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."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MY NIGHTTIME COLD AND FLU MEDICINE INDUCED DREAM................(Well, not really)

The last couple of days I have been a bit under the weather. Nothing serious, just a lot of sneezing, coughing and minor body aches. Not enough to keep you down, but just enough to where you wanted to sleep a lot and your common sense tells you to stay inside as much as possible. Even though I was feeling pretty good by yesterday afternoon and evening, as it became later in the night, I began to feel a few of those annoying body aches. I decided that for one more night I would take a dose of some nighttime cold and flu medicine. Now all my life when I haven't felt well at night it is fairly common for me to have some pretty vivid and colorful dreams. Once again this time was no different. This dream was so incredible that I just had to write it down so I can read it over and over. I never want to forget it. For the sake of you not thinking I am completely insane I will call it my Nighttime Cold & Flu Medicine Induced Dream! I loved this dream and pretty much wish that I wouldn't have woken up, but alas I did.

So here it is:

It was night and for some reason there were a lot of people still outside. I was walking in a field surrounded by a town which actually looked like a little village. Even though this was an enjoyable night as I neared the village I walked past a house that gave me the most chilling of chills. Outside the house was a young woman who was bruised and battered, her hair was long and stringy and she was weeping. Something was drawing her to go back in the house and even though she kept crying, "I don't want to go," for some reason she seemed to have no choice. Somehow I began to get a sense that this woman had been a prostitute. She wanted to now be free from that life, but she was held in a grip by something or someone that she couldn't get away from. As I saw her being drawn into the house, I could hear sobs and shrieks of the woman. Again, somehow I knew that during this night this woman would be faced with a physical beating and severe punishment that would come from the deepest of darkness.

As I was still looking at the house something else began to happen which immediately got my attention. There was something happening overhead and others were noticing it, too. It was the sky. It was a crystal clear night and the stars appeared to be moving across the sky in rapid fashion. The best way I can describe it is when you are watching a show about nature and everything is time enhanced so you can watch several hours in a matter of seconds. It really was like that, the stars were going from one end of the sky to the other. As my eyes followed a group of stars, my head had turned towards the west. I focused on an incredibly intense sight. It was the moon, only it was extremely bright and pure white. It was kind of like when someone is fairly close to you and shining a flashlight. They aren't close enough to blind you, yet the light is still pretty bright even though you are still able to look at it without squinting. Just to the right of the moon, the planets were all lined up in a completely straight line and perfectly parallel to the moon. Each planet was equally as bright as the moon, but just not as big. People were now running everywhere and those that had been in their houses had heard this commotion and were now coming out. Someone was running around hollering something about aliens and how excited they were that they were finally going to get to see them. (Even though I am recalling a serious and somewhat intense dream I have to tell you that I'm laughing right now, because I've thought about someone very near to my heart who will remain nameless.) My wife who had been close to me was also gazing upwards in amazement. Neither of us felt any kind of fear, but a sense of excitement began to build. The feeling was so incredible that your insides began to feel like they would burst open. Kay and I began to run back towards the other end of the field keeping our eyes on the moon and planets, glancing up occasionally at the rapidly moving stars. For just a flash of a second there appeared to be someone or something that moved across the sky just below the moon, but instantly out of eyesight. There was speed and power in that flash of a second and I heard someone yell (I'm laughing again), "there's the ship!"

At that point my wife and I looked at each other wide eyed and knowingly. Our eye exchange was saying, "Could this really be happening? While we are still alive, could this really be happening?" The thing that so many had predicted, but never happened. The event that the last book in the Bible speaks about and so many had predicted the time, only for it not to occur. Kay and I turned back and started to run towards the village. We wanted to grab as many of our friends as we could so that we could rejoice ands share in this moment with them. Suddenly Kay stopped and yelled, "LOOK!!!!" As I looked to where she was looking in the sky, I could hear her saying, "Oh look, there they are. Just look at them." Indeed there they were. Some looked like small, moving clouds and others looked like they had taken on the shape of a person, but they were all white and moving from the sky to earth. Somehow I knew that we were looking at ministering spirits. The ones you read about in the book of Hebrews. Spirits sent to minister to people who had been badly wounded. Just then I saw that same, young woman. She had managed to slip outside and was standing just on this side of that horrifying house where I even hated to imagine what took place in there. I could see inside a window to that house and I could see that a ministering spirit was filling the room. I noticed a sign that had suddenly appeared just below the window. It read, "All has been made safe. Fear no more." And the young woman was reading it. There was something else happening, too. Something was coming from the sky. How in the world I knew what it was I have no idea, but I did and just like you know immediately when you see rain or snow falling...............I was watching grace being poured from the sky. All over the place it was being poured. It was thicker than water, almost like oil, but as it was being gently poured everywhere and as it flowed there was the feel of warmth and comfort. Much like the warmth you feel when you cover up under a nice comforter on a cold winter's night. Only this was much warmer and it made you feel so incredibly safe.

