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!

God Wants to Heal EVERY Part of Your Life

Summary: While God is certainly interested in healing us emotionally, spiritually and physically, He is also interested in healing other areas of our lives, like the vehicle we drive!

I have been going to a church that pursues the healing touch of God in a powerful way. People have seen limbs grown, cancer disappear and many other miraculous touches of God!

It got me thinking at some point, since God is interested in every part of our lives, would He be interested in “healing” a vehicle?

Psalm 139:17-18 says, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.”

That is a lot of sand! Surely one of those grains of sand are the vehicles we drive!

So for the past two years or so, I speak life to the vehicle I drive. Since doing so, I have not had a major car repair to be done. In fact, I have watched the gas light go from on to off and the watch the gas needle go up while driving! Praise God!

In Jesus name, roll on 1994 Dodge Caravan, Roll on!

I have prayed over my parents vehicle and have seen the check engine light go off.

Jesus is so madly in love with us that he even cares about the things we have,

Prayer: Thank you Father for everything you have given us. I am so grateful. Holy Spirit, help us speak life to the possessions you have entrusted with us! Help us to share our testimonies to be an encouragement to one another.

Application and Comments: How do you speak life into to your everyday life? I would love to hear about it 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!

Making Progress, Not Perfectionism

Summary: It can be tempting to wait until everything is perfect before beginning something new. However, this often is not the case in life. So instead of reaching for perfectionism, reach for progress.

Last month, I felt God challenging me to upgrade the blogging experience I have been doing. Truthfully, I did not have an idea of where to begin. There was a short season where I kept waiting until everything “lined up”, before I would move forward.

I am glad that was a short season because I could have been waiting a long time!

Fortunately, I ran across something called the 30 Day Blog Challenge that has helped to make me recognize the importance of progress and not perfectionism.

Philippians 3:12-14 puts it this way:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I thought I had to have the “perfect” graphics, posts, following, etc to move forward with this venture. By me just taking a step forward each day, I feel momentum building day by day.

How relieving!

When I lie down at the end of the night, if I hear the thought progress come in it has been an great day!

Challenge: Is there something in your life that you are waiting for the stars to align before you make a step? Let me encourage you to take the first step today and trust the Holy Spirit will guide you to where He is leading. I am sure it is exciting!

Prayer: Father, I thank you that you don’t want perfectionism, but are so pleased when we take steps of faith. And Holy Spirit, I pray that you instruct us and teach us in the way we shall go and to counsel us with your loving eye upon us. In Jesus name. Amen.

Comments: What is something God is calling you to take a step in today. I would love to hear about it in the comments below..

P.S. I purposely left two periods on that last sentence to break perfectionism 😉

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!

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.