The Marathon Race with God

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.

The River of God

Yesterday a friend and I went kayaking on the Little Miami River. It was the first time I had been kayaking and it was such an amazing experience, especially with the high water!

There are so many ways to see the character and nature of God on something like a kayaking trip. Here are 4 takeaways from the trip.

Soon after we began the trip there was a branch of the river that split off and then came back to the main part.

So once I got caught in the current the kayak and I got swept right into some brush and I fell into the river.

Now my sandals fell off as well and I saw one floating down the river. About two hundred yards later, both sandals were caught by a log! Even though I slipped, God still had my back (or feet in this case!)

First lesson: (Psalm 37:24)

“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”

How amazing is it that both sandals ended up right in the same place?!

As the trip continued, my friend and I noticed a large tree whose roots were exposed by the river, but the root system was so deep and wide:

Second Lesson (Jeremiah 17:8)

“For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.”

God wants us to be so rooted in our identity in Christ that when a challenge comes we can co-labor with Him for solutions and not be moved by circumstances.

I mentioned the river was high so the kayaking was pretty effortless outside of guiding the kayak. The current carried us down the river.

God desires for us to abide in Him.  In this case, the river represents God. My friend and I could have hurried through the trip, but then we would have missed out on enjoying the beauty.

Third Lesson (John 15:5)

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Lastly, there was a section where the wind turned on us and the water began choppy. We actually had to paddle through.  This reminds me of how we our co-laborers in Christ. We cannot just expect God to do everything, while at the same time we can’t do it on our own. We were invited to co-labor with God. What an honor!

Fourth Lesson (1 Corinthians 3:9)

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Between the lessons and great conversation with my friend, kayaking was an amazing experience to learn about the goodness of God! Thank you Jesus!

 

The Dangers of Lukewarm Christianity Part 1

As I continue to renew the mind, I have pondered, “God, I wonder where I would be if I did not grow up in a lukewarm Christianity environment.”

I really do not think God cares much if a child is wearing a dress suit to church or shows up wearing a bathing suit with sandals. He is much more interested in their heart posture.

And God is not just interested in His will being done, but our will as well! All He asks is we surrender to His will and then our desires can become His desires.

This is illustrated in Exodus 32:7-14, God wants to show His wrath on His people for worshipping a false idol. Moses reminds God, how He said He would multiply the descendants of Abraham and not destroy.

Notice what Exodus 32:14 says, “So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.”

What does this show? God wants a relationship with us and the best relationships start with friendship! He wants to co-labor with us.

For example, earlier this year I felt a prompting from God that I would be moving from my parents house in the fall time. This was back in the winter though! A lot has changed since then! I claimed (and continue to) my identity in Christ! We are heirs of God, co-laborers with God, friends of God, etc! I began started to live a supernatural lifestyle on a new levels.

I explained to God that I do not feel staying with my parents is healthy for my continued growth or my relationship with my parents.

After explaining to God the situation, I could feel a shift going on me! He was listening to me. I wasn’t just a robot who obeyed every command of God and did not have a say.

Lukewarm Christianity has a tendency to put God in a box that limits Him.  I really feel it would be best for a person to have never known Christ and be saved at age 30 then be saved at an early age, but grow up in a legalistic background.

Why? Because the young kid has to “unlearn” to “learn”, while the new believer can just “learn.”

Let’s all do ourselves a favor and let God out of the box.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, thank you for being our friend. Thank you for not being someone that gives orders and expects us to obey like a robot. I thank you for your kindness and your humor that you have. And Father for anyone reading this with that desires to  free of legalism, in the name of Jesus, I break off legalistic and religious mindsets off of them right now. And in Jesus name, I loose a spirit of revelation of how creative you are and how creative you made us. Amen.

Claiming Your Inheiritance With God

Yesterday, I was meditating on God’s Word about us being a heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

And on a spirit and heart level, it hit home deep! I was curious to see what this meant.

The definition is, “someone who has been appointed to receive an inheritance.”

What?! How amazing is that?