At that point whether it was audible or in my spirit I do not know, but I heard a voice. A voice of authority, strong and firm, but yet it brought you contentment, more warmth, peace and joy all at the same time. A voice that said, "NOT NOW. NOT YET. BUT THIS IS FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. THIS EXTENDED PERIOD OF GRACE SHALL BE AVAILABLE TO ALL PEOPLE, BUT ONLY FOR A TIME. YOU LOOK FOR MY SON, BUT THE TIME FOR YOU TO SEE HIM IS NOT YET."

You talk about not being able to move. I can only imagine what my eyes must have looked like. I know they were opened as wide as they ever had been and they just stayed that way for I don't know how long. I looked at my wife without the ability to speak. Friends and people all around us, but none with the ability to speak. I think it was Kay who was the first that was able to use her voice again and I heard her say, almost proclaiming, "Now they will know. They will know that our God is real. They will know that Jesus was THE ONE. The precious Lamb of God." Suddenly a joyous but uncontrollable weeping overtook us and we became lost in that moment.

Something began to hinder this incredible experience that I was having, though. I was becoming aware of other voices. While this incredible experience and scene had unfolded right before our eyes, suddenly there were voices coming from people that I could not see. Voices that were saying things like,
"Well, there is an explanation for that."
"Stupid, gullible people."
"They think that was god? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha"
"Jesus, yea, right."
"Everything was just right in the atmosphere to create this very logical thing."


Suddenly there was a sense of sorrow in my heart. While most of the people were still stunned or rejoicing, these voices were voices of people that would not be saved, and again, somehow I knew that. The voices of men whose hearts had become so cold and hard hearted that nothing would ever penetrate the layers and layers of cold, scoffing, man-made denial of a living God who had sent His one and only Son for people just like them. My joy turned to sorrow for those sadly lost voices.

AND THEN I WOKE UP!

And then I woke up from my nighttime cold and flu medicine induced dream. I promise you that while writing about this dream I have not added one thing for dramatic effect. It is exactly the way it was.

But......something has me wondering. Something inside of me has me pondering. I took that medicine at 11:30 last night. Kay left for work shortly before 6:00am and I had not had that dream. I did have a dream, but it was not this one. In fact I can't even remember much of it. Kay left for work, I grabbed my pillow and after checking on things in the kitchen, I headed for the couch. I fell back to sleep for less than an hour. The last thing I remember before I woke up were those voices coming from faceless people.

I know that I will never forget that dream. The detail and clarity of my surroundings and the things that I saw were amazing. I will ponder this dream for a long time. I can't stop thinking, wondering, pondering. Was that dream induced by nighttime cold and flu medicine? I wonder......................oh, I do wonder......................

"AND I WILL POUR ON THE HOUSE OF DAVID AND ON THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM THE SPIRIT OF GRACE AND SUPPLICATION; THEN THEY WILL LOOK ON ME WHOM THEY PIERCED. YES, THEY WILL MOURN FOR HIM AS ONE MOURNS FOR HIS ONLY SON, AND GRIEVE FOR HIM AS ONE GRIEVES FOR A FIRSTBORN." (Zechariah 12:10)

Here, have another tablespoon of grace,
Mark

Saturday, September 25, 2010

RAIN COMES AND THE WIND BLOWS

"Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash."(Matthew 7:24-27, New Living Translation)

I've been thinking about this passage a lot the last couple of days. Do you notice that the house built upon the rock and the house built upon the sand are faced with the same storm? If you read this passage in the New Kings James even the wording for both is identical. Exactly the same. Usually when I have read that passage I think about the foundation that the two houses are built upon. Yesterday I started thinking about how each house is up against the same thing. This world shows no favoritism.

