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.

 

Treating Your Body as a Temple of God

It’s been a while since the last blog post. So let me first take a moment to catch all of you where I am at in the my restoration phase.

I am currently seeing a endocrinologist in Akron, Ohio that specializes in treating depression and bipolar.  One of the most encouraging things he said was that the disease is not my fault, it is just an imbalance of chemicals.

So tomorrow I start a detox of my body and it got me thinking. Our bodies are a temple of God.

In fact, 1 Corinthians 3:16 states, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Our bodies are what allow God to do His work through us.  So it’s important that we eat and treat our bodies with the utmost care.

This is going to be a major lifestyle change for me. I’m use to going to McDonald’s and eating whatever I want. I now recognize that if I want to experience God in new ways, I have to make some adjustments to my lifestyle.

The Consequences of Running From God

Over the past several months, I’ve felt God’s presence in my life begin to dwindle as compared to earlier this year. The question I have to ask myself is what has changed. Has God changed or has Marc been trying to play God?

The latter is obviously the correct answer. I’ve tried to take back control of my recovery by my own actions instead of surrendering that control to people that will spiritually lead me through.

Instead of waiting on God’s timing, I have wrestled with God’s timing. All that has led to is, fear, anger, sadness and guilt from trying to run from God’s plan.

You see it finally hit me what my suicidal thoughts are rooted in a few weeks ago.

I am afraid of God’s plan for my life. I’m afraid of not being capable or qualified. And my “escape” choice is to have suicidal ideation. And I feel I can take back some control by doing so.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that I totally surrendered to my therapist a few weeks ago and trusted her spiritual guidance through the coming months.

It was like having a clenched fist and the harder I tried to keep it intact, the harder God had to pry it open.

It has led to me going in circles for months until God got my attention once again.

Do yourself a favor. The next time God asks you to do it something do it right away. And remember, partial obedience is still disobedience in the eyes of God.

Good, Good Father

Today, during worship service, I started to tear up about how God has brought me through this depression I have battled over the past two years. From keeping that helium tank empty when I tried to end it to keeping me financially afloat, He has always been there. Take a listen.

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!

Living a Manageably Depressed Life and How to Break Free

As I continue to see my depression lift, I have been struck over how I really believe that I I have lived a “managebly depressed” life for the first 24 years of my life.

I say managebly depress because I believe there are a large majority of people just going through the motions of life and they live their lives based off of the media and not the Word of God.  I know I sure did.

If you were to ask me two years ago “How am I doing?,” I would have replied, “Great! I got a well paying job. Just bought my first house and I have two friends that help pay the mortgage. And great friends.” While that was true, on the inside I was miserable, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. And I sure didn’t want to talk about my issues.

It wasn’t until about this time last year until God gave me a glimpse of joy. I had heard about joy, but I can say I didn’t experience it until last year. It was when I bought an ice cream and when I went to pay for it that I felt this energy radiate throughout my body.

Not accustomed to that feeling, I was spooked out by it I ventured back to my “safe zone” (which really wasn’t that safe).

I wonder how many of us live our lives in the safe zone. We have one foot in the Kingdom of God, but one foot in the secular world. We are afraid to live out God’s purpose for our lives.

Just my personal opinion, but I believe there are many people that go to work each day just to earn a paycheck. I can see it on their faces. If they would be honest with themselves, they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have to be.

The good news is there is a way out. Just repent of your sins and ask the Lord Jesus to come into your heart and make Him your personal Savior. Then step back as God reveals His awesome plan for your life.

Then your “work” will no longer become just a place to earn a paycheck, but it will have purpose because you know you are doing what God has called you to do.

God is a good God that wants so much more than for you to “just earn a paycheck”!

God Has a Plan For Your Life, Part 2

During this blog post, I would like to take the time to those who may seem like they are “floundering” in life.

It’s to those people that may seem like they have it all together, but still feel like something is missing. It may also be to the person that is out of work and the weight of this world is closing in on them.

Wherever you are, it is my prayer that this will be an encouragement to get on God’s plan for your life and stop surrendering to the world.

First, I know that there may be some very fine salesmen that may be reading this post. You may have accumulated a lot of money over the years, but no matter how much wealth you acquire there feel like something is missing.

Next, to those recent college graduates who may be looking to start their career. You have made through college “successfully”, but still lack a sense of direction in life.

Finally, to the person that has been entrenched in their career for years, and seems scare to venture out of the norm and onto God’s plan for their life.

All three of these types of people may haven’t different circumstances in life, but they have a commonality, they are out of God’s will for their lives.  With that comes stress, depression, feelings of lack and other insercurities.

Getting on God’s plan will give you the “fruit of the spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness:

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to on God’s plan for your life. Just a simple prayer. Just say:

Lord Jesus, I know I have been of your will for many years. I don’t know what you have planned for me, but I know it is the best. I repent of my sins, come into my life and transform.

A simple prayer like that could just transform your life. Just sit back and watch God bring heavenly connections into your life.

I know He will. He did it for me and He will do it for you.

I still marvel that God has called me to preach and used my favorite preacher, Charles Stanley, to help call out His will for my life.

I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth posting again.  Here it is and God bless!

God Has a Plan For Your Life, Part 1

Have you ever stopped to think that God has a plan for your life? I know it was something that boggled my mind my entire life. I can remember thinking, There are 7 billion people on this planet. How could God possibly have a plan?

I know my thoughts were something like:

I just help to sell insurance. I’m not capable of doing God’s work. I don’t even want to allow God into my life. I can live this life on my own power and strength.

Well I can remember that it was June of 2013 when I finally surrendered to God’s plan for my life. And it was at a time when things were going seemingly well in my life. I just bought my first house, first “big boy” job, dream relationship and just finished running my third marathon of the year.

I can remember praying: Heavenly Father, as great as everything is in my life, I still feel like something is missing in my life. Show me what it is.

And that was it. Nothing more and nothing less. It was a simple prayer.

Little did I know that when I had my wisdom teeth taken out a few weeks later that the anesthesia would help to send me into the deepest of depressions that would lead to a suicide attempt 9 months later.

As a look back at the past few years, I can see why God allowed that to happen in my life. It now allows me to relate with people that are in a deep recession.

I believe I am being called to preach at some point in my life (I will cover that in my next blog). Could you imagine if I was being called to preach and not being able to relate to people that are in a depression?

Approximately 700,000 people attempt suicide every year, approximately 30,000 complete that suicide attempt each year and about 30 million live in depression. And that is just in the United States!

Now I will be able to relate with depressed people that are attempting to end their life. But the first step involved me getting on God’s plan.

The next blog will cover reaching out to those people that may be floundering in life and may not even know it.  It is the people that go to work with no real purpose or passion for what they do in order to “make a living”. God Bless!

On Eagle Wings

Do you ever worry about how the future is going to play out? More than likely, there is some area your life that you worry about. Whether or not it is finances, health, or relationships, etc. there is probably some area that you worry about. I know I should do.

Let me direct you to one of my scripture verses about worry. It is found in Matthew 6:25-27:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

On my way home after church service, my eyes were caught by the “birds of the air”. Maybe for the first time this verse came to life for me.  The birds looked so peaceful just gliding through the air. There looked to be minimal effort on their part.

I believe this how our Heavenly Father wants us to live, with minimal effort. He wants us to relinquish control and turn over control to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Help us to be more like the birds of the air. Help us to soar in our lives like the eagle. Lord it was you that told us that worrying wouldn’t add a single hour to our lives. I pray you sink that message deep into every reader. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!