God owns it all and it all belongs to us because we belong to Him.

So since God owns it all, why do humans have a tendency to want to work extra hard? The secret is to enter into a place of rest in God. It is resting with God, where we can find out the steps God wants us to take (Psalm 4:8). It is in rest where we can surrender to God.

For example, if a person is in $50,000 in debt, natural reasoning is to work overtime/ get a second job to pay it off.

The more I understand my position in Christ, my identity in Christ, and all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ, the more I realize that belief of getting the second job/working overtime to pay off the debt is the result of an unrenewed mind.

The second job/working overtime are options, but they are not the only way.

Using the $50,000 debt as an example, let’s try this as an approach:

“God, I am going to continue to be faithful at work where I am right now, but working extra hours means less time for me to spend alone with You, with family, serving Your Kingdom and enjoying life outside of work. I need balance in life.  

Father, as an heir with God and co-heir with Christ, in Jesus name, I claim an inheritance to pay off this debt so I can continue to partner with you in advancing the Kingdom of God. Thank you Holy Spirit for guiding me to make decisions to advance the Kingdom of God. Amen.”

Now start asking God what already belongs to you through His son Jesus!

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for all you are doing in each of our lives. I pray that each reader who reads this becomes so rooted in thier identity in Christ and can walk out this amazing life out with confidence. In Jesus name, I impart wisdom to each reader for any challenges they are facing and ask you to double that wisdom. Thank you Holy Spirit for always comforting us. I pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.

Building Bridges

I look forward to building bridges with my relationship with God, myself and others.

Since around April I have been going to a “Overcome Bipolar” small group and a “Supernatural Power of Transformed Mind” workshop each week. And they have been a great one two punch!

It’s been fun to see the mind renewed! (Romans 12:2). It is so fun to replace old thoughts with scriptural truth! It goes something like this:

Old Thought: In chains

New thought: I am redeemed by the blood of the lamb! (Ephesians 1:7)

Old Thought: God is angry

New Thought: God is kind and merciful! (Psalm 103) 

Old Thought: sinner

New Thought: I am a saint! (Romans 1:7)

Old Thought: weak

New Thought: Be Strong in the Lord and in His Might (Ephesians 6:10)

Old Thought: bipolar

New Thought:  But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)

I could go on and on, but meditating on His word about what God actuallty says about us continues to be amazing. It is so important for us to know our position in Christ, identity in Christ and all the spiritual blesssings we have in Christ.

Claim your true identity in Christ! It’s yours for the taking!

And let me say the “old self” burnt some bridges with some friendships.

Fear of commitment, not submitting to authority and not being able to trust caused the “old self” to want to run at away when things began to get serious.

I am so grateful and thankful that our God is a God of restoration. I look forward to partnering with God in restoring those relationships.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, thank you so much for being here and Father I pray that people claim  their identity in Christ. Help us to call out the gold that you see in them. When some feels broken, remind them that they are your masterpiece. When someone feels defeated, remind them they are victorious in Christ. When someone doesn’t feel blessed, that they are blessed with all the spiritual blessings in Christ. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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.

Submitting to Authority

Excited to start blogging again. There has been so much victory in my life that I feel the Lord wanting me to share to inspire others! And it encourages me!

This week has been an amazing week. The Lord has been challenging me to submit to His authority and other people that have roles of authority. In the past, it was a struggle to submit because of trust issues (More on that in next post). Now I am learning the joy of submitting to authority “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17 NASB)

Who knew submitting could be so fun! It is not always easy to, but I am learning to see the benefits of it. What a turn of events! I would like to thank my parents, friends and, Open Heaven Ministries for helping me to begin the joyful process of submitting to authority.

I look forward to sharing more and more stories of victory in Jesus! Be blessed all you sons and daughters of God!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray you partner with me in this blog to advance the Kingdom of God and that it inspires people to step out of their circumstances and to follow you with all that they have. Holy Spirit I ask you drive what is said deep into people’s hearts about what you want them to hear. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

 

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.