During my years as a Christian and in ministry I think about the times I have heard someone say that sometimes they don't know why they bother trying to be a Christian. How life is hard and no different than before going to church or coming to faith. If you go back and read the passage above you see that it is pretty much a given that the follower of Christ and the one who doesn't follow Him are going to face many of the same things. Even most Christians will at least acknowledge that being a Christian doesn't mean that life will be a breeze. I think some may say that just because it sounds good, because often when trouble and trials come, many either forget or choose to forget their very own words.

Jesus wasn't afraid to tell it like it was and He surely didn't hold anything back when He told the disciples, "In this world you will have many trials and sorrows." (John 16:33, NLT) Should we expect anything different? However, it is in that same verse that we find where Jesus shows us the difference for the believer, for before He spoke of the trials He first said, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me." Then immediately following the statement about the trials He said, "But take heart, because I have overcome the world. Ahh, so Jesus doesn't allow us to escape trouble, but He sure does show favor on those that follow Him by being there to gracefully bring peace, strength and even show us how to obtain victory in our trials. I find much relief in knowing that I have an advocate who I can fall back on when struggle comes. Please let there be no misunderstanding; With or without Jesus we would often face the same storm, the same wind and the same rain. God allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, (see Matthew 5:45) but it's in how we react to the situation that will make the difference. It is much easier to face the storms with Jesus than without, so use every effort to stay away from that "so what's the difference" attitude. There is a huge difference. Take a look at what Jesus does for those who love Him:

(For today, all scripture quoted is from the New Living Translation)
.......He is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us. Romans 8:34

.....despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf. Hebrews 7:25


And how about this encouragement offered to us by Jesus? "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:28-30

If Jesus was to promise that if we followed Him there would never be one more problem or tough issue in life, can you imagine how many people would follow Jesus for all the wrong reasons? They would do it for self instead of love of God. They wouldn't really be following Jesus anyway and I doubt if we would ever see any good fruit being produced by them. It would be more like a cult following, but Jesus is way too wise for that. We need to love Jesus simply because He is worthy. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.

Remember, God is in three persons, so no matter if you are thinking of Him as the Word Made Flesh, God the Father, or the Holy Spirit, He longs for people to love Him just because of who He is, just like a dad longs for his children to love him simply because he is "Dad." God wants to honor us when we honor Him. One of my favorite verses from the Old Testament scriptures is 2 Chronicles 16:9, "The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."

Because of my love for Jesus, He lives in me. With Him in me and the more I try to walk like Him, talk like Him and go to the Father like Him, the easier it is to live a victorious life, even when storms are faced. I have faced a lot of trials and there is very little that stresses me out anymore. I'm not being arrogant or boastful and I sure don't think I'm better than others, I certainly am not. I do know who my God is, though and my confidence lies in Him and He IS one to be proud of and I do boast of Him. There is no one like our God!

Is your foundation built on Christ? The next time the rains comes, the next time the floods come, the next time the winds blow and beat against you, remember.............Christ is in you and with Him you can stare adversity right in the face and keep right on standing. Your God will deliver you!!!!

"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." John 10:10


Longing to be more like Jesus,
Mark

Monday, September 20, 2010

BAD FEELINGS, BAD VIBES AND DESPAIR..........OH MY!

Do you ever have something occur in your life over and over in a short period of time? Maybe different people will make the same comment to you over a few weeks when they don't even know each other. You probably know what I mean. Well, over the last 3 1/2 weeks, I have had three people mention that they have experienced something that has been very disturbing and very troubling. Each has experienced it at different levels, but regardless, it has been similar. In all three instances, as soon as I began to listen I knew EXACTLY what they were talking about because it has happened to me, too. What really got my attention was when I was getting my hair cut on Friday (by a woman who didn't even know me) and she brings this up in conversation. As I left the shop I said silently, "Ok Lord, what do You want me to do with this?" Well, what He wants me to do with it is what I'm doing now! Talk about it with you. Over the next few minutes if you suddenly think, "That's me," then just know that while you read God is doing his part to set you free!

A few weeks ago a church leader was telling of sometimes experiencing a sense of darkness or evil, or would get the feeling that something bad was about to happen. Another friend told of waking up with this horrific feeling that something was going to happen to her husband. The lady cutting my hair told me of these "vibes" that she gets about someone or something and how she knows that means something terrible has either happened, or is about to happen. She told me that it usually involves a loved one. (I did use this as an opportunity to try to minister and encouraged her to investigate God.) Believe me, though, I can relate to all this. I know how sometimes this stuff can paralyze you.

Before we go on, I need to ask you the ridiculous question as to if you consider living with these feelings GOOD, or BAD? Like I said, ridiculous question. For me they used to be horrible. Now repeat after me: God is GOOD; the devil is BAD. God is GOOD; the devil is BAD.....and I know the difference.

Now we are all different. Even though many of us may share similar experience, it doesn't mean that the cause of the experience is always the same for us. In some cases the devil may be messing around. He might be wanting to plant seeds of doubt and deception. satan wants us to live in fear. A spirit of heaviness or darkness just might be trying to hijack our day. OR(and this is the case most often with me), there is another reason why this happens.

I cannot over emphasis though, if this is satan, you have the ability to turn the tables on him and cause some severe hemorrhaging in the realms of darkness. If satan plays with our minds and loses, it will cause him some great confusion. Talk about losing a grip.

There was a time in my life where I used to wake up with a sense of gloom and despair, like something terrible was about to happen. It would sometimes haunt me all day long and quite often something bad would happen. I would then think, "So that was it." One time I had this feeling and later in the day my mom called and told me my dad had badly cut his hand with a chain saw. After that my fear with these feelings grew out of control. There were times, however,where nothing would happen, other than my day being wasted in fear that something terrible was going to happen. That in itself was horrible because how can you have a decent day when it is filled with fear and paranoia?

Finally one morning while this was happening I got pretty upset. I mean who wants to live with that? In getting upset, I did what I should have done the very first time it happened. I had a conversation with God. I remember saying something like, "God what is going on? I am trying to live right, I read Your Word, I pray............why do You allow this to happen to me?" I wouldn't say I was angry with God, but I was pretty irritated that this happened so often. I just wanted to get to the bottom of the whole thing. Suddenly, almost without realizing it, I found myself entering into a time of prayer. Now, I honestly can't remember what exactly came into my mind that day, because I since have had dozens of similar experiences, but there was a situation that came into my mind that really burdened me, so I focused my prayer on it and asked God to intervene. I prayed on this for several minutes and suddenly I felt refreshed, relaxed and at peace. The feeling of despair was gone. Completely gone! I remember thinking, "Was that all I needed to do, pray about it?" (Was that ALL I needed to do.........jeez what a stupid question when it involves prayer!)

I took that experience and learned from it. However, those feelings didn't stop and in fact they still occur. In fact I woke up today with something very similar. Now, however, the way I REACT to the situation has completely changed. When I become unsettled like that, or develop a sense of desperation or anxiety, red flags go up all over the place and I know exactly what I need to do. I can be out in the kitchen watching a ballgame on the computer and suddenly there will be a disturbing jolt in my spirit. Kay knows exactly what is going on when the game goes off and she sees me kneeling down in the living room. Usually the first words out of my mouth are, "Ok, God, what is it? What do You want me to pray about? Who needs intervention? God there is something that is not right, that I need you to change!" I will then pray over every thought, person, or situation that comes into my mind. Usually, I will pray both in my own understanding and in the spirit, because I won't know how to pray. (Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27) Often times the Spirit will then reveal to me the person, or the exact situation that needs God's intervention and I will pray as long as it takes. That might mean 5 minutes or an hour. But I can tell you this. After I pray, I am often completely refreshed, renewed and encouraged. Instead of bondage, there is freedom. The feeling of gloom or despair is usually completely gone. Better to spend an hour in prayer instead of spending an entire day or night living in fear, paranoia, or anxiety wondering what may or may not happen. Now there are a few occasions where I am not completely released from that feeling, but it is always greatly eased. In those cases I will continue my day, but with an attitude of prayer and will stay alert to situations around me. When I do this and keep my mind on the Lord, sometimes I don't even notice when the burden is completely gone. It just goes.

