Be You!

Earlier this week Billy Graham passed away as I am sure you already know.

As I was driving and listening to the radio, I heard someone say, “I wonder who the next Billy Graham is going to be?”

My first thought that I shouted out was, “We don’t need another Billy Graham!” And I bet you Billy Graham would be the first person to say that!

What the world needs is you to start being the person God created you to be and not someone else.

I have heard many statements like, “I wish I could be more like King David, or Paul or this person and that person.” Personally, I have said similar things about people I like and appreciate.

Can we learn from other people? Absolutely! Do I like a good sermon from some like Bill Johnson or Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church. You bet!

But at the end of the day, I am not that person. God created me to be me!

I find it exciting that God’s Word says in Psalm 139:16, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

God’s Word also says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

This tells us that we are unique. We do not have to be the same! There is not one type of Christian.  I am learning to enjoy that all the denominations are like one big family at Christmas.  What we need is unity!

The Church can often sound like the political system in place right now. Republicans vs Democrats. But instead of political parties, we can get into needless debates about what denomination is the best! Enough!

We are many parts, but all one body (Church). We need Protestants, Catholics and everyone else to come together and living out who God  created each of us to be. Unique!

Prayer:

Abba, I thank you that we are all unique. That we do not have to be someone else and nor do we want to be. Holy Spirit, help us to realize our true identity of who you say we are and remove lie that that is preventing from us seeing in true identity. Amen.

 

 

Doing Life With God

I am continuing to learn that God  really values relationship! And that Our feelings matter to God!

Let me say that again, our feelings matter to God!

One more time! Our feelings matter to God!

How many times have you heard a verse like:

Proverbs 3:5-6, 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.

Or how about a phrase like, “Trust God, not your feelings!”

Or “Submit to God!”

An issue with statements like this is that it can potentially lead to a very one way relationship with God where it is whatever God wants He gets.

But what about our feelings.

Recently, I asked God, “Why don’t I get what I want in this relationship? It feels very one way.

It’s like he whispered, “You don’t tell me how you feel about issues very often. You assume I don’t care about your feelings. That is a lie! Do you remember how I worked with you when you talked to me about your work situation and how we worked together. I value relationship and open communication, and your desires as well. But you need to talk to me!”

Whoa! Light bulb moment!

That’s why it felt like a one way relationship with God! I was so focused on doing what God wanted that I was not honoring how I was feeling.

Lets use two friends for example. If friend A gets his way all the time and friend B just listens to whatever friend A says, eventually friend B is going to grow resentful towards friend A.

Why should our relationship God be different?

There is absolutely something about submitting to God’s will for our lives, but it is not this black and white story. It is full of color!

So as I make decisions I can ask God what He feels, but then express how I feel and then we can work together! Sounds like a healthy relationship to me!

An issue can be is how do you view Jesus. Do you view Him like this:

Or this:

For me personally, I like the first one. Seems like someone I can relate to.

Oh and one more thing! God loves your quirks! He loves the things that make us unique like for some reason I still like Kent State football! Watching a KSU football game can be a spiritual event as well! Just invite Jesus into it!

Prayer:

Father, my prayer is you help to realize that you desire relationship with us. That you really want to do life with us! Break apart lies that get in the way of that. Amen.

 

Not Being So Hard on Yourself

Summary: Being hard on oneself may sound spiritual (I.E. I just want to be more like Jesus!), but without learning to give ourselves grace, we can call fall into guilt, self condemnation and self hatred.

The past few weeks Jesus has led me to make time on my day off to “review the film” What went right, what went wrong and what can be changed.

As I sat down for the film session, I was ready to hear all the things that needed improvement.

As I closed my eyes, Jesus rattled off 10 areas where I did an excellent job and a whopping 1 area to improve upon. It helped to totally change my perspective of God.

I couldn’t help but laugh, here I was going into the film room with a mindset of what I was doing wrong and instead God flips the mindset into what I was doing right!

Totally God!

The more and more I understand God’s nature, he isn’t about berating me into make changes. He does it in a kind and loving way and it is for our benefit!

Romans 2:4 says,

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
Repentance simply means a changing of one’s mind. So in the example above about the film session, I repented of falling into self condemnation and hatred into loving myself and giving grace to myself right where I am at.

Prayer: Father I thank you for every reader. I pray that you help remind each reader of how kind and loving  you are. Holy Spirit, help us not be hard on ourselves for the sake of sounding spiritual . Help us to recognize where we are doing what is right and make note of it. And if we need a correction, you do it in a kind and loving way. In Jesus name! Amen!

Comments and Application:  Are there areas in your life where perhaps you are too hard on yourself? How can you show more grace to yourselves in those times. I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

A Look into a Balanced Day of Marc’s Life.

Summary: In a world that can pull people in many directions, I would like to share the wisdom God has given me and pass it along in maintaining a well balanced life.

There can be many things that try to pull for our attention. TV, Social media, entertainment, family, work, relationships, and yes even the church. How can we maintain a sense of balance in this world?

First, off I will say, it is a fight! There will be well meaning people that say things, yes even friends, that can create an unbalanced life.

The most important ingredient to a balanced life is a personal relationship with God! So, walk with me as we look into a day of my life over this past week.

1. This past Friday was perhaps the most balanced day of my life….and it all started with spending time with God the first thing in the morning. I do not have a set formula (too religious for me), but it something like, spending time in the Word, worship, praying in tongues and listening to Him.

