Matthew 10:7-8

"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

THE WAITING IS OVER

Admittedly, I was not having the best of days.  I've been kind of down and just not with it today.  My wife and I have experienced much death in our families over the last six months and I find myself being consumed with the thoughts of what we have seen and been through along with our families.  I've raked and bagged some leaves today, watched some football, but nothing worked in pulling me out of this frame of mind.  Then I knew what I needed to do.  Off went the t.v. and out came the word of God.  You see, the word of God has a way of changing things.  Someone reading this needed reminded of that at this very moment.

In spending time with God, He spoke to me about some personal things which I will not share.  He also spoke to me about some things that I need to share.  And you need to hear them.  But then after hearing, or in this case reading them, you need to spend some time with the Lord and discern them for yourself.  I have a friend who always would say, "Eat the meat and spit out the bones."  I always encourage people to do that when I am bold enough to say that I've heard the Lord say something.

Tonight I heard two things.  "I keep telling you that the time is here" and "the valley of decision." (For those in the U.S. that has nothing to do with the current election........so settle down!) Years ago someone spoke a word to me about God using me to lead many people into the valley of decisions, but to be honest I haven't thought about that word for probably 4 or 5 years, but when I heard it in my spirit this evening, that day came rushing back to me.

Now first for "the time is here."  I'm one of those guys who would always talk about bringing the things of the Kingdom of God here to earth.  I'm one of those guys who would always tell people that we are on the verge of seeing the power of God like has not been seen by many and not in a very long time.  We have a really sweet Bible study at work.  Nobody is forced to come, but most of our full-time staff has chosen to come.  Simple people just wanting to learn more about Jesus. It's cool because God always shows up and has shown us much favor.   As I've led that Bible study, countless times I have told my friends to be ready because we are in a time when we will witness those miracles and power of God that people before us would have loved to have witnessed. I'm talking about the things you read about  in the early church experiences.  The  things Paul did and things that Peter did.  The "take up your bed and walk" kind of things.  Yes, even the things that Jesus did.   Then one morning about 2 months ago as I found myself speaking about this while we prayed, God stopped me right in mid sentence and the Holy Spirit said,  "STOP SAYING THAT THE TIME IS COMING.  THAT TIME IS HERE NOW.  IT'S NOT COMING SOON, IT'S HERE."   Ever since that morning God keeps pounding that into me.  Tonight he did it again and I know that He wants me to send this as a word of encouragement to those who are down and discouraged and tired.  I haven't blogged for a long time, but tonight's the night.  God wants you to know that He is on the move and to lift up your face!  Watch for Him!  Maybe there are things in life and in this world that have worn you down and discouraged you.  If you are a follower of Jesus and in the United States, chances are that you are discouraged over the political arena.  The political arena isn't weighing on God's mind.  As another friend would say, "God isn't sitting in Heaven wringing his hands and wondering what to do."  God is about the Kingdom arena and God is saying that this is the time to get refocused on His agendas instead of worrying  Clinton or Trump.  For those reading in other countries this message is for you, too.  Get your mind off of the things of this world that have brought discouragement.  Get your mind right!  Get your mind on the things of God..........and watch.  Just as important and even more so............let's get to work!

We have been studying the Gospel of John at work.  A few weeks ago as I was reading the words of Jesus in John chapter 4, God spoke to me again.  Jesus was telling his disciples:

"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest?'  I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already ripe for the harvest!"  The following verses in that passage are really exciting.  You need to read them, but as I read the verse that I just quoted, my heart was burning and I head the Lord so clearly.  Just as Jesus was telling his disciples that it was already time for the harvest, God was reminding me that the time in which we will see His glory is here.  I heard Him say to me that night, "I TOLD YOU.  THERE IS NO MORE WAITING.  THE TIME IS HERE.........NOW."

This is all part of a new awakening.  This is all part of a new revival.  The next movement of God's people.  Horrible persecution has been happening around the world to those who have been standing for Christ.  Many in the U.S. fear that persecution is finally coming here and to the church.  While we have faced nothing compared to our brothers and sisters in other countries, I believe that we have started to see some very, very mild forms of persecution pop up in a few places in this country within the church, Christian owned business and also with some individuals.  Listen guys.......and ladies..........if a stronger persecution begins to come, don't fear this.  There are brothers and sisters around the world who will read this and would even tells us that when persecution comes, the church grows.