I've even gotten to the point to where I am able to even discern the source. As I have grown in the Lord, I can now tell when it is the devil trying to mess with me and when the Holy Spirit is letting me know that it is time to intercede. EITHER WAY, the devil is defeated. If he is just wanting to mess with me, I mess with him. The last thing he wants is for me to go into a time of prayer, praising and worshiping the King. Obviously, satan has learned not to mess with me much in that way anymore, so with me it's usually just knowing that someone needs help somewhere and God will use my prayers to intervene in a great way. There have been MANY TIMES, even months later, where while talking to someone they will tell me about a certain situation they were in and the Holy Spirit will say to me, "Now you know why you were on your knees that day and at that very moment! You talk about a time of WOW and chills! (The good chills, the Holy Spirit kind of chills, maybe better known as goosebumps.) Sometimes, I can even discern who or what the call to prayer is for. I can actually discern right away when the "feeling" is for me to pray for myself. I've learned that it is kind of a warning from the Lord to be extra prayed up and mindful of Him, because there will be someone or something that I will encounter very soon that will tempt me to either think, say, or react to in a way that is not fitting for a child of God. I may suddenly become vulnerable to sin, so I know that the more I strengthen the inner man, the better the chance for me to be able to go to sleep in peace that night knowing that God gracefully led me to a time of victory. Don't think for one minute that I didn't have to learn this the hard way, but eventually this thick headed bone head did learn!!!!

I remember laughing years ago at a commercial on tv. Maybe you even saw it. You hear a woman's voice ask, while they are showing different people either at work, home, or in a park something like, "Do you live your life in anxiety or fear? Are you constantly faced with feelings that something bad is going to happen............."and she goes on and on. I only remember that part of it, I don't remember if the commercial was for a medicine you could take, or a book to read, or something else, but I remember thinking if people would just go to God for the remedy it would be so much simpler for them. Then again, isn't that the way it is with most of the things that come in and out of our lives? (And there was a woman in the crowd who had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors through the years and had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she was worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched the fringe of his robe. For she thought to herself, "If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed." Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed! (Mark 5:25-29, new living translation)

The next time you have a feeling of gloom and doom, instead of running scared dare to think that maybe God instead wants to use you to turn the tide. God using your prayers and praises to wage war on a potential bad situation, the enemy and darkness. Of course there will still be times when bad things happen to us and in this world. We do live in a fallen world, but even then you will instead be so prayed up and walking in victory that you will be able to face adversity with confidence and the anointing of the Lord.

Now, go in His peace and remember, "..IF THE SON SETS YOU FREE, YOU WILL BE FREE INDEED." (John 8:36) After all, the DOCTOR is always in!!!

Sending victories in Jesus,
Mark S.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ACTS OF RANDOM KINDNESS

In the movie "Evan Almighty" Morgan Freemon, who plays God, says something like "How do you change the world? One act of random kindness at a time." I've been thinking about that line quite a bit the last couple of days. While there is no verse that contains that exact phrase, I think the Bible teaches that concept and bears truth to that statement. I talk an awful lot on here about how God is bringing change to our nations and communities and how we should be doing the things of the kingdom more than we do. However, no matter what we do through Christ, even if its of a miraculous nature, it will mean nothing if we don't have compassion on those needing compassion or love those in need of love. I love (pun intended) how the chapter on love in 1 Corinthians falls right in between two chapters that talk of the spiritual gifts. I love (more pun intended) learning about and operating within the spiritual gifts, but Paul teaches that if I don't love my fellow man it all goes for naught.

I was sent the link to a blog the other day which way overshadows anything that I have ever said here, because it represents what I feel is one of God's biggest concerns and commands when it comes to people, if not the biggest. The concern for the poor and less fortunate along with the command that we need to be taking care of them and loving them. I could give you scripture after scripture, both old and new testament, where we are told either by God, or by Jesus, that we are to take care of the poor. You should check out all the verses on the subject because I think you would be amazed at how many there are. God even tells the Israelites to leave behind some of the produce of their fields and vineyards for the poor.

For me there is nothing that tears at my heart more than to hear of children in need due to do death of parent, malnutrition, sickness, disease, neglect, abuse and the list could go on. It's happening all around the world, in every nation and more than most would realize even here in the United States. In the case of this particular blog (I will include the link at the end, because I want you to be aware of these kids and then pray for them)is about children in Uganda and the struggles to start a school for them. I wouldn't do the website justice by trying to summarize all of the struggles and needs, so please check it out for yourself. Make sure you check out the pictures of the kids. My heart aches and I told Kay (my wife) the other night that I just want to go over there and love on them. I think I am going to have to finally get a passport, because I see something like that in the not too distant future.

So in my case it's these children that have recently touched my heart. I'm in the process of trying to find out how Kay and I can support them besides prayer. There are many other cases and examples of the less fortunate that need help though, too. There are so many of us that even if we are in need ourselves, can still find ways to help others. Even in these economic times we can't afford NOT to help someone less fortunate. If we really want to see the Kingdom show up we will do those acts of random kindness and even more. Remember Jesus came to serve others and not to be served. We should be following in His example.

I am reminded of a situation where a couple was getting married at the Bethel Church in Redding, Ca. The bride and groom had sent out buses into the neediest places in the city so that people in less than ideal living conditions could be their guests of honor. The couple had even registered at Target asking for things like coats, hats, gloves and even sleeping bags to be given as gifts to their guests, instead of gifts for themselves. After the ceremony the meal was also prepared to feed their special guests. Pastor Bill Johnson wrote, "In our pre-wedding meeting the bride and groom encouraged me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in case He wanted to heal people during the wedding. They had created far too great a miracle opportunity for God not to do something extraordinary." God honored that bride and groom and He did move in a mighty way and healed a man that had been given a maximum of three years to live.

Have you ever thought about giving something up in order to help someone else? This year Kay and I did a lot of cutting back. One thing that gets easier and easier to live without is cable tv. That is just one thing. Sure one day I would like to have cable or satellite back so I can watch Andy Griffith reruns and sports, but I'll tell you one thing for sure. If we aren't helping others financially like these kids in Uganda first, there is no way it will ever come into this house, or any other again. Most of us who live in the U.S. have no idea what it really means to be in need. That's why I want you to take a look at the following link. Let's be people who create those opportunities so that God just wants to show up.

http://geriafrica.blogspot.com/

Make sure you check out the Michael W. Smith video following this post and feel God's heartbeat for His most prized creation!

In His Love,
Mark S.

Michael W. Smith - Healing Rain

Sunday, September 12, 2010

TWO REALMS COLLIDE

"NEAR MISS: How Northeast Ohio Avoided the Worst Tornado Damage"

At first there was nothing. I wasn't aware of any surroundings, or anything at all. In what was probably a fraction of a second that all changed. Suddenly brightness. I wasn't aware of the sun, but I knew that it was shining and in that fraction of a second I saw THEM.There were three of them and even though they were extremely high in the sky and quite a distance away, I knew what they were immediately. Three eagles, but seemingly larger, stronger and incredibly faster than any eagle I had ever seen before. In an instant they were closer and I could clearly see just how incredible these three creatures were. Eyes that were locked in on their destination and nothing in heaven or earth was going to distract them from reaching their target. Descriptions were instantly going off in my mind. STRENGTH......POWER......PURPOSE.....and their speed, their incredible speed. As I stood there stunned and in amazement, suddenly they were at eye level. I remember a gasp that turned into a deep breath. And...... suddenly, I was aware that my eyes were open and without thinking I snapped my neck around to where I knew those magnificent eagles were. In another fraction of a second they were gone, replaced by a bedroom wall.

Looking back, it's hard to even put into words as to what I was feeling in that moment. At first I described it as a dream and a vision. Now, even I wonder if it was both, or just one or the other. Even though I am sure that it started as a dream, it doesn't seem like my eyes were closed the entire time. I don't know how to explain that because I'm not even sure how I seem to know that. It's something that I have pondered in my heart ever since that morning in late May of this past spring. What I can tell you with clarity is what I began to experience next. The dream or vision (or both) was so incredibly real that I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and my breathing was deep and fast. As I lay there not even able to know what to think, the revelation came. It's amazing how within seconds the Holy Spirit can download so much, but yet it takes much longer to explain.

There have been many of us in this area that have believed for some time that the Holy Spirit is ready to explode in ways that haven't been seen. There have even been prophetic words about Cleveland and northeast Ohio regarding this very thing. At one church in Ashtabula County, Ohio, they tell of a Holy Spirit tsunami coming in off the lake. I, also have been praying for this with all my heart. Well, to borrow the phrase from another time in history the EAGLE has landed. God is always present where His kids abide and we always have the great Comforter living in us, but there is so much more that we can now tap into. Let there be no mistake, the Spirit of the Lord is hovering and pressing in. Good Kingdom stuff has already started to happen and will only increase. I would advise both believer and unbeliever to keep your eyes wide open. And there is plenty of Holy Spirit to go around. No matter where you live, no matter what nation you live in, join together as like minded believers, pressing in prayer and God will pour these things onto your community, also. I am personally aware of great things happening in Erie, Pa and Wilmington, NC and would would enjoy hearing not only from people in those places, but would like for anyone to tell of how God's workings are being witnessed and where they are happening. Use the comment section to encourage the many readers of this blog.

satan is upset that this is happening. He knows what is going on here. He knows we are being prepared for amazing things in these final days. He will try anything he can to disrupt and devour. Within two weeks of that dream/vision, I believe that one of those attempts to destroy was thwarted. God isn't here to play around. Now you will understand why I included the link to the article written by one of Cleveland's more well known meteorologists and why I am telling you of my dream/vision. Things in the natural are on a collision course with the spiritual, or supernatural realm. If you haven't clicked on that link, you need to now. Those storms and tornados were lined up to take us out, ensuring that we would become Fox News and CNN headlines. In the very last possible seconds the course of darkness changed. Natural events being played out in the supernatural. We might not see the battle being fought, but that doesn't take away from the fact that these types of battles are real. My favorite example in the Bible is in 2 Kings, chapter 6 beginning in verse 8. Syrian men of war suddenly blinded by Heaven's conquering forces. The Spirit Filled Life Bible refers to it as "The Invisible Realm and Victorious Warfare.

You may wonder why if my dream/vision happened in May and the storms were here in June why I am talking about it now. Well, yesterday in church I was reminded of the night when I saw those 3 eagles and I immediately sensed the Holy Spirit letting me know that it was time to talk about those two events. I think God wants us to be aware of His presence. Keep a sharp eye!!!

"The Invisible Realm and Victorious Warfare." Kind of sounds like a novel or a soon to be released movie, doesn't it? Guess what......the previews have already been shown!

"AND DO THIS, UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT TIME. THE HOUR HAS COME FOR YOU TO WAKE UP OUT OF YOUR SLUMBER, BECAUSE OUR SALVATION IS NEARER NOW THAN WHEN WE FIRST BELIEVED." (Romans 13:11, NIV)

Standing with you in the presence of the King,
Mark S.

(I would like to note that I have not overlooked the fact that Millbury, Ohio, to the west of Cleveland did suffer great damage and loss. I wish they had been spared, also. While the storms had only increased and could have brought even more widespread devastion to northeast Ohio which, I do believe was spared by the hand of God, none the less we must always recognize the fact that loss did occur and remember to pray for the families that were affected and for the area as a whole.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Silent night 911

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS IN REMEMBERING 911

It is shortly after midnight as I write to you. It is now September 11th. The lump in my throat will not leave and I have found myself weeping. I remember where I was and the horror and pain that we all felt. If you are a fellow American let us not forget. Please do not let the memory of 911 ever grow faint in your heart. May we bless the memory of the victims and pray for their families. May we honor every rescue unit and all personnel that was on the scene that immediate day and the ones who arrived in the days to follow. Don't forget what happened on that jet that crashed in Pennsylvania and the attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Last week about 45 percent of the page views of this blog were from outside of the United States. I'm so glad you are here if you are one from another country. Many of you from around the world have also felt the pain of terrorism and other tragedies. I pray for you and your country as well and each week I try to highlight a different country on this blog. God so desires to bless your nation. Pray that one by one people in your land will turn entirely to Him. It is the only way that God will be able to really bless like He wants to. For today, though, I would ask you to honor our time of remembering in the United States. If you are a brother or sister in Christ, please pray for us. Many of us have aching hearts as we remember this day. We all need to find strength in Him and bond together under His banner of truth, grace and freedom, no matter where we live.

Friends in the United States, let us never forget! Let us never take America for granted. So many have died to keep us free. The only way for us to remain that way and to have God bless us like He wants to is to stay on our knees praying before Him. I'm not saying it is wrong to stand up for causes, or to write letters to congressman when something upsets us, but that is not going to turn this nation back around. Prayer ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS is the key. Prayer always has to come first. So many forget that.

I love this land. I love the United States. Father, God, would you extend your hand of healing and comfort to us this day? We need You!

In Jesus' Name