My Prayers and Thoughts

Good morning! So as I sit in this hospital room, here are some of my prayers and thoughts.

I pray my beautiful bride is resting and wakes up feeling great.

I pray that some dear family and friends who are sick, will experience complete healing.

I pray for all the Caregivers taking care of a loved one.

I pray The Holy Spirit will take over South Florida. Revival come!

I pray I will be the best husband, friend and disciple of Jesus that I can be through Him.

I pray for everyone in the military and all First Responders. And their families.

I pray for peace.

I pray for all the leaders. I pray their hearts and minds would be changed by God.

I pray for the victims of human trafficking. I pray they will be rescued and their lives will be completely restored. I pray for all the organizations fighting this horrible crime. I pray their needs will be met. Most importantly, I pray their hearts and motives are pure.

I pray for all churches, pastors, missionaries and ministries. May they truly be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I pray God will allow me to do more for everyone I come in contact with during the day.

I pray for all the patients, nurses, doctors and staff at Good Sam. Give each the strength they need today.

I pray for our schools, students, teachers, staff and administrators. I pray God would bless and protect each.

I pray I will not get in the way of what God wants to do in my life.

Here are some of the thoughts going through my crazy beautiful mind this morning:

What races will I run in 2020, if God allows me to run again? It has been almost 11 years since I last ran.

If God blesses me with the ability to run again, that means I could return to the workforce. Where would I work? Who would hire a 50 something guy who has not worked in almost 11 years, but has an incredible crazy beautiful story? Would I go on the speaking circuit? Would I look at working at a church or ministry of some kind? Would I work at a school or university? Would I be a Greeter at Walmart?

Yes, those are some of the crazy thoughts that go through my mind a lot of morning’s. I just want to be ready for whatever God has prepared for me. Even if that means never running another race or never being able to return to work, I will be obedient and thankful.

Have a wonderful and blessed day. ~OC

Not Disqualified

We have all made mistakes and poor choices in life. Sometimes those mistakes and choices can haunt us. We can carry the shame of those mistakes and choices for years. Can anyone relate? Is anyone still haunted by those past mistakes and choices?

Sometimes those past mistakes and choices make us feel like second class citizens. We feel like damaged goods. I am hear to tell you that God still loves us in spite of those past decisions. Let me encourage you to stop living in the shame of your past.  Those past choices might have knocked you down, but you do not have to stay down. Remember you are a child of God’s. He sent his only son Jesus down from Heaven to wash away all those past mistakes. God has a wonderful plan for each of us. We are more than conquerors. What we did in the past, is not who we are today.  God can use those past mistakes to help us become the person he created us to be. Those past choices do not disqualify any of us from experiencing the love of God and the amazing plans he has for each of us. Today, release all that guilt and shame and start living in the victory of Jesus. ~OC

 

Relationships

Life is defined by our relationships. Some of our past and current relationships bring a smile to our face. They conjure up great memories. Then there are some relationships that bring pain when they come to mind. Relationships matter.

God is all about relationships. He desires to have a relationship with each of us. God allowed Jesus to come down from heaven to have a relationship with each of us. A way to be forgiven for our past and future sins. A path to truly live a life full of forgiveness. Forgiveness allows us to deal with relationships from our past. Acceptance lets us connect with relationships in our amazing future.

Relationships can be messy, but they can also offer us a beautiful gift. ~OC

From Heaven

Today’s a new day! This crazy/beautiful journey is not about me. It’s not to show you how strong I am, for my strength comes from God. It’s not to show you how great my faith is, for my faith is a gift from God…exactly at the time I need it. Anything you see in me that is good is not of my doing… it’s from Heaven. ~OC

Stop Using Jesus

Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters,

We need to talk. I need to share my concerns over the current state of Christianity in America. This talk is not meant to attack the Church or my fellow believers in Jesus Christ. But I feel, I need to share my concerns. Did you catch that? My concerns. My opinions. My thoughts.

When I study scripture, I see a God who is loving, forgiving and stern when the situation calls for it. I see a God who is full of grace and mercy. I think we could all use a little grace and mercy. As I study scripture, I see a lot of Love. There is even a chapter in the Bible called the Love Chapter (Check out 1 Corinthians Chapter 13). Jesus commands us to love. To keep no record of wrongs. To be patient. To not boast. To not be rude. If you check out the books of Matthew and Mark, they talk about not judging others. As I have studied the scriptures, I still have not found a section where it says we should be judging or hating others.

In some circles, Christianity as become more about what we hate and less about what we love. That breaks my heart. More importantly, it breaks Jesus heart. When did Jesus give us permission to start categorizing the levels of sin? Or to hate someone based on their brand of sin? Once again, I looked through scripture and did not find any giving us that permission. Sin is sin. Jesus  is not up in heaven categorizing sin. I do believe Jesus is shedding some tears because we judge people more harshly based on their brand of sin. I totally get why some people want nothing to do with this brand of Christianity and why so many people walk away from Jesus. Have you turned on the tv, scrolled through social media or walked  into some churches lately? Some people have turned Christianity into a bad Jerry Springer Show. I know the Church is full of broken people, but we must do better. We share we love Jesus and his teachings, but our actions and words show a completely different story. We cannot only talk the talk of faith, we must live it out. The Church and it’s people need to be a safe place for other broken people to come. In Mark 2:17, Jesus shares “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Did you catch that? 

I truly love the Church and it’s people. I have spent over half of my life in the church. I have spent over half of my life reading and studying scripture. That is why it grieves me, that so many professed Christians spend more time judging others than they do loving them. Jesus did not come down from heaven, die on the cross and rise three days later so we could judge others. No, Jesus came down from heaven, died on the cross and rose three days later to teach us the true meaning of love. So dear Christian brothers and sisters, lets stop using Jesus to judge and spread hate. Instead let us be a people of love, forgiveness and grace. ~OC

 

 

Power of Prayer

As I continue to walk through this crazy beautiful health journey, I depend more and more on prayer. Before I got sick years ago, sometimes when I felt God calling me to pray I would ignore that calling. I was too busy with life. I can always pray later I thought. I cringe as I write these words. How many amazing beautiful interruptions did I miss because I was too busy to pray?

Today, my life is full of prayer. Even as I write this blog, God is bringing people to mind that I need to pray for. So, I stop writing and pray for those individuals. I don’t write this to brag. No, I write this to remind myself of the importance of prayer. My life literally depends on the prayers of many. I want to encourage everyone to live in a spirit of prayer. A spirit of prayer? What does that even mean OC? I am glad you asked.

For me, living in a spirit of prayer means I am always open to hearing from God and following through with what He asked of me. That means praying for that friend when God brings them to mind. Not waiting until it fits my schedule. That means not telling someone I will be praying for them, but actually taking the time to pray for them that very moment. Living in a spirit of prayer means stepping out of my comfort zone. Being Present. Being Obedient. I am far from being a biblical scholar, but that is my personal definition of living in a spirit of prayer. Remember, I am just a simple man.

During my 17-year crazy beautiful health journey, God has taught me to always be in a spirit of prayer because my prayers carry weight. Not because of my power, but because of His power. You have the same power. Really, you do! Every time we pray we unleash the power of heaven.

Prayer is not a passive act. No, prayer is powerful and active. When I pray, I feel God’s power flowing through my body. Prayer is life changing.

I will leave you with the word P.U.S.H.

P-ray

U-ntil

S-omerhing

H-appens

I pray you will choose to live in a spirit of prayer. I pray you will pray with boldness. I pray you embrace the power of prayer. ~OC

Running The Race

Back in April, I wrote about how God shared my healing would not come on this side of Heaven. I must admit I was a little disappointed, but at the same time I was filled with tremendous peace. Then a few weeks after that 1am discussion with God, I visited Heaven for a few minutes during a surgical procedure. During that amazing experience, God allowed me to see my new body. There was no feeding tube or device to help me speak. No, I was completely healed and ready to run. When I glanced down, I noticed I had a new pair of running shoes on. During that experience, God shared He was not finished with me yet. There was still things for me to accomplish here on earth. So, I will continue to put on my running shoes and run the race God has prepared for me. I encourage everyone to keep running the race God has designed for you. ~OC

Healing

During my 17 year health battle, many people have prayed for my physical healing. During that time, I have often wondered why those prayers were not being answered. I never obsessed over it, but God and I had numerous conversations about the subject. During those discussions, I never heard God answer me. Then several months ago, during a late night encounter I heard God speak to my heart. He shared that my complete healing would come in heaven. You might think I was disappointed by this answer, but I actually felt nothing but peace. That late night conversation has only strengthened my resolve to continue sharing my faith and encouraging others. You see, God shared my complete healing would come in heaven. I am still believing, I will experience some healing on this side of heaven. I continue to be thankful for this crazy beautiful journey and the opportunities it brings me. I will continue to embrace every moment. I am at peace. ~OC

Heaven And A New Body

In 2017, I had to have a feeding tube inserted. Since then, I have had to have several replacement feeding tubes. Just another part of this crazy beautiful journey. Last Tuesday, while shaving my feeding tube fell completely out of my stomach. The anchor that keeps the feeding tube in my stomach deflated. I had to go to the hospital and have surgery to replace my feeding tube. That’s where I had a experience, that has changed my life forever.

After arriving at the hospital, the surgeon decided based on my current health condition they would not use anesthesia during surgery. They would just numb the area around my feeding tube. When I was taken to the operating room and the surgeon surveyed the situation, it was decided that I would actually need anesthesia. No big deal. I have been under anesthesia many times. After the anesthesia was administered everything changed.

While I was under anesthesia, I believe I actually went to heaven. You read that correctly. On Tuesday April 16, 2019, I spent a few moments in heaven. No, it was not a near death experience. During surgery, I was walking down a brightly lit road. I felt peace that I have never felt before. During my visit, I was actually in a new body. I was no longer in pain. My body felt whole. I saw what I believed to be levels during my experience. I actually believe it was steps. I felt like I was home. During this experience, I never saw God or anyone else. I also never heard the audible voice of God, but I did hear him speak to my heart. What He shared was disappointing. I heard God tell me it was not my time. God shared he had more for me to accomplish. I remember being disappointed and not wanting to come back to earth. I was ready to be home in heaven, but God was not ready for me yet. I then woke up in the recovery room. Usually when I come out of anesthesia, I am very talkative. My wife Laura shared this time I was totally quiet. So quiet, she was actually concerned something was wrong. Laura shared I just kept looking up to the sky, like I was searching for something. Of course, she had no idea the experience I had just woke up from. When I was able to verbally share what happened to me later that night, everything made sense to her. I was trying to get back to heaven. Oh, how I wanted to get back. But I realized God wants me here to finish the mission he has given me. A mission to truly love and encourage others. That desire is greater today than ever before.

Why did God allow me to experience heaven? That is something I am still processing. Several people have shared that with everything I have been through health wise the past 17 years, God wanted me to experience my new body for just a moment. I am not sure, but that new body felt really good. I may never know for sure why God blessed me with this beautiful experience, but I know I will never be the same.

I have been a little hesitant to share my experience. I know some people will say I was under anesthesia and that I never actually visited heaven. Believe me, I had that same thought. Some people will say I made the whole thing up. Once again, I had to asked myself that same question. But after going through all of those different scenarios, I know I experienced heaven for a brief moment. I keep going back to the peace I felt. It was a peace I have never felt before. I cannot put that feeling into words. I just know my life was changed that day and will never be the same.

Another reason I have been hesitant to share my experience, is I never want to cheapen the experience. I feel my words do not and cannot fully convey what I experienced. I do not want my experience to be about me. When I do share my experience, I feel overwhelmed by it. I get very emotional. That is a feeling I never want to lose. I continue to pray for God’s guidance as I share my experience.

Dear God, never allow this experience to be about me. Please help me be honest and real as I share the experience you have given me. I also pray my life will never be the same. May my experience encourage others. I thank you for allowing me to get a small glimpse of heaven. I cannot wait to get back. ~OC

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