holy God because it is shaping us into the Godly men and women that we were destined to be.

A Jealous God After Your Heart

God is a jealous God that wants a personal intimate relationship with you. He will do whatever it takes to make sure He is number one in your life. If something stands between you and God, you can be sure He will take it away! Mark it down! (He will also give it back, more on that later).

Probably the best example in my life was my running ability. I always had (still do) have a dream to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In order to qualify, I will need to break 3:05 for 26.2 miles. Now I have ran 5 marathons in my life and have got closer to that mark each time.

I’ve gone from 3:42 to 3:21 to 3:11 to 3:09 to 3:07. I was so close! And then my depression hit. I went from running 7 minute miles with ease to barely being able to run a few miles.

As the fog from the depression is lifting I can how running became an idol for me. If I achieved running a 3:05 marathon, then I would have done something “successful”. Whatever that means.  The truth is replaced the spot for God in my heart for running. I still would not of been a joyful had a qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Now I do believe God wants me to qualify for the Boston Marathon at some point, but He doesn’t want me thinking I have done it on my own strength. He wants me to recognize that my strength comes from him alone. Most importantly, I will have a right relationship with God.

Prayer: Thank you God for being so jealous for us.  Thank you for removing what ever prevents us from having a relationship with you. You loved us so much that You sent Your only Son Jesus to die at Calvary for our sins.  We are so grateful that you keep pursuing us even when we disobey and try to accomplish on our own strength. Have us recognize that You are the Vine and we are merely the branches. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Breaking a Heart of Stone

Today on my way back to Memphis, I saw an exit for Hidden River Cave in Kentucky. Curious, I decided to pull off to check the place out.

When I got there, I quickly realized God was using this experience as a metaphor for my life.  You see this wasn’t just any old river.  This was a river that was found deep within a cave.  As I descended the nearly 200 steep steps towards the entrance of the cave, my eyes were gazing at the exposed rock from a sinkhole back in the 1800s. It made me realize that this is how my heart was.

It was layered with such a deep layer of limestone rock that seemingly nothing could penetrate.  As I walked down the steps, I sound of a running river became louder and louder. As I reached the bottom and looked up, I was amazed that this river was still flowing despite on the years of limestone that was built above it. You see the source of water came from deep within.

How often in life do we live like this?  We know God wants to be good to us, but we continue harden our hearts when we here His voice. Why do we do that? Are we simply afraid of allowing such close intimate relationship with God into our lives? For me, the answer was yes.  The key is to invite the Holy Spirit to break through any stone that is remaining in my heart.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how grateful we are that we are covered in Your love and grace.  Your love and grace can break through any limestone we have built around our hearts. Lord Jesus, send the power of the Holy Spirit to penetrate our heart  and fill us with a source of living water within us.  Have it not lay deep underground so that no one can see it.  Have it flow like the Mississippi River and bring healing to everyone who encounters you. Blow through the caverns of of souls to overflow. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Check the video around 8:25 mark for the steps that lead down to Hidden River