Now..................I'm not finished.  I also told you that this evening I also heard, "the valley of decisions."  I am really excited about that.  I've read the passage in Joel which leads to a passage in Matthew.  Good stuff.  But for today I've gone on long enough.  I'll take you to the valley of decisions next time.

For now:  Eat the meat and spit out the bones, but make mark of these words...............

                                  THE TIME IS NOW...................THE TIME IS HERE.

For the glory of the Kingdom,
Mark S.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I'VE BEEN A HYPOCRITE..............AND FOR THAT I AM SORRY

Hello, my name is Mark and I've been a recovering hypocrite for most of my life.......................

I have listened to several conversations this year in which someone referred to the church and Christians as just a bunch of hypocrites.  Honestly this used to bother me greatly.  There have been times when I have felt much frustration, even anger, as I've listened to such things.

Those times of are over and have been for months now.  I just haven't written about it until tonight.  There was a night this year when in the quietness of the night I was alone with God and my thoughts.  I was thinking sadly about someone who had almost scornfully accused Christians of hypocrisy.  And I was so very saddened.  So much so that I could feel the hurt deep in my soul, because this came from someone who I care for and love very much  But suddenly in the quiet of that moment I heard a thought come to me (which I believe was sent by God) that said, "She is right, she is absolutely right."  That caused me to really ponder things and even look back on my own life.  Suddenly I felt like I had no defense.  And if you are one reading this right now, who would also be saying such a thing, I have no argument for you.  You are right. And that makes me sad.

I'm not going to sit here and name all of the sins of the world that are also in the church.  Each of us, if we are courageous enough, can do that on our own.  Little sins to Big Sins.  Sins hidden in the dark corners of our homes that nobody knows about.  Except God. Francis Chan is a nationally recognized pastor, teacher and author who I enjoy very much.  Recently I came across an audio message from him where he had to address his congregation on a sexual immorality issue within his church.  Yes, we can be hypocrites and it makes me sad to know that some of you reading this are owed an apology.

But also in the moment of that night I received an incredible download.  I was reminded of a tender teaching of Jesus when He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  In other words, blessed is the one who truly recognizes spiritual bankruptcy.  Who realizes that without Jesus we can't get better.  We can't escape our sinful ways.  Without Jesus, we are left to wallow in the muck and mire of this world; but for those of us who recognize this and really want to change and follow Jesus, He says that we are blessed!  And I believe He says that with arms stretched wide and with so much love in His eyes that it burns us to the core.  And that brings me to my knees.  Tonight I listened to a song in which one of the lines is a hearts cry,  "Jesus.............Jesus, all I want is to be like You."  That, my friend has become a cry that comes from the deepest part of my soul.  I don't want to be seen as a hypocrite in even the smallest of ways.

Notice that I started using words such as, "for those who truly want to follow Jesus," instead of using the word "Christians."  There can be a huge difference between the one who really desires to be a disciple of Jesus and one who without thinking says that they are a Christian.  I believe that in the age we are now living in that God is even separating the two.

The second part of that download is this.  If there is sin in our life, whether we would view it as "little" sin or "Big sin," we need to take a knife, do surgery and cut it out.  Maybe instead of a knife we need to take up a sword.............the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:17)...............get that sin out and destroy it.  God doesn't like it when his people refuse to get rid of sin that allows people the excuse to mock and laugh at the idea of Christianity.  We also need to be very careful of everything from our speech and how we live to how we react in ugly situations that we are faced with.  No, I'm not saying that we have to be perfect.  We are flesh and as long as we live in these corruptible bodies we will all have moments of failure.  But we do need to have a longing and desire to keep getting better.  And when we do that the rest of the world will recognize Jesus for who He truly is.  The compelling mighty, full of love Savior who died and rose for the sins of the world.  They will also witness the life of the one who truly desires to follow Jesus, and when that is witnessed, instead of being viewed as an undesirable hypocrite we will be viewed as a compelling full of life and love man or woman of God.  And that my friend is what will change the world.

God loves you and so do I,
Mark S.