2. After spending time with Him I like to move into exercise. With the amount of walking I do for work, I am keeping it pretty balanced. No more than 15 minutes of cardio.

3. Then comes eating a healthy breakfast (future blog post on the importance of eating healthy. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit!)

4. Then comes work! There are so many cool ideas God has given to me about work. First off I am able to set my own hours. Instead of working 5 days a week, and longer hours, I work six days a week and shorter hours. God did it in creating the earth and so am I!

I take short mental breaks every hour in a half that helps to keep me balanced spiritually, emotionally and mentally. It has created a much better flow to the day and more efficient at work. I get in the Word for lunch and pray in the Spirit as well. And when work is done for the day, I put work down.

Let me say that work is the one that can throw people off perhaps the most. The culture we live in has came a long ways from working 100 hour work weeks in the 1800s, but is still flawed. I would encourage people to find work where it doesn’t throw off the rest of your life.

5. Then I took shorter rest to regroup for the rest of the day.

6.  I will pray in the Spirit around dinner time and have a healthy dinner.

7. Then I went off to Cincinnati House Group, which is an amazing group of people that are so passionate about God. This week was combining all the houses. So there were about 100 young adults there. So exciting! We worship, do Bible Study and Ministry time. It’s a great place to form deeper relationships.

8. Then a friend and I went out to eat afterwards and just had an amazing conversation.

9. Lastly, I like to get in the Word before I go to bed.

And there you have it a well balanced day! It was so beautiful because I know I was walking in the Spirit. There was a natural flow to the day and not striving.

As you can tell it takes discipline live a well balanced life. It means saying no to some things (Excessive Social media, TV, etc), but with the power of the Holy Spirit, He will help make changes in your life to adopt a well balanced lifestyle.

Prayer:

Father, I pray that every reader is able to live a well balanced life spiritually, emotionally and mentally, and any other way out there. In Jesus name, I release patience, perseverance, discipline and grace to every reader that desires to live a well balanced life. Amen.

Application and Comments:

How do you maintain well balanced life, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

You Cannot Outgive God’s Love!

Summary: Have you ever wanted something in life, but maybe seemed too big to ask? God loves to answer those prayers! Do not let, doubt or feeling of unworthy stop you!

I remember when my brother went to college he had received a nice scholarship to go to the University of Detroit Mercy.

I also remember my dad being grateful, but asked for more.  A simple phone call turned into an extra $8,000 in scholarship money.

James 4:2-3 says, 

You do not have because you do not ask.You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

I wonder how often this has been my thought.  I am grateful for what God has given me, but I know there is more out there.

Earlier today, I was resting in declaring God’s faith, hope and love to the world in a 1,000x measure. I began thinking, “Is this too much?”

I felt God say, “You cannot out give my love Marc.”

How encouraging!

I will always be learning, but a key to experience more of God is be a blessing to others. God did not intend to give you a gift to keep to your self.

When I give back to the Kingdom of Heaven financially, I like to do as soon it comes in. It helps me recognize the money is not mine, but God’s.

A similar principle with spiritual gifts applies. When I receive a spiritual gift, I am learning to give it away as soon as I can.

This promotes a humility and not pride.

Prayer: Abba Father, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have given me so I can be a blessing to others. Holy Spirit, I pray you stir in every reader a desire to be a blessing to others and teach them how to do so. In Jesus name! Amen!

Application and Comments: How can you be a blessing to others? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

 

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!

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.

Finishing What You Start

Most of my life, I start things but never finish them.

Probably, the most prominent example of this in my life is my goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which means I need to run a marathon in under 3:05.

Back in 2013, I ran four marathons and got closer each time. Charleston Marathon 3:22. Toledo Marathon 3:09. Traverse City Marathon 3:09. And the oh so close Columbus Marathon in 3:07. Then my depression got the best of me and I stopped running.

What happened? Well, I got scared of accomplishing a goal of mine.

The good news is that God will NEVER give up on you. Even when you don’t feel like you can go any further the Holy Spirit will push you through.

Phillipians 1:6 states, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”.

There has been many times during my depression that I wanted to give up. But each time, God was pushing me along telling me that He had a plan for my life. I didn’t understand it, but I kept pushing forward.

Now I am excited to say that I will be starting an internship at my local church next year. It’s a place that has invested so much in me, and I now look forward to giving back.

God has a plan each for each and everyone of His children. I pray that you take that first step and ask God what to show you what it is. It might just change your eternal future.

Addicted To Joy

It was about this time last year when God gave me a first glimpse of what true joy feels like.

I can remember it very well. I was at United Dairy Farmers and when I when I swiped my debit card I felt a surge of energy that I had not experienced before.

Since that moment, I have not experienced that feeling, but I now I know it is there. I cling to that moment in my moments of depression. I cling to that promise from God that I am just scratching the surface of this unchartered territory into joy.

As believers, we should all be living lives full of so much joy that it spills over to the people that we encounter. We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Whether you are aware of it or not, God has a plan for your life. It’s the best plan. It’s a plan that will fill your life with so much joy that you can’t wait to give it away.

We can change our world if we find all find our joy. I know too many people that are going through the motions of life. They wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner, have a beer and call it a day. There is so much more to life than that.

If you have never asked God to show you His plan for your life, I encourage you to do so. I gurantee it will start you onto the path to a life of joy. Let us be part of that remnant that can change the world.

 

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!