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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
Any person whoever has ever ran a marathon race (26.2 miles), knows it is not wise to start off training 20 miles. Why? Because you will probably burn out quickly and not have consistency with your training. You start training off slowly and build endurance (Colossians 1:11)
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
Our walk with God is no different.
Speaking from personal experience, I have tried many different spiritual disciplines, but without consistency! It leads to a life that is not rooted.
Recently, God has led me to reading 3 chapters of the Word a day and praying 3 times a day in tongues about 3 minutes each.
And it’s been wonderful! It’s like eating three meals a day (And maybe a late afternoon snack as well!). There is a natural hunger for more! (Psalms 119:103)
“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Nom! Nom! Nom!
I continue to see the benefits. I am hearing the voice of God better. I am also discerning what is not the voice of God. It is helping me continue in making wise decisions. Often there are decisions in life where there is not a right or wrong choice, but there is a “best” choice.
It is also helping me let go of encumbrances that lead to sin (Hebrews 12:1).
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
For example, I felt like I could was not able to exercise self-control on the smart phone, so I felt God say to switch to a flip phone for now. Do I believe this is permanent? No, but it is helping me realize that even a smart phone can get in the way with our race with God and relationships with others.
I look forward to partnering with the Holy Spirit in adding back the spiritual disciplines I have already practiced in a balanced way.
Prayer: Father, I pray for discipline in all of our lives. And Holy Spirit, I pray you teach us how to use discpline in our everyday lives. Help us to recognize this is a long race we are in and that we are in it for the long haul. No matter the cost. I ask all this in Jesus name. Amen.
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.
My good friend Joey once told me, “Religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell and spirituality is for people who have already been to hell and don’t want to go back.”
The first part of the statement definitely rang true in my early years of life. I went to Catholic church every week, said my prayers, gave a little, but always felt like something was missing. It wasn’t until I went into my deep depression that I realized what that was. A personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Now this isn’t something that could be obtained by going through the religious rituals that I had been doing. I needed to put my faith into action. But how would I know that I was actually following God’s plan for my life?
Well I guess that’s why they call it faith because to be honest I didn’t know for a long time. I didn’t know at the time that I was following God’s will for my life by walking away from that well-paying unethical job. That was blind faith.
Matthew 17:20 states, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” I always find it fascinating how the parables told in the gospel ring so true even in 2015.
You see God isn’t interested in your religious practices. He isn’t interested that you go to church every week or that you skimmed through the Bible for the week. He wants to have a relationship with you more than anything. He wants you to be spiritual more than religious. Ultimately, He wants to know you. The question is, do you want to know Him?
Prayer: Father how grateful we are that you desire us more than anything in the world. We are thankful that you are not interested in how perfect we perform religious rituals, but desire us to follow Your promptings in our spirit. All you ask is that we are obedient to you. There is nothing we could ever do to repay you for what Jesus did at Calvary. We love you Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.
Tomorrow, April 27th, will be the one year anniversary of my suicide attempt. From the outside, it could appear that I was at my weakest moment. However, I believe I was at my strongest moment. In that moment, I learned what radical obedience is all about.
I recently became comfortable talking about that night and here is what I remember. I can remember God telling me “Try and take your life. I won’t let you. How much do you trust me Marc? Do you trust me with your life?” As I reflect on that moment, I tried to find something in the Bible that I could relate this to. Almost instantly the story of Abraham and Isaac came to mind.
The Lord told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, but at the last moment the Lord spared Isaac’s life. Here is what it says in Genesis 22:12:
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Now why would God do something like this. God wanted to test Abraham because He had an awesome plan for his life, that could only be found through radical obedience. Genesis 22:17-18 states:
17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c]because you have obeyed me.”
I don’t claim to know exactly why God allows tests and trials in our lives, but I do know this. Each test is perfectly situated for where you are right now. God is a God of love and He wants the best for His children.
The next time you go through a test remember the source. All tests and trials come from God and are perfectly designed to bring you closer to Him.
Welcome! Why did I choose the title Wheat or Weeds? Well it comes out of Matthew 13:24-30. Here’s what it says:
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
This very much describes my spiritual journey over the last 4 years. There has been so much wheat in my life, but has been difficult to see because of the weeds that were also there. Ultimately, God decided to leave the weeds in my life not to torment me, but if the weeds were pulled out, the wheat would have been uprooted as well. And that would have been tragic
I look forward to updating the blog once a week. Some of the topics I look to cover are: profiting through suffering, why does God allow suffering, sharing my experience and much more! If you have any suggestions, feel free to contact me. It is my hope that this blog serves as a source of inspiration to you whether you are currently on the mountain top or down in